discussion

Let’s Chat // Mini-Reviews… Yay or Nay?

Hey everyone!

These past few weeks I’ve been in a mini-review phase. No matter what book I read, even if it is a book that I enjoyed, I can’t seem to sit down and write out a full 750-word review. So… Today I want to open the discussion about mini-reviews and hear you guys’s thoughts. Do you like them as much as I do?

What are Mini-Reviews?

I couldn’t find any definitions out there for mini-reviews, so I’m going to make one up! (Feel free to suggest additions, qualifications or corrections to this definition! Two brains are better than one!)

Mini-Reviews noun

/ˈmi-nē-ri-ˈvyü /

A type of book review that summarizes and assesses the contents of a book as concisely as possible, preferably under 500 words.

It was a struggle to come up with this definition because……. at what point is a mini-review considered “mini”? Is there a word count threshold? 500 words is a (highly-scientific) number that I grabbed out of the air.

How are Mini-Reviews formatted?

I tend to format my own mini-reviews differently from my full-reviews. In full-reviews, I use the headings “Characters,” “Plot and Pacing,” and “Writing and Worldbuilding.” Meanwhile, in mini-reviews, I collapse everything under the headings “What I Liked” and “What I Didn’t Like.” In full-reviews, I write everything out in paragraph form, while in mini-reviews, I use bullet points to list out my thoughts.

HOWEVER, this is not the only way!! I’ve seen full reviews written differently and mini-reviews written differently as well. For all the bloggers out there: let me know how you like to format your mini-reviews. For everyone: let me know how you prefer mini-reviews to be formatted as a reader.

What are the pros of Mini-Reviews?

Mini-reviews are quick and easy to read. If I only have one or two minutes, I can easily skim through a mini-review to pick out the gist of whether a blogger likes (or dislikes) a book, and then formulate my own impression of whether I should read this book (or not!)

As a book blogger and reviewer, I don’t always have a lot to say about a book, particularly if it is one of the middle-of-the-road 3-star books that I enjoyed overall but didn’t leave a lasting impression. I could stare at the blank screen for ages trying to pull out the right words to write a full review, but it is much easier knowing that I don’t have to write a full review.

Lastly, if it’s been a while since I’ve finished a book (because of my bad bookish memory, “a while” means anything longer than 5 days), I don’t have a sharp recollection of all the details in the book anymore and it becomes much easier to write a shorter review rather than a longer one.

What are the cons of Mini-Reviews?

Because mini-reviews are so short, they might not have the details that the readers are looking for. If I am excited to read all about the book and the characters, it might be disappointing to read just a few bullet-point notes.

It is hard to convey the essence of the book using a limited word count. As a reader, it might be difficult to get a sense of what the characters and the world are like.

As a blogger, if I just finished a book that I loved to bits and want to shout and scream all about it, a mini-review isn’t going to be enough for me to get all of my thoughts out. Similarly, sometimes I really dislike a book and I want to write all about what I don’t like about it! In both cases, I would rather choose a full review.

All in All…

It boils down to what I feel like at the moment that I am writing a review. Do I have LOTS to say about this book? Full review it is! Do I just have a few sentences? Are the words not coming to me for whatever reason? Then it’ll be a mini.

At what point is a review “mini”? Do you like reading or writing mini-reviews? How do you decide between writing a mini-review vs. a full review?

31 thoughts on “Let’s Chat // Mini-Reviews… Yay or Nay?

