My Book Review Process and What I’ve Learned

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I’ve been reviewing books for almost a year and I thought it was time to reflect back on my thought process when it comes to reviews. I started out not really knowing how to structure my reviews beyond my general overall opinion, so most of my early reviews are pretty basic. It was tough because I’ve never really considered anything beyond my feelings about the book before. There is so much more that constitutes a proper review, including: plot, characters, writing style, themes, etc.

It took a while for me to find my own voice in book reviews, but once I did I started to have fun with it. Let’s compare one of my early reviews to a more recent one.

This review was for Checkmate: This is Effortless by Kennedy Fox:

I really wanted to take my time (I really did) and savour every last bit of Drewtney, but at the same time I wanted to read as fast as Courtney bakes blueberry muffins. It was hard not to speed through this book when This is Reckless ended on the most excruciating, soul-crushing, earth-shattering cliffhanger ever. Well, Kennedy Fox has done it again! This is the perfect follow up to This is Reckless and I am all for Team Drewtney. If you love a fast-paced, friends-to-lovers romance packed with tons of steamy love scenes and drama, then this one is perfect for you.

“It’s only you and me. There will only ever be a me and you.”

Drew is certainly one smokin’ cop and Courtney is one lucky gal. If Romantic Comedy was a book genre, this series would hit the nail right on the head because it’s a roller coaster of emotions. It will make you laugh, scream, cry, want to throw it against the wall and then pick it up and keep going. Drew and Courtney’s love story is a deliciously wild ride with endless cliffhangers that keep you begging for more. This is Effortless will consume you and make you crave more. This was everything I hoped it would be and more and I can’t wait for the next Kennedy Fox romance! Until then, let the book hangover begin. Make sure you read the start of the Checkmate Series first, beginning with This is War.

“Loving you has and will always be effortless.”

At this point in my reviews I was really into bolding certain words and including my favourite quotes. This review was also purely personal opinions, with no focus on the technical aspects of the book at all. It was all about showing my undying passion for the book more than anything else.

Now here is a more recent review for Everless by Sara Holland:

I’m still struggling to separate words from the tangled mess that is my brain after reading this book. When I first read the synopsis for this book, I was expecting another exciting YA fantasy and the concept of time as currency sounded amazing. What I did not expect was to be completely knocked off-balance and have my expectations blown out of the water. This is not just another hype book and definitely deserves every word of praise. In fact, this book deserves a standing ovation with slow claps because it is jaw-droppingly good.

When I opened the first page and started reading, I wasn’t sure I was entirely sold, but as soon as the first plot twist happened I lost my mind! Then another and another, until I thought I was going to explode with suspense. Basically the story starts with the protagonist Jules who has spent years in hiding with her father after being chased away from Everless by the terrifying Liam Gerling. She spends her days trying to come up with ways to help her father pay taxes and debt, until she decides to return to Everless to settle everything. As a servant to the Gerlings, she can save her father. What she doesn’t know is that returning to Everless holds more dangers than Liam.

When tragedy strikes, Jules entire world is shattered in the span of a letter left by her father, warning her to stay away from the Queen. She sets out to find answers, only to find that the legends are true and people are not who they seem to be. If you’re looking for a straightforward fantasy with a heroine who breaks into the castle, falls in love, and saves the day then you’re looking in the wrong place. Mind you, there is a romance subplot, which I totally thought was going to become a weird love triangle, but it didn’t. This is so much more because it delves deep into myth and the history is expertly intertwined with the plot. Expect the unexpected is all I can say, because the book is so much more than it seems.

There are endless cruel twists as well as so much betrayal and backstabby goodness. I was running out of characters to trust by the end and I’m still not entirely sure who the baddies are. The sequel seems so far away because this isn’t even published yet and I already need my next fix. Sara Holland has created a drug in the form of a book and I’m addicted.

This review covers not only my love for the book, but touches on important aspects such as plot. Recently, it’s become more about finding the right words to convey my feelings about a book. I find I’ve been focusing a lot on plot lately, which I have fun with. For me, reviews are about relaying the book in different ways than you would get from simply reading the synopsis. I’ve been finding more and more that the synopsis for books doesn’t really explain what happens. It’s also a lot of fun finding links to other popular books in order to give readers a better idea of what to expect.

I think I’ve learned a lot about reviewing books over that past year. It’s funny how my writing style has changed. I also find myself becoming a lot more critical of books that before I would have just handed out a five-star rating. Honestly, I have had a lot of luck lately, though. I haven’t read many bad books, which I’m thankful for. I’m excited to see where 2018 takes me in terms of reviews and other blog posts! I look forward to challenging myself more as a blogger.

Has your book reviewing process changed over time? Your blogging style? Let me know in the comments!

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