A Lesson in Writing Book Reviews

DSC_0982 (3)I was asked by a fellow writer if I would review her new novel. I was thrilled to be one of the few invited to preview her new book. There was just one problem – I had never written a book review before.

I was faced with this issue last summer when I offered to write a review of my friend’s play. I thought it would be good for me to step outside my comfort zone and attempt to write in a new genre. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but I did it and was told by a reader from the other side of the world that she was ready to rush out and buy tickets. I had taken on a new challenge and conquered it with flying colors. And now, I was about to throw myself into the unknown once again.

Writing about a play is a lot different then writing about a book. A play is usually no longer than two hours and right after the show, you need to go home and write the review immediately – it’s easy to write about something that is so fresh in your mind. Writing a review for a book is an entirely different task. You need to set aside time to read, and you need to read it at least twice – once for first impressions and to get the flavour of the story, and a second time to find the flaws and inconsistencies. You can actually read it as many times as you need, but like reviewing a play, there is a deadline looming. I had agreed to read this book and write a review at a time when I had my own hands full of deadlines and submissions. My attention was torn between reading her book and getting my own work done. In the last 48 hours before her novel was to go live, I buckled down and finished her book and got my review online just under the wire. I enjoyed writing my review, but I have learned before I agree to review someone’s novel again, I am going to make sure I have the time and attention to give it.

Here is my review of Sharon Gibbs novel Bound to Survive. This book is sure to delight for fantasy lovers around the world.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1186390494?book_show_action=false

 

 

3 Comments

  1. Felicia on February 21, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    Absolutely! I used to review alot of books and have also realized that I could say “no” to books I knew would not interest me. It’s much easier explaining that than why you will not review a book because you disliked it.

    • J.G. Chayko on February 21, 2015 at 3:12 pm

      I would love to review more books, but I need to be mindful of my own time to write. This was a wonderful new experience for me. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      • Felicia on February 21, 2015 at 3:13 pm

        Agreed! You’re welcome

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J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.