Example of Book Review
The Ka, a novel


An example of book review writing can be found listed with most books sold on the Net and on the writer’s Web sites.

A good sample book review would pertain to writing your personal feelings about a book that you’ve read.

Writing a book review is not to be confused with writing a summary of a book. Writing a summary is a totally different matter and that will be covered eventually in my Articles section.

In my opinion, no real format exists for writing book reviews. Writing help may not be needed. An example of book review variations is shown below.

Some rules do apply, however, and you will see that they are loose and easy to apply.

On this page, you will find reviews pertaining to my paranormal Egyptian fantasy novel, The Ka. You can also…

Read and analyze the first chapter of The Ka.

Read and analyze the lengthy character list for The Ka.

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Some Dos and Don’ts

of Writing Book Reviews


Do ~


State how you feel about the story overall.

    Did you get emotionally involved?

    (Sample: I cried at the ending. What happens to the main character is something I can easily relate to.)

Point out what you liked about the plot.

    The setting. The season. Time period. The writer’s ability. Anything that moved you.

    (Sample: The descriptions of the costumes during the time period came alive for me.)

Talk about your favorite character.

    Do you love a certain character or were they the type you love to hate?

    (Sample: The villain in this story was so real, I couldn’t help hating him.)

Tell if the author writes a great tale.

    Have you read this author before? Would again?

    (Sample: This story was fantastic from beginning to end. Really breathtaking. I’ll definitely check out this author’s next book.)

Be careful what you say.

    Comment on the book, not the writer.

    (Sample: This was an interesting book, but not what I expected from this great writer.)

Recommend the book.

    Of course, a positive review is the best recommendation.

    (Sample: Without reservation, I heartily recommend this book.)

Be honest.

    If the book or story moves you, write an honest review.

    (Sample: I read the story twice. It really fills me with hope for the characters.)

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Don’t ~


Excessively criticize

    Some criticism can’t be helped. Make it constructive criticism, if you must.

    (Sample of constructive criticism: The setting for this story was perfect. But I really wish more of the history of the time period could have been included.)

Write about how the book offended you.

If it did, why didn’t you simply stop reading it?

(Sample of a bad review: This story went against my religious principles.)

Plan vengeance and retaliation.

    If you’re sorry you bought the book, resell it on Amazon, Alibris, or any other place on the Internet, even your own local used book shops.

    (Sample of bad review: I hate this story. I want my money back.)

Ever make negative comments about the writer.

    It’s okay to say that you felt the writer didn’t get their point across, or could have more thoroughly described the characters, comments like that.

    (Sample of a bad review: The writer is an idiot who knows nothing about the topic.)


Your personality shows magnificently in what you say when you write book reviews. When writing derogatory remarks, you could end up accomplishing nothing more than making yourself look ridiculous.

Some great examples of book reviews can be found at Book Town in author/reviewer Susan's Whitfield's column.



Visit Book Town

That said, let’s get back to the example of book review data that I’ve compiled for you.

I’ve brought together some of the reviews I have received personally and a few from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and others I received after traveling on book signing tours.

    Before The Ka was published, I received several reviews from people who read the manuscript. Two are included here.

    You can also see a sample book review or two (or more!) that I received for my first novel, The Tropics. That example of book review comments is just as exciting!

Also, watch for an example of book review comments for my first mystery/suspense novel, River Bones, which should be released about March 2008.



The Ka

A paranormal Egyptian fantasy

Egyptian magic interpreted from hieroglyphs by a modern-day archaeological team activates ancient spells and rituals that will haunt them for the rest of their lives.

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The following is an example of book review brevity, but it says everything the reader wished to convey.

1) Mystery, magic, intrigue, and great attention to historical detail.

~~ Sherrye Boyer Dix, London, England

Notice in the above sample of book review writing that the reader pointed out what appealed to her.

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An author is allowed to extract excerpts from total information received in a review. I get permission to do this first, but it is not necessary as long as you do not change the reviewer’s opinion.


    The rule is: Once the reviewer sends an author their book review comments, they become property of the author, to do with, as they will. They may correct misspellings, change punctuation, or incorrect word usage, but should never change or distort the opinion.

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This is an example of extracting certain data from a lengthier example of book review data in order to satisfy maximum word requirements on some of my advertising:


2) Mary Deal has created word images so vivid that it is almost like watching a movie. She takes you for a romp through ancient Egyptian history as an archaeological team finds and opens a mysterious tomb in Valley of the Queens.

~~ Joseph J. Ursprung, Phoenix, AZ

This was his entire review:

The Ka is a book for all tastes. This skillfully craft novel contains history, science, mysticism, mystery, intrigue, humor and romance in a neat package that is not just entertaining but challenges your mind and imagination.

    Mary Deal has created word images so vivid it is almost like watching a movie. She takes you for a romp through ancient Egyptian history as an archaeological team finds and opens a tomb in Valley of the Queens.

