Simple and Easy Way to Write a Book Review

writing a book reviewLike any other writer, I live or die by reviews of my books. However, while many people say they love my books or admire my writing, very few write book reviews—even if I ask them.

Perhaps it’s because readers aren’t sure how to write a review. Let’s solve that problem.

Here’s a simple and easy way to write a one-paragraph fiction book review.

1. Take notes as you read

The best way to remember what you liked (or didn’t like) about a book is to jot down your observations as you read, as well as any great quotes you’d like to mention.

I keep an index card handy as I’m reading a book. You can too. Make notes about:

  • Characters—Who were the main characters? Were they credible? Properly motivated? Did you sympathize with them? Who was your favorite character, and why?
  • Dialogue—Was it realistic? Revealing? Humorous? Engaging?
  • Genre—Did this book fit a particular genre, such as horror? Or was it a mash-up of several genres? Do you think the author did a good job of conforming to or breaking out of genre categories?
  • Plot—What was the story about? Did the series of events make sense? Any great twists?
  • Writing style—Does the writer write like another author you like?

2. Summarize your opinions

Jot some notes about your views (yes, it’s okay to express your opinions about the book):

  • Did you like the book?
  • What was your favorite part?
  • What did you like least about the book?
  • If you wish something were different in the book, what is it?

3. Make your recommendation

Would you recommend this book to other readers? If so, what type of readers would like the book? People who dig H.P. Lovecraft? Lovers of ghost stories?

Remember that a writer has spent a lot of time and effort in producing his or her labor of love. Although you may criticize, don’t forget to be constructive and kind. If you mention the author’s name, use his or her last name.

Writing the Review

A book review is not a long summary of the book, rather your brief commentary on it. Here’s the how-to of writing your paragraph review.

  1. Start with an interesting sentence that grabs the reader’s attention. You could make it a question: “Have you ever wondered…,” “Ever wish you could….”
  2. Introduce the subject of the book. What’s the genre? (horror, crime, sci-fi, fantasy, etc.) “Book Title is a horror novel about…” Then write a one- or two-sentence summary. Be careful not to give away the ending!
  3. Do you think the book measures up to the goals the author set out to achieve? Be honest yet tactful. Include some examples supporting your opinion.
  4. Who will enjoy this book? “If you like early Stephen King, you’ll love this book.”

Book review paragraph template

If you’re having trouble getting started, use this paragraph as a template:

Have you ever wondered _______________ (hook). Book Title is a ____________ (genre) novel about ______________ (subject matter). In it, _____________ (main character) tries to _____________ (main story goal) but encounters trouble when _______________ (some complications or opposition). The characters were realistic, and I especially related to ___________ (character name). My favorite part of the book was ________________. [Optional: But the author could have done a better job at _________________ (something that needs improvement). For example…] The dialogue was excellent and moved the story forward. It was fast-paced (or something else you liked). I really liked this book because ______________ (your opinion about it). If you like reading early Stephen King (a comparison), this one’s for you.

Example review

Here’s an example book review of Samantha Lienhard’s novella THE BOOK AT DERNIER.

The Book at Dernier is about a young man’s obsessive quest to learn about the dark and mysterious Marcus Phineas and his arcane rituals that led to past deaths in the superstitious town of Dernier.

Protagonist Paul finds a book by the late Phineas full of symbols and secret writing. Determined to crack the code, Paul succumbs to the thrall of bloody rituals. I feared for him and dreaded the results his search would lead to. As he descends into madness and the death toll mounts, can Paul solve the mystery? Will he escape a devastating fate?

Lienhard’s skillful writing drew me in and led me quickly to the chilling conclusion. Recommended for appreciators of Lovecraftian fiction.

Conclusion

That’s all there is to it.

Proof your review and post it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or wherever you bought the book, Goodreads, Facebook, and on your blog.

Be generous with the stars: starred reviews encourage other readers to buy and read.

And why not let the author know you’ve written a review? It will probably make their day. I know it would make mine.

