Bloggiesta Challenge: Try a New Review Style + Giveaway

Posted March 20, 2016 by Zeee in Discussions, Events, How To Series31 Comments



Hello, sweets!  Welcome to the Spring Bloggiesta!  This is the very first time that I have participated in the #Bloggiesta festivities, and I am a little nervous (please, don’t throw rotten fruit my way, kay?).


The real reason why I decided to be a mini-challenge host is that I LOVE this topic.  Now, I think disclaimers are needed here.  I am not an expert in reviewing and I am sure that there are other bloggers better than me in this sort of thing, but I want to share the different review styles that I personally use.  I will be sharing my favorite review style as well as citing a few styles that I personally love done by other bloggers (show some love their way, please).

With that said, let’s go down to the nitty gritty.


Book Review in a Nutshell

According to Wikipedia, “A book review is a form of literary criticism in which a book is analyzed based on content, style, and merit.

I’m going to go ahead and define criticism for you since I personally look at that word in the negative.  There are two definitions of criticism, but I will focus on the second definition as defined by Google, which is “the analysis and judgment of the merits and faults of a literary or artistic work.

I’m not going to be technical here, but basically, it’s sharing your thoughts and feelings, whether positive or negative, about a book that you read.

Most of us, at least, I do, associate book reviewing with book reporting from what we learned in school.  But as we know, book reviews and book reports are totally different things.

As a blogger, I write book reviews, and not book reports.  My style is different (we’ll talk about this later) and I really wanted to write a review that shows my personality, incorporate my voice, and make my reviews stand out.

The key is to make your voice stand out of the sea of reviews!

Now, let’s talk about the different types of reviews that I’m familiar with.  This is not an exhaustive list, btw!


Classic Book Review

The classic book review is perhaps the most common one that we see, and what we automatically do.  In fact, that was the style I used when I first started blogging.

The basic format usually consists of the following: summary (a brief blurb about the plot), characters (the main characters, villain/s), meat (your thoughts about the book, whether positive or negative, and recommendations (should you read it/buy it/borrow it).  Most bloggers use this tried and true method to get their points across.



Sample 1 | Sample 2 | Sample 3


Listicle Type Book Review

This is a newer type of review that I have seen and it’s AWESOME!  As the name states, the review is made of a numbered/bulleted list, usually grouped into 2 sections: What I Liked, and What I didn’t Like.  I have used this type on occasion when I am scrambling (like I do) to write a review due the next day.  It’s really easy and dives right into the nitty-gritty of your review.  Sometimes, I add a short overview before I go into the list.


Another variation of this list is listing down ONLY the points/reasons about what you liked about the book.  The blog post title usually reads like this:  5 Reasons Why I Love [insert name of book] or 8 Reasons to Read [insert name of book].

This is also another full proof way to focus on the positives of the book.  Plus, it actually is a click-bait title (ehemmm).


Sample 1 | Sample 2 | Sample 3


Freestyle Review

There are a bunch of styles under this type, but I want to share my own!  I recently started a different style of reviewing last year and made it more personal.  The basic format looks like this:



Sample 1 | Sample 2 | Sample 3

I think of it as talking to myself, because I’m weird like that, yeah?  When I started doing this, I thought it was going to be a one-time thing but I really enjoyed writing reviews in this format.  A. LOT!  So yes, I am writing more and more reviews in this style.

I also included a short history, usually why I read this book, or when I read this book, and slowly transition into talking about the plot of the book.


Quick Review

This style also has different variations but basically, it’s just 1-2 sentences about the book.  Ideally, this is done when a) you have too many books to review and too little time (like we ALWAYS do), b) you just don’t have anything else to write or say about said book, and c) you want to review a bunch of DNFs (or a bunch of books) and you just want it over with.  Of course, there are other reasons to do this type of review, but those are some of them.

I personally use this review as an addendum to my longer reviews.   The reason I started doing this was because I love reading shorter reviews of books in genres that aren’t in my comfort zone.  This was also initially inspired by Jamie’s Review on a Post-It section on her reviews, which I think is SUPER AWESOME!

I decided to add my own spin on things (I call it SKINNY REVIEWS) and included elements that I personally like to see when reading short reviews AND it also has to be something that I can post as an image.  I have also been playing with Pinterest for a while, and the image is an easy way to post on Pinterest.





Adding a Little Bit of Flavor

The key thing about writing reviews is adding your own voice to it.  I find that the most successful, and my favorite reviewers, have their own distinct style.

Here are a few styles that I love from bloggers who write reviews that I personally love.  #BloggerGoals

  • Cait @ Paper Fury – Cait’s reviews are full of CAPSLOCK, and photos, and just pure awesomeness!  Plus, she calls her readers pineapples and gives out CAKE at every turn!  (see my capslock move here?  Totes stolen from her!)
  • Jamie @ The Perpetual Page-Turner – Jamie’s reviews are more personal, in that she relates it to her life.  I honestly wish I could do the same, but she is a master at it.  She also breaks down her reviews in different sections, like the Review on a Post-It that I mentioned above.
  • Brittany @ The Book Addicts Guide – Brittany’s reviews are awesome!  She adds two extra categories on her reviews: Character Breakdown & Addiction Factor.
  • Khan @ The Book Eaters – I love reading her reviews on Goodreads because of the way she makes use of swear words!  I personally cannot do this type of review BUT I ABSOLUTELY LOVE READING IT!  her reviews have enough snark and sarcasm in them that makes it totes entertaining!  Plus she adds lots of gifs and quotes throughout her review!


