Discussions

MY HISTORY WITH BOOK REVIEWS // a discussion: why I stopped writing reviews (and blogging in general) for a while, how they’ve changed ft. tips to improve yours!!

Hi friends, come on this very rambly journey with me. I have no idea if it makes sense but let’s give it a go.

SO. I’ve been wanting to do more discussion posts and I have a few topics I’ve been wanting to chat about. This’ll be my first real attempt at  a full-length discussion post so let’s hope it turns out well.

If you’ve been around for a while, you would’ve noticed I hardly posted ANY book reviews last year, nor was I that active either. I used to be that girl who reviewed every single book she read, ‘reviewed’ not being the correct word because a) I hated my old structure and b) I don’t think I was very informative anyways. Which we’ll get into more in a bit.

But I’m back on track with them all now and am overall pleased and proud of them, so I thought maybe I could chat about it?? Those are what discussions are right?? Wish me luck.

WHY I STOPPED BLOGGING LAST YEAR?

A question I still don’t know how to answer tbh. And I think it’s a number of reasons.

Firstly: school. Last year was my final year of high school and I tried to make the most of it, by being busier and spending more time with friends. Plus my usual ‘free time’ was spent studying as I wanted to achieve the highest grades to get into university. Not that all I did was study, I was never that student, but the year was very stressful and I had a lot to focus on.

Another reason is that I also did stop blogging for a bit. I just didn’t have it in me to sit down to write entire blog posts, let alone long book reviews. I wanted to finish a book and move on. I also started posting a TON on Instagram, it was easier to talk about books on there. I felt like it required less effort. Not that bookstagram is easy because I’ve quickly come to learn it can be just as time-consuming.

I also think I went through an almost toxic stage where I would compare myself to everyone and the numbers really affected me. I don’t care as much now and I don’t regret focusing on bookstagram because I’ve made some of my closest friends on there. And I know now that numbers affect everyone but I think I was in an “I MUST GROW” mindset. Which is never good for you and it’s why I started to resent blogging.

this was my inner anxiety

Speaking of, I think I also felt that about my blog. I never really felt satisfied and it always felt like a burden. That’s a whole other topic that is not worth getting into now, but I felt like my content was boring and honestly, I was a bit lonely. I wasn’t getting any engagement and felt like my work was worthless and no-one cared about it. My anxiety just spiralled and I thought nobody liked me. All of this is self-inflicted and not true because I should have been doing thew work for me, but the feelings were there all the same. My confidence has grown tremendously since and I’m a lot more confident and strangely I think more knowledgable.

In conclusion, book reviews started stressing me out so my solution was to just stop completely. Which was bad but also good??

SO HOW IS IT ANY DIFFERENT NOW?

Well, if you’re brand new here then you wouldn’t have seen my old theme or frankly, my old voice. Since then I’ve really found my ‘brand’ and discovered how I want to blog and what kind of blogger I want to be.

Plus I’ve really embraced my outdoor theme, which is thanks to Instagram. I’ve made green my signature colour on here, designed myself a new header and I’ve really made my blog more ME. Plus I’m really really really happy with my current website theme. I feel more comfortable in how I present myself and confident that this is how I want to portray myself on the internet.

I am now Phoebe, this is ME

Basically, having a space that I genuinely love and feeling more confident about it has made me less scared to blog. I feel like I’m starting new over here and it feels good (which is why you can never ever go back and read my old posts PLEASE DON’T)

As for book reviews, I don’t review EVERY BOOK I READ. Because no. I know why I did it back then, to create more content, but I don’t feel the need to do that anymore. I’ve decided to only review books I love and want to talk about or books I’ve received from publishers/collabs etc. And even then I don’t review EVERY book for publishers, I just make sure that I talk about it somewhere.

MY HISTORY WITH BOOK REVIEWS

Seriously, don’t go read the old reviews. They were so bad. Let’s proceed with Ruby dragging herself.

Seriously, you’ll all internally cringe at my absolute shit book reviews. I know I don’t swear but there is no other word. I don’t know how anyone actually read them if we’re being honest. My format was wrong and it was all just dumpster fire. Idk what I was doing. Not including any real opinions apparently. I literally had this one sentence spoiler-free thought and shelved everything else under spoilers and I,,, AM SO CONFUSED?? THE LOGIC RUBY COME ON

make it make sense pls

I think I just wasn’t branding them properly. So I wondered if I scared people away because I had said they were spoilers and they weren’t really. So my reviews were never informative or helpful in any way.