An archaeological student has the mystical ability to communicate with the ancient Egyptians, and this keeps the story moving at a breathtaking pace.

The Ka is a delight to read. One can only hope that from a writer of this talent, there will be many more books to come.

~~ Joseph J. Ursprung, Phoenix, Arizona

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Fortunately, lots of people write much more, as you can see in this example of book review data that I've put together. Doing so gives the author a more detailed sense of how their book is be accepted.

A lengthy review – good or bad – can help an author improve their writing.

Hopefully, if it’s a review that leans toward something negative, it comes as a pre-review, before the book goes to publication. Then things can be corrected or changed.

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What follows is an example of book review completeness left on the Barnes & Noble Web Site.

Not only does this reviewer compliment The Ka, she relates that she has read much of my writing and is thrilled with it all.

3) Great Writing! Outstanding Book!

After reading many of her short stories and her first book, The Tropics, I became permanently hooked on author, Mary Deal.

    Having waited for months for her new book, The Ka, to be published, I was thrilled to get my hands on it and start reading!
The Ka

is a masterful blend of fantasy, mystery and suspense, with liberal dashes of humor, and generous pinches of wit, bound together by a stirring romance that not only transcends time, but forever binds present to past.

    Using the backdrop of both ancient and modern day Egypt, each page grabs you and propels you to the next.

    Brimming with rich, historically accurate details, Ms. Deal’s vibrant characters, spontaneous dialog, and vivid scenery makes this a book you will not be able to put down!

Follow the premonitions of archaeology student, Chione Ini-Herit, as she and her former love interest, Aaron Ashby, along with the California Institute of Archaeology team, travel through this spellbinding novel toward destiny and providence, transformation and fulfillment to the exciting conclusion that will leave you both satisfied and wanting more.

Bravo Mary! I’m looking forward to your next book!

~~ Elizabeth Crabtree, Battle Creek, MI

Elizabeth actually left this review on Amazon as well, an act of someone who really loved the book.

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The following is an example of book review thoroughness and points out the mechanics of how the story is put together, then what he thought of it all:

4) Excellent Storytelling

I read this story in its first draft form, but that did not prepare me for the final composition. The author took the time to add details for the readers benefit.

    The primary characters are listed up front, as well, there's a list of secondary characters. The few words that define each character set me up to more deeply understand who these many people are when the story jumps into their lives.

    Similarly, the seventeen-page Glossary at the back defines terms and other information that couldn't and shouldn't be included in the body of the story, but which rounds out information for the reader's understanding.

Then there's the story itself.

    After having read the book a second time, I find myself perusing the story, amazed at how each of the characters' lives is strangely entwined with the others, and how they evolve and blend into the flow of the main plot.

The amount of research this author has done comes through in the telling. True history is included, tightly woven with threads of fantasy...right down to the Gotcha! ending. Truly an entertaining and informative read that stays with me.

~~ Ronald Holte, Kapa`a, Hawaii

(By the way, because this person read the first draft and gave LOADS of advice, I dedicated the book to him.)

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Example of book review formats follow below. Actually, no formats exist, but a similarity runs through them all. These sample book review blurbs come from those who care to promote a writer they like.

The accumulation of this example of book review material below was emailed directly to me.

This one comes from a former school friend whom I had not seen or spoken with in forty-five years!

5) The Ka really grabbed me and I read until it was finished, couldn't put it down. I loved it. The years of research that you put into writing it certainly paid off. It was great!

I have always been fascinated with Egyptology and the history of Egypt and also am really into the universe and intuitiveness. You brought the old world and all its wonders into today’s world....

~~ Wanda Lindquist, North Bend, Oregon

By the way, she also read my first novel, The Tropics, and wrote a review for that one as well.

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An example of book review completeness is reflected in comments that are personal.

6) I just finished reading The Ka and wanted to thank you for writing it. Your narrations of the tombs were especially well written, and captured my full attention.

    In addition, it was both interesting and informative to become acquainted with the richness of historical data included throughout this work. You cleverly wove together the threads of fiction with the twine of nonfiction to create a colorful and fascinating tableau.

Perhaps I’m wrong, but my guess is the main protagonist embodied many of your values and perhaps even a few of your personality traits. She appeared to be of a generation closer to my own rather than either the present or ancient day. Brava!

~~ Elizabeth Sullivan, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, Somerset, California

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Another example of book review completeness was given by a friend In Arizona who recently passed away, so his site is no longer available. However, considering this reviewer was a producer/publisher of books on CD, his words truly made my heart flutter! Here's a brief sample of his comments:

7) I just finished your book. WOW! What a story. I want to see it as a movie. I think it's time for an Egyptian epic, and this story has a lot of visual appeal, and I think the paranormal aspect would play well, too.

