The Struggle of Writing a Coherent Positive Review

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Hello everyone! ♥

Remember my post about the struggle of writing a negative review last month? Apparently, a lot of you commented and said that most of the time writing a negative review is A LOT easier than writing a positive review of a book you really loved! I thought about it and OMG… that is so true! When it comes to books I love, all I want is just yell “THIS BOOK IS AMAZING YOU NEED TO READ IT” …but can we? Yes, we can, it’s our review, but it wouldn’t be helpful 😂

So today we’ll be talking about the struggle of writing a coherent positive review! I’ll also be quoting some of the comments from the previous post 😀

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It’s difficult to explain WHY we love something

With books we dislike, it’s easy to elaborate the reasons why. Like when I ranted about Vassa in the Night, I knew I hated it because of the vague world building, plot holes, and disappointing ending. I could explain in details why those things didn’t work out for me because I know why they don’t in the first place. But when it comes to books we absolutely love, it’s harder to explain why!

I mean, why do we love something? We just… do. Is it because the story is amazing? The characters are amazing? The writing is amazing? WELL THE BOOK IS AMAZING and that’s that 😂

Milou @ Simply A Book Drunkard also said this on her comment

“I secretly kind of enjoy writing negative reviews. Of course I don’t enjoy reading a book I don’t like, but my reviews tend to be better/funnier. It is just easier to write about why I didn’t like something than about why I loved something.”

It tends to be boring

The Bookish Underdog said this on her comment

“I quite enjoy writing negative reviews! Whenever I write a really good review I always worry that people might find it quite boring, because I feel like I’m just saying ‘this was amazing’ over and over again.”

Emily @ Rose Read also said it

“I enjoy writing and reading negative reviews because I think they are much more interesting. Just gushing about a book is kinda boring.”

This is exactly what I was talking about earlier. When it comes to books we love, we tend to just say how amazing and awesome and excellent the story, the characters, and the writing are. And frankly… it’s… boring. Sure it is fun to see that level of enthusiasm especially for books we’ve read and also loved but really, we’re just repeating the same adjectives over and over again.

…and less helpful

This is because most of the time we can’t really explain why we love it and tend to just flail endlessly. On the other hand, negative reviews contain a detailed analysis of why the reviewers don’t like the book and that’s honestly more objective. Let’s say that I don’t like a certain book because the pace was super slow and the plot was predictable. Just because I don’t like it, doesn’t mean the others won’t. Other readers who don’t mind slow pace and predictability might still pick up the book and end up enjoying it. But with positive reviews… well, it’s hard for other people to see the objectivity if we just gush around about it.

Jess @ Beaucoup Books said this on her comment

“I really like reading negative reviews – I think a lot of the time they’re way more informative than a glowing review. I just wrote a pretty negative one for my blog and writing negative reviews are so much easier to write!!”

I’m also scared of overselling the books

A couple of months ago I wrote a 1000-words, ultra glowing review of The Serpent King where I just flailed and rambled of why and how much I loved the book. People who read it were like “your review is so convincing” and “you make me wanna read this book so much” and “I GOTTA BUMP IT RIGHT UP MY TBR” and I was like… did I oversell it??! 😂

I mean, I know I didn’t. I know the book is so great it deserved all the hype and praises. I even explained in details WHY I loved the book, but still… when it comes to a great book like this, I rarely leave the room for the negatives. I don’t look for it, whereas when I write negative reviews I always try to look for something positive to balance it out. That’s why I’m afraid I overlook things that people might not enjoy and end up overselling it.

Is it okay if our review is all of the above?

It’s up to YOU. If you don’t mind your reviews to be all feels and all that, that’s fine. But if you’re like me and you want your reviews to not only portray your enthusiasm but also helpful for people who want to know the technical aspects, we need to work on it.

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The truth is… I don’t know! I mean, I’m still working on it myself hahaha plus I didn’t say anything about giving advice on the title, right? 😛 But well, for the sake of this post being helpful, I am gonna list down some tricks that work for me 🙂

  1. Maybe don’t post your review 10 seconds after you finish reading the book. I said don’t post, not don’t write, because I personally write my reviews as soon as I finish the book 😂 it’s easier for me because if I don’t do it right away, I will forget (plus I never take notes) buuut immediate reviews tend to be full of emotions and random flailing, so I usually take some times to let my thoughts sink it. Therefore I usually go back to edit my rave reviews before I post it.
  2. There must be a reason why you love the book, you just have to find it. I can’t explain this one because to me this is something that comes naturally with practice. The more I review, the easier it is for me to explain the reason why some things work for me while the others don’t.
  3. Break down the elements of the book to avoid praises like “THIS BOOK IS AMAZING”. You could love the book but dislike the tiny little elements, so this might help you write a more comprehensive review. However, if ALL the elements are amazing as well, you’ll probably end up praising each of them, which brings us to advice #4
  4. Use different adjectives to avoid repetition. I mean, technically, you just replace the word amazing with something equal, but it will make a difference and make your review sounds less boring 😛 here’s a helpful guide to do so! ♥

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Alright everyone, do you also struggle with writing positive reviews? What do you do to deal with it? Are my tricks helpful… or are they not? 😂 Share me your secrets because I’d love to hear your thoughts! ♥

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66 thoughts on “The Struggle of Writing a Coherent Positive Review

  1. Oh, yeah, negative reviews are much easier to write than positive (even though I prefer to read positive reviews over negative). And your tricks are definitely helpful! I really needed that different adjective post, since I think I do that in lot in positive reviews, and it always bothers me. 😬

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  2. I relate to this post so much! I always find it much easier to write negative reviews than positive ones because it’s usually easy to pinpoint exactly why I dislike a book. When I write positive reviews they tend to be shorter or more rambling and disorganized, depending on how I’m feeling haha 🙂 Waiting a bit before writing positive reviews is really great advice. Giving my thoughts time to simmer down and really think about what I loved about the book is really helpful! ❤

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  3. This was a brilliant post! I don’t write that many negative reviews – since I’m not an established blogger yet and I don’t get galleys, I tend to read the books I want and those I know I’ll like.

    But when I DO write them, they’re so easy! You point out why the book wasn’t for you, and then you explain the positives. Thing is, the good things in a bad book are easier to find than the bad things in your favorite book…

    I do that thing you said about not posting your reviews immediately too; but I do it with good ones and bad ones. I think it’s better to see how you feel about the book later, when you’re not so angry or so happy 😂

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    • Thank you Maya! 😀 ahh that reminds me I have some ARCs from netgalley that I haven’t read 😂 but yeahhh, pointing out the negatives is ALWAYS easier hahaha you knowww I personally post my reviews immediately ON GOODREADS but my reviews for the blog are always edited later hahaha 😛

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  4. I relate to this so much! When I’m writing a positive review but there was one negative thing about the book, it’s just SO MUCH EASIER for me to talk about the negative thing, and then it takes up more space in my review than it really should. I still haven’t really worked out a good balance! But I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who struggles with positive reviews.

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    • Exactly! Explaining a negative is always easier because I don’t know, it’s clearer?haha but explaining why we love something is just hard 😂 and I agree, the key is really a good balance hahaha noooo you’re totally not alone, we’re all in this together 😛

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  5. It is so easy to write negative things because you can come up with a lot of reasons compared to the positive things. I adore Simon and I wrote a review. I could not come up with anything bad about it so it’s all lovely dovely and it is short (it is to me) and yeah. Negative things tends to be long and have a long list of why. I love your post! ❤

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  6. I think what you said about negative reviews hit the nail on the head. If you’re writing a review about a book you didn’t like then you spend some time looking for one thing that will balance out your review, but if you love a book its harder to curb your enthusiasm! I try to do the same thing with books I love and find the one thing that didn’t quite work for me!

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  7. Oh yes, writing a positive review is way harder than writing a negative review. I do still like writing them, because I love to flail about my favorite books, but it does take A LOT longer. It’s indeed hard to not just repeat the word amazing 20 times 😉 And I also always wonder if maybe I’m overlooking something, maybe I should find at least one point of criticism? But if I don’t, that’s okay too 🙂 But it definitely helps to break it down and to let it sink in a bit!

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    • Me too! Plus who doesn’t love loving the books they read?hahaha but yeahhh I have to like set aside my enthusiasm for a sec and be critical if I want my review to be objective and helpful hahaha omg so true the word ‘amazing’ is clearly overused when it comes to positive review hahaha 😛

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  8. it’s just so much easier to know why you don’t like something then why you like it. I always want my reviews to be informative and objective but it’s hard thanks for the tips. I agree about not posting your review to soon I made that mistake before and ended up thinking of five other things I should have talked about. I think it’s important to give books time to effect you sometimes you opinion of them changers after thinking about it for a few days.

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  9. When I love a book very much, I try to think about interesting things worth mentioning, there usually are. If not, I try to do the review with a ‘The 3 things I loved the most about____’ angle. It helps me focus on specific things and not get carried away with fangirl rambling! Of course there are times I can’t for the life of me string any kind of sentence together and much less write a review and I just fangirl in silence, but I’m working on that!

