In my reviews, this is my general layout:
1 Title/ Author
2 Amazon Summary of Book
3 Book Cover
4 My take on the basic storyline
5 My voice on the book itself (Should you read it? What was best? What sucked? This is always a mix of good and bad things, never just bad things. For every negative comments I will post at least 1 positive. But I will always be honest too.)
6 Rating (1-5, 5 being highest)
7 Information on the author and how to contact them. (Blog, website, e-mail, ect)
I make it known in my Review Policy that I'm just doing this because I love reading and that I'm just here to give my readers my opinion that can hopefully guide them into reading a book they will love, or not reading one that they think they will love if it isn't so awesome.
I hope that helps!
I dont think there is a right way, I think its trial and error. Shop around at different blogs and find what looks best to you. Personally I prefer shorter posts, or ones that are broken into paragraphs rather then a daunting page full of words.
Feel free to check out my blog and others around here to get some ideas!
I would like your honest opinion! I love my book and think you will also!
I am a psychotherapist and co-author of The Swiss Cheese Theory of Life: How To Get Through Life's Holes Without Getting Stuck in Them! The book will be out in 2 weeks and I need reviewers!
It is a fun, whimsical yet very informative self-help book that unlocks the 10 keys to a happy life. After all, life is not smooth and predictable like American or Cream Cheese. Rather, life is more like Swiss with all its holes, and its how you get through them that counts. The books are being published by mental health publisher, PESI and they are available for pre-order on amazon and my web site.
If you would review this book for Goodreads and Amazon, please let me know and I will send the pdf. It is quick easy reading, with plenty of cartoons and creative formatting! here is a color version as well as a black and white, so request which one you would like.
Please email me at JABelmont@theswisscheesetheoryoflife.com
You asked, "I'm wondering if there is a right or wrong way to write reviews. Should I post what the book is about, my opinion on the book or both?" First, merely posting what a book is about is not a review; it is a summary. By providing readers with a "heads up" as to what the book is about, summaries steer potential readers toward or away from books based on their interest level in those topics. I would avoid spoilers in reviews. Spoiler warnings are useless; they are like writing, "Please ignore the 800-lb. elephant you're about to see."
An opinion is also not a review. "I liked the book." "I hated the book." "It sucked." "It rocked." These are all legitimate opinions, but they offer no guidance for discerning readers, unless you have established that your tastes are identical to your audience. What's missing is any analysis that forms the basis of your opinion. What was it about the book that you liked? What irked you? The question you answer should not be "What is my opinion of this book" but rather "WHY do I have this opinion?"
A proper review should also touch on objective and subjective criteria. Certain objective factors will lead a book to be deemed good or bad by everyone: poor grammar, typos, misspellings, bad diction, run-on sentences, lack of concise writing, poor punctuation, overuse or misuse of adjectives, cliches, multiple POV switches, bad editing, etc. The list goes on. Yet, you may read a book that earns an A+ on objective criteria but you still don't like it. This is where the subjective portion of the review comes in. "It's a brilliantly written book on zombies, but I'm disgusted by zombies and would never like any book on zombies." "The book contradicts my religious or political beliefs." "It was well written but the topic was one I had absolutely no interest it." These are all valid reasons for you not to like the book, but since they are subjective, they apply solely to you and may not apply at all to any other potential readers.
In summary, a good review should include a brief summary, sans spoilers, focusing on how it meets your stated objective criteria, followed by your opinion (like/dislike), and the rationale for your opinion (your subjective gut check).
Personally, I prefer a review that gives a sense of the plot without giving it away, especially in the case of my books, which are mysteries. Also, it's helpful to point out the strong points of the writer's style, while mentioning any weaknesses. The review should be objective and balanced. If you really hate a book, I would suggest adhering to the old adage: If you can't say something nice about (sic) a book, don't say anything at all.
It's hard enough for a writer to write a book without being subjected to the horror of totally negative reviews that do nothing but tear his or her work down. Be CONSTRUCTIVE in your criticism. Fairness is my motto. Obviously, being controversial will net the most comments, but be prepared. Controversy breeds criticism...and not all of it will be constructive, I assure you. Good luck with your reviewing!
Your review should explain what the book is about and/or the storyline (a synopsis), but not give too much away - no spoiler alerts should be needed. You should definitely conclude with an opinion about whether the book is worth the time and money of the average reader. (Do you recommend it or not?)
Here is one article I just wrote about one particular question that a book reviewer sometimes faces:
This is an article, Gaining Traction, that I wrote about what it's like when you're first starting to review books. (I've been there.)
You may want to post your website/blog address, so people can look at your reviews and offer comments. This is an article, The Reviewer's Voice, in which I offered a technique that maybe makes writing a review a bit easier: