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Topic: what are your standards for PBS reviews?

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Subject: what are your standards for PBS reviews?
Date Posted: 3/24/2008 7:19 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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I hate, hate, HATE with a passion "reviews" quoting other reviews. Most of the time they 're not even attributed, but you see page after page of the same review stolen from Amazon. I always mark them as unhelpful.

I'm always iffy about people who just say something like "good book," since the original instructions for reviews were just to say something short about the book. It seems a little mean to mark it unhelpful... but then, it's not very helpful. I usually don't mark them at all. If there are better reviews, I might mark them as unhelpful, to make the better reviews stand out more.

I mark helpful when the person gives some plot details, or series details that are useful, or more than just a few words of their impression of the book.

What do you look for?



Last Edited on: 3/24/08 7:30 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 3/24/2008 7:28 PM ET
Member Since: 4/30/2007
Posts: 2,728
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I especially appreciate the reviews that let you know that the book is part of a series, and what order in the series it comes (such as book #2 of 5).  I've gotten books from BB deals that I had no idea were part of a series, and sometimes finding that information can be hard. 

I also agree with you that the reviews that say "good book" are not helpful at all- "good" is subjective to all of us, and what constitutes good for one person might not for someone else.  I want to know what makes it good to the reviewer, so that I can tell whether their good matches up with mine.

I like a short synopsis of the plot, but not a lot of details- otherwise, what's the point of reading the book?  LOL.  More than once I have stumbled on a review that gave TMI and it ruined it for me...I don't even want to read it after that.

Date Posted: 3/24/2008 7:50 PM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2006
Posts: 5,498
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I agree with you both.  Now if a review says "Great read" that's one thing, but just "good" like Lesley says - is subject to the reader's interpretation.  Generally I like to see a book have MANY reviews stating a variety of responses.  I don't want to hear spoilers or too many details but I do want to get a feel for the book.  Like - is the hero a tortured hero?  Is it a marriage of convenience story?   If its a time travel - backwards or forwards? and to where?

When I leave a review, I try to give my impression of the book.  Sometimes however if its truly awful - I realize that it may only be MY feelings about the book so I may leave something like "western romance set in Wyoming" or "marriage of convenience story set in Australia...cattle ranch"   -  that way I am not influencing someone who may genuinely like the book I hated.  Many people said the loved the book "Untouched" by Anna Campbell - I personally hated every page of it....so I try to think back to times like that and just give basic details.

Sherri

Date Posted: 3/24/2008 7:52 PM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2007
Posts: 1,028
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I don't know, but I have hunch that people review books as amazing or give them 5 stars because they want them moved off their shelf quicker.  I've seen too many people say "wow, it was great" which really isn't much of a review.

Date Posted: 3/24/2008 9:49 PM ET
Member Since: 11/16/2007
Posts: 165
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I'd rather have "wow it was great" than nothing at all. Some folks like me don't have the talent to really convey my feelings on a book. If I'm trying to decide if I want to order a particular book and most of the reviews are "it was good" and "I loved it" then I may go ahead and get it based on that. But if all I get is a description but no one gives a thumbs up or down then I'll steer clear til I find out from somewhere. But I do acknowledge that a good review that tells what style it is, strengths and weaknesses, is it serious or humorous, etc.... that would be ideal

Date Posted: 3/24/2008 10:16 PM ET
Member Since: 2/9/2008
Posts: 196
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I hate when about 3 different people post the synopsis from the back of the book after it's already posted on the page.  I'm all about people's opinions - I want to know if someone liked/loved/hated it, but a little elaboration is definitely appreciated with that.

Date Posted: 3/24/2008 11:14 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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Yeah, 4 or 5 posts of the synopsis - how wonderful:P  It'd almost be better if they didn't put anything in there at all.  I personally try to go for as much detail as possible while being as brief as possible.  But that's just for here, and it's mostly because there's usually a book synopsis and enough details about the book already on that page, so there's no need to overload people with more of the same.  I'll go into greater detail if there is less already there.  One thing I'm bad about - reviewing books I didn't like.   Those are just as important.  To me anyway.  I'd like to know as much as I can about why a certain book only rated 2-3 stars.  And I need to do more of them & y'know, contribute.  I'm just lazy about typing a lot:P

Date Posted: 3/25/2008 1:17 AM ET
Member Since: 9/15/2005
Posts: 319
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My favorites are when the person says why they liked or disliked the book.   What about it did they like or dislike?  What were the reader's big impressions?  How did reading the book make them feel or what did it make them think of?  