I used to do the “spoiler-filled” section of the review* because I thought only people who had the read the book would come looking for me. But that’s not the case at all and I now only sometimes add that if I have a lot to talk about that is actually considered a “spoiler” lmao. As I mentioned: dumb Ruby.

*review meaning just post about the book. I like to call them “book talks” if I talk spoilers.

HOW MY BOOK REVIEWS HAVE EVOLVED:

As I just mentioned, I’ve made my spoiler-free section more informative by talking about the writing, plot, characters and anything else I think is worth mentioning. And if there is a spoiler section I’ve made sure it is LITERALLY a spoiler, like a scene that happens in the book that would spoil you.

What I’ve also LOVED doing is having a quotes section at the end of my reviews. I know some people like to have them throughout the post which is cool BUT I do like having all my favourite ones at the end. It makes the posts a bit longer AND idk I just like to look through quotes and choose my favourite ones, you know? You don’t have to read if you don’t want to, that’s the point.

How to improve your reviews!!

TIP #1

My first tip is GRAPHICS or at least divides between text. I find it so hard to read any kind of blog post that is just one length of text. If your review is short, then it works but I just can’t with super long posts. I would stop reading. Another thing, which sounds self-explanatory but even bolding words and just making some text bigger makes a big difference.

TIP #2

I don’t want to start sounding the same but just be yourself. Be honest and use your own voice. Write the review you want to read. It’s so lovely to read a review that’s personal and unique when you can genuinely tell that this is what a person thought of the book.

TIP #3

Try to group your thoughts together to allow your post to flow properly and for it not to be too all over the place. Obviously, it will never be completely put together, mine never are HA. But you know, try to keep it in order.

TIP #4

Gifs are your friends!! I always find them nice to put in posts, a divider alternative BUT also they’re entertaining and can easily portray an emotion.

And I think that’s all folks. I have no idea how to write these posts so if you have any critiques please do let me know!!

So yeah I hope it was somewhat okay.

And that maybe those tips were helpful?? If you were at all struggling with book reviews. I mean I have been blogging for almost 3 years so I’ve picked up on a few things. I’m also terribly embarrassed at my own old reviews so it’s normal if you are too.

Okay, I shall stop rambling now hehe.


WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON BOOK REVIEWS? WHAT ARE SOME ESSENTIALS YOU LOOK FOR? DO YOU ALSO STRUGGLE WRITING THEM? DID YOU GO THROUGH ANYTHING SIMILAR? LET ME KNOW!

xo

61 Comments

  • Sara * Lyrical Reads

    I love this post!! I’ve honestly been wondering about the same things for my book reviews because I’ve been publishing a lot more recently (and they tend to be stream of consciousness because I write down bullet points on a book right after I’ve finished it since I literally have the memory of a goldfish lol). I try to add gifs/images to my reviews because I know as a reader I hate just seeing tons of text and little breaks, but there are some points when I just want to hit the publish button haha. Now, I’m trying to think of more creative content/discussions to write instead of just reviews.

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Firstly, so sorry it’s taken me this long to respond. My spam system is acting up and idk why. Ah I have been ADORING your book reviews so much Sara!! They’re so great. I also used to take bullet point lists, but whilst I was reading. Actually don’t remember why I stopped, probs because I was lazy welp. Anyways, yes just write ALL the posts hehe <3<3

  • erin from rinsreads

    Aww I loved this post!!! You are one of the sweetest people I’ve met on here and I get so happy every time I see a new post of yours pop up in my reader ❤️ I love your voice!! I can tell you’re so authentic and genuinely excited about your posts and I love reading everything you write (:

    I get where you’re coming from w/ the reviews, I’m still trying to work out a format that is unique to me but also not complete chaos for readers?? Didn’t think it would be so difficult but it totally is!! I’m also taking your advice about graphics and going to start creating some sort of divider between thoughts because that’s a really good idea and something I totally agree w/ but never really noticed before!!

    Thank you for sharing this!! Can’t wait for more discussion posts in the future 🥰

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Thank you so much Rin. YOU are the sweetest and I’m so glad to have found your wonderful blog <3<3

      Eeeeppp I'm glad you found it helpful though. But your reviews are already super easy to read so don't worry too much. Loved your Boyfriend Material review style/format xx

      All the love for you!!!

