Need help improving my reviews (and my blog).

October 4, 2008 at 6:20 am (General)

I’m trying to improve my reviews, but I’m not quite sure how to go about doing so. In addition, I sometimes wonder: if I’m reading a book that tons of other people have read, do people really want to hear about it? I don’t know. It frustrates me.

So, I’m asking for a favor. Two, really.

1. If you have a few moments, please review the list of books I’ve read so far this year. If you have any questions or would like to see a review on a book that I haven’t reviewed yet, please let me know. I’d also love it if you’d read some of my latest reviews and let me know what you would like to know more about each book or anything I left unanswered (please leave those comments on this post).

2. How do you keep your blog fresh? And do you plan out what you’re going to do ahead of time? Do you rate the books? If so, how? Any other book blogging tips? I’m interested in how other book bloggers maintain their own blogs.

Thanks in advance for helping me out!

Here are the books that I’ve read so far this year:

  1. The Sweetest Gift by Jillian Hart (3/10)
  2. Chanda’s Secrets by Allan Stratton (5/10)
  3. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (10/10)
  4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (8/10)
  5. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (9/10)
  6. Nothing Changes Love by Jacqueline Bard (5/10)
  7. The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom by Suze Orman (7/10)
  8. The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee (9/10)
  9. Word Freak by Stefan Fatsis (9/10)
  10. Shelf Life by Suzanne Strempek Shea (9/10)
  11. Secrets of a Former Fat Girl(8/10)
  12. For the Love of Letters by Lisa Delany (8/10)
  13. The Good Body by Eve Ensler (8/10)
  14. He Loves Lucy by Susan Donovan (7/10)
  15. Animal Instincts by Gena Showalter (7/10)
  16. The Best American Erotica 2007 by Susie Bright (8/10)
  17. Family Album by Danielle Steel (7/10)
  18. The Blonde Geisha by Jina Bacarr (8/10)
  19. The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle (7/10)
  20. The Giver by Lois Lowry (10/10)
  21. The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron (9/10)
  22. Area 51 (Book 1) by Robert Doherty (9/10)
  23. Calico Bush by Rachel Field (7/10)
  24. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle (10/10)
  25. Area 51: The Reply by Robert Doherty (9/10)
  26. A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb(8/10)
  27. Area 51: The Mission by Robert Doherty (9/10)
  28. Area 51: The Sphinx by Robert Doherty (9/10)
  29. Leonardo’s Shadow: Or, My Amazing Life as Leonardo Da Vinci’s Servant by Christopher Grey (8/10)
  30. A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce (8/10)
  31. The Garden by Elsie V. Aidinoff (10/10)
  32. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (9/10)
  33. Un Lun Dun by China Mieville (9/10)
  34. Enchanted: Erotic Bedtime Stories for Women by Nancy Madore (5/10)
  35. Devil Who Tamed Her by Johanna Lindsey (6/10)
  36. Nobody’s Princess by Esther Friesner (8/10)
  37. Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin (9/10)
  38. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (10/10)
  39. Baby Proof by Emily Giffin (5/10)
  40. Area 51: The Grail by Robert Doherty (9/10)
  41. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares (7/10)
  42. Area 51: Excalibur by Robert Doherty (9/10)
  43. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (8/10)
  44. Area 51: The Truth by Robert Doherty (9/10)
  45. The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby (7/10)
  46. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney (9/10)
  47. Whatever Happened to Janie? by Caroline B. Cooney (8/10)
  48. The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer by Neal Stephenson (9/10)
  49. Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson (9/10)
  50. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen (8/10)
  51. Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin (4/10)
  52. Talk to the Hand by Lynn Truss (8/10)
  53. Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs (9/10)
  54. The Voice on the Radio by Caroline B. Cooney (9/10)
  55. What Janie Found by Caroline B. Cooney (8/10)
  56. Living Gluten-Free for Dummies by Danna Korn (9/10)
  57. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher (8/10)
  58. The Dilbert Principle by Scott Adams (8/10)
  59. Fit From Within by Victoria Moran (9/10)
  60. The Secrets of Skinny Chicks by Karen Bridson (9/10)
  61. The Nine Modern Day Muses by Jill Badonsky (8/10)
  62. Creating Sketchbooks for Embroiderers and Textile Artists by Kay Greenlees (9/10)
  63. I Was a Teenage Popsicle by Bev Katz Rosenbaum (8/10)
  64. Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney (8/10)
  65. My Name is Number 4 by Ting-Xing Ye (8/10)
  66. Size 12 is Not Fat by Meg Cabot (8/10)
  67. How to Be Popular by Meg Cabot (8/10)
  68. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See (8/10)
  69. My Best Friend’s Girl by Dorothy Koomson (8/10)
  70. Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins (8/10)
  71. The Eight by Katherine Neville (9/10)
  72. High Risk by Emma Darcy (6/10)
  73. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (8/10)
  74. Hunter’s Run by George R.R. Martin, Garner Dozois, and Daniel Abraham (7/10)
  75. The Secret Under My Skin by Janet McNaughton (9/10)
  76. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (9/10)
  77. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer (10/10)
  78. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer (10/10)
  79. My Heart Remembers by Kim Vogel Sawyer (7/10)


