Blogging 101: How to Write a Banging Book Review

So, you want to start a book blog and you don't know where to start. This is completely normal. Starting a blog is an overwhelming feeling, there is so much you need to know that you don't. We are hoping with this new series that we will be able to help new bloggers navigate the blogging world!

Previous Posts: PlatformsWebsites Essential for Running a Blog | Staying Organized | When, Why & What To Post

Everyone styles their reviews differently, so how we format and write a review on The Book Bratz may vary on how other bloggers format and write their reviews. You develop your own style when you are blogging, and it will bleed into your reviews. But sometimes starting a review is intimidating. What are you gonna talk about first? What do you have to say? What if you have nothing positive to say all? With those questions in mind I hope this post will help you in some way when it comes to writing a book review. 

Part 1: Book Info

So, you read and finished a book and now it is time to write your review! Yay! Now lets discuss a few things that you should add to your review to keep your readers a little more idea about the basics of the book. 

  • Title and Author
  • Genre 
  • Source (Publisher, NetGalley, Edelweiss, Library, ect.)
  • Publication Date
  • Publisher
  • Summary (We get ours from Goodreads!) 
  • Format and Number of Pages 
  • Link to add to your viewers Goodreads TBR list!

Every blogger formats this part of their reviews differently and as I said before you will develop your own style. I don't include the source for books that I own or borrow from the library (Which I should get in the habit of doing) BUT it is super important that if they are ARC or E-galleys that you link them to where you got them! 

Part 2: Book Review!

*Laughing at the highlighted "space zombies"*

This is where the real fun begins! There is no right or wrong way to write a review and there are million different types of reviews (Example: GIF reviews, mini reviews, DNF reviews, ect.) Reviews are simply your thoughts and observations on a book. The one rule I stick by though is: If you didn't like a book, don't bash it in a review. Talk about why you didn't like it. If possible find a few things you liked and just explain that it wasn't your cup of tea. Book bashing reviews are more harmful to yourself and the book. 

1) Intro: This is typically where I get a huge part of my gushing about a book out. How it destroyed my feels, my pre-reading thoughts, and a general over sight if I liked for disliked the book. This isn't required but I like giving readers and general idea if they are going into a positive or a negative review. 

2) Characters: In this  section I typically talk about the main characters, but if you want to talk about the secondary characters or just the old maid who was milking the cow that is fine as well! Here are some ideas on what to talk about character wise:
  • Character Development: Do you feel like the characters were well fleshed out and you have a general idea of who they are?
  • Could you relate to them? Why or why not? 
  • If you didn't like a character, why?
  • If you liked a character, why?
  • If you didn't think the characters were well developed, why not?
  • Do you think you could learn more about them in the next novels if the book is part of a series?

3) Setting: There are so many different things you can write for this. Contemporary books are a little more difficult since it is a real world setting rather then a sci-fi/fantasy so when I read a contemporary I don't really talk much about the setting. That is all up to you. But here are some ideas of things to talk about:
  • World Building: Was it enough? Not enough? Was it interesting? 
  • Likes: What did you like about the setting?
  • Dislikes: Is there anything you felt like the author could have done differently world building wise?
  • Things you would like to see in the next novels is the book is a series. 
  • Does the setting make sense with the plot of the story? (example: If the book is about a virus in space does it take place in space or on earth or in another setting completely?)

4) Plot: Talking about plots brings me back to my high school English classes where teachers made me write papers on the plot of stories and how it related to the setting and all I honestly believe that is why I over analyze books sometimes. Anyway, the plot is everything that happens in the story: a space crew is sent on a mission to a foreign planet, they discover a virus, they get infected, they escape. Here is some examples of what to talk about:
  • Summarize the plot (sometimes if the plot is crazy and hard to understand initially. I will put it into my own words in this section. This isn't necessary for every novel I review though!) 
  • What did you like about it? 
  • What did you dislike about it? 
  • Where their any noticable plot holes? 
  • Did the plot flow well with the story?
  • Was the pacing too fast? To slow? Perfect? 

5) Conclusion: In this paragraph I just wrap up my review and give me finally thoughts. Did I love it? Hate it? Will I recommend it to other readers? Occasionally I will ask readers if they have read this book and whether they liked it or not. I also acknowledge if I plan on continuing if the book is a series. 

Things you can also include in a Review:

Romance: Does the book you read have romance in it or a love interest? Here are some things you can discuss:
  • Pacing of romance. Slow burn? Insta-love? Insta-lust? You just met and now you are kissing, huh?
  • Characters you ship together 
  • Where you think the romance is going to go? 
  • Was the romance too much that it over took the plot? Was it just right? 
Quotes: Have a favorite quote for the story? Include it! Just make sure if it is a quote from an ARC you note that and then check back with the finished copy to make sure it is still the same! 

GIFs: I LOVE adding GIFs to my reviews. I am a dramatic person so I feel like they give my reviews a dramatic flare. But I also like to think I am funny so I will add funny GIFs and then just laugh at myself. This is all up to you! 

Part 3: Ratings

We use a 1-5 star scale to rate books because that is what Goodreads uses. But ratings vary in meaning for every one. Sometimes there is no specific reason why I gave a book five stars, it just felt like a five star read. Even if you have an issue with a book you can classify it as a five star. How you decide your rating guidelines is totally up to you. Just make sure there is a guide your readers can use to reference what your ratings mean! Here is how we rate books:

  • 5 STARS: I loved the book so much I am going to push it on everyone! There is a 10/10 chance that I will read the sequel and the author's previous works! 
  • 4 STARS: I really enjoyed this one. It had it quirks but I was able to get over them. I will probably read the sequel!
  • 3 STARS: Meh. It was okay, I had several issues with it and or there was something missing. I'm probably going to read the sequel if there is a cliffhanger or I have hope that it is going to get better.
  • 2 STARS: This one wasn't my favorite for sure. There were too many issues. I won't be continuing the series if it is one. 
  • 1 STAR: I am not going to tell you not to read this one, but be warned. It wasn't well liked by one of us at all or it was a DNF.

Other Things You May Want To Include:

Trigger Warnings: I find this so important to include in reviews about books that include something that may be triggering to someone. We are all human and have gone through different things, those things shape us into who we a but sometimes things trigger the bad memories and feelings. Typically I add this to the top of my reviews in all caps: "TRIGGER WARNING:" and then add what the trigger(s) are in that book. It's just a good heads up for people. Personally there are several books that I have read that I wished I had read the reviews on to know there was going to be triggering content. After that kind of experience I don't want anyone to feel like that, reading is many peoples safe place and it shouldn't be one that spirals them into bad things and resurfaces bad memories.

I hope this post cleared up any questions you had on writing reviews. Like I said, there is no right or wrong way to write a book review. It all depends on what you feel like talking about. Have fun with it! Just proof read it before you publish it because sometimes you are so excited to write something down that it ends up not making sense. *Face palms because I have done this so many times*

Was this post helpful? What is your favorite part of writing a book review!? If you have an questions leave them below and we I will try my best to help you out! 


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