  • Stephen Writes

    Great discussion and tips, Ruby. I review pretty much every book I read and it definitely can be stressful, but they are my most rewarding posts. I’m glad you are really happy with how you’re blog is looking at the moment – I think it’s wonderful! This was a really though post ☺

  • Joss @ theonewhoreadit

    You can’t imagine how much I agree with you! I have just done one review on my blog so far (it was my first post ever -I posted it 2 years ago- and it was sooo bad. Please don’t read it people) but it’s such a scary thing for me to write reviews. I am sooo afraid that my thoughts won’t come across the way I had intended them to or that I will offend the reader or the author (if they ever read my review -which let’s be honest, it’s not going to happen) with my review so I just never really gave myself the chance to write them… But I am going to try to MAYBE write a review in the near future. Your tips are sooo helpful! Thank you so much for sharing them with us!

    I also found myself comparing my followers count with other people and it gives me so much anxiety. I’m really trying not to do it but sometimes I just can’t help it. My blog and my Bookstagram are growing so slowly and part of me just wants to delete all my accounts and just start over but I don’t think I will. One thing I constantly remind myself is that numbers are not a measure of my worth. We are so much more than the number of people who follow us on Bookstagram or on here.

    WOW this was WAY longer that I intended. All I wanted to say was that I get where you’re coming from and I also wanted to thank you for posting this! All the best

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Omg Joss, this comment means so much and I am SO HAPPY that you feel the same way. I’m glad my short tips you found useful hehe. I never know if anyone cares lmao.

      You’re TOTALLY not alone. I still get anxiety about it but I try to just stay focused on my content and doing the best I can and just let the numbers come if they want to. Idk if that works but its better for the mental health ya know? I do the EXACT SAME thing though. I’ve grown incredibly slowly and also sometimes just want to disappear off the internet forever.

      You’re too kind ilysm xx

  • Leyanis @ thebloggerandthegeek

    I struggle mostly with describing books I truly love just because my mind goes all over the place. I love including quotes and talking only about what I liked, I never include rating in my blog (just goodreads) ;a; or something negative from the books I truly love – I don’t know if that’s good or bad but personally, it has been working for me 🙂

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Oh yes TOTALLY. I’m also terribler at describing them, so I just stick the GR synopsis hehe. Glad that you’ve found something that you like because at the end of the day, that’s what matters because its your blog (obviously just be mindful of others when you do but you get the point hehe)

  • Lais @ The Bookish Skies

    ruby, first of all: thanks for sharing! i had a very similar experience with blogging, as i completely quit it for my last year of high school and looking back, i think it was a decision for the better, as it allowed me to look back at my content and figure out a better way to express myself. i totally think breaks can be for the better!

    i also remember feeling the need to review pretty much every book i read while these days, i hardly ever review a book at length lol i am a bit intimidated to start writing reviews, but i realized that grouping my thoughts together (i have a things i liked/things i disliked session and then my overall balance of thoughts in the end) really allows me to organize my thoughts better. i completely agree it can be one of the most helpful tips when you don’t know how to start! but that’s also why i end up only writing books i have *a lot* of feelings for, because i don’t like the idea of leaving one of those sessions empty, which can be a problem, because not always they will work for every book ): i’m still trying to figure that out!

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Ah lais thank YOU for sharing. Omg you did the same?? I also think it did me really good though, gave me time to think and slowly build myself a platform on a smaller level you know?

      I LOVE the like & dislike format. I love all your reviews and the way you structure them but def agree. I prefer to talk about one topic at a time and discuss both at the same time but yeah. DEFINITELY agree. If I feel there’s not enough to say and/or I don’t feel super passionate about it then I usually won’t review. Like I read a book that I REALLY loved but have no obligations to read and also just didn’t know what to say so I just… didn’t review it. Rebel lmao

      Thank you always for your lovely comments ilysm

  • El

    When I first started I was the exact same! My reviews were basically a rewrite of the synopsis & I didn’t even know what goodreads was so had no clue people could literally just look that up 😅
    I went way overboard on the number of reviews too & even started posting like a half way point for books which just like no 🤦‍♀️
    Anyway now I like to stick my mini (but they’re not really mini at all) reviews in my book update at the end of the month & then do other content – I’m slowly getting back into reviews but it’s hard to have enough opinions to make a whole post for 1 book so it’s kinda hit or miss & really random if I do a special post or not 😂

    Also the insta thing is so true! I think it’s much easier & quicker & acceptable to change your branding on insta so it’s much better for experimenting & finding your place before then translating that to your blog 💕

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      OMG ah, I feel you. I’m like… what?? was I thinking?? The mistakes we made. But O guess it means we grew and learned from mistakes so?? But yeah, also just want to do them when I feel like I have enough to say. But you do YOU. Do whatever you want. I’D READ IT hehe.

