Discussion Forums - Science Fiction

Topic: Reviews

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Subject: Reviews
Date Posted: 4/27/2009 2:07 PM ET
Member Since: 1/14/2008
Posts: 36
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ok guys got a couple of questions  about reviews  and since the majority of the book i read are in the sci-fi genre i thought i would post it here . I actually did a search in the help thread  but didn't see much...

How many of ya'll do a review on a book? is it indepth or just a "i liked it"   what do you look for when you read a review ?  

is there certain ways you do it , reason i'm asking is this site is the first one that i've been reviewing the books that i read. And i know we all have different views and reading likes but we tend to fall toward the same group/sci-fi.

I've been tryibg to describe an experince reading a book without giving too much of the plot or story away, so that other readers can look at it and say   you know that sounds like something i would read or man this author continues to put out some good books. I did notice that PBS  allows you to  check if you liked the review or found it useful. 

 

Date Posted: 4/27/2009 11:33 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,399
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I want to know why one liked it.  Fast plot?  Character?  World building?   Writing style?  And I want to know where a book is in the series, which books is it linked to?  Don't like to order a book and then find out that it is # 3 or 4.  (Have written only 8 reviews.  And 2 are just about the series order.)

Hate the reviews that just say "loved it".  

I usually only review books that have little or no info listed.  If there is no info, then I like it when a brief blurb or plot starting summary is included in the review.  No spoilers, but general description. 

And remember to put in blank space.  A review that is long and single spaced is hard to read on a screen.

Date Posted: 4/28/2009 3:15 AM ET
Member Since: 1/19/2008
Posts: 14,757
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I usually only review books that have little or no info listed.

if you have the book in hand, and there isn't much information listed, it'd be nice if you also did 'edit book data' (under the more option menu) and filled in some of the missing information - especially the description from the back of the book, added series info to the title if appropriate, and an accurate weight if you have a scale.

as for a review, i want to know whether someone liked it or not - and why.  i don't write a lot of reviews myself, because i can usually only say why if i either loved or hated it.  the hated it ones are usually pretty easy to write.  ;)

Shaun (sec) - ,
Date Posted: 4/28/2009 9:01 AM ET
Member Since: 11/23/2008
Posts: 80
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I have reviewed every single book I've read since joining PaperbackSwap (which is less than a year ago).  Actually, I've even written reviews of books I read before that (still do, when the mood strikes and I have the time).

Typically, I will write a few short paragraphs focusing on what I did or did not like about the book; I try to stay away from detailed plot descriptions or spoilers.  My rule of thumb is: if it's on the back of the book (or in the dust jacket), then it's ok to mention.

And I agree with Emily -- I despise those reviews that say nothing more than "Hated it!" or "Great book!"  Seriously, why do people waste their (and our) time with that?

Subject: Reviews - the long and short of it
Date Posted: 4/28/2009 12:35 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 385
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How many of ya'll do a review on a book? is it indepth or just a "i liked it"   what do you look for when you read a review ?  

_______________________________________________________________________________________

I rarely write an in-depth review because I'm not good at it.  Good reviews need 1) time, intellect and verbosity, 2) self-confidence (who wants to read what I think?) and 3) balance between revealing too much of the story.  I'm compelled to write when there are mixed reviews (for example, George and I disagreed on The Devil's Eye by McDevitt).  

And I agree with Emily -- I despise those reviews that say nothing more than "Hated it!" or "Great book!"  Seriously, why do people waste their (and our) time with that?

________________________________________________________________________________________

Uh-oh, guilty.  When deciding on a trade, I tend to read a few in-depth reviews, then skip along counting yays and nays on a book to make my decision because sometimes an in-depth review can also be a waste of time, totally mis-mashing the book.  I also use the similarity scores and my familiarity of traders who like the same books or type of reading I enjoy.  And, I've tried several new authors based on brief or laborious posts from the Discussion Boards.  So, I'd have to say for me, either short or long reviews are valuable.   

Date Posted: 4/28/2009 7:11 PM ET
Member Since: 1/2/2008
Posts: 174
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I only write a review if the book really affected me, which means I really liked it or I really hated it. I usually only write a short paragraph - I'm not loquacious :-)

(If I really like a book I sound like a fangirl.)

All in all, I've written about 20 - 25 reviews here. Which is about 1.2% of the books I own, so I'm not real big on writing them, I guess.

I *hate* the reviews that are just copied text from the back cover. I'll give them a thumbs down every time. That belongs under the description, people! I can read the back cover on Amazon.

I'm with Ellen ... I Edit Book Data as much as I can, even if it's just to enter the number of pages.

 

 

Shaun (sec) - ,
Date Posted: 4/28/2009 8:21 PM ET
Member Since: 11/23/2008
Posts: 80
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Oof.  Ok, I can see your point with the value of short reviews, Alison.  But...  isn't that the intent of the "stars" rating?  (Which, incidentally, I usually ignore in favor of the reviews.)

Also (and again, this is for you, Alison), you don't have to be a professional book critic to write a review.  Funny enough, I don't like "professional" critiques, and usually disagree with them.  The reviews *I* want to read are the ones written by people like YOU: they're more interesting, more to the point, and more entertaining.

So...  long or short, thanks to everone who takes the time to write a review ('cause we don't always have the time to spare to do it).

Date Posted: 4/28/2009 9:11 PM ET
Member Since: 1/14/2008
Posts: 36
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I love the discussion   :)   i can see the point of a short reviews and also agree Shaun on  "Stars" rating   but how many books do you look at here that have a star rating  of 3  and no book excerpt or review.  They tend to leave you out there wondering and looking for more information so you can at least taste or get a feel for the book . Your only option is probably to look at amazon to find out.

