Make It or Break It: The #ArmchairBookExpo Book Edition

POSTED ON June 1, 2017 BY Austine IN Discussion

You walk into the store and see a counter filled with new releases. Beautiful covers stare up at you from that table and you can’t resist picking one up. You buy it, take it home, and find out that despite that pretty cover, you really don’t like the book.

Has this happened to you?

One of today’s theme topics is all about what makes a good book and I’d say I have a pretty good idea, at this point, of what I think works. And what doesn’t. At least for my reading tastes, anyway. There are plenty of books out there I loved that others weren’t fans of and the opposite is true as well.

So, what makes a good book?

The Cover

Oh, don’t be like that. You had to know this was coming. Unfortunately, when I go to a store the first thing I see is that cover. It’s what entices me to pick a book up and a bad cover means I’m far less likely to blindly grab a book. Same goes foe eBooks and online shopping.

Furthermore, I’ve noticed a general trend in the quality of covers and the quality of the book. Does this hold true ALL the time? Absolutely not. There are plenty of good books in the world with not-so-great covers. But if I had to choose between a great cover and one of those, I’m likely going to pick the former up first.

…..The Synopsis-Book Tie-In

That back cover blurb is a book’s selling point. You’ve picked it up and read that quick little synopsis and now you’re dying to read it! But you know what sucks? When that synopsis and the book’s actual content don’t match. If the synopsis promises action and romance and the book has neither, I’m going to be pretty disappointed. A good book has a “truthful” synopsis and delivers on what it promises.

……….Formatting Makes a Difference

This is one of those other aesthetic deals but a book that has messy formatting (and I don’t mean something like an ARC), is a major turn-off and tends to ruin the reading experience for me because I’m focusing on deciphering the author’s format. Being unique is great but not at the cost of the reading experience.

……………No Mary Sues Here

You’re reading the book now and wow, these characters are FLAT. Where’s the personality? Where are their quirks? Boring characters are a quick road to DNFville. If I can’t connect to any of your characters, if I don’t enjoy reading about them, it’s a done deal for me (like I should have done with this particular book…).

………………..Don’t Hit Those Plot Holes

It’s never fun when the story is riddled with plot holes. I’m looking for a cohesive story that fully integrates the characters and plot into a seamless timeline of events. Do the characters have a good reason for making the decisions they do? Or is it just vaguely explained to move the plot forward? Does the world and its elements all make sense, or do they work on the whim of the author? The book needs to make sense.

The Entertainer

This is the biggest point of all: did I enjoy the book? Because when it comes down to it, a book can have problems and still be enjoyable and that’s what we do, right? We read for entertainment and at the most basic level, I want a book that I will enjoy reading. I want the action, the thrill, the starry eyes and adrenaline rush of an epic battle.


Now you might just stop there. You read the book, or left it unfinished. Either way you’re done and moving on. If you’re planning to review the book, you may be considering whether it’s worth leaving it unfinished or reading it all and reviewing it.

Check out our guide on writing a book review and a discussion about DNF-ing books!

How do you determine that a book is “good?”


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6 responses to “Make It or Break It: The #ArmchairBookExpo Book Edition

  1. I think covers really are more important to whether we buy them than we’d like to admit. You’re more likely to pick up a book with a pretty cover to see what the plot is after all.

  2. Excellent post!! I LOVE your Rocket mug!

    When determining whether or not a book was “good” for myself totally depends on how I felt about the book as a whole. Did I enjoy the story? Did I care for the characters? Did I like the writers style? Of course, I try to be aware of my choice of words when reviewing because I don’t want anyone to remove a book from their TBR simply because of how I personally felt about the book.

    Erica @ Erica Robyn Reads recently posted: [Book Blogger Hop] June 2nd - 8th