Book Blogger Resources: Stuck on How to Review That Book? Here are 63 Prompts to Help You Write That Book Review!

Text: 63 Prompts to help you write that book review! Image: xiaolong the axolotl wearing a purple flower hat, holding a piece of paper, and thinking with a pencil in her other hand.

Writing book reviews is hard.

Book blogging is a fast-paced activity. Blog posts that you may spend hours and hours on may generally have a life span of only two to three days – and sometimes, not even that. This can make book blogging tricky, and can put bloggers under immense time pressure. The truth is, although book bloggers give a lot of thought to their book reviews, consistently reading and churning out thoughtful and well-written book reviews can be a big challenge – and sometimes the task of writing one can feel so immense that it turns you away from doing it.

To help the amazing book bloggers out there, I created a resource to help you write those pesky book reviews! I have written up and compiled a large list of ‘writing prompts’ to help facilitate the writing process. Under each header, or ‘sections’ of a book review, pick and choose the questions that you want to answer – string the answers together, and you’ll have a book review!

I hope this will help the book bloggers out there. All of you are doing amazing, and I recognise and see all the hard work and effort you put into blogging. You’re wonderful and valid. Enjoy!


Writing the Introduction

What is this book about?
→ [book title] is about [protagonist/s] who [plot, conflict, what they must overcome.]

Why did you pick this book up? Did a book blogger recommend this to you? If so, who?
→ was it the hype? by chance? also, this is a great opportunity to give someone a shoutout!

How did you feel when you finished the book?
→ e.g., “It’s been three hours since I finished this book, and I’m still crying. I loved this book.”

What have other people been saying about this book? Are they right?
→ leveraging what others have been saying may pique the interest of the reader! weigh in on your own perspective.

What were your expectations of the book?
→ did the book meet, exceed, or did not meet them? a brief description why.

What were your first thoughts when you finished the book?
did you think to yourself that this was your new favourite? were you blown away?

What genre is the book you have read, and do you usually read it? Did it meet your expectations?
→ if you’re not a big fantasy reader, but enjoyed the fantasy book you are reviewing, that can mean high praise!

Why were you looking forward to reading this book?
→ had you heard about the book somewhere? what finally pulled you in?

Positive:

What makes this book unique and stand out among other books?
→  was it the story? the characters? the twists? the representation? the ending? the themes?

Why did you like it/Why is this book your new favourite book?
→ how did this book make you feel? did you relate to it? why?

Negative:

Why did you not like this book?
→ give the reader a heads-up of why you didn’t like it.

Why did this book disappoint you?
→ did the hype mislead you? why did the book not work?


Describing the Writing

Did you like the writing?
→ opening with a simple sentence of whether you liked/disliked helps!

Did the writing appeal to your senses? Did it do it well?
→ i.e., smell, sight, sound, taste, touch/feel; even memory, nostalgia, feelings

What was the pace of the writing? Did it work with the story? Why?
→ was it slow- or fast-paced? did the slow pace work or was it too slow? did the fast pace work or did it barrel through without much development? was the pacing consistent?

Was the writing easy to read?
→ did you have to go back to read a sentence or two a few times? was it readable?

Was the writing consistent across the whole story?
→ were there some parts of the book with great writing, whilst some parts were dull and boring? did the ideas and parts of the story connect together?

What does the writing remind you of?
→ does the writing evoke a feeling? a memory? an idea? 

Positive:

What did you like about the writing?
→ was it the writer’s style? their ability to make you feel things? was the writing tight?

Negative:

Why did the story/parts of the story feel rushed?
→ why was it rushed? what was the consequence of the story/parts of the story being rushed through? did it lack development?


Let’s Talk About the Plot

What is this book about?
→ [book title] is about [protagonist/s] who [plot, conflict, what they must overcome.]

Did you like the story? Why?
→ talk about how the story made you feel; why you liked it – was it unique? exciting? made you think?

Address the plot’s three important components: conflict, climax, and resolution.
→ were these three things executed well? what did you think about them? did you care for them?

Positive:

What did you like the most about the story? Why did you love it?
→ was there a particular scene or moment that you loved?

What makes this story different to other stories and books?
→ what makes this book worth reading, and how does it to things differently/better?

What was the story’s greatest strength?
→ did it hook you in? was it original? how did the story make you feel?

Negative:

Why didn’t the story work for you?
→ was it boring? uneventful? didn’t engage you? messy? underwhelming? didn’t make sense?

Why didn’t you feel invested in the story?
→ was it your lack of investment in the characters? were the stakes or tension built up?

Which plot points lacked development?
→ what was under-developed? why should it have been more development?


Discussing the Characters

Who was the main protagonist?
→ describe them! what is their personality like? their motivations?

How was the representation in the book?
→ what were the main character/s identities? (note: describe a character’s identity explicity! ‘LGBTQ character’ or ‘diverse character’ to describe identities contributes to erasure and is not ok! is their identity important to the story?

What sort of character development can readers be expected to see?
→ did the character grow or regress? was this consistent with the author’s aims?

Who was your favourite character?
→ why were they your favourite character? what did you like about them?

Were there any important character relationships in the book? What stood out to you?
→ how do the characters interact with each other? why was this important to the story?

Do the characterisations and/or relationships use specific tropes?
→ find a list of friendship tropes here, love tropes here, and family tropes here.

Positive:

What makes the character/s interesting or a great character?
→ talk about their personality and why you like them.

Why did you like the character development?
→ why was their character development meaningful? did you relate to them? why did it impact you?

What character relationship/s did you like?
→ did you like the romance? a friendship? a familial relationship? a complex relationship?

Negative:

Why didn’t you like the character/s?
→ avoid talking about whether they were ‘likeable’; why weren’t they interesting? why didn’t you feel engaged in their story?

Why didn’t the character development work for you?
→ was there any character development at all? why didn’t the character development have an impact?


On Worldbuilding

Where is the book set?
→ was this book set in a non-fictional setting, or a fictional setting?

Did you like the worldbuilding? 
→ your personal opinion; did you like it? why? why not?

What makes the worldbuilding unique to the story?
→ describe specific elements of the worldbuilding that are important to the story; objects, magic systems, myths, prophecies, history, culture, etc.

Why is the worldbuilding important to the story?
→ is the setting an important aspect to the characters? how does the worldbuilding relate to the plot/story?

Was the worldbuilding believable?
→ was this book set in a non-fictional setting, or a fictional setting?

Positive:

What did you love about the worldbuilding?
→ did the worldbuilding mean something to you? did it excite you? was it developed or unique?

Negative:

Why was the worldbuilding not believable?
→ did things not make sense? were aspects of the worldbuilding not consistent?

What aspect/s of the worldbuilding lacked development?
→ was this book set in a non-fictional setting, or a fictional setting?


Exploring and Addressing Themes

What were the themes in the book? What ideas does the book explore?
→ what is this book trying to say about human life and experience, society, our world?

How were the themes portrayed in the book?
→ was it in the worldbuilding? characters? scenes? story? conflict?

Why do the themes matter?
→ if you have expertise or personal experience, talking about it is ok! did the book make you think?

What do you think the story is about?
→ what does this book mean to you, and how do you understand it?

Did the author portray/articulate the themes well?
→ what do you think the author was trying to say? do you think they did a good job?

How did the themes make you feel?
→ talking about your feelings is valid; sometimes themes evoke emotional responses, and it’s a great perspective to share.

How did the book challenge you as a reader?
→ why was it confronting, and how did it make you feel?

Positive:

Why did you like the themes?
→ do the themes matter to you? are they important? did you relate or resonate with the themes? or do you just simply like them?

Why did the themes in the story make you think?
→ 
what in the story was so thought-provoking for you?

Negative:

Why didn’t the execution of the themes work?
→ was it unclear? was the message muddy?


Conclusion

What do you want the reader to take away from your review?
→ summarise in one – three sentences. highlight your favourite things or what didn’t work.

Why should the reader read the book? Why shouldn’t they?
→ if stuck, put it in simple words – that will be enough.

Is the book worth reading?
→ why should the reader care to read the book?

Are you looking forward to the sequel?
→ committing to the next book in a series conveys excitement and investment in a book.

