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Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Beyond the Book: Writing Book Reviews

I’ve written a few book reviews in my day, but not too many. I admire all of you who do them on a regular basis because I don’t like to.  Not long ago, I reviewed a book for another author. I thought the book was very well done, but it was awfully hard to be objective because I didn’t like the subject matter.  I write more on the sweet side of romance, but she leans toward the sizzling side. I ended up giving her a 4 out of 5, and I explained why she didn’t get a 5.  Some of you may have had the same problem.

So, here’s a list of what I think a book should have in order to get a 5.

First, characters should not be stereotypical and clich├ęd.  I dislike it when people assume that because a certain character is the heroine she has to be a paragon of virtue.  Some of mine certainly aren’t even though I try to show some growth as the book progresses.  

Second, I think internal conflict is often stronger than external conflict.  I hate it when someone says, “Oh, people don’t act that way.” Sure they do.  People act all kinds of ways.  The conflict has to be real, though. It shouldn’t be anything that can be sorted out with one quick, passing conversation.

Third, I think the plot should be tight and clean. It should flow smoothly linking all the scenes into a tight cohesive whole that isn’t too predictable. There should be enough action to keep people reading. 

Fourth, the supporting cast should add to the story and make it stronger. 

Fifth, I’m also very particular about description. If it goes on for page after page I get bored, yet there has to be enough to set the stage properly. This would probably be a good place to say that the pacing of a story matters. If it drags, I lose interest.

Last, there has to be chemistry between the hero and heroine, but it should evolve over time in the way it might in the real world. I also don’t care for erotic books. It would be hard to do an object review for the author.  

I’m sure your criteria is different from mine so what do you think it takes to get a five star review?

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