I have been reading lots of book reviews lately, and learning as I go along trying to find a formula to writing a fantastic book review.
What makes a book review great?
What makes you want to go out and find that book to read?
These are the questions I found myself asking, and I’m sure there are many of you asking the same. So I have compiled another 7 Hints and Tips post to help us all become better book reviewers and writers.
These are the 7 tips that I have come up with, along with some hints on what to include in the book review.
- As you read the book, make notes as you go along – Write down your thoughts on the authors writing style, add quotes to your lists, that you think would be relevant to your review.
- Include the authors name and the book title in the first paragraph – Make sure to mention these so the reader will know exactly who wrote the book.
- Describe the book – What is the book about? What genre does the book fit into? What is the main idea of the book and plot structure? Don’t forget to include the theme, settings and the book cover.
- Add a paragraph on what made you like the book – Is it a story that kept you entertained? Guessing? How real/believable are the characters? Who is your favourite?
- Mention any dislikes – Didn’t like the way the story headed, frustrating ending, slow start, didn’t like the main character.
- Summarise your thoughts – What type of reader would you recommend the book to? Is it a book you would read again one day?
- Give the book a rating – eg. 3 out of 5 stars
I would love to hear your own thoughts on whether you decide to read a book based on a book review alone.
Back in January I won this hardback copy of the The Crooked House by Christobel Kent in a Twitter competition with @TheCrimeVault. Its a fantastic enthralling psychological thriller that keeps you guessing to the very end. The storyline is full of twists and turns that builds to a very intense climax. It has a very atmospheric and moody feeling which brings it out to the book cover as well.
The book is about Alison’s story. 13 years ago she was the only survivor of a horrendous tragedy that happened one night in her house and has very limited memories of what happened. Now she has changed her name from Esme to Alison, lives a quiet life with no ties, but when she meets her boyfriend Paul Bartlett she only then decides to go back to her previous life and confront her past during a wedding back in her hometown. .
The story is set in a small rural community called Saltleigh where outsiders do not fit in, this gives it a much more creepy feeling as a young Esme and her family are looked at as strangers/outsiders. The description of the setting is very vivid and you can see with your own eyes that a town with muddy marshes and bleak moors makes it very isolated.
Alison is such a likable and strong character that you cannot help but feel for her as she revisits her memories. She is very determined to find out the truth and shows a great deal of inner strength. With her creepy boyfriend Paul from the beginning you feel that something is amiss with him, and this develops further into the story.
It’s a very dark, mysterious book with sinister undertones, just when you think it’s gonna get better for Alison, something else crops up. Its one of those books where it always gets worse before it gets better!
I really loved reading this book and I found it hard to put down hence why I read it in only 4 days! I highly reccommend it!
As you all know all my ‘wins’ get sent to my parents house for delivery due to me never being at home. This is what my mum has collected for me this week!
My #FreebieFriday win was with FRijj on Twitter and they sent me 5 vouchers for free bottles of their milkshake which I absolutely love, especially the Fudge Brownie one! The Hedrin Protect & Go conditioning spray I won through the lovely whatkatysaid
blog competition, and this will go to my sister for my nephew. I think it will be perfect for when he starts school in September!
I received the lovely cookbook through a Twitter win with Gill & Macmillan Books, it is also signed by the author which I always think makes it such a lovely touch. Cookbooks in my house always come in handy, so another perfect win.
The book in the photo Natchez Burning is from a Goodreads first read competition that i won on the 6th March. It’s nearly 900 pages long so is gonna take me awhile to read, but looks to be a fantastic thriller by the exciting cover, recommendation by my favourite author Stephen King and the exciting description on the back.
In my very first post, I mentioned that I won a watch from Breo, well it finally arrived after me having to chase them after I never received it when they said it was sent! It is a very gorgeous watch with a silicone strap and Swarovski Elements in the dial. Well worth the wait! I don’t normally wear watches during the day as my job does not permit watches to be worn, so I am going to save it for a going out watch.
Every so often I would like to share with you my current reading book and what my thoughts are on it. I have discovered through Twitter that a lot of people out there are raving about this new book, called I Let You Go and I was lucky enough to be given it to read by the Little Brown publishing group (@LittleBrownUK). I had previously wrote a review for The Crooked House which I won in a twitter competition with them and @TheCrimeVault. I will write a review of the fantastic book The Crooked House in a future post.
