Discussion: Sometimes I Just Don’t Feel Like Writing Reviews

Posted on 12/02/2014 in Discussion / 22 Comments


Confession: I don’t like writing reviews.

Actually, I hate writing reviews. It’s not because I’m lazy (okay, sorta) or that I hated the book (usually not true); I simply struggle with getting my thoughts out of my brain and into print in any kind of cohesive form – likely because I want my thoughts to be original and my own. Whereas this post is probably going to be a bunch of word vomit that I spew in 5 minutes. When I finish a book, I mark it as complete on Goodreads and then struggle with what rating to give it, then sit and think about the book.  What did I like or dislike about it?  Characters?  What about the setting?

One-Star reviews are the easiest to write.

It’s easy to tell when I disliked something, and to verbalize why I disliked it.  “This book was terrible because the characters were dirty floozies with no self-respect, and also, PlotHoleVille.”  That’s simple.  The bad stuff sticks out, so I am able to write it. https://bookshelfery.com/arc-winners-curse-marie-rutkoski/ Fortunately (or unfortunately??) I rarely end up reading books I actually dislike, which leads me to:

Three-, Four-, and Five Star reviews hurt my brain.

I actually struggle the most with 5-stars, because I’m so pumped by the book that I become verklempt and unable to articulate anything.  One time, this resulted in a single gif as my review (plus a few words).  What could I possibly say that others hadn’t already?  I was stumped and felt like I had nothing to different or new add.  I want to gif them so badly.

Carlton embodies the emotions I feel when I read a good book.
Four-stars is a similar struggle.  3 isn’t so bad except….I would rather an author write something I detest over something I am a little indifferent to, or just okay with.  “Well, it could be better but it wasn’t bad.”  How much more generic can I be?  It’s also hard to write them without spoiling major plot-holes, because most likely the reason I felt “okay, but meh” about it was some twist in the book, and reviewing that would ruin it for other readers. I have 5 books sitting in my drafts with reviews either not written at all or not completed.  They stare at me, tauntingly, as if to say “Slacker!”  But I simply can’t make myself review them, even though I really liked them.

So I don’t like writing reviews, period.

I still write them because I want to get my thoughts out there, but it’s always a struggle.  Every review you see from me was likely a bunch of words I wrangled together in my brain, through several iterations, before I felt it was good enough for public consumption.  Reviews are the most challenging posts with the least amount of gain (whereas discussion posts grab the most engagement among all blogs I’ve seen – and they are the easiest to write, at least for me).

I used to subscribe to a minimum word count in my reviews.

My goal was 500 words, give or take, but when I was indifferent to a book, it was really hard to come up with 500 words that detail why I just didn’t care about it. So I threw my rule out the window and now I just write what I feel like writing. Maybe it’s only 4 sentences.  Maybe it’s 1200 words long because I’m fangirling superhard.  Or maybe it’s just a ridiculous gif.

I’m a meat & potatoes kind of girl.

If I could review all books I read in one sentence, I’d totally do it.

“The Winner’s Curse rocked my socks off my feet.  The end.”

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Jennifer is both a book nerd and professional photographer. That means she lives in the fantasy world all the time, whether of her making, or someone else's. She collects books like the Duggar family collects kids, and began waiting for her Hogwarts letter at the tender age of 33.


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22 responses to “Discussion: Sometimes I Just Don’t Feel Like Writing Reviews

  1. I’m not the only one! *happy dance* Really 1’s and 5’s are generally easy. 3’s are where I get stuck the worst and 4’s sometimes it’s just hard to say why I liked a book but didn’t love it enough to fangirl. I have a stack of about 10 reviews needing written right now and most of them are 4’s. :S
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    • I think my struggle with 3s is that I generally liked the book, but there were nitpicky details. So it’s easy for me to say why I didn’t like it, but hard for me to say “but it’s still a good book!” Even if I did enjoy it. Lots of comments on my 3s say something like “I’m sorry it didn’t work for you” when it did! I was vocal about the details that bothered me. I agree that 4s are rough. Much rougher to explain than a 3 or a 5 for me. I also feel like I have a tendency to give 5s when they aren’t deserved sometimes. The struggle of rating! I can see why some bloggers don’t rate at all.
      Jennifer @ BookShelfery’s latest thoughts >> Discussion: Sometimes I Just Don’t Feel Like Writing Reviews

  2. Amber Elise

    That is a TOTALLY legitimate review for The Winner’s Curse! One reviews are a bit difficult for me because that means that I HATED the book, but I don’t want to get SUPER snarky and ranty, so I try to reign back my hate. 3 star reviews are the absolute devil. I never had a word count minimum for myself, but back in the day I used to be OBSESSED with writing super lengthy reviews. I have since realized that A) I don’t like writing that much B) who the hell has time to read that much? I subscribe to short and sweet now! Amber Elise @ Du Livre

  3. Several bloggers like Karen from What Its Worth, writes short and tweet reviews… 140 characters. It helps to really boil it down, and I don’t mind reading reviews like that, just harder for me to comment, which is what I suck at sometimes. Also, don’t know if it would help but Kimba wrote some questions that I saved, and answer–always why I wanted to read it http://caffeinatedbookreviewer.com/2013/05/how-the-heck-did-you-do-that-blogger-tips-and-tricks-10-reviews.html “1. Why you bought book or decided to review it 3. Character analyses a. personality (alpha, kick-ass, brat, whiny? we want to know) b. did you connect with them? why or why not? c. character growth d. did you like or dislike them? Give reason why. 4. Romance a. is there one b. is it insta-love or a triangle? c. did it feel real to you? d. is it the main focus or a subplot? 5. World-building a. is it detailed b. did it feel plausible? c. was it show or tell? Was it an information dump, or slowly revealed? Did the author paint the world for you or smother you with details about chairs and wallpaper? Was it believable? Is it the same old troupe or did the author add their own voice to it? What worked? What didn’t. 5. Flow, Author’s writing style a. where you jarred from the story by anything b. was it slow, fast paced, did the middle suffer?” Also Jennifer from Bad Bird Reads does a format: At A Glance, The Good, The Bad, The Snuggly, Final Thoughts, Quotes http://badbirdreads.com/review-rock-addiction-nalini-singh/
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  4. I suck at writing reviews lol. Although I’m a little better than when I first started so that makes me feel a teeny bit better. I agree that negative reviews are the easiest for me to write. I don’t know what it is but I just have trouble pinpointing exactly what made me love a book and then I have trouble writing it down. Oh well, maybe I’ll just keep getting better as I go along.
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  5. And all of this is why there are only a handful of reviews on my almost 2 year old blog. I can’t do it. When I finish a book and it’s time to review it, a huge mental block pops up, and *POOF*! No review. I can relate to this entire post 100%!

  6. Me too! All of the words. I’ve done a FEW “Tweet It” reviews. Where talk about the book in 140 characters or less. I’m doing more of these in 2015. And I’m doing some serious reviews. I find it really hard to write reviews for Urban Fantasy series where the main character(s) are the same. Hard to come up with new stuff to say from book 1-8.
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