When do you write reviews?

There are a bunch of different ways to write reviews. So I want to know your methods, everyone.

Sorry for the non-bloggers out there – this will be a pretty blogger-centric topic.

If you’re anything like me, you read quite a lot of books. And probably quite a lot of reviews – I post less reviews now than I used to, but it’s still two a week.

There are a few options that come to mind.

1) Do you take notes while you’re reading?

I don’t do this. Reading is one of the only things I do for my own enjoyment, and taking notes takes that enjoyment away for me. I know lots of bloggers DO take notes – I assume it helps them remember certain ways they reacted or felt during the reading process, and helps with remembering character/place names.

2) Do you write your review straight after reading the book?

If you don’t have the best memory, this could be a good strategy – the book is fresh in your mind and you can probably remember the main character’s name, at least (which is often helpful). But if you’re not in a situation where you can write down your thoughts, it could be difficult.

3) Do you write them the day after or a couple of days after?

Sometimes reading a book might require a bit of thought. I just finished reading Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas and OH MY LORDY I need to think about it quite a bit. Although I guessed the ending right at the beginning. Go me. (it was a complete fluke, though)

4) You have no process whatsoever. You write them whenever you get the chance.

For example, me. Sometimes I remember that I run a book blog and that it has to include book reviews. So I go back to my Goodreads “read” shelf and choose a recent one I haven’t reviewed yet. Well, I mean, also I have to review the books that I receive for review, so those take precedence, but sometimes I review books weeks after I’ve read them.

This can be difficult if I’ve forgotten characters or plot points. Reading other reviews on Goodreads often helps jog my memory though.


How about you? When do you write book reviews?

58 thoughts on “When do you write reviews?

  1. It depends on a whole bunch of things, honestly. I try to review books shortly after reading them, but sometimes I have so many other posts that I want to publish before them that I don’t write the reviews for a while. It’s like that right now, actually.

    And I don’t exactly make notes to myself about what I want to include in the review, but I have a mental list of what I want to talk about. 🙂

    • Yes, that happens to me too! I have set days for reviews vs. other types of posts, and sometimes I don’t get around to the reviews until the day before.

      A mental list is something I do as well, to a point. I mean, if I’m really invested in the story my small brain doesn’t usually have ROOM for anything but “WOAH WHAT’S HAPPENING” but I do keep in mind things I’d like to discuss 🙂

  2. I love that you thought to write about this! I do a little bit of everything. I take notes if I am going to be away from computers ect. for a long time (long enough I won’t remember everything I need to) after reading. I don’t take them as I read per say, I usually just write a few notes after I put the book down to go do something else or for what ever other reason.

    I used to write them RIGHT after reading them, but then some had me so emotionally agitated it was hard to write good constructive reviews and not just babble the entire time. Now I try to wait 1-3 days to write a review if the book has me flabbergasted, angry, feeling all the feels, ect. However, I will write a review right after reading it if I a) have the time and b) It didn’t get me too emotional/excited/angry and I feel like I could write a solid and presentable review.

    • My brain works in weird ways. Plus, I like interrogating people about how they do things 😛 See, even if I’m not reviewing a book for a long time, I don’t even write notes THEN. Usually I’ll just hop on Goodreads and refresh my memory of what kind of things were memorable. Maybe that’s cheating, but oh well 🙂

      Hahaha that’s so true about being too emotional 🙂 That’s why I wait a few days as well, so I can be more objective (I mean, sometimes I’m still not objective…).

  3. I would never be able to take notes while reading…I read way too fast.
    I’m weird about reviews…I would love to write more, but I just read too many books, which makes writing reviews for all of them a bit hard.
    That being said, if I have a book specifically for reviewing purposes, I will review as soon as I’ve finished.
    But otherwise, when I’m reading, sometimes I will feel the need to write a review, and for some books a review doesn’t feel necessary. I write reviews for the former.
    Of course, with uni and stuff, I don’t actually have a lot of time on my hands, so if I can’t think of everything I want to say and write the review in one go, it probably won’t get done.
    I’ve been trying to write a review for If I Stay for, like, a month…it’s just not working.

