When I am getting ready to review a book, I take several things into consideration.
Did the story keep me engaged? Was I reluctant to put the book down because I couldn’t wait to read what was going to happen next? Were the characters and the world they live in developed well? Did I enjoy the writer’s style? Did the writing flow smoothly? Did the story make me laugh or cry? Did I connect on an emotional level with the story? Would I recommend this book and the author to others? Will I seek out additional works by this author?
I also review the book solely for what it is. Was this a heart pounding Suspense? Was this a romantic, stomach flipping Contemporary Romance? Was this an exciting, imaginative Fantasy? I never compare genres.
What I also don’t do, is compare books. Comparing books, to me, is unfair to the authors. How could I compare One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. Both were wonderful books and they were completely different. Let me take it a step further and say that I don’t even compare books within the same genre. I could not compare The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins with Divergent by Veronica Roth, or Matched by Ally Condie. I loved all three. All three were books I would recommend and read again. In fact, I have.
Let’s say, for arguments sake, I did compare books and take that into consideration when reviewing. If I read a book that I thoroughly enjoyed and gave it a 5 star review and then read another book that I enjoyed even more, then I would have to re-evaluate all my previous reviews. See what I mean, it just doesn’t work.
I am shocked when I read reviews of some of my favorite authors and find their books being compared to others. I can’t do that. It would be like trying to decide what my favorite book is or what my favorite song is. I can tell you what I have read lately that I have enjoyed and what books I thought about well after finishing them.
I also never include spoilers in a review. That is just mean. Let the reader find out on their own what happens. If you want to discuss the surprise ending of a book, don’t do it in a review. Join a discussion on Goodreads. Then discuss to your heart’s content.
Some readers use a review to point out typographical errors. Listen, no writer wants to go to print with typos, we do everything within our power to prevent that from happening, but it happens. I have read traditionally published best sellers and self published indie authors and have found typographical errors in both. If the book is a good one, it’s the story I remember, not the typo that got missed by an editor.
The fact is, books sell by word of mouth and leaving a review is word of mouth. You are basically encouraging or discouraging a potential reader. The biggest compliment you can give an author is to post a good review on Amazon and Goodreads. If you enjoyed a book, make sure you tell someone. Post a review with the online retailer you purchased it from. If you walked into a book store and bought the book, you can still post a review on Goodreads or Amazon. Books are meant to be read and recommended.
Personally, I don’t post a review unless it is a three star or greater. I know everyone has the right to post a review even if they hated the book. That is fine. That is your right, as the reader, to post your opinion. For me, if I can’t give a book at least 3 stars, then I just refrain from actually reviewing. I think reading is subjective and just because I didn’t enjoy a book, doesn’t mean someone else won’t. I wouldn’t want to discourage a reader, but I will not post a good review if I think it is undeserving.
The most important thing is to actually post a review. Before I was a member of Goodreads, I recommended books on Facebook and Twitter. Before that, I made sure to tell my friends all about the good books I had been reading.
Make sure you do the same, word of mouth, for an author, is everything.
How do you review books you like and dislike? What is your review process?
Thank you for reading.
Jennifer Senhaji, Your Sweet and Spicy Romance Author