Feature vs. Review

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I know that it is typical to post book reviews on a book blog, but from the beginning I haven’t been so good at that. The posts I make about specific books look like a review, but don’t always feel like one. Just before the New Year, I had decided to revamp the whole idea behind my book reviews. I thought about getting rid of them all together but that felt like a mistake. I started this blog, really, so that I could write down, and discuss, the books that I am reading. To get rid of those posts would feel like I abandoned my “ideals” (extreme, I know, just go with it). So instead of getting rid of them, I started to break down exactly what I wanted from them.

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I liked that I didn’t have ratings attached directly to my writing (if you really wanted to know how I felt about a specific title, you could always just check my Goodreads page). So I think that I will at least keep that part in the future.

Alyssa @ A Reader’s Journey wrote up “Guidelines for Writing a Book Review” that I have found helpful. I compared her points to what I was posting (at the time) and that is when I realized that I was doing something a little different.

Basic Information:

Title/Author-Β Well yeah, I usually cover that. The title and author are always the title of the post.

Date Published-Β The year in which the book was published is always featured underneath the photo of the book (next to the author’s name again).

Genre- Negative. I don’t usually post specific genres for the books I read.

Where I got the book-Β Some times I talk about where I got the book (BOTM, library haul, etc.) but not all the time.

Synopsis- I usually post the Goodreads synopsis and link it underneath.

Image- I always post an image of the book. I used to just take the photo off google, but I am toying with the idea of photographing them myself from now on.

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So I have the basic information mostly covered at least. It is getting into the actual review part that I stopped seeing similarities. Alyssa highlights the five major parts of a book (plot, setting, characters, theme and writing style) with related questions underneath each heading. I definitely touch upon some of these in each of my posts, but rarely all five, and I don’t always go super in depth with my answers to those questions. Mostly, I find myself just honing in on the parts of the book that I either liked the most, or had the most conflict with. I state any questions that I had during reading, and sometimes post about my wishes for what could have been. Sometimes, I don’t even necessarily talk about what the book was about, I just talk about specific parts. Basically, I cover the “need to know info” and pair it with a couple highlights.

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What do you typically look for in a book review-like blog post? What would you like to see in these features? Help me develop these particular posts into something you would regularly click on.

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22 thoughts on “Feature vs. Review

  1. If I have read the book, I like to see specific thoughts as to why you did or didn’t like a book. If I haven’t read the book, I like to read the synopsis and find out if you did or didn’t like a book to help me decide if I want to read it.

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  2. I like having the synopsis there (in case i haven’t read the book). If i’ve read it, i can just skip that part.
    What i don’t like in reviews (saw a lot like this on goodreads) is basically the retelling of the synopsis – which is literally there as well.
    I like to know why that reviewer liked/disliked the book. After reading a few of their reviews i know more or less if we have similar taste or not, and this helps deciding if i wanna jump in the book right away, or read later, or not at all.

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  3. I also like to see a synopsis of the book. One of my favourite parts to check is simply the reviewer’s overall opinion. Are they raving over this or did they just think was good or okay? When the raving starts I have to look into the book some more πŸ™‚

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  4. I cannot say I am an expert blogger but I really like it when I hear a the readers thoughts and feelings were about the book. Whether it be good or bad, could you connect with the book? or not? I prefer if someone is attaching the Goodreads synopsis not to put their own spin on the synopsis in the review… Does that make sense? I hope that helps!!

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  5. You are kidding here right? “From the beginning I haven’t been so good at that” . I think that statement, in my humble opinion, is totally not true. I really enjoy your reviews because they are slightly different. I really don’t have to see an in depth analysis of the book. I like to basically know what the book is about (preferably spoiler free lol), and the things that did or did mot work. Another thing I like is when a reviewer finds certain elements in a book that relate to a personal experience he/she had. Of course that can’t always be done. Lastly just be objective. Sometimes a book might not work for you, because maybe it had something in it that you never like. Other people might just very much enjoy that.
    But just to make this clear one more time (lolπŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚), I love your reviews. And…you will see how much tomorrow over on my own blog (nope, not going to say what I mean by this statement πŸ˜‚). Hope this helps! Keep up the good work πŸ˜€

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  6. I think a final summary is important – something concise wrapping the book up in a nutshell.

    One of my regulars once said that he wished I would put a TL;DR section at the bottom of my articles because he wanted to know the key points of a game (board game blogger here, not book) and a bit of opinion when he didn’t have time to read the whole thing. It’s a fair point, especially for longer reviews.

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    1. My thoughts exactly. I dread writing the synopsis because it’s such a difficult balance! I’ve actually been thinking about doing two kinds of review – one for someone who has never read the book and a second with more discussion on the plot, overall meaning, etc.

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      1. I’m sure it would be. I think I’d only do this for books I really love or hate. The question is how to format it… probably have the spoiler/rant section in a separate post? As a blog reader, I doubt I would stop at a “spoiler ⚠️, do not pass”, even if I hadn’t read the book. I am a bit of a wildling though.

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  7. Some rules are good to obey, some other rules is good to break, what can bring the new perspective or fresh look on “the thing”. So do what you feel, don’t force yourself to do review when you feel to do feature. I think it’s more important when your work is true and honest.
    Have a nice day πŸ™‚

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