Hello! I have a lot of things happening this week, and lots of reviews to write for some upcoming ARCs, so I thought it would be nice to do something low-key and fun today. Fatma over at The Book Place recently created the book reviewing tag, and I immediately knew I wanted to do it. These are all questions about the process of book reviewing and reflections on book reviews written. And since I am approaching a year and a half of book blogging, it seems especially apt.
So please join me for what should be a super fun, very casual, one-sided conversation about my reviewing process.
What’s your review writing process like (do you write notes somewhere, make annotations, highlights, etc.)?
I will admit, I actually have a very
crappy informal review writing process in that for the most part I read a book, and then I eventually sit down to write a review and dump words on the page until I have enough to start editing. If I have a lot of thoughts to collect, I will make some notes of all the points I want to make sure I hit during the review. But I don’t make a lot of notes while I’m actually in the process of reading. I will usually make mental notes, I just might not always remember them. If I am reading an ebook, I will probably highlight some quotes, but they may or may not actually even factor into the review process.
What do you struggle with most when it comes to writing book reviews?
Given my last answer, you can kind of infer that the thing I struggle most with in writing reviews is cohesively collecting my thoughts. I usually have lots of things to say, but I am bad at taking notes and I don’t outline so I usually have a hard time making my reviews cohesive and making them flow well while also getting all of my thoughts in.
Your favorite review(s) that you’ve written
My favorite reviews are generally the ones that are the most personal for me. Since I was given that nice opportunity to list multiple, I am going to go with my reviews for The Housekeeper and the Professor and I Kissed Shara Wheeler. They are both ones that I spent a lot of time refining to get my thoughts just right. And they both go past the point of the prose/plot/characters being good and really getting at the way they made me feel and how I connected with the text. So in that vein they almost become more niche, but they also make them much more unique to me and my blog.
A review that you struggled to write
To some extent, I haven’t struggled to write any review in particular as much as I struggle to write every review that appears on this blog. For the short, sweet, and silly reviews I post on Goodreads, I don’t really think about my review writing that much. But I tend to hold myself to a higher standard for things that get posted on the blog. I want those reviews to be a decent length, and really get into the meat of what I did or did not enjoy in a book. But I also want them to read well and maybe even be thoughtful or a little funny. It’s a struggle to write reviews for literary fiction because there’s so much to cover, but it can also be a struggle to write a review for a fluffy YA book that I rated four stars because it was just a good time. Especially because I have to convey to you, the reader, the difference between a four star literary fiction and a four star YA.
A review you still want to write
I am going to start my review of Carrie Soto is Back soon, which I am very excited to write! I was originally going to write a review for When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord, but I never did.
If When I go back and reread at some point, I would certainly be open to writing a review then if the inspiration strikes. Other than that, I think I would like to write a review of Beach Read at some point. I know I talk about it all the time and everyone and their mother has seen it recommended, but I would really like to be able to put into words just why I love it so much.
A review that you don’t want to/won’t write
This is a difficult question to answer, honestly. Like I said, I generally just won’t write a review if I don’t have inspiration for it. For example, most books I rate three stars. But of course every so often I end up requesting a book on NetGalley that ends up being incredibly average, and I have to get out a three star review to keep my ratio up.
Your most popular review(s)
Surprising to me, I have a few reviews that have been doing very well in search engines lately. One of those is my The Housekeeper and the Professor review I mentioned earlier, but my review for The Rose Code by Kate Quinn is doing incredibly well too, which is both surprising and embarrassing to me because it is the first review I ever posted to the blog, and there are so many things about it that I would change now. Nonetheless, in terms of both overall views and recent views, it is my most popular review.
How you feel about your book reviewing this year
Honestly, I feel very good about it! My blogging was a little slow at the beginning of the year, so I haven’t posted as many reviews as I maybe would have liked, but I am really proud of the reviews I have written. Especially the ones from the last couple of months like Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour and Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. I also don’t want to beat myself up too much because while reviews are super important to any book blog and I enjoy writing them, I think that what makes my blog unique is my mixture of reviews and other reading-related posts, whether that be listicle recommendations or other bookish content. It comes down to quality over quantity, which is something I am definitely okay with!
Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this trip into the book-review portion of my mind. Until next time!