Monday, November 8, 2010

Review 101

Go to Candyland's blog she is holding a great contest for a good cause because she rocks like that. ON Thanksgiving she will be drawing names of (3) winners (November 25th).

Reviews we love and hate them. I've given reviews in the past and this week I will be giving another. I will be reviewing the book, Perilous by Tamara Hart Heiner and it got me thinkin' on how to write a review. I'm not expert at this, but I have some little ideas on what I like to do.

1. I introduce the book and author then the blurb. I like to read reviews with this info so I know what it's about.

2.  I don't like to give too much away (like spoilers), but just enough so the reader can get the point. I decided to read some reviews on for books I liked and didn't like. Now, I'm sure it's not the best place to learn how to write a review, but I did get some idea of what not to do. Some people are harsh.
3. When I write a review, I put myself in the author's shoes. How would you want your review to read? Obviously, we all want it to praise our novel, that our characters are awesome, five stars, and so on. But let's be real, we can't please everyone so someone will not be happy. So how would you want it to read if the person didn't really like your novel? For me, I would want honesty, crazy right? I'm sure I would cry maybe have a drink or two (wait that would be for a good review too) and it would hurt like hell, but I would want it to be professional vs. bashing. If someone didn't like the voice, or the style of writing--fine, but say it in a professional manner no need to say that the author has no business writing, they are ugly, characters suck, etc. Why? Well, the way I look at it, that person is published and I'm not. Most likely they had what it took to get there. Plus, it makes you the writer of the review look bad.

4. Another thing I try not to do is compare it to other novels (basically saying the book is just like___ or it's a rip off of___ with this twist). This is done enough when you go through the process of writing a book. Trust me with only so many plots, you will be compared to something and it sucks. You think about it constantly and strain your brain on how to get away from it. I'm sure you know of a few books off the top of your head and trust me those books were probably compared to something before them. If anything, suggest books that the reader may like or that compliment the book you're reviewing.

Like I said, I'm no expert at writing reviews. These are just a few points that I have learned and like to see when reading/writing a review.

Any other points you would like to add when you read /write a review?

How was your weekend? (Mine was good, but not much writing got done).

Don't forget Writing the Next Line November 24th.

I did decide to hold a blogfest The Crazy Holiday Blogfest. December 13th. I will write a post about it on Wednesday. Post a scene that takes place on any holiday (can happen in the spring, summer, fall, or winter).  Mark your calenders. :) I'm sure this has been done before, but with Christmas trees out in September well the holidays are all around us. Thought you may want to write about it.

Have a great day!


  1. Thanks for the great book review writing advice. Very helpful!

  2. Oh my gosh I need to mark my calendar for the next writing line (plan to give a shout-out to bring more people over again!) and the blogfest? I'm already down for it... already dreaming of snowflakes! Squee!!! Way to get me all excited! Good things to come! Now if I can just remember it all we'll be great!

    As far as reviews I do my best, I've never really thought how to tackle them, I just know that if I love it I want the whole world to feel the love I felt, grab them, and make them think of nothing else than ordering a copy. Who knows if it's what happens, but I do what I can.

  3. Good pointers here, Christine. I always appreciate hearing in reviews WHY the reviewer found a certain aspect appealing or not with examples. Sometimes those choices are a matter of taste, and hearing that will give me a sense of the reviewer's hot button issues, so to speak. For example, I have a CP who hates tidy endings. It's helpful to know when that sort of bias is operating.

  4. I try and give the reader as much infor--without spoilers--as I can. I even include # of pages, publisher, and where the book can be purchased. I try to give an overview and highlight this particular authors style, story...whatever will help promote them. I don't, however, avoid every flaw. I don't think that gives the author an accurate review. I'm honest, fair, and definitely kind, always ending on an up note.

  5. I really like your points about reviews, I have a hard time writing them. I don't know why, because I love to talk books so much, but I think maybe I feel inadequate. Like I won't be able to give a good review and people will think I'm a flaming idiot. I need to stop thinking that. :)

    I'm so EXCITED for your blogfest! Count me in for sure!

    I follow a book review blog and at the end of each review she says whether or not she'd read it again. I find that very helpful because I love to buy books that I'll read over and over again, rather than get them from the library a hundred times. :)

  6. Great post. If I review a book, I don't like putting spoilers in either. I do like to mention the way the book made me feel, even how I connected with it as a writer. I like to enjoy and learn from a story. :)

  7. Great review advice! I always try to give my personal response to the book, in particular. And I don't write negative book reviews - if I really feel unable to review the book, I just don't. It's all about karma! :) Happy Monday.

  8. These are super tips for writing reviews, Christine! Looking forward to reading your review of Perilous. I got a chance to post on it today--how cool to be a part of this blog tour! Jen called PERILOUS a wild ride, and it definitely was!

  9. Christine, when "South" comes out, I'd be honored for a review. Good or bad, you've nailed the professionalism side of it, therefore I'd know my work was in good hands:)
    Great post!