    • Oh, me too! Especially if it’s a short book. And gosh, I’m so sick of taking notes from class! I don’t write reviews for all the books I read either – reviews do take up quite a lot of time, and since I’m going into year 12 soon, I’d just like some of the books I read to be for fun 🙂

      If I Stay is a tricky one. I REALLY want to watch the movie, but I was a bit “meh” about the book. Even though I really wanted to like it…hmm.

  4. I don’t take notes when I read either. I try to review my books right after I read them so my reviews are more of a reaction of the book. I have noticed that doing this eith solifies what I think or really confuses me. For example, with my Darkest Minds review, I was super confused about what I thought because I was only thinking of the negatives but then I started coming up with the positives and I do realize I did really enjoy the book. It also goes the opposite way. If I’m confused about it and the review didn’t help, it normally doesn’t help and I’ll end up not caring about the book.

    • That’s an interesting way to do it. I love all the different ways people go about writing reviews, it’s great! Being confused is one reason I go over to Goodreads and read some of those reviews – then I can build a framework for my review and identify the sorts of things I want to talk about.

  5. I don’t usually take notes (I did once for a review I’d been asked to do, and I didn’t enjoy the experience). I also don’t write the review straight away, but usually it’s within two or three days. That gives me time to get over any emotional trauma associated with the ending and look at the entire experience. 🙂

    • I tried to once as well…ugh, not fun. Felt too much like homework, haha. LOL, so true with emotional trauma. I’m still getting over Isla and the Happily Ever After (plus, I have to wait for my sister to hurry up and finish it so we can review it together!).

  6. I’ll only take notes occasionally with some books, but nowadays I might just put some post-it notes in where there are some good quotes which I might use in a review. In terms of timing, if I have the time I’ll try to write the review on the same day that I finished the book, or a day after so that I still remember the important points and what I have to say 🙂

    • Post its are a good idea 🙂 In one of my copies of The Fault in Our Stars, I actually underlined some quotes with lead pencil – but that’s the only book I’ve ever done it to! I have a terrible memory, so I think writing the review on the same day/day after would be helpful to me too, but I often just don’t have the time!

  7. I generally write my book reviews right after! If I can’t get on my laptop immediately after to write the review, I’ll open up the WordPress app on my phone and create a draft, writing down key points I want to talk about in my review. Honestly, I suck at remembering main characters’ names. I just read so many books and so many of them are ‘meh’ to me, so I don’t bother remembering their names, which isn’t a good thing. I don’t take notes when reading; I usually remember things. I might take a picture of a quote if it’s in a printed copy though if I wanted to remember it for later. Otherwise, on my Kindle, I’ll just highlight it. I don’t like to add notes though because I read on a Kindle Paperwhite and that could get tedious. I usually remember what I wanted to say about a specific quote when I go back over my highlighted passages.

    • I suck at remembering main character names too! Actually, I was going to write a blog post on that because it’s getting drastic, haha. I read a lot of books too – usually about 3 a week – and if character names aren’t unusual or particularly memorable, I will probably forget them. Unless I really loved the book, of course. Oooh, taking pictures of a quote sounds like a great idea! I might try that out, actually…

  8. It really depends for me. Sometimes I write a review right after I finish a book and sometimes I write it long after I finish a book. I never take notes, though. It just brings back the torturous feeling that I go through in reading class if we are required to take notes. It totally disrupts my reading flow, and when I take notes I like to take detailed notes, so it takes way too long for me to stop and jot down a note to myself.

