When Christine asked me to do a post on Book Reviews, I was stunned! What can I say, I’m a complete novice! Then I decided to bring HM&B multi published author Christina Hollis with me and get her views on it as well.
Luckily, it’s not that tough to write book reviews once you hit your reviewing stride. It may take a while to figure out your style, but once you have it, you have it.
Here are the points I try to hit in most reviews, I start by grounding my review with a synopsis. In a way, I offer my own version of a back cover teaser. I want the reader to know what’s going on, who the key players are and what is at stake before I dive deep into analyzing the writing style or the deeper meaning.
Don’t spoil the excitement for future readers by giving away the ending. How many times has a book or movie been ruined for you by a mouthy friend or sibling? If I find it’s impossible to talk about the book without divulging all of the details, I come up with an alternate review style by asking some insightful questions while at the same time whetting readers’ appetite for that particular book!
Overly negative or unconditionally positive reviews suck. They just do. Why bash a writer by attacking her on a public forum (especially when you know how time-consuming and emotionally wrought the entire process is)? Alternately, over-enthusiasm may also come across as bias. “What does this reviewer have to gain?” A reader may ask. I make it a practice to only review books that I like, which means I may sometimes sway to the over zealous side of things. Providing my interpretation of the book’s synopsis definitely provides some balance.
But on the other hand, I try to focus on the positive and fail to discuss areas that don’t work. I don’t lie; just with a little creative thinking, I’m able to figure out a way to provide an honest review.
Christina Hollis is a bestselling author of romantic fiction. She was born in Somerset, England and met her husband on a blind date. After moving to Gloucestershire, Christina produced many articles and photographs for national magazines, mainly about life in the country.
In 1990 her first full length novel, Knight’s Pawn, was published by Harlequin Mills and Boon under the pen name Polly Forrester. During a career break to raise her family, she wrote award-winning short stories. Then in 2007 her first Mills and Boon Modern Romance, The Italian Billionaire’s Virgin was published. Since then, her books have appeared in lists of best sellers all over the world.
‘As well as romantic conflict, I like my books to capture the countryside in all its moods,’ she says. ‘Reading romance is my idea of luxury - it’s the chance to escape from the pressures of everyday life for a while.’
Let’s see what Christina has to say:
“Many months go by between an author getting the germ of an idea and the day when their book if finally published and released for distribution. By that time we've lived closely with our characters for a long time. Dispatching books for reviews is almost like sending a child out into the world. You can only hope that other people will love them as much as you do!
Reviews are a great way to attract new readers, and I like Nas' approach. There's no point in a reviewer highlighting where they consider an author has gone wrong - when a book is already on sale it's far too late to do anything about it. Speaking as a reader, I'd much rather be guided toward a book that sounds good and that I'd like to read, rather than hear about its shortcomings which, after all, are subjective. Everyone's opinion is different and we're all entitled to our own views.
I also think reviews are vital. Word of mouth is one of the most important tools in the business of bringing enjoyment to the widest possible audience. I’ve lost count of the number of books I’ve fallen in love with after a personal recommendation.
Feedback from readers is indispensable for an author, too. Everyone loves good reviews but criticism - as long as it’s constructive - is useful too.”
Christina's latest release:
THE WEIGHT OF THE CROWN
Now duty is his only mistress!
For notorious playboy Prince Lysander Kahani, playtime is over…Left with a country to run, he draws the line at playing nanny to his orphaned nephew!
Instead he sends for a professional. But one glance at buttoned-up Alyssa Dene and Lysander’s wicked side re-emerges! Wary of his scandalous reputation, Alyssa tries to keep her distance – but Lysander draws her like a moth to a flame.
Lysander is fighting a battle between public duty and private desire, but he is determined to make Alyssa a royal offer she won’t refuse…
Weight Of The Crown, available at:
Christina Hollis on the WEB!