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How to Write an Honest Review

Now, more than ever, reviews are THE best way to help an author. Whether you have a stellar review or was disappointed, doesn't matter. What matters is that you are honest, thoughtful and detailed.  

Think about the reviews you see when shopping: "Great Product!" or "Hated it!" Those aren't very helpful in making a decision, right? Same for books. A few lines summarizing what you liked and didn't like about the book is helpful to a fellow bibliophile.
Important Note: If you've received a free book or ARC, always be sure to post this statement in your review: "I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book."  This informs readers that you were not required to write a positive review based on getting a free book. 

1. Start with a couple of sentences describing what the book is about

But without giving any spoilers or revealing plot twists. As a general rule, try to avoid writing in detail about anything that happens from about the middle of the book onwards. If the book is part of a series, it can be useful to mention this, and whether you think you'd need to have read other books in the series to enjoy this one.

2.  Discuss what you particularly liked about the book

Focus on your thoughts and feelings about the story and the way it was told. You could try answering a couple of the following questions:

  • Who was your favourite character, and why?

  • Did the characters feel real to you?

  • Did the story keep you guessing?

  • What was your favourite part of the book, and why?

  • Were certain types of scene written particularly well - for example sad scenes, tense scenes, mysterious ones…?

  • Did the book make you laugh or cry?

  • Did the story grip you and keep you turning the pages?

3. Mention anything you disliked about the book

Talk about why you think it didn't work for you. For example:

  • Did you wish the ending hadn't been a cliffhanger because you found it frustrating?

  • Did you find it difficult to care about a main character, and could you work out why?

  • Was the story too scary for your liking, or focused on a theme you didn't find interesting?

4.  Round up your review

Summarize some of your thoughts on the book by suggesting the type of reader you'd recommend the book to.  Are there any books or series you would compare it to?

5.  You can give the book a rating that also sums up your overall sentiment.

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