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  10. It’s definitely easier (and more fun) to write a rant review. Rave reviews take so much more time and care. Usually, if I finish a book that blew me away (*cough*ACOMAF*cough*), I usually take a few days or even a few weeks to allow my emotions to settle. During that time, I try to identify the things I didn’t enjoy, just so I don’t end up overselling it too much by telling everyone the many ways that I love the book lol. Nothing’s perfect, so I try my best to present the pros and cons of a story! Even so, it’s so much more fun to write a review, and even more fun to read one haha

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  11. Oh my gosh, I love the duality, how you’ve posted a topic that’s talking about the flip side of reviewing books! I agree, there’s so much difficulty in writing a posirtive review – I just want to flail and push the book on everyone! And then I stress about overthinking my faves haha >_< There's just struggles in writing reviews in general! :')

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  12. To be honest, everytime I write a rave review, I have a hard time coming up with any word that isn’t “amazing”, hahah. I really should work more on my vocabulary!
    I think making bullet points of aspects you enjoyed really helps. Usually, there are a lot of things that can be great in a good book: the writing style, the characters, etc. But I always feel like this makes me sound cheesy, so I try to search for elements that makes the said book unique and worth-reading. It takes some time, but I end up enjoying the review much more!
    Great post!

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  13. YES! Just wanting to type in all caps that the book is amazing and that I loved it and then adding a flailing gif is all I wish we had to do for positive reviews sometimes because finding the actual words to coherently convey why I loved a book is so tough. It takes me hours to write a positive review. I used to write reviews straight after I read a book but now I do a bullet point document of things I want to remember, things I loved, things I didn’t, or things I want to cover in my review first and then let it sit for a few hours or a day before I come back to it. Most of the times it works to help the words flow easier but it isn’t a fool proof method, sadly 😂. I’ve found it does help a lot with organizing my review though. Also, I am definitely guilty of repeating words a lot. I need a word other than enjoy, adore, or love LOL. Great discussion and tips, Puput!! 💕

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  14. Ugh yes this is such a struggle. Especially for me because I don’t write reviews immediately after finishing the book 😂 I think my main problem is I’m always afraid that my initial feelings of the book may change, so I’m afraid that I oversell a book that I don’t feel as passionate about as I thought.

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  15. You are right that writing the positive without flailing is hard. I always try to find the negative in books I read, even if it didn’t bother me. The thing is that everyone is bothered by something, so it might help someone.
    I also think it is great if you “oversell” a book you like. The Serpent King was amazing, so everyone should just go out and read it immediately if they haven’t already. I think we don’t do enough recommendations as book bloggers. We talk about a book we read, but not enough of what to read after, or what it could compare to. Of course, that is just my opinion.
    Great post!

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    • Yessss that’s exactly what I always try to do with my review, though sometimes it’s hard to look beyond my own perspective hahaha OMG YES! Everyone and their mother SHOULD read The Serpent King ❤ ahh giving recommendations is the best, I made several posts about it but still trying to do more 😀 yayy thank you!

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  16. Negative reviews are so easy to write.I could just tell what I didn’t like and if it might work for others.But when it comes to positive reviews,ehh 😐 You should have seen me in 2015 when I kind of overused the word “amazing”😂 But after reading a lot of books,I am slowly starting to recognize why I love a certain book.I am totally not there yet but I can actually pick out the points.So,I guess practice makes this better ❤

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  17. I actually wait a few days before writing my review. And even when they’re positive ones I don’t normally flail about? Well, with the exception of Crooked Kingdom. It can be difficult to talk about why we like something so much. Tabbing books has really helped me because I remember more points of the book and it keeps it fresher in my mind, actually. Negative reviews are so easy because you just go on and on about why you hate it, but positive reviews are definitely harder.

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    • OMG REALLY? IF they are positives I flail as much as the next fangirl hahaha 😂 but yeahhh when we love something we just do, right?haha ahh bummer I never tab my books. I don’t even take notes while reading haha I tried but I felt like it wasn’t the most convenient method for me 😂😂

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  18. I’m actually terrible at writing positive reviews – I always say the say things and overuse the same adjectives. It’s so embarrassing! But I don’t really like to write negative reviews either, they’re just easier to write because (for me, at least) you’re disappointed that the book you read wasn’t as great as you’d hoped. But I do believe negative reviews can be more informative, especially when they’re amongst 100+ positive ones. Great post as always! ❤

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  19. I was nodding along with every word of this post, FYI. The struggle to write positive reviews is so real; I mean, I COULD spend a couple thousand words analyzing why the character arcs and plot development and world-building are stellar, but who on earth would want to read that when they could be reading the book? But just saying “the character arcs and plot development and world-building are stellar!” is SO DULL. If there’s a balance between the two extremes, it can be so hard to find.

