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19 of the Best Books of 2021
A bookworm is happiest when they’re surrounded by books — both old and new. Undoubtedly, 2021 was a great year for both fiction and nonfiction, with bestsellers like Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters and Second Place by Rachel Cusk. Whether you read memoirs or young-adult (YA) novels, 2021 was a fantastic year for book lovers. While we can’t squeeze in all of our favorites from 2021, we’ve rounded up a stellar sampling of must-reads. Here’s some of the year’s best books.
“Crying in H Mart: A Memoir” by Michelle Zauner
In her profound memoir Crying in H Mart , Michelle Zauner shares an unflinching view of growing up as a Korean American person — all while reflecting on losing her mother to terminal cancer. Author Dani Shapiro notes that the Japanese Breakfast musician “has created a gripping, sensuous portrait of an indelible mother-daughter bond that hits all the notes: love, friction, loyalty, grief.”
“The Prophets” by Robert Jones, Jr.
In Robert Jones, Jr.’s lyrical debut novel, The Prophets , Isaiah and Samuel are two enslaved young men who find refuge in each other — and their love becomes both sustaining and heroic in the face of a vicious world. Entertainment Weekly writes that “While The Prophets’ dreamy realism recalls the work of Toni Morrison… Its penetrating focus on social dynamics stands out more singularly.” Now that’s a compliment.
“The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman
At President Joe Biden’s inauguration, Amanda Gorman read her electrifying poem, “ The Hill We Climb .” Since then, it has been praised for its call for unity and healing. Vogue captures the feeling of reading the poem well, calling it “deeply rousing and uplifting.”
“Beautiful World, Where Are You” by Sally Rooney
New York Times bestselling author Sally Rooney has returned with a sharp, romantic drama, Beautiful World, Where Are You . Two separate relationships are in chaos, threatening to ruin friendships. Vogue declares that the author has “invented a sensibility entirely of her own: Sunny and sharp.”
“Somebody’s Daughter: A Memoir” by Ashley C. Ford
Ashley C. Ford’s coming-of-age memoir, Somebody’s Daughter , centers on her childhood. Ford, a Black girl who grew up poor in Indiana, recounts how her family was fragmented by her father’s incarceration. With rich, unflinching writing, Ford has penned a debut for the ages. The memoir’s publisher perhaps puts the core of the book best, noting that Ford “embarks on a powerful journey to find the threads between who she is and what she was born into, and the complicated familial love that often binds them.”
“Last Night at the Telegraph Club” by Malinda Lo
Everyone remembers their first all-consuming love — and for Lily Hu, the teenage protagonist of Malinda Lo’s queer YA novel, that love is Kathleen Miller. Set in the 1950s in San Francisco, Last Night at the Telegraph Club is not just one of the year’s best, but one of Lo’s best. O: The Oprah Magazine notes that the novel is “proof of Lo’s skill at creating darkly romantic tales of love in the face of danger.”
“¡Hola Papi!” by John Paul Brammer
In his memoir, ¡H ola Papi!: How to Come Out in a Walmart Parking Lot and Other Life Lessons , advice columnist John Paul Brammer delves into his experiences growing up as a queer, biracial person. The Los Angeles Times writes that “Brammer’s writing is incredibly funny, kind, and gracious to his readers, and deeply vulnerable in a way that makes it feel as if he’s talking to only you” — and we couldn’t agree more.
“Honey Girl” by Morgan Rogers
In Morgan Rogers’ novel Honey Girl , Grace Porter is an overachiever — and certainly not the type of person to marry a stranger in Las Vegas. Or, at least, she didn’t think she was that type of person. As Grace navigates the messiness of adulthood, Rogers takes us on a journey that’s both heartfelt and unflinching, illustrating that love is all about risks — even when it comes to loving ourselves.
“Aftershocks: A Memoir” by Nadia Owusu
Nadia Owusu’s memoir, Aftershocks , reflects on her experience of being abandoned by her parents at a young age. Entertainment Weekly notes that “Owusu dispatches all of this heartache with blistering honesty but does so with prose light enough that it never feels too much to bear.”
“Klara and the Sun” by Kazuo Ishiguro
What if an artificial intelligence (AI) assistant had feelings? In Kazuo Ishiguro’s latest novel, Klara and the Sun , Klara is an Artificial Friend who wonders if friendship is possible. The Financial Times called the Never Let Me Go author’s latest “a deft dystopian fable about the innocence of a robot that asks big questions about existence.”
