The Joy and Struggle of Reviewing

sparkling-letters-book-blog-the-joy-and-struggle-of-book-reviewing

Hello there fellow bookworm, welcome to another discussion post! ♥

Book reviews are probably my best friend! I seek them out every time, I write one all the time. I think I can’t read books without automatically thinking up a review. I forgot the last time I read books without reviewing, honestly. And since we book bloggers are all reviewers as well, today I’m going to discuss the joy and struggle of reviewing! 😀 

As usual, I’m breaking down all my points into a list of pros and cons 😛

The Struggle of Book Reviewing.jpg

1) Non-reviewers might not know this but writing a proper review is NOT AS EASY AS IT SEEMS. There are a lot of things to talk about from a book but writing them down in a coherent way is hard! I’m just going to quote Dave and Anna here.

“Why do you need to practice? It’s not like it’s hard or something.”

“Yeah? I’d like to see you write a six-hundred-word review about one. ‘I liked it. It was cool. There were explosions.'”

“Five stars for explosions.”

Sure they were talking about movie review, but same difference.

2) Having to write a review of a very emotional book because SO. MUCH. FEELS!  Sometimes all I wanna do is just scream and shout and fangirl (which I do) but I also have to sit down and talk about technical aspects. I mean… where are my words?! :’)

3) HOW DO I AVOID THIS SPOILER? I try to keep my reviews spoiler free because I hate being spoiled but sometimes a book is so full of twists that it’s hard not to spoil anything at all! Let’s say… I can’t say that a certain book has an unnatural, super forced, and unnecessary love triangle without revealing the existence of the love triangle in the first place. The struggle is real guys!! 😦

4) Being objective. Remember that bad books you just want to rant away about? I used to do that all the time. But, come to think of it, writing a book is an achievement itself and talking all negative about it is a bit unfair to the authors. So I’ve been trying to look at the bright side and find something positive to say about it. Most of the time, there are ALWAYS something positive from a book, let it be the writing, the setting, the tiny little details, or that snarky, slightly creepy magical creature that just showed up on the second half of the book. Yes I’m talking about Kamala the horse from The Star Touched Queen.

5) Saying bad things in the best way possible. Related to point 4 above.

6) Getting that unpopular opinion out there. The internet is a scary place 😦

7) Sometimes, I just don’t feel like it. Sure I can’t read a book without criticizing the book in my head and all, but sometimes I’m just too lazy to actually write them down. I’m also not a fan of reviewing books I don’t intend to read. Like that e-ARC I got from netgalley… 😦 (I will get to them soon I promise!)

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1) FANGIRL ALL YOU LIKE ♥♥♥♥♥ Seriously, it’s your review, you can talk about absolutely anything! Although, ahem… if you write a 2000-word-review about a book, I most likely will skip through it 😛

2) Finding another bookworm who shares your thoughts. I love it when people who already read the book, read my review, and agree with what I said. I love being accurate 😛

3) Getting people to read the book! We’re like free marketers! I’m stoked every time someone reads my reviews and says they’re going to read the books or they’re buying it right away, or when they previously aren’t interested in the book but my review makes them want to give it a chance. The true joy! ♥♥

4) It’s liberating. Every time I read a really good book, I HAVE to write a review. I have to let the world know how great this book is and how much I love it 😉

5) It’s a FUN thing to do ♥ It just is 😛

Okay now it looks like there are more struggle than joy in this whole reviewing process!! Sure it’s hard but it’s SO FUN and I guess fun & fan girl all you like overthrow all the struggles 😛

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I didn’t realize this before writing this post but I’ve been reviewing books for over 4 years now. Wow! I know a lot of people who have done it a lot longer, but still, I’m proud 😛 yet I’m still exploring the best way to write a proper review. But first let me take you the first review I ever wrote 😉

Warning: do not see the picture below if you haven’t read or plan to read Delirium trilogy anytime soon. If you don’t intend to, go ahead, there’s spoiler in it.

First review.jpg

Jeez, SPOILER MUCH??

