You all have been very helpful! Thank you so much!
I post, the title, author, ISBN # where to buy it, category, genre, then I post a synopsis, then My thoughts on the book...I even go into details on the characters sometimes. Then I give it a rating, I even sometimes rate the covers! lol. The reader just really wants to know what the book is about and what you think of it.
Hope this helps!
My only advice is to shy away from personally attacking any person (author, editor, etc.) but keep the post personal about you. Why you liked the book, what you didn't like, etc.
Try and share stories about why the book meant so much to you, or didn't. You'll soon find out it's much easier to write a negative review than a good one :)
This is just personal preference, but I always scroll past reviews that recap the book's plot. Unless the information is vastly different from what is actually inside the book, I've already read it in the summary section.
What I DO enjoy, though, is a critical analysis of the writing style. What worked for you? What didn't work for you and why? Were there deeper themes I should look for? Things that bugged you that later became brilliant or visa versa? Who is the author similar to? Is it an easy read or a hard read? Is the ending stronger than the beginning (or "Should I push through if I don't like the first few chapters")? And, yes, did you enjoy it?
Ultimately, I believe readers return to reviewers that have a very specific, very opinionated point of view - we're coming to your site to read what you think. There is a reviewer in our paper who doesn't like the things I like. I know to go see the movies he hates and to stay away from the movies he loves, and it works out great.
To merely get a plot summary does not help inform my choices. To read only reviews that are stars and daisies whether the book is GREAT or the book is TERRIBLE damages your integrity as a reviewer. So, tell the hard truths. It will make me believe you when you say something is wonderful.
I believe that reviewers serve almost as personal shoppers. The slog through the garbage so that I don't have to. And if your taste is impeccable and your opinions honest and fair, I will come back to find out what you think I should read next.
Hope this helps!
"To read only reviews that are stars and daisies whether the book is GREAT or the book is TERRIBLE damages your integrity as a reviewer".
I agree. IMO, reviews which only say positive things are about as honest as reviews which only say negative things.
Here is one more article, The Matter of Perspective, about writing book reviews:
BTW, if anyone wants the links to all 14 articles that I've written on this topic - some of which have been published by Portland Book Review, San Francisco Book Review and Portland Book Review - just send an e-mail to me at Josephsreviews@gmail.com , and I will send you a set of links to the complete set. Best, Joseph
Before I even get to my review I like to post the title/author, list the genre, include a summary, my rating, and I always like to have a the cover there too. Covers play a huge role for me when it comes to discovering new books and I know I'm not the only one.
Once I'm into my review, I like to stick with a conversational tone - I'm not writing a research paper! I usually talk about why I read that particular books, what initially drew me in, anything I feel like rambling on about. I'll talk about the plot - this time in my own words - and then give an honest opinion. I'll mention what worked/didn't work for me, maybe I'll talk about the characters, things I hope will be in the next book (if I'm reviewing one in a series), really anything that comes to mind. I prefer to keep my reviews light. I want to keep my followers engaged.
It looks like you've already gotten some great suggestions, but if you want to find out about how I handle my book blogging dilemmas, check out this post, "Book Bloggers Dilemma: What Should You Do When You Can’t Finish Reading a Book You Are Supposed to Review?"