Advertisements

Dark Fiction by Lee Allen Howard


 

DEATH PERCEPTION by Lee Allen Howard The Bedwetter Cover the-adamson-family
The Sixth Seed Perpetual Nightmares MAMA SAID
DESPERATE SPIRITS by Lee Allen Howard NIGHT MONSTERS by Lee Allen Howard Severed Relations
THOU SHALT NOT... edited by Lee Allen Howard Tales Of Blood and Squalor plus text UPDATED Like Lee Allen Howard, author
on Facebook

Follow @LeeAllenHoward
on Twitter

 


Sign Up for The Bedwetter Blog Hop & Advance Review

I’m seeking bloggers and readers to help me launch The Bedwetter: Journal of a Budding Psychopath on May 1, 2019.

If you’re willing to help, please fill out the following form and click Submit. Choose if you’re willing to:

  • Advertise the release with links on your blog on May 1 or shortly thereafter
  • Read a free copy of the book and write an advance review, posting it on Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, your blog, or elsewhere
  • Both

Thanks for your help. I appreciate it!



Seeking Advance Reviewers for THE BEDWETTER

The Bedwetter CoverWant to read a FREE book?

I’m seeking advance reviewers for my forthcoming horror/psychological thriller, THE BEDWETTER, due out in May.

How does it work?

I will send you a free copy of the book, you read it, and write an honest review.

Then, soon after the book is released and available to the general public, you post your review online in as many places as you can:

  • Amazon
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Goodreads
  • Your writer’s blog (if you have one)
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

This would help me a great deal in launching the book, and did I mention you get a free copy?

If you’re interested, contact me at https://leeallenhoward.com/contact-lee/.

Read more about THE BEDWETTER at https://leeallenhoward.com/the-bedwetter/.

Thanks for your help and support!

Cover Reveal: THE BEDWETTER

The Bedwetter CoverI’ve been working hard at getting my latest horror/psychological thriller, THE BEDWETTER, ready for release.

A few weeks ago I had Jeffrey Kosh redo the cover for DEATH PERCEPTION, and I loved it. He created another good one for THE BEDWETTER, revealed here for the first time.

The manuscript is in the hands of beta readers right now. After incorporating any final changes, I hope to release the book in May 2019.

To read more about THE BEDWETTER, click here.

You can find Jeffrey Kosh here.

Newsletter Sign-up Giveaway

Throughout the month of February 2019, sign up for my private email Death Perception Proofnewsletter, and you’ll be entered to win a proof copy of DEATH PERCEPTION.

I recently had new cover artwork done and ordered this proof (with a “Not for Resale” banner on the cover) to check it out. It looks great, and there are no marks or notices in the pages of the book. This piece is a signed collector’s item.

Drawing for the winner will be on March 1, 2019.

Subscribe to my email newsletter here and be entered for the giveaway:

Lee’s Newsletter Sign-up Form

This newsletter mailing list is strictly private, and I never share your information with anyone for any reason.
 

Seeking Beta Readers for THE BEDWETTER

I’m seeking beta readers for a 52,000-word psychological thriller/horror novel.

Pay is involved. Contact me if you’re interested in being a beta reader. Thanks.

THE BEDWETTER by Lee Allen Howard

Journal of a budding psychopathPanties Ad
Armed with electric hair trimmers and a military fighting knife,
Russell accepts his dark commission.

Russell Pisarek is twenty-six years old and still wets the bed. He grew up different from other young men because his vicious mother punished him for wetting by shaving his head. When he confided this to his girlfriend Tina, she betrayed him, advertising his problem to all their high school classmates, who turned on him mercilessly. He took out his frustration by skinning neighborhood cats.

Now fixated on paying women back, Russell fantasizes about finding just the right girl—so he can shave her bald. He struggles to overcome his dark tendencies, but when his sister discovers he’s wetting again, she kicks him out of her house.

During this time of stress, the mythical Piss Fairy appears in his dreams, and Russell is driven to satisfy his twisted desires with his innocent coworker Uma, who also needs a new roommate.

When his plans go awry, the Piss Fairy commissions him for a much darker task that graduates him from shaving to scalping—and worse.

Warning!

This novel depicts intense violence, hardcore horror, and disturbing psychological terror in the vein of such works as Jack Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door, Cormac McCarthy’s Child of God, Joyce Carol Oates’ Zombie, and Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me.

Although THE BEDWETTER is a fascinating in-depth character study into the mind and actions of a misogynistic and homophobic psychopath, the story events are vicious and brutal, the language coarse, and the approach to their reporting is cold and unflinching.

This book is not for the faint of heart or those easily offended by language, sex, or violence. Read at your own risk.

Read the first chapter