A couple of weeks ago, Adele of Persnickety Snark asked YA bloggers how they review. Adele posted a very insightful video blog and posed the question to other bloggers. Megan also responded to the topic with a vlog entry, and I've been really interested in reading the responses to both posts. It made me think a lot about my own reviews - both how and why I review, and I've tried to articulate this below:
♥ Books - I pretty much purchase all of my own books. I am also an avid user of my local library service. I do read a lot (I have a long daily commute) and couldn't afford to purchase every title that catches my eye. I pick out everything I read myself (as in, I do not receive review copies and to date have only read one ARC, and it was a title I had been lusting over for a couple of months) and as you can probably tell from this blog, I predominantly read contemporary YA. I also read a fair bit of crime fiction and non-fiction, but don't usually write about that here.
♥ What to Review - I decided fairly early on with this blog, that I would only write about books I've enjoyed. It's not a review system for everyone, but it works for me. Personally, I would much rather write about something that I've loved, or an aspect of a book which excited or amused or moved me than something that I was just ehhhh about. If I didn't particularly enjoy reading a particular title, I probably won't review it (or at least won't dedicate a whole review post to it). Also, having worked with on the agent end of publishing, I know how much hard work and effort have been put into a novel (especially by the author, as well as the agent, editing team and publisher).
♥ Process - I don't have a really review serious process. After reading and liking a book, I'll make some brief notes about it (I always try to make notes as I read, though it doesn't usually work out. Mostly because I find once I start reading, I get too involved and hate stopping). I make a few notes - usually just in dot-point form and to remind myself of the main topics I want to cover in my review. If I'm super-organised (or if I remember), I'll also write down page numbers or quotes I especially enjoyed - though I often forget and end up doing a lot of flicking through the text).
♥ Reviews - Then it comes to actually typing up a review. Depending on my mood (lazy or creative) I will use a Goodreads or publisher synopsis, or I may write my own. Then, I use my notes as a loose guide (roughly a paragraph for each point) and I have a very basic formula (I usually discuss character/s because that for me, is something I really value) or will just focus on whatever aspect of the novel appealed to me the most (like zombie lore in contemporary culture in Generation Dead and family dynamics in Suite Scarlett). Sometimes I write in dribs and drabs, other times I'll practically write the whole thing in one short sitting, then come back to it and tweak a little. I usually try to remember to spell-check so I don't embarrass myself, then post and voila - a review!
When I started My Girl Friday, I don't think I really set out to be strictly a review blog (as you can tell from my recent activity, I'm lucky if I post two reviews a week - if that!) but I do enjoy writing reviews (mostly) and am always interested in how other people write theirs.
How do you review?