Thursday, April 12, 2018

How To Write a Pretty Damn Good Book Review!

Hello! After my last post, I thought we should revert to something a little more technical. But hey, thanks for all of your interest and comments on the whole #visabae debacle.

Now, this post is for the avid book readers and those who enjoy my book reviews, and for those who would like to write a review of their own! 
Being able to write an intriguing review with honesty that will pique the interest of potential readers and have them run to the bookstore or navigate to Amazon is a great skill. There are many new authors needing exposure for their work, and fellow bloggers, I can't do it all alone!

So, I would like to offer a few tips on how to write a pretty damn good book review! Of course, each person will have their own style, but I believe that these tips are essential!

1. Do not just tell the whole story 
If you're going to create intrigue around the book you're reviewing, then you definitely don’t want to divulge all of its contents! By all means, outline the plot in a few sentences, and describe some of your favourite scenes but NEVER give away the end!
2. Identify the genre 
Identifying a book’s category will quickly help to draw in the book's correct audience.  If you are wishy-washy about the book's genre you may not grab anybody's attention. However, I do understand that some books are difficult to box and may fall in more than one genre. If that's the case, say so! It will add to its appeal.

3. Highlight the main themes
The themes of a book are the topics the storyline covers and identifying these is totally different to telling the story! Being able to do this is a mark of a sophisticated reader. Sometimes the themes of a book are objective because what may stand out for one person, might not jump out at another.

4. Comment on a few of the characters
Write about one or more of the characters and comment on how they contributed to the story. It's also nice to mention if and why you connected with a particular character. 

5. Include your favourite quotes

It’s important to include one or two quotes so readers can get a feel for the text.  This will also bring your review to life. Make sure the quotes you include are relevant and relate to the text you've written around it.  Put them in 'quotation marks' or italicise them so they stand out.

6. Comment on the author’s writing style.
From whose point of view is the story being told? Is the narrative being told by one or two of the characters? How does this contribute to the story? Does the author make use of metaphorical language? Is he/she descriptive or emotive? When commenting on these elements, don’t just do so for the sake of it. Comment on its contribution to the story.
7. What is your favourite/ worst scene?
Have you ever picked up a book and have been so excited to get to a scene that somebody else so brilliantly described? That is your job as a reviewer! Also, speaking about what you liked or disliked the most will allow readers to see how you interacted with the book.
8. Do you know anything about the author?
You may have some information about the author’s background. You may even know what, or who inspired some of the characters. If you can do this, then that is brilliant! But make sure you fact check what you write.

9. Add a photo  of the book
I know the saying goes, 'don't judge a book by its cover' but it's impossible for human beings to not cast some kind of judgement on what they see. So a nice photo of book cover always helps!
10. Rate the book
You can give the book a rating as a conclusion to your review.
11. If you really want to help the author…
Leave a link to the online store, or leave a list of shops which sell the novel.
There you have it. Madeline's guide on how to write a pretty damn good book review!
Did you find this guide helpful? Let me know!



  1. Ahh, your point about not telling the entire story within a book review is very good advice. It's always so disappointing when someone gives away the ending haha! x

    1. Hi Gabrielle, thanks for reading! When someone tells the full story, I immediately think 'ah, what's the point!'. There's no need to read the book anymore.

  2. I love this post. I read a lot of reviews. One of the things I look out for is the highlight of themes. The themes pretty much determine whether I'd like to read the book or not. And I like the idea of not telling it all in reviews. Hi Madeline!

    1. Thank you so much Nwamaka. I always try to add value to my fellow writers. I look out for the themes too. That's how I know if I will connect with a book - that, and the writing style!


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