Monday, July 8, 2019

BOOK REVIEWS ARE COMING BACK // in which i give my own story 2 stars as an example

These days, book reviews are not as popular as other types of bookish blog posts. Why? I think part of it is that everyone is used to the way book reviews are done, and that makes them a liiiiittle bit boring. There are other reasons which I won't get into today, but that's one of them.

I've been wanting to bring book reviews back to my blog, but I also want them to be fresh and fun for you - my readers! So I've brainstormed a unique format that will hopefully be fun and interesting for all of you to read as well as for me to write. And, as an introduction to this new book review "series" I'm launching, today I want to walk you through the format I've come up with. Show you how book-reviewing will be done here on The Red-Hooded Writer. ;D

(Basically it's just a conglomeration of ideas inspired from book reviews and such that I've seen elsewhere, so... I'm not pretending to be a genius inventor or anything lol.)

First things first, I'll share the cover and Goodreads blurb of the book I'm reviewing. A necessary beginning step. Now, onto the good stuff...


I don't know about you, but aesthetics can suck me into any story-related post. Whether they be collages or quotes, aesthetics are just eye-catching. That's the defining characteristic of any aesthetic.

Since I know people like to see a touch of the aesthetic in book reviews (I'm one of those people, for sure!), I plan to give you what you like to see - right from the start. ;D Let's use The Seven Huntresses, my Snow White fantasy novella, as an example.

"When the settlement that was once yours is free of dragons, you can return there and restore all that was burned. Your brave ancestors, whose memory you treasure, will no longer writhe in their graves at every quake of dragon step, beat of dragon wing, and growl of dragon throat."
... "The honor of your ancestors lives on."


Next I'll display my rating and a large, curly-lettered banner that says "5 Reasons Why This Book is..." and I'll end it with one of these, depending on my rating:

- amazing (5 stars)
- fantastic (4 stars)
- good but not great (3 stars)
- not my cup of tea (2 stars)
- one of my least favorite books of all time (1 star)

Then I'll launch into a list of the aforementioned five reasons. XD

Let's use The Seven Huntresses as an example again. I'm going to pretend to be a reader who disliked The Seven Huntresses so much I gave it two stars.

Related image
via Giphy


1. It's too complex for a novella. There was a lot going on in this story. So much needed to be fleshed out more. This probably wouldn't be an issue if the story had been allowed to extend into a full-length novel WITH MULTIPLE POVS (<< that would have been cool, and I think it's even necessary for this story to truly work), but... not to be. The level of complexity shoved into it forced info dumps that disengaged me from the story.

2. The dragons were included just because everyone loves dragons. They didn't add much to the story, weren't absolutely integral as a plot device (they could have been replaced with multiple other types of threats without changing anything), and didn't have any actual appearances! I feel cheated - especially since one of the main reasons I picked this up was for the dragons. Because everyone loves dragons.

3. The amnesia trope was handled well, but I'm still tired of it. I'm tired of that cliche popping up everywhere, but kudos to the author for putting a fresh enough spin on it to keep me interested in that aspect of The Seven Huntresses.

4. There were too many characters for me to deeply care about them. The seven Huntresses were given distinct personalities, which I loved, but combined with the prince and the princess and the dwarves, the character count crept up too high. No one character had enough page time to really make me fall in love with them or get to know them intimately. This ties in with #1; I would have loved MORE FLESHING OUT.

5. The writing was good but could have been better. I won't begrudge the author this, but although the writing was by no means bad, a different style would have fit better with this story. And I know it could have achieved that style if the author had been allowed to milk the story and all its complexity MORE. Once again, this points to #1. What this all boils down to, basically, is that this story needs to be fleshed out more. It has lots of missed potential!



It felt strange to write that. XD Believe me, although the perspective is made-up, most of those critiques are problems I know my novella is struggling with in its current state. The story is dormant right now, but I'd like to pick it up again sometime and rewrite it as a full novel.

my novella @ me
Image result for i will return gif
via Tenor

But anyway, BACK TO THE POST. After the "5 reasons" section, we have...


This is the final section of my review format! It's a fun contest I've set up in which I take the three main aspects of the book (which may vary a teensy bit based on genre) and divide them into 3rd place, 2nd place, and 1st place. Then I give a little explanation as to why each one gets the "prize" it got, which lets you know more of my thoughts on the book before I wrap up the review!

Here's an example:







3rd place:

Out of all the things which the lack of fleshing-out in this story causes to suffer, I think the characters suffer the most. This is probably because characters make or break a story, and it's crucial for a story's overall excellence that the reader connect deeply with them in some way. On the surface the characters from The Seven Huntresses are fantastic, but I wanted to know more. I wanted the story to go deeper. Ayla, Prince Casimir, the other Huntresses, even Princess Fiera... They fascinate me and have soooo much UNUSED potential!

2nd place:

I'm impressed by the plot of this story. There are a lot of twists and exciting scenes. I was really  happy with the pacing and how there was never really a dull moment - and even during the seemingly dull moments, important things were happening. Important conversations were taking place. Again, though, the plot felt very shoved into its word count. It disappoints me when I think about all the details that could have been added to enhance each scene and make it the best it could be. 

