Here’s a post on planning and writing book reviews. I’d be interested to know how you all plan and prep your blog posts and if you have any top tips to share with us…
Sometimes I can knock out a review in half an hour, others can days that I have to keep coming back to tweak and it isn’t necesarrily based on liking and disliking, it’s more “what have I got to say about this book”.
I’m sure we all read books that we like/love/dislike that others feel the complete opposite about and then I think mmm was I missing something?
So how do you compile your reviews? Do you make notes as you go along, have certain criteria that you like to include? Or a set of questions you ask yourself for each book?
I try and make notes as I go along but sometimes forget if I’m a bit engrossed in my reading and then it’s not always convenient to put the book down to jot downs notes or a page number, sometimes I’ve found myself losing the flow. I haven’t got a special notebook or anything, I tend to use any old scraps of paper I find lying around. Maybe I should invest in a nice notebook so all my notes and comments can be kept together.
Occasionally I’ve found it really hard to not give away spoilers, if I’ve felt really strongly about a plot line in a book and no-one else I know has read it…I have to talk about it!
I try and base my Goodreads star ratings on other books I’ve read – if I thought something was a 5 star, other books have to reach this benchmark to also be a 5.
There doesn’t seem to be any hard and fast rules with reviewing, we’re all different and like to shape our reviews accordingly but here are some good tips from the Booktrust:
1) Start with a couple of sentences describing what the book is about
But without giving any spoilers or revealing plot twists. As a general rule, try to avoid writing in detail about anything that happens from about the middle of the book onwards. If the book is part of a series, it can be useful to mention this, and whether you think you’d need to have read other books in the series to enjoy this one.
2) Discuss what you particularly liked about the book
Focus on your thoughts and feelings about the story and the way it was told. You could try answering a couple of the following questions:
- Who was your favourite character, and why?
- Did the characters feel real to you?
- Did the story keep you guessing?
- What was your favourite part of the book, and why?
- Were certain types of scene written particularly well – for example sad scenes, tense scenes, mysterious ones…?
- Did the book make you laugh or cry?
- Did the story grip you and keep you turning the pages?
3) Mention anything you disliked about the book
Talk about why you think it didn’t work for you. For example:
- Did you wish the ending hadn’t been a cliffhanger because you found it frustrating?
- Did you find it difficult to care about a main character, and could you work out why?
- Was the story too scary for your liking, or focused on a theme you didn’t find interesting?
4) Round up your review
Summarise some of your thoughts on the book by suggesting the type of reader you’d recommend the book to. For example: younger readers, older readers, fans of relationship drama/mystery stories/comedy. Are there any books or series you would compare it to?
Do you have any top tips you’d like to share?