This is my own very personal Rating Scale and it should be taken as such…
IT WAS SPECTACULAR IN EVERY POSSIBLE WAY ~ I reserve the Six Stars of Excellence rating for those few but very very special books or series that have blown my mind from the very first page with intriguing, unpredictable and extremely original plotlines, flawless writing styles, a high level of engagement on my part, and unforgettable characters. There is absolutely nothing I would change in those books and believe they should be on everyone’s reading lists.
ADORED IT ~ I adored the book, could not put it down and could think of little else while reading it. It stayed with me long after I finished it and I will definitely re-read it at some stage. The writing style of the book is often another reason I would give such a high rating – I love books that have unique, consistent and well-developed writing styles. These books often end up on My Favourite Books list.
LOVED IT ~ I loved the book and could not put it down but there was something about it that didn’t quite make it perfect for me, such as grammar/editing mistakes that were numerous and distracting, or characters I could not relate to personally.
REALLY LIKED IT ~ I really liked the book and had a hard time putting it down, but there was room for improvement, often in weak dialogues, need for tighter character development, particular writing style, or I could not connect with the characters at all times. I would, however, highly recommend such books to anyone as I believe that most readers would find them highly enjoyable.
LIKED IT A LOT ~ I enjoyed the book and had no problem finishing it, the writing style was good, but the plotline or character development could be improved somewhat in my opinion.
LIKED IT ~ I thought the book was good but it was either somewhat predictable plotline-wise, I did not connect enough with the characters, or something in the writing style bothered me. I did enjoy reading it though.
IT WAS OK ~ I had a hard time finishing the book and did not connect with the story or the characters for one reason or another. This rating is often used for well-written books that I believe have questionable or objectionable themes in them, or are aimed at the wrong readership. I am not afraid of pushing the boundaries in literature and every theme has its audience, but I strongly believe a level of responsibility needs to be preserved when writing books addressing taboo subjects and extra care needs to be paid to readership targeting. This rating is also used for books lacking balance in plotline development, where the shock effect dominates over a well balanced and justified storyline.
DID NOT LIKE IT ~ I will not generally review a book that I did not like at all. I will rarely even rate it as I don’t believe in criticizing someone’s work that way. However, if I had strong objections towards the themes in a book, then I might rate it as a “1” on Goodreads, but still not review it. However, as I will rarely finish a book that I have not connected with at all from the beginning, I seldom use this rating.
You might notice that the vast majority of the books that I review are rated 4 stars or higher. That is not because I love every single book I pick, but because for every book I do end up loving, I start and give up on at least three before I find the one that grabs my attention. I believe that life is too short to read books we do not enjoy and my “job” is not to tell you what I did not like reading. I like sharing the books that I loved, the stories that affected me greatly and left a mark on me, and that is why the books I take the time to read and review will be books I would then recommend to any of you.
Having said that, I would like to point out that reviewing books is a subjective exercise and you will rarely find two people that will completely agree on a review. These ratings are arbitrary and as such should not be taken too seriously or personally. I love reading books, I love connecting with books and immersing myself in their storylines. The more amazing books I read, the more my expectations change when I start a new one. When I finish reading a great book, I feel like I have just won the lottery as I know that I will carry that story with me for a long time.
I believe that all reviews are good reviews, as long as you are engaging the reader and provoking emotions from them. If you get your reader to actually spend half an hour writing about your book, engage with the storyline and the characters, you’ve done your job as a writer.
Advance Reading Copies
I sometimes receive Advance Reading Copies (ARC) of books for review prior to the publication date, either from the publisher or from the author. I will always give my honest and fair thoughts on those books and my reviews will always remain genuine regardless of where the books were sourced from. I do not charge for reviews, nor do I receive discounts, gifts or favours in exchange for a review. All other books are acquired by personal purchase.