Book Bee’s Step by Step Guide to Reviewing Books

Step 1: Read a book!

Step 2: Decide to Write a Review.

How often do you pick up a book without a recommendation or perusing reviews online? I still occasionally judge books by their cover at the local library but mostly I rely on recommendations from friends or via reviews online, and I bet you do too.
All of us readers love reviews!
Love a book, want to support an author? The best way is to write an honest review. Reviews are hugely important to us (largely because, like I mentioned, nobody picks up books without looking at reviews).
Love a book and want to support an illustrator? Ditto!
So, if you love readers, authors, illustrators or anyone else in the book industry, support them all and write a review!

Step 3: Don’t Panic!

Maybe you’ve never written a review before, maybe you don’t know where to start.
It’s okay. Take a deep breath. We got you covered.

Step 4: Choose a Star Rating.

Pretty much every place that collects book reviews will give you up to five stars to award the book you are reading. If you are like me this puts you right back to Step 3.
It’s okay, take a deep breath and pick one. 

Still not helping?
Don’t worry, I feel your pain, five
 stars is a completely inadequate number. I wrote a whole blog post rant about it, you can read my thoughts and how I award stars here: https://behindthewillows.com/2015/08/10/a-rate-it-rant/ 

Step 5: Write Your Review.

Starting a review can be daunting. It’s okay, we are here to help. We have created some handy fill in the blank options to help you out with any book review you might be writing!

“I read it to my ___year old_____ and they ____ it!” 

 ” My ___year old _____ read it to me, so ____!”

  “This book is ___ because____.” 

 ” I gave this book to ___ it was a ____ gift.” 

” Reading this book made me _____.”

“This book is the ____’s ____’s.”

Use these as a starting point or go rouge and pour your heart out.
Tell people what you would like to know if you were the one thinking of buying the book.

Step 6: Share Your Review.

The go to book review place is Amazon.com (or amazon.co.uk or amazon.ca or amazon… you get the picture). Be aware that Amazon has RULES about book reviews as they do their best to keep the world honest. There will always be a delay before your review will post and in the end sometimes it won’t. If that happens don’t despair, there are more options!
Goodreads is a fantastic place to leave a review. Reviews can be shared on Facebook or Instagram any other book site you are a part of (LibraryThing anyone?) or even sent straight to the author. 

In fact, since you already wrote it, why not go wild and post it everywhere?

Step 7:  Breathe a sigh of relief, you’ve done it!

You made an author happy, helped out potential buyers and made it out the other side!

Step 8: Do it again!

If you just followed these steps to review What If Butterflies Loved Snow? you’ve brought joy to our lives. Thank you! Now, do it again for the next book you read, authors, illustrators and readers everywhere will thank you!

Book Bee wants everyone to write book reviews!

If you feel the same pop over here: https://behindthewillows.com/book-bees-step-by-step-guide-to-reviewing-books/ to save and share her handy infographic!

(All illustrations done by Tooks of course!)

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In A Jam by Cindy Dorminy

“Some might consider waking up in the drunk tank rock bottom. I call it Thursday,” isn’t your typical start to a lighthearted romance but it did start me out with a smile. Things progressed from there all the way through your typical romantic comedy story line. City girl moves to small southern town (hilarity and smiles ensue), enter   brokenhearted man stage left (sweet smiles ensue)… By the time we got to the happily ever after, that small southern town had been fleshed out with so many fantastic characters I was smitten with the whole town.

Happy smiles all around.

 

Would I recommend it?  My favorite kind of romance. Funny, fairly predictable and not too risque, sort of like your family’s favorite jam recipe (actually it’s nothing like my family’s favorite jam… who has funny jam?)… but this book, and the jam in it have a little something extra that makes it just that much better.  But, most importantly, it made me smile, a lot, and I can’t think of a better reason to pick up a book like this than that.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I discovered this book because I’m a proud member of Rosie’s Book Review Team!

Madam Tulip and the Bones of Chance and Interview with David Ahern

I’m the kind of girl who gets totally, embarrassingly, nerdily excited when they see that another book by a favorite author is getting released. When the book is something off the best seller list, I often have another book lover to gush about the up coming book with. When the book is less well known I instead kick into overzealous-crazy-book-lover-who-insists-you-must-read-this-book mode. I’m not interested in asking what my friends and family think about this behavior of mine but I like to imagine they find it useful and charming.

And look everybody, Madam Tulip is back!

Just in case you haven’t yet had time to read the first books (because I know after my recommendations they must be on your “to read” list)  Madam Tulip and Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts, I certainly recommend you start there. If, like me and my Granny, you’ve been waiting for the next installment it’s just about here. You should probably just go ahead and pre-order it now. The same great cast of characters are again unwittingly getting themselves into hot water. And it is again the best kind of page turning mystery with enough laughs to keep it lighthearted and fun.

But instead of waxing on about the third book in a series I’ll trust you’ll start with the first and keep on reading.

In the meantime David Ahern himself agreed to answer a few questions!  

1) First things first. Does daily life begin with caffeinated beverage of choice?

Three caffeinated beverages of choice. And nothing fancy, either. Straight from the jar. Milk no sugar. I might, just might, stumble into life midway through #2.