“100 Boyfriends” by Brontez Purnell
Brontez Purnell’s romantic, intoxicating book, 100 Boyfriends , is a look at the romantic lives of queer men who are striving to find out not just where they belong, but where they can shine. Author Bryan Washington praised the collection, writing that “Each story in 100 Boyfriends is a minor eclipse: stunning in scope, technically blinding, and entirely miraculous.”
“One Last Stop” by Casey McQuiston
In Casey McQuiston’s big-hearted romance novel, One Last Stop , August meets Jane on a New York City subway — but she doesn’t realize just how fateful their chance encounter is at first. New York Magazine called the novel “an earnest reminder that home — whether that means a time, a place, or a person — is worth fighting for,” and we wouldn’t expect anything less from the Red, White & Royal Blue author.
“Afterparties: Stories” by Anthony Veasna So
In Afterparties , Anthony Veasna So weaves together tenderhearted stories about the lives of several Cambodian American characters. Although the stories vary quite a bit in terms of content, author George Saunders writes that they are all “powered by So’s skill with the telling detail,” and are much like “…beams of wry, affectionate light, falling from different directions on a complicated, struggling, beloved American community.”
“Malibu Rising” by Taylor Jenkins Reid
In Taylor Jenkins Reid’s novel Malibu Rising , readers meet four famous siblings as they throw their annual end-of-summer party in Malibu. However, over the course of 24 hours, family drama ensues. The Washington Post calls this read “a fast-paced, engaging novel that smoothly transports readers.”
“Let Me Tell You What I Mean” by Joan Didion
Between 1968 and 2000, award-winning journalist and essayist Joan Didion wrote 12 pieces about a variety of well-known figures, ranging from Ernest Hemingway and Nancy Reagan to Martha Stewart. Now, these works have been gathered in the essay collection Let Me Tell You What I Mean . Bret Easton Ellis writes that Didion’s “prose remains peerless,” so, if you’re a fan of the iconic writer, this is a must-read.
“Intimacies” by Katie Kitamura
Intimacies is Katie Kitamura’s fourth novel, following 2017’s critically acclaimed A Separation . In it, an interpreter for the International Court at the Hague gets drawn into a political scandal after agreeing to translate for a former world leader and potential criminal. The novel is a fascinating investigation into the instability of language and how it influences identity. Dana Spiotta describes Intimacies as “a haunting, precise, and morally astute novel that reads like a psychological thriller.”
“Detransition, Baby” by Torrey Peters
In Detransition, Baby , Torrey Peters tells a witty and nuanced story about partnership, parenthood and identity. About the novel, Ginny Hogan from the New York Times states “[Detransition, Baby upends] our traditional, gendered notions of what parenthood can look like.”
“Second Place” by Rachel Cusk
In Rachel Cusk’s novel Second Place , a follow up to her brilliant Outline trilogy, a woman invites an artist she admires to live in her remote guesthouse for the summer. As the stay unfolds, a series of unexpected events spurs revelations about womanhood, marriage and security. About Second Place , Jenny Singer from Glamour writes “there is mayhem; surprising sweetness and brilliant observations tumble from every page.”
“Sellout: The Major-Label Feeding Frenzy That Swept Punk, Emo, and Hardcore ” by Dan Ozzi
In Sellout: The Major-Label Feeding Frenzy That Swept Punk, Emo, and Hardcore , rock critic Dan Ozzi traces the stories of eleven separate bands that transitioned from the indie scene to achieve mainstream success in the ‘90s. Including interviews and anecdotes from bands like Green Day, Jimmy Eat World and Blink-182, this is a must-read for any music lover.
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The 11 Best Book Review Sites and Book Rating Sites
Knowing where to buy books can be challenging. So, here are the best book review sites to help you avoid buying books that you'll regret reading.
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.
3. Book Riot
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.
6. Fantasy Book Review
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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Blog – Posted on Friday, May 01
The best book review sites for enthusiastic readers.
Book lovers, stop us if you’ve heard this one before: you’ve just finished a mind-blowing book and you need to hear some discussion about it. What do you do? Dive straight into the limitless realm of the Internet and search for book review sites, of course.
Or here’s another scenario: you’ve finished reading a novel and now you’re searching for something to fill the void. Maybe you want more of the same, or maybe something completely different to switch things up. You’ll probably also scour the Internet for ratings and trustworthy recommendations.
Fortunately, there are endless review blogs and book review sites that you can peruse. Un fortunately, not every one of them features a wide enough variety to help you. But don’t worry: we’ve got you covered with ten of the best book review sites to satisfy the bookworm in you. If you want to cut to the chase and get a personalized pick for a book review site in 30 seconds, we first recommend taking this quick quiz:
Which review community should you join?
