Saturday, April 10, 2010

What's In A Review?


I have to admit, I have trouble writing reviews. I mean it's not like it was something that was taught in high school English class.

Research essays? Check.

Business letters? Check.

Review columns? Uh - nope.

There's a not so fine line between writing a review and indulging in a synopsis. I say indulge, but don't apply it to myself, because I find it the hardest thing to write a synopsis for a publisher. Sooo cut and dried! Why would I torture myself doing so for a review?

Still, how much to say? I error on the side of discretion and wonder if anyone reading will know what the damn book's about. *grin*

There are some fine reviewers in Romanceland.

DA has a legion of 'em and they all sound so professional. These are some folks that paid attention in English class, even if reviewing wasn't the lesson of the day. I've bought quite a few books after reading a DA review.

The Smart Bitches make me laugh my ass off (I wish!), but at the same time can really analyze a book and give the reader all the pertinent facts and why it worked for them.

KristyJ (Ramblings on Romance) and Sarah (Monkeybear Reviews) both write succinct reviews without spoilers and I'm always thrilled when their opinions mesh with mine.

So what it boils down to is: I can title a post a review, but what it really is, is a recommendation for a book I liked, or conversely a suggestion that this particular book wasn't what I expected.

I doubt I'll ever do a piece on a book I absolutely hate, because thanks to all the reviewers above, I'll never buy it.



I can't review at all. I forget the names of the characters while I'm reading the book and a day after it's done I've forgotten half the plot. That's why I reread: it's always new to me.

I find some of my favorite reviews are the negative ones. When a reader takes the time to point out what didn't work in a book then I have a good idea which are the bothersome tropes or plots that might make me dislike the book. And of course, some of the things that reader didn't like might be in my favorite trope category.

I've bought more books based on Dear Author reviews than I want to admit. I'm trying not to anymore because I've discovered I don't share the taste of many of them. At this point I listen to Carolyn most because she's pointed me to Lord Ian, Loretta Chase and Butterfly Tattoo.

As far as writing reviews: ha!


  1. I am the only one allowed to criticize my (non)reviews, Lori! And you should be very glad of them, because they make yours look so much better, lol.

    And you forgot to mention Flowers From the Storm. *tapping toe*

  2. LOL.

    Ladies, play nice :D. I can't write either but I put down what I do like or don't like and if it sorta kinda maybe looks like a review, then it's a fluke.

    I don't normally buy/read/listen to anything after seeing a review, unless something stuck out for me. Normally I find I miss a lot if I go by the negative reviews or I end being disappointed by listening to the positive. I'm a big girl now, I can make up my own mind.

    Having said that though, the ladies UG all raved about the "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society". Someone lent me a copy (I need to return... oops lol) and I absolutely loved it! The ladies were so right. It made me laugh, cry, smile and I could just visualize all hte characters as though they were members of my own family. I am so hoping this is one book that makes it to the silver screen.

    PS... what's this 'Butterfly Tattoo' y'all mentioned. I've seen it elsewhere too and I'm thinking it's a good thing?

  3. There's a review of it here somewhere, Lea.

    Also, here's the Amazon link:

    When so many people (and not just on Amazon folks) are bowled over by a book, I usually give it a try. I'm glad I did with this one. Same thing with Flowers From the Storm.

    You can get Tattoo book depository for $10.38 American and free shipping.

  4. Thanks Carolyn *hugs*.

    And DOH! Not only did I read your review, I thought I had posted... guess puter had different ideas. I promise to pay attention in future, really truly...

    thanks for the tip about the site with the free postage. When I get financial again it's going to be one of the first places I visit :D

  5. Get finanacial again. Love that term. Believe I'll be using it :D

  6. Feel free :) Nice to know I can pass on something to someone else for a change lol