by Donna Huber
Genre and themes
I have been trying to be more observant about a book's themes and how they are affected by the genre. Is it a theme unique to the genre? Does the author follow the genre's conventions or have their own interpretation? Sometimes there are certain aspects of a genre that I don't like and can effect how I feel about a book. Mashups and genre bending has become common in indie publishing and I have seen it bleed over into traditional publishing. It is important to note its impact on the book and your feelings about it.
Characters and plots
I sometimes get wrapped up in just telling what the book is about and not really saying how I felt about certain plot threads or characters. I think my stronger reviews share more about what I liked or didn't like about the characters and plot. Part of the problem is I get behind in writing reviews and several weeks have passed since I read a book. If I didn't take notes (and I don't usually) I don't always remember specifics about the characters and plot. Perhaps that should say something about the book - it was entertaining but forgettable?
Writing style and other mechanics
Did the choice of narrator or point of view work for the story? Sometimes a book would be better as a stand alone instead of a series. Other times, I have been disappointed by a book that is more a serial than a complete story within itself. There are also times where dialect or other regional aspects that distract (or enhance) from the story. All of these things play a part in whether a book is a great book or just another in a long line of good books.
What do you think about when you write a review?