    It helps to be able to complain about it with other people who feel the same way, though! Thanks for giving us an outlet for venting our frustrations. =D

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  20. Great post! I agree that it is harder to write a glowing review than a negative one. It is the same way in book discussion groups when my group loves a book versus hating or being disappointed in some way. Usually if we love a book we’ve started picking it apart and looking for little things that didn’t work as well. Otherwise there isn’t much to discuss!

    Sometimes I feel like I use the same phrases in my positive reviews too. I struggle with that. My reviews sometimes tend to sound the same. I always consider myself more of a reader than a writer 🙂

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    • Oohhh it’s amazing that you’re a part of a book discussion group! I don’t join any club so I didn’t think of it but that’s so true, with bad books there are so much to discuss, especially when the members have different opinions but with great books that everyone love? Hmmm I guess there won’t be as many things to discuss?hahaha

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  21. I definitely have trouble writing positive reviews sometimes, especially if I have been writing a couple in a row. They can really get repetitive and I am afraid of boring my audience. But, like you said, you just have to narrow it down to exactly what you like about a book. It really helps me to pick out quotes and pages that I really liked as I am reading. Then, I can go back to these notes and remember what I really loved about the writing, characters, setting, etc.
    I also find that I am more likely to put quotes in my reviews if I really enjoyed a book. I like to make cute graphics that highlight the writing or something, so that people actually get a glimpse of what I loved.
    Great discussion!

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    • OMG YES! I’m scared of the same thing haha buuut on the brighter side, having to write several positive reviews in a row means you’re on a streak of amazing books and that is incredible! 🙈🙈 ahh I almost never put quotes, I’m so bad at quoting hahaha but sometimes I do that to prove my point as well 😀 thank you!

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  22. Oh my goodness, I struggle with this SO. MUCH. Because like everyone said, it IS easier (and yes, more fun) to write a negative review. You always know what you DON’T like- but sometimes it is so hard to find the right words for a book you loved. Especially if it can be spoilery- then all bets are off, and I might as well throw up a flailing gif and call it a day. And like you, I am always SO afraid of overselling! And then having people be like “but wait, she said it was SOOOO good and I hated it, why did she even like it!?” and my review is all incoherent fangirling. It makes me feel almost inauthentic, when the opposite is true! It wouldn’t be authentic if I DIDN’T flail, but because I can’t do it in a more.. critical way, it is so hard to feel legit! GREAT post, I totally feel you on all of this!

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    • I’m SO GLAD that a lot of people can relate to this post and that I’m not alone it it hahaha EXACTLY!! And omg staying away from spoiler could be very tricky ESPECIALLY if it’s what makes the book great :’) me too, I want people to read all my favorite books but I’m also afraid they won’t like it and therefore won’t trust my opinion anymore 😅 yayyy thank you Shannon! ❤

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  23. Brilliant post, Puput!

    I struggle with all reviews 😂 but definitely with positive ones more. I never now to express coherently why I love a book. It’s so much easier to say why I didn’t love one, haha. I feel like I can have more fun with negative reviews too? Like, with my Stealing Snow review I used a TON of GIFs and basically did it in a jokey manner, whereas I feel like I can’t do that with positive reviews because I’m trying to make it more serious.

    I totally get the overselling thing too. It’s so ironic because I want everyone to love the books I do, but if someone tells me they’re gonna pick it up I get so worried and am like ‘WHAT IF I’M WASTING THEIR TIME’ haha.

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    • Oh yessss I remember how you put off reviewing Gemina for a loooong time hahaha 😛 OMG YES! Negative reviews are easier especially when it’s a universally disliked book hahaha 😂 SAMEEEEE!! I want everyone to read these books but when they to it because of ME I freak out 😂😂😂

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  24. I was really struggling with the “OMG *FLAIL*” type reviews too, so to give myself a little more structure I try to have at least 4 sections in each review now. Personally, I use “Feels,” “Characters,” “Plot,” and “Worldbuilding/Description.” It helps me a lot. I still feel like I flail a lot on positive reviews, but I try really hard to pick parts out of those sections to highlight WHY it was so great.

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  25. This is all 1000% true. It can be so hard to pinpoint what you love about a book. Plus, I find that I often like a lot of the same things in my books, so I end up writing a lot of reviews that sound alike if I don’t get specific enough. I DO try to mention specifics and not just flail—and that includes mentioning negatives whenever possible. But it can be HARD!!

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  26. I definitely find it a lot easier to write negative reviews, I guess I just have a more logical mindset! I often find that when people really love a book, they have whole paragraphs on the book that wouldn’t really make sense to the casual observer. Which I totally get! Although it can make understanding the review a little harder if you’re considering whether or not to buy it.

    Fleur @ FranklyBooks just posted UNDERRATED BOOKS YOU NEED TO READ!

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