Feb 23, 2014

Let's Talk About Reviews

So. We all know about reviews, right? When it comes to books, we post them on blogs and Goodreads and several other sites. Heck, even saying a little something about a book on Twitter is a bit of a review. But today, I'm going to talk about review reviews, like the ones I post on here.

Now, don't worry--this a drama-free post! This is a post for discussion, but like this: I want to know what YOU like to see in a review. This is a learning zone, a place to see how others do things (and to see how we all do it differently)!

About the Book
For my reviews, I start out with the book's cover and synopsis, and I also list some of the book's credentials:

-Publishing Date
-Format Read

That's it. Is that enough for you? Do you also like to see if the book is a standalone or part of a series? Other books by the author? Do you want links to Goodreads, Amazon, etc.? What do YOU want to know about the book?

The Review
This is where things can be subjective. A review is a person's thoughts on a book. What they think of a book and how they convey that is totally up to them, and there isn't a right or wrong answer. Some reviews are like an essay, others are just all OH MY GOSH THIS BOOK I CANNOT, and there are several other kinds in between. But they all do the same thing: review a book.

When I review a book, I try to stick to a pattern of sorts and mention similar things in each review (not necessarily in this order):

-Intro (thoughts going into the book, thoughts after the book, random musings, etc.)
-Dislikes with the book
-Conclusion (overall thoughts on the book, how I did/didn't like the ending, sequels, feels, etc.)
Reviews tell you about a book and give you the notion of whether or not a book may be for you. When you read a review, what do YOU want to see in it?

Also, spoilers! I try to mark what I think is a spoiler--and even some that may not be--or I just have a big spoiler section, also marked. Does that work for you? I know spoilers can be tricky (and they suck when you read them)!

The most typical rating I see is the star system: blank out of five stars. And when I post a book's review somewhere that isn't my blog, I use that system. But here, on my blog, I don't. Instead, I answer a series of questions:

-Initial reaction of book in one word (may become just "book in one word")?
-Did I like the book?
-Did I love the book?
-Would I reread it?
-Would I purchase it?
-Who would I recommend it to?

I don't know why I don't use the star system. (Maybe because sometimes I just DON'T KNOW what to rate a book.) But I'll be honest: when I read someone's review of a book, I like to see how they rated it, and stars are the easiest way to go. But how about you? What do YOU like to see in/as a book's rating?

So, in short, this discussion-y post is just me asking you a bunch of questions. I'm okay with how I do my reviews, but I've thought about changing up my format. But my reviews are just my reviews; I already read the book. I write reviews to help YOU, so I want to know what YOU want to see. Plus, I've always wondered what people like (and don't like!) to see in reviews. Also, I've talked a lot about me; how do you write YOUR reviews? What information do you include, what do you talk about? I want to know!

Now go forth, my lovely readers! Let's talk about reviews!


  1. I like your rating system. I don't personally need stars to understand how a reviewer feels about the book. I'm not good at giving stars myself and always second guess them to the point where I've thought of taking it off my blog completely. I also like your one word initial reactions. That's fun!

  2. I love that you put all that info at the top. I always want to know who the publisher of a book is as well as how long it is (!!) I myself use stars but that's just me. I read lots of blogs that don't so that part doesn't really matter to me. What I never do with my own reviews, and what I don't really like to see with other reviews, is the Goodreads synopsis cut and pasted at the beginning of the review. I'd rather read a short synopsis written in the reviewer's own words. Most likely I already know what the book is about, and this just feels lazy to me.


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