Justifying my review …

I knew the time would come when someone would call me out on my reviews in one way or another.  So I guess I wasn’t too surprised that it was on a book I only gave 2 stars to, Witch Hunt by Syd Moore (you can read the review here)

Screen shot 2013-01-27 at 06.24.44 I didn’t think my review was ambiguous.  I said what I liked. I  said what I didn’t like.  However I understand that to some people star ratings mean something different and in that sense, the stars are very subjective.

So, as I seem to be reviewing a few books here and there I thought it was best to actually write down what the star ratings mean to me.  I’m using the descriptions from Goodreads because they make the most sense to me.

Screen shot 2013-01-27 at 06.29.30

A five star review isn’t as difficult as you’d think to achieve from me.  This means ‘it was amazing’.  What does that mean?  Well if it fits all or most of this criteria below it will get a 5 star rating:

1. I don’t want to put it down

2. I almost miss my stops on my journey to and from work because I’m so hooked

3. I don’t want it to end because I don’t want to never read about the characters again

4. I talk to people about the book and search out other people who have read it just to discuss it

5. I know I will read it again one day

6. I’ll probably buy a copy for someone at some point because I know they will like it too

7. I think about it afterwards

8. It’s full of annotations (on my Kindle) or I’ve made notes from it

Screen shot 2013-01-27 at 06.33.52Four stars means ‘I really liked it’.  Yes, that’s it, I really liked it.  It didn’t infiltrate my life as much as a five star review book did.  I probably won’t go around recommending it to as many people but I still really liked it.

Screen shot 2013-01-27 at 06.36.28Three stars denotes: I liked it.

Yes, it was good.  It kept me interested, I enjoyed the writing (a really important part that separates a 3 from a 2 star review) which didn’t seem clunky or incongruous or anachronistic (unless it was intended).  The characters were interesting albeit less engaging than a 4 or 5 star review.  I would probably recommend it but with provisos.  There were times while reading a 3 star book where I wasn’t sure if I would continue reading it but I persevered and it was worth it.

Screen shot 2013-01-27 at 06.40.17Here we go – the controversial 2 star review.

On Goodreads it states that it denotes: It was ok.

And I make sure it usually says that in my review.  It WAS ok.  I finished it but it wasn’t always a joy, in fact it felt like a chore at times.  A book will get a 2 star review from me if it meets all or most of this criteria:

1. I consider abandoning it more than once

2. The main protagonist annoys me

3. The writing is inconsistent, weak or simply unengaging

4. The writing is overly descriptive in places desperate to impress upon a reader that the author can write!

5. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone

6. I’ve deleted it from my Kindle/ given the book to a charity shop

7. I feel slightly annoyed that I’ve spent 2/3/4 hours of my precious time reading it

and finally …

Screen shot 2013-01-27 at 06.50.55There aren’t many books I’ve given one star to.  Goodreads says that one star means ‘I didn’t like it’.  To give you an idea of what I’ve given one star to: Angels and Demons – Dan Brown

That’s an unusual one because I did actually finish that book but that was because I was on holiday and had read everything else I’d taken with me (those days are now gone thanks to my Kindle!).

Most one star reviews, to me, are given to books I didn’t finish.  If I didn’t like it I probably wouldn’t finish it although I do think it’s unfair to review a book if you didn’t finish it that’s why I’ve only given out two 1 star reviews.  The other was for The Glass Book of the Dream Eaters by Gordon Dahlquist. This was recommended to me by a friend and I tried and tried and tried to finish it but about 7/10ths of the way through I gave up.  I just couldn’t be bothered any more.  I thought I’d read enough of it though to give it a rating.

So, there you go, my ratings and what they mean.


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