 

2)  In the Madam Tulip books the main character Derry’s dad often seems to be the one who sees  “signs” in what his daughter says. How about you? Do you have any sure signs your day is going  to be fantastic… or not….

As a writer, never a clue. Sometimes you think a day is going to be like pulling teeth, and then for no discernible reason you find yourself on a roll. Other days you breeze to your desk feeling mighty clever, to find your brain instantly turns to mush and you wouldn’t trust yourself to write a shopping list.    

 

3) They say pictures are worth a thousand words. Could you describe Madam Tulip and the Bones of Chance using nothing but emojis? (And no, I don’t think emojis are worth a thousand words but I’m curious anyway. ??)

Haven’t a clue. I’m from the emoticon age :).    

 

4) Having lived in both Scotland and Ireland it’s possible you may be qualified to tell us who has the best whiskey. If that’s too controversial of a question, is there something about Scotland (where much of this book takes place) that you wish you could take with you where ever you live?  

Scotch whisky is the hands down winner, and frankly we Irish don’t even put up a fight about that. On the other hand, we invented Scotland, but don’t tell anyone I said it. As for what I wish I could take with me, the hospitality of the people of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland is something very, very special.    

 

5)  During Madam Tulip and the Bones of Chance Derry is acting for a movie that she doesn’t seem to think will be the next blockbuster, or even close. What “awful” movie do you love despite itself.

Zardoz, a wonderful Sean Connery turkey directed by John Boorman. And I’m not saying why.

 

6) In my own little world I prefer for everything to end with dessert. What’s your favorite treat to end things with?

A laugh.

 

Thank you David for being willing to do a little Q & A with us!

And as for the book…

Would I recommend it? Without a doubt! These books should be on the best seller lists!

 

Connect with David Ahern on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/davidahernauthor

and Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/daveahernwriter

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I discovered this book because I’m a proud member of Rosie’s Book Review Team!

The Jack of Ruin by Stephen Merlino

The Jack of Ruin is the much anticipated…

(You know, when people say that I always get belligerent wondering just who these “people” are that were waiting with bated breath. So, I’ll tell you. It was me. And John, and likely other people, but I don’t know them. So, yeah, I’m making that grand statement on the authority of my own feelings!)

…sequel to The Jack of Souls. If you took my advice three years ago and read The Jack of Souls with it’s goodish guy and it’s new worlds and magics, culture clashes and ideals, angry immortals and horses and general epic fantasyishness, I’m excited to tell you that this installment did not disappoint. The epicness continues, the good guys have a tendency to be a little grey rather than white and it seems vows were made to be broken…

And if you didn’t?

What are you waiting for, get reading!


Would I recommend it? If you are a lover of epic fantasy read The Jack of Souls, then have this one ready because it picks up right where the previous leaves off!

 

 

Life Begins When The Kids Leave Home and the Dog Dies by Barb Taub

Barb Taub has another book out!

Though I must say this collection of essays is really more of a…. pick it up and hide in the closet with some chocolate and read it when the dog just threw up on the carpet again and the car died and your kids have gone on a hunger strike so you know that you aren’t alone in the wild world of parenting and family drama…. rather than a sit down and read it cover to cover with a nice hot cup of tea kinda book.

‘Cause when you laugh that tea is gonna come right out your nose, and it’s gonna hurt.

Would I recommend it? Of course!

The Falcon Flies Alone by Gabrielle Mathieu

When a book starts with a naked woman on a roof wondering how she got there and more pressingly how on earth she’s going to get down, you might think that the plot of this book would have you in it’s grip. Instead I found that the plot, though smooth, was almost too flat and it was the force of the characters that kept me reading. From the not super likable heroine to the villain who’s image was drawn with such depth he gave me nightmares, the characters were easily the stars of the novel.  

Would I recommend it? The story line could have used less substance abuse, and more substance.  Although to be fair it was mostly substance abuse in the name of science. Creepy experiment on people science but science… well, with a little witch doctor voodoo thrown in for good measure. Fortunately the characters saved the book. This is Mathieu’s first novel and I look forward to seeing what she writes next.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I discovered this book because I’m a proud member of Rosie’s Book Review Team!

The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett

The first half of this book was a slog.

Ostensibly in English the book is sprinkled with so much Latin, French, Spanish, Old English (“..And as the chekker schawis us yis forne…”) and 16th century Scottish colloquialisms (“I never saw so many weel-kent faces all in the one place; the most of them chowed off and in no state to give the sort of snash you get from half of them when they’re upright.”) that I started to wonder if I was fluent in any language, particularly English. It took awhile, a long while, before I caught the rhythm of the language enough that I didn’t have to re-read it, learned to skim the other languages for words I knew, and just keep moving through it.  By the time I had the language in hand I had pretty much learned all of the names of the important characters (everyone seems to have at least two) and their titles so I knew who was who and then…

And then the second half of the book flew by in a whirl of spying, dying and lying mixed with jokes (I thoroughly enjoyed the ones in English) and general sixteenth century drama.  And I didn’t want to put it down.

Would I recommend it? It is not a book for the faint of heart, a week ago I would have told you maybe not.  But now that I’ve made it through I’m thinking about getting the next one in the series… or re-reading the first half again.. or both.