Find out which review community is best for your style. Takes 30 seconds!
Then read on for the full explanation of all of the best book review sites out there!
It’s impossible not to mention Goodreads when discussing book communities: it’s the Facebook of book reviews — the ultimate social media platform for bibliophiles. If you’ve somehow managed to go this long without stumbling upon this omnipresent site, here’s the run-down: you can use Goodreads to organize, display, and discuss your virtual bookshelf with other users.
Goodreads recommendations are based on your listed interests. You can follow authors and book influencers ranging from Celeste Ng to Bill Gates . This allows you to see all their reviews, which vary from compact one-liners to critical analysis, and watch the new reviews roll in. For a quick verdict, just take a look at the star rating that they give the book.
Also if you like to browse lists, Goodreads compiles the best and most popular books for every genre. There’s also the annual Goodreads’ Choice Awards to celebrate each year’s new releases, where you can cast your vote or peruse the list of contenders to find a new book to read. It’s a site for every kind of reader, with abundant ways to comment and interact.
This is the OG of all online book catalogues and discussion boards — take a look and you’ll see that it’s an oldie but a goodie. Of course, the basic functions of LibraryThing are rather similar to Goodreads: there are millions of books that readers can add to their lists, as well as review with star ratings.
While the interface harks back to the earlier days of the world wide web, LibraryThing has a secret weapon that’ll appeal to all readers, especially modern ones: their Zeitgeist . This page displays the latest crème de la crème of the whole site, from the most popular books to the hottest reviews , which you can also write with the help of a good book review template . Just a glance shows that the readers here know how to read between the lines and wield their words!
So if you’re hoping to read or share some in-depth literary thoughts with fellow sharp-minded users , LibraryThing is the site to browse. (You can even access it without creating an account!)
3. Reedsy Discovery
Now, if you’re searching for some hidden gems to peruse, Reedsy Discovery ’s got your back. While our blog features everything from classics to contemporary hits, Discovery’s specialty is indie publications, many of which are accompanied with succinct comments from experienced reviewers . There’s no better way to broaden your horizon!
Moreover, if casual and creative reviews are more your cup of tea, then rejoice: the burgeoning community of readers on Discovery can leave comments, one-line reviews, and video reviews (calling all Booktubers!) on just about any book. It’s a fun and interactive way to geek out over your favorite reads and discover all the coolest new titles you won’t find anywhere else.
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Though it’s UK-based, this prolific site caters to audiences around the world. LoveReading is strictly a reviewing site, with a base of staff writers and carefully selected contributors, so you know the reviews are top-notch. The staff often give quite personal reading experiences in their reviews, which make their recommendations very endearing, like they’re from a close friend. They even offer you presents — well, if you think of giveaways as presents!
LoveReading covers books from every genre you can think of. They also have weekly, monthly, and yearly list features to keep you up to date with the latest stellar releases, so you’ll never be in want of something to pore over.
5. The Millions
In search of reviews that really dive into the themes, metaphors, and overall executions of interesting and highbrow books? The Millions has got you covered.
Written by a collection of seasoned critics, these reviews are speckled with memorable quotes, elegant analysis, and plentiful comparisons to other works — which means extra reading recommendations for you! If contemporary and literary fictions are your go-tos, then The Millions is the site for all your lit nerd needs.
6. SFBook Reviews
Those who think quantity and quality don’t go hand in hand, you clearly haven’t encountered SFBook Review . The five reviewers on the team here share two common and important goals: firstly, to follow the outpour of new titles in the sci-fi, fantasy, and horror genres every year, and secondly, to give thoughtful reviews to as many of them as possible.
This team knows their SFF niches inside out, so their verdicts are very credible. Still, their reviews are quite friendly and personal — they discuss other related books and share their reading experiences to help you make your own reading choices.
Bookpage features all kinds of genres: from children’s books to nonfiction, from the works of household names to debut authors, and so much more. Their format is neat and straightforward — they bring you the volumes they think are most worthwhile, recommending them to you by summarizing and concisely commenting on the prose, the theme, and the plot of each chosen book.
In addition to this, Bookpage also features author interviews and articles that unearth the deeper themes and purposes of certain books. If you’re a true book lover seeking like-minded literary aficionados, this may be the perfect place for you.
