Certainly, critics and bloggers need to go a little further than sharing only short, snappy reviews because their readers appreciate having a more robust explanation of why a book was good or not. But readers rule the roost. Most often, in this digital age, a potential reader will happen across a book page on a seller's website and peruse the reader reviews long before they'll stumble across a review at their local newspaper's website or even on a book blog.
I'll highlight a recent reader review of one of my own novels, a short one that I find hits the mark, even though it isn't very long or involved. This one's for my latest novel, THALO BLUE and I felt it captured the spirit of the book, explained why the reader liked it but didn't re-hash any plot for potential spoilers:
You WILL get hooked, and be begging for more...Here is why you should read this book. If you can handle paying attention to detail, and you like a book that's a little complex, you will enjoy this. If you like a story that stays with you throughout the day, nagging at you until you can sneak back to read a bit more..You will LOVE this! If you crave a story you cant figure out two chapters in...Baby, this story will drive you WILD! I think Jason McIntyre is just what you need...what we all need, when taking a break from reality. Thalo Blue, Get it, read it, thank him when you're done. :-)
For me, this is an effective, short, to-the-point review -- aside from the fact that the reader loves the book and that, as its creator, makes me feel like a million dollars. Again, this kind of reader review can be approached in a much different way than a critical review or a blog review because it's done by a reader. There are no rules for this kind of short, snappy, eye-catching review and this reader took the opportunity to have fun with it but still cover a few basic things that potential readers will probably appreciate:
1. It has a title that is more than just the name of the book. This reader wanted to catch other readers' attention and did so.
2. It begins with a very simple invitation to learn more: "Here's why you should read this."
3. It explains how the book will appeal to you IF you like certain things. ie. Complexity, intrigue that pulls you back to keep reading.
4. There is no re-statement of the plot. If this is on a website like Amazon, Sony or Apple's iBookstore, the book will already have a blurb written by the publisher. If it's done well, there's no need for Joe or Jane Reader to even touch plot details.
So, what do you think makes a good reader review? If there's some interest here, I may come back and do another post on blogger reviews and how they can be different and informative without offering spoilers or heaping praise that make it sound like nothing more than the review of a book by the blogger's best friend.