And again i can agree with Shaun , I'm not looking for a professional review. I'm really not looking for review that says a book is good or bad.  I'm looking for tidbits of information that stand out and say "hey the book is slow starting but regains momentum". It could even be a review that says "this book leaves you hanging"  but if it says it has a great storyline I will probably try it.     

Allison wrote

I'm compelled to write when there are mixed reviews (for example, George and I disagreed on The Devil's Eye by McDevitt).  

 well we will all have some slightly different opinion , but i did like the book , I just didn't feel it was his best work or something of the caliber you would expect from a experienced author with several hit books under his belt. I was wanting and expecting more.

 

Date Posted: 4/28/2009 9:13 PM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2007
Posts: 49
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I have to confess, I do all my reviews of what I'm reading on my 75 Book Challenge thread over on LibraryThing, and on the book page there. Not enough energy to keep it up two places. I do want a brief synopsis of the plot setup at least, and why you did or didn't like it.
Shaun (sec) - ,
Date Posted: 4/29/2009 12:00 AM ET
Member Since: 11/23/2008
Posts: 80
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Ok, I should really read my posts over twice before submitting...  I feel I need to apologize, Alison: I think my last post made me seem like a bit of an @ss.  What I was so inadequately trying to say is -- regardless of the kind of reviewer you think you are, I much prefer reviews written by people like you (and/or *us*) as opposed to those from book critics.

Besides, you're probably a much better writer than some of the authors I've read recently...   ;)

Date Posted: 4/29/2009 1:11 AM ET
Member Since: 1/14/2008
Posts: 36
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Well i didn't read it that way  and i do understand what Alison  means  but of course i've traded many times with her and she already knows that most of the time if its Sci-Fi  and she has read it that i would probably like it.  :)

 

but my reviews are not just for other readers  but a way for me to check back and look cause as i grow older , and search so many books, a lot sound so familiar. Then older books get reprinted and place new cover art on them and they look and sound great ....  lol lol   so it helps me keep track of what i've already read.  

Date Posted: 4/29/2009 11:40 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 385
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 I feel I need to apologize, Alison:

_____________________________________________________

Shaun: I'll try and write more thorough reviews.  And I read your post in a positive way, no apologies ! !   

___________________________________________________________________________________

but my reviews are not just for other readers  but a way for me to check back and look cause as i grow older , and search so many books, a lot sound so familiar.

I can relate to that!  Also, I think George is correct about the Devil's Eye not being as good as his other Benedict novels.  I've said it before, I guess they can't all be gems.



Last Edited on: 4/29/09 11:41 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/30/2009 2:54 PM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2009
Posts: 14
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Good question!

I appreciate reviews that have some thought put into them; "I like it" reviews annoy me to no end, "I like it b/c this character was cool and that's all" reviews even moreso.  Why were the chars cool?  What aspects of the writing style make/break the book?  It's okay to like/not like aspects of the book, but I want to know why.

I'm quite picky about what books I read (not much time these days!) so I depend heavily on reviews to decide how high up things go on my reading list.  Something concise and rational is extremely helpful -- reviews do make a big impact on how soon I get around to reading something.  I do like long, in-depth reviews (I write them myself), but I prefer to read those after I've finished the book, since I'm already familiar with the story and like to know what others have thought about it.

I guess there's a time and place for short, concise reviews and long, in depth ones.  I haven't published any reviews except on my blog, because I haven't gotten around to condensing them into something concise and appropriate for Amazon/LibraryThing/PBS.... I don't know if people would appreciate wading through 1500-word reviews... =)



Last Edited on: 4/30/09 2:55 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: my 2 cents
Date Posted: 5/1/2009 9:44 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
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I don't like reviews that just say "I liked it" or 'I hated it" for no reason.  And I don't like reviews that re-tell the whole story.

I do like reviews that let me know what the basic speculative premise is, unless that is part of the mystery of the read.  And I do like reviews that relate the reviewer's personal experience with respect to the book.  And I do like reviews that tell me something about the author or the circumstances of the publication of the book.

I like to read reviews by people I know, rather than just a disconnected dropping into a reviews database.  I like to comment on other people's reivews, and have mine commented on - so I post mine on our currently-reading threads.  I really really like it when more than one person has read the same book, and a discussion happens.

-Tom Hl.

Subject: REviews
Date Posted: 5/10/2009 6:31 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 9,450
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If all you do is say you liked it or hated it, this is really no review. If you tell too much of the story, this is no review either, but something worse than the first. In a review worthy of the name, I think you need to do some evaluation. Is it good? Why? Is it bad? Why? And I am with Tom H. I think you should tell what the "speculative premise" is, or basic scenario, or where it fits in the author's canon. At least one of those.

Date Posted: 5/26/2009 1:01 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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Since I found this site and Shelfari I've been trying to review every book I read currently, but I've only reviewed books I've read in the past if I felt really strongly about them AND thought of something interesting to say.

However, what I've considered interesting has varied even over the past few weeks. Some of my early reviews were definitely more for me than for everyone else (like, my best friend Stephen made me read this when we were 11 and now I like it more than him, silly man) but now I try to encapsulate what created whatever star rating I gave it (for instance, the writing was technically fine and the descriptions were interesting, but the characters were unlikeable and the plot bored me so only two stars). I also will try to make my review more informative if I'm the only person who's reviewed it, or if I see a lot of "I like it" and "I hate it" reviews.

I haven't yet decided whether or not I want to provide a lot of info in a review -- on the one hand, if I'm browsing books and see an interesting title/cover, it's really handy if someone has reviewed it and said "this is book 6 in the <blank> series, but can be read as a stand-alone;" on the other hand, I'd rather read that information in the book info, not the reviews; on a mythical third hand, I'm pretty lazy. :)