Who will enjoy this book?
→ think about the target audience of the book; who would love this and gain from reading the book?


I hope you found this little prompts list helpful to you, friends! Book reviews are so hard to write, and y’all are doing an amazing job. So, I hope that this prompts list will help you do an even more amazing job. 💛

If you use this prompts list the next time you write a review, you absolutely do not have to link back to this post! However, if any of you have any spare change, I do have a Ko-Fi if you want to show a little appreciation. (You’re absolutely not obligated to donate, however, so please don’t worry!)

  • Was this list helpful?
  • Will you be using it?
  • What else could I add?

Feel free to let me know in the comments below!

68 thoughts on “Book Blogger Resources: Stuck on How to Review That Book? Here are 63 Prompts to Help You Write That Book Review!

  1. Aahh CW this is so helpful and amazing!! I definitely have a hard time starting my reviews, but once I figure out how to begin it I can usually go on from there. I’l definitely be referring back to this post when I inevitably get stuck in the future 😎💖

    Like

  2. Bookmarking and saving this and loving this with all of my heart. thank you so, so much for putting this incredible resource together for all bloggers, you’re too good for the community, thank you for everything you do ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you so much for this and this somehow came in the most perfect time! I honestly can’t express how much I’m thankful for having you in this community ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. wow, this is super thorough and so helpful! half the struggle in writing reviews (at least for me) is thinking of what to say that will be helpful to the readers, and this perfectly addresses that and will be a huge help in reassuring me that I haven’t left out anything important. thank you so much for compiling this, CW!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I totally bookmarked this page because, GOSH THIS IS A LIFESAVER 💛💛💛 Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is really such an amazing post that I’m sure will help not only me, but many book bloggers! You are AWESOME! Thanks for all your hard work and effort !

    Liked by 1 person

  6. CW!!! This review was a godsend! reviews are some of the hardest posts to write and structure, and I could just imagine myself forming a great review through the prompts featured in thisposts! thank you so much for doing this for us! we really don’t deserve you 💜💜💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

  7. OMG CW, this is really really helpful! I find myself always lagging behind my reviews. Especially if it’s a book I really really loved because there are just so so much feelings I want to put into words. I’ll definitely try this prompts the next time I draft a review. Thanks again! 🙂

    https://pagesandcoffeecups.com/

    Liked by 1 person

  8. As someone who gets stuck while writing reviews often (read: always), I can definitely say that I’ll be referring back to this often. Thank you so much. This is going to be a resource I see myself using over and over again and being useful to so many reviewers!
    Thank you, CW!!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. this is sooo amazing, CW! i love it!! i honestly always have a hard time gathering thoughts for reviews, and now i’m just gonna come back to your post and get some help! so thank youuuu 💓

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is perfection as well as a resource for writing reviews. Thanks so much for going into so much detail for us turtles out here who struggle ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you for compiling this list of prompts CW! What a helpful resource to utilize while writing book reviews. I think we all get stuck in ruts where writing a book review is challenging, so this list will be a wonderful tool to use to find some inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. […] ⌘ On Word Wonders Nadia from Our Worlds of Words discusses why f/f romances are so hard to find. ⌘ On Bookshelves & Paperbacks two bloggers share how to be a good ally to Muslims. Especially the performative solidarity is important to read about! ⌘ Anniek from Anniek’s Library recommends 10 LGBTQ+ Sci-fi books. And shares 10 LGBTQ+ books by authors of colour. ⌘ Ely from Of Wonderland journeys to Nevermoor. ⌘ CW from The Quiet Pond has 63 prompts to help you write that book review. […]

    Like

  13. I just found your website and this article in particular really helps me with streamlining my reviews. I have written one review for now using this, but I will keep it as a staple for the future. Thank you so much for writing this! If you wish to see my review, I can send you a link 🙂

    Like

  14. This article just got me in a very good mood. Thank you so much for sharing. Now I have an idea of what I should write. I didn’t feel that confident about my writing. I’m still a beginner. But I will try harder to be a good writer.

    Like

  15. Thank you SO much for this! I’m brand new to this whole thing so I still haven’t written a full-on book review because I’m a little afraid of not doing it well. Thank you so much for this!

    Like

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