I’ve been doing these Friday reviews for a while now. The ones here date back to 2013, and I was doing some reviews on my old blog site before that. Since everyone approaches reviews differently, I thought I would take a few minutes today to outline how I rate and review the things I do.
First, I know not everyone is a fan of the star rating system. I know a few people who have given up putting starred ratings on their reviews. The reason usually given is that everyone looks at the ratings differently. One person may think three stars is good, while the next sees three stars and thinks it must be a bad book (or whatever). To clarify, here are my explanations for each star rating:
(A side note, most of these explanation will be phrased for book reviews, since that is what I do most. I don’t always give a star rating to movies, TV, and other things.)
5 stars: This is the top of the pile. It is reserved for things that I find to be excellent, life-changing, couldn’t put it down/stop watching. Everything about it has to be top-notch. This is a rare rating.
4 stars: Very, very good. Better than average, I loved it, and there were few flaws either in the story or the production. Not common, but given fairly often.
3 stars: This is my go-to rating. Most things, if they are decent, readable, well put together, and entertaining will get this rating at least. Maybe some nitpicks, but not enough to hurt the enjoyment.
2 stars: Not great. This rating is for things that did have enough problems that they did hurt the enjoyment factor. Problems could be plot, character, dragging storylines, or production issues like bad e-book formatting, lack of editing or proofreading. Usually I finished, but it was not thoroughly enjoyable.
1 star: Really, really bad. Terrible writing, plot holes that jumped out at you, bad character development, no editing or proofreading (or at least, that’s how it seemed). This one can also be given for e-books with formatting issues that interfered with the ability to read through smoothly. Sometimes, it’s so bad, I couldn’t even finish. This is a rare rating, also, since pretty much everything has to be bad for it to rate only 1 star.
As for the actual review, first let me say that it is my opinion. You may not agree with me, and that is okay. Nothing is going to appeal to everyone, and everyone has their own tolerance level for things that make them like or not like something. I am also honest. If I don’t like it, I will say so. If I do, I will also make that clear. I occasionally read and review advance copies for other authors, but always with the understanding that I will be honest.
I tend to have a low tolerance for sloppy, careless writing. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation matter to me. I understand that no one is perfect (not even me!), and sometimes things slip by. Even the best of the traditionally pubbed books often have one or two errors. But that’s the thing- one or two. If what I am reading is riddled with problems, has multiple offenses on almost every page, and appears as if the author never heard of an editor, I am likely to downgrade my review, even if the story itself is decent.
I always try to explain my likes or dislikes. I won’t just say “Ugh, it was terrible” without saying why I thought so. I try to highlight the good parts as well as point out the bad, because a lot of the books I read are some of both. Again, my opinion. I’m okay if you don’t agree.
That’s what I try to do with these reviews. I hope they help at times point out some things you might enjoy that you may not have run across yourself.
An added side note: Both the culinary and writing worlds lost a friend today. Anthony Bourdain, CIA trained chef, TV personality, and writer, was found dead in his hotel room. It was apparently a suicide. I always enjoyed Bourdain. He was opinionated, for sure, and outspoken on the things he believed in. He was an advocate for women suffering abuse. I thought he had a wonderful descriptive gift and the summaries he gave at the end of his travel shows were some of the best writing I’ve known. Yes, he wrote those himself. We saw him live a few years back and it was one of the most enjoyable shows I’ve been to, even though it was just him and an empty stage. He was entertaining from start to finish. RIP, chef. I hope you have found your peace.
Available now :
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Five and Daemon, the Yo-Yo Files #1, is a short novelette in an urban fantasy setting, with elements of the supernatural and humor. Learn more here
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Snake’s Alive, the Yo-Yo Files #2 is an urban fantasy novelette with elements of the supernatural and humor. Learn more here.