Before I start this blog post I want to clarify that, as a reviewer, I would NEVER tell anyone how they should write a book review. I don’t believe it’s fair of authors to try and influence a review, nor do I think it’s right for reviewers to argue with each other about how they should/shouldn’t reflect. We are all entitled to our creativity, and our opinions. Just like a book, readers of reviews have a wide range of taste and a lot of them differ from mine.
I also want to say that I have never gotten into an argument with anyone about what they’ve said in their review, or how they’ve formatted them. I would never argue that.
With that said, I’ve become so Goodreads dependent that before I make a book selection I go and scour my online friends reviews and ratings. It’s a MUST. Over the last 6 years, which is how long I’ve been on Goodreads, I’ve discovered a handful of review-types that I stay away from.
- Ignoring the target audience for whom the book was written
If the book is written for elementary students the review should recognize that it’s going to be written for elementary students. The review I’m looking for will reflect an understanding of that audience. It’s simple really.
- Acceptance that Historical Fiction may reflect a historically accurate culture
I prefer to read reviews that recognize that the times were very different back then compared to now. Yes, men were allowed to punish their wives physically. Yes, homosexuality was against the law. Yes, slavery existed as the norm. All of them are horrible and hard to read, but they were real. I prefer reviews that accept the historically accurate reflection of the times.
- Rating a book before it’s published
I’m not talking about how some reviewers squee about a release date, or post how much they can’t wait for it. Feel free. Obviously if I’m there looking, I’m excited too. I will just admit to a teensy bit of annoyance when I see that someone is so excited for a book that they’ve already given it a 5 star rating. You can’t possibly know that. You haven’t read it yet.
- Reviews in an overabundance of gifs
I don’t have a big meaningful reason behind it. It’s honestly just a preference. I scroll through and all of the sudden there’s a million little images that are all moving, my eye starts to twitch, and my head spins. It’s over stimulation, and my instinct forces me to immediately start scrolling until I can’t see them any longer. I love a well placed gif, but I prefer actual words.
- Authors who review their own book
I actually like a little interaction with authors. I’ve never had a bad conversation, and I think that a certain amount of communication is great. I also think it’s cute when authors leave a little blurb about the writing of the book, or the inspiration. What I find a turn off is when authors actually review their work as though they’re a consumer, and in particular when they rate the book.
Again, before I go, this is not a “Don’t” list. Do it your way, please. This is just a list of things that I watch out for when reading a review.