So yeah, it's the part that comes after "Good/bad book" that's the good stuff.  It was good or bad because..... Fill in the blank.  That's what I try to say when I review something.  Don't know if I always succeed, but that's the plan anyway!

(Although I should probably go back and edit some of my earliest "reviews."  Back in 2005 there were still a lot of books floating around without any synopsis listed with them, so I'd add them to the review section if there wasn't one when I posted a book.  Bet some of those aren't needed anymore.)

Edited 'cos darn I shouldn't type when I'm tired!



Last Edited on: 3/25/08 1:18 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/25/2008 1:19 AM ET
Member Since: 1/5/2008
Posts: 140
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ha - i sometimes copy my own amazon review and post it here ;)  does that make it a bad review?

for me i like a review that give a hint at the plot or idea of the characters - but i want to know if it was funny or the characters were well developed.  "it was great" doesn't do it for me - i want to know what it was about the book that they enjoyed.

Date Posted: 3/25/2008 7:34 AM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2007
Posts: 1,646
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I like a brief plot synopsis and some impressions of the book, e.g. good plot or character development, level of steam, etc.  In other words, something that helps me decide whether its worthwhile reading.  I agree that "good book" is not helpful. 

 

I also sometimes do an amazon review and copy and paste it here because I think there's no point in writing two separate reviews for the same book.   It's my own review, so I'm not copying anyone else's from amazon. I'm wondering if perhaps others do the same?    That could account for the similarities to amazon reviews.  Also, sometimes I do a review here and then copy and paste it to Amazon.

Personally, I don't care whether someone has the same review on Amazon or not; I just rate the review based on whether it's helpful in deciding whether to read the book.  If someone were copying and pasting something not their own work, I would find that wrong, however; but I don't look into the reviews in that much detail. 



Last Edited on: 3/25/08 7:40 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/25/2008 7:57 AM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2007
Posts: 1,028
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Peple keep posting the synopsis because they want their shelf link out there hoping you'll click on it.  When I see the synopsis posted 4 times I always click on unhelpful.

Date Posted: 3/25/2008 8:41 AM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2006
Posts: 1,012
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I must be completely clueless and naive on this site because it never occurred to me to review something just so someone could link to my bookshelf or to give it a good review so someone would request it from my shelf. 

I had no idea their were so many ways to try to get a book requested.  It seems so deceitful.  I guess I will have to be more careful when choosing books from someone's shelf with a high rating :-)

Date Posted: 3/25/2008 9:18 AM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2007
Posts: 215
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Kimberly, i'm with you on that.  It makes sense why so many people keep posting the back cover of the book.  To me, if PBS already has some details on the plot of book and characters, why do people keep posting the description!  it really iritates me!! some times its hard to find a helpful review b/c its the same copy and pasted text. But I just started noticing good reviews.  I think the forums have a better review system than in the book information links!

I like when people review books based on their own thoughts.  I like when reviews say that they read it in one day. It makes me think that it's probably something I will like.  I like when they say something about the style of writing, whether its funny or sexy.   "Good book" isn't really helpful!! 

Although, I just I really shouldn't say too much... i haven't reviewed books on PBS.

Date Posted: 3/25/2008 10:02 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I can't recall EVER going to someone's shelf from a review:P  Seems kinda silly when you think about it.  Forum posts, yes, but never from a review - especially a copy & pasted book synopsis.  I don't see anything wrong with quoting a synopsis in your review to save time & extra typing, but there needs to be an actual review there too; the quote has to serve some constructive purpose to the review, and should itself be commented on - otherwise there's really no reason for it to be there.  I think that it's really not necessary though, if it's already there somewhere on the book page - preferably in the book description.  And  "great book!" is NOT a review.  I never mark them as being unhelpful - my mom taught me well that if you have nothing nice to say, shut the h-e -double hockey sticks up - I just ignore them:P

Date Posted: 3/25/2008 1:23 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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I actually think it's more likely that so many people post the synopsis because PBS used to shove the review form right in your face when you posted a book and people felt like they needed to put SOMETHING. I'm glad they don't do that anymore, now you have to go out of your way to write a review.

And of course you have to go out of your way to see what other people have written too, so most people don't know that fivve synopses are already there. :-\

Oh, another automatic unhelpful from me - any comment on your particular copy. There is just NO excuse for that, it's spelled out very clearly that it's against the rules.

