Thursday, December 10, 2015

Discussion: Reviews

For today's discussion post, I am wondering some things about how YOU do reviews! I have recently decided that I kind of want more of a formula for writing reviews because I don't always really know what to talk about! What's important to talk about in a review? What do people want to see in a review? I found something that I have been kind of using for a couple of my most recent reviews, but I want to know what kinds of things you think are important in a review!

Before I really started wondering what I should be addressing in a review, this was basically my formula:

I usually try to recap the story.
I try to talk a little bit about a few of the main characters.
If there are other characters I find important, I talk about those.
I touch on the romance and what I thought of it.
I kinda talk about what I thought of the plot or the story or whatever.
Then I do the 'overall, this is what I thought' paragraph and suggest people who may like it.

But I feel like there's just so much more that I should be thinking about than just that! Or at least I should think about it a little more deeply than 'I liked the girl, the romance sucked, it was slow and I don't recommend'. So I went out and I looked up some review writing tips and found something I found helpful that I've been kind of trying to follow. I can't remember the website where I found it, but basically it is as follows:

1. A couple sentences describing what the book is about.
No spoilers or plot twist reveals.
Avoid talking in detail about anything that happens from the middle on.

2. Discuss what you liked.
Focus on thoughts and feelings on the story and how it was told.
Favorite character and why?
Did the characters feel real?
Did the story keep you guessing?
Favorite part and why?
Were certain scenes written well? (Ex. sad, tense, mysterious)
Did it make you laugh/cry?
Did it keep you turning the pages?

3. Mention what you disliked.
Why didn't it work for you?
Did you wish it didn't have a frustrating cliffhanger?
Did you find it difficult to care about a main character, why?
Was it too focused on a theme you didn't find interesting?

4. Summarize your thoughts
Suggest readers
Any series you'd compare it to?

Sometimes I feel like a recap is totally unnecessary or just too hard to talk about without giving anything away. If you add the summary from Goodreads, do you even think a short recap is needed? What are some things you think are important to add in a review?

Another thing about reviews... what are all the places that you think are important to post reviews to? I post them all to my blog, Amazon, Goodreads, and sometimes Barnes and Noble if I feel like shortening my reviews to fit the character count. Do you send all your reviews to the publishers? I am just wondering if there are other places I should be leaving my reviews!

I'd greatly appreciate it if you'd leave your thoughts and advice in the comments below! Am I just thinking way too hard about all this? I've been known to do that!

Thanks in advance for your help! :)

6 comments:

  1. Unless the Goodreads summary is super short or you think there's something important a reader should know before picking up the book, I don't think it's necessary for you to write your own recap.

    One thing I do like is when bloggers ask questions at the end of their reviews. I also think spoiler tags are great, and I wish bloggers would use them more often to discuss exiting/tragic/swoony/shocking events in greater detail. Both of those things make reviews more interactive for blog readers. :)

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    1. I like those suggestions! I will have to see if I can incorporate those ideas into my future reviews. I really like the idea of discussing exciting or tragic things about the book. I find it so hard sometimes to write a review because things like that are all I want to talk about, but maybe it would be easier if I let myself talk about them. Thanks for the suggestions! Things like this are exactly what I was looking for with this post! :)

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  2. That's pretty much how my reviews are structured - Goodreads summary, what I liked, what I didn't like, would I recommend it, rating (summary of my thoughts ish). I've not seen many people break it down like I do (and I'm glad for this - it feels like a unique way that I review books!).

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

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    1. I haven't seen anyone really break it down like you do either! I like how you review books! I think that I'm thinking too hard about what I should write in my reviews! Haha!

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  3. When I sit down to write reviews, I think of the major themes. Sometimes I use these at headers while at other times I keep these at the back of my mind to guide my thoughts. Structuring reviews around themes helps me to keep my focus :)

    And yeah, as Maraia already pointed out, there's not much of a need to recap if synopses are included in the review. That's just double work and I'm sure most readers skip over those sections anyway.

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    1. That's a good idea too! I'll have to keep that in mind the next time I'm writing a review! Thanks for your input!

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