Hey everyone. I’ve been blogging for 1.5 years now, and it honestly feels like a looottt longer. A huge amount of things have happened these past 1.5 years, and having this blog with me to be able to talk and share thoughts on books with so many other lovely people has been an amazing experience. In this post I’m going to be talking about how this has changed me as a book reviewer.
Before, when I was younger, I would read loads of books and enjoy a good deal of them. They weren’t particularly well-known or hyped books (had never heard of Goodreads or anything similar). I would read whatever books the school library had and whatever books my friends recommended me.
Then, a couple years later, my dad got me an OverDrive account. I started reading books on there, although not often. I was still reading Middle Grade books. Then I discovered Alex Rider… I can’t remember how I came across it, but pretty soon I was obsessed. I think that was my first introduction to the YA genre, and I was hooked.
After reading all the Alex Rider books, I came across the Young Sherlock Holmes series by Andrew Lane, and this was very similar, despite the differences between the two time periods. I really loved that series as well. I still hadn’t discovered Goodreads, and was reading books on OverDrive and from the library that were recommended to me by friends or looked interesting.
The series that really propelled me into the world of Young Adult books, was on one of these online forums on books which a bunch of my friends went on. There, I saw that a lot of girls were talking about this Throne of Glass series. At the time, I remember I was waiting for the second Divergent (I had just started the Divergent trilogy as well… which was also one of my first YA books along with The Maze Runner – all recommended by my friends) book to free up on OverDrive (or some other book, I cannot for the life of me remember) and I figured I would read Throne of Glass (it was on OverDrive) quickly while waiting for the other book to free up.
I did not expect to be encountered by such a fiery and unforgettable female protagonist. I did not forget to be hooked into this series like I was. Throne of Glass (the first book) is more like a typical fantasy read when I think about it, its only the later books where the brilliance of the series that everyone raves about really kicks in and the mind-twisting plot and everything. I ended up forgetting about all the other books I had wanted to read on OverDrive, and binge-read the entire series over the summer.
Those girls on the forums also introduced me to Goodreads, and I made a Goodreads account and started using it to track my reading. I found loads more YA books (and I found a lot of them were also on OverDrive), mostly through the Goodreads lists page. Then, I decided to start City of Bones (the mortal instruments series) after I had finished Empire of Storms, since my friend was obsessed and kept telling me to read it.
At first, I wasn’t really that interested and DNF-ed it but my friend wouldn’t shut up so I kept reading and ended up finishing it, and then binge-read the whole series. I remember when Cassandra Clare introduced that tie (I shall say no more) between Clary and Jace and I was so upset I googled to see if it was really true and read a spoiler that happened two books after. Without reading that spoiler, I never would have continued with the series.
I rated all the books 5 stars, and honestly most of the other books I read in the summer as well. You see, any book I remotely enjoyed I would give it 5 stars without a question. I didn’t have any standards other than to like a book. I didn’t see any of the things in Cassandra Clare’s books that *cough* annoy *cough* me now. But as I read more books, and used Goodreads more and read reviews more, I began to recognise these things.
I began to notice things such as unnatural dialogue, awkward writing, unrealistic this or that in books. The more reviews I read, the more aware I became, and the higher my standards and tastes for books. When I eventually opened my blog in that October, it only grew, because I started following loads of book blogs. I became up to date on new releases in the YA genre, and that December (back then when my posts mostly had 2 likes from my two very loyal friends) I read 8 top YA books . I was just getting into the genre, and I had a lot to catch up on.
I have to admit, if you read any of my The Raven Boys series’ reviews, they aren’t completely honest. I actually really disliked The Dream Thieves and forced myself to read it and then the rest of the series. But I didn’t want to post a negative review on the series because I didn’t want people to get annoyed or upset with me because I knew it was super hyped, and I was scared I might get any hate or whatever… I wanted to fit in. And plus, I didn’t even know exactly what it was that I disliked about it.
But the more I read, the more reviews I read, the more reviews I wrote…. I became more and more certain of what I disliked and liked in books, and got better and better at pinpointing what exactly I disliked about a book, what exactly I found bothersome and what exactly I liked about it and what exactly made the book a 1/2/3/4/5 star read for me. Simultaneously, I became more and more confident and that has what has led my reviews to all now be 100% honest.
Because the truth is (and I don’t think people don’t give book reviewers enough credit about this) it’s not easy being able to find out what exactly didn’t sit well with you after you’ve read a book. It can be easy determining your emotions, but the why behind it can be difficult. Sometimes you simply don’t know – and book blogging has changed me in the way that now I am able to identify specific things after reading a book and it has forced me to think critically, something that I think is extremely important.