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8 great websites for book reviews

Readers recommend where to find good reading material

More tech fans than ever are enjoying e-books on their Kindles and iPads, but where do they turn for advice on what to read next? The internet, of course. PC Advisor readers told us their favourite literary and book-review websites.

1. Gutenberg Contemporary Reviews

Recommended by Seth Haniel

This fascinating counterpart to Project Gutenberg's archive of free, public-domain texts compiles reviews of those texts written at the time – and often with a refreshing lack of reverence for what are now viewed as classic works.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes had too many illustrations, apparently, while the immortal Three Men in a Boat is damned by a Punch writer of 1891 as "forced and vulgar".

Be warned that reviewers in those days evidently didn't care about plot spoilers.

2. Lovereading

Recommended by sunnystaines

If you've run out of books by a favoured author, give Lovereading's 'like for like' tools a try – type in someone you enjoy reading and the site will suggest similar writers, outline their work and let you buy their books at a 25 percent discount.

You can also read free extracts and check book prices elsewhere, and Lovereading will email you recommendations in the categories you've ticked when signing up.

3. BookRabbit

Recommended by Miss_bendy

"I use BookRabbit, as it's more than just an online book shop - it's a social network for bookworms," writes Miss_bendy. "In particular, I love the fact you can upload a photo of your bookshelf from home and tag the titles in it, then identify others with the same titles as you and nose through their bookshelves. It’s a great way to get ideas for new reads. It's got the usual interviews with authors and extracts for forthcoming books as well."

4. BookArmy

Recommended by MAT ALAN

This site functions as a sort of automated book club, checking its records for people with similar taste to you, then suggesting titles they've enjoyed but you've yet to try. While there are some anomalies – is Twilight author Stephenie Meyer really a similar writer to Jane Austen? – it's a useful tool for bibliophiles looking for their next fix.

"Nothing too flash: straight to the point, and simple to navigate," observes MAT ALAN.

5. Amazon

Recommended by mr simon

"The original online bookstore: it's Amazon for me," writes mr simon. "I like reviews by The Times and The Guardian, but you're getting a single perspective with those. For a larger sample size I use Amazon."

Amazon's vast consumer-goods empire started out as a humble online bookseller, and it remains one of the best places to go for literary bargains. And it'll help you choose a good read, too, offering crowd-sourced reviews of each title – as mr simon points out, the site's size means you get a thorough cross-section of opinion – and making recommendations based on your browsing and buying habits.

On selected books you can even read the opening few pages and make up your own mind.

6. Reading Matters

Recommended by Doug White

This enderingly plain site is targeted at children. It covers a smaller range of authors than some some of the sites here (what, no Roald Dahl?) but the reviews are thoughtfully written and helpful. You also get user reviews, generally riddled with exclamation marks and childish enthusiasm. The site suggests similar writers and includes a 'Bookchooser', where you select the importance of various elements – 'Scary', 'Funny', 'Animal interest' – and it recommends something suitable.

7. Waterstone's

Recommended by Quickbeam
    
Waterstone's is a smart, well-designed online bookshop. Search for a book or author you're interested in, or browse through one of the site's numerous categories, then read criticism by professional reviewers, Waterstone's staff and customers – although the sample size can't compare with Amazon.

Like some other sites here, Waterstone's also suggests further reading by providing a 'Customers who bought this title, also bought...' list and naming other books by the same author.

8. The Bookbag

Recommended by S Taylor

"The Bookbag is a small, accessible reviews site," writes S Taylor, "and I enjoy the tone of the writing and the helpful features. You can browse through all the five-star reviews, buy books you fancy through Amazon and look up similar authors. There are also features and monthly newsletters."

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