Let’s Talk: Picking Books to Review

As book bloggers, one of the biggest components of what we do is writing reviews. However, also being book lovers, we tend to read a substantial number of books every year. Writing lengthy reviews for each and every one just isn’t possible (especially when you’re as slow as I am) – we’d go grey before we even made a dent. So how is it that we pick which books we want to spend several hours discussing with our computer screen?

It’s Absolutely Fantastic (Five Star that Baby)

There’s nothing like finishing a ridiculously amazing book to send you running for your keyboard. When a book has completely rocked your world, the first thing you want to do is tell the world about it (well, after jumping up and down, and searching the internet for fan art, of course). You want everybody else to see just how much of a gem this book is so that they can enjoy it, too.

You’d think these reviews would be easy to write but sometimes they end up being even harder than those for books you don’t like. I find that this is usually because, while I know I enjoyed the hell out of a book, the struggle is breaking down the exact reasons why. Why did I fall so completely in love with the MC, what was it about the plot that shocked me so much, why is this couple my new OTP? Still, these are definitely the most heavily featured types of reviews on my blog because they’re just so much fun to write.

You Hated It (1 Star that Sucker)

In much the same way as an overly positive reaction can push you to write a review, so too can a particularly strong negative reaction. Anger, disgust, frustration, disappointment – these are motivators behind many reviews, especially where the book is something you were led by others to believe was great. I find that I rarely run out of things to say with these types of reviews but the problem is ensuring you don’t cross the line from constructive to cruel. Critiques are a natural part of any art form but we need to be mindful that we’re criticising the work, not the person.

It’s an ARC

Yes, yes, I know this is an obvious one and pretty self-explanatory. The majority of the time when you have an ARC, you’ve been given it by the publisher for the express purpose of writing a review. Therefore, these books are almost guaranteed review picks. If it’s a book people are looking forward to, you’d be silly not to use the opportunity to get extra traffic to your blog. People want to know about this book and you get to read it before everyone else! Use it!

It’s Hyped/Popular

I can’t be the only one who sometimes chooses books to review on this basis (can I?). This reason only really applies, for me, to books that have just come out. If I’m reviewing a popular book that’s a little older, it’s probably for reasons 1 or 2 above. However, if the book is a new release and people have been waiting around for it, much like with an ARC, I’ll review it because I know it’s what people are interested in. Not everyone reads hyped books right on release, some people wait a few months. At least this way people know whether to bump it further up their TBR or perhaps let it linger on the bottom for longer.

Good but Flying Under the Radar

I have to say, I don’t read a lot of not so well known books and that’s a weakness of mine. There’s just so many popular ones that I constantly feel like I’m catching up! However, when I do read something that’s not as well-known and actually a pretty solid read, I’ll usually write a review.

There are so many big name books out there which have ended up being mediocre that I feel it’s important to get the word out when you find something good (or even great) flying under the radar. Give a less known author/book the credit they’re due, you may just help someone find a new favourite read.

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I’m sure there are book bloggers and reviewers out there with very different motivations behind their review picks. I mean, for all I know, there are some crazy superheroes out there that manage to write legible and amazing reviews for most of the things they read (HOW?? I spend like five hours on just one damn review). Still, this is at least an accurate summary of mine and I feel like they’re pretty reasonable. Recently I’ve been trying to increase my reviewing frequency so perhaps new motivations will arise as time goes on.

Why do you review the specific books you review? And what motivates you to read some else’s review?



17 thoughts on “Let’s Talk: Picking Books to Review

  1. Lovely post! ❤️ I really like how you broke down which books you tend to review!

    I try to review every book I read, but the only novels I will occasionally skip reviewing, are ones that I read and neglected to write a review for months, so I’ve forgotten most of the details about it. I also might refrain from reviewing the second book in a trilogy (yes, I’m oddly specific lol). The reason for this is because I’ll review the series as a whole when I review the third book (this is only the case when the whole trilogy has been released and I’m simply binge reading them). Hahaha.

    And I totally understand the need to review popular books! Those reviews often get the most feedback, and there’s typically a lot of readers who can share your opinions about it! ❤️

    1. Thanks Kelly! So you’re one of those magical unicorns that’s able to review everything. Colour me jealous! 😍
      Yeah, if I don’t write a review right after I finish, I get majorly foggy on the critical details and it becomes very difficult to write coherently.
      I completely get the sequel thing. Much easier and quicker to cover the series in one go. I did it once with the Red Rising books and it worked well except I was very worried about giving away spoilers!
      It’s always nice sharing views with other readers about popular books. 😊
      Thanks for reading!

  2. Well, you definitely hit it right in the park with these! These are ALL reasons why I review books. 😂 For me, one of the main factors is also release date. Whether or not it’s an ARC, I do prefer my reviews to be timely, so I try as much as I can to review books that came out/will come out in a 3-month span or something. But it all really depends on the book, and how strong of an impact it made on me! I really don’t feel the push to review 3-star books, even though those will be the most critical (as we point out the good AND the bad alike).

    1. Timing is definitely important with ARC reviews. I think 3 months is a good period to use. I aim to try and publish my ARC reviews close to the release date.
      Yeah the 3 Star reads are the difficult ones – they’re not bad but they’re not great either so it’s always hard to explain why and decide whether you actually should write a review at all.
      Thanks for reading Aimee! 😊

  3. I really enjoyed this post Ashley, because before now this wasn’t really something I’d thought about. I review every book I’ve read, but because I read a lot faster than I post I have a backlog of reviews I need to post, and I’m not sure when (or if at this point) I’ll be able to catch up. 🙂 I’m wondering now if I should not review every book I read, but I feel like I’d find a way to put every book I’ve read under one of those five categories in this post! 😀
    Great post. 🙂 ❤️

    1. Majorly jealous. 😮 I take forever to write reviews (no clue why) so it’s just impossible for me to cover them all but it’s amazing that you do it for almost every book. I can definitely understand why there’d be a backlog! You read heaps!
      Maybe if you’re having trouble finding space to publish them all, might be good to narrow it down a little and spend that writing time on some different types of posts that interest you. But if you’d rather have that safety net to fall back on if you’re having an off week for some reason, that’s good too!
      Thank you! ❤️

      1. Yeah, I’ll get round to posting them all one day, I just seem to be getting further and further behind at the moment.
        I feel like I need some kind of safety net, but yeah maybe instead of spending all my commute time reading I could send some of it writing, I’m behind on my WIP so that could use some attention I guess. 🙂
        That’s all right. ❤

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