Wednesday, April 9, 2014

H - Blogging Challenge "How I Use Book Reviews"

A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on.

Today's letter is H.
How I Use Book Reviews

I love book reviews. I hardly ever buy a book without first checking the reviews. When I am at a bookstore browsing, if I see book cover that has caught my eye, first thing I do before I make that purchase is check out the book reviews and ratings. 

But sometimes I have to sift through all kinds of reviews to find what I am looking for. Is the book a part of a series? If it is, do I have to read the rest of the series first or is it okay to read as a stand alone book? Why did the reviewer award a perfect 5 stars or on the flip side, what determined that it deserved a 1 or 2 star. 

I pretty much ignore star ratings if they are not followed up with some sort of reasoning. What wow'd the reader to award a perfect 5? What was so disappointing to grade a low 1? If a reader gives a one star and says, "Way to much sex" then BINGO perhaps that is what I am looking for! One star ratings don't have to be so bad if they are explained. What didn't work for someone may work for another. 

One thing I dislike with reviews is when a reviewer simply rewords the book summary. I get so frustrated with those. The author already summarized the book for me I don't need a longer, detailed summary. 

I also totally detest if the reviewer reveals important spoilers. I do not want to know what the major plot twist was! I do not want to know what actually happens in the story! What I do want to know is how the story moved you. I want to know what you liked or didn't like about the characters. I'd love for you to share your favourite quote. I'd love for you to tell me why the author is now an autobuy. I do want to know if you are going to continue reading the rest of the books in a series if the book is part of a series. 

I do not care what the author looks like so any reviews that say anything personal about the author is pushed aside and ignored. I have no use for those. 

I weigh my book buying decisions carefully so I really appreciate people who take the time and leave reviews. I've been writing reviews for quite a few years now and I know I have changed my style over the years. I've tried to write my reviews in the style of what I am looking for when I am making the buying decision. Luckily I have found some great reviewers that I have matched book tastes with so generally I reach for their Goodreads file or book blogs before I purchase. 

On one more note, book reviews do not have to be long. I love reviews that are to the point. So if you have read a book that moved you or disappointed you, share! 

Do you use Goodreads or Amazon or another outlet to read reviews before you purchase? 


Anonymous said...

I tend to rely on reviews from people whose taste in books matches mine--including reviews from blog buddies I'm come to trust! A review from someone I'm not familiar with usually doesn't hold a lot of weight with me, as I don't know what they tend to like and what they don't.
I also don't necessarily let a bad review stop me if I really think I'll like the book--opinions are so personal, and what one reader dislikes, I may love!
Nice post!

Michelle (A Thousand Lives Lived) said...

Great review! I love this post because I use reviews for the same reason! <33

Please visit my blog,

I'm doing the A-Z Challenge and my theme focuses on books and the title of the letter of the day!

Unknown said...

Excellent article, I like using the guardian uk for reviews!

Anna (herding cats-burning soup) said...

That's pretty much how I go about it too!

I also ignore the ones that are gif heavy. I cannot stand that. Like cannot stand it with the fiery passion of 7 suns can't stand it.

When I take on one for review or go out to purchase one first step for me is goodreads and seeing what my friends on there say. Then Amazon and their 1-3 stars. And yeah like you I've seen some 1 stars and that book is an instant buy for me because the things they hate are totally the ones I love :)

Elle Carter Neal said...

I do use Amazon and Goodreads reviews to help me make a decision. But often I find myself even more confused - people have such differing opinions, and it's hard to tell who has the same tastes as I do.

The star ratings system really frustrates me as a reviewer. How do you compare two books? Does one pick the best book ever written, give that 5 stars, and then mark every other book against that? Does one remove stars for issues such as head-hopping, or ignore "poor" style in favour of great story? It gives me a headache!


Unknown said...

Thank you for the compliments everyone!