      YES YOU NAILED IT! I just felt way less pressure on there and I think it did me really good. Instagram was just such a cool place for me and I found a real passion there. I still love it <3<3

  • Xandra @ Starry Sky Books

    I love this discussion, Ruby! 😭 I relate to it so much! I’ve recently been in the “you must grow or else you’ve failed” stage of my blogging life, and it’s very anxiety-inducing. I have stopped doing book reviews unless I really loved the book, or unless I got an ARC!

    Okay now you’re making me want to go back and read your old reviews, hehe 👀 But I’m glad you’re finding your blogging voice more now! With reviews, I find it kind of boring whenever I feel like I have to write a review for a book I thought was just okay, and the reviews for books I love are so much more fun to write! If I have to include spoilers, usually it’s something that might turn a reader away if they didn’t know it was coming. (Like if the book has insta-love or 5 POVs or something)

    Another thing that stops me from writing reviews is when I can’t find the right gifs to use! 😅 Seriously, sometimes it’s very hard to find gifs that match my vibe and it takes forever!

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Xandra ahh, it means so much that you have positive feedback because I’ve never really done a discussion where I don’t talk about a specific book or something directly related books. But also because I love your discussions. Anyways THANK YOU

      But also NO YOU’RE DOING AMAZING. AND ENOUGH. SO admire you and everything you do xoxoxoxox But I also understand because it happens to me ALL THE TIME *nervous sweats* Let’s cry together because our brains hate us lmao

      pleasseee do not. Well. Hmmm. Idk. I guess you have permission because in my own humble opinion, I have evolved. I also TOTALLY get you. I also haven’t been feeling the need to review like 3 star reads unless they were for review and I feel like its work a full-length blog post.

      Oh okay, do you think I should not do spoilers? Do you not personally read them? I put in the title that it is a “book talk” or that its not not spoiler free and I just like to scream about scenes that I felt memorable enough to mention them hehe.

      YES OMG IT IS HARD. Gifs are so great but sometimes I have one very specific in mind and it doesn’t even exist. Welp that’s just my own mistakes though haha

  • Anika May

    This is such a happy post! I love that although you went through the blogger struggle, you found you brand which then boosted your confidence. That’s so lovely to read. And I’m loving the tips on the review writing too 🙂

    Anika | chaptersofmay.com

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Ah, Anika I am SO SORRY it took this long to respond, my spam system is acting up and ahhh!! Anyways, thank you so much. SO glad you loved this post, it’s the highest praise coming from you xoxo

  • Olivia @ Purely Olivia

    I loved reading this post, Ruby! I’ve definitely been there with taking long blogging breaks, and they always happen for me during the school year as well (I’m hoping I don’t disappear this school year though!). It’s just a really busy time with so much to focus on that sometimes blogging can feel much less important during those crazy seasons! I also completely understand not wanting to blog due to lack of engagement, because I’ve been there as well and it’s just so hard to put out content and not get anything back. But, all that to say, your rebranding is absolutely spectacular and I’m so happy you came back to blogging because then we met!!🥰

    I really like your tips for reviews- I do like reading book reviews and I’ve been *trying* to write them more but they’ve never been my main post content just because I’m not the greatest at them and because they don’t always get as much engagement, but they are such an important part of book blogging! Also yes, love the gifs forever. xx

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Ah Olivia, that is the highest praise coming from you. Was so nervous that this discussion would flop and that I’d be terrible at doing them.

      School is just,,, a time. I love learning and I also just cannot do a half-assed job so taking breaks from blogging is so necessary. And exactly, it feels less important and we just don’t want to do it. Blogging is supposed to be fun and in my opinion, if I’m stressed then I don’t think I could deliver the same content that I’d usually do and thereby not be my best blogger self.

      Eeeepp truly you are the best and I’M SO HAPPY we met and to be closer friends. And it’s such a relief that I’m not the only who one feels that. I’ve like recently had this breakthrough (idk if that’s what it is) that comparing myself to other people’s work is no help to anyone. idk maybe they’ve been doing it for longer or are older (not that age matters but being like an 25 yr old is differnet than an 18yr student) is not worth comparing myself when I’m doing something completely different. So I’ve been reminding myself thay and trying to work towards a goal and it’s what kept me sane lmao.

