I have had folks ask me how I decide what rating to give a book. Some are really really good, and some are somewhat good, and some good, but not my Cup of tea. So that makes this question difficult to answer.

If you follow my facebook page or my blog then you probably know that I give a lot of 5 Star Reviews. I think it’s because I love to read and I do my best to find everything good that I can in a book and its author. But, at the same time, I want to be honest, so therefore I do give out 4 Star and 3 Star Reviews.

I never go lower than a 3 Star and here is the reason why. It’s quite simple actually… it takes talent, creativity, a good grasp of the English language,  and a ton of imagination…. not to mention a strong backbone to put oneself out there for the world to criticize and I am sure my author friends can add a lot more to this list…. But simply put, I can’t do it!

Having said that, why would anybody be downright mean? I recently read a review that gave a book (that I loved by the way) a 1 star! The reviewer actually said, “this book is a mess”! I wanted to ask her how many books she has written and published, but I just shook my head in disbelief. Why people feel the need to be mean is beyond me. I love reading books that border on real life but I also love the fictionalized world. Every so often I will read a review that puts down the author because the events seem a little far fetched. Guess what folks? Its fiction… it’s not real. If you want it all to be real, read non-fiction, it’s as easy as that!

Okay what makes a five star book? One: Description – an example of this! When I am reading I want to be able to feel the wind in my hair, the sun on my face or the cold in my bones! I want to visit the town and meet the people. I also want to see the furniture in the room, the light from the lamps or the darkness on the porch. In other words, I want to be in the scene!  Two: Characters – right from the beginning, I want to get to know the characters, how tall they are, how skinny/fat they are, or perhaps a child so ugly their folks had to tie a porkchop around their neck to get the dog to play with them. 😀 (Just kidding.., no offense intended). By the time I reach the middle of the book, I want to love or strongly dislike the characters. It’s okay to dislike a character, and in no way should it affect the way a book is rated. The character is written a certain way for a reason. And sometimes it is so the reader will dislike him/her. The main point here is to know the character. Three: The plot – I want it to be easy to follow. Consistent, for example not jumping all around so that I can’t tell where we are or who is talking. I read a review recently that rated a book poorly because it was written in different time periods… they said they couldn’t tell from chapter to chapter which period they were in. The funny part is that the author indicated at the beginning of each chapter, whether it was past or present! Really!  The plot has to make sense and come together in the end. Nothing worse then reaching the end and not knowing what happened. You know, like when we learned to write… a beginning, a middle and an ending. Gotta have all three.

I could go on and on but for me, these are the three things that make for a 5 star review! If any of them are missing, the rating becomes a four or a three! Sometimes I will do a comparison, however, not often; authors are all different and I don’t think it’s fair to compare! Especially when they write in different genres.

In closing, let me say this… reviews are important for the success of the author! Don’t review a book you haven’t read! Yes people do that. I have read reviews where the reviewer only read two chapters. Not fair people! Not your cup of tea, fine… if you don’t read… don’t review! If you don’t like it that’s okay, give constructive Criticism or simply say, “not my cup of tea”! I will be honest, I have said that on more than one occasion. It doesn’t mean the book is bad, it just isn’t something I liked!

Just so you know, all of this is just my opinion and lacks any research or fact finding. However, my friend Amy M Reade did a blog post on this very topic…. if you haven’t read it, here’s the link… How To Write a Review. Do go take a peek and read some facts on how an author feels about the topic.

Enjoy, have a wonderful week and don’t forget to:

Live, Love, Laugh and by all means….. READ!