Date Posted: 3/25/2008 1:25 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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Claudia - I see the same reviews from Amazon repeated without attribution, that's how I know it's not someone using their own review. Well, maybe one of them is. Unfortunately, unless people sign them, there's no way for me to tell which one is being a jerk. ;-)

Date Posted: 3/26/2008 7:52 AM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2007
Posts: 1,646
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Willa,

Personally, I've never paid close enough attention to notice this.  How lazy can you get?   Honestly, if you're too lazy to write your own review, then just don't do one!  I'd rather see "good book" than something someone has plagiarized :-( . 

BTW, I thought you could always tell who wrote the review because PBS automatically put in the username when its posted.  Also, I don't understand how one person can post multiple reviews for the same book because I think PBS only lets you do one review for a book, unless you have multiple accounts, that is; or perhaps more than one version of the book (paperback & hardcover for example). 

Date Posted: 3/26/2008 9:21 AM ET
Member Since: 8/11/2005
Posts: 467
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I have only reviewed a few books and it was a year (darn...maybe even two years) ago. I think I deleted the ones that I put the back cover blurb on (as someone mentioned) when back in the day there were few synopsis' available. I would be interested in knowing what you ladies think of the few I have done and if you could give me pointers that would be helpful (constructive critisism welcome). I like telling people what I think. I would like to do it in a better way LOL. Please...check the few out and post right here what you think.

Date Posted: 3/26/2008 9:31 AM ET
Member Since: 8/11/2005
Posts: 467
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Well, after going back and seeing what books I reviewed I was surprised to see 16. A few of them are unfortunate being only one or two lines. Another couple are still the annoying book blurbs. I really need to delete those. Anyway, still would like y'alls input.

Date Posted: 3/26/2008 1:53 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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Claudia - by "without attribution" I meant within the review itself.  Nothing to indicate that the review was (or most likely wasn't) written by the person actually posting it. People often swipe journal reviews from Amazon too. They probably don't realize that it's unethical without attribution.

Date Posted: 3/26/2008 2:49 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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That's why I like reading the 'what we're reading' and 'guess the book' threads here! I like to know what the back cover says but once is enough! I also like to know if it's in a series and where in the series and even the other books in the series and/or if it can be read alone...I also like to know why the person didn't like the book..for example I just ordered one after a 'negative' review said all the book had going of rit were the hot sex scenes..okey dokey somtimes that fits the bill so to speak! but at least i know now to expect much of a storyline or character interrelations other than screwing their brains out...

Date Posted: 3/26/2008 5:15 PM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2007
Posts: 381
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Susanna S.:  a 'negative' review said all the book had going of rit were the hot sex scenes..okey dokey somtimes that fits the bill so to speak!

So ... which book was that again? ;)

I dislike the reviews that just repeat the book synopsis, but I don't actively do anything about them. The ones I make a point to mark as "unhelpful" are the reviews that comment on book condition.

Date Posted: 3/26/2008 8:46 PM ET
Member Since: 12/6/2006
Posts: 623
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Christina, I read your reviews and think you did a great job.  I'd decide on a book based on what you said.  You left one there that is the cover blurb, but the rest are all yours.  Actually = saw a couple you reviewed I think I have to read.  Especially the one about the woman recuperating at her boss's house and is rescued by a naked man!

Date Posted: 3/26/2008 10:43 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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Judy it was a review on one of Emma Holly's books..either here or on amazon..a reviewer gave it 2 stars only because the sex scenes were good but no interaction between the characters..someone was recommending her as being an author of 'steamy books' that are actually available in the FIFO system so  was checking some of them out here and on amazon...I *think* it was the one with the 2 men and the woman....that might not narrow it down though LOL!

Date Posted: 3/31/2008 10:28 PM ET
Member Since: 8/11/2005
Posts: 467
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Thanks Karen for looking. I still need to delete the annoying cover blurb one...I just never seem to get around to it. I am hoping to do some more reviews as it is a good way of keeping track of what I read. I have picked up a book only to realize that I have already read it. How embarassing is that? Kissed by the Sea is the book about the naked man rescuing a lady who almost falls down the stairs to certain death on the ground below. I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed that book. It is a fairly older Silhouette Romance and I think if more people actually review the category romances that completely stand out more people would order them from shelves IMHO of course.

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