  1. I think 500 words is plenty for a review. Doing the “what I liked”/ “what I didn’t like” is my preferred way of writing/ reading reviews. However, I believe that you can still use your regular categories in those mini reviews.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, definitely. I find myself skimming some longer reviews as well (not to mention longer reviews are harder and more time-consuming for me to write!) However if it is a book that I am interested in, I don’t mind reading a longer review 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this discussion! I’m a fan of mini reviews, writing and reading, though I do love all reviews. Mini reviews are so great whenever I want to quickly know what a book is about and what someone thought of it overall, and they’re awesome to write as well, because they don’t take me as much time and allow me to talk about a book easier and quicker than a full-length review, which take me… well, ages to write. I love both types of reviews, reading and writing, and I pick the one I prefer depending on my mood 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Marie! I agree! I love mini-reviews because of how easy and quick they take to write haha. Usually, depending on the book, it would take a much longer time to write a full-length review haha. I pick between the two depending on my mood as well.
      A question for you: I noticed that on your blog you have bullet reviews, mini reviews and full reviews. Do you consider bullet reviews to be the same as mini reviews? Or are bullet reviews shorter?
      Thank you ❤ 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmmmm somehow, the real difference between bullet point reviews and mini reviews are whether or not I’m in the mood to write full paragraphs or just small sentences here and there? haha. Somehow for some books it’s easier to just write a list of likes and dislikes, while some others I’d rather write a couple sentences? haha. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s great to use different formats that suit your mood 🙂 There are definitely some days when I feel like writing paragraphs and sentences, and other days when I feel like writing bullet points and lists!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve definitely been into writing mini reviews for the past few months, especially since it means I can group multiple into one post and talk about more books at once. They’re quicker to write and less pressure if I don’t feel like I have as much to say about a book. Then I can save the real gushing (or ranting) for full length reviews! This is a really interesting discussion, and I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one who really likes mini reviews 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Margaret! You said exactly what I had in mind haha. There is definitely less pressure to write a mini-review compared to a full-length review, and sometimes that is what motivates me to choose this format. I also save full-length reviews for books that I have lots to rant and rave about haha 🙂
      Yeah! I always felt a bit guilty for liking mini-reviews, but it turns out that quite a few bloggers out there feel the same way. Glad that there are some kindred spirits out there 😀 Thank you Margaret!!

      Like

    1. Same here. However much I love a in-depth and detailed review, when it gets too long, I find that I end up skimming haha. Mini-reviews are quick and fun to write, especially for a book that I don’t have much to say about 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, I prefer both reading and writing longer reviews, but then I seldom want to read a review of a book I plan to read, lol. I’m very wary of people spoiling the book for me, though you’re quite good at avoiding spoilers. Plus, reading is so subjective. Even with a friend whose tastes are similar to mine, we could have very different opinions on the same book. E.g. A friend said she hated Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan. Yet, this book is one of my favorite gay romances ever, lol. Similarly, I loved The Hobbit very much, while this same friend disliked the writing style. And so, I’ve learned not to take other readers’ opinions too seriously; some reviews were quite misleading for me too, making me unfairly biased against (or for) the book. Nevertheless, I still enjoy reading book reviews. I just prefer to read them AFTER I’ve read the book for myself, haha.

    When it comes to reading posts, articles, and reviews, I’m much more likely to complain that it was too short than that it was too long. XD That doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a short article or book review, though. I liked reading your mini review on East of Eden, for example. Still not sure whether I want to read another Steinbeck book, since his writing style doesn’t seem to be my cup of tea. But it was still nice to hear about your experiences reading East of Eden.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Sieran!
      Interesting that you mentioned that you like reading reviews after reading the book for yourself- you were actually the second one to mention that so it seems like it is fairly common among readers and book bloggers. I haven’t thought about it but I think I might have been doing this as well. If there is a book that I am dying to read, I won’t look at any reviews of the book until after I’ve read it, not only to avoid spoilers but also so that I can formulate my own opinion of the book without being influenced by other people’s opinions.
      However I do enjoy reading reviews of books that I am mildly interested in and still debating whether or not to read. In this case the review might help me to make the decision to read or not read the book.
      Definitely agree that enjoyment of a book is subjective. There are fellow book bloggers and friends who loved a book that I didn’t end up enjoying, and vice versa 🙂
      Glad that you liked reading my mini-review about East of Eden!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post Sophie! Personally my favourite review format (to write & read) is the mini review! I prefer a quick overview because I like going into books not knowing loads, & when writing, often I have no clue how to articulate my thoughts so bullet points is perfect for me! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Emme!
      Glad that you also like mini-reviews! Personally I like reading and writing mini-reviews compared to the full review too. I’m also the same way in that I also don’t want to know too much about a book before I start reading it 🙂 And I also love writing in bullet points too.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Teresa! That’s great that you’re also a fan of mini-reviews. I also agree that I like reading mini-reviews since they don’t tell me much about the book, because I also like going into a book not knowing too much 🙂

      Like

  6. I actually really love reading mini-reviews. They’re more straight to the point than full-length ones. Although, long ones are good too! You can get LOTS of information in those 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. LOL, I probably do the fifth-grader rush review which is shorter than a mini review. I don’t usually take notes. I try to if something really, really stands out to me but when I read I’m usually immersed in the book and then eager to move onto the next one in the stack.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Stefanie! I heard that other bloggers take notes while reading but I haven’t been a fan of this either. When I read, I just want to focus on the book haha. And I definitely get what you mean, when I finish a book, sometimes I want to jump to the next one right away 🙂

      Like

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