Lola’s Rambings is a feature on Lola’s Review where I talk about me. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like blog tours, book blitzes, cover reveals or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are are personal discussions of a certain topic. Sometimes about book related topics and sometimes about non-book related topics. If an Lola’s Ramblings post is about a non-book topic it gets the non-book content posts tag. This feature was previously knows as About Me. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Design.
A while ago Anna from Herding Cats and Burning Soup asked on her facebook page if people enjoy writing reviews. Ofcourse I had to reply and tell her my opinion of writing reviews. That made me realize I never actually wrote apost about that topic on my blog and so the topic for this week’s Lola’s Ramblings post was born. I actually wrote this post a day after I saw that question on her facebook page, but scheduled it a few weeks in advance.
How did I start writing reviews?
When I started reading more frequently a few years back I bought most of my books on a dutch site called Bol.com and I noticed people could leave reviews there. Sometimes when I really loved a book or thought I had something to say I would write a review and publish it there. Needless to say those reviews where very different from how I write reviews now, I just wrote down my thoughts without order and structure and just wanted to share my opinion of the book and help people decide whether to read it. Those reviews where pretty short and sporadic, I only wrote a review when I felt like it. And also mostly because you could win a gift card when you reviewed a lot as every review you wrote was counted towards the gift card giveaway.
A while later I found goodreads and even then it still took me a while to start reviewing. I just enjoyed taling about books and occasionaly wrote a review. I liked being able t keep track of what I read. Gradually I started reviewing more and more, I even did some guest reviews for K-Books. Eventually I came towards a point where I reviewed every book I read and developed my system for reviewing.
When do I write my reviews?
I am someone who loves structure and being organized, so I don’t think it’s surprising that the way I review is very organized and even a tad disciplined. I always write my review of a book after I finish the book and before I start a new book. I won’t start a new book, without having written the review for the book I just finished. I guess this system works well with the fact that I am always reading only one book at a time, maybe two if one the books I am reading is a Fate Core roleplay book or a non-fiction book or manga. I can’t read two books at the same time, unless one of them is an informative book or like Fate a roleplay book, as those a very different from fiction books.
I am not sure why exactly I choose to always write my review before I start a new book, when I started reviewing every book I read I adapted this method and it seems to work well for me. If I write my review before starting a new book the book is still fresh in my thoughts and I can still remember most of it. Also it just doesn’t feel like I really ‘finished’ a book until I write the review for it.
How do I review?
I always use the same structure for my reviews. In the first alinea I just write whatever comes to mind, this can be why the book appealed to me in the first place, if I knew the author, what I think of the cover or a general impression about the book. Then in the second alinea I mostly focus on the story, the pace, what I thought of the story, what I liked or didn’t like, whether it was predictable etc. The third alinea is for characters, did I like the characters? what did I like about them? did they have enough personality? Did I like how they acted? Did they act believeable or predictable? How I feel about the characters and their actions? Did they grow or change during the book? What about the side characters? Did they have enough depth?
Then if there was noticeable romance in the book or I have a lot to say about the romance I use the fourth alinea for romance. Sometimes I add the romance to the characters alinea if I don’t have much to say. I usually talk about if the romance felt believeable, if there was insta love or not, how fast or slow did the romance develop, did I feel the romance? Did I feel the heat? If there where any noticeable tropes I might mention them here as well.
If I don’t talk about romance the fourth alinea will be for world building. In contemporary books there is no world building, so I then skip this alinea and go right through to the conclusion. In the world building alinea I usually talk about what I think about the world building, was it done well? Where there holes or questions that weren’t answered? I might list some big questions that I wish where answered here as well. I also might mention what I thought of the world itself.
The last alinea is always the conclusion, I like to give a short summary of my review there and write in a few short sentences my most important thoughts or feelings about the book. If people don’t want to read my whole review, they can just read the summary. I also like to add here whether I’ll be continuing the series or not in case it is a series.
It’s not like I mention every point I mentioned here in every review, I just write what feels natural for that book and what comes to mind. It’s more like I focus my mind to write about the topics in that order. More like “hmm let’s talk about the story in this book” and then I write whatever comes to mind about the story in that book. I even realized I felt myself start talking about characters when I was still in the story alinea, then I just make it into a new alinea and write about characters first and then go back to the story alinea. It also happens sometimes that I write more then one alinea about the same topic, it can happen that I have a lot to say about one topic and find one alinea looks too long and then I split it up in two.
I always write honest reviews without spoilers. I try not to bash authors and try to emphasize that it’s my opinion. I like writing reviews as it helps me put my thought in words. And I like writing in general and it just feels nice to be able to write my thoughts down about a book. And ofcourse I hope people will read my review or maybe that my review can help them decide whether or not to read the book.