First and foremost, let me say...that without reviews, books do not do well. Any author will tell you that they both need and appreciate the time it takes the reviewer to read your book and write a review. Always, we appreciate your time. Second, let me explain that none of these comments were directed at my writing. LOL I'd have to have a few reviews first!
But. (didn't you know there was a but coming?)
A few things to remember when you review. These books are written by real people. We all know that not every reader will automatically love our work as much as we do. We don't expect it. But, would it be so difficult to at least pretend to consider the feelings of the person that wrote the book in your review?
Review the story. Let the reader know what worked for you and what didn't. But, keep your review polite and non-antagonizing.
"A rip-off of (insert your favorite title here)"
The above is my personal pet-peeve. There is very little that hasn't been done somewhere before. Vampires, faeries, elven, shapeshifters, love triangles--they've all been done. The key is the ability to take an old idea and make it new and exciting.
"Riding the coat tails of. (insert your favorite author here)"
Hello, your favorite author isn't the only author out there. Her/his work isn't the only work out there. Often, we haven't even read the author you're accusing us of 'coat tailing'.
"I couldn't get past page X"
Again, hello? Many times part of the character growth happens via some situation that happens in a story. The protagonist might seem weak, shy, whiny, (insert verb here) or whatever in the beginning. How can you give an honest review if you don't finish it?
"I don't read this kind of book and..."
Then why bother to read it? Just so you can bash it because it's not your type of book?
"The author is obviously writing about herself and her ...(insert whatever here)
Look up the term Fiction. Certainly authors will write what they know--and/or what they've researched. They aren't autobiographies. Just because the heroine falls in love online doesn't mean the author did. And if she named the cat in the story after her own cat, it doesn't mean she's secretly had an online fling.
Many books require hours and hours of research. Others, just seem to 'come' to us. But, we don't have to live something to imagine it. We can research or use our imagination. I personally have very steamy novels published under another name. They are stories. I had fun writing them--and they have a market. I certainly don't live it--but it's fun to write it.
"It's just romance, I didn't expect a lot but..."
Do you know that 40% of all books sold are romance fiction? It's a genre that allows a reader to escape into a fantasy for a couple of hours. The author still creates the world, the fantasy, the story. Don't knock an entire genre, then give it a one-star review--because it's not your genre.
Please, folks, consider the purpose of the review process, and, even more importantly, if you don't like the book--consider the person behind it when you hit the 'review' button.
Edited to add: None of these comments refer to my own books; they all refer to well-known or bestselling authors from Amazon.
Readers, thank you. We wouldn't be publishing our work if it weren't for you. But, please, remember to think when you review. We do understand that not every reader will love what we've written--honest. But review the work--not our lives!
I have intentionally not listed the names of the authors--as some of the reviews I'm discussing here are bordering on slander--and I don't want to propagate the idiocy I've read.