Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but that new novel is so delightful. Or perhaps, the dreariness of that tome is accentuated by the glimmering sunlight on the winter wonderland of snow outside. Chances are, the book in somewhere in between.
But whether you think the book shines or whether you can only get through the first ten pages before putting it aside forever, the best gift you can give the author is an honest review.
Of course, all of us who write would love to see page after page of glowing, five-star reviews. But the reality is, not everyone will like every book. Even a seemingly great book will have its detractors. But no matter where it falls in your personal view, no author can improve on their work without forthright feedback, and the review process is a major part of that.
And, though most of us are loathe to admit it, it's the less-than-stellar reviews that cause us to think critically about our writing, and to strive to improve the quality of the product we turn out.
So whether your review is a five-star diamond or a one-star lump of coal, give each of your authors a bit of your time and tell them honestly how you felt about their work. They, we, will appreciate the gift of a review this holiday, or any, season.