Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Suggestions for solid reviews

I love reviews! Unfortunately, Lexi and I got our wires crossed and she wasn't able to post this for me... but, I'm not letting it go to waste!

I depend on solid reviews for choosing many of the books I want to read. Here are things I look for to know a review is solid:
  • honesty – I know it's just one person's opinion, but I don't want to hear a friend or relative being super sweet about it if they really didn't like it.
  • facts – I know it's honest if the reviewer backs up their opinion with reasons they did/didn't like it and even some examples, so I know if they read it!
  • tact – no matter how much a reviewer dislikes a book, they have to be able to find something positive about it or at least give some constructive advice and not all snark and degradation.
  • no spoilers – a good reviewer can mention highlights without giving away big plot points. I know if some reviewers don't like a book, they might give away info to purposely spoil it.
I think good reviews help readers decide which books to buy. Reviews bring alternate perspectives and are always appreciated when people take the time to write them! I love reading (& receiving) credible, honest reviews - and though I'm a pretty slow reader, I always try to post a solid review.

Do you use reviews to help you decide what books to read? Do you write reviews?
(And be sure to enter the giveaway below!)

by Tara Tyler
Release Date: June 24, 2014
Publisher: Curiosity Quills

Gabe is an average fifteen-year-old goblin. He’s in the marching band, breezes through calculus, and gets picked on daily by the other kids at school, especially the ogres. He's tired of being a goblin – he’d like to try other things. And he has his eye on the new ogress at school. It’s against all beastly rules, but there’s just something about her.

When a prank goes wrong, Gabe is forced to join the football team as punishment, but finds a way to make it work. Soon the whole school is getting in on the fad of mingling with other species. Too bad the adults decide to step in and ruin things, threatening to destroy the school and split up Broken Branch Falls. And Gabe is their scapegoat. With help from other outcast friends, Gabe sets out on a quest hoping to saving Broken Branch Falls. After all this trouble, it better work.

Add it to your GOODREADS list!

Tara Tyler has had a hand at everything from waitressing to rocket engineering. After living up and down the Eastern US, she now writes and teaches math in Ohio with her three active boys and Coach Husband. Currently, she has two series, The Cooper Chronicles (techno-thriller detective capers) and Beast World (MG fantasy) She's an adventure writer who believes every good story should have action, a moral, and a few laughs!

Also by Tara Tyler, techno-thriller detective series,
The Cooper Chronicles, Book One: POP TRAVEL


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Tact is definitely appreciated! I've seen enough without it, that's for sure.

The Silver Fox said...

Some very good guidelines!

Rena said...

Those are good guidelines for reviewing a book. I especially like the no spoilers. I admit that I have refused to crack open a book I'd already purchased when I accidentally read a major spoiler. It was one of my guesses for how the series would end, but knowing it, really knowing it totally ruined the book for me.

Stephanie Faris said...

I think it's important for a reviewer to be able to distinguish between something that might be personal taste and something that is truly wrong with a piece of fiction. Not all reviewers can do that.

Rhonda Albom said...

Great guidelines. I rarely write reviews as I never know what to say.

dolorah said...

That's a good book blurb.

I think I follow these tips for critiquing. i hate when someone just does a synopsis of the book as a review. I like opinions. I give them in reviews; I never review a book that I haven't read.

Shah Wharton said...

I won't review a book I can't give at least a three star rating. I ALWAYS stress it's my opinion and any reason why I might not have liked it which may rule out another reader.

TBH, I read the 4-3 star reviews more than the 5 star reviews. I have been hugely misled by 5 star reviews on many an occasion. 3-4 tend to be more considered, logical, less gushing or scathing.

As for one and two stars - really? Those guys talk about all sorts of thing: the post was late. The kindle formatting irritated them. They didn't like the genre. They didn't realise there would be/wouldn't be sex/vampires/romance in it and didn't like it. All ridiculous reasons to downplay the book's overall score IMO.


L. Diane Wolfe said...

I agree with Shah's reasoning.

Mocking, mean-spirited reviews are just uncalled for. When I read one that has that flavor, I ignore it.

Crystal Collier said...

Awesome thoughts. I've been on the reviewing circuit this year. I'm doing the 100 books in 2014 challenge, and as part of that, I'm reading a TON of my friends books. I want to support them, and I know how much reviews mean to me, so I'm leaving reviews for everyone. It gets easier the more you leave, and faster. I typically only focus on unique points or the emotional high of the story--what did it make me feel, did I come away happy, would I recommend it, etc.

Murees Dupè said...

Those are very good and valid advice. I read reviews and usually shy away from writing my own, because I don't want to come across as mean when I don't like a specific book. Also, I'm not always sure what exactly to say.

Cathrina Constantine said...

I do write reviews. I never leave spoilers and while attempting to be honest, I don't like to bash a writer after all the hard work they put into their books. So I would never write a review if I didn't care for the read. Great Advice, Tara!

Michelle Wallace said...

I like to write reviews.
Because somebody has put his/her heart and soul into a book, I avoid negativity but instead try to focus on the positive aspects of the story.
If I realize that I can't give at least a 3-star rating, then I won't leave a review.

J.L. Campbell said...

Hope the tour is going well, Tara.

Sher A. Hart said...

Great guidelines! I need to show these to one of my new book reviewers whose reviews are too short to be of much help.

Do you want a tour stop on my blog? Your story sounds like my kind of fun.

Unknown said...

I love the idea of kids as "monsters" - so adorable!! It sounds like a great adventure story and full of humor too. Wishing you much success!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Excellent guidelines, Tara. Commonsense, for sure. I do check out reviews just to see if the book is something I'd be interested in. Negative reviews don't bother me because I do have a particular preference for a good story. Most importantly, the bad guy has to pay.

Your review sounds great. Good that you posted it.

Unknown said...

Tact is a must. And all the others you listed but I hate seeing reviewers shredding an author. There's no need for that.

Nicole said...

Good advice! I usually don't rely too heavily on reviews, but if I've heard of a book in passing, I often check out the sample pages and reviews on Amazon.

Weaver said...

Yeah. Tact. And a little balance doesn't hurt. I got a review on a book once where the person said "just okay" and then gave it a one.
Wow. Is it possible to give a negative number? What if the reader had REALLY hated it? lol

Nicki Elson said...

I definitely pay more attention to a review when the reviewer backs up likes/dislikes with (spoiler-free) specifics.

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