Having just launched this blog I've been thinking a lot about the type of content I want to create for the wonderful people who take the time to read what I have to say. One of the things I decided early on is that I want to feature at least one book review a week, not only because I want to showcase the work of other authors, but also because I'd love a place where great discussions about books can hopefully develop. To that end I've been thinking a lot about reviews lately and decided to introduce a five part series on book reviews to share my thoughts. In the process of determining what is best for my blog I've also visited tons of truly fabulous book blogs to see what others are doing and what their readers enjoy.
One of the first problems I faced when sitting down to write my initial book reviews (which consisted of sitting at my laptop, drinking copious amounts of coffee, and trying to figure out how best to express all I wanted to say) was determining the structure I wanted to use. Summaries are always helpful, but of course a review is supposed to be more than that. So how to let readers know what a book is about and my opinion on it without being boring? I think--hope--I'm developing a book review structure that sufficiently addresses the need to be detailed without being too wordy or boring. By avoiding any long summaries by moi I can focus on my thoughts of the book, which can also be problematic when trying to avoid spoilers.
So far I've decided to directly address Plot and Characters in subsections of my book reviews, although I'm also considering adding a place for Romance. As most of the books I read do have love stories I thought it would be fun going forward to have a few lines addressing this aspect, mostly because a good love story can make or break a book for me. Another recent addition to my reviews (something I'll admit I noticed on other book blogs and loved) is the inclusion of the First Line, a great way to get a fun teaser and a little bit of a feel of the type of writing one can expect throughout the novel.
One of the final aspects of the book review structure I struggled with was whether or not to include a star rating. So far I've decided not to. Determining how to give a star rating in a clear, fair way seems problematic to me. Does a five star have to be a totally perfect book or just one I thoroughly enjoyed? If a book is okay, not great, and one I wouldn't read again does that deserve two stars or three? The entire system seems a bit complicated to me, so I've decided against it at the moment.
I'd love to hear your opinions on how reviews are structured, what you like to see when reading a review (or what you like to include when writing one), and what you think about the star rating system!
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