Book Blogger Hop :: Old Versus New Reviews

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly event created by Jennifer of Crazy-for-Books. It is currently hosted by Billy of Coffee Addicted Writer. Every week, a question related to books and book blogging is posed; this week (August 4th, 2017 through August 10th, 2017), the question (proposed by Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews) is:

Do you ever go "way back" to when you first started blogging and look at your old review posts? Do you see any differences from then to now?

Honestly, if I'm ever going back to the older posts on my blog, it's only to improve them! When I make a format change to my review style, I often like to go back into my archive to try to make everything a bit more uniform and visually appealing. But that's a huge task, and it's one I've never truly completed (and probably never will). So while many of my older reviews have been updated in the style of my current reviews, my absolute earliest reviews are either the same as or very similar to how they were originally posted.
Back when I initially started reviewing books, I actually didn't even have a blog! My journey to being a book reviewer/blogger began on Goodreads, where I posted my earliest reviews before realizing that book blogging was even an option. Among those reviews were some of my earliest review copies, such as Demon Vampire by Virgil Allen Moore and Fright Flight (Dreamseekers, #1) by Lisa Ard (a screenshot of which you can see to the left).
When I moved these early reviews over to my very first incarnation of Amara's Eden (which was originally at Weebly before eventually migrating to Blogspot), I didn't really do any formatting to speak of. I just exported the review from Goodreads, keeping the format that Goodreads supplies when you use the "Blog This Review" copy/paste method on their website. My Fright Flight review still uses this initial formatting; I'd never updated it even slightly.
My recent reviews, though, are completely divorced from any Goodreads origins. (In fact, most of them have never been posted to the site!) Reviews now are intended to be visually appealing and informational right at the start. The cover images are bigger and no longer hotlink to Goodreads (as happens if one uses the "Blog This Review" feature). Instead of the text-style stars of early reviews, I now have an image-based system of stars for rating. And while my earliest reviews didn't include any summaries/blurbs for the books being reviewed, my new reviews include blockquotes of the book's back cover blurb so you can get a feel for the book's plot before I launch into my review.
I think my reviews are much more attractive now, though I'm sure I'll make further improvements to them in the future!
My picture book reviews, meanwhile, have a new style unto themselves. While the earliest picture book reviews here at Amara's Eden were no different than any other review, being imported from Goodreads via the "Blog This Review" feature, picture book reviews that I post now are quite different from reviews of books aimed at other demographics.
My picture book reviews nowadays are posted in batches or, if you prefer, "round-ups". Because picture books are short by definition and insubstantial at worst, picture book reviews tend to be fairly short themselves. In other words, they tend to be "mini-reviews," which lend themselves well to the idea of being grouped.
Nowadays, then, I tend to post my picture book reviews in groups of five to ten. Sometimes these reviews have a loose theme, such as books about school or books about Christmas and other winter holidays, and that's something I'd definitely like to focus on going forward.
To make these reviews more attractive, I have dispensed with the summaries/blurbs (which often tend to be longer than both the reviews I've written and the books themselves!), and create Pinterest-optimized graphics to quickly show off to readers exactly what books are going to be included in the round-up.
I think it's an alright system, if I do say so myself, though there's definitely room for more tweaking and improvement!
This time next year, I don't know what my reviews are going to look like. Maybe they'll look just like what's available on the site now... or maybe I'll have discovered an even better way of preventing my bookish thoughts to the world.
If you'd like to participate in the Book Blogger Hop, you can find information about its schedule and future questions here at Coffee Addicted Writer. And if you have any feedback on my reviewing style--or any other aspect of my blog--I'd love to hear it! Let me know what you think in the comments below, or feel free to contact me on any of my social media.

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