      Olivia, just do ALL the posts. Imma read em all. I also like your mini reviews though and have been thinking I should try those. But if you could tell, I ramble a lot and don’t want a 5k word post so?? hehe. YESS GIFS. Apparently not everyone likes them and I’m?? Confused.

      ilysm xoxoxoxo

  • Sara @ Words With Wings

    RUBY I have so many ~thoughts~ and this is probably going to be a novel of a comment (sorry) but first of all I LOVE this post so much!!!! This is such a clever discussion idea and I just really enjoyed reading it <3

    I totally get the whole "I MUST GROW" thing because??? even though I'm literally only in like my third month blogging, I'm already feeling it?? Everyone says that stats don't matter (and they're right!) but my head is always going "Must have more reviews. Must have more discussions. Start writing recommendations!! New blog features!!!! Interact + blog hop and develop your social media presence!!! Must. become. better. every single time you log on!!!! MORE!!!!" to the point where I just. did not blog at all in July. Growth is GOOD but it's so important to remember that when it comes to something you start for fun, your experience comes first, and the growth is just the byproduct! I think!

    Also YAY for finding your brand!!! Your aesthetic is literally. one of my FAVORITES ever!!!! I adore the clean-cut-calmness of it all plus the green still fits so well!!! Your blog is truly a joy <3 I'm still trying to figure out my blog because even though I like how my blog looks, I don't think it's an accurate representation of me. Is an aesthetic worth the sacrifice of identity??? Do I even know what I'm talking about??? *proceeds through an emotional crisis*

    So,,, I actually haven't read any of your book reviews yet bc I SUCK but I will get to it soon! But yay for evolution and growth and I love your tips so much!! They're so helpful!! One thing I struggle w/ reviews is like professionalism? Someone once said that gifs make your reviews seem less "official" but another person said that not having gifs makes you seem personality-less and reduces engagement so idk 😩

    anyways I adore this post and I adore your blog!!! I can't believe I haven't been following you all this time BUT I have remedied this problem and am most definitely stalking all your posts haha!!!

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Um omg Sara THANK YOU for this so very kind comment. I,,, love you!!! It truly means a lot that you loved it so much because I was ~very~ nervous about it welp.

      Ahh no I’m so sad, and you probs know this but you so do NOT need to have that mindset. But I also feel you at the same time. I think we just need to remind ourselves that, this may sound cliche but its helped me, we are different to everyone else. And that comparing yourself to someone with a completely different background is not worth it. Yes exactly. Growth is the by-product. And I mean we all want like thousands of followers and comments and all that, but I think its important to remember that you’ll learn and get there in your own time by yourself. I still need to remind myself this and I’m no expert so. Anyways.

      Ahhh omg literally STOP YOU ARE TOO KIND. Thank you. That means so much that you love it. Because it definitely took a while to get to where it is now. Because yeah ew my design was SO UGLY. Emotional crises we are very familiar with on the blog. But also, your blog looks so lovely!! But if ya do wanna change, I’d be happy to help and brainstorm with you/give feedback. If you’d want that <3<3

      I'm still so confused about people not liking gifs? Okay I kinda get it bc you're not gonna put a meme in like a newspaper review. And I would probs adapt my review if ever asked to feature it somewhere. But for me, on my own blog, I do what makes it fun and suits the mood. I like having different text sizes and just having fun. I say DO WHAT YOU WANT. Idk about engagement, I hope people actually like them hehe.

      Sara, you are literally the best and I am also going to go forth and stalk you everywhere!!! xoxoxo

  • aina

    Thank you for writing and sharing this post! I just have the thought of having to review every book I read and forgot that that’s not supposed to be the main goal of my blog. So this post was like the reminder I needed at the moment, that O don’t actually have to write a review for all books I read. I can just write review for books I enjoy and if I want to!

    Your tips are helpful!! I’m in the middle of finding my “voice” and my style, so the tips you gave can benefit me (if not now) later. Also I agree on putting some graphics or dividers for long reviews. I’m not really a fan of big blocks of words. Graphics can help to like refresh my sight after all the wording.

    And YEAYY for finding your brand!! It’s always fun to see other people revamp their site with new designs and stuff. That’s a growth and a sign of you evolving (sorry if it doesn’t make sense, I’m currently sleep-deprived). I’m quite satisfied with how my blog looks but when the opportunity arises I would definitely try to revamp it!

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Ah I’m so glad this post could be of some help to you! Truly don’t put pressure on yourself to write ALL the reviews. As Marie Kondo says (lmao I actually know zilch but I’m trying to be trendy welp): Does it spark joy? If not, then YOU DO YOU. Literally just do whatever you want 🙂

      Oh double-yay that the tips can be helpful. I might do a full post about something like this, not sure yet hehe. But yeah, I CANNOT read a longggg review with JUST TEXT. There needs to be ~something~ there to break it up. Especially if it’s like idk 7 long paragraphs. Nope.

