Happy Sunday, everyone! And perhaps most importantly, Happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers out there! I hope you get lots of pampering today from your families. :-)
Lately I've been thinking a lot about my reviews -- everything from the general style on my blog, the way I approach writing them, and how I read to ultimately review a book. I think this has come to mind in part because while I was on my big blogging hiatus, I continued to read books even though I wasn't writing reviews. Now I would actually like to review a lot of them, but I didn't take any notes while I was reading, so I am not left with strong impressions that create a worthwhile review for many of these books. Of course, there are some I do remember quite well and plan to review in the coming weeks, but I rather regret not taking some notes to stash away for reviews, even though I've never been a note-taking reader in the past. I have been thinking that I might change my approach going forward and at least jot down a few thoughts either while I am reading or right after -- particularly because I am not necessarily reviewing books right after I read them these days, in order to catch up on reviews of older reads.
I have also been thinking about the content of my reviews here on the blog. I tend to lean heavily towards writing about my overall impressions and how a book made me feel, more so than getting into some of the more technical aspects. Of course, if I find something to be particularly bothersome or incredibly outstanding with respect to writing, plot, editing, etc., then I do generally make mention of it, but that doesn't seem to happen with regularity. I also always do my best not to write "spoilerish" reviews, which I think creates the tendency for my reviews to really focus more on how a book made me feel. Anyway, my point here really is that I think I'm going to strive for stronger content in my reviews, without making them too much longer. I admit to being a fan of fairly concise reviews -- I don't like to drone on and on, whether it is to gush over a book or berate its weaknesses. So I will probably continue to try to keep my thoughts to 3-4 paragraphs. We will see what I ultimately come up with :-)
As a brief aside, I am also in the process of changing my rating system -- and by that I simply mean changing the graphic. I am going to start using my butterflies instead of stars, though for labeling purposes I'll continue to use "stars," as "butterflies" is just such a long word for that label cloud, haha. Of course, Blogger is being obnoxious and giving all of my images with transparent backgrounds a white background on my posts, so the effect is currently not as lovely as I would like for it to be. (If anyone has any advice on that, I'd really appreciate it. I have Googled the heck out of it and tried many code tweaks and CSS add-ons, but to no avail.)
But back to the point of this post, this leaves me with my parting questions for you all... How do you approach your book reviews? Do you take notes as you read? After you read? What do your reviews themselves tend to focus on? And lastly, if you have any thoughts or words of advice for me as I look to modify my own approach to reviews and how I write them, please feel free to share!
As always, Happy Reading!