A Penny for Your Thoughts: Reviewing Books

I know I don’t write the best reviews when it comes to reviewing period, but there are some things I look for specifically when I read them. Here’s a rundown!

I will actually start with the lowest ratings. I want to know what annoyed readers about a book. Is there a specific reason they didn’t care for it or are they just being a troll? I’ll look for things about the characters themselves and the writing as well. I can handle it if the grammar isn’t perfect (mine is nowhere near) but if the heroine or hero are unlikable, then I won’t bother reading.

If I want to read something that has a ton of conflict or emotional strife, I’ll read something dystopian. I’ve read both the Hunger Games and the Divergent series. I’ve also seen the movies. I enjoyed both (so far). In fact, I think you should read the Hunger Games books before seeing the movies because you have a ton of insight the movies aren’t able to offer – such as what’s going through Katniss’ mind while she’s wandering the woods in the dome.

I get that new lovers are going to have issues finding balance – but if the hero is an absolute dick and treats everyone like shit – and has less emotional quotient than Walter O’Brien from Scorpion – then I highly doubt they are going to be interested in a simpering heroine who is unable to function properly without someone yanking her puppet strings.

After reading the lowest ranking reviews, I go to the top ranking reviews and find out what they have to say. Did they just LOVE LOVE LOVE the book? Why did they love it? Are they in absolute contradiction from the low-rated reviews? Do they list specific reasons why they love the hero, the heroine, and which parts made them squeal in delight? Do they list the parts that they could’ve done without? This is a big thing with me, if there is something you dislike about a book, I want to know because that helps me both as a reader AND as a writer. I know I can’t please everyone – and I certainly don’t aim for those standards – but it’s still insightful information.

I also look to see if the person is a verified sale or if they received an advanced reader’s copy. You have to state it if you received an ARC on Amazon.. There are books that I have received an ARC for that I’ve also bought because that is how much I loved the title. Does the person posting the review have a website specifically for reviewing books? I look for this because then there might be more to the review on their website than on GoodReads or Amazon.

If nothing has put me off via the reviews, then I go to the Look Inside to see what the author has to offer in the first 10% of the book. Did you know there are authors who will put a snippet of a sexy scene in the first 10% to get you tempted to buy the book? If not, they do when you’re buying erotica. I keep scrolling and find out what kind of action the book starts out with and which POV they are in. If I’m psyched from the first 10% then I will most-likely do a 1-click gimme that now.

I enjoy character-driven stories. I like consequences for actions. I like adventure. I absolutely need more humor in my life. Make me laugh, make me hold my sides because they ache. Make me fall in love with these characters. I get that there are people out there who seem to go for the ‘bad boy’ who’s a real dick, and to each their own, but they aren’t welcome in my Kindle any longer. I’m tired of the assholes, the guys who are technically raping the woman because she’s told them to leave several times, has said the word no several times. In my world – no means no. No doesn’t mean maybe, No doesn’t mean yes. No doesn’t mean I’ll think about it. No means no. There are also differences between No, don’t stop! and No. Don’t. Stop. I see a lot more of the latter than the former these days.

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How do you judge a book by a review? Do you have an exhausting process to go through? Have you been burned by reviews before? I have, that’s why I read the lowest ratings – they’re the ones who will mention if the guy is a dick or rapist. They are the ones that will complain the loudest, the longest, without being a troll.


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