Register Guidelines E-Books Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Go Back   MobileRead Forums > E-Book General > General Discussions

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 06-16-2011, 02:02 PM   #1
Crusader
Space Cadet
Crusader ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Crusader ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Crusader ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Crusader ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Crusader ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Crusader ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Crusader ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Crusader ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Crusader ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Crusader ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Crusader ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Crusader's Avatar
 
Posts: 1,179
Karma: 4030536
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: South Africa
Device: Sony PRS-T1, Cybook Opus, Kobo Glo
What do you look for in a book review?

I'm trying to improve the book reviews I post to my blog and I'm wondering what you look for in a book review. I do the blog for the fun of it, so I don't analyze the books on literary merit, but rather from the viewpoint of someone looking for a good read.

I don't want to spoil the books for someone so I try to keep things completely spoiler free. Most of the reviews I've read are basically a synopsis of what happens in the book and contain far too many spoilers for my liking.

The flipside to that is that it makes things extremely difficult if you want to keep things as vague as possible, but still want to discuss some of the things that happen.
Crusader is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2011, 02:54 PM   #2
apbschmitz
Lord of Frogtown
apbschmitz ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.apbschmitz ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.apbschmitz ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.apbschmitz ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.apbschmitz ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.apbschmitz ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.apbschmitz ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.apbschmitz ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.apbschmitz ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.apbschmitz ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.apbschmitz ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
apbschmitz's Avatar
 
Posts: 149
Karma: 1154748
Join Date: May 2011
Location: St. Paul MN
Device: Kindle
I can only speak for myself here, but what I want in a book review is an idea of whether I should bother reading the book in question, and why or why not that's true. Maybe it's because the plot is great, maybe it's because of the writer's insight into behavior, or love, or family dynamics, or social trends, or whatever. Mostly I don't care to read reviews that blast books to kingdom come, unless it's a reasonable alternative theory on a book that otherwise has been widely praised. I'm not so much interested in a plot summary; instead I most appreciate an insightful reading that gets to the heart of what the book is about. Big job, really.
apbschmitz is offline   Reply With Quote
Advert
Old 06-16-2011, 07:04 PM   #3
SeaBookGuy
Can one read too much?
SeaBookGuy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.SeaBookGuy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.SeaBookGuy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.SeaBookGuy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.SeaBookGuy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.SeaBookGuy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.SeaBookGuy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.SeaBookGuy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.SeaBookGuy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.SeaBookGuy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.SeaBookGuy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
SeaBookGuy's Avatar
 
Posts: 1,852
Karma: 2265261
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Seattle, USA
Device: Kindle PW 3, Sony 350 and 650
I, too, try to keep spoilers out of my reviews (at Goodreads), but some books make that tough - in those cases I apologize to the reader in advance.

I'm a bit skeptical of reviews that are wildly one-sided (gushing or panning).
SeaBookGuy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2011, 07:58 PM   #4
RainingLemur
Spork Connoisseur
RainingLemur ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.RainingLemur ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.RainingLemur ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.RainingLemur ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.RainingLemur ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.RainingLemur ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.RainingLemur ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.RainingLemur ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.RainingLemur ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.RainingLemur ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.RainingLemur ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
RainingLemur's Avatar
 
Posts: 2,355
Karma: 16780603
Join Date: Mar 2011
Device: Nook Color
I don't like spoilers in reviews. But, I don't mind reading something along the lines of "And what happens to *so and so* was a major surprise" as long as it's left at that.
RainingLemur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2011, 08:11 PM   #5
wyndslash
Wizard
wyndslash ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.wyndslash ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.wyndslash ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.wyndslash ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.wyndslash ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.wyndslash ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.wyndslash ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.wyndslash ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.wyndslash ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.wyndslash ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.wyndslash ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
wyndslash's Avatar
 
Posts: 2,951
Karma: 3000001
Join Date: Feb 2011
Device: Kindle 3 wifi, Kindle Fire
i like reviews that mention the grammar/editing if need be (i mean, if it's bad that it needs to be mentioned)
wyndslash is offline   Reply With Quote
Advert
Old 06-16-2011, 09:37 PM   #6
OtterBooks
Wizard
OtterBooks ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.OtterBooks ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.OtterBooks ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.OtterBooks ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.OtterBooks ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.OtterBooks ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.OtterBooks ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.OtterBooks ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.OtterBooks ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.OtterBooks ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.OtterBooks ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
OtterBooks's Avatar
 
Posts: 1,262
Karma: 2979086
Join Date: Nov 2010
Device: Kindle 4, iPad Mini/Retina
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crusader View Post
I do the blog for the fun of it, so I don't analyze the books on literary merit, but rather from the viewpoint of someone looking for a good read.

