Now I want to start this by saying I am by no means an expert or knowledgeable about everything. This is more of an advice/tips to how to rate and review books according to what I myself do in regards to rating and reviewing books! I know lately in the book community stuff has been going around about how booktubers and book bloggers rate books and how they are critical enough etc. I do not know much about the subject because I have a lot going on in my life and try to stay out of the book politics. I just wanted to explain how I go about rating and reviewing books. I hope this all makes sense, I was trying to cover everything, but might have missed something.
I have to admit recently I feel like I have been a little lenient on my rating of books. There are areas that I could improve and be more critical in. One of the hardest parts of rating and reviewing books for me is considering each book its own and not compare books to each other when rating and reviewing. I believe that you cannot compare a contemporary book to a high/epic fantasy book. They each have different components and bring about different emotions as well as have different expectations. So I try and keep this in mind and create a mental list of what I am hoping to get from the book and what qualities I believe should be in that specific novel.
There are a few things that I look for in a book while I am reviewing it or components I think about when writing up a review other than those major ones of execution, plot, grammar, originality and flow of the book. When writing up my reviews for a book I try to make sure to address these components and how the author executed these factors. I think it is important to pick qualities you look for and make a good story/book for you while reviewing. Here are some of mine:
♠ Wold Building: More so in fantasy, I find this extremely important. I believe that wold building can make or break a book. If you can’t imagine the world or put yourself there it could create you to not get the full affect of the story. For me the more details and uniqueness of a world cause for the rest of the story to more enjoyable.
♠ Writing Style: I feel like this should be included in everyones reviews. I believe writing style can make or break a book because it deals with the flow and overall readability of the book. Sometimes the writing style is done in a certain way for a specific affect but other times it is just the way the author writes. I am more of a fan of long lyrical prose rather than short to the point.
♠ Character Development/Growth: I feel like at times I become very picky about this. I like well flushed out characters that have developed story lines, personalities and characteristic. Now I understand in certain books there is different reasons for characters to be not fully developed etc.
♠ Believability: This is problem in contemporaries and romance novels. Sometimes it is even a huge problem in young adult novels. I do not like when books create to many situations,love and relationships that aren’t believable. This goes along the lines of insta-love and love triangles. Reality is not always butterflies and rainbows and rarely do people meet and instantly fall head over heels in love with each other. So this is just a huge issue for me when I am reading a book.
♠ Pacing: Pacing is a very big thing for me because when a book is too slow and filled with unnecessary information I start to not enjoy it as much. Pacing also deals with a lot of how the rest of the story turns out with twists and plot points that are needed to drive a story.
♠ Quotes: This is not something that can really make or break a book, but something I enjoy greatly when reading a book. My books are always marked up with stickies and flags of great quotes and passages!
♠ The Ending: I am a big stickler on endings of books. The way that the author ends a book and the shocks or twists at the end of a book can really make it or break it for me. I am not the hugest fan of open endings, but if I can understand where the author was coming from by doing it, it will make it a little better.
So what are some things you note when reading and reviewing a book?
This is something I struggle with and I am working on getting better at it. I think reviews on books are important not only for feedback for the author, but to help promote,sell people on your favorites or express your opinions. There is usually so many thoughts and opinions swimming around in my head after I read a book. I can sit here and discuss its flaws or points in excelled in with no problem, but once I have to collect those thoughts and turn them into a review that is were I struggle. I tend to ramble and repeat myself a lot and sometimes I am unable to truly get across what I want to. I have been really trying to express my opinions without giving away major plot points or spoilers. When writing a review I try to convey both positives and negatives(problems) I had when reading the book. I do not believe that any book is perfect (although there are some that are close!) and there is always room for improvement. Sometimes when reading through reviews I have found that some little problems that people have with a certain book are enough to cause me to steer away from a book because that issues is a pet peeve of mine or something along the lines.
I do rate books on a 5 point system and I also use half stars. I find that sometimes a book just isn’t up to par of a whole star but falls somewhere between the two. I try to be as critical as possible when I am rating a book and sometimes I change my rating multiple times before I settle on one. I also rate each book on its own, but sometimes will rate them against another in the same series ( which doesn’t do the book justice for instance the Vampire Academy series, I rated one of the books a 3 star because it was my least favorite in the series, but it reality the book was more of a 4 star). I also do not believe that there is a book without flaws, but I do give books 5 stars (crowns in regards to my posts)
♠ Absolutely Amazing : For me that means that the book might have had slight flaws, but overall I could not put the book down, it left me with loads of feels, I cant stop talking about it and recommending it to friends. Usually a 5 star rating for me means it is one of my favorites and I have/would reread it.
♠ Greatly Enjoyed It: This book was highly enjoyable, but had some flaws or problems that annoyed/frustrated me. It was still a quality book and had many components I still look for in a book. I still recommend these books to others. There also might have been just a small thing missing that I thought could have made the book that much better.
♠ A Solid Read: This usually means that the book was good. There wasn’t anything absolutely amazing about it or anything that made it incredibly horrible. I enjoyed reading it and thought it had some great qualities, but there were also problems that I had with the execution,story, character arcs etc or there was something that was missing from the book that caused the book to be lacking. I still recommend these books to others. (but on a more specific personal interest basis.
♠ Did Not Like It: This book had a lot of problems that were just too hard to overlook. These are usually bigger issues such as the execution, plot holes or no driving plot, lack of character development/growth, unrealistic, lack of originality and confusing/boring/hard to follow story. These are usually books I will not keep on my shelves and I do not recommend these books to people.
♠ Hate It/DNF: I do not yet think I have given a book a 1 star rating yet. This rating means that there are just too many problems and no redeeming points of the book. It was boring or hard to make it through the book. I have yet to put down a book without finishing it, but it would fall under this category (for my blog, if I DNF a book for goodreads purposes I would not rate it).
I would love to hear how you review and rate your books. Learning ways that other people do these things helps to shape how I think about books as I am reading and makes me realize things I haven’t before while reading! I would also love thought and opinions on this post and on suggestions for posts like this in the future.