My Personal Rating & Review Guidelines
I have been asked a lot, recently about how I personally review and rate books and I figured it was time I wrote something out explaining my process and rating system. I review because I love reading and books. Authors need reviewers to write reviews so people will buy more of their books which leads to them writing more books for people to buy and read and review and the cycle goes on. I need that cycle to go on. I love escaping into books by my favorite authors, and I know that writing reviews helps them.
First off, I get books for review by:
Buying them. I love supporting authors that I think are wonderful. I do also love getting free books, but you guys, if you are reviewing books JUST to get free books, I feel like you should rethink why you are reviewing in the first place. Buy books you love.
Requesting them from publishers. If there is a book that is going to be published soon, and I need to read it ASAP because I either love the author, or I think the book sounds amazing, I will go to the publishers’ website and request the book via email. Usually, bigger publishers will have a link specifically for review requests. Smaller publishers might have just a link to their email, or their publicity department or agent. I will email the publisher and POLITELY ask for a review copy. I’ll write out another article sometime about emailing publishers so I can go into more detail about it.
Authors will send them to me. Sometimes, an author or publisher will reach out and ask if I will read and review their books. If the book sounds interesting or I have a good working relationship with the author or publisher, I will accept it. If it sounds like something I am not interested in or I don’t have time for, I will politely decline.
THEY JUST SHOW UP. Sometimes, once you’ve worked with a publisher for a certain amount of time, books will just magically appear in your mailbox or on your doorstep. You’re on the list, and they just send them. (That is honestly the coolest feeling and I don’t know if I will ever get over how rad it is to just get books, thank you to the people that send me books).
Once I get them, I obviously read them. I try to do that in a timely manner. However, I am a mom of twin toddlers and I also am an artist and musician. I do my best, but I am just a human. While I read, I will usually take notes in the notes app on my phone. If i’m reading them on my kindle, I will highlight and take notes. After I’ve read the book I try to write my review for it within a week. I like to try to have at least one night of sleep between finishing the book and writing my review. That helps me to see how memorable the book actually is. Then I sit down at my desktop or laptop and type out my review. I don’t like to type reviews on my phone, but that’s just me.
Here is how my rating system is divided up.
5 stars- I LOVED A FIVE STAR BOOK. When I think back on it or look at my notes, I don’t have any complaints. I will have no issues remembering plot points or main characters.
4 stars- I also loved a 4 star book, but I will have a few minor complaints. Maybe the characters weren’t quite believable or there are a few pacing issues, but not enough issues to make me dislike the book or get confused by it.
3 stars- 3 STAR BOOKS ARE STILL GOOD BOOKS. If I rate a book 3 stars it’s still a fine read. It isn’t my favorite book in the world and it is definitely not the worst. It probably has a few issues that I can’t ignore. Also, if a book has so many grammatical errors that I cannot let go of, I will usually rate it at three stars as. I am definitely not immune to typos here and there, so I usually ignore them. But if there are enough of them, I get frustrated. There are so many opportunities for published books to get a spell check, that I feel like I have to let my review reflect the errors. If a book is three stars, I am still recommending it.
2 stars- If I rate a book at two stars, I am not recommending it to anyone. I will never tell someone to not buy a book. In fact, I wish everyone would buy more books. But two stars usually means that the book had a great idea that just didn’t hit the mark, that the characters were written terribly, that there were plot holes the size of the Grand Canyon, that the pacing felt terribly off or all of the above. 2 stars means I didn’t like the book but there was some kind of redeeming quality in it that I have to mention.
1 star- 1 star is a book I didn’t like and will not recommend. I probably have a lot of issues with it and if we ever talk in real life about it, I will likely go on a rant about it.
Some things I try to NOT do in my reviews:
I try to not be a dick in my reviews. There is no need to be mean. Reviews are a way to let other people decide if they want to spend their money on a book. You don’t have to be a jerk to do that.
I always keep the genre I am reviewing in mind. I have read 5 star books that are horror, which is my preferred genre, and I have read 5 star books that are fantasy. You can’t hold a book’s genre against it. If you don’t like scary books, and then give a book 1 star because you don’t like scary books, I do not understand you as a person. Don’t be that person.
DO NOT TELL PEOPLE TO NOT BUY BOOKS. People should buy books. Lots and lots of books. If a book didn’t work for me, it might work for you. I don’t like romance, but there are plenty of people who do.
That’s it. I wanted to make sure that I had a set of ratings that people could go to to see how I do what I do. I love reviewing and I love reading. I also love chatting about books, so if you have questions about my personal rating system or really any book stuff, ASK ME. I’d love to chat about it with you.