The Challenge

For the #Bloggiesta Challenge, write a review that is out of your comfort zone.  Pick any of the styles I mentioned above OR MAKE YOUR OWN!  The goal of this challenge is to TRY SOMETHING NEW!

I know it is a little bit daunting, but trust me in this.  There is no right way to review!  Most especially if you are blogging on your own personal blog.  There might be publications that require certain review styles, but if you have your own blog, your space is your own and the possibilities are endless!

As always, if you need any help, leave a comment or contact me and I’d be glad to help you out!


Contest Alert

I’m super excited to include a giveaway for this challenge!  Extra motivation, I hope!  So go ahead and write a review using a style that’s out of your comfort zone!  But before you proceed, here are the rules!


  • This is open INTERNATIONALLY wherever Book Depository Ships
  • Up to $17 (you pick hardbound, paperback, or ebook but you only get one book)
  • You have 48 hours to claim your prize after the winner has been announced or I will pick another.
  • No giveaway only accounts, please.  I will be checking!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Link Up

If you wrote a review, share them below!


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31 responses to “Bloggiesta Challenge: Try a New Review Style + Giveaway

  1. This was a great little challenge! I typically use the same format but occasionally switch it up. For the challenge I wrote a review with just a list of reasons why I loved The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi. It won’t be up for a couple weeks though. I’m looking forward to trying out the Mini Review style too!

  2. Fun post! I tend to do similar book reviews, because you’re right, it’s what we’re used too. I like to mix it up sometimes for certain books though. Some lend more to gifs than others, or some are better simply listed out (good and bad, etc.). I also have a couple fun things I add to certain book reviews – Music Pick (a song I felt fit the novel) and Make it a Gift (at least one other item you could buy with the book to truly make it a gift!!)

    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Bunbury Music Festival 2016: Meet the ArtistsMy Profile

    • Awesome ideas, Lauren! I absolutely love the Make it a gift idea. I used to join a bookish music meme but I suck at choosing music that matches the book! haha But I def would want to add a mood board for these things but a lot of bloggers do this already and I don’t want to step on their toes and get accused of copying. I also suck at gif reviews so I don’t have examples of those on my blog… XD

  3. Great challenge! I’ve been struggling with reviews lately. I actually realized recently that I don’t want to write reviews anymore. So, I’m going to do bite-size reviews, one to three sentences worth. I was going to do it once a month, so I could review all my monthly reads at the same time. So, I don’t have anything to review right now. But, I like your idea of doing it as an image. I think I’ll try that when I do.
    Jenni Elyse recently posted…A Day in the Life Blogger EventMy Profile

    • That’s an awesome idea, Jenni! One strategy that I use is just posting 3x a week, that includes 1 review. In this way, I spread out my reviews throughout the month. I also write longer reviews in advance so I have stuff to post when I’m in a blogging slump.

    • Awesome! Def want to see more review styles because I love reading reviews! Plus, it’s really fun to try something new! 🙂

    • Thanks, Chelsea! Yes, it helps to have multiple styles. I mix and match my styles and I use the classic style once in a while 🙂

  4. THIS. I needed this. Thank you!
    I just read a really awesome book, and I didn’t really like the style I used for my first (and so far only) book review. I don’t think it will capture how… alive.. this book was. I may try doing it as a list review or skinny review- or possibly both!

    • Yes, definitely! The sky is the limit! You can tailor your reviews to fit your personality! 🙂 Let me know when you do!

      BTW, my first reviews sucked! LOL

  5. Just by chance this past weekend I ended up writing a review that was a Top 10 list. I picked key things from the book that drew me in or that I discovered about myself. It was tons of fun. 🙂

  6. Thanks so much for this post! I’ve been struggling with reviewing for like… a year or more. I felt stuck. It felt like I was writing the same thing over and over, and as a result, have been reviewing less. I love this! I’m going to try and mix it up a bit and see if that works better for me.
    I’m going to bookmark this post for reference. Right now, I’m not participating in the Bloggiesta this week, unless I suddenly get the energy and some free time!

    • Thanks, Candy! I also have blog slumps just like everyone else and changing new things, even changing your blog design can help your mood and regain your love for blogging! Happy Bloggiesta!

  7. Ooh, I love this post! Personally I feel like we need to do more to shake up reviews all together! Right now they all seem to blend in and have the same format, and there’s SO many different possibilities out there! I think reviews seem to be one of the most underrated posts in the book blogosphere – I’d love to see that change!

    Also, I *love* Cait’s reviews too!
    Harvey Richards recently posted…How Big Do We Really Want Our Book Blogs To Be?My Profile

    • THIS! I love reading reviews, too! Especially if it’s a different style than mine! It’s sad that book reviews aren’t seen as awesome posts!

      With book reviews though, I think the comments are more active in Goodreads rather than on blogs

  8. Ali

    This is a great post. I feel like the way I write reviews have been a bit boring lately. This challenge might help bring something different. I love your Skinny review image!

    • Thank you, Ali! I’m not saying that the classic review is boring but changing it up keeps the monotony at bay! And it’s fun, too! Hope you’ll try and review a new review style! 🙂 Let me know if you do!

  9. Rebecca

    I once reviewed a book about bookstores and instead of a normal review, I did top 5 reasons to read the book and at the same time, reflected on why I love bookstores. I remember it got some love and I think it was a really nice change of pace, compared to my other reviews. It can be hard to try a new style, which is why this is a great post. Lots of ideas to think about!

    • Definitely! I love that the style worked for you! I have gotten more love with the new style than the usual classic style that I do. So, I’m pretty happy with it! But I still mix and match my reviews with different styles to keep my content fresh – but still keep my own voice!