How (not) to write a book review- for dummies! #likeaboss

(emphasis on the dummies part)

Okay so a while back I did a post about how (not to) criticise a book blogger. And now I thought it would be fun to do a connected post… this time on how to actually write a review! Disclaimer, I do believe in the “your blog, your rules” mantra (phrase courtesy of Drew), but I thought it would be entertaining to address some of the ways we as book bloggers *may make mistakes* (I know, shocker, we’re not all perfect deities incapable of blunders 😉). And if you think I’m letting myself off the hook, this will be a confession post of sorts, cos I’m gonna admit to doing a ton of these!

shocked face

  • spoilersNot putting any spoiler warnings- just lay on all the spoilers! No one will mind. In fact, the best thing to do is to put a helpful tag at the top that says, “this book contains” with all the spoilers. That way, no one will miss it!
  • Don’t tell people what it’s about (*coughs awkwardly*- yeahhhh I’ve done this- though, in fairness, I try to put a one line synopsis these days)
  • I will automatically tell you it’s good because: it’s my taste, it’s got diversity, it’s by a minority/woman/by another human being. In fact, I’m not going to tell any information about this book except give you a laundry list of worthy traits. This is not a review, this is an opportunity to virtue signal.
  • guiltUse lots and lots of exclamation points and ALL CAPS and bold and italicising (guilty as charged of all of these)
  • *Insert nitpicking rant about things that will interest no one but the reviewer or people that read said book and hold the identical opinion* (guilty again)
  • Say something disagreeable and then beg forgiveness immediately after (c’mon we all do it- it’s like a retroactive “no offence but…”)
  • Complain about the book for the entire review- but gotsta get those arcs, so give it 5* regardless! (to be fair, I’ve only ever seen this on booktube a while ago, but it grates on my nerves to this day)
  • guilty judgeJustify the rating to the point of absurdity. Just keep going and going and going- repeating all the points until the reader is exhausted and has no interest in what you have to say anymore (*ahem* yeahhh I have been known to waffle)

Annnnd that’s all I’ve got for now! I’m sure I’ve sufficiently offended plenty of people/exposed my failings to the world- so I’ll let you be the judge now- do you have any awkward blogging faults? Or is your blogging technique perfection? (in which case, TIPS PLEASE!!!)


73 thoughts on “How (not) to write a book review- for dummies! #likeaboss

  1. Ah yes, my favorite reviews are the ones that lay out all the spoilers at the beginning 😉 I’ve definitely been guilty of some of these (esp ranting about something that no one cares about but me 😬), but you’re right that it can be so frustrating to see in other people’s reviews!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Bwahahaha no I use bold for a simple reason: as my reviews tend to be longish I use bold to summarize the essential elements of the review. But hey nobody’s perfect!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Ouch! haha this is like a shot to the heart (insert dramatic emoji clutching heart and dying comically) I use to many exclamation points! And I don’t include synopsis’s 😦 and I tend to rant about random points that noone else will care about 😂😂 I think I like Drew’s philosophy better 😉 Tho I do agree about the spoilers! That is a HUGE no-no!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. hahaha so do I!!! Totally guilty of all of those!! haha!! But to be fair, I actually enjoy reading people’s tangents (I’m just not sure people enjoy mine 😉 ) me too haha! (this isn’t a serious post lol! Except for the spoilers- that one is a huge no-no. )

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hahaha – I haven’t written many reviews (only a few on Goodreads) but I’m probably guilty of many of these too. I certainly never include what the book is about… but to be honest I always skip that bit in other people’s reviews. A sentence or two synopsis is fine but beyond that I don’t care – I just want to know what the reviewer thought of it! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Hahahah feel so attacked right now😂 I’m definitely guilty of going on tangents and just gushing about everything I liked, I often forget that other people read my reviews other than me😂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Lots of giggling over here. (When pressured, I giggle in multiple dialects.)

    I avoid most of the pitfalls you identified because I rarely write book reviews. One year I managed an A to Z of favorite books, so all the reviews were adulatory.

    However, most of the books I really adore have about 100,000 excellent reviews, and mine would be a wimpy space suck. Why bother with, “This book was so good, 5 star good, so really good, go read it”?

    I do write rape-and-pillage reviews but only on my personal book list. No one reads it but me, and I get the satisfaction of decompressing over a book that should have been better. I get to tell like it is – to me, anyway.

    No one goes away mad and they don’t take their cupcakes with them – win-win.

