Rosie’s Review-A-Book Challenge #RRABC – How To Write A More Detailed #Bookreview by @OlgaNM7

Our next post to help readers write more book reviews, comes from Olga.

As part of Rosie’s Review-A-Book Challenge #RRABC, we continue our week of advice posts. See the link at the bottom of the page for details of the challenge and where you can sign up for a free book in exchange for a review.

Writing More Detailed Book Reviews

I tend to write fairly long reviews, but there isn’t an ideal length. Some readers prefer them short and sweet, others longer, but there is a lot of information that we can include even in a shorter review.

I compiled a list of the things I like to include in my reviews that you might find helpful.

1.            Author

If I’ve reviewed other books by the same author, I like to include a link to one of them, or the latest in the series, when I share the review on my blog. Talking about the author and how I came across the book can work as an introduction to the review, and other information (awards, media attention, etc.) can also be included.

2.            Plot

A brief overview only; potential readers can read the blurb if they want to know more.  Avoid spoilers.  Mention the genre, or the mix of them.  A ‘thriller’ can mean all sorts of different things!

3.            Themes

This is different from genre.  This means the themes included in the story, e.g., family loyalty, abandonment, deception.  I talk about the themes when they are not evident in the blurb or my plot description, particularly if I think that those themes make the book more interesting or distinctive – and also if I think some people might prefer to be warned about those kinds of subjects.

4.            Characters

Not all, but main and secondary.  I will also mention which were my favourites.

5.            Point of view

Whether each character’s point of view is written in the 3rd or 1st person.  It is important to mention these as some people prefer one or the other, or don’t like changes in POV.

6)            Writing Style

It is not necessary to be technical when talking about the writing style, but commenting on the pace of the story, how well it flows, the type of language, (many people also talk about spelling or grammatical mistakes, especially if they are distracting), and sometimes sharing some short quotes can help readers get a good idea of how well suited the book is to their tastes.

7)             Ending

I tell readers about my subjective impression of the ending, of course, not about how it ends (not revealing any spoilers is fundamental, especially for certain genres). Ah, some people hate cliff-hangers, so I mention that if the story ends like that.  Was the ending a shocker?  A disappointment?  Happy?  Was there a great twist in the tale?

8)             Summary

I summarise my opinion and recommend it to the type of readers I think will enjoy it. We have all read books that were well-written but perhaps didn’t suit our taste, and sometimes we might think of a person who would have enjoyed it much more. I am a firm believer that most books have readers who’d love them out there, and I hope I can help them find each other.

In a series, it is worth mentioning if you think the book can be read independently or it is better to read the books in the intended order.  It is a good idea to include a disclaimer if you’ve received an ARC copy of the book for review. And, if you’ve accessed the book in a particular format (audio, hardback, etc.), you might want to add extra information if you feel it is relevant (a comment about the narrator, photos, maps…).

These are some suggestions, but remember that you are writing your review and the most important thing is to enjoy writing it and to let other people know what you have thought about the book. If you’ve loved the book, shower them with your love for it. If you decide to write a negative review, don’t just write you hate it. Explain why. The reasons that made you hate it might be precisely the reasons that will make somebody else love it.

I hope this has been useful to you, and happy reviewing!

If you’d like to read more about Rosie’s Review-A-Book Challenge #RRABC click here

Tomorrow Alison will be giving advice about how to write a review for a book which you didn’t enjoy.

Rosie’s Review-A-Book Challenge #RRABC How To Write A Simple Book Review. #MondayBlogs

Our week of book reviewing posts starts with advice from Terry.

How to write a book review – an easy, step-by-step guide.

First of all, thank you if you’ve already signed up for the Rosie’s Review-A-Book Challenge #RRABC – if you haven’t seen the post yet and your interest is piqued (lots of great books to choose from!), you can see our introductory post HERE

Have you often wanted to write a review for a book, but are not sure how to go about it?  This is a basic guide that can be adapted to suit any book.  A tip to help: think about what YOU would want to know – I’ve asked you questions to help you on your way, and shown you how to tell someone what the book is like without giving spoilers!

What is the book about? A simple sentence to give an overview.

Example #1: The Last Warrior is historical fiction set in 18th Century Scotland, about the struggle between the Highlanders and the English landowners.

Example #2: The Banker’s Daughter is a romantic thriller set in London and New York.

Can you tell me more? A short paragraph to show the main characters and basic plot outline. In this part, you can let the reader know if the book is particularly violent or has sexual content, if you wish, or anything else that you think needs mentioning.

Example #1: In the hills of Sutherland, Rob McDougall, a crofter’s son, grows increasingly angry as the clan’s landlord aims to evict them from the homes in which they have lived for centuries.  He comes up against the landlord’s fixer, Jamie Strong, who will stop at nothing. There are a few battle scenes that are quite gory. 