Why did I have to give away the last page of the book? What was I thinking? I guess it didn’t even occur to me that I might be spoiling some important information by then. And you see, all I did right then was talk about the characters, how they made me feel, and my expectations. It’s sooo feelsy!

In fact, ALL my reviews used to be based on feels. Sometimes it works, but most of the time it’s not enough. I personally want to know more from a review than just how it makes the reviewer feels. I want to know about the pace, the plot, the characters, the writing, the good and the bad. And all of them are missing from the review above :’) I know, I know, but I improved though? 😛 See my latest review of The Archived by Victoria Schwab.

Basically, I always try to keep my review spoiler free, balance between the good and the bad, the feels and the technical aspects, and I try my best not to attack the authors no matter how bad I think their books are.

I’ve also tried several review style, a full-on narrations, breaking them down based on the technical aspects, a list of pros and cons, you name it. I still haven’t decided which format works best for me. Okay, it’s probably the breaking down into aspects one because it’s easier and more comprehensive, but sometimes, I just want to list down what I like and dislike because THAT’S EVEN EASIER. 😛 I wonder if that inconsistency is a bad thing?

Some additional facts about my reviewing process

  • You might have known it by now that I don’t take notes while reading
  • Actually sometimes I do, only to end up not looking at it while reviewing because I remember what I want to write on my review
  • Though I snap quick photos of the parts that I want to talk about 😉
  • I review books right after I finish reading it. Sometimes I sleep it off first when I pull an all nighter and do the review in the morning because tired!
  • I try to avoid reading other people’s reviews of the book before reviewing it on my own because I don’t want to get my thoughts tangled with those of others

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So that my friends are the joy and struggle I feel from reviewing books. Do you share any of them, or do you want to add more to it? PLEASE DO! And I have questions : 

(1) Do you think reviewers should stick to one particular review style or could we switch style as we pleased? Also, (2) What’s your favorite review format to read?

Drop some comments because I’d like to hear your thoughts! ♥ 

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30 thoughts on “The Joy and Struggle of Reviewing

  1. Oooh, I love this! I might have to do a list of my own.

    I’m still working on my reviewing style and format too. For some books, I’ve only been able to do lists of likes/dislikes. I like to think that different formats help show something about how I felt about the book as well so it works. But clearly I’m biased XD

    P.S. Please don’t break my bubble. lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oooh yes you do I’d love to see it! 😀 Me too, sometimes my thoughts are so incoherent and the easiest way to review is just make a list of likes/dislikes 😛 and yes you’re right it didn’t even occur to me before, I thought it was just me but it’s also the book! Okay I won’t break your anything 😛 thanks for stopping by though hahah

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  2. Reviewing IS hard! But so worth it. The pros outweigh the cons because when I love a book, I can’t keep that to myself, I *want* to shout about it to everyone! And I also get excited when my reviews convince people to give books a try! But it really is something you get better at with practice. I mean, I think all bloggers agree that our original reviews are extremely cringe-worthy lol. I just edited/updated some older ones the other week because I added a review for the latest book in the series and knew people might be looking at the older ones and was ashamed of them lol. I didn’t change my thoughts or anything, just made them more polished.

    But anyway, I have no set format other than a review and a “recommended for” section. I just let myself review each book however works best. For some books, I do lists of things I liked and things I disliked. For others I split it up by characters, romance, plot, etc. For others I just talk about whatever. I just have different thoughts on every book, so for books maybe I don’t really have anything to say about the pacing or the plot, but I adored a bunch of super specific things. So yeah, I just wing it lol.

    Oh, and I read lots of reviews before deciding on a book, but I avoid reviews while I’m reading until I’ve finished and written my review. I tend to forget the reviews I read beforehand, but I fear reading them *during* or right after would influence me, and I don’t want that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Convincing people is the best! I’m so proud of myself everytime someone reads a book because of my review/recommendation😛 Yes indeed, practice makes perfect and that first review is just SO CRINGE WORTHY! </3 that;s actually good, I think I might have to do it too, polishing my old reviews so they look a little better and neater haha

      Me too, I thought it might make me seem inconsistent but come to think of it, each book evokes something different in me and I think that's why the reviews sometimes come out differently.