8. Book Riot
Avid readers, you’ve probably stumbled upon Book Riot more times than you can remember. While it’s not a site that individually assesses titles, it has lists for everything — from timeless literary giants to the top books in each genre. What’s more, Book Riot has lots of thinkpieces that dive deep into the way certain titles make readers feel — be it exhilarated, motivated, or enraged — and that’s really all you need to know when deciding to embark on a new reading adventure.
Additionally, if you’d rather listen to discussions and reviews rather than read them, you'll be happy to know that Book Riot has a range of podcasts for you to choose from.
NetGalley is another platform bringing you new and unconventional recommendations. They specialize in connecting authors who are publishing to readers who’d like to preview and put in their two cents. While the database of books available here are not the most expansive, those that are featured are certainly worth your time.
Readers can benefit most from NetGalley via their book recommendation site, Bookish , where the staff reviewers update you with their recent reads and in-depth thoughts on those reads. Along with that, Bookish also has book club kits, equipped with comprehension questions and discussion points, to help readers explore stories mindfully.
While it’s very similar to Goodreads, BookBub focuses more on connecting readers to books that might suit them specifically — which is partly why you’ll see plenty of bargains and deals promoted on the site.
Because of this promotional value, BookBub has quite a strong author community. Diana Gabaldon and Gillian Flynn , for instance, are constantly recommending books on their accounts. So if you’d like to tag along with your favorite author, this is an excellent website to visit. The only drawback of BookBub is that they only have community reviews from users based in the US, and you have to sign up in order to read them.
With these ten sites, you’ll be sure to find your little community of fellow book lovers regardless of what your interests are. Here’s to exciting TBR lists and nourished minds!
If you want to try your hand at reviewing, we’ve got a little guide to help you out ! On the other hand, if you want to plough away at your books, why not consider the Kindle Cloud Reader ?
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Before you start your search you should know the title and author of the book being reviewed. The date of publication will sometimes also be required. Some databases offer a search option to limit search results to book reviews. Where not present, adding a keyword search that includes the phrase "book review" should help. Reviews of popular books are typically published close to their publication dates; find them via book-related websites and indexes that cover general interest periodicals. Reviews of scholarly books may take months to appear in scholarly journals. For more databases that cover scholarly journals, visit the Library of Congress E-Resources Online Catalog .
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Free contemporary book reviews are widely available on the web. The sources listed below are some of the most common places to find them.
- Amazon.com External Amazon.com offers book reviews of many of the book titles it sells. Some reviews are by professionals; many are by readers. Find a book and scroll down its entry to read the reviews, where present. For balance, try a variety of positive and negative reviews.
- Barnes & Noble External Barnes and Noble includes professional book reviews with the descriptions of many of the books it sells.
- Complete Review External The Complete Review contains a selected listing of old and new book titles with reviews and links to more reviews.
- GoodReads Reviews External GoodReads offers millions of book reviews contributed by its community members which include librarians, journalists, and many other readers.
- LibraryThing Reviews External LibraryThing Reviews are written by members of the LibraryThing community of readers and book collectors. Reviews are grouped in various ways, including by genre or may be searched by author or title.
- LJ Reviews External LJ Reviews includes the most recent 24 months of book reviews from Library Journal. Books reviewed are popular and scholarly titles on a wide variety of subjects.
- New York Times Book Review (free selections) External A free collection of book reviews published in The New York Times since 1981.
- School Library Journal Reviews+ External Features reviews from School Library Journal from the most recent twenty-four months. Browse by genre, grade level, award winners and other criteria.
Subscription databases are great sources for current and recent book reviews. Many also include historical coverage.
- Children's Literature Review, Vols 1-216
These more general subscription databases cover a wide array of periodicals which include book reviews. Using the phrase "book review" in your search can be effective if no check-box option for book reviews is available in the database's search function.
Some researchers seek reviews that are decades or even centuries old, for example, to see how a book written in the 19th Century was reviewed when it was first released. This listing includes general and book review resources. For the general sources, be sure to Include the phrase "book review" in your search if no check-box option for book reviews is available.