  9. It really depends sometimes! If I’m running late with a review, I will finish the book and write one straight afterwards. But if I’m still ahead of schedule for a book, then I will sit on it for a while until I eventually go “oh crap, I totally forgot I was meant to have written on by this day!” and then I scramble to write it. Heh. I don’t really like to schedule posts because I’m lazy like that. I also don’t take notes either because I like to be fully immersed in the story – but if something really annoys me or excites me, i will make a note on my phone

    • Oh yes, I do that too! Sometimes I read a book more quickly than usual because I’m part of a blog tour or whatever. I like scheduling because I need to be organised or my brain will explode (seriously. It’s a severe medical condition called Freakin’ Out).

  10. Interesting topic! Number four is pretty much what I do. I have a pretty decent memory — and I don’t usually get too specific in my reviews anyway; I normally just describe how the book made me feel and what I did/didn’t like about it — so it works for me. Sometimes I write them just after I’ve read them, sometimes I write them days after I’ve read them. It’s just whenever I have time to actually write them, really. As for note taking… I tried that once. But, well, I found it kind of boring to stop reading every time I found something I wanted to talk about in my review, so I just stopped altogether. And besides, it drew me out of the story. Sometimes if it’s an ebook that I’ve gotten from Netgalley or something I’ll highlight and/or bookmark things as I’m reading so I can easily go back to it later when I’m writing the review, but that’s it. Nothing by hand. 🙂

    • Haha, I think a lot of people are probably number fours 🙂 I don’t get very specific in my reviews, either, unless there’s something I REALLY noticed that I want to discuss (and I might even do a separate discussion post for that). I stopped taking notes too. I saw a post where some blogger said it was useful, but…yeah, not for me. If I read ebooks (which I don’t), I’d probably do that too. It seems like a very easy way to do it 🙂

  11. I love this topic, Emily! I’ve got a memory with a high resemblance to that of a goldfish so I write my reviews straight after the book is done and dusted, or at least within the next 6 hours. If I don’t the train of thought begins to get a bit vague and before long, the only thing I remember will be the oddest tidbits, like the way the piece of toast was described (odd, I know). But then again, sometimes I finish certain books in the early hours of the morn (2am onwards) and in that case I write about half a review or whatever my half-conscious mind can conjure and leave the rest for the later hours of the morning. Those tend to be duds because I come back to the review and wonder what on earth I was thinking. I’ve written some…odd things. I always mark down quotes that I adore, but for review purposes notes only come into practice when I begin loosing my cool and I know the review is going to take a negative turn. That way I’m reviewing with objective evidence and I feel a bit more justified spewing the frustrations as opposed to just saying pointless statements.

    • Aww, poor goldfish 😛 but I get you. I’m like that as well (“Where’d I put my keys? Oh, I’m holding them”). I think there need to be more reviews that talk about how pieces of toast are described. I think there’s DEFINITELY a market for that (I for one am already very interested). Makes me wonder how I describe toast in my own books. Very interesting.

      Wow, digression, much? HAHA. Yes. Sometimes my “Midnight Ideas” are like that. I think they’re brilliant and then the next day I read them they’re like “sock fluff hat mittens.” Or…something like that.

  12. I don’t review every book I read on the blog, but I need to have mini reviews handy for Goodreads and also to decide my Book of the Year in January. Because of this, I started taking notes this past year. I’m terrible at remembering more than the basic plot and “oh, I loved this”, “oh, I hated this”, or “meh”. So far, the notes seem to be helping me out quite a bit. For my ARC books, I tend to try and schedule my reviews within two weeks of reading the book. This keeps the material fresh in my head, but also gives me time to do a thought out mini-review for Goodreads and NetGalley/Edelweiss/etc. before I write up the full review.

