Monday, August 20, 2012

What Do You Look for in a Review?

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Book reviews are everywhere, but they are - frankly - more about the reviewer receiving free books than offering detailed and informative book facts. Reading Romances has asked book bloggers to tell them exactly what they look for in a book review.  So here's that list:

When and where the heck is it?
Historicals aren't all set in 1309 and not all contemporaries are based in Chicago.
Some readers want to read books from certain time periods and locations - so give them that information.
There is a difference between Regency, Georgian and Edwardian era - learn it.

You say it's too short/too long, does this publisher have a word count?
Yes, publishers and their imprints have word count requirements and reviewers would do well to mention it.

Who's the publisher and imprint?
As a reader, if I love everything from imprint Brazen from publisher Entangled - I'm going to read more of that.

Define "refreshing read."
Refreshing why?  Or better yet, remove that word from your reviews all together.

If the Book Blurb is lacking, please create a summary of your own
It's more work, but if the publisher doesn't do it for you please do it yourself.

How's the sex?
We read romance and sex happens in almost every one.  Please explain if their is adultery, menage, strictly missionary scenes, against the wall sex, public sex, penis going where it doesn't fit sex and all things sex.
Readers have different thresholds and we'd do well to advise them.

How's the story lines?
Sometimes the sex is dull and the story is great and vice versa.  Sometimes there's only one plot, or so many plots you can't keep track.

Would you read it again and why?
If the reader values your opinion this may be all they need to know.

Is this a series and where can the others be found for purchase?
Not every author has an excellent website.  Link to Amazon and/or Goodreads if you must.

Can this fourth book in the series be read as a stand-alone?
If you've read the entire series and don't mention it can be, many assume it can't.

Exactly what did you like/not like without spoilers.
This is hard, but can be done.  If you dislike a book because you read the hero sleeping with six women and then was introduced to the heroine, say you weren't fond of witnessing his active sex life even if it is pre-heroine.

Authors spend months and sometimes years working on their novel.  
At most, reviewers spend hours.
Be respectful.  You hate it?  Give exact reasons why.  They're interested.
You love it?  Give reasons why.  They need praise just as much as you do.
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  1. I agree with a lot of what you said above. One thing I would add to that is a character review. I like to know what the hero and heroine are like. For example, I dislike reading about a wimpy heroine who relies on the hero too much. I also like characters who have flaws or pasts to overcome. There are times I have decided not to read a book because I didn't think I would like one of the main characters.

    I definitely want to know how the sex scenes are, and how much sex is in the book. Also, how is the plot?

    I also like to know if there is humor in the book, even if it's not classified as a romantic comedy. I still love funny characters even in romantic suspense and paranormals. I guess that would go back to the characters. Ok, so I think I need a good description of the characters ;)

    Other than that, I agree with everything you said!

  2. Oh,my favorite book this year was Defiant by Pamela Clare.

    smwr324 (at) yahoo (dot) com

    1. oooo, I liked that one, too. Clearly >>>>>>>
      or her ad wouldn't be on the site!

      So, Read 'Defiant' everyone. Then obsess over the awesome that is Pamela Clare.

  3. I'm learning a lot from reading through the the hop participants.

    Very true on "refreshing read" -- I had to use Google Advanced Search and discovered that I had used the word "refreshing" 5 times -- yikes!

    1. I've used 'refreshing,' too. It wasn't until recently I realized it's over used.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. As a reader, I think you're totally right about the importance of knowing whether the reviewer would read the book again. That's such a telling piece of information. As a writer, I appreciate your point about respect. Good or bad, I do want to know what people think of my work. I just prefer it when the review is delivered in a way that doesn't make me want to hide under my bed.

    1. Thank you and that's a great way to put it!

      No one really enjoys hiding underneath their bed. :)

  5. Becky Brown BergeskiAugust 20, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    you have a ton of good points.. i agree with alot of them, but i also want to know if in a series the characters from the other books are in the books as well, not just a passing through but still have a story line..

    1. Ohh that's a good one. I've included it on a few reviews, but not as a rule.

      I'll remember it for next time.

  6. Respect is a BIG thing that I did not even think to add to my explanation!!

    1. The good news: You didn't think to add it because you always give it.

      That says a lot.

  7. Great breakdown of what you like to see in a review. Not sure how often I've used 'refreshing'. Hopefully not too much!

    1. It's just one of those words that make me want to rip my hair out.

      I'm sure I'm the only one...

  8. Love your break down! I hadn't thought about when and where it is - I think I'm totally going to start including it! Great idea, can't believe I didn't think of it myself. :)

    The Brunette Librarian Blog

    1. You're so busy being the awesome Brunette Librarian that you are.

      Love your blog, by the way.

  9. I look for content, because so many readers like to point out grammar/spelling instead of highlights of a book. Thanks! :)

  10. Hey Sallie,
    What I want to know about a book
    *Time period
    *Is it part of a series and if so where is it in the order
    *The heat of the intimate scenes
    *I want a short description - I hate these LONG descriptions that basically tell you everything - leave something for me to read
    *What you didn't like about the book - if you don't give it your highest mark that has to be a reason why.
    *Would you read another book by this author
    *I also want to know how you found this book. (ARC, library, recommendation)

    1. Oh I like the 'how did you find this book.' I do that, but for a completely different reason. I'll make sure to not stop. :)

    2. I see where you got the book as an indicator as how committed you are to the book. Okay for the ones I am currently reviewing - I borrowed Ruthie's from library but stated that I want to buy the book for my Nook. Lethal Legacy I preordered so that tells you how much I was anticipating the book. Then if I get it for free from a FB site - something that picked my interest - then there are ARC books which I think you really should disclose.

    3. The FTC requires book bloggers mention how they received the book and if they were paid.

  11. I like short reviews. I appreciate it when reviewers tell me about formatting issues in the electronic editions. That's my pet peeve! I'm following you, thanks!

    1. Thank you!

      I wish I could write a short review. Maybe I just talk too much. I've tried. Really.

  12. One thing interesting about this blog hop is what people look for in a review is totally different from someone else. Loved your post. Also, how did you know that my favorite color is purple.


    1. Hey Lynn!

      I strive greatly to please every reader so when I got the premonition that you were coming I immediately set to work on a new background, banner and Sallie image just for you.

      Thank you for appreciating my efforts.

      If your favorite color changes in the future please let me know. ;)

  13. I look for the critic's description of the characters. If I don't like the characters, I know I will not like the book. Another thing about sex: if you have a well written book, bring on the sex. However if all there is is sex, then the book will stink.

    Please enter me in the giveaway

  14. Great post and excellent points - message received ;)

  15. Great post! You made many excellent points. You also mentioned something I hadn't thought of -- discussing the sex in books. Readers definitely have different thresholds, and we like to decide for ourselves whether a book is going to be *hot* or turn us off. :)


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