Example #2: Emma Blake has lived the good life since she was a child, in her wealthy banker father’s world.  Then she meets up with Sam Williams, a New York financial whizz-kid who turns her world upside down.  Problems arise when Emma’s father tells her that Sam is working against the bank. Contains some non-graphic sex scenes.

What did you like about it?

Example #1: I loved every minute of this book.  The descriptions of the 18th Century Scotland made me feel as if I was there, and I was rooting for Rob all the way through.  The characters were so realistic, and the story was a real page-turner.  The relationship between Rob and his father was so touching, and brought a tear to my eye.

Example #2: I really felt the atmosphere of Emma’s London life – it was great to read about all the glamorous settings, the wheeling and dealing.  At first I was on her father’s side, but as the book went on I found that I liked Sam more and more.  Emma was lovely; I so wanted her to do the right thing. I liked how the suspense builds throughout the book – I found myself turning the pages faster and faster.

What were you less sure about?

Example #1:  There wasn’t anything I didn’t like about the book.  I enjoyed it all the way through.  At first I found the Scottish dialect a bit hard to read, but I soon got used to it, and it’s not overdone.

Example #2:  At times, I thought it concentrated more on the romance angle than I would have liked, and I was looking forward to getting back to the plot, with all of its clever twists. The two chapters when Emma and Sam were being loved-up in New York slowed it down too much. 

Can you sum the book up?  Would you recommend it?

Example #1: This is a terrific, well-researched novel that I recommend to all lovers of historical fiction, or even those who don’t usually read this genre. 

Example #2: I’d definitely recommend this book to readers who love romantic suspense thrillers – it’s about half romantic suspense, half thriller.

These are very basic examples for a short review, and you may want to write more if you have a lot to say!  I hope this helps; please stay tuned for more advice from Rosie and her team. 🏵

Coming up tomorrow: Star Ratings.

Celebrating 6 Years Of Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT With Team Member @judithbarrow77

Recently we celebrated our review team’s six year anniversary by revealing fourteen of the team’s favourite books.

You can find out which books they were in part one and part two.

I invited some of my team members to tell us more about being part of the book reviewing team.

Welcome to Judith Barrow, who also writes book reviews at Judith Barrow Blog

“It’s your review; to write as you want”. I carried  this advice from Rosie Amber (#RBRT) around in my head as I struggled to find a way to put into words what I thought about the first book I’d read and was about to review for her team. I’d never reviewed a book before – or anything, come to think of it.

As a creative writing tutor, I was used to reading essays, stories, poems – but this was different. Five tries later and I decided to break up the parts of the book into sections, as I do for my work: characters, dialogue, settings, points of view, plot etc. A moment of eureka; I didn’t need to tell the story of the book, I could say what I thought were the strong points and what didn’t work for me, because I know any review is subjective, and what I might like or not be so keen on, someone else will always have different thoughts. Writing it that way I could then recommend it to readers who like a book that had a good plot, is character led, told in a certain tense, and so on – or for readers who like particular genres.

One thing I do like with being on the #RBRT team is that if I really can’t get to grips with a book, I’m not expected to finish it; I’ll let Rosie know and that’s the end of the matter. And I don’t give below three stars; I don’t think it’s fair to any writer who has worked hard to produce a book but has probably not used either an editor or a proof-reader. It happens and I always think it’s a shame if the plot/idea is good.

“It’s your review; to write as you want”; something I would say to anyone thinking of joining #RBRT, with the one proviso (which goes unsaid but should be kept in mind) use constructive criticism and be kind. And enjoy the reading. Rosie is approached by many authors of all kinds of genres, eager for the team to review. Their books are put on a list and we can choose the ones we think we might like. I’ve had the chance to read some wonderfully written books of all genres … for free. Although I don’t always manage to review as often as I’d like for Rosie’s Book Review Team, due to other commitments,  I’ve loved being a member since I day  I joined and I’ve made some brilliant and supportive on-line friends in the team. And Rosie is always there for advice and to steer the ship. What more can one ask?

Thank you Judith.

4 Quick Ways To Write A #BookReview And Overcome Your Fears #MondayBlogs


Authors WANT  Reviews

Make an Author's Day

Simple! How many times have you read pleas on social media for readers to write reviews? – Probably Loads.

Does the thought of writing a book review send you racing to the hills? – I can see plenty of you nodding in agreement.

WHAT holds you back?

Reading Soft edge

6 common replies:

I can’t write.

I can’t write paragraphs about a book.

I don’t know what to write.

I’m afraid of what people will think of my review.

I’m an author and don’t want a backlash on my own books.

I don’t have the time.

Let’s turn this around

I can’t write – I bet if you can read, you can write.

I can’t write paragraphs about a book – Good News, Amazon accepts one sentence reviews now as do many other sites.

I don’t know what to write – Ah! Quick Question – Why did you like or Dislike the book? Got an answer? Then you have a starting place.