    • Neither do I! I probably review every…second or third book I read, probably 😛 I should really post more of them on Goodreads. I’m so bad at keeping up. For ARCs, I definitely review them quicker, and usually in more depth, because you know…I feel like they deserve that 😛

  13. I don’t have much of a method really, I have a little tab sheet that I hang over a paperback cover, and usually mark significant twists so I don’t accidentally include them. Reviewing Kindle books is a lot easier though, you just touch and highlight or you can add notes even. It’s only contemporaries where I don’t need to make any notes at all, I think because they’re generally easier to breeze through. I try to review within two or three days, or at least make a few notes that I can elaborate on. Fantastic post Em, really interesting to see how everyone approaches reviews ❤

    • Yes, it would be a bit awkward if you spoiled a book for someone (although my sister doesn’t seem to mind too much when she tells me spoilers…grrr). One of these days I’m going to get myself a Kindle. Maybe. I’m not quite ready to give up my beautiful paperbacks 🙂

  14. Love the gifs!! 🙂 After I finish a book I definitely need a few days to digest what I read and organize all my thoughts. It’s different for every book, though. Some books require only one day of thought, while others may take a week or more. Usually the more I liked a book the quicker I take to write the review. Great post! 🙂

    • Go Sherlock 😛 I need a few days sometimes, too. Occasionally I am just MIND-BLOWN by a certain book and need some recovery time to figure out what I just read 😛 or I loved it so much that I need to take a step back in order to be able to write a proper review.

  15. I don’t take notes when I read, and I don’t post a review straight away. I try to post it within a couple of days of reading the book though. I *try* and post a review on Fridays and Sundays. I’ve slipped a bit behind though lately and need to catch up.

  16. I used to take notes while I read and before I started a book I always had this typed into a note on my phone:
    [insert main character name]
    [insert supporting characters names]
    World building (if applicable)
    Romance (if applicable)

    etc and then I would write stuff about these aspects as I read but then I got sick of that after about 9 months so now I’m back to just reading the book then reviewing it as quick as possible 😀

  17. I usually write reviews the day or a few days after. Often I feel like i could write them immediately after finishing the book but I don’t think they would be as well thought out if I did. It’s interesting to hear your process, nice post xx

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  19. I’m actually a mix of all three I think! 😀 It just depends on when I finish the book. If I finish the book late at night I’ll probably wait the next day and then review it, but if I finish it in the afternoon I might find time to review it. And sometimes I just procrastinate because I don’t know what to say!

    As for taking notes it depends on the format of the book I’m reading. If I’m reading on my iPad, then I do take notes because they have a convenient little highlighter and notepad right there. If I’m reading a physical book, I try to take notes, but I don’t most of the time because it takes a lot of effort to get a pen and notecard out when I’m so engrossed in the story – ha! 😉

    Thanks for sharing Emily, and GREAT discussion! ❤

    • I finish books all over the place too – I try to finish them at night, but sometimes I sneak some reading in class time, lol (especially if we’ve got a substitute teacher!). But yes, I procrastinate on book reviews too 😛

      Everyone’s saying that about their Kindles/iPads/whatever you read ebooks on. Maybe I need to get myself one 😛 HAHA, actual note-taking does take a lot of effort, and I’m lazy so I just don’t bother 😛

  20. I’m the type who absolutely has to take notes. It’s been my strategy since… well, since I figured out what worked best for me, lol. I’m just so scared that if I don’t write down what I want to say in a review, I’m going to lose all my thoughts on the book and everything I would have liked to say would have gone down the drain. DX

    I also used to review books right when I finished them, but now I do it whenever I have time. 😀

  21. Awesome post! Great topic, because everyone uses so many different ways. I think the only time that I made notes in a book, was once, when I put sticky notes over the quotes I wanted to use for a book that I was going to DNF (The Queen’s Choice). It was the first and last time I’ve done that, it felt really strange though. Now, I always write my review after I’ve read the book. Knowing me, I will forget what happened in the book and all the things that I wanted to talk about, if I get stuck into a new story. If a book left me, like how Dangerous Girls left you, I usually would take a few hours and do stuff in between writing the review, so I can gather my thoughts. I wonder if anyone has any other method of reviewing books other than the ones you listed??