~~ Terry Lessig, Phoenix, Arizona

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Here’s an example of book review comments that I received after a book signing tour through Arizona, Nevada, and California:

8) …just finished The Ka – I really enjoyed it. Were you ever in Egypt? You certainly described it well. It’s fascinating to me the way authors put their words together. You have a very unique way of doing so. I will look forward to the next book

~~ Lois Hoch, Surprise, Arizona

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Here’s another following that same tour:

9) I met you and bought your book on 14 Sep at Borders in Glendale AZ. It was nice meeting you and talking about Hawaii. I did get the book read… and you "drew" great pictures so I could almost "see" everything as I read.

    You did tell me about your lengthy research and writing of the book so I know everything you said was authentic.

I liked that you had the list of characters and who they were and their jobs. Also the glossary of words and list of Gods and Goddesses. I referred to them often, so I would know who I was reading about and why this person was involved in a particular task.

Thanks for the enjoyable reading.

~~ Lora Eckels, Surprise, Arizona

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Oh! Here’s yet another from that same signing tour:

10) I do like the way that you paint a vivid picture of the characters, weaving past interactions into quick sentences to fill in the reader with some of the past history….

~~ Bill Hull, Phoenix, Arizona

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It’s amazing the people who come in and out and into our lives again.

The example of book review material in the following two reviews, from one couple and one man, are from high school friends with whom I seldom associated.

With the couple, Donna and Bob, now that we’ve become friends, Donna and I learned we have the same birthday. In fact, our lives parallel so much that even our grandfathers had the same occupation – bootlegging!

(I’m always thrilled at what I learn about my readers and friends. Can you tell?)

11) The Ka was more than we could have ever imagined. Both Bob and I could not put it down--in fact, we were fighting over whose turn it was to read it. He beat me to it and finished it first.

We both felt it would make a good movie. I could see the scenes at the digs and envision what it must have been like in the tombs. Your writing is so polished.

~~ Donna & Bob Nunes, Rio Vista, California

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12) I finished reading the "Ka". The ending...built you up and than let you have it. It was humorous, suspenseful, mysterious, and funny at times.

~~ Joe Ray Chavez, Sacramento, California

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The following example of book review excitement comes from an avid reader I met on the Internet.

13) WOW!!! FANTASTIC!!! Truly SPELLBINDING!!! Mary, Mary, MARY!!! You have such a talent for drawing the reader right into the worlds you create from the very first sentence!

    I'm going to have such a hard time waiting to read the full version of The Ka... I am so hungry now to read The Ka after reading the excerpts on your web page that I honestly feel like I am going to explode from the anticipation!!! In my humble opinion, this is bestseller stuff!!!

Thank you so much for giving me a taste of what I have to look forward to!!!

~~ Mary Porter, Grass Lake, Michigan

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This example of book review comments comes from a local woman who read the manuscript three years before The Ka was published:

14) I am honored that you allowed me to pre-read your manuscript, The Ka. I was spellbound! The story is woven of the elements I honor most in my own life: love, the Mysteries, and the past. "Ka" is a very fast read.

~~ Sandy McCluskey, Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii

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15) A local Egyptian man, from Egypt and now living on Kauai, and who owns the store Island House and Home in Kapaa said:

    The history and culture of both Ancient and modern-day Egypt is correct as much as I know about it. The story flows and has a real twist to it.

Then when asked he replied:

    Oh yes, I am recommending this book.

~~ Tarek Louca, Kapaa, Kauai, Hawaii

What better referral about a book that takes place in a foreign country, than from someone from there.


Here is one of the latest comments I have received from a reader:

16) "When we visited Kauai about a month ago, we came down to Hanapepe on the Friday Night Art Walk. At the [Talk Story] bookstore I purchased your book, The KA, and I just finished reading it. I started yesterday and had a hard time putting it down. It was excellent, well written, and very interesting. Just a note from one reader who enjoyed it tremendously! ('Course, I didn't get anything else done!)

~ Verna Keller, Tucson, AZ

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No perfect example of book review comments exists. Many formats can be found on the Internet but sometimes the best reviews are a reader's opinions.

An example of book review comments could create a very long list. As you can see, simply follow your heart. Write your opinion, what you think and feel, when you are ready to write a book review.

Writing help isn’t really necessary if you can write your thoughts and allow them to reflect how a certain book appealed to you. As you can see, your review doesn’t have to be perfect.

Book reviews help writers.

Reader’s remarks are invaluable.

If you have an author you wish to promote, write a review. Posting on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or any other place is not that difficult.

    Or you can simply write/email the author. If she or he has a Web site, your words are needed.

If any example of book review techniques presented here helps you, please use them as a sample book review to get you started writing.

    In providing an example of book review variations, I hope I have helped you to see how easy book reviews are to write.

This example of book review blurbs, coupled with the ones on The Tropics page should get you started writing.

And finally…

I am truly grateful for all the reviews I have received. I cherish these friends, many of whom I do not know. I cherish those who commented because they give me an example of book review format writing to teach.

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