      Eternally sleep deprived here and I can totally understand. Ugh you DID not wanna see my old design. Well at least my very first few. Your blog is so cute ahhh!!

      • aina

        Ooh you’re right!! Marie Kondo’s method can definitely be applicable on this kind of situation as well! Write only about things you enjoy and spark joy to you. Nice one 😉

        Please please do a post like that! It sure will be helpful not only to me but other bloggers as well! And thank you for the compliment 🙈 I owe it all to other bloggers for inspiration and their awesome blog designing posts for helping me out 😊

  • Tiffany | Quill Tree Fox

    Ohhh I love what you said so much! I feel like there’s a lot of pressure to compare yourself to others, but I’m so glad to hear that you’ve been able to discover your own blogging identity!

    Also with reviews, I feel like I’m still trying to find the perfect balance between a short review and a long one. I mostly stick to shorter ones because of time constraints, but I do think there’s something about an in depth review… 🙂

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Thank you for this kind comment xoxo. Yeah comparing is lowkey just so time consuming and worthless. I still experience it all the time but I’m slowly coming to realise that.

      YES!! You know, you just do whatever you want is what I say. I love long ones, short ones. It does depend on the book really. If you LOVED it, it’s more likely you can talk for like a million years and I LOVE reading rave reviews, makes me more excited. But I also love short ones that can convince me quickly so <3<3

  • juli

    This is such a nice post!
    I too find writing reviews a bit difficult, which is why I haven’t written many this year. But I do like them, because the whole point of making a book blog was to talk about books, specially the ones I love. So I’m in a weird place about that.

    Your tips are so helpful! I’ll definitely try to incorporate them when I get around to writing a new review.

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Thank you so much! Glad you liked it 💕 oh totally get that. I hope you can get back to them though and find what you want to do with your reviews. Also YAY!! Very happy that you find them useful xoxo

  • Stephen Writes

    This is a wonderful discussion post, Ruby! I write long reviews for almost every book I read, and it is a big commitment! I do enjoy it, even if it can be stressful at times lol. My aim with reviews is to always be honest and polite, and use the perfect words to describe the book. 😊

  • Charis @ Charis Rae

    I think of all us can sadly relate to feelings of inferiority and comparison and burnout… But I’m so glad you’ve re-shaped your blog and are happy with your new brand! I’m going through something similar right now, and while it’s quite the endeavor, I’m excited for what the future holds!

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Thank you for your kind comment Charis! It really does feel great to have something you’re happy with. If you ever want any help or feedback then I’d be HAPPY too ❤️

  • Kerys @ The Everlasting Library

    Hey Ruby!! I absolutely loved reading this post and I can relate so much to what you said. I find writing reviews really hard because I sort of feel like I have to be more formal and explain the characters/plot/writing in detail (especially with arc reviews since publishers might read them). This is hard for me since i have more of a sarcastic/funnier tone (or at least i’d like to think so 😅) and I haven’t quite found a way to review that I really enjoy. Also do i write reviews subjectively and talk about how they made me feel or do i focus on objective reviews with a focus on being informative?? it is honestly a huge struggle for me.

    oh god focusing on numbers is just a whole ball of anxiety. I’m trying to focus more on interacting and lovely comments now because at the end of the day, that makes me happier than having a lot of likes on my posts. and comparing is honestly the worst but i’m so glad you’re in a place where you feel happy and confident now!

    Also I ADORE your current design – it is SO gorgeous and all the cute cacti make me want to smile! It definitely reflects your Instagram theme well and is very you!

    Your review tips are very helpful and I definitely need to work on including gifs and images in my reviews! I don’t know when I stopped using gifs as much but i do miss them!!

    and wow almost three years?! your blog is growing up!! i can’t remember quite when i found your blog but i love it (and you!) and i can’t wait to keep reading your posts!

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Kerys, did you know you’re the absolute best and I have all the love for you for leaving this wonderful comment!!