I’m afraid of what people will think of my review – Facing fears is part of life, it is hard, but I bet you’ve faced much harder challenges. Authors LOVE reviews, other readers also like to read them to see if they agree or disagree. Every reader will get something different from their experience. An honest review from someone who genuinely read the book IS REALLY APPRECIATED.

I’m an author and don’t want a backlash on my own books – This one STOPS TOO MANY AUTHORS from writing book reviews and it shouldn’t. In fact if you are an author, one way to hone your writing skills is to READ, READ, READ and from this you will be noting what works, what doesn’t and you will have all the skill sets to write a review. IF YOU WRITE WITH HONESTY AND COMPASSION I can’t see an author would want revenge or to be labelled a TROLL, these are far and few amongst the millions of authors who GENUINELY WANT A REVIEW.

I don’t have the time – time is what you make of it and those who have this as their reply probably won’t have time to read this post, so we’ll say no more.

So BE BRAVE – make a promise that the next book you read you will write a review.

Not sure which star rating to use? Read more here

Goodreads Ratings                                                                                                                                                          


Amazon Ratings

4 Quick Ways to Write a Review

  1. Go to Goodreads or your Amazon account. Start with a one liner. Can you include the genre? The lead characters? The setting? Say “I really enjoyed this book” or “The book didn’t work for me”.
  2. As above, this time write 4 sentences. Keep them honest and make them about your own thoughts from the book.
  3. If you wrote your review for Goodreads, copy and paste it to your Amazon account. Or vice-versa.
  4. Really, really stuck for something to say? Read some of the other reviews for the book, they might jog your memory about a point, but still make your own review honest and genuine.

Finding yourself in a loop of reviewing friend’s books, just so they review yours? Review swaps are never a good idea, they become shallow and very obvious to other readers and you will only end up feeling guilty if you can’t be honest. Draw a line, perhaps explain that you don’t wish to review books for friends and you won’t ask them to review yours in turn unless either party truly wishes to read the book. But that no one should feel obliged to review as a swap. You can still support them by buying a copy of their work, this way their reviews will be from REAL readers who have found and bought their books and in the long term will be the reading audience of tomorrow.

Check out my simple book review templates, written to encourage those NEW to reviewing who need to boost their confidence.

There is NO SELL BY Date on writing a review – read a book a while a go that you ALWAYS MEANT TO WRITE A REVIEW FOR? Feeling guilty that you didn’t write a review at the time? No Problemo! Write this in the opening line “I read this book a while ago.” An author will be SO pleased to get an honest review that they won’t mind if there was a time delay on your side.

Minstrel Loveheart

Go. Go forth and review.

Wednesday Wing – Simple templates for writing a #BookReview #wwwblogs

 Wednesday Wing is about passing on observations, tips and information to readers I’ve made a note of.

Rosie's Notebook

Today I’m passing on a tip about writing book reviews.

Many people don’t write book reviews because they believe they can’t possible write one.

Recently I was asked to help in the form of some easy templates which will start readers off and from which they can build their confidence to create their own reviews.

Template 1

(Insert book title) is set in (Example select; town, or country or a year).

The Book opens with (Example select; a name of a character or an action)

The story is about (Example; The Irish Famine, or the lives of The Tudor Kings & Queens, or the loves and losses of a vampire etc)

I enjoyed the (Example; Witty dialogue, or the Historical descriptions of the era, or how realistic the characters were.)

Template 2

Book Title and Author Name

(Name the first main character) example Nicholas is a Fallen Angel/ a divorcee/ police detective/ a lawyer etc

He/She works/ lives in (name the town, country, place or era)

Name one or two other leading characters. Say a little about them.

Say what links all these characters.

What did you like about the book?

What would have made it better?

Who would you recommend the book to? 

Star Rating given.

Template 3

Book Title and Author Name


Book Setting – time and place

Introduce the main characters

Describe the storyline in general terms (avoid spoilers that give too much away)

How was the book set out? (If this was obvious) For instance alternating chapters from different characters, or chapters from different time periods.

What did you like about the book?

What would have made it better?

What didn’t you enjoy in the book?

Would you read another book by this author?

Your star rating.

**Next week we’ll look at Star Ratings**

Links to previous Wednesday Wing Posts

 Checking your WordPress is linked to your Twitter helps others share your posts

Writer’s Craft books by Rayne Hall full of REALLY useful tips

 Hyperlinks, Short links and Linkys

 Making your post titles easy to share on Twitter to maximise views.

 Creating Twitter pics that fit

 Creating a slideshow on WordPress

 Getting the most out of Google+ posts

 Automated Tweets, LOVE ‘EM or HATE ‘EM? make use of them

 What’s Your Book Genre?

 Should you write dreams into your work?

 What can I read in the first 10% of your book?

 Dialogue – he/she said

Creating Twitter Lists –

 Making best use of your Twitter “Thank-You”

 Should you write a book series?

 Book Clubs Love ’em? Or Hate em?

 Blog in a Slump? Give it some TLC

 Let’s talk about Libraries

 Getting The Most Out Of Twitter Share Days