By Sharon Tilotson
I never intended on becoming a book reviewer. However, since publishing my own book I have on occasion felt inspired to write a review of a story I enjoyed in hopes it might help readers find the book. This seems to be happening more frequently as there are a plethora of new good books being written, both traditionally and indie published.
Recently I reviewed a book with an engaging story. The book was written by a UK author and made reference to many wild animals with which I am familiar. The problem was that the names of some of the animals are used differently in Europe from North America. I had not known this prior to reading the book but serendipitously learned of it when I was near the beginning. I felt it incumbent upon me to let readers know this to avoid any confusion. I posted a quick review but subsequently realized I could have written it better and revised it (a wonderful option in this digital age).
The whole thing got me thinking about reviewing. I don’t feel I am good at reviewing. I wondered if I should set up some kind of criteria for the ‘star’ rating Goodreads and Amazon, the two places to which I most often post reviews, insist upon.
In the end, I decided that might be prudent for professionals but it would not work for me. I read broadly, almost never buying for genre. Some books appeal for their characters, some for their captivating story, some for humor, others for their socially redeeming quality. For me to enjoy the book, one or two of those qualities need to be there but not necessarily all. I never begin a book with the intent to review anyway. So I will continue to just write from the heart and must-haves be damned.
How about you? Do you have criteria you follow when reviewing books?