Saturday, 19 September 2015

35 Day Blog Challenge - Day 7: Review a book (part 1)

Photograph by Linzé
This is the first of three posts about book reviews. The second will be aimed specifically at reviewing erotica or erotic romance, so watch out for that if you need some guidance. The third will be about reviewing non-fiction.

I am a blog host for two websites, and every now and then I volunteer to read and review books for them. While my first choice of genre is romance, I also read and review mysteries.
So how do you review a book that you liked?
That is the easy one. But I have a request: please don't tell me the story...seriously! I really can read. Rehashing the synopsis or summarizing the story (without giving away the ending, of course) is really not helpful. That is why the author/publisher adds a summary/teaser to the book or website so people can see what the story is about.
What I want to know when I read a review, is what you liked about the characters, or the plot, or the story. Why should I also read this book? Is the hero hot and sexy, yet an interesting character to read about? Is his enemy a multidimensional character with his own issues, making you almost want to root for him instead? Is the story believable? Does the plot keep your attention to such an extent that you lost sleep in order to finish the book?
Do you like the way the author wrote the story? Can you smell the roses? Will you pay money to read another book from the same author?
The answers to these questions tell me what your experience was when you read the story, and that is what I want to know.

But how do you review a book that you wouldn't normally read? I am honest, I do not like reading out of my preferred genres, but sometimes someone asks and then I say I will do it.
Since I am a romance lover, happy endings are part of the definition of the genre. Now I read  a book where a happy ending is not a guarantee, and oftentimes it can be tragic. Okay, so I don't like the ending, now what? Do I shoot down the book? Of course not.
I don't give the ending away, but if I am not careful in writing my review, the tone of I might give my displeasure of it away and that would be unfair to the author.
So how do I tackle a review, of say a literary novel, where the ending may not have been to my liking? I do it the same way as a review of any other book.
The characters, the story and the writing. Just because I may not have liked the book, does not mean that the book has no merit and cannot be enjoyed by a number of people.
So instead of shooting it down outright, unless the writing is bad or the characters one dimensional, I will say what I did like. Even if you don't know the technical details of creative writing, you can still write a positive review.

See you tomorrow!

If you want to see what the other participants are blogging about, you can find their blogs here. Why not pop on over and leave a comment?