Advent Calendar #3 || Featuring my gift!

Hello hello, it’s so nice to see you all here again! I mean I’ll just have to imagine you at your laptops or scrolling on phones or tablets. Make sure you’re taking constant breaks from screens and drink water! Which… I should do that myself. BUT we’re here to talk about the third week of the Advent Calendar! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, better go quickly read #1 and #2 before you carry on with this post.

You done? Everyone back here? All right let’s carry on! This paragraph will be added to and updated once my co-hosts have posted their posts! So if this sentence is still here it means come back later to see!

I’m also here to talk about my gift! I’m very very excited to share that I’m gifting you book review checklists! These checklists contain items that I think should be in book reviews – at least they are in mine! Book bloggers all have different ways of writing book reviews, of course, that’s always the nice thing about following various bloggers – you see the different ways in which they write their book reviews. However, I think there are a few things that should be in book reviews and I want to share some of those things!

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Book Details – How can you review a book without saying what the book is all about? I usually make sure I have the book cover (one that matches whatever edition I’m reading, US or UK as I have access to US and Australian libraries on Libby. Plus South Africa usually receives the UK covers). I’ve noticed bloggers differ a lot when it comes to what they include in the book’s details. Some add links to websites where you can buy the books (some of those links are also affiliate links, Kal has more on that here).

I’ve only recently started to add the Cover art designer to the about section of the book and let me tell you a lot of the times it’s really hard to find them! I have to scroll on the author’s twitter or look at their websites to see if they mention who illustrated and/or designed their cover. Sometimes I’m lucky and I find it in the copyright section of the book, sometimes in the acknowledgements. I feel it’s important to give honour to the cover art designer/illustrator. They work really really hard!

Otherwise, it’s up to you what you add. I like to enter in the page number or audio hours depending on which format I’m reading in. One point I would like to make is that I think Content Warnings are important to include. I try to add all content warnings that I could think of, while also reading others’ reviews to see if they’ve picked up on others. You don’t know if the person who’s reading your review finds it very difficult to read a book with a toxic relationship, or someone prefers to avoid books with suicide, either on page or just mentioned.

Disclaimer

Disclaimers are important because we have to disclose where we are getting the books we review from. In my reviews I add this paragraph (small changes here and there depending on the situation). This paragraph is specifically for Netgalley review copies but I change that to Edelweis or another review site. A library loan or an owned copy replaces the ‘free and honest’ review to ‘I loaned it/I own it and wanted to review it honestly’. I don’t think it’s really necessary to write such a long disclaimer but I prefer to cover all the grounds and I think mine does that.

My Disclaimer: I received this e-arc through the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for a free and honest review. The book cover and details are taken from Goodreads and the content warnings are taken from The Storygraph; from me reading the book, or from others’ reviews. I try my absolute best to find the cover art/designer but unfortunately I am not always able to do so. The page numbers/audio hours are taken from the version that I’m reading from (if an e-arc, the Kindle version then). The featured image is my own. All opinions expressed are my own.

Rating

I know some bloggers and readers have actually decided to stop rating books or not use a typical ?/5 star rating and rate it otherwise. If you use a rating other than a star, that’s perfectly fine! Or even if you’ve chosen to stop using star ratings for whatever reason, that’s also perfectly fine! For me, star ratings work well so I still use it for me. A rating (star or otherwise) is mainly there to show others how much you did or didn’t enjoy the book. But it’s also for yourself, which is why it’s fine to omit a rating if that’s how you feel.

Plot/Characters

The wording for this part changed with every checklist image but it’s the same sentiment. I always make sure to write a few paragraphs focusing on the plot and subplots and various characters (even more if I had a favourite or two). I think the more you write reviews and the longer you blog you start to develop a personality and preferred way of writing a review. Don’t worry if you’re starting out or haven’t written many reviews/taken a break from writing them and are unsure about what to add in reviews. That’s why, for me, writing even at least one paragraph about the plot or some characters is a good way to start a book review. And also I find that once you start writing your thoughts down, you’ll realise you have more to say than what you originally thought.

Overall Thoughts

You don’t necessarily have to add this but I enjoy adding it. I like to recommend the book using certain words – dagger to the throat trope, you’d like this if you like xxx book. I also like to add a quote I really liked, because I do love quotes. See, that’s what I enjoy about this section – you’re able to tweak this to your own liking. Make it truly your own.

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There you go! I wanted to add all these explanations and also what I do for some of them – as I’ve been blogging for a while. It’s also nice to have a visual! I’m not an expert. I just really like using Canva and wanted to share cute graphics with everyone! Isn’t the sheep on the one image so cute?

If there’s anything wrong with the images, or if the quality is bad, please tell me and I’ll link the Canva template so you can save it from there.

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