Friday, May 11, 2012

Anatomy of the Book Review

I'm absolutely thrilled with I receive fan mail about one of my books especially when the fan absolutely loved the book. This is one of the greatest things an author can achieve. Your story has connected with a reader and they took the time to write and tell you about it. I have suggested that readers post a review about the book, but for some, posting a review is a scary and overwhelming endeavor.

In order to demystify the process, I've broken down the different components in one of my reviews to make it easier to understand. Anyone can write a review. There's no magical formula you need to follow, just write down what you liked about the book. Here's my review of "Before Her Eyes" by Rebecca Forster.

When you write a review on Amazon, you will need to rate the book between 1 and 5 stars. This is how I rated this book:

This review is from: Before Her Eyes (Thriller, suspense) (Kindle Edition)
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking - a must read!, September 25, 2010
By Debra L. Martin (Boston, MA) - See all my reviews

In the first paragraph I put my initial reaction to the story:
“Before Her Eyes” is not usually the kind of book I read, but I agreed to review this book as a nice break from the usual fantasy and science fiction books I review.  I thought it would be a quick and easy read of solving a murder mystery in a small town, but I was wrong.  This book is so much more than that and it made me stop and think about how we all judge people based on our own perceptions and biases of who we think they are when we look at them.

In the next paragraph I quickly sumarized the main points in the book:
The story revolves around Sherriff Dove Connelly, a good moral stand-up kind of guy who battles his own inner demons while trying to solve the murder of his friend, Fritz, the local store owner, and the kidnapping of Tessa Bradley, a local socialite, from the scene of the crime.  Throughout the investigation that covers 48 hours, everything that Dove thought he knew about the people of his mountain enclave is challenged, warped and then twisted back into a new slot.  Even Dove himself must undergo this torturous journey if he ever wants to have peace and happiness with his wife and child. 

What I liked about the book is up next:
The author lets the story unfold through two viewpoints – third person to follow Dove and the investigation and first person for Tessa Bradley.  It is Tessa’s voice that draws you in, haunts you, makes you listen to her, and leaves you a shadow of former yourself when she’s done with you.  Her beauty blinds all who see her, but no one really sees her, no one really knows her, all except for one, and he’s never met her before.  Dove is determined to find Tessa not because she’s a beautiful woman, but because she is a woman in need and that’s his job.

My final thoughts:
This book makes you think and I like that.  I highly recommend it, but make sure you carve out the time to read it because once you start, you won’t want to put it down until the last word is read.
And there you have it. The review is written. Now, your review certainly does not have to follow my steps. Write it in your own words. Did the story move you? Did you like the characters? Did the story drag? Was there enough action/suspense/romance? It's as easy as describing why you loved a book to a friend and authors everywhere will be happy.
So, how about it? Have you enjoyed a book recently? Make an author smile and write that review!


  1. What a fantastic review and post. I loved how you gave just enough away to tease me into wanting to read this book. I like how you introduce the characters like they are real and alive. Awesome. Now if I could just coheres you into reviewing my novels.

  2. Thanks Regge for stopping by! Unfortunately, I still swamped with review requests and I'm not taking any new ones at the moment.

  3. Great guideline for writing book reviews. It means so much to an author to receive a review, even if it's only a few sentences. But when someone takes the time to compose and post a well-written, thoughtful review like the one in your example, it's truly a gift.
    Thank you for posting this. I found you via Twitter and retweeted.

  4. Hi Sandy,

    I'm so glad you found my blog. I find the most amazing people through twitter.

    I heard a lot of readers say that they could "never" write a review and I wanted to break it down and make it easy for them. I hope I've done that and many more will write those all important reviews in the future.

  5. This is a great blog - and a very interesting post. I enjoyed reading it - even more since some of my reviews don't exactly "follow any rules" - but my blog doesn't either. *grin*
    I definitely think it's worth following your blog - and that's what I'm doing now. :-)


Your post will be published after administrator approval.