Frustrating reviews

Frustrating reviews Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle

I love reading book reviews – getting insights into books before I buy, getting recommendations… but there are some reviews that I have to skip… lest I die from excessive eye-rolling.

Without ranting or bashing how people review their favourite reads – because it’s a free country and you do you… more power to you. But here are my pet peeves with some of the reviews I’ve seen in my feed that keep me scrolling past:

Frustrating reviews Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Skip.

If I want a summary of the book, I can read the blurb, or visit Goodreads. And if I should be so compelled to read the subject of your review, I want to know why. How about you feed me some nuggets of wisdom.

Frustrating reviews Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle This is just lazy. And insulting to the author. They spend years writing and honing prose for your enjoyment and you reduce a critique to broken sentences. Book reviews are mostly read by fellow lovers of the literary universe, I’m sure they don’t mind reading full sentences with correct grammar – I mean isn’t that why we read books in the first place? A little effort to add some eloquence to your opinions would be greatly appreciated. It also shows, that you know your stuff if you can write – I might take your views a little more seriously.

Frustrating reviews Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle If I go to the point of subscribing and heading to a blog to follow reviews, it’s because I’m interested in in-depth discussions, varied opinions, great recommendations. So don’t be afraid to elaborate, discuss, give examples, insights. Otherwise, stick to tweeting… How can you address characters, character development, writing style, predictability, opinion, plot line, pacing and other elements in a few short paragraphs? (No that is not a challenge) If you are going to review a book, I’d actually like a review, not a brief opinion with no critique to back it up.

Frustrating reviews Pic 05 by Casey Carlisle There the ones that rave and rave and rave about how fantastic the book is without actually saying why. Was it a relatable main character? The great action scenes? Vivid language to depict the landscape in which the novel is set? I want specifics people, not paragraphs of how excited you are.

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They seem to be the main culprits at the moment that have me grinding my teeth. But please don’t take offence to my post – it’s a guideline for the types of reviews that I like to read. It is by no means the gospel law on how to write a book review.

Comment below if you have any pet peeves from book reviews you’ve seen…

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© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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9 thoughts on “Frustrating reviews

  1. ★ Bentley ★ says:

    I totally agree with you on the gushing reviews that don’t actually explain why. I have a big problem with some of the major booktuber channels because some of them really do not go into detail about the books they read at all. They literally hold them up to the camera and then gush for 5 minutes about how amazing the book was without any sort of explanation. It makes those reviews feel like sponsored reviews (perhaps they are?) because there’s never any true critical discussion made about what’s in the pages of each book. Definitely frustrates me.

    • femaleinferno says:

      I hear ya! I watch some book reviewers on Youtube too, and last year I unsubscribed from many because of just that. But each to their own style, I know what I like and am sticking to my guns. Luckily we have plenty of a selection on book lovers out there reading and review books – something for everyone. Viva La Nerd!!

  2. Q says:

    This just made me reflect a lot more than I wanted to on my own reviews. Makes me think twice about the times I’m posting in a hurry on my phone just to get the post done sooner than later.

  3. Danae says:

    This post is great! I feel the same way about reviews that are just a few sentences or a recap. I tend to get a bit wordy with my reviews, and when I compare word count on other reviews I follow, I’m like “oh no.. is anyone actually reading my long winded diatribe? Am I supposed to just shut up and say ‘it’s great!’ and call it a day?” I’m glad to hear that there are some people who actually *do* want a full in-depth analysis.

  4. Diana says:

    Great post. It made think about what kind of reviewer I am. Like you, the first category tends to bug me. I don’t get how a book of 500 pages can be reviewed using 5 lines at most. Anyway, everyone does their own thing though a little effort definitely wouldn’t hurt 🙂

  5. whisperinggums says:

    Great post Casey. We’ve discussed this issue behind the scenes at the Australian Women Writers Challenge, because the reviews we get are highly variable and include all these types you mention. We know some authors find them disappointing.

    I really don’t like long summaries or descriptions of plots, so much so that the first couple of reviews I wrote on my first blog I said nothing about the plot. One of my dearest friends told me it was a lovely review but “what was the book about” she said! I now try to give a brief outline near the beginning of the review or the over-active set-up at least! It was great advice.

    I occasionally use dot points IN a review but I agree that a review compromising just dot points doesn’t really do it, unless the reviewer is a very clever witty writer. I understand why some do it, but really I see them not as reviews but as little records for themselves.

    Finally, I’m one of those odd people who tend not to read reviews before I read a book, unless I think it’s a book I’m not likely to read. I love reading reviews afterwards because I can test my impressions against the reviewer’s and, if it’s a blog, I can then also engage in discussion. Blogs can be great for this.

    • femaleinferno says:

      I like to read reviews after I’ve read the book as well – it helps to know what were the outstanding aspects, and what let the reader down. Because we all experience a novel differently, and, most of all I love getting a dialogue happening about a book. A small rant or lone summary doesn’t inspire much. Those who read reviews are usually looking for something more in depth to encourage a purchase, or to see who had similar conclusions.
      But content is personal, as is opinion and writing, so it is always subjective. I just know what I appreciate in a review and am always in search for great blogs (like yours 😉 )

      • whisperinggums says:

        Thanks Casey. Yes, I know what you mean about knowing what you like. I did a post a few years ago on my blog asking blog readers what they looked for. It was interesting actually. No real consensus, which just confirms what we know that all this is very personal!!

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