How to write a good book review (no spoilers!)


This is what I wondered when I set myself a #LoveToRead reading challenge and created the Love to Read Book Club.

I’m an editor by trade, so I’ve written numerous reviews and synopsis for my clients which usually have a PR twist to them as, naturally, I’m paid to entice readers to buy the book. Writing a review based on my opinion is a bit different and quite an exciting prospect for me.

Detailed reviews have become a trend on online shops such as Amazon. Reviews are a huge aspect of sales these days. I often skip the salesy text and head straight to see what consumers think of any product I’m looking at. Lots of negative reviews would probably stop me from buying it, but with books it’s a different thing because what one person might think was brilliant, another person can hate.

I get frustrated with the reviews that, in some cases literally, give you chapter and verse of a story to the point there’s not much point reading it at all. While it’s useful to know the outline of the story and more than just an ‘I enjoyed it’ comment, I don’t see how this type of lengthy commentary is particularly helpful.

I prefer reading book blogs as they give a more rounded view. I look to fellow bloggers for inspiration, who write good book reviews that I enjoy reading – such as Mum of Three World and Hayley From Home – or the handy short summaries by The Reading Residence; like them, I want a review to offer enough to give my readers a reasonable idea of the book, but not so much that it spoils the story.

I thought about what I really wanted to know as a potential reader and came up with this list:

What made you choose the book? The cover? The author? Pot luck?

How did the book made you feel? Was it funny, scary, happy, depressing? Did you cry, or laugh?

Was it like wading through treacle and you couldn’t wait to finish it? Or did you skip through it in a day, the children and dog wondering where dinner was?

Was the plot captivating or did you get confused by the complex twists and turns?

Was the ending memorable, frustrating or just leave you a bit flat?

Would you read it again, or recommend it to friends?

And, I suppose as an editor and proofreader*, was it edited well and free from typos, or did the poor grammar distract you too much from the story?

Hopefully, the reviews on this blog will not do the work for you, but instead spark your interest and motivate you to read the book too. I’ve made it super easy to submit your review, just fill in this form of simple questions and ideally send a snapshot of your book. That’s it. Alternatively, if you blog about books you’ve read you can join in with my Love Books Linky.

What sort of review gets you interested in a new book? I’d love to know.

*Authors, feel free to contact me 😉

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