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Aeicha @ Word Spelunking

Friday, December 2, 2011

TGIF (8) and Feature/Follow Friday (14)

TGIF... is a weekly meme hosted by GReads to re-cap the week's posts and to propose a question for followers.

Writing Reviews 101: What's your process for writing book reviews? Any tips or suggestions you would recommend to other bloggers?
Great question! Hmm, MY book review writing process? Well, one thing I've learned is that the sooner I write a review after finishing a book, the better. The longer I wait, the harder it is for me to truly articulate all I want and need to say about a book. But, my review writing process really starts before I even finish a book. I'm a big note taker. Like a seriously nerdy note taker. When I was in school, I'd take 3-5 pages worth of notes in one class while everyone else took 1, but I've found my note taking habits to come in handy when writing reviews. While reading, I'm constantly jotting down my thoughts, reactions, and ideas, taking note of things characters do or say, etc. These are incredibly useful when writing reviews.

I found that it really took some time for me to formulate a review style and format that works for me, and I suggest new bloggers should do the same. Everybody has their own review style and some people focus on certain book aspects more than others. And that's ok. I'm a little more analytical than some in my reviews. I guess that's just the former English major in me. The three main aspects of a book that I try to focus on are the story as a whole (including the actual writing style, pacing, storyline, etc), the characters, and the relationships (romantic, friendship, familial). 

As for my review format, I usually start my review with three words that, in my opinion, describe the book best. Then I include a short prequel of sorts of my thoughts, then my own brief summary/review of the book, then my review, then my final thoughts. This format seems to really work well for me. 

One of the most important things to me when it comes to writing reviews, is that my own personality comes through. I take  writing reviews seriously, but that doesn't mean I don't allow myself to have fun with it and be silly. I think doing this makes my or your reviews memorable and will have readers coming back.
Feature and Follow Friday... is a blog hop, hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read, that allows book bloggers to discover and connect with other book bloggers.
Today's featured blogs are:
Fic Book Reviews and Lauren Gets Literal
Question: What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to books? Maybe you don't like love triangles or thin plots? Tell us about it!
Ah yes, the book pet peeves. I have many, but I won't discuss them all, just my biggest peevest ones...
1. Insta-love
Grrr! I no likey the insta-love, especially in YA. If you don't know what insta-love is, well it's pretty much what it sounds like. It's when two characters meet and BOOM they're in love. And I'm talking like after three days or one kiss or one look. Again I say, Grr! There are several reasons why this bothers me. First, it's not realistic. Yes, teenagers fall quickly and intensely, but that's usually more lust than love. I'm not saying you can't care deeply for someone in a short time, but love?! I think not. True love isn't meeting someone and instantly falling completely in love with them. Love takes time. Love takes getting to truly know someone. And you do NOT truly know someone after mere days. 
Second, it's a cop out. It's a way for writers to get out of actually having to show their characters fall in love. I mean how many YA books or series (I won't name names, but we all know which ones) supposedly feature great love stories and couples, yet there's no actual falling in love or relationship development at all in them?!
Third, this insta-love type of relationship often makes characters incomplete as individuals. Meaning they aren't well developed or interesting enough without their romantic counterpart. With YA characters, usually female protagonists, who are in these insta-love relationships they tend be defined by their relationship. I personally hate how so many female characters are depicted as less than enough or less complete without their boyfriend. And don't even get me started on the female characters who need a guy to feel complete or who spend half the book talking about how perfect/gorgeous/glorious their guy is and how unworthy she is of him...not to mention the authors who think this is a good message to be sending young people. 
Ok I'm going to stop talking about this before I bore you all to death ;)

2. Absent Parents
Where the hecky are all the parents or guardians? And I don't mean dead, divorced, just not in the picture parents. I mean parents/guardians who live with their children, see them daily, yet never seem to be around. Never seem to be concerned. Never seem to call or check up on them.  And seriously, parents are not as clueless as some books make them out to be. 

3. Cliched Teenage Characters
Nothing is more boring than cliched, stereotypical characters, especially teenage characters. Give me refreshing, unique characters-
Cheerleaders aren't always mean. The girl with blue hair that hangs out in the art room just might love pop music and have a bubbly personality. The quarterback of the football team may be a computer whiz. The smart, nerdy guy just might be the frontman for a death metal band. 
And I really hate when YA characters are described as "emo"! I mean how many teens do you know that actually refer to themselves as emo?! 


eARC Review
Hunted by Cheryl Rainfield
~I gave it 5 Cupcakes~
Review and Author Interview
The Crystal Bridge by Charles M. Pulsipher
~I gave it 4 Cupcakes~
Review and Paperback Giveaway
Zombies at the Door, Planning for the Inevitable by Charles M. Pulsipher
Win a paperback copy!
~I gave it 5 Cupcakes~
Review, Author Interview, and Hardcover Giveaway
Scary School by Derek the Ghost
Win a Hardcover Copy
~I gave it 5 Cupcakes~
Hushed by Kelley York
~I gave it 4 Cupcakes~


AP said...

You are not alone in your pet peeves those seem to be pretty common tonight.

new follower

-Amanda P
Paranormal Romance
Books, Shopping & Rock N' Roll

Unknown said...

I agree! My post is all about the insta~love too! I just don't believe in love at first sight. Maybe an attraction and some similar interests but I just hate the over the top I just met you but I want to die if you are not beside my 24/7.
Visit my Follow Friday!

Alexa S. said...

I wish I were better at taking notes while I read! It's one of the new things I'm hoping to implement as I work on reviewing books and making my blog even better :)

Jennifer said...

I am a former English major so I am a notorious note taker as well! I love all your review suggestions.

And, in terms of pet peeves, I agree about the cliched teenage characters. Some of my favorite books are ones with unique approaches to cliches. There needs to be more of that in YA!

Old follower.

Here's my FF:

MTeacress said...

Hi! Thanks for entering my giveaway last week. It's nice to "meet" another book lover. :)

Have a good day!

Melliane said...

the insta-love isn"t something I really like either but I think it soesn't bother me if I just have a few book with it.

old follower

here is mine

Unknown said...

Yes, that whole insta!love thing is ridiculous and it just doesn't happen in reality. When I'm reading a book and there are two character's that I'm supposed to be wanting to root for to be together, I want to be shown that they are falling in love, rather than just being told boom! there it is and you just have to accept it. No, I don't and it's just not realistic, if more author's would aspire to the art of building a slow burning relationship that would be fantastic.

Suz @ A Soul Unsung
My Follow Friday!
My YA Author's Appreciation Event!

Fireflywishes said...

I definitely agree with you about your pet peeves. It's also really interesting learning about people's review writing process! I used to take notes when I first started book blogging, but now I only stop to jot a thought down if I know I want to put it in the review and don't want to forget. I probably should do this more, since I don;t always write my review as soon as I should...:D

Have an awesome weekend!
April @ My Shelf Confessions

WildIrishRose33 said...

I completely agree with number 3!!! Appearances can definitely be deceiving!

Thanks for stopping by my blog! New follower here. :-)

Lea @ The Yearning Mermaid said...

You´re so right about the parents!!! I never noticed until you pointed that one out! :D
New follower and thanks for stopping by :)

Sandra @ Waiting For Wentworth said...

Insta-love and absent parents are 2 of my pet peeves also.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm a new follower!

Waiting For Wentworth