      Firstly, you’re reviews are great and YOU ARE funny. THE FUNNIEST. And I love your blogging voice and writing style. But also I 1000% agree. They’re SO HARD to write sometimes. I guess I just write what I feel and it makes it very subjective. But I’ve also been trying to more critical and take everything into perspective? So eh it’s about balance and we’re all still learning and growing <3

      YES!! Same for me. I'm just focusing on what I have and making the best of it, because at the end of the day, that's what matters. Also patience lmao

      THANK YOUUUUU!!! I'm glad you like it. Took me like 4 years to make it look nice welp. Idk if you remember the old design... not so great. Or rather, it was never cohesive?? My graphics were all over the place and I had the WORST theme. It was all black and ugly.

      Omg you're so right?!?! When DID we discover each toher? It was probably like 2018?? Or late 2017. It's been a while hehe. Can't wait fore more of YOUR posts though *wink wink*

  • Clo @ Cuppa Clo

    Ah I love your current design and as someone who also loves nature (my bookstagram is nature themed) I adore your bookstagram photos because of it hehe. As for book reviews, they are just not for me. I tried in the beginning of my blog to write review but I was not getting very far. I hated how they turned out, hated the content and I wasn’t proud of my reviews. I just can’t review for toffee and that’s ok. I was putting pressure on myself to post reviews because pretty much every other book blog has reviews. It took me a year or so before I finally realised, reviews are just not meant to be on the blog, the pressure of knowing I was going to write a review for a book also took the fun out of reading too >.> which is another reason I now don’t post reviews at all on my blog.

    I do have an original feature in the works where I’ll talk about the books I’ve read so I suppose that feature could be classes as reviews? I don’t view them that way though, it’s more like a chat about the book and my thoughts as I read etc. Anyhoo I’m glad you were able to find your way back to writing reviews and discover your blogging voice Ruby <3

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Why thank you Chlo, you’re too sweet!! Also LOVE finding new outdoor bookstagram accounts and ah can’t believe I wasn’t following you there. Definitely corrected that hehe

      I TOTALLY get it. I took basically all of last year off from writing reviews. I just had no motiviation and it really did take the fun out of reading for me. You don’t want to feel pressured to do something that isn’t (ha hate to be cliche and silly) “bringing you joy”. Idk I must be Marie Kondo now lmao.

      Anyways haha off topic. YAY glad you found something you’re more comfortable with and that you like. I LOVE that idea, of making something you don’t normally like and putting your own twist on it to make it fun and unique <3<3

  • Marta @ the book mermaid

    It’s been so long since I’ve written a proper review, that I’m lowkey scared I won’t even know how to do it when the time comes!! XD Honestly, though, as much as love ranting about the books I read, I don’t have enough time, or even the words to express myself, relating to most books I read now … But I do miss it!! I guess I just have to read the right book to get me motivated to write reviews again 😛

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Oh no!! But I’m sure you can!! I’ll be here to cheer you on hehe. But also, went through the same thing last year. Didn’t write reviews for months and then I just had the urge to one day and did it. So yes you just neeed the right book. YOU CAN DO IT <3<3

  • CG @ Paper Fury

    Blogging is hard in general, so I totally get those self-doubt moments and the needs for long breaks. But I’m glad you’re back!! And I hope this time you have a lot of fun with blogging and reviewing 🙌🏻🥰 I loved your tips! I think being cohesive is great, writing lists, or dividing reviews into sections of topics to cover helps SO much.

    (And I love your theme!!😍😍)

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Omg thank you for this lovely comment Cait!! All the love and admiration for you xoxox Especially because wow!! Approval from the book review queen!! THANK YOU. I’ve learned from the best *wink wink*

  • Marie

    I love this post so, so much. Thank you for being so honest with your blogging experience! I completely get that mindset you got in (this is me. often, aerm) and sometimes just stepping away can really do you good. I’m happy you’re back and you’ve found both your voice and your brand here, this is so wonderful. Reading all of your posts is always AMAZING and I’m just so glad you’re here.
    I love your tips so much!! I feel like my reviews are a bit of a mess, but… honestly, in the past year, I’ve turned back to reviewing mostly in bullet point style and I’ve been having much more fun doing it that way, so…. I guess it’s good? My advice would be, follow your heart and what feels right when you write and the rest will follow 😀

  • Ruby Rae Reads

    Ah omg, THANK YOU!! Literally squealing right now that the queen of discussion posts likes mine. I can die happy now *wink wink*

    I am… also happy that I’m back, I ~think~ stronger than ever idk. Not to sound stupid welp. But also ahhh Marie, I ADORE your review so much! Our taste is so spot-on similar and I know I can always trust your opinions. And really, your reviews are marvellous and I I love how you do them. And yes FOLLOW THE HEART! Do whatever makes you happy and I think people will realise that? Hopefully?? Haha at least that’s what I do <3

  • theorangutanlibrarian

    Love this post! I think it’s amazing you found a way to make the blog more you! And I totally get how having a space you genuinely love makes you more confident to blog- I feel the same way. I also don’t review every book- if I did it’d feel more like a chore. And I like your tips- definitely agree about being honest and using your own voice!