  1. Rebecca Reid said,

    “If I’m reading a book that tons of other people have read, do people really want to hear about it? ” I’d say yes. I personally write reviews of everything I want to remember that I’ve read. But review what you want to review: do it for yourself first and foremost and then it becomes fun and not a chore.

    In terms of question one: wow, what a list of books read! If I’m reading a number of books in a series, I write a review for all of them. It looks like your list has some series books in it. Or, you could do a review of a particular writer, like a writer of the week. It looks like you read multiple books by certain authors.

    In answer to question two, I’m trying not to worry about keeping my blog fresh. Like I said, do it for yourself. I personally wouldn’t know how to rate books: there are books I didn’t like but am glad I read. I guess the only thing I’ve really found that keeps me excited about my blog are projects for myself. For example, I’m concentrating on short story writers right now. I guess I mean you could do something like a challenge, but just for you, what you want. I think sometimes challenges are too far removed from what I want.

  2. Heather J. said,

    Ok, here are my thoughts …

    1 – Ask yourself what the purpose of your blog is. Your answer will determine the type of reviews you write, which books you review, etc.

    The purpose of my blog is to record and review everything I read in a year, and also to promote literary events in my local area. The vast majority of my posts have to do with one or the other of those purposes.

    2 – If it’s a book that I’ve seen EVERYWHERE, I’ll mention very little about the plot (people can always go to or elsewhere for a plot summary) and focus more on my reactions to the book.

    3 – I try to post once a day, but that doesn’t always happen and I don’t stress about it (again, I remember the purpose of my blog).

    4 – Here are the books I’d like to hear more about, and my reasons:
    #19 – I’ve heard about it, but I always like new opinions
    #56 – is it actually helpful? worth purchasing? or just worth reading?
    #76 – it’s a classic – have you read it before? did your reaction to it change? or is this your first experience?
    #16 & #34 – why not write about these? Were they actually appealing, or not? You don’t need to go into detail (if you don’t want to) but I’d love to hear if they are worth picking up!

    Hope that helps!

    Oh, and I have a tag on my blog called BLOGGER TIPS – you may find something helpful there, or you may not …

  3. Jackie (Farm Lane Books) said,

    This is the first time I’ve been to your blog, so I thought it might be good to give you my first impressions of it! At first glance it looks like there is not much here. Scrolling down the first page gets you back to September, in what looks like just a few posts. It is only by looking closer that you realise you have actually written loads of reviews in this time – they are just hidden behind links. I would suggest that you post these to this actual blog, then the site looks a lot busier.

    I agree with everything the other two people say – remember only do it if you enjoy it!

    Hope this helps!

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