I Let you Go is written by Clare Mackintosh who is a former detective, so gives this crime thriller an authenticity into real procedures in a case like this. On the back cover it does say that this book is inspired by a real life case that was never solved. This to me is a bit of a giveaway. Does this mean that you never find out what really happens in the book? I am looking forward to finding out!
I’m currently about half way through so far and its an incredible read. I don’t want to spoil it for those of you that haven’t read it yet, but I found myself welling up with tears at the beginning, as this situation could have happened to anyone. Its a very moving book full of emotions and makes you think what is going through the mind of the main character Jenna. I’m looking forward to following her on her struggle of a journey through the rest of the book.
It seems to be one of those books that any reader will love and it will stay with them for a long time.
The copy I received is a proof copy, and I was informed by the accompanying note that the cover is set to change and will look more like the bookmark by the side.
I remember my mum telling me about James Herbert’s Rats when I was a teenager, it was my first step into the deep dark scary world of horror. It’s a book world where I keep going back to years later. This introduction to horror led me to explore what young adult horror books were around in the early 90’s and these are what I found!
At school I remember there was some kind of book fair, and everyone was going crazy for the Point Horror series. They were written by many different authors including R.L Stine, who became to be my favourite young adult horror writer. He wrote Beach House which is shown in the picture, I love that one as I remember my older sister buying it for me. He wrote the Babysitter series which as I remember were well creepy! I’m sure that if you are of a similar age to me these were a part of your childhood! I still treasure my copies to this day and they have the pride of place in my library, although they are a bit on the rough side now!
As I got older I used to go to the public library after school, and this is where I explored the adult horror section to a fine detail. When I was around 15 I discovered the master of horror Stephen King. The first book I read of his was Rose Madder, which is about a husband and wife and their abusive relationship. I can see now that it was probabaly an inappropriate book for someone of 15, but I found it so intriguing. After I read all the more well known King books, like Carrie, The Tommyknockers and The Stand, of which is one of my all time favourite books, I looked further afield, and came accross James Herbert. I am not keen on his novel Once, I found it just plain weird! Its like an adult fairy tale with lots of dark undertones.
I had never read Herbert’s novel The Secret of Crickley Hall until I saw the TV adaptation which was made in 2012. Its about a young family who go and stay in a creepy house in Devon. I love a good ghost story and this is a great one! The book is way better than the mini series! It’s one of those books that you can go back and read all over again.
I would love to hear your thoughts on what your favourite horror books are, or if you are not a fan of horror your favourite books from school.
I have my day off from work every Wednesday, so each week I pop round to my parents to collect my delivery wins. This is the most exciting day of the week for me as It’s like Christmas! I’m like a big kid opening my packages to see what’s inside. I always enter my parents address for delivery details as I’m never home to collect them. My mum always looks out for the postman everyday to see what he’s got for me. She is even now on a first name basis with him and they talk about my competitions and wins!
So these are my wins from the past week. I was a runner up in a Wagg pet food competition and I was able to choose whether I wanted cat or dog food treats. I don’t have a cat so I chose dog treats. The flavour is chicken and cheese! Sounds a bit of a weird combination to me!
The books I won are from Goodreads first reads giveways. I wrote about winning A Crown for Cold Silver by Alex Marshall in my blog post last Thursday and here it is in the top right of the picture. Its possible the cover will change once its properly published as this is an uncorrected bound proof copy. I can’t wait to get stuck into this one with a hot chocolate and some biscuits, I think I’ll start this book on Sunday while the husband is watching the first Formula 1 race of the season!
The other two books are the Lament of Sky by BB Wynter which is a dark, fantasy and very intriguing read. It came with a gorgeous little note by the author on the inside pages which I thing is a lovely cute personal touch. The third book is called The Traitors’s Mark and is written by D.K Wilson. It’s a historical Tudor mystery based on the death of Hans Holbein in 1543, which to this day is still an unsolved real Tudor mystery. Looks a fantastic read to add to my never ending lists of books to read!