- African American Newspapers, 1827-1998 (Series 1 and Series 2)
- American Business: Agricultural Newspapers
- American Business: Mercantile Newspapers
- American Gazettes: Newspapers of Record
- American Politics: Campaign Newspapers
- American Religion: Denominational Newspapers
- Early American Newspapers, Series 1, 1690-1876: From Colonies to Nation
- Early American Newspapers, Series 2, 1758-1900: The New Republic
- Early American Newspapers, Series 3, 1783-1922: From Farm to City
- Early American Newspapers, Series 4, 1756-1922: The Rise of Industry
- Early American Newspapers, Series 5, 1777-1922: An Emerging World Power
- Early American Newspapers, Series 6, 1741-1922: Compromise and Disunion
- Early American Newspapers, Series 7: 1773-1922: Reform and Retrenchment
- Early American Newspapers, Series 8, 1844-1922: A Nation in Transition
- Early American Newspapers, Series 9, 1832-1922: Protest and Prosperity
- Early American Newspapers, Series 11, 1803-1899: From Agrarian Republic to World Power
- Early American Newspapers, Series 12, 1821-1900: The Specialized Press
- Early American Newspapers, Series 13, 1803-1916: The American West
- Early American Newspapers, Series 14, 1807-1880: The Expansion of Urban America
- Early American Newspapers, Series 15, 1822-1879: Immigrant Communities
- Early American Newspapers, Series 16, 1800-1877: Industry and the Environment
- Early American Newspapers Series 17, 1844-1922: American Heartland
- Early American Newspapers, Series 18, 1825-1879: Racial Awakening in the Northeast
C19 Index draws on the strength of established indexes such as the Nineteenth Century Short Title Catalogue (NSTC), The Wellesley Index, Poole's Index, Periodicals Index Online and the Cumulative Index to Niles' Register 18111849 to create integrated bibliographic coverage of over 1.7 million books and official publications, 70,000 archival collections and 20.9 million articles published in over 2,500 journals, magazines and newspapers. C19 Index now provides integrated access to 13 bibliographic indexes, including more than three million records from British Periodicals Collections I and II, together with the expanded online edition of the Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century Journalism (DNCJ).
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- Last Updated: Jan 31, 2023 11:26 AM
- URL: https://guides.loc.gov/finding-book-reviews
Best Paid Book Review Sites for Authors
Reviews are the lifeblood of your book’s success. Getting them is vital throughout your author journey, starting from before until long after you launch your piece of writing. Paid services are, of course, well aware of this fact. There are so many to choose from, so if you’re wondering what the best paid book review sites are, keep reading!
Dozens and dozens of companies are happy to take your money in exchange for the promise of landing you some good reviews.
With the many book review sites out there, you might be wondering which one should you choose.
Not All Paid Book Review Sites Are The Same
You can easily find plenty of companies out there that promises reviews in exchange for dollars. But, as much as you’d want them to be, not all of them will turn out effective. In fact, you may come across some that aren’t even legit.
Rather than take you through all the options available, I’ll share the tried-and-tested ones we use to help get your search narrowed down.
Here at Book Launchers, we use:
- BookSirens, and
- Booksprout for our authors.
Now, you might be thinking, “ A review is a review. So why so many different sites for the same thing?”
Well, if you haven’t noticed, paid book review sites aren’t all the same. Your book category, overall strategy, goals, and who you’re targeting are essential aspects to consider before going with a review company.
Still, every review site has the same ultimate goal: increase your exposure, find new readers for your book, and bump up those review counts.
Not all sites can make sense for every author. The best course of action would be to pick those that best suit your unique needs.
Here are the four best paid book review sites you can rely on for non-fiction authors, each with its distinctive features.
Goodreads is the most popular review site in the publishing industry today. It remains the top on-line community for book lovers and authors alike.
Amazon runs it, so it boasts some perks for authors with books in the Amazon database.
Right through the site, you can claim your profile and earn a badge that verifies your identity. You’ll also be able to access a wealth of statistical information on your books listed on KDP.
So, how do you know if Goodreads is the way to go? Well, if you want your book to go viral and gain as much exposure as possible, Goodreads could be your ticket.
Here, the strategy is to get people to add your book to their virtual bookshelves, and of course, leave some reviews on it.
This way, your book gets raised visibility. Other users can now see it in their friends’ feeds, giving it a much better chance to be added to their reading list.
Think of it as like playing a giant book-fueled game of telephone with 80 million people.
Speaking of games, did you know that we have an entire YouTube channel dedicated to guiding authors like you to create an excellent self-publishing game plan. Check it out, and if you like what you see, let’s see how fast you can smash that subscribe button.
Back to our topic, you can also run a giveaway on Goodreads, a surefire way to get book reviews. It’s something we do regularly for our clients.
All active giveaways are listed on the giveaway section of the website. Your fans can link to it and encourage their friends to enter the giveaway.
Here’s a video dedicated entirely to helping you get all the goods you can get on Goodreads.
Next up on the paid book review site list is NetGalley. NetGalley is a service that delivers digital Advanced Reader Copies, better known as ARCs.