    I just want to get published one day, I want you to read my book, I want you to write a review, and i want it to acknowledge that my book sets the world on fire, 10 stars at least.

    Is that too much to ask?

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Thankfully, people who follow me know I fully spoil a book. Because I’m not writing for them. I’m writing for myself to remind myself in 10 years why I should or shouldn’t re-read the book. Too bad for everyone else! 😉

    As for saying disagreeable thing, well, some of us actually LIKE saying those things. No apology necessary 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    1. hehe yeah, we all know, I just know if it’s a tome I won’t remember the details 😉 (especially all the malazan books I plan to read 😉 )

      hehehe very much relate- I love reading all the disagreeable things 🙂 (and I don’t really mind writing them- I guess the apologies are just me being too British- sorry about that! 😉 )

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Hahahahahahahaha nitpicking rant is 100% what I will probably end up doing on the book I’m finishing up now if I’m not careful. My husband got an earful of it last night. SO MUCH GOOD MATERIAL to rant about!

    Thanks for the great post. So entertaining. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Yeah so I totally do waaay more of those things then I should! Oops! Especially caps and exclamation points. If I’m not using multiple exclamation points at the end of a sentence am I truly living my best life?!!!!!!!!


    Although the one I don’t get is when people say how much they didn’t like a book and then give it 4 stars. Maybe 4 stars means something different to everyone but to me 4 stars is a ‘very good book’ rating so I just never understand the content of the review then. I sometimes feel a bit duped which seems funny to say.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. lol I have to try soooo hard not to do the “rant about book through entire review, but then give it a pretty high rating” thing. I enjoy discussing the nitpicks in a near-perfect book, but I realize that it’s VERY misleading to people who have not read the book yet. 😂
    Excellent list! These are hilariously all so true!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I love this post! 😀 When it comes to spoiler warnings I make sure I always include them, even if I’m unsure whether what I’m talking about is actually a spoiler or not. Better safe than sorry right? And I’d hate it if someone spoiled a book for me, especially if it was one I was really excited about. 🙂 I’ve never seen a case of someone ranting about the entire book but giving it a perfect rating but it kind of doesn’t make sense to me, I pay more attention to what’s said in the review than the actual rating so if someone was complaining about a book but then rated it five stars I definitely wouldn’t pick it up.
    Great post. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Another hilarious but useful post. It is never too late to learn. I usually come of as being too serious on my reviews, but it is better than being the opposite and ending up as useless!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. This post cracked me up, and I definitely am guilty of a couple… like bolding and exclamation points. I am just easily excited! I used to summarize the plot but I honestly stopped doing it unless the synopsis is misleading or doesn’t give vital info, but I don’t mind reading BRIEF recaps of the plot.

    I do, however, hate when a review is like a duplicate of the synopsis or takes too much time recapping the plot rather than discussion the characters, worldbuilding, or themes. If I want to know what happens, I will read the book. haha.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. LOL, this was fun!
    All them all caps reviews… haha. Every time i come across them i just feel sort of wanting to take a step back from the screen.
    I haven’t seen many 5 star negative reviews, but i do see those ones with no star rating, and even after reading them for the second time i’m not sure if the reader liked it or not.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Great, great post! I make it a point in my blog not to give away much of the action unless that book is really not popular, but I can see your point.

    Also, I agree so much on the formatting mistake. If I need to rake my way through pages and pages of block text to reach that last sentence that is the actual review or my head starts spinning after two sentences… i won’t read your review.

    Liked by 4 people

  16. This post really made me smile! 😀 Not too experienced in writing reviews myself yet, but I have made the mistake of writing too little about my own opinion (just writing what the book is about) so it could not really be called a review 😂

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Fun post, thank you! Now of course I’m wondering how often I’m guilty of these things. I don’t claim to be a professional… anything, just giving my thoughts of the books I read. Definitely have pet peeves though – filling a review with spoilers and giving a blow by blow of the story. After a reading a review like that , why bother to read the book?


  18. Totally agree with a spoiler warning! I hate finding things out beforehand. I also go into writing a review with the assumption that the person reading it has no idea what it’s about so a brief paragraph explaining that is included (I prefer people’s own synopses over a goodreads one because damn they can get long). Totally guilty of a nitpicky rant, but honestly that’s cathartic and I want to spark conversation!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I don’t even do book reviews in my blog…and I still do half this stuff in my posts!!! 🤣🤣 Great post. You put such a positive spin on it!!


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