Reading Ranting – Writing Helpful Reviews

Note: This post is based on readers’ personal tastes as opposed to content that may be offensive or triggering. Also, this is about reviews on public websites such as Amazon or Goodreads.

Firstly, I can’t stand reviews that rant about every single thing wrong with a book. Make a YouTube video for your rant and leave the short version on Goodreads. I don’t have time to read that nonsense. And I definitely can’t stand reviews that go off on personal rants about the author. I’m not looking to be besties with the author. I’m looking to be besties with the MC. But I do like to follow authors on social media if they post interesting content. 

Secondly, let’s establish that reviews are meant for potential readers who are looking for their next adventure. 

Thirdly, you can give a book one star and still be polite about why. It’s not complicated, folks.

So, how do you write a helpful and respectful review? 

Everyone will tell you something different, I’m sure, but being polite and respectful shouldn’t need to be pointed out, but I guess some people don’t get that. I’m going to explain my structure based on what I think is helpful. I break up my review into a disclaimer and four parts.

Disclaimer – I always avoid major spoilers because… why would I mention them for readers who haven’t read the book yet? But I sometimes vaguely mention minor spoilers, so I put a warning on that just in case.

Part 1 – Summary. I write two or three lines to summarise the book in my own words. It’s not really a blurb because that’s meant to sell the book, but I like to get creative with it.

Part 2 – What I liked. Three or more things I liked about the book. I mention something about the characters, plot, and world-building. I can get very carried away here, especially if I get attached to multiple characters or unique world-building.

Part 3 – What I didn’t like. I limit this to three things. Now, this is the tricky part, because no book is perfect, so there’s always something I don’t like. It’s up to me whether something is worth mentioning or not based on how it affected my enjoyment or how often it happened. Readers can tell from the rating how bad these things were. If it’s a low rating, then they were clearly important things, but if it’s a high rating, then obviously they weren’t too bad. I also keep this short and concise so as not to be disrespectful to the author. What I don’t like is my personal taste others may like or at least overlook in a good story and vice versa. 

Part 4 – Final thoughts. Two or three lines on why I would recommend this book and who to. Certain things spring to mind when I’m reading that a book would be perfect for, like shorter books being pallet cleansers between books in a series, Or a certain book would be ideal to follow another book based oon similar tropes. 

So there you have it. My review structure. I hope this helps anyone who struggles to write reviews, but mostly, I hope it helps readers be more respectful of authors and their books even if they didn’t like them. Your one star might be somebody else’s five star. 

And in case you’re wondering what prompted this rant, here’s my video.

@lovefantasynovels

Sorry, not sorry for the rant. I’m tired of unhelpful reviews that turn into personal ranting about authors. Unless the author is a genuinely bad or offensive person, they have no place in the review. #lightlark #alexaster #bookreviews #rantingreview #unhelpfulreview #unhelpful #booktok

♬ original sound – Emilia Dashfire 🧚‍♂️🖋️👸😻

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