This service provides ARCs of your book to professional readers. We’re talking about reviewers, media, journalists, bloggers, librarians, booksellers, podcast hosts, and many others.
These professional readers use NetGalley to access digital copies of your book, making it an effective marketing tool not just for your book but for your entire brand as an author.
It allows your work to be made available to people who want to read it in their professional capacity.
A NetGalley promotion offers your ARC three months to be highlighted in their database’s recently added and read now sections. The promo also lets you showcase your book to the sections specific to your title’s categories.
By opting for this promo, all users will see your book listed on the NetGalley website.
There’s a lot more to NetGalley when it comes to figuring out if it’s the right one for you.
To help you out, we have a video that goes into all the details of this review site. We also dive deep into costs because it can be pretty expensive and may not be worth it for all books. Stick to the end of this video to make sure if this review site is for you.
The following two on this list are similar to NetGalley. These two book review sites also deliver your ARC copy to both readers and reviewers. But, they focus more on getting your ARC securely to reviewers, bloggers, and your book army.
BookSirens boasts over 10,000 readers across various genres with an average review rate of 75%, making it an attractive site to get book reviews.
The high average review rate is because their users are vetted and accepted as serious book reviewers. Before users can get approval to join BookSirens, they must have posted at least 20 starred ratings on Goodreads.
How this works is that you first need to send your book to the BookSirens team for evaluation. They will then confirm if it is a quality book – something that they want to offer to their users. Once approved, they will add your book to its appropriate category where users can discover it, download the ARC, and start reading.
A remarkable feature of BookSirens, which leads to their 75% success rate, is that readers can only download one ARC at a time. They can’t download a new ARC until they finish reading and reviewing their active one.
This feature is pretty cool for authors because your advanced reader is much less likely to ghost you without leaving a review. And they’re entirely focused on one book at a time.
BookSirens will also give you a direct link that you can send to your book army. So, those folks can hop on over there and securely download their ARC for free.
You also have the option of choosing whether your reviews are posted on Goodreads, Amazon, or both. Now if you’re wondering about getting book reviews from your book army (And how to keep them from being removed) – check out this article .
Booksprout is another option to consider if your main priority is a prelaunch review push.
Similar to BookSirens, Booksprout is a review site that automates the delivery of your ARC to over 40,000 users.
Their average review rate is around 79%. Even your book army will find it challenging to beat that.
Before you get all excited, we’ve been testing this one for some time, and we’re getting mixed results.
Self-Publish and Succeed , well after launch, got four reviews from a single Booksprout listing. Yet, the other books we tested did not bring any results.
Right now, we’re playing with it to figure out whether it’s a timing issue, a topic, or something else.
We’ve experienced the same thing with BookSirens. My book wasn’t even accepted by them for their reviewers. So, I only used BookSirens for ARCs, but some authors from our client base have gotten good reviews.
BookSirens Vs. Booksprout
So what’s the difference between the two paid review sites? Which one is better for you? Let’s discuss the main differences between BookSirens and Booksprout:
- Booksprout focuses on getting reviews by a specific date, while BookSirens focuses on getting a particular number of reviews.
- On BookSirens, you can post your book and have the reviews roll in for as long as your little heart desires. But on Booksprout, your reviewers have a time limit to read and write their review.
- Booksprout also limits the number of reviewer downloads depending on your subscription level. The more money you spend on their service, the more downloads you can do.
- BookSirens is a fee-per-book service, letting you choose the number of downloads from as little as 5 to as many as 250.
On the plus side, you can request Booksprout reviews posted on up to eight different sites rather than just Goodreads or Amazon. They include options like Kobo, Apple Books, Google Books, and even BookBub.
Whether you go with BookSirens, Booksprout, or both, these two book review sites are easy to use. They’re effective if you need a little help building up your audience.
If this is your first book or your book army looks a little sparse on the prelaunch battlefield, one of these two review sites, or maybe both, could be your answer.
Now that you know some of the best sites that can help you get book reviews in bulk, maybe it’s time to get in touch with us. See what we can do to help you take off even further, even months post-launch.
Here at Book Launchers we help authors like you in every stage of the self-publishing process. Whether you write the book yourself or with our help, we’re with you every step of the way.
