You may notice that there are a lot of 5- and 4-star reviews around here. Very rarely will you see a 3-star and I don’t think I’ve ever posted a 2-star on here. (Maybe one? Not many.)
Now, this does not mean I fall madly in love with the 5- and 4-star books. It is actually very rarely that a book gets me fangirling enough to earn itself a spot on my Shelf of Awesome. Sometimes I give 5 sparkly stars to a book when I know I don’t want to read the sequels (I have also been known to eventually go and gobble up whole series of the books I only gave three).
When I rate a book, I try to give credit where credit is due. Reading is a highly subjective thing and to some degree I try to stay objective. Like many writers, I tend to edit in my head a I read books, but I can turn down the volume on my inner editor enough to enjoy a book with bad mechanics, bad formatting, or even plot holes—so long as it has some other literary qualities I enjoy (such as dragons or pretty much any form of magic). By the same token, I might open a book to find flawless formatting, perfect copyediting, succinct dialogue—but for whatever reason it will just fall flat for me.
Just because I didn’t enjoy a book doesn’t mean I think it was written poorly and just because I enjoyed a book doesn’t mean I think it was written well. For example, Hidden by M. Lathan brought me far less enjoyment than Captured by Erica Stevens, yet I’ll be the first to admit that Hidden was the better book. From an editorial standpoint, the plot was better formed, the formatting was superior, the mechanics were pulled off without a hitch—I just couldn’t get into it the way I did Captured because Captured “clicked” for me and Hidden didn’t.
Certain books “click” for me that don’t “click” for other people and vice versa—that’s just the way it is. I try to take that into account when I write my reviews. I also try to take into account if a book is well written or not. That is why some of my favorites only got four stars and some of the five stars were deleted off my Kindle straightaway.
This is making me sound like a mature, focused reviewer, right? Wrong. There have been rare occasions where I have discounted a book down to 4-stars when the characters made me angry *coughcoughCrownofMidnightcoughcough* and given 5-stars to a book I loved that should have realistically been 3.5-stars. What can I say? I’m still human.
When it comes down to it, I really don’t like writing negative reviews. I really don’t. That’s why my star ratings hover around 4-5—if I enjoyed a book, it seems just rude to give it anything less. If I didn’t enjoy the book, but I think all the mechanics were decent, I still want to acknowledge the good points.
In the dreaded situation that the book fails both standards…well then I close my eyes, give it three stars and do my best not to feel like an evil witch.