Book Reviews

Reviews: What Do You Look For?

I’m not only a writer, I’m an avid reader. Which is why I enjoy telling other people of books I’ve read and liked.

When I receive a book from a publisher or author who is looking for someone to help get the word out about it, it’s generally because I’ve requested that book after reading the blurb. I’ve found something about it that interests me.

Which leads me to a series of questions for you:

  • What do you look for in a book review?
  • Do you want to know more about the characters or the plot?
  • Do you want only what the reviewer liked about the book? Or do you want to know some of the warts? (Keep in mind that anyone’s opinions are strictly that—opinions.)
  • How much do you rely on reviews to make decisions about the books you choose? Jody Hedlund had a terrific article on her blog this week about authors requesting five-star reviews on places like Amazon and B&N. I’d love for you to read it and let me know what you think. 
  • Do you only like to read reviews for books that recently released, or would you like occasional reviews for older books you haven’t yet read? 

I’ll continue to write reviews for this blog and hope you continue to read them. But if there’s anything you would find more helpful in the reviews I post, let me know.

As an author of heartwarming historical and contemporary romance, Sandra Ardoin engages readers with page-turning stories of love and faith. Rarely out of reach of a book, she's also an armchair sports enthusiast, country music listener, and seldom says no to eating out.

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  • Nicole Miller

    Fun blog, Sandy!!!

    In a review, I like having a short summary of the book (as opposed to having none at all) and I mainly want to know what the reviewer liked and what they might have stumbled over. I like comparisons or recommendations — “if you like X genre, you’ll like this book…” so I know what to expect.

    I rely very heavily on reviews when I go to purchase a book where I don’t know the author either in person or from reading another book.

    As for older books – I try to get to those as well, especially if it is well-reviewed. The problem is that long, long To Be Read pile… Darn that pile.


  • Heidi Chiavaroli

    I like reviews with a short summary as well, with very general ideas about what was liked or not liked. I usually rely on reviews from people I know well (as opposed to random Amazon ones) and who have recommended books I’ve enjoyed in the past.

    I read Jodi’s blog–definitely something to think about and one of the reasons I don’t usually sign up to be an influencer. Sometimes my expectations are too high and I’d rather give no review at all than a bad one!

    Thanks for the post, Sandy!

    • Sandra Ardoin

      Thanks, Heidi! I enjoy being an influencer and am not generally disappointed. I try to be careful about what I volunteer to influence and keep it to things I really think I’ll like, but sometimes it doesn’t work as well as at other times. 🙂

  • Lisa Lickel

    Thanks for posting about this Sandy. I’ll be teaching an online course at MuseItUp the first week of October about book reviews, based on the Reflections article, but I wanted to dress things up, so I appreciate this.

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