I don't think those things are mutually exclusive. I look for reviewers whose reasons for enjoying a book resonate with me. Just speak to your tastes and those who empathize with you will see value in your reviews, and those who don't, won't.

Oh and don't do story recaps, i.e. spoilers.
OtterBooks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2011, 11:13 PM   #7
SeaBookGuy
Can one read too much?
SeaBookGuy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.SeaBookGuy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.SeaBookGuy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.SeaBookGuy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.SeaBookGuy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.SeaBookGuy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.SeaBookGuy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.SeaBookGuy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.SeaBookGuy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.SeaBookGuy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.SeaBookGuy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
SeaBookGuy's Avatar
 
Posts: 1,852
Karma: 2265261
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Seattle, USA
Device: Kindle PW 3, Sony 350 and 650
Quote:
Originally Posted by OtterBooks View Post
Oh and don't do story recaps, i.e. spoilers.
Indeed, plot summaries should be kept to a minimum, unless you're trying to show a pattern.
SeaBookGuy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2011, 12:40 PM   #8
Frida Fantastic
SF/F book blogger
Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Frida Fantastic's Avatar
 
Posts: 270
Karma: 502030
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Device: Kindle 3
Yay! Another SF/F book blogger/reviewer! I've added you to the Indie SF Reviewers list since you're open to book submissions http://indiesfreviewers.wordpress.com/

I'd say keep the synopsis to a minimum, like 1/4th of the review length. Everyone has a different review style, just think about the reviews that *you* find helpful and incorporate elements of that into your own. Don't give away spoilers, ever.

There are other bloggers who take a more ideas and topical-based approach to reviewing like Isabela Morales of The Scattering: http://thescattering.wordpress.com/ I really like her reviews and I think they're engaging and funny, but they're not the kind of reviews I write. My own indie speculative fiction blog is here: http://fridafantastic.wordpress.com/

In my reviews, I try to address:

(1) What type of book is this?
(2) What are its strengths?
(3) What are its weaknesses?
(4) With all that in mind, who do I recommend this book to?

I take a more analytical approach and analyze the components. Pacing/characters/world-building/etc. whatever I remembered the most. I tend to reference tropes from tvtropes a lot just because I'm a giant geek, and I like to also address the question "how does this compare to what's been done before?" I sometimes talk about the "big idea" if it connected with me (like my review of Lovers and Beloveds: http://fridafantastic.wordpress.com/...-miranda-2010/). If a big idea doesn't connect with me, I just stick to addressing those 4 questions.

I think reading for enjoyment/literary merit aren't mutually exclusive. There's books you want to read because you want a challenge, and there's books you want to read because you want something comfortable but with a little twist. What's important is giving information that's helpful to a person who hasn't read the book yet and don't care about a lot of the details.

My next 3 reviews are all of short stories. Now *that* I'm finding hard to review because you *can* give too much away very easily. I'm focusing on the strength of the stories as a collection, and writing a short review for a standalone... and have decided to no longer review standalones after this >_>

So I say just keep the audience in mind, and don't afraid to play around with a review style and see what ends up working for you. Some prefer to be more formal, some prefer to be more breezy, some prefer to be more topical, while others analyze the components. If you're getting compliments and requests for reviews, you're on the right track.
Frida Fantastic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2011, 12:50 PM   #9
Frida Fantastic
SF/F book blogger
Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Frida Fantastic's Avatar
 
Posts: 270
Karma: 502030
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Device: Kindle 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crusader View Post
The flipside to that is that it makes things extremely difficult if you want to keep things as vague as possible, but still want to discuss some of the things that happen.
You should be clear on who you want to target your reviews to. Is it a review of the book for other people who have read the book? (I look for reviews like those). Or is it for people who are considering buying the book? Go into spoiler specifics in the former, but don't go into specifics in the latter if it gives away spoilers. Decide on which audience first, and don't mix them up.
Frida Fantastic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2011, 01:16 PM   #10
Tome Keeper
Addict
Tome Keeper ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Tome Keeper ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Tome Keeper ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Tome Keeper ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Tome Keeper ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Tome Keeper ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Tome Keeper ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Tome Keeper ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Tome Keeper ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Tome Keeper ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Tome Keeper ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Tome Keeper's Avatar
 
Posts: 355
Karma: 1001201
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: UK
Device: Kindle 3 Keyboard, Surface Tablet, Android Smartphone, Laptop, Netbook
Some interesting answers.

I agree that I dislike long summaries and spoilers, I find too many reviews tend to give a blow by blow account of the plot rather than keeping it as a teaser.

