Discussion {What’s in a Review?}

Posted July 20, 2015 by Liza in Discussion / 16 Comments


For years I’ve struggled to find my own voice when writing a review and I think many bloggers and reviewers might feel the same way.  I certainly know what I like to read in a review, but is that necessarily what other like to read in a review?  Lately, it takes me forever to write one and I think it’s because I’m overanalyzing everything so much and it’s gotten to a point that I almost dread reviewing.  It’s all quite sad, especially when this is a book blog 🙁

My reviews tend to be very long and wordy, but I’ve been trying my hand at making them a bit less so.  I also try to highlight I what believe are the most important points of the review to make it easier to the reader to scan the review.  Other reviewers use bullet points or include subleaders to make it easier to read.

I like to include in my reviews what I liked, and what I didn’t like about the story and the characters, my overall impression and my thoughts about the writing, plot and message(s).  I also try my best to make it fun for others to read, but keeping it clean since Reading with ABC is mostly a young adult book blog and some of my readers are quiet young.

in a review


What about you?  What do you like to read when you read a review?  Do you like it?:

  • Wordy
  • Short
  • Spoilery
  • Spoiler free
  • Snarky
  • Funny
  • Things liked
  • Things disliked
  • Letter form
  • Bullets

Help me out here gorgeous readers! What do you like in a review?



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16 responses to “Discussion {What’s in a Review?}

  1. Kel

    When reading reviews, I like them to be informative and engaging. Those are both really subjective terms, but that’s what I look for. I want to get a sense of whether the book is something I’d be interested in, and I want to easily read about it (as opposed to forcing yourself through a reading assignment). As long as those two criteria are met, the format doesn’t usually matter, though I don’t generally like super long reviews.

    When writing a review, it depends. I used to do bullets. Now I transform free-form thought notes into a few paragraphs. I usually cut out the spoilers and ranting in that process, else they’d be a lot longer. 😉

  2. I think it depends on each individual writer. I’ve read different types of review styles and the ones I like the most are when the author’s personality shines through. I do like to hear why someone did or didn’t like a particular book and a synopsis without spoilers. As for length, it really depends on my mood but I think medium sized posts are good. I don’t like really long reviews and I’m not a fan of short, quick reviews either. I want something with a little detail.

    Ashley @ Ashleyz Wonderland recently posted: #Excerpt Quirks and Kinks by Laurel Ulen Curtis
  3. I focus my reviews on what I liked a book, or what I liked about a book and what I didn’t Big focuses for me are the main character and the romance, and then sometimes whatever else stood out at me. i don’t necessarily talk about plot, writing, pacing, subplots in every single review, but rather I will mention the writing if I loved it or hated it, or something was unique about it. Same goes for the other elements. My reviews are pretty casual and subjective.

    And those are the kinds of review I tend to read the most.

    Great post!

    Michelle @ Book Briefs

  4. My style of review is very straightforward. I have seven sections. 1) Book information and cover. 2) Summary from Goodreads. 3) What I Liked. 4) What I Did Not Like. 5) Would I Recommend it. 6) Rating. 7) Links.

    I feel like I’m extremely honest in my reviews, and I always try to hit on points that people are curious about: summary of my own, characters, plot, romance, climax/ending (HEA/cliffhanger). And then anything else I feel the need to say.

    My reviews are very lengthy, but hey, that works for me. I think, in my reviewing “career”, I’ve had one person comment (and it was on Amazon, so it wasn’t necessary a blogger or reviewer, or regular blog follower) tell me my review was too long. Oh well. I review to my contentment, not yours! 🙂

    I don’t know if anything I just said was interesting or helpful or relevant. I’ll just go now 😀

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    Alyssa Susanna (The Eater of Books!) recently posted: Blog Tour Excerpt and Giveaway: The Highlander Takes a Bride by Lynsay Sands
  5. I like to be informed in advance about things readers could find polarizing. Love triangles, vicious cliffhangers, the quality of writing, what people liked and how it made them feel. But the most important part is that I don’t like to be surprised, like I was recently when I had to abandon a book halfway through because I was unaware of a major plot point that was a deal breaker for me. Had I been warned even vaguely, I never would have bought the book.

    • Liza

      Got it! I dislike some of these myself and I appreciate know about them too. There are some plot points that I can’t get past of and I appreciate the heads up 🙂

  6. I look at reviews as the answer to a very simple question, “Did you like it? Why or why not?”

    I like reviews to be a conversion. I personally don’t like them to be a structured essay. Don’t focus on hitting certain topics every time (plot, characters, writing style, etc). I don’t really care about all that. I don’t want you to tick boxes to complete certain areas, I just want you to tell me how you felt about the book, without a guideline or parameters.

    Of course that’s just my preference. 😉

    • Liza

      I get what you’re saying Ashley, I do scan most reviews to get to that point. I guess I’m more cynical and I like to know what’s wrong with it 😉

  7. For me, the most important thing in a review is honesty and emotions. I want to read about how the book made the reader feel. It doesn’t matter how long or short the review is, if I can sense how you really felt through a review, then it’s a favorite review!
    However, I have to admit that I don’t really like reading very ranty reviews that come across as mean to me. It just seems like an attempt to get attention. I think even negative reviews can be written in a polite way, so when I really dislike reading ranty reviews.
    Great post, Liza!

    Nick @ Nick's Book Blog recently posted: Review : The Wondrous and the Wicked by Page Morgan
    • Liza

      I know what you mean Nick. Oh, the feels! Sometimes is so hard for me to express all the feels 🙂 For some reason reviews like that can be found a lot in Goodreads and to be honest it makes me feel uncomfortable. I try to be polite, even when I don’t like a book.

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