There have been times I'll read a review on Amazon and the review closes the deal for me. Then, I'm one click away from receiving the book. Other books, I want to like because of the author or topic, but can't quite pull the trigger.
I chatted up the manager of the Amazon Bookstore in Walnut Creek yesterday. He's into science fiction and had read so much he's now writing his own book. But, when I asked for any recommendations, he couldn't offer much.
I'm also not a good book reviewer. I don't master the material, take notes or outline the value propositions offered among the pages. I must not be reading thoughtfully enough.
Amazon's Five Stars are meaningless. The authors friends and family will automatically give 5 stars. The haters will give 2 stars thinking it's more credible than one star and still, they can quickly mess up average rating by not liking the author.
Book reviews that outline the contents for me and comment on particularly valuable sections can often help me realize the investment will be compensated just with basic knowledge. Fiction is more difficult with written reviews because how do you evaluate entertainment value? However, if they mention the masterful use of language, it might draw me in.
Audiobook reviews are helpful when they mention the narrator being great or a nonstarter. Sean Pratt has a kind of lilt in his narrator voice I can't get into. He's prolific in the business genre and it's frustrating that I can't get past his intonations. Nothing personal Sean, I'm sure my voice is way worse.
What do you find useful in a book review?