WRITING REVIEWS isn’t easy and we all know it!


Do you have trouble writing reviews? Are the meh-ones the hardest? Or maybe the bad ones? Are you doubting the way you write reviews? Maybe you sometimes forget characters’ names or certain events / topics you wanted to mention? Or, better yet, you simply forget to review a certain book until way too late?

If your answer to any of these questions is yes, my answer is simply: We’ve all been there! You’re not alone!

A little while ago, Marie posted about how reviews can differ depending on the person writing them. This had me leaving a huge comment on said post and got me thinking about sharing it with all of you guys.

We all know it can be a struggle to write a review – it doesn’t even matter whether it’s a good, glowing, meh, or simply ranting one. Sure, some reviews are written pretty easily, depending on how you feel about it, but other books can be a real challenge. I’ve often found myself tongue-tied and unable to write down my thoughts in a coherent way. I still do sometimes, but it’s gotten a lot better since I found my perfect review-writing process.

As Marie mentioned, there definitely are a lot of ways to go about it. Some people write their reviews immediately after reading, others use sticky-notes so they can go back to what they tagged and write their review that way. Others simply wait until they feel like writing their review – and then sometimes struggle remembering little things or even character names. Trust me, I’ve been there.


Since a couple of months, though, that doesn’t really happen to me anymore. Like, I said, I found the way that works best for me. It all started when I had this one aspect in my mind that I wanted to mention. I decided to immediately start a draft and type it down. A bit further in the book, I thought of a specific sentence I wanted to incorporate in my review and went back to my draft. It didn’t take me long to get into the habit of doing that and I often found myself with a pretty much finished review even before finishing the book. Editing aside of course.

This worked perfectly for me since I got to mention small things I would’ve forgotten about otherwise – not to mention character names! I was also able to compare my feelings throughout the book to my thoughts after finishing it, which often led me to conclude things I wouldn’t have realized otherwise.

Recently I’ve changed my process by not typing out everything, but simply using a draft to put my thoughts in bullet points. This can be as short as:

  • World-building: could’ve been better [lots of questions]
  • Character X got on my nerves; actions are understandable
  • Mention of [insert triggers]
  • Loved it when character Y did … because…

This pretty much gives me the basis I need to write my entire review, deleting the bullet points I’ve covered so far and putting them in the order that feels right to me.

30698588_10214840228895865_2661450757835849728_nApart from that, I also use sticky notes to tag quotes I love, scenes that pulled my heartstrings in some way or munches. Most of the time I actually have multiple munches-options so I can decide at the end of a novel which one I’m going with or is most realistic for me to make / bake / get a picture of. I always take out the latter sticky notes because those don’t really have any meaning other than review-purposes, haha.

Before I discovered this is the way it works best for me, I tried a lot of different things. Immediately writing the review after finishing a book, jotting down notes in a notebook when I thought of something, only writing the review a couple of days after finishing the book and so on. They worked to some extent, but I still felt like I was missing something. It fit me, but not perfectly? It’s hard to explain really.

Let’s just say I’m glad I discovered the bullet point-way!

What’s your reviewing process like? Do you switch formats according to the book you’re reviewing? How many different reviewing ways have you tried out in the past? Which ones?

Let’s talk reviewing styles!




47 thoughts on “WRITING REVIEWS isn’t easy and we all know it!

  1. Bullet point reviews are great for Goodreads! But I like to be a little more wordy on my blog, which makes writing reviews hard. And sometimes I can’t remember all my thoughts? So then I just don’t get around to writing a review at all 😂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hahaha. My Goodreads-reviews of books I also review on my blog are pretty much the same, but less words. It’s a bit too much of a hassle for me to write.. sort of two reviews? :p
      I always write one on Goodreads though! :p

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post, Kathy! Writing reviews has always been a struggle for me…it was especially hard to write reviews at this time of year because I always thought I needed to write in pretty words. Being non-native might have added to my insecurities back then.
    The Bullet points are a great idea! I sometimes do pick up the points that I want to talk about before I write a review and just enumerates the points with a bit of my thoughts and it works when I am stuck and tongue-tied as you put it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!
      Oh, I totally relate to that. I feel like my reviews are ridiculously simplistic when it comes to vocabulary but.. Like.. It’s not my native language and.. Ugh. It frustrates me sometimes to see so beautifully worded sentences in other reviews and then have mine being so simple.
      Exactly! I always love how sometimes I can merge multiple bullet points into one paragraph, haha. Like finding a connection I first didn’t realize was there. Or an evolution throughout my reading experience.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My review process actually sounds pretty similar to yours! When i’m reading a book i’m going to review i take notes using the note app on my phone (because whenever i’m reading i always have my phone by my side so i can literally write down thoughts as i have them) and i have all sorts of stuff in their like specific quotes, places where characters have done something i don’t agree with or maybe that seems out of character and i make sure that i note the page number where i had these thoughts so that i can go back and refresh when i’m actuallt writing the review. Luckily this was pretty much the first technique i tried when i started reviewing and so far it’s still working really well for me! Great post! 😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awesome that you find your review style so quickly! Pretty sure a lot of people wish they’d figured it out so quickly, haha.
      I never use my phone to take notes, simply because I sometimes read on my phone as well [surprise reading time and all that], which would be a hassle to do then. And I try not to have my phone near me when I’m reading because social media can be WAY too distracting. 😛

      Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love writing reviews and at one point i wanted to review everything. But it became something not really enjoyable so i quickly gave up on the “meh” ones and now i’m ok 😀
    I usually take notes in google docs while i’m reading and sometimes write my review right after finishing a book, but sometimes i sit on them for ages… i don’t really have a pattern.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was the exact same. I wanted to review every single book, didn’t matter if it was good, bad or meh. Nowadays I still review most books, but I’m keeping out the sequels. Honestly, I simply cannot be bothered writing reviews on sequels and then having people on my case about “spoiling the previous book(s)”. Like, it’s a review on a SEQUEL; what do you expect?! I gave up on it, haha.
      The really meh-ones where I simply don’t even know what to say, I simply review on Goodreads and leave it at that. :’)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I struggle to write reviews period. I don’t want to be spoilery if some one hasn’t read the book. But I also want to share all the emotions??? It’s difficult and I end up giving up on writing reviews.
    Bullet points sounds like a good idea though…. I might give it a try, see how it goes. 😀
    Thank you for sharing 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know how you feel. I think writing reviews is a bit like walking a chord, two miles up in the air. You either succeed at doing it right, or tumble right off and end up spoiling even the smallest thing.
      When a book gives me all the feels, I tend to go a bit like “I CRIED. I LAUGHED. I CRIED LAUGHING. But I can’t tell you why because you NEED TO READ THIS first.” Which is by no means a review, but.. like.. sometimes you just have to put it out there.
      You can always try having a spoiler-free part and then a spoiler-one [with plenty of warnings for people who still want to read it or haven’t read it yet]; might work. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is such a cool post.. Thank you so much for sharing… I’m still at a stage where I’m figuring out what works for me.. I try to write down in my notebook but sometimes, I just get so engrossed in a book that I forget everything else. So, most of my reviews are just me describing my feelings about the book and not any critical analysis..
    There are also many instances where I like the book a lot but I feel like I don’t know how to write a review… These days it’s a relief if I manage to post one review a week…
    I hope I’ll figure it all out soon 😊😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you!
      Honestly, it takes some time to find your way and style when it comes to reviewing. You’ll figure it out eventually!
      I always try – sometimes even force myself – to take a break while reading and writing down some thoughts and feelings. Sometimes even going as far as simply writing down the themes and some thoughts on it – it definitely helps a lot! [Also, getting so engrossed in a book, I completely forget to make any notes: BEEN THERE. It’s awful and amazing at the same time, haha.]

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you so much…. I’m definitely going to try to make more notes and write down my thoughts frequently…. finding my style will definitely take more time…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. hahah lots of sticky notes indeed! I highlight if I am on my Kindle or write the page and beginning of the sentence on my phone if I read a physical book. It gives all my emotions and reactions while reading. Then I write the review immediately after finishing and fill it with my notes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. At first I ALWAYS wrote my review immediately after finishing it but lately I’ve gone in the habit of finishing a book, jotting down some notes / bullet points and then immediately starting the next one.
      Has a lot to do with changing my review format though. Sometimes I simply cannot be bothered with all the editing I now have to do, hahaha.


  8. Love this insight into your review writing process!

    I use a similar method with the bullet point lists, except I keep them on the Notes app on my phone. I generally find that the more points I have, the easier it is to write the review (then it’s only the matter finding the motivation to sit down and actually open up the word doc, lol).

    I really need to get into the habit of using sticky notes though because 90% of the time when I go to write reviews I have no quotes to include and I never know where to go back and look for some good ones. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I tried the Notes app once, but it’s a hassle if I’m reading on my phone, which happens occasionally, haha.
      Definitely agree with reviews being easier to write if you have an overload of bullet points! I also like how I can sometimes merge different bullet points into only one paragraph.

      Haha, that’s why I started using sticky notes in the first place. Although I sometimes forget about them if a book completely consumes me and the whole world could be burning – I wouldn’t notice. That’s when I have favorite books, without sticky notes. [I absolutely hate when that happened and I have to write my review, but otherwise, I totally love being so lost in a book as well.]

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Yeah, I mean sometimes I attempt to use the notes & highlighting options on the kindle app but half the time I forget they exist, lol.

      And yess! The only downside to finding a new favorite is having no notes whatsoever at the end! And then your reviews just become happy-gush-rants that basically say the same thing over and over again 😛


  9. My review process has a mixture of a bunch of things. I use a notebook and sticky tabs in my books. In my notebook I write down bullet points one side is usually things I liked and the other is usually things that got on my nerves or I found to be a problem for me. If I am reviewing an ebook I tend to just highlight and write notes in there. Then I can hit a single button and everything I wanted to track comes up.

    Thanks for sharing your review process.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually quite like the fact of using separate sides for the good vs. bad. I tend to use my notebook only when I’m reading eARC’s because jotting out notes on my Kindle takes way longer than simply writing it down so I’m going to keep that one in mind for next time.

      A thank you to you as well!

      Liked by 2 people

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