Thursday, June 23, 2011

{Blogger Babble} Hey, How do you Review?


Keeping in step with the Blogger Babble I did entitled Hey, How’d You Get That ARC? I thought I would keep going and answer another few questions asked of me in the past few months.

This weeks topic is:

Hey, How Do You Review?

Do you take notes when you read?

My brain moves at about 800 miles a minute. I read roughly 4 books a week. If I didn’t take notes I would easily have the worst reviews known to man. Some of you might already think I do as If that’s the case, just don’t tell me. I’m better off not knowing..hehe.

Now, there is a few parts to this though. The first being, I am more likely to take better notes when reading on “Mah Nookie” because I can easily highlight favorite quotes, or if I have a great idea while reading about what to put in the review I can put the note in and then go back and have them all laid out neat and pretty for me. You would be surprised how often an idea hits me, mid book.

When I’m reading a physical copy this is more difficult. I find it a sin against man and unicorns to mark up a book (with the exception of my copy of City of Bones which looks a lot like some Christians bibles – long story!) I always mean to have a note pad with me while I read, but even if I do, I tend to misplace it or a child finds it and makes it a work of art. Because of this, my note taking for physical copies has become strictly post-it note based. In general I’ll mark a page number and jot a note about what I’m trying to recall. Doesn’t always work as well as the Nook process, but way better then nothing.

Do you think note taking is necessary for good reviews?

Heck no! I just think it’s the way I need to do it. Find your groove and go with it, that’s what I say!

Do you sometimes find it hard to be honest in your reviews?

I don’t find it hard to be honest, but sometimes I mull over my wording for a long while. In fact there are times that I write the review, then sit on it a day before posting so I can look it over and see it with a clear mind. Honesty is what the authors expect and they will always be happier with a well worded 100% honest review then one filled with fluff and lies.

I’m not going to lie and say writing a review on a book that an acquaintance has written or a review for a book where I’ve talk frequently with the author isn’t a bit nerve racking from time to time. But the way I look at is is, if you’re not honest and you can’t push nerves aside, you shouldn't be doing this review thing.

How do you handle needing to to write a bad review, when the book is deserving of one?

With love to my dear friend Jen at Fictitious Delicious who taught me this method when I called her in a panic on how to handle writing MY first not-so-great review, I will divulge to you her ancient teaching passed down to me from the Grandmaster of PP (Polite and Professional, what did you think it meant..shessh!).

Think of the review, like a sandwich....and put the not so great items about the book inbetween two nicer things. Here, I'll break it down for you:

First, center yourself so you maintain your professionalism. Maintaining professionalism is key, if you lose that your bound to go spouting off randomly, much like me and reviews I may or may not have done on the House of Night series at some point…

Second, start off with something nice about the book. For instance comment on the name, the cover, the setting, find something you can like there has to be something, there always is.

Third: fill your Sandwich with the not so great points, but remember to keep it professional. i.e: “I found the story tired and over done. The characters are watery with no real back bone and I felt I could not connect with them” and so forth.

Fourth and last: Finish off with something else nice, like “I think that writer has potential, and I will probably give their future books a shot.”

Remember, a bad review is not an opportunity to bag on a writer. Stay professional, and always BE HONEST! Did I mention to stay professional?

So that’s my review process, all laid out for you. Let me know if I missed any questions you might have had and I will address them next time around. You can reach me at meandmyshelf (at) gmail (dot) come

amber copy


  1. Great post! I tend to only review if I really only liked a book. I never like to say anything bad about them, even if it's deserved. Most of my reviews are too much of rambles about how much I enjoyed it, and I could never take focused notes about it. :)

  2. I've actually been meaning to start taking notes. Because as you said, mid book an observation will hit me, worded just perfect in my head. And come review time I can't remember. And I also consider it a crime to mark up, bend, or dog-ear a book. I like my books pristine. Anywho, good topic. I'll have to remember my notebooks and post it notes are a great idea.

  3. Great topic and I'm sure something that lots of blog readers and fellow reviewers wonder about. I'm so happy to meet someone who also thinks it's sacrilegious to write in a physical copy of a book! It took me ages to finally decide that making notes in my university text books would be OK.

    I don't tend to make notes while I'm reading, but I've got a pretty good memory and can usually recall what I was thinking about.

    Nice to meet you!

    Shelagh (New Follower)
    The Word Fiend

  4. I'm impressed at the number of books you read.


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