What do you look for in a review? ~ Sunday Spotlight by PizzyGirl


What do you look for in a review?:

Calling all loyal PBA readers, or even new readers to our page. I need your input. I want to know what you look for when you are reading our reviews.

I have different things I look for depending on the book.

For a new to me author, I look at those middle of the road reviews. Those reviews that tell me what a reader liked as well as what they disliked as far as the content goes. I look for reviews that talk of glaring editing mishaps or huge plot holes that leave the reader confused or dissatisfied.

For an established author, I usually do not look at reviews. I have already read their works and have formed my own opinions. The only time I will look at a review for an author for whom I have already established an opinion, is if a blurb of their new works captures my attention. Then, I am looking for the same things as for a new to me author. I want to know what other readers liked and disliked about the content.

For stories that appear to be heartbreakers or overly emotional, I will actually read the reviews to gauge the amount of crying I may be in for. A spoiler here and there is often welcome because I much prefer a cry if I know the outcome is happy. I do not care for bittersweet or sad endings, so often, I will read reviews to figure out if the book fits in with my likes.

In all these cases, I look for books with reviews in the 2-4 range. If I find a book with all 5 star or 1 star ratings, I tend to shy away from them for a while. A book with all 1 star reviews usually indicates true fundamental issues that even the most forgiving reader cannot get over. A title with all 5 star reviews builds up this high expectation that then generally leaves me feeling let down if I do not agree with a 5 star rating.

Finally, the most important thing I look for in a review is honesty. I am looking for those reviews that may not be perfectly written or well thought out but that indicate the reader felt enough about a story to tell you why they like or disliked it. I am not interested in those superfans who love it because of who the author is to them. Or those super haters that beat down a book for the same reason. I want to read the review that shows me the reader has actually read the content and is commenting on the story rather than anything external to the work itself.

So now that you have read my rambling, please take a moment to tell me what you look for when you read our reviews. If you would prefer your response be private, feel free to email me (pizzygirltx@yahoo.com) or message me on Facebook. 🙂

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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12 thoughts on “What do you look for in a review? ~ Sunday Spotlight by PizzyGirl

  1. For me, I don’t really like knowing (or even getting too good of an idea) whether a book will have a HEA or not. Not knowing what the resolution will be is part of the suspense that makes reading enjoyable for me, so I tend to shy away from reviews that recount parts of the plot. Things I love to see in reviews are comments on the writing style and imagery, quality of the execution of the plot, and if applicable, broad-strokes information on more sensitive themes.

    • I am so guilty of giving away the ending. Not in the sense of telling the plot, but in stating if there is a HFN vs a HEA. I often do this because there are so many times an author forces a HEA when the story is incomplete. I usually comment on if the ending worked for me….I may need to rethink my approach to this…Thank you for commenting!

  2. Awesome post, PG. *thumbs up* <3

    Chase, I'm with you, I don't read too many reviews before picking a book. I also don't like the "book report" synopsis type of review. I'm sure these things influence my reviews that I write LOL.
    I try to give my emotional response, character interpretation, writing style and quality, etc.
    I know a lot of people like to know if there's a HEA or HFN before they even start but, I'm with you, I don't need or want that, I want to be surprised.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this! *hi5*

  3. I suppose with new authors, it is how the story is written. I get whether I want to read or not from the blurb (fave and new authors).
    If I am unsure about a book, I look at the low ranked reviews – if it is someone not happy with the plot I ignore as I want to know about style and content.
    Usually you have to take the plunge with a new author and decide if the style/content suits. If I read a well written and constructed story where I dont like the pntent, I do try and rate for the book not my views.

  4. I want a review that leaves the surprises and the plot to be discovered by the reader, but tells me why the reviewer liked (or didn’t like) the book. I have given good reviews to books I didn’t like–because my not liking a book doesn’t make it bad. But I will make it clear what I didn’t like and why.

    A book review is not a book report. I often read negative reviews, and sometimes agree with them, even if I liked the book a lot. I am just more forgiving, apparently. Read any best-seller from the NY Times and you’ll find plenty of flaws. Don’t even get me started on “50 Shades of Grey”.

  5. I’m kinda like you. If it’s a new author, I tend to look at reviews and I want to see something other than all 5 stars or 1 stars. I get very nervous when I see all 5 star reviews and nothing else. I just don’t buy that no one thought it was a 4 star book or disliked it (assuming there’s lots of reviews). If there are only a handful of reviews for a book, I look through them all. I like to see what the reader liked and disliked about the book. I like when I know ahead of time if there is a cliffhanger or something other than a HFN or HEA. I like 3 star reviews and even 1 star reviews to see what people didn’t like, I can decide from that if it’s going to be an issue for me. I recently read an ARC, and there are a lot of low star and DNF reviews up for this book already, but I thought it was a good read. I tried to make my review reveal what I liked about it and why others might have a problem with it (it was very angst filled). In the end, I want honesty and what was disliked or liked and maybe if the characters or the book pulled you in to the story as a reader. What one reader loves in a book, another will hate. Going in knowing that reviewers disliked aspects of the the book like it was too dark or angst filled or whatever, makes it easier for me to decide if I want to try it out or not. I try hard not to put too many spoilers into the reviews as well.

    There are a number of authors I buy without looking at the reviews, but that comes with time and knowing who’s books are normal a good fit for you as a reader. In the case where your autobuy author just writes one that doesn’t work for you, I do think that it’s good to let people know that, while that author is normally an autobuy for you, that you might recommend starting with a different book if you are new to the author and why. I may still start with the book you just reviewed any way based on the blurb or other reasons, but I will keep in mind that I should try another book before making my mind up about that author.

    • Jen, such a fantastic break out of a lot of the things people are looking for. *hi5*
      Thank you, and everyone, for your feedback, whether here or in email. 😀

  6. For me it’s an odd thing – on the one hand I want to know the reviewer. Some don’t like what I like, so their reviews often don’t help much whereas the ones who tend to like the same books, and the same elements in books that I do, I seek those people out when I want to know more about a book. On the other hand some times I see reviews by people I don’t know – so I’ll look for things beyond – I love this book, or “Best! Book! Ever!’ So that’s a lot of words to say – it depends. 😛

  7. Hahahaha that’s awesome, Andrew. 😀
    But it makes since, just like books, we’re all looking for some different things.

    Hopefully having multiple reviewers in a place like this gives people options, as well as getting to know us a bit, when it comes to the reviews being helpful.

  8. I’m in agreement with your post as to what you look for etc. Personally, I like to know if the story has a HFN, HEA or bittersweet ending, especially if the story has a lot of angst and deals with tough issues. Reading is escapism for me, and I like to have hope in what I read. Although I may read a book with a sad or tragic ending, I want to do so knowingly. Also, it’s nice to know if there is a cliffhanger or if there are any possible trigger issues.
    Overall, I’m interested in reading about the characterization, plot execution, writing style and editing/grammar. But most of all, I’d like to read an honest review that expresses the good points and points that may have been lacking according to the reviewer’s opinion.

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