Blog Hop: What’s In Your Reviews?

book blogger hopThis week’s Book Blogger Hop question: Are your reviews more of a rehash of the story or do you comment on writing style, characters, and reflection?

Well, I certainly aim to do more than just retell the story!  I generally do include a paragraph or (for very complicated plots!) two of storyline, so readers will have some context when I start talking about characters or other aspects of the book.  However, I feel like plot summaries are what the back of the book, or the Amazon description, are for.  In a sense, that’s the objective part–what happens in the book.

I feel like my job as a reviewer is to provide the subjective part.  Duly noting after our last blog hop discussion that this is just my opinion, my goal is to let you know how well the story was carried out.  Was the interesting premise actually interesting, or did it end up dragging?  Was the awesome-sounding heroine as cool as I hoped?  Did the romance hinted at in the plot summary turn out to be believable, or ridiculous?  Was the book funny, sad, or moving–sometimes the contents of a plot summary will hint at those things, but did it turn out that way?

Knowing what happens in a book does help me decide whether to read it or not–but I’ve read plenty of books that were terrible despite great premises.  Only retelling the plot means only looking at one part of a book, and only one aspect that can make it worth reading–or not.

And now I’m curious what other people are expecting from reviews!  When you read book reviews (not just mine!), are you mainly looking for a description of the story, or do you also want to know the reviewer’s subjective opinions? 🙂

Don’t forget, you can win a signed copy of my fairy tale retelling, The Wanderers! Just put #WanderersGiveAway in your comment to enter.

About cherylmahoney

I'm a book review blogger and Fantasy writer. I have published three novels, The Wanderers; The Storyteller and Her Sisters; and The People the Fairies Forget. All can be found on Amazon as an ebook and paperback. In my day job, I'm the Marketing Specialist for Yolo Hospice. Find me on Twitter (@MarvelousTales) and GoodReads (MarvelousTales).
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15 Responses to Blog Hop: What’s In Your Reviews?

  1. Jen says:

    I make it more personal and list 5 things I loved about the book.. May it be the plot, the creation of the characters, the morals.. You can see some of my reviews here:
    http://thecasualwanderer.blogspot.com/2014/05/gone-girl-by-gillian-flynn.html
    http://thecasualwanderer.blogspot.com/2014/05/the-lovers-dictionary-by-david-levithan.html

  2. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review says:

    Personally I try to do a minimum of plot summarizing, because that can so easily be found elsewhere. In others’ reviews, I’m looking for subjective opinions, but also specific reasons and examples backing up those opinions, so that I can tell whether I might possibly agree with them or not.

  3. I really like your reviews Cheryl you have a good mixture of plot, character and style discussion. I don’t like just story discussions but likewise I don’t enjoy huge, long critique reviews either. Like Goldilocks the middle is just right 🙂

  4. I like to focus on the characters and the author’s writing style.

    I don’t do a rehash, and I do like to know the reviewer’s opinion.

    Nice answer.

    Happy Hopping!!

    Elizabeth
    Silver’s Reviews
    My Blog Hop Answer

  5. lynnsbooks says:

    I want to know your opinion more than anything else. And, more than that I want to know if you loved, liked or hated it or, even if you just felt ambivalent towards it. Really, I’m only going to want to pick up a book if you love it – or if you like it and it’s one I’m really keen to read.
    Lynn 😀

    • I’m also much more likely to pick up a book if a reviewer has that crucial “loved it!” as part of their review 🙂 Once in a while I’ll pick up something a reviewer disliked, if I feel like their objection won’t bother me (maybe a style preference or something), or if I’m just SO intrigued by a premise…but it’s rare!

  6. dianem57 says:

    I like some summary of the plot, but also the reviewer’s opinion. If I know the reviewer and we have similar taste in books, their opinion helps me decide whether to read a particular book.

  7. When I read (or write) a review, I’m looking for several things: an overall sense of the book (not just the blurb and the genre but is it dark or light, heartbreaking or heartwarming, scary, suspenseful, funny, romantic, graphic/explicit, etc.), an idea of the book’s strengths and weaknesses (great plot, flat characters, beautiful writing, typos and grammatical errors, etc.), and the reviewer’s reaction to the book (loved it, hated it, liked parts and didn’t like others.) Those are the things that help me decide if I want to read the book. “OMG this was so freakin’ good” with no explanation of why just doesn’t give me enough information.

    I also hope the review is well-written: interesting and free from major errors! A recognizable and entertaining reviewing voice is a plus.

    • I like the balance you described–an opinion, but with descriptions and reasons to back it up. Just “it was great!” doesn’t tell me much. I run into that as a writer too–while I appreciate any “loved your book” comment 🙂 the ones that specify WHY are far more helpful to me!

  8. calmgrove says:

    The three Es is what I look for in a good review: Education, Evaluation, Entertainment. In other words , it’ll tell me what the book’s about, clarify what makes it worth while or not, and also be a pleasure to read. They’re what draws me to intelligent review blogs like this!

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