    • I KNOW. Reading these comments, there are sooo many different ways to take notes 😛 I forget some things about a book before I write the review, but I figure that the most memorable aspects will be the ones I want to talk about anyway (see how I justify my laziness? It works well). The thought-gathering process can often take a while for me, lol, especially if it’s a WTF book. I like those.

  22. I usually write my reviews as soon as I can after finishing a book. I have terrible memory and often end up using the highlight feature on my kindle, or adding little sticky notes in hardcopies, to flag parts that really affected me. Once I scan over that page, I usually remember what I had felt or wanted to share. Great topic! 🙂

  23. #4, completely. My “process” is a mess. I procrastinate, then kind of wing it. It’s a mess, but it usually ends up working out (except the times when I can’t even remember the book- oops!). I do occasionally jot a note down though, generally when I am done reading for the night, just so I don’t forget a point that I know I will forget overnight!

  24. This is a difficult one. I usually don’t take notes. Like you said, it makes it seem like I’m reading the book for the sake of only reviewing it. Of course, when I’m reading on my Kindle I mark stuff that I like or don’t like. As for writing the actual review itself, I usually write it a day or two after finishing the book. I dunno if it makes sense – but I like to let the book sit in my brain for some time. There are some things that I may discover later – once I start thinking about it. And that happens in this waiting period.

    Great post ❤

  25. I usedto take notes, but I stoppedfor the same reason you don’t. As for the time, I often type out the review immidiately, because I don’t schedule for far away dates and I have to. Though I noticed that opinions are prone to be a little biased and less professional. And for a great part, I later don’t agree with them. So if I can, I wait a while.

  26. I sometimes take notes while I’m reading. It really depends on the book. And usually I write my reviews right after I finish them, unless it’s in the middle of the night or something (in which case, I’ll write them in the morning). I have such a horrible book memory that I can’t really wait longer than that, haha!

  27. Once upon a time I would read a book and immediately after finishing I would open a Word document and write a review. I did this for EVERY book I read because I thought reviewing was pretty much the most fabulous thing in the world.

    And then I changed. I changed because I don’t have time to open a Word document immediately after I finish a book and gather my thoughts to write a review. I also, unfortunately, do not have time to write reviews for every book I read, either 😦

    So now I have become a review writer that isn’t really on this list! I schedule my reviews weeks (sometimes months in advance) due to release date, and then I will write the review for it the day before (or sometimes the day of!) it is due to be published. I find that this actually really works for me, even if sometimes I have read the book AGES ago. it kind of puts me under a nice sort of pressure to get my thoughts down as succinctly as possible.

    For now that is how I write my reviews, and I think I may stick with it because I find it really nice and easy to do 😀

  28. I am totally that last category. But when in got in my summer slump, my poor blog was pretty much abandoned for two months… Now that I’m back, though, I’m doing that Goodreads thing. What have I read since I left? Oh yeah! *writes a mini review because dammit, I can’t remember enough about the plot or characters* In a way, though, I think it shows how memorable the book was and that in and of itself says just a bit. The worst is forgetting character names, though. I hate when I do that and I actually *liked* the book.
    I do have a couple of books for review, but they’re ebooks and it always takes me so long to get to those… But soon. It’s been too long and I feel bad :/

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  30. Sometimes, I take notes after I’ve put the book down for the day. Or if there’s something that really stands out to me. I have the crappiest memory EVER so if I don’t write it down somewhere, I’m gonna forget it. Most of the time, all it takes is a few words though. I guess it’s just like a trigger so that when I do write my review, I understand what I was thinking. My notes usually end up like “fast. wow. ew. hate her. wtf. eh” and then I manage to write a whole review just from that LOL! I’m so behind on writing review because I normally write them and then post them then and there. I think I’m like 9 books behind LOL

  31. I used to have a system of writing reviews straight after the book and then leaving it a week before going back to it again (so that I could make sure my initial reaction to the book wasn’t over the top) and then publishing it. However, that’s all flown out the window now because at university I have such little time to blog anyway, so I just go kamikaze crazy and do a little of everything! 😛

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