I've been spending a lot of time stalking Amazon reviews lately and one thing I've come across which has been interesting is the helpful or not helpful tags at the beginning of the reviews. It's got me thinking about what makes a good review.
I'll be the first to admit I don't have any kind of plan when I sit down to review a book. Often I just type whatever comes to mind and hope that in the end it's coherent. I've gone through some of the reviews I've written on this blog and although they're okay, I wonder if they are what would be considered "helpful."
As a reader of reviews I appreciate the time and effort that some reviewers put into writing a really lengthy piece. It's true that the longer the review the more likely there will be helpful thoughts in there, but do we necessarily have to always write an essay to get the point across? A lot of bloggers have short sub-headings in their reviews to give a one or two word summary of certain aspects of the book. For example explicit language, romance level, violence level and so on. Is this a more efficient way of approaching reviews, especially if you're strapped for time? Or does it not provide enough context?
Clearly I am still have problems deciding how to structure my reviews so that they are both easier to write and so that readers get the most out of them. So give me a hand guys, what about reviews do you find most helpful?