If there’s a skill I’ve yet to master it’s commenting on friends’ books. It’s inevitable that as you get yourself involved in the writing community that sooner or later someone you know will be the author of a book you read.
Of course, reviewing a book should be no different whether you know the author or not; what I’m talking about is those times you meet at a convention and signing and mention you’ve read their book.
Inevitably, the author will ask you “what did you think?”
I never want to respond with just a “I thought it was very good” as that sounds very hollow. It’s an empty compliment. I want to show I’ve really read it, considered it.
But at the time I don’t want to come across sycophantic or false, so feel I must come across as balanced.
And so inevitably I end up saying things like “It wasn’t the sort of book I’d normally read, but I really enjoyed it” or I start going on (at length) about how I think it will get people interested in the classics.
I think they are just looking for “I thought it was very good.”