  • theperksofbeingnourablog

    Aww thanks for sharing this! I just want you to know that I adore you and your content is wonderful. I might not have the time to comment sometimes but your work is amazing and I absolutely love your blog! ❤❤

  • Sina

    That was so interesting to read and honestly I completely get what you`re saying. I feel like I haven`t really found my voice yet. I love reading reviews that are funny and emotional and unique but mine tend to be rather boring in the sense of only speaking of facts and just being kind of flat if that makes any sense?!
    But I do think that the problem for me is that I basically only read blogs that are written in English but I write mine in German so I don`t really know how to put those feelings into German (even though that`s literally my mother tongue… what even am I doing?). So yeah, still trying to figure it out.

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Why thank you!! So glad that you liked it, wad super nervous to post😅 oh but you definitely shall find your voice, took me like 3 years so just be patient!!

      I am SURE your reviews are not boring. But if you’re feeling meh about them, then try something new and you’ll figure out what works for you. But also LOVE that you write them in German GO YOU. I can’t read them but I think its super cool and unique.

      Thank you for your lovely comment <3<3

  • Sumedha

    I really relate to what you spoke about, they’re actually quite common struggles! I totally get not being happy with your content and site and brand (I actually wrote about it in a post for tomorrow lol).

    Speaking about book reviews, I never reviewed every single book that I read. Mostly because I always wanted to make my blog more than just books so I’d keep about 1/3rd of my content as bookish stuff. Now it’s upto 2/3 ratio but the point is that there is too much to share and talk about. It helped me also learn to prioritize what books I want to review. I learnt that the reviews that I like writing the most are the ones which I think make a difference. For example, I don’t write reviews for popular books if my views have already been shared by others. I’d just share that on twitter instead of simply writing it all again. If I have enough to say and I think my opinions would make a difference, only then do I review books.

    LOVE your tips at the end. The formatting one is the biggest tip ever haha. Even if there aren’t graphics to separate blocks of text, quotes or headings or even small lists and bullet points work. Basically anything to not make it look monotonous. Because I’m a computer science student, I refer to it as “readability” of the post. The term is generally used to refer to the exact same meaning in code as “code readability” to break up blocks of lines, have appropriate spaces etc.

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Um so you are literally the best and THANK YOU for this amazing comment. Eeep omg definitely going to check out your post!!

      Oh yeah, that makes total sense. I like your method. I kinda do the same thing, though if I am OBSESSED with a book and I want to scream about it then I can’t resist myself haha.

      YES!! So gld you agree. So many times I just don’t want to sit through a block of text that doesn’t even have any bold. Readabilty is the perfect word. Wow going all science-y on me *wink wink*

      xoxo

  • Veronika @ Wordy and Whimsical

    I really feel you on reviewing every book I read – I used to do that when I started out even when I had nothing significant to say about a book, which made me create horrible content, haha. I agree with you about the importance of creating a blog/space that feels comfortable, a place where I actually want to post things. And yes, your tips about reviews are great! I *hate* when bloggers don’t break up the text by adding images or gifs or quotes, or at least making part of the test bold or bigger.

    These days, I don’t write many books reviews and I tend to group them (based on their genre, for example) into posts that contain two or three mini reviews. Also, I wrote two posts where I ranked and reviewed books by an author, and those were so fun to work on even if they took a lot of time and energy. I feel like I’ve been blogging for so long and I really need all these new ways of reviewing books, otherwise I get bored, haha. Great post! 🙂

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Veronika, thank you for this lovely comment!!

      Ah I guess it must be a thing we all start out with, reviewing all the books haha. Glad you agree on my points. It truly just does make you feel better when you’re comfortable with. Also, yes I feel like I need to scream at everybody to MAKE GRAPHICS OR SOMETHING.

      I love mini reviews eeeppp <3 yours are also so wonderful. And your ranking ones ARE AMAZING I LOVE THOSE.

  • ahaana @ Windows to Worlds

    i love this post! I also felt the same way – but I just like talking about books I loved, or ranting about the ones I didn’t – it’s fun for me! I also am going to be using your tips, because i agree with most of them (but for some reason i dont use them?) *shrug*
    anyway! thanks for this post! <3

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