1st place:

Now, the setting is a different story. Ahhhhh, the world of Cilin. There's nothing particularly incredible about this world, but something about it is aesthetic and clever and intriguing to read about. Just as many opportunities for fleshing out exist for the world as for the characters and plot, but it has to be the most intriguing aspect.

Overall? Lots of missed potential, hence my disappointment. Okay story on the surface, but neeeeeeeds to go deeper.


And that's a wrap! (I promise I'm not disappointed in The Seven Huntresses and that I like it more than my alter ego is letting on, but I do think it "neeeeeeeds" to go deeper before it reaches its full potential. XD)

I hope you enjoyed this little introduction, and I'm super excited to get into real book reviews using this format. ;P

I'll give you a hint - an easy one, lol - for what my first review is going to be. Think adult circus fantasy.

Be on the look-out for it sometime in August!

The Lord's Truly,

Do you like reading book reviews on blogs? How about writing them? Should I rewrite The Seven Huntresses someday? Comment down below! :D


  1. Ouch, this would be so painful to do to one of my own stories *cringes* But it seems like it would be a good exercise, too!

    I loved this review! And yeah, obviously you need to rework the Seven Huntresses at some point. That novella is GENIUS and I needs it as a novel xD

    1. It was a little bit painful, but it's been so long since I gave The Seven Huntresses serious thought that it was more fun than anything... XD Yeah, it was a good exercise!

      Thanks, Faith!! You're so sweet, ACK. <3 I definitely want to rewrite it at some point! After writing this post I was itching to start re-plotting it. And building the world. And all the things. XD

  2. Reading reviews can get old sometimes because they are the same format, but I absolutely love this!!! So unique. You are making me want to revamp my reviewing style. ;) I am looking forward to reading your reviews now!!!

    The Seven Huntresses sounds fantastic even with all of your complaints! You totally need to make it into a novel then get it out into the world so that I can read it!!! :D

    1. They can definitely be tiresome. I'm so excited you like this format, though, friend!!! :D :D

      Awww, thank you!! I really should rewrite it. XD

  3. NOW I WANT TO READ THE SEVEN HUNTRESSES, LILA!! Please please please rewrite it as a novel because I would love to read it. I'm sure your evil writer's brain has tricked you into reviewing it too harshly XD

    I really love your new review format...what really caught my eye was AESTHETICSSSS. I LIVE for aesthetics and am really excited to see them in your reviews! All the new aspect you've decided to include sound so interesting and creative.

    I can't wait for your first review!! ♥

    1. EEEEEEEEK!!! Your comment makes me want to rewrite it EVEN MORE. :D :D

      My evil writer's brain probably did just that. XD

      Thanks so much! AESTHETICS ARE AMAZING.

      You're so sweet, Ash - I'm so excited too! <33

  4. This is such a great idea for reviews! Your story actually sounds really good.
    I kinda rated my book too as I went along.

    1. Awww, thanks, Skye!! <3

      Cool! It's sort of fun, isn't it? XD

  5. This will be such a cool formatting for book reviews! Sometimes they just become such horrifyingly boring things to read and ugh. But this? SOUNDS SO FUN! Aesthetics! Quotes!

    When I read the title, I read using your own book as an example as "kill him as a warning to the others" and not as "this is an example. It explains things. Don't be so violent, MK"

    1. I'm so excited you think so, MK!! I agree - how reviews are formatted now is often QUITE boring. Again, though, SO GLAD you like this format! :D

      OH MY WORRRRRRD, THAT'S HILARIOUS! *cough* Sorry to disappoint. ;D ;D

  6. I totally understand how book reviews can get old and boring sometimes. It's so cool that you're trying out new things and spicing it up! I personally love book reviews and can't wait to see how you use this new format.

    1. Thanks, Hannah!! I like book reviews too. :D

  7. Okay... this was an interesting post XD But I look forward to the rest in the series.

    I loved Seven Huntresses, but I can also see how it could be added on. I probably should have lengthened Winter Cursed myself XD

    1. Thanks... I think? XD XD

      Girl, there are sooooo many possibilities! That would have been cool, but Winter Cursed is amazing as a novella. :D

  8. Ooh, what a fun way to review! Can't wait to read them. :D

    1. Thanks, Emily! I'm excited to write them. :))

  9. THIS FORMAT IS LEGITIMATELY GENIUS. And also the title of this post almost gave me a heart attack because WHYYYYY. XD But I can't wait for this next review! (I have a guess as to what it is.....:) )

    1. EEEEP, THANK YOU!!! I'm sorry to give you a heart attack - I needed something sorta clickbaity, and that seemed to fit the bill. ;D

      Me too!! I'm sure you've guessed it. XD

  10. I really like how your reviews are set up! But you shouldn't be so hard on your own baby - I'm sure once she grows up that she will be quite a decent, behaving sort of thing. One can hope, anyway.

    1. Thank you, Catherine! I'm so glad you enjoyed!! Yeah... it was quite the experience, hehe. One can certainly hope. XD


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