Tags, Awards & Challenges

In Which I Interrogate Myself About My Reviewing Tactics (kind of a tag?)

So Cait over at Paper Fury recently interrogated herself about her reviewing tactics, a sort of A vs B type of thing. It looked like mighty fun, so I thought I’d answer the questions, too. (This isn’t really a tag, but it kind of is? Is this more of a discussion post? I’m conflicted!)

I read voraciously, and I make a point to review every single thing I read. I like reviewing everything because 1) I remember books better by writing about them, and 2) it forces me to think about what I just digested — or inhaled. If I didn’t like something, I want to know why I didn’t like it. Also, reading my own review of a book usually triggers more memories about it than reading someone else’s, strangely enough. This is great if I’m finally reading a sequel but have forgotten a bit about the previous book. So that’s why I review. But also so I can voice my opinion with other readers and find people who share my exact feelings. It’s nice to know I’m not alone the world, yelling at my books or weeping over them.

Before we start the questions, if you’re new to my blog, take a look at some of my more recent reviews to get a sense of how I (tend to) review books. If you’re interested, that is. You can totally skip that and just head on over to the interrogation right below this line…

Long or short?

Medium? Sometimes I write short reviews, only a few paragraphs, and sometimes I write long reviews, which actually are the most fun for me to write. It means I have so many thoughts! (Off the top of my head, one of my longest reviews was for The Young Elites. That still might be my favorite review I’ve written. I had very mixed feelings about the book.) But I usually go with medium-length reviews, or what I consider medium-length.

Goodreads or blog?

Both. After finishing a book I type a sentence or two on Goodreads about my overall opinion. Then, either immediately after that or a day or two later, I write my full review. I schedule it to my blog and then cross post it on Goodreads when it goes live. Interesting tidbit of mine, though: I don’t rate books on my blog, just on Goodreads. Because often times my star ratings bounce around and it’s way too much trouble to go into each individual review and change my rating. Goodreads makes it easy. (I do wish they’d introduce half-stars, though.)

To gif or not to gif?

Not to GIF. That doesn’t mean I don’t like GIFs, though! I love a good GIF, but I personally don’t use them. I’ve been thinking about maybe exploring them and using them every now and then, but I’m too lazy to go searching the internet for good ones. I enjoy the GIFs other bloggers use but I don’t feel like my posts need them. (Cait at Paper Fury and Emily at Loony Literate are excellent GIFfers, though. Is that even a word? It should be.)

Rants or logic?

Almost always logic. But I’ll rant occasionally. I try not to, though, because ranting, while wonderfully entertaining for the reader and satisfying for the ranter, isn’t the most diplomatic of routes. Like, it’s super awkward to send a publisher a review that’s mainly a rant about a book I didn’t like. So I try to keep my thoughts logical and explain calmly (or semi-calmly) why I didn’t like certain aspects of the book.

Informal or serious?

Mostly serious, though I do sprinkle in sarcasm and smiley faces and fangirl talk. I love reading funny, more informal reviews — again, Cait over at Paper Fury is a terrific example of this — but I also love reading very critical, more serious reviews — Emma over at Em Does Book Reviews is a wonderful example. As long as a review is well-written and informative, I don’t care if it’s informal or not. I wan to know why the reviewer liked the book or not. But for the types of reviews I write? I’m on the more serious side.

Buy links or not?

No buy links, but I add Goodreads links, which I think are absolutely vital for all reviews. I’m pretty good about going on Goodreads and searching for the book myself, but sometimes with books I haven’t heard of before, I don’t always remember the author’s name, and then it can get frustrating trying to find the book if the title is common. Having a Goodreads link right there makes everything so easy.

Personal recap or dive into the feels?

It depends. I’ve started including the book’s official synopsis at the top of the reviews, for readers who want to know what it’s about right then and there. (I personally hardly ever read blurbs, believe it or not. I prefer depending on reviews and actually quite enjoy going into books blind or with very little knowledge. I like to be surprised. This backfires sometimes, though.) Because of the synopsis I include, I haven’t been recapping the books I read quite as heavily in my reviews lately. I still give a general idea of the story, but I cut to the chase a bit quicker.

Content warnings or not?

Not really. I’ll mention if a book has an obscene/unusual amount use of profanities, more than seems normal for YA, but I don’t really mind vocabulary as long as it’s used meaningfully. I’ll also mention any very steamy scenes because some readers don’t like them and it gives them, the potential readers, a heads up. But I don’t really care about content warnings, from myself or from other reviewers.

Review requests or not?

Right now, yes. I’m still a relatively newer book blogger — I just reached my six month bloggiversary on February 24th. I’ve only been in personal contact with I believe three or four publishers, and none of them contacted me first — it was all because of a book I entered for in a giveaway that either I did or did not end up receiving, and the publishers decided to reach out to me for various reasons. I get my review copies through giveaways and NetGalley, and I was really surprised at how many books I was getting for review before I even reached six months. I still have a pretty small blog and social media following. I read fast, though, so I’ll be accepting any direct review requests I get as of right now. We’ll see how things shape up in another few months. 😀

Half star ratings or not?

I WISH! I only rate books on Goodreads, and Goodreads doesn’t use half stars, grrrrr. On occasion I feel like making a note in my Goodreads review if I want to give a book a half star rating, but I think ratings are very subjective and I honestly don’t care that much about them. Everyone loves looking at the stars to see if someone liked or disliked a book, but people rate books for an incredibly vast number of reasons, so ratings can be pretty generic. (Although it’s safe to presume that 5 stars means someone loved the book and 1 star means they really disliked it.)

How do you write your reviews?
Are yours long or short?
Do you use GIFs or not?
Do you stay logical or rant away?
Is your voice more informal or serious?
And do you use half star ratings or not?
I’d love to hear your answers to these questions!
Comment below letting me know!

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2 thoughts on “In Which I Interrogate Myself About My Reviewing Tactics (kind of a tag?)

  1. I’m glad you like my gifs 😛 And I love this post! Both yours and Cait’s. I like reading both formal and informal styles – Jess @ My Reading Dress does the most AMAZING critical reviews (same with Mel @ YA Midnight Reads). I’ve FINALLY subscribed by email to your blog so I’ll be able to read them all in the future 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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