I’ve offered my tips on “how to be a book blogger” previously on Emma’s Bookery, but I realised I had never discussed what I like to include in my book reviews. I won’t say my reviews are always top notch, but I try to stick to the points that I’m going to share with you all.
Sometimes when I write a review I find it hard to perhaps give all my reasons for why I did/didn’t like it. Therefore they’re short and sweet, to the point and not much in between. I guess at times I have given up on the book or perhaps I can’t quite convey how good it is, but I just insist that everyone in the world should read it.
Anyway, here are some pointers that I try to follow when writing my reviews. I’d like to point out though that everyone writes their reviews differently, and this is just my personal go-to list of what to include. My advice would be to keep your reviews interesting is to come up with your own spin on them, perhaps not include a star rating but perhaps quotes instead. For example, “beyond awful,” “eh it was okay,” “OH MY GOD I WANT TO RE-READ THIS BOOK FOREVER.” You get me?
Give a synopsis
I guess this is a given really. Your readers like a description of what the book is about before reading your review, so they understand what you’ll be discussing. I normally use a Goodreads synopsis at the beginning of mine, but there’s nothing wrong with writing your own synopsis for it. Obviously try to avoid slipping in any spoilers!
Introduce where the book begins and your thoughts on the main characters.
Starting with the opening scene of the book is a great place to start, and it gives potential readers a chance to think whether this is a book that might interest them. There’s nothing more annoying than a book beginning slow, and you not getting into it. Those first few chapters are crucial as to whether I carry on or not. I would then begin to introduce the main characters/protagonist and share my opinions on them, good or bad.
What the plot is building towards
This part is a little tricky, you want your reader to know where the story is going but accidentally mentioning a crucial part of the plot is where it gets difficult. Discuss what the characters are working towards, what is the book really about? For example, is it a situation where the girl likes the bad boy but the future doesn’t look promising because of various reasons. Don’t hint at the ending but express your thoughts on this, is the girl out of her depth or in for a chance perhaps?
What you enjoyed about the book, explain
Here is where I properly discuss what makes the book awesome, if it’s not awesome I will at least point out something that I may have liked (even just a tiny bit). Praise is always important in a review, even if it is something small. I find it awful if I completely slate a book, and not at least give one compliment. I feel rude, especially if its for a review that I am writing for a publisher. As I said in my tips post for book bloggers, if my review isn’t a positive one I notify the publisher before I post the review in case they would rather I withdraw from a blog tour I was participating in. Be nice, authors are people you know!
Any negatives, explain
Writing negative comments on a book can be fun, and sometimes you may have a wealth of things to discuss here but just remember to keep it clean. There’s no need for vulgar behaviour, and remember who your audience are. I’m sure no one wants to see a review that is plain disrespectful, unless that’s just me. Negative opinions can be a good thing though too, especially as it will give the reader an insight to whether they might perhaps similar views when reading it. Be constructive with your criticism, and perhaps give some pointers on how the book would be better if the author altered in one way or another.
Writing style of the book
Is the book in first person, third person, an overseeing narrator? Tell us! It sounds silly but some readers have preferences on the style of writing in the book. I’m not one of those people, but I know others that do. Comment on how well the story was told, and whether there was perhaps something different about the style of writing that you liked/disliked.
Here you I sum up my thoughts overall about the book, whether I liked it or not and whether I would recommend it to my readers etc. This I keep short and sweet as I’ve mentioned everything previously in the review. Like essays, don’t bring new information into the summary.
Star ratings are optional. I choose to do it because that’s just how I’ve done it since the beginning of writing my book reviews, and it also helps categorising my books too. Publishers seem to prefer it too.
Include a picture
I like to provide photographs of the book if I have a physical copy of it. I try to make it look eye-catching and I guess just a bit more creative, than sticking on a picture from Google. Although I do this sometimes when I read eBooks, and borrow the image from Goodreads. Some readers may have seen the cover of the book before, but not really checked out the book and so it may attract them to stopping by and checking out your review. Again, this isn’t essential but its nice and, well makes sense to do so!
Well, here are my pointers on how I write up my book reviews. I hope this helps those of you who perhaps get stuck on what to say/include in your reviews.
Please do share your own pointers on writing book reviews, we can all learn new and refreshing ways to make our reviews more fun and interesting!