I want a review that is simple, why the person liked it, why they didn't.
Tome Keeper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2011, 02:09 PM   #11
Frida Fantastic
SF/F book blogger
Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Frida Fantastic's Avatar
 
Posts: 270
Karma: 502030
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Device: Kindle 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tome Keeper View Post
I find too many reviews tend to give a blow by blow account of the plot rather than keeping it as a teaser.
Agree. I like it when reviews talk about overall plot structure or narrative theme (fantasy quest type plot? coming of age story?) and talking about how it's different from what's been done, but describing everything that happens is bad.
Frida Fantastic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2011, 05:03 PM   #12
Catlady
Grand Sorcerer
Catlady ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Catlady ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Catlady ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Catlady ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Catlady ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Catlady ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Catlady ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Catlady ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Catlady ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Catlady ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Catlady ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Catlady's Avatar
 
Posts: 6,671
Karma: 37000000
Join Date: Oct 2010
Device: Kindle Fire, Kindle Paperwhite, AGPTek Bluetooth Clip
I want a one- or two-sentence summary at the outset. If that doesn't grab me, that's the end of my interest. If it sounds like something I think I'd like to read, I'll continue looking at the review, and the reviewer can discuss whatever he or she thinks is relevant.

I also prefer that the reviewer not get carried away with his or her own literary flourishes and stick to describing the book.
Catlady is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2011, 05:45 PM   #13
calail
Enthusiast
calail is faster than a rolling 'o,' stronger than silent 'e,' and leaps capital 'T' in a single bound!calail is faster than a rolling 'o,' stronger than silent 'e,' and leaps capital 'T' in a single bound!calail is faster than a rolling 'o,' stronger than silent 'e,' and leaps capital 'T' in a single bound!calail is faster than a rolling 'o,' stronger than silent 'e,' and leaps capital 'T' in a single bound!calail is faster than a rolling 'o,' stronger than silent 'e,' and leaps capital 'T' in a single bound!calail is faster than a rolling 'o,' stronger than silent 'e,' and leaps capital 'T' in a single bound!calail is faster than a rolling 'o,' stronger than silent 'e,' and leaps capital 'T' in a single bound!calail is faster than a rolling 'o,' stronger than silent 'e,' and leaps capital 'T' in a single bound!calail is faster than a rolling 'o,' stronger than silent 'e,' and leaps capital 'T' in a single bound!calail is faster than a rolling 'o,' stronger than silent 'e,' and leaps capital 'T' in a single bound!calail is faster than a rolling 'o,' stronger than silent 'e,' and leaps capital 'T' in a single bound!
 
calail's Avatar
 
Posts: 30
Karma: 50012
Join Date: May 2011
Location: central florida
Device: Kindle PW; android; PC
i agree with most of the comments here. i don't want a plot summary either (i can get those from product reviews on Amazon or elsewhere). i want to know why the book is recommended (or not). i also like to know something of the writing; is it filled with historical detail, detailed descriptions, etc.
calail is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2011, 06:47 PM   #14
GraceKrispy
It's Dr. Penguin now!
GraceKrispy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.GraceKrispy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.GraceKrispy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.GraceKrispy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.GraceKrispy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.GraceKrispy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.GraceKrispy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.GraceKrispy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.GraceKrispy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.GraceKrispy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.GraceKrispy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
GraceKrispy's Avatar
 
Posts: 3,909
Karma: 4705733
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: (USA)
Device: iPad mini, Samsung Note 3, Sony PRS-650 (rarely used now)
I write reviews that reflect the things I'd like to read in reviews. I like a very brief plot summary (no spoilers, and no step by step). I really like the types of summaries that offer a slightly different take than the official blurb, as I find those can be very misleading. I like to know what was good, what was not good, and I like the following things addressed, as appropriate: characterization, plot, writing style, genre, and anything that's different or unique about this book.
GraceKrispy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2011, 08:05 PM   #15
Frida Fantastic
SF/F book blogger
Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Frida Fantastic ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Frida Fantastic's Avatar
 
Posts: 270
Karma: 502030
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Device: Kindle 3
I like Grace's summaries. Sometimes blurbs emphasize one aspect to get the reader hooked, but it's not a good descriptor of the overall book.
Frida Fantastic is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
My review of Augen The Book Nate the great More E-Book Readers 58 01-01-2011 01:56 AM
How to cite a book review. markuskane Writers' Corner 6 12-14-2010 09:34 PM
Yet another Augen The Book review in the works rscudder More E-Book Readers 24 11-30-2010 08:00 PM
An honest review of my book... J. Dean Writers' Corner 6 02-17-2010 01:43 PM
My book just got a five star review! submarine670 Writers' Corner 2 07-20-2009 04:31 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 05:43 AM.


MobileRead.com is a privately owned, operated and funded community.