      Totally agree! I read reviews before reading too to help me decide which books I should read, but after? I try not to because sometimes I want to change my opinion after reading what other people have to say haha and that makes me review a little unoriginal so I avoid it until after I finish writing my review😛

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  3. I think reviewers should use whatever format they’re most comfortable with. I love lists, so I prefer to read and write pros and cons-style reviews, because they’re fun and straight to the point. Reviewing is great when you have lots of stuff to say about a book, and sometimes you’re worried you’re forgetting something. Writing a negative review can be a bit scary though, because you never know if people are going to hate you for it since this is the internet, where everyone gets offended all the time. These days I try to keep my reviews fairly vague when it comes to the plot so to avoid spoilers, but I think my reviews were more spoilery before I started doing pros and cons reviews. I do think it’s strange that book reviews don’t get as many views as discussions and other sorts of posts, because I am all about reading reviews!

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    • Yes they are so straight to the point and reading a list of pros/cons help decide whether I should read a certain book or not. So true omg everyone on the internet is so scary these days! I’m afraid of accidentally saying something offensive :’) oh yes I realized that too! Review posts don’t get half the traffic that discussion posts got but I also realized that more popular books got more traffic haha thank you for stopping by! ❤

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  4. This is great!! I’m fairly new to this whole thing so this was really awesome. Thanks for sharing. I mostly write for fun and to combine my love of coffee and reading 🙂 But I agree with several people on here, that you should write how you love to write and change it when you feel you need to. Those who follow you and love your reviews will continue to do so ❤

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  5. You’ve hit the nail on the head. The difficulty of writing reviews when all you want to say is “Read it because I love it” 🙂 But seriously I find it difficult to find the words to describe the book. But I love it again when I post it and can read everyone’s comments. Great post!

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  6. I can’t even begin to describe how much I relate to this post! I love reviewing (for all the reasons you mentioned), but I especially struggle to describe exactly how a book made me FEEL. I can’t fully convey that in words, so sometimes I want my review to be strings of emojis and a conclusion that says “GO READ THIS BOOK SO YOU CAN FEEL THE FEELS LIKE ME!” But I suppose we can’t have that, haha. 🙂

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  7. Reviewing is so much harder than people think! In theory it sounds so easy – you just write down your thoughts about a book – but it can be so hard to put your thoughts into words, or pinpoint exactly what you liked or didn’t like about a book. I especially find it hard with a mediocre book, because you can’t really fangirl over it, or even rant about it, so it just ends up with me basically saying ‘er…yeah, it was OK!’.
    It is so much fun though too, and I love it when I get a good discussion going about a book in the comments. I don’t know many bookish people in real life, so it’s nice to have people to rave about books with! 🙂
    I am terrible with spoilers though, mostly because i’m never sure what classifies as a spoiler. Is saying there’s a twist a spoiler? Or that there’s a romance, or that a minor character dies? People have different classifications, so I tend to put a spoiler alert on my reviews if there’s any doubt at all that someone might not want to know about anything I talk about.
    Great post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • So hard!! Oh yeah, mediocre book is the hardest! (Should add it on my struggle :P) with bad books it’s easy to rant away about what you don’t love while good books evoke a lot of praises, I totally agree on that! Me either, I don’t have a lot of real life bookish friend, which is odd I mean what’s not to love from a book? 😛 Oooh you’re the same with me! That’s why I pit spoilers tag absolutely everywhere on my review 😛 Thank you!

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  10. I think experimenting with reviews can be a great idea. Not every book needs the same type of review, right? Some books just lend themselves to list form or emotional responses and other books lend themselves to other types of reviews.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I think it’s totally okay to switch review styles! 🙂 There is so much STRUGGLE to reviewing that sometimes it’s difficult to remind yourself that there’s joy in there too. But whenever I stop reviewing for a while, I just end up going nuts with all of the thoughts bouncing around in my head!
    -Amy

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