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Links to Book Review sites at the complete review
See also separate pages with links to : Literary Weblogs | General Literary sites | (Inter)national Literary sites | Publishers
The complete review does not meet all your book preview and review needs ? Well, let us help you find sites that can. Links to Book Review sites : On this page we have Book Review links to: English-language reviews -- reviews in English Foreign-language reviews review sites -- reviews in other languages There are currently links to 242 book review sites In addition we have separate pages for links to: Literary Weblogs General Literary sites -- General literary information sites, including online periodicals. Also: links to Online Texts - Book and Periodical Collections (Inter)national Literary sites -- Sites on specific national literatures. Publishers -- Publishers' sites in the US, UK, and elsewhere. And remember that Amazon.com often has extensive information about any book you need. Go directly to:
Book Review Sites (reviews in English)
NOTE that these links do not necessarily refer to the front pages of the listed sites, but rather only to the relevant pages -- those offering book reviews. Many newspaper and media sites (especially ones which use user-unfriendly and annoying frames) have great book review pages which, however, can not be linked to directly; the complete review refuses to provide links to such sites. Print media sources (see explanation of categories) Major - fully, freely accessible (5) Secondary - fully, freely accessible (22) Other - current, but limited archive (21) Major - registration (sometimes) required - (9) Web-based sources Aggregators -  General interest - (74) Genre and special interest - (57) (categories: Film, International, Law, Mysteries, Poetry, Romance, Science fiction and fantasy, Science and Technology, Serious non-fiction, Special Interests) See also : Foreign-language reviews review sites -- reviews in other languages
Print media sources Major - fully, freely accessible : (the biggest and best resources)
Secondary - fully, freely accessible : (local or otherwise somewhat limited resources)
Return to book review sites index .
Other - current, but limited archive : (current information, but archive limited and/or not freely accessible)
Major - registration (sometimes) required : (limited information (if any) freely and/or readily accessible)
Web-based sources Aggregators :
General interest :
Genre and special interest :
Foreign Book Review Sites:
Literary criticism and book reviewing is not restricted to English. Here a brief list of sites the complete review has found useful, in the following languages: Dutch French German Italian Russian Scandinavian Spanish Turkish
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24 Book Reviewers to Reach Out To
You finally self-published your book. Congrats! Here’s your next move: landing as many book reviews as you can. But where to get reviews aside from friends and family? To help you get started, here’s a solid list of 24 book reviewers to reach out to today. I include favorites across a range of book genres.
Real quick, why book reviewers?
Collecting book reviews is the most effective action you can take as an indie author. People rarely make a purchase when there are zero reviews (that’s e-commerce 101). Especially in the book world, reviews drive sales. Just a handful of positive reviews can help convert visitors into sales.
Definitely ask your network to leave a review for your book. But after you’ve exhausted your personal contacts, go above and beyond. Boost your credibility and discoverability by attaining reviews from sources like influential book review blogs or professional book review sites listed below.
1. Amazon’s Top Reviewers
You most likely got your book listed on Amazon. If not, you should. Amazon captures more than half of the digital book market, being the mecca of self-published content. What better place to look for reviewers than on Amazon? Check out Amazon’s list of top reviewers in your genre.
The Creative Penn shares how the process can take some time: “You need to find books similar to your own and then drill down into the review, and then further into the reviewer's profile to see if their contact information or website address is available.”
P.S. PublishDrive is an online self-publishing platform that gets your book up on Amazon and thousands of other channels .
Try PublishDrive Free
2. Amazon Book Review Section
Amazon also has a book editors’ section that features hand-picked, non-sponsored content. Not all of Amazon’s book reviewers have their contact info available but click through their names to find the ones who do share their email or review site.
3. Other Amazon Book Reviewers
This is important to mention, so I’m making it its own entity. Take the time to browse Amazon’s book pages similar to yours. See who’s reviewed them and click on those reviewers’ profiles to see if they’re open for requests.
We know Goodreads, one of the most popular book review sites. If you haven’t yet, set up an author page on Goodreads. Then use the groups search box to find reviewers. Check the guidelines of each group before you post your request.
LibraryThing is similar to Goodreads, where readers hang out to review and discuss various books. It’s like a social networking site, which you can use to find reviewers. Try offering your book with Member Giveaway , where members enter a drawing to win a book for free. Then kindly ask the winners who receive your work for a review.
6. The Bookbag
The Bookbag is one of those book review sites operating just for indies. The site posts reviews along with links to the books on Amazon. Although it’s not guaranteed your book will get chosen, it’s free to try. Read their instructions on how to submit your work. Tip: “The trick is to send books that will appeal to at least one of our panel of fifty reviewers!”
7. Book Riot
Looking for professional book review sites? Consider Book Riot. It’s one of the largest independent editorial book sites. The team runs a variety of media, from podcasts to newsletters across numerous genres. All you have to do is shoot them an email. Here’s their review policy .
