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Getting To Know: Of Pens and Pages

October 18, 2016

On Book Blogging

Why did you start book blogging?

My friend and I have been talking about books and we have this private group where we post the books we want and explain why we loved it. I also had a Pride and Prejudice variations blog on Tumblr, so I figured I should just make a legit book blog so I can include the other books I read.

How do you do your book reviews?

  • Rating & Heat Scale

Like any other review, you need to add your rating. I have a 1 to 5 rating scale with half points, and a heat scale of Sweet to Wild Ride to determine the degree of physical intimacy in the book. Sweet is for the minimum (mostly YA and Christian romance novels fall in this scale) and Wild Ride is for the maximum (graphic sex scenes and alternative lifestyles; Think Fifty Shades of Grey)

  • Summary & Basic Information about the characters

I write it as if answering a friend who asked about the book. I’ll give the gist of the story without giving out too much (anything in the synopsis/blurb is fair game). Readers would want to know a little about the characters before reading the book, so I’ll write about the principal characters and a little about their life in the book. For Contemporary Romance especially, it’s important to know who the hero and heroine are. Is the hero an alpha or an asshole? Is the heroine a strong, independent woman or a doormat?

For Pride and Prejudice variations, aside from the gist, I’ll write if the story followed the canon (plot of the original) or if it deviated, and if the character’s personality is loyal to the original.

  • Important points to justify your rating

Why did I rate the book 5 stars? Or why 3 or 1? It can’t be just “I didn’t like the plot so I gave it a 1”. What did you not like about the plot? If it’s the pacing, plot holes, character flaws, or trigger topics, mention that, then explain why you liked/didn’t like it.

  • Will I recommend this book? If yes, to whom should I recommend it?

There are a lot of sub-genres in Romance and romance readers have different tastes, so make sure that if you’re going to recommend it, explain what kind of story it is. Is it sweet or angsty? fast-paced or slow-burn? Love to hate or friends to lovers?

e.g. If you love fun, fast-paced, friends-to-lovers romance novels with great banter and strong female leads, you’ll definitely enjoy this book!

Getting to Know: Of Pens and Pages

Read her review about Pirates and Prejudice by Kara Louise

Can you really avoid spoiling the crowd? If yes, how do you do it?

Yes. Books have synopsis and blurbs, so base it on that. If it’s not in the synopsis or blurb and it’s important, it’s a spoiler. Also, read your review and imagine yourself as someone who hasn’t read the book you’re writing about. If you think it’s going to spoil you, it’s definitely going to spoil anyone who might read your review.

Any tips on writing book reviews/book blogging?

The most important thing to remember when you write reviews is to stay honest without being offensive to the author or the potential reader.

  • Constructive criticism is not the same as bashing. If you didn’t like the book, try to stay as diplomatic as possible.
  • Write the things you didn’t enjoy about the book but make sure to write the things you loved about it, as well.

Authors have feelings, too, and pointless bashing will not help them hone their craft.


That concludes my short interview about Nissa and her book blog, Of Pens and Pages. I hope you’d visit her blog and check out her reviews. You may even treat it as your guide if you have thought of buying books under contemporary romance. 😊

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7 Comments

  • Reply Carola October 20, 2016 at 2:02 AM

    I want to read more! I used to read a lot of book, but currently I’m mostly occupied with other activities. But I’m planning on starting to read more again now it’s autumn. I’ve never read Pride and prejudice. I have the dvd though, but also haven’t watched it. I love the quote from Pride and Prejudice! Maybe I’ll give it a try. Great tips on avoiding spoilers!

  • Reply Gryselle Mae October 20, 2016 at 10:50 PM

    Thank you for sharing! I just checked out her blog and her reviews. I love the books she reviewed! I ma a book lover and I actually read a lot too~ There are some books that caught my attention and will definitely check it out the next time I visit bookstore. I noticed a lot of adult books too! Haha. <3

  • Reply Miera Nadhirah Tan Abdullah October 21, 2016 at 7:41 AM

    I love my books.. and I wish I can write books too but I am only able to write short stories, not long ones… and she reviews books amazingly… I do want to check out some of her books that she has reviewed..

  • Reply Jenny October 25, 2016 at 6:27 PM

    I will definitely check out her blog, seems like an awesome book reviewer in my opinion! Personally I’m only reading non-fiction books for the moment, since I do some reviews myself on my blog. But every time I read something like this I wish I could find the space to read more fiction books.

  • Reply Vyjay November 5, 2016 at 6:41 PM

    Love Jane Austen’s books. They are a treasure trove of Human emotions and literature of the highest order. Apart from Pride nd Prejudice, I also love Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility.

  • Reply Ana December 10, 2016 at 5:31 PM

    I learned “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen through listening to an Audio Book. Though I would like to read more than just to listen, I was really busy that time. I was really interested to know its story. I think I understood only a little because my focus is not 100% on the story.There is a need for me to read the novel to appreciate it fully.

  • Reply Sandy N Vyjay February 25, 2017 at 3:46 PM

    Books are the best companions. They are such a rich source of knowledge and experiences and they do not have any moods too. Reading has always been close to my heart and I can understand Nissa’s thoughts. Pride and Prejudice is a personal favourite. But then there are so many others each of them have cast a spell whenever I have read them. Liked reading the interview.

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