Books I review and my use of stars

I love reading and nothing could make me happier than immensely enjoying every book I read. I primarily enjoy reading crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, horrors and sci-fi. I read romances, family sagas, YA and the odd children’s book. I’m not so enthusiastic about fantasy but I have been known to enjoy the genre on occasion.

I have signed up on a few sites offering my services to review books and in the earlier months of this year predominantly reading books that had been sent to me by authors seeking an opinion. Since the summer though I have become more selective about which books I pick up from my email and I choose to browse and choose the majority of my reading list from Amazon. My least favourite source of books is Twitter, as I find I am less likely to pick up a book I would enjoy amongst Twitter hype. My book clubs and personal recommendations from friends are my favourite source of book referrals, my favourite authors a close second and browsing my favourite genres a third. Somewhere in the midst of these book sources Goodreads will feature more I am being led to believe once it integrates more easily with Kindle.

If I read the blurb about a book and don’t find it resonates interest within me I pass on the book without comment. If I read a book and find I don’t like it I pass on writing a review. If I don’t like a book I award it 2 stars. There are many reasons why I may not like a book, the most common is I find it too simplistic in its assumptions of human behaviour or I find it misinformative. If a book is based in a certain ethnic culture and that culture is misrepresented or incorrectly accounted it irritates me. Books of this nature take themselves too seriously and that is usually the source of my irritation.

Books are a form of escapism and the author is taking us on a journey, it needs to be somewhat plausible for us to fall under the spell of the book. This threshold of plausibility differs with the individual. A book that I don’t enjoy makes me feel emotionally down and this is termed a book hangover in my circle of friends. Where at all possible I would like to avoid books I won’t enjoy. I feel this shouldn’t be hard as I do actually enjoy the majority of books I read.

The way I award stars: 2 stars I didn’t like it, 3 stars it was alright, 4 stars it was good, 5 stars I loved it. I would have to detest a book immensely to give it 1 star. I hope I don’t come across a situation where I feel I have to give 1 star.

I don’t write reviews for books I have awarded less than 3 stars as I feel it hasn’t got enough redeeming features for me to criticise it. These books I feel need feedback directly to the author and I don’t feel putting it down in public is remotely helpful.

Recently I have read a run of books (8 in total now) which haven’t elicited more than 2 stars from me. These are books I bought on recommendation from Twitter, where I find the better marketers persuade you to buy their book rather than the better author. I hope my current read motivates me to write a review and recommend it, but at 10% into the book there is no guarantee.

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2 thoughts on “Books I review and my use of stars

  1. It’s an interesting point about the book hangover. I have this hangup that if I am not enjoying a book I still have to read it to the end. It’s some misguided optimism, and I think, that the book will get better or that I owe that much to the reader. What puts me off the most is clumsy language or overly descriptive stories to the extent that they’re contrived. It’s good that you have such a wide range of genres you read. And also wise to pass on reviewing the books you don’t enjoy!

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    • I felt liberated when my book club assured me book hangovers were within the normal range of reactions from readers. I remember being a moody teenager after reading a bad book (and that was just last week!) and the things that annoy readers actually are quite avoidable. I think reading your own book or getting someone you trust to proof-read it is necessary for most authors. I don’t publicise books I don’t like as any publicity is good publicity really in the digital age and I like to highlight the good rather than the irksome and questionable books I come across.

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