8. Kirkus Review
Kirkus Review is another professional site for some of the best reviews to land. Kirkus reviewers are credible, trusted voices in the publishing world. This one is paid. If you have the budget for it, purchasing a Kirkus review is a great way to increase clout.
IndieReader is a paid option as well, a tad cheaper than Kirkus Review. If your budget permits, it’s not a bad idea to pay for a guaranteed review by a more established name. You can paste the review on your editorial reviews section on Amazon, your author website, and even the back of your book. See IndieReader’s pricing .
BookPage covers most genres, from literary fiction, to mystery, and biography. Its book recommendations are informative, periodically featuring author interviews. All you gotta do is send an email pitch with a digital review copy no later than four months before your book launch. See their guidelines .
11. The New York Review of Books
Imagine having your book shared with over 2.3M followers on Twitter. This is quite an ambitious one, but why not give it a go? Esquire described The New York Review of Books as “the premier literary-intellectual magazine in the English language.” Check the FAQ page (under “Editorial”) for the address to send your request.
12. The Kindle Book Review
The Kindle Book Review provides awards, shoutouts, and various resources for authors. And of course, the site specializes in giving reviews. Peruse its team of reviewers to ensure a proper fit for your book. Read how to make your request .
13. Maryse’s Book Blog
Book blogs are fantastic because they’re usually free. Plus, passionate readers run these blogs about books. In the gigantic romance genre, you don’t want to miss Maryse’s Book Blog . She covers romance stories of all subgenres, including contemporary, paranormal, urban fantasy, and more.
14. True Story Book Blog
Under romance, don’t miss out on True Story Book Blog either. Lisa reviews subgenres like contemporary, new adult, and paranormal. She’s also one of the best bloggers for adult erotica books. I mean, she’s got over 15K followers on Twitter. Lisa shares: “If it wasn’t for 50 Shades, I wouldn’t be where I am today.” Is 50 Shades of Grey not one of the best erotica works to date?
15. Book Woman Joan
Got a spiritual book? For Christian book reviews, go to blog reviewer Book Woman Joan . She covers a variety of genres but has a large following, particularly for Christian works.
16. The YA Bookworm Blogger
How about YA books? The YA Bookworm Blogger reviews books classified as Young Adult Fiction and New Adult Fiction. Her favorite genres are romance, paranormal, contemporary, and dystopian. See her review policy .
17. Mom With a Reading Problem
For children’s books, reach out to Mom with a Reading Problem . She goes on a first come, first serve policy and aims for a turnaround of 30 days.
When it comes to blogger reviews for all things dark, contact ChapterInMyLife . Sharon is a fanatic of crime fiction, true crime, thrillers, mysteries, and more. She’s got a dedicated fanbase of 7K followers on Twitter.
19. Cat Pollock Writes
Cat Pollock Writes is the place to go for science fiction. Cat is an author herself. By the way, doing review swaps with other authors is a pretty cool way to not only gain reviews but get connected in your industry.
20. YouTuber With Cindy
Let’s talk about book reviewers on YouTube. To do that, I have to mention YouTuber With Cindy . She has over 484K subscribers, and she’s freaking awesome. If you’ve got the budget and want to go big, working with influential YouTubers like Cindy will get you massive exposure. Cindy is straightforward about pricing: “If you have a conservative budget, please be realistic before contacting and consider working with someone else.” Here’s her FAQ .
21. Smaller YouTube Channels
If you can’t afford the big names like Cindy, there are a ton of smaller YouTubers you can work with instead. For example, SparklesBooks got almost 6K subscribers reviewing mostly horror and paranormal content. I couldn’t find her email or review policy, but here’s her Instagram .
Speaking of Instagram… Heard of bookstagrammers? Bookstagrammers are book reviewers on the social media platform Instagram. Check the hashtag #bookstagram on Instagram to discover your next reviewer.
23. Social Media
And speaking of Instagram, I have to mention social media as a whole. Just like on Instagram, you can search for reviewers who cover your genre on social channels like Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Draft a polite request and send out those DMs.
24. ARC Team
I end this list with a note on building an ARC Team. ARC stands for advance review copy or advanced readers copy. In self-publishing, you take care of everything on your own. An ARC team’s sole purpose is to help you gain more reviews. If you have to outsource one area of your publishing gig, why not this? Learn more about building an ARC team .
You got the book blogs and book reviewers. What next?
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Use NetGalley for free to request, read, and recommend digital review copies before they are published. Your reviews and feedback are