How to Write a Good Book Review

Book reviews are important. By taking time to leave a few words on a review site, we are helping authors in more ways than we know. Yet, do you ever find yourself wanting to write a review, but you are not quite sure where to start?

Here are my top five suggestions on how to write a successful book review.

It Doesn’t Need to be Fancy

Don’t be intimidated or compare yourself to other book reviews you’ve read. A simply review helps just as much as a fancy one. Get your words down on paper and don’t sweat it if it isn’t a novel unto itself.

Start With the Facts

Begin by giving the reader a clear definition of what you are reviewing.

Today I will be reviewing “Dead Cold Brew” by Cleo Coyle. This is the 16th book in her Coffeehouse Mystery Series.”

I like to follow up the definition with a short summary of the book. A couple sentences will do. This is NOT the focus of your review!

Let Readers Know Your Thoughts (without Spoilers)

Readers want to know what you thought of the book. They are using your insights to determine if it is something that would interest them. The idea is to give them a feel for the book without spoiling it for them.

“Cold Dead Brew” has vibrant and enjoyable characters. I identified with Clare as a protagonist. This is my first time reading the series and I did not have an issue starting in the middle.

Use Comparisons

Opinions are subjective. That is why I always try to include comparisons in my reviews so readers can make up their own mind if it is something they would enjoy.

If you enjoy Krista Davis’ Domestic Diva Mystery Series, this will be a series you’ll want to check out.

Put Yourself In the Reader’s Shoes

Is there anything else you wish you would have known before picking up this book? Any final thoughts you want to leave the reader with? Include them in your closing remarks.

Pro Tip

Keep a piece of paper or a small notebook next to you when you’re reading. If a quote touches you, or if something makes you think, write it down! Notes will make it easier for you to complete your review. I write a good number of book reviews and I still always start out with a page of handwritten notes while reading the book. I actually write one draft of my review in a notebook before I switch over to the computer. I find it easier to organize my thoughts on pen and paper.

Do you have any tips I missed? Leave them in the comments below.

Thanks for checking out my series, “Cozy Mystery Book Reviews 101.” This is the second post in the series, a complete list of what is coming up in the series is below. If you sign up for my email list, you’ll be sure to never miss an installment!

  • Why You Should Review Cozy Mystery Books
  • How to Write a Good Book Review (this post)
  • Where to Post Your Book Reviews
  • Places to Find Books to Review (and get all the best new releases)
  • How to Start a Cozy Mystery Blog


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rosemary pfeiffer
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rosemary pfeiffer

I review all the books I read. I have written many many reviews. One time someone else had written about how to review a book and after reading one of mine I was given some tips on what to write. The comment that stayed with me the most was “write what you liked/didn’t like about the book and why”! Don’t write what the book is about because that is what the blurb is for !” I think of this every time I create a review. Sometimes I read some reviews and it does get boring when everyone keeps repeating what… Read more »

Tracy Siebert
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Tracy Siebert

I will start writing a handwritten copy before I write it online. That way I can make sure it makes sense before it posts. Good advice

Lisa K
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Great advice!

Leslie Budewitz
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An excellent summary, Marie! Thanks for helping readers AND authors.

Gena Steiger
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I liked your ideas! I always say if I liked the book and why. And I also write down notes as I read of the things that strike me as I read or descriptions I think of as I read.

Ellen pennock
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Ellen pennock

Just read Sandi Scotts book. Murder at the Pool Party. This is an excellent book. Great characters. Every one will enjoy this so much.