Friday, December 2, 2011

Happy Friday! Happy December!

I love GReads! question this week:

Writing Reviews 101: What's your process for writing book reviews? Any tips or suggestions you would recommend to other bloggers?

I love how every blogger has his/her own style. I like a lot of different bloggers with vastly different styles, so my main suggestion is: Be Yourself.

I write relatively short reviews and try to stick to what I liked and didn't like, what makes this book special (or not), and my recommendations. I don't use a pre-written summary, and don't write much of a summary myself. I don't usually read summaries, even on the back of books, except maybe the first few sentences to get "what this book is about." I don't want details. So my second suggestion is: Don't just tell me the story. I can get that from summaries. I want to know how you FELT about the book, what you LIKED or WHAT DIDN'T WORK for you. I usually skip the paragraphs that are summaries. And, if you only write a summary and then say "I really liked this book. You should read it." Then I will probably stop reading your reviews.

I tend to write my reviews very soon after I read the book. I feel like I write best when my feelings are fresh. I do, however, find it interesting when I look back at my ratings (which I have been doing for some "year in review" posts that I'm planning) and am surprised by the ratings I assigned. Most of the books with higher ratings deserved them, but some books that I've rated lower have really stuck with  me, which makes me think that "time" might allow a more accurate rating of a book. To each his own, I say. Do whatever works for you.

I don't take many notes when reading. Sometimes I use sticky  notes for quotes or events I want to mention in my review. I think this is because I really don't need a lot of details in my reviews. Like I said, I like to write feelings and impressions, not details of the plot.

I'm really bothered by spelling errors. Especially those that spell check will catch. I have stopped following blogs who write posts that consistently have errors in every post. Some of these blogs have over 1,000 followers! I guess everyone isn't as picky as I am, but these are my recommendations so: Use spell check AND proofread your post MORE THAN ONCE.

Another thing that bothers me is when you write a review for a book in a series, and refer to the previous books, but don't tell me what they are! Sometimes the reviews don't even say the name of the series or how many books are in the series. I don't even care if you link the titles to a web page--at least list the previous titles in the series and the name of the series.

These are just my suggestions, and I'm sure other bloggers will have more and better suggestions. I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone has to say. We can all use help to improve our blogs!

Parajunkee & Alison also have an interesting question:

Question: What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to books? Maybe you don't like love triangles or thin plots? Tell us about it!

This is a hard one for me.  I complain about "absent parents," but I've read some really great novels that are great because the parents didn't butt in.

I'm not a big fan of "insta-love" but I can overlook that too, if the rest of the novel redeems itself.

I really hate overly descriptive passages -- usually -- but some writing that is really mesmerizing will keep me captivated even during those passages. It takes a special way with words to do that, and I appreciate it.

I guess my biggest pet peeve is when a romance is in turmoil (they just can't seem to get together) because of lack of communication. If the two people just talked honestly, everything would be just wonderful, but it isn't because they don't. I think this is weak plotting. Surely you can come up with emotional tension without it being based on lack of communicating. This one, I really can't forgive.

Very thought-provoking. I'll be looking forward to your comments. Have a great weekend, and thanks for stopping by!

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  1. I'm ok with a little romance in turmoil, but I have to agree that a lot of books take it over the top and it seems like you have to read 5 books before the characters can truly be together.

    I feel like telling the author to leave the couple alone...haven't they been though enough!

  2. You have a very good point when it comes to listing the series title (and maybe even the books in the series). I try to do that as much as possible!

    Also, I feel the same way about spelling errors. And grammatical errors as well :)

  3. A huge YES to don't just tell me the story and proofreading. I think the only thing that annoys me more than a review that is actually a summary with no opinions is spoilers.

  4. I always try to list the name of the series and where the book I am reviewing fits in. If I reference to the others I will always name them.
    I also agree with you about spelling or grammar errors. I try to read through my posts at least twice.

    BUt I think the most important thing is the emotion. Books can make us feel and we want to share those emotions.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. :D


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