Probably the biggest no-no is not to give away the plot. Do not do this, even if you write a big headline saying ‘this book review contains spoilers’. No-one likes it, don’t do it. Publishers will not send you preview copies, readers will not dare read any of your reviews in case it spoils the plot, and authors will hate you for doing away with the need to buy their book. There are basically two types of book review:-
Descriptive: this gives the essential information about the book, the author, when/where available. Many book reviewers lift this information straight from the Amazon or Goodreads summary, but the journalist in me dislikes this habit. It can feel as if the reviewer has not actually read the book.
Critical: this style of review describes the book and evaluates the story, with the reviewer backing up opinions with examples from the text. This is the more thorough review, considering the book within the wider picture of the author’s work, genre, publishing trends, its themes, characterization, plot, structure. While reading a book for review, I:-
Make a note of my first impressions;
Keep notes about plot turns, and particularly anything that surprises me;
Write down excerpts I want to refer to;
Consider how the book fits into its genre, what makes it different;
Evaluate the book compared with the author’s other work.
When I’ve finished the book, I take some time to think about it. I find the books that stay with me, are the ones I prefer. I review lots of books on my blog and tend to choose books I would buy. Check out my index of Books Reviews A-Z here.
Read this excellent guide to writing a book review by Dalhousie University.
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
How to write a #bookreview http://wp.me/p5gEM4-11z via @SandraDanby