Friday, March 2, 2012

The Wonderful World of Book Review Blogs . . . and How To Find it

A few weeks ago I had the very great fortune to attend a class on blogging led by a pair of lovely ladies who have well-established review blogs.

Jessica writes Read React Review, where she comments on many types of fiction, though she does admit to a passion for Romance. Kristen writes Fantasy Cafe, a review site for mostly Fantasy and Science Fiction, though there is some Young Adult and Urban Fantasy as well. BTW, they didn’t pay me to say any of the nice things in this piece, honest!

They were very restrained and didn’t point and laugh at us as we admitted our almost total ignorance of the reviewing community and how to join it. Instead, they gave us a wealth of wonderful advice and suggested some great resources to help us on our way. I came away buzzing with enthusiasm and determined to explore this wonderful community that they said was out there, just waiting for me to join . . .

Whether or not you want to actually write a book blog, you are probably here because you like reading about books and discussing them with other people. So, I would like to pass on some of their advice:

  • Go and have a good look at Jessica and Kristen’s blogs, which are entertaining and informative. They have links to websites and blogs that they enjoy . . . and you might like some of them as well. This is how I found Bookworm Blues, Fantasy Book Critic and The Book Smugglers, and I haven’t even visited all of them yet. If you find it difficult to keep track of all the blogs, try to subscribe to them by email or by following their RSS feed. Also, feel free to post comments . . . most of us bloggers like to get some feedback so that we don’t feel like we are simply talking to ourselves.
  • Get onto Goodreads: This wonderful website is basically a way to list all the books you have read or want to read. I know this sounds pretty lame, but you can sort, rate, comment on and review them . . . and read what thousands of other people have said about them. There are friends to find, groups to join, authors to follow, giveaways to try for and, most importantly, it recommends books for you based upon the titles that you have already read. It makes it super easy to keep that list of book suggestions that you keep on a pile of old scraps of paper . . . or is that just me?
  • Get onto Twitter: Before you say it: yes, I too thought that Twitter was just a waste of time for self-important minor celebrities. However, it is also a great way to find like-minded people, as long as you have somewhere to start. I would recommend following Jessica and Kristen: you can find links on their blogs. Not only will Twitter alert you to their new posts, but they repost interesting stuff from the blogs and people they follow . . . that’s how I came across the Vampire Book Club and the Little Red Reviewer.

I hope these three simple steps will help you to join the mass of people discussing books online: they are a fascinating bunch . . . and surprisingly friendly! 


  1. I felt the same way about Twitter before I joined it. I wondered what use it could possibly have with its 140 character limit or why people used it. Now I love Twitter! Like you said, it's a great way to find other people with the same interests and I actually feel like I've gotten to know some people whose blogs I follow better from Twitter conversations. And I see so much new information on Twitter first.

    And thanks for your kind words!

  2. Kristen  You are more than welcome :)

    My problem with Twitter now is trying to cope with the number of feeds that I am following - how do you cope with  400+? I struggle with less than 20 . . .

  3. I think the key to coping is not trying to keep up with everything! I used to come home from work and try to get caught up on everything I missed on Twitter during the day, but that's just crazy. Now I just pay attention to Twitter while I'm online, and don't try to catch up with every single thing I missed while I was offline.

    Are you using the Twitter website or are you using a Twitter client? There are programs you can download just for Twitter that are more convenient than going to to keep up with all the tweets. Using something like Twitterific or Tweetdeck might help with organization and reading tweets more quickly. I use Echofon, which is great, but that's specifically for the Firefox web browser so if you're using Internet Explorer or a different browser it won't be available.

  4. I use a Mac, so my options are fairly limited, but I'm using Tweetdeck and it is making things much simpler - thanks for the advice . . . again! :D

  5. Yay! I'm glad to hear using Tweetdeck is making it easier. The Twitter website really isn't great for keeping up with tweets at all.


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