In our last blog we interviewed Ova from Excuse My Reading to kick off our exploration of the book reviewing process. Today we’ve gone behind the scenes with Rosy from Sparkles of Light to learn more about her individual approach to book reviews.
What are the platforms you use for book reviewing?
Which one is your favourite?
I prefer YouTube as it tends to be more interactive. Blogging tends to get a lot of views but not as much interaction these days.
How do you decide which books to review?
I normally review books on my blog when I’m part of a blog tour. That way I can go more in-depth about a certain book and take some ‘bookstagram’-style photos to accompany the paragraphs. On YouTube I will normally talk about every single book I read but don’t always go as much into detail as I would do in a written post.
What is your process when reading books for review?
I keep my notepad next to me with two blank pages, one for things I like and one for things that either disappoint or irritate me, and I fill in these pages as I read. This makes sure I don’t forget anything as I get through the pages.
Is this different from how you read books you’re not planning to review?
Yes, I tend to only note something down if it is extremely poignant when I’m reading something not involved in a tour, but I’m always mindful of how many stars I’d personally award a book or how the writing flows etc. as I will talk about almost every book I read at some point.
What do you look out for in a book?
I like to forget I’m reading a book – if the narrative transports me into the world between the pages, I generally consider the story to be a win, but if I am constantly distracted by various nuances or an overused phrase then I tend to switch off and not enjoy the book as much.
Does this change depending on the platform you’ll be posting your review on?
No, I change it based on genre. I like my thrillers to keep me feeling slightly uncomfortable or excited, whereas I like my women’s fiction to be a quick and easy read, conversational and have me feeling like I’m listening to a friend. The same goes for the other genres, each has something extra that I look for when delving into a piece of writing.
Do you post negative reviews? Why or why not?
I do, yes. I believe in being completely honest with my audience, but saying that, I have a process for negative reviews. If a book wasn’t for me I will usually say the reasons I didn’t enjoy it (for example, I didn’t like a character, the intended audience obviously wasn’t me, etc.) but I’ll try and explain this to my audience who might enjoy the book instead (for example, a book might appeal more to a teen than a married mother) and I try not to be harsh in my critique – it is someone’s hard work after all. However, if a book is offensive, poorly written or overusing shock tactics, then I’ll generally be a lot more blunt in the review and it will appear on my YouTube channel.
What is your biggest pet peeve in a book?
Overusing a phrase or a word. I read a book not long ago where the author punctuated almost every sentence of the narrative with the term ‘babe’ and it became infuriating. Similarly, I’m reading a book at the moment where everyone around our main character talks at length about how ‘thin’ she is and how ‘fat’ other female characters are within the story, and it doesn’t make for good reading as it is appearing in every chapter.
What do you think makes a good book?
It varies from person to person as reading is an individual thing, but for me, I like a book that makes me feel real emotions along with the characters. If I cry when they cry or my heart is pumping during an adrenaline-filled scene, then I know I’m onto a winner.