Reviews…

Book reviews…what do you think of them? Do you read them before selecting a book, movie, musical, car, travel?

With all the different varieties and topics of book reviews – the question is – What is a book review?

You can look at the wording book review as this meaning – A book review is a form of literary criticism in which a book is merely described or analyzed based on content, style, and merit. A book review may be a primary source, opinion piece, and summary review – basically what your thoughts were, what you thought about the writing style, what you thought about the characters, the storyline, the plot, basically anything to do with the book.

Remember, when it comes to reviews, you base your opinion on the book you just read, not the author. The number of reviews I have seen, based on the author, has nothing to do with the book itself or the actual story and characters. I have also seen reviews regarding the formatting, cover, and language inside the book, even when there is a clear warning stating the contents for mature audiences only. Some people do not take any notice or ignore, then turn around and complain about the contents.

A book review is a guide for potential readers

When reading a book review, does the reviewer display their words in the correct context.

A review also provides an opinion on whether the author succeeds in convincing readers of their points.

Should a review display – summarizes the author’s qualifications and main points, often providing examples from the text. Maybe in non-fiction, but in fiction writing, a story is just that a story. What you should be thinking – do the characters come alive, do you feel their pain or happiness? Can the story be real? Could it be real? Even though there are many forms of fiction writing, the author can transport you into the book if good enough. Allow the reader to lose themselves amongst the pages and follow the characters until the very last page.

So the next time you pick up a book or read the review, keep in mind – this is only one opinion. As the reader, it is up to you to make a choice – do I read or move onto the next book. Give the book a go. An author might write several books. It does not mean they are all the same. The books do not have to be all the same writing style. What one author wrote five years ago is not going to be the same as today. Authors grow. Their writing style slowly revolves and changes. Then there are the people who go out of their way just to bad mouth or give one or two-star reviews – these people have been known as trolls.

If you are going to write a review, keep this in mind – The four stages of writing a book review are: introducing the book, outlining its contents, highlighting parts of the book by selecting particular chapters or themes, and giving a detailed evaluation. In most cases, if and when I review a book, if the book is worth three stars, I do not bother leaving a review, and move onto the next book. I personally only leave four or five-star reviews for books, which I decide are worth the rating.

So in saying that when giving detail about the content, do not go overboard and give the book away, spoiling it for new readers. Keep it brief. What are the most important aspects of the book? This can be cut down and separated by character, world-building, themes, if any, and don’t forget the plot! When you write about each aspect, either a few words to a paragraph for the necessary details for each, including – the way the author connects with you, did they connect with you? And last but not least, what you thought, your opinion, did you enjoy it, was it a page-turner, would you recommend it, and so on.

If a book was shockingly deficient in context, grammar, etc., do not write about it. Do not bad mouth the author. This only makes you, the reviewer look petty. If the spelling and grammar look as if the book has not been edited, contact the author. But, first, check to see where the book was written. Do you know how many reviews I have read, by people who state about spelling in a book, only to make themselves look silly. An author usually writes a book in a different country, which uses different spelling to words. I have seen authors state in their books regarding the spelling in their books. Keep in mind that what is spelt in the USA, the UK, Australia, for example, is and usually spelled differently. Or the meaning of words or phrases.

The Importance of Book Reviews

So remember – Book reviews give books greater visibility and a greater chance of getting found by more readers. On some websites, books with more book reviews are more likely to be shown to prospective readers and buyers than books with few or no book reviews. If you are a user of Amazon, you will notice this. Book reviews also help amplify the book’s reach among book clubs, bookstores, blogging communities, and other opportunities to gain attention from new readers.

For an author, book reviews can open doors to new and bigger audiences, plus place some form of income into their pockets. Remember, authors are human. They have families to support—food to purchase to feed their children. Keep a roof over their heads, pay the bills. I think you might start to understand where I am coming from. It cost money to publish a book. There is cover design, editing – far too many editors, as there are usually a few involved. Having the text formatted and prepared into the digital file, ready for uploading, is only the start.

So yes, leaving a review is essential. Plus, if it is a really good review, you most likely just made that author’s day, knowing someone out there enjoyed their months or maybe years – of hard work, that their stories are read and will continue to be read, encouraging them to continue to write.

Summing up – the presence of book reviews can help a book become established out in the big scary world. Then once the book is noticed and remarked upon positively, then other readers are much more likely to want to buy that same book.

Happy reading!

My latest print book to read –  The Sheikh’s Marriage Proclamation, by the very talented author,  Annie West
I was lucky enough to read an ARC, and boy did I love it. I enjoyed each page – Thank you, Annie West.

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