Saturday, March 17, 2018

This blog is not about professional reviewers. It is intended to give some guidance to those of us who read books and want to write a review but do not know how.

A book review is of critical importance to the author(s). It is supposed to be a measuring stick of how well the book was edited and written, the quality of the plot or storyline, the appropriateness of the title and genre, and the overall enjoyment of the read.

Many readers do not understand or appreciate how a review affects the success or failure of an author's book. Authors often have a sentence or paragraph at the back of the book or at the end of the story inviting the reader to write a review. Unfortunately few readers do it. Some might feel intimidated to have their opinion written for others to read; or they might not know how to write a review; or they just might not think that their review is important.

Here are some helpful guidelines:
      1. Be sure the title, author, and genre are included. On Amazon, the title and author are there.
      2. Do a brief summary of the plot.
      3. Your personal reaction to the story line.
      4. Back up any criticisms (were there editing issues, did the story have a smooth flow, did the
          story make sense?)
      5. Share why the book received high marks. Why you would you recommend it to readers.

I must admit I never wrote a review until I became an independent author myself. I quickly learned the importance of a review whether it is negative or positive. It can be a learning tool when the majority of the reviews are of 3 stars or less. That presents the opportunity for me to go back and rewrite my story paying attention to the criticisims. Even well-known and established authors may receive negative reviews. They are only human and may not always present the best quality of work.

It is helpful to read the reviews by others. Did they bring out points that I overlooked? Did they see the same merits or faults as I did?

I do not claim to be a professional reviewer. My opinion is mine alone and I stand by them. I recently read three books from independent authors, who are also members of Rave Reviews Book Club.  Here are my reviews:

                                    The Clock Strikes Midnight by Joan C. Curtis. 
A page turning book that is well edited and has an amazing storyline. I liked how the author weaved each character in and out, and moved to different time periods without losing me. Marlena and her sister, Janie grew up with an alcoholic mother who had so many opportunities to be a stable and happy woman. An untimely pregnancy and her inability to accept her fate led her to drinking. After her husband dies, she marries a less than stellar man who is abusive to everyone in the family.
I will definitely recommend this book to anyone and I look forward to reading more books by Ms. Curtis.

                                    The Watchmage of Old New York  by C.A. Sanders
                                                            (Science Fiction)
Fantasy is not typically my favorite genre. I did enjoy this book, but did have difficulty at times keeping up with the various characters and the plot. Sometimes I had to go back and re-read certain sections. The book was well edited and the storyline was set at a good pace. There was murder, kidnapping, love, death, and many fantasy creatures. I like the ending which had me guessing for quite a while.
All in all an enjoyable read.

                                    The Family Caregiver's Guide by Harriet Hodgson
A very informative and well-written book about the role of the caregiver. Resources, groups, and contacts are listed as well as some step by step ways to deal with the family member and understanding the caregiver's role. Ms. Hodgson has been in the role of caregiver for her mother and grandchildren and now for her husband. Her compassion, love, and gentleness are quite evident.
This is a must read for everyone.

Reviews do not have to be long, but the author needs to know why the reader did or did not like the book. 
It is important that the author respond to each review. Yes, that can be time consuming, but it demonstrates to the readers that their role and opinions are important. 

For more information on how to write a review go to How to Write a Book Review -!


  1. Informative blog Karen! I didn't start writing reviews until I became an indie author either. It is intimidating at first but so important! Great reviews that are all on my reading list, thanks:)

  2. Thank you, Denise for your input. It is appreciated.