The last question of this weekend is asked by Carolyn. Thank you so much for asking us a question. You won a $10 store credit donated by Dreamspinner Press. Congrats!
Carolyn: I was wondering, what do you consider essential parts of a review? And do you have a favorite review you’ve done and could share a link?
I don’t think that there’s really any essential part – as in you must talk about the plot, or you must talk about the characters. I think the only important aspect is that you convey whatever the book made you feel. If you’re excited and NEED every single person on the planet to read it then you need to let that come through rather than just saying the words – I loved this book – with nothing to back it up.
These are probably two of my favourite reviews because I loved them for completely different reasons. (The Hades review is actually a joint review from Dan and me)
While my reviews can range a bit between short and ridiculously long, and cover quite a spread of topics, there are a few things that I make sure to put in almost all my reviews. Firstly, how I felt about the book. Seems a bit obvious, but this is probably the number one thing that reviews are about. The reaction to the story and how that reaction may have changed from before I started the book to when I finished it. It is also the most subjective part of a review since no two people experience the story in the same way. Secondly, and related to the first part of the answer, is some explanation or reasoning for why I felt the way I did. If I got nothing else from my English degree, I at least learned how to dig into books and my reactions to them to find concrete reasoning behind my feelings. Plus, saying something was good or bad isn’t that much a help to anyone. It is the reasons for that reaction that matter to other people since they can use that to help guide them. Other than those two things there are a few other parts of the review I find are good. A short blurb of the book is good for giving the readers a general idea of the plot and the characters I’ll be referencing in my review. Also covering topics like the relationship between the characters and the writing style are good ideas.
As for my favorite reviews…well I tend to favor the ones I’ve written on not nearly enough sleep, or after a book has blown me away. I liked the ones I did for Love for the Cold-Blooded, or The Part-Time Evil Minion’s Guide to Accidentally Dating a Superhero by Alex Gabriel and How to Be a Normal Person by T.J. Klune. And I enjoy writing the reviews for Jordan L. Hawk’s SPECTR series so much that they are the only ones I’ll fight to the death to have control over. Mostly my favorite reviews are the ones where I feel free to get a little weird and fun in the review.
For me, I try to include a recap of the story, without giving too much away and aside from what is already mentioned in the blurb. Then I include what did or didn’t work for me and end with how the story was written or any other thoughts on the story as a whole. I’ve written hundreds of reviews by this point, so it is hard to pick a favorite. I have a difficult enough time writing reviews most of the time.
I have had the pleasure of being involved with helping an author with a book from almost start to finish. It gave me a bigger understanding of what goes into it, that’s for sure. I don’t believe I would be any good writing my own book, as I am much better at working with something that is already on paper, as opposed to creating something from scratch. Getting the story down initially would be the hardest part for me, so I leave that to the pros and stick to enjoying the stories and helping out where I can.
I like to remember that a review is just someone’s opinion and that I want to be open when I read and review a story. For me…that is the most essential part of reviewing. I know that if I’m in a bad mood…there is no way i’m reading a book that i have to review as that would come thru and color my view on the book and in the review.
I don’t have a favorite review that I’ve done…granted there are so many great ones on LBR that I couldn’t even do justice.
In my reviews I always do a recap then I will sum it up with why I liked/not liked the story.
I believe a good review incl a short sum up and an opinion of what you think of it . For me the important part is when you review for a blog you stay fair open minded and honest but respectful always and you don’t include spoilers.
For a favorite review I have to say I take each one as it comes , there are a few I certainly are proud of but what for me could feel like a fabulous review could for a reader be totally opposite 😉
What do you feel as a reader is most important in a blog review?
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