What I look for in a review is honesty... with compassion. Not every reader will like every book written, but there is a way to review the dislike of an author's sweat and tears without slamming it. Yes, of course, all authors love that 5 star review flavored with delightful adjectives and a hunger for more of their work. But let's face it, we're not going to get that from every reviewer.
As an author, I get excited when I see a new review posted next to my book's title. I compare it to the return of a test, when the teacher places it top down on your desk. I remember slowly turning that page over to see that big red letter plastered at the top of that exam. Naturally, I was excited to see that big A+, semi-excited to see that B and not too delighted to get a result lower than that (the equivalent to a 3, 2 or the dreaded 1 star review). After I'd let the scarlet letter sink into my consciousness, I'd scan the page for my teacher's comments. If she had been a nice teacher, her comments were polite and I'd sit in that classroom feeling somewhat dignified, regardless of the grade. BUT...if she was one of those teachers lacking in empathy for her many students, then I'd slink into my chair, ashamed and discouraged. This is how a slap in the face review feels to me. I know I need to expect criticism as an author...and it's just something that comes with the territory, but can't I expect some kindness as well? I want to continue to write novels. Yes, I need to have a back bone and carry on despite a nasty review. But I would like to do it with some dignity.
As a reader, I look for a review that feels honest. I like details of the hunky hero or spunky heroine. I want to know a bit about the book and if the story fit the author's description of the book. I wouldn't mind reading if the reviewer would recommend the book to a friend, and if not, why not. And as a reader, I would still appreciate kindness to the author. If the review is harsh, however, it just may lead me to read that book anyway...just because that author didn't deserve the band-aid being ripped off too quickly. And like everyone knows, not every book is going to be every reader's cup of tea.
Please comment below and let me know what YOU think?