With all the books passing through my hot little hands, a few of you have wondered how I review a book and how I decide on the rating I give it. I thought I would explain the method behind my madness in hopes that you can better understand my reviews and use them to determine if you think a book I've reviewed would be a good fit for you.
Here's the key:
Five stars: I absolutely love a book. I'll definitely acquire my own copy if I don't already own it, and I know I'll re-read it again, probably multiple times.
Four stars: Really great and highly recommended. I may still obtain my own copy, and will re-read, but for whatever reason (slightly underdeveloped characters, an unfinished ending, confusing writing) it's not quite a five.
Three stars: my middle-of-the-road catchall. You'll see a lot of these. I don't dislike these book, they're just not my favorite. I may or may not own or re-read them. They can kind of be divided into two categories: high 3s, which are good but not quite 4s, and low 3s, which are not that great but I don't feel they're as bad as a 2. There's a lot of variation here; you may love a book I rated three stars.
Two stars: I didn't really like it at all, but there's still some redeeming shred in it somewhere.
One star: Bad. Poor writing, poor subject matter, poor everything. I've only given out 6 of these.
Here's how to get more stars:
Good writing is huge. I prefer concise, clear writing with good enough descriptions that I can easily picture the setting, character, or situation. The story has to flow well and make sense. For already-published books (not ARCs), I also note any recurring grammatical, punctuation, or typo errors.
For nonfiction, my biggest pet peeve is too. much. detail. Authors tend to overexplain when writing nonfiction. I would guess it's because they don't want to be accused of fabrication or misrepresenting facts. This can lead to a cumbersome, overly wordy book that is way longer than it needs to be. I loved Dead Wake by Eric Larson, but it could easily have been 100 pages shorter.
For fiction, it's alllllll about the characters. If the characters aren't believable, interesting, or well-developed enough, I simply can't get into a book and will never rate it highly. Bad dialogue is also a deal-killer. Often authors write dialogue how they think people talk instead of how they actually talk. Stilted, overly formal, or dull conversations between characters causes me to lose interest fast.
Anyway. In order to keep you from losing interest, I'll stop boring you with my nerdy editing stuff. Here's the goods. Enjoy!
*Disclaimer: The titles notated with a star (*) above were given to me for free by either NetGalley, BookLook Bloggers, or Blogging For Books, in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.
**Also - the books linked in this post are affiliate links, meaning that if you click on any of the book links and order one (or any) of them through Amazon, I may earn a small commission. B thanks you in advance for helping to support my psychotic book-buying habits.