How Adjectives Can Help You Write Effective and Accurate Reviews, + Bonus: My Happy Words List

Recently, I’ve started compiling a list of adjectives I’ve noticed are used effectively in book blurbs and reviews. I’ve been trying to improve my media (books and films) review writing abilities, and I’ve discovered that reading reviews that I like to model by is extremely helpful.

Furthermore, I’ve discovered that adjectives are especially evocative. Typically an adjective (such as “glorious”) is associated with and thus evokes a certain feeling and likely imagery that we connect with that emotion (for “glorious,” mine is a brilliant sunset filled with oranges and pinks and light blue skies, or something that instill awe).

So here’s the list that I’ve compiled so far.

Lovely. Awesome. Fantastic. Brilliant. Priceless. Wonderful. Beautiful. Amazing. Stunning. Gripping. Original. Perfect. Heartwarming. Genuine. Authentic. Real. Extraordinary. Masterpiece. Affectionate. Charming. Effective. Inspiring. Exquisite. Adorable. Sweet. Best. Simply ____. Enchanting. Impressive. Lush. Understated. Witty. Delightful. Enjoyable. Thrilling. Own It! Relatable. Fizzing. Dazzling. Confident. Meaningful. Deep. Purpose. Capture. Rapture. Wise. Delicious. Honest. Compelling. Dynamic. Agreeable. Amiable. Bittersweet. Warm. Thoughtful. Breathtaking. Flair. Captivating. Sweeping. Unputdownable. Magical. Brimming. Sad. Transportation. Happy. Delighted. Unrelenting. Intense. Peaceful. Attentive. Provocative. Evocative. Glorious. Smart. Dashing. Rereadable. Spicy. Mesmerizing. Simple. Delicious. Engaging. Vivid. Mysterious. Epic. Gritty. Swashbuckling. Realistic. Awe-Inspiring. Gorgeous. Perfectly Imperfect. Absolutely ____! Lyrical. Whimsical. Adventurous. Wild. Unexpected. Rich. Swashbuckling. Clever. Elegant. Visceral. Shattering. Heart-breaking. Mind-bending. Nostalgic. Brutal. Poetic. Creepy. Quirky.

And honestly, just start naming off how wonderfully the story twists or handles a favorite trope always gets to me.

(Many thanks to Bryn Shutt for her reviews. I’ve gathered a lot of these terms from reading her brief yet informative reviews.)

Bonus

This is pretty self-explanatory, methinks. 😉 ❤

Disclaimer: Both of these lists are non-exhaustive and ongoing.

If you have any additions you’d suggest that I add to my Adjectives list, please let me know in the comments below! 🙂 I’d love to know what you think!

Editor’s Note: Thanks to Sarah Seele for adding to my list the word “swashbuckling.” ❤

Thanks to The Story Sponge for adding “Clever. Elegant. Visceral. Shattering. Heart-breaking. Mind-bending. Nostalgic. Brutal. Poetic. Creepy. Quirky.” to my list. ❤

10 thoughts on “How Adjectives Can Help You Write Effective and Accurate Reviews, + Bonus: My Happy Words List

  1. Indeed, a well-placed adjective can be indispensable – and surprisingly powerful. I do find I have a tendency to overuse them, though, particularly in reviews. XD

    Also, “swashbuckling” is the best adjective in existence and, judiciously applied, could probably make me read absolutely ANYTHING. XD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. … and I don’t xD. Actually, one of my issues is that I tend to overuse the same ones too often, or else the book is so wonderful it leaves me so speechless that I forget how to accurately describe it unless I have a list I can look at.

      YAS YAS YAS. Actually, I was going to add it on here but then I forgot to and I was debating with myself whether or not it counts as one (I was thinking of the noun form swashbuckler… but yeah, swashbuckLING counts!) Thank you so much, Sarah! 🙂 Always appreciate it when people help me out. ❤

      P.S. I'm sure you can tell, but I'm just gonna spit it out. I'm 100% the same way. "Swashbuckling" in every form of that word is one of my WEAKNESSES… ^_^

      Think: Captain Blood. And Robin Hood. And Ivanhoe. And The Three Musketeers. And The Man in the Iron Mask. And The Prisoner of Zenda – Ooh it's SO good, I just watched it a month ago – the one starring Steward Granger, who also starred in Scaramouche <# ❤ <3… And why I watch way too many Errol Flynn movies lol – you get the idea. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Yep!! I’d describe him as “lean” but not really… short. 😀 No, I don’t think he has red hair. xD But still – it’s glorious fun. I’d recommend it!! After watching him in SCARAMOUCHE, I basically associate him with really long fencing fight scenes (THEY ARE SOO GOOD)

          I also have the older B&W version with Ronald Coleman and haven’t seen it yet. 🙂

          Like

          1. Hmm. Sometimes changing a character’s appearance doesn’t bother me THAT much, and I guess Rudolf’s largeness and red hair weren’t important to the plot of The Prisoner of Zenda, but they were A Thing, and I don’t like the thought of him looking totally different…oh well. The movie sounds fantastic so I will have to put my book-purist scruples aside and see if I can enjoy it sometime. 😉 Is there a version with Peter Sellers in it, do you know? My aunt (also a fan of the book) says there’s one with him or SOMEBODY like him in it, and she was quite annoyed with it for also not respecting how book-Rudolf was described. XD
            Long sword fighting scenes, though. *happy sigh of anticipation*

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Reading both of these makes me happy. 🙂
    (I don’t think any of these are in the current list, but apologies if they are.) Clever. Elegant. Visceral. Shattering. Heart-breaking. Mind-bending. Nostalgic. Brutal. Poetic. Creepy. Quirky.

    Liked by 1 person

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