Nobody likes to spend money on a new book only to face that overwhelming feeling of disappointment when it doesn’t live up to your expectations.
The solution is to check out a few book review sites before you hit the shops. The greater the diversity of opinions you can gather, the more confidence you can have that you’ll enjoy the title.
Which book review and book rating sites are worth considering? Here are the best ones.
Goodreads is arguably the leading online community for book lovers. If you want some inspiration for which novel or biography to read next, this is the book review site to visit.
There’s an endless number of user-generated reading lists to explore, and Goodreads itself publishes dozens of “best of” lists across a number of categories. You can do a book search by plot or subject, or join book discussions and reading groups with thousands of members.
You can participate in the community by adding your own rankings to books you’ve read and leaving reviews for other people to check out. Occasionally, there are even bonus events like question and answer sessions with authors.
LibraryThing is the self-proclaimed largest book club in the world. It has more than 2.3 million members and is a part-cataloging site/part-social networking site.
With a free account, you can add up to 200 books to your library and share them with other users. But it’s in the other areas where LibraryThing can claim to be one of the best book review sites.
Naturally, there are ratings, user reviews, and tags. But be sure to click on the Zeitgeist tab at the top of the page. It contains masses of information, including the top books by rating, by the number of reviews, by authors, and loads more.
Book Riot is a blog. It publishes listicles on dozens of different topics, many of which review the best books in a certain genre. To give you an idea, some recent articles include Keeping Hoping Alive: 11 Thrilling YA Survival Stories and The Best Historical Fiction Books You’ve Never Heard Of.
Of course, there’s also plenty of non-reading list content. If you have a general affinity for literature, Book Riot is definitely worth adding to the list of websites you browse every day.
Bookish is a site that all members of book clubs should know about. It helps you prep for your next meeting with discussion guides, book quizzes, and book games. There are even food and drink suggestions, as well as playlist recommendations.
But the site is more than just book club meetings. It also offers lots of editorial content. That comes in the form of author interviews, opinion essays, book reviews and recommendations, reading challenges, and giveaways.
Be sure to look at the Must-Reads section of the site regularly to get the latest book reviews. Also, it goes without saying that the people behind Bookish are book lovers, too. To get a glimpse of what they’re reading, check out their Staff Reads articles.
Booklist is a print magazine that also offers an online portal. Trusted experts from the American Library Association write all the book reviews.
You can see snippets of reviews for different books. However, to read them in full, you will need to subscribe. An annual plan for this book review site costs $174.95 per year.
Fantasy Book Review should be high on the list for anyone who is a fan of fantasy works. The book review site publishes reviews for both children’s books and adults’ books.
It has a section on the top fantasy books of all time and a continually updated list of must-read books for each year. You can also search through the recommended books by sub-genres such as Sword and Sorcery, Parallel Worlds, and Epic Fantasy.
LoveReading is one of the most popular book review sites in the UK, but American audiences will find it to be equally useful.
The site is divided into fiction and non-fiction works. In each area, it publishes weekly staff picks, books of the month, debuts of the month, ebooks of the month, audiobooks of the month, and the nationwide bestsellers. Each book on every list has a full review that you can read for free.
Make sure you also check out their Highlights tab to get book reviews for selected titles of the month. In Collections, you’ll also find themed reading lists such as World War One Literature and Green Reads.
Kirkus has been involved in producing book reviews since the 1930s. This book review site looks at the week’s bestselling books, and provides lengthy critiques for each one.
As you’d expect, you’ll also find dozens of “best of” lists and individual book reviews across many categories and genres.
And while you’re on the site, make sure you click on the Kirkus Prize section. You can look at all the past winners and finalists, complete with the accompanying reviews of their books.
Although Reddit is a social media site, you can use it to get book reviews of famous books, or almost any other book for that matter! Reddit has a subreddit, r/books, that is dedicated to book reviews and reading lists.
The subreddit has weekly scheduled threads about a particular topic or genre. Anyone can then chip in with their opinions about which books are recommendable. Several new threads are published every day, with people discussing their latest discovery with an accompanying book rating or review.
You’ll also discover a weekly recommendation thread. Recent threads have included subjects such as Favorite Books About Climate Science, Literature of Indigenous Peoples, and Books Set in the Desert. There’s also a weekly What are you Reading? discussion and frequent AMAs.
For more social media-like platforms, check out these must-have apps for book lovers.
YouTube is not the type of place that immediately springs to mind when you think of the best book review sites online.
Nonetheless, there are several engaging YouTube channels that frequently offer opinions on books they’ve read. You’ll easily find book reviews of famous books here.
Some of the most notable book review YouTube channels include Better Than Food: Book Reviews, Little Book Owl, PolandBananasBooks, and Rincey Reads.
Amazon is probably one of your go-to site when you want to buy something. If you don’t mind used copies, it’s also one of the best websites to buy second-hand books.
Now, to get book reviews, just search and click on a title, then scroll down to see the ratings and what others who have bought the book are saying. It’s a quick way to have an overview of the book’s rating. If you spot the words Look Inside above the book cover, it means you get to preview the first few pages of the book, too!
Regardless of the praises or criticisms you have heard from other book review sites, reading a sample is the most direct way to help you gauge the content’s potential and see whether the author’s writing style suits your tastes.
Read Book Reviews Before You Buy
The book review sites we’ve discussed will appeal to different types of readers. Some people will be more comfortable with the easy-to-interpret book rating systems; others will prefer extensive reviews written by experienced professionals.
Although it’s easy to be tempted by a gorgeous book cover, it’s always best to have a quick look at the book reviews before actually buying a copy. This way, you can save your money and spend it on the books that you’ll be proud to display on your shelves for a long time.
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