This Chicks Sunday Commentary: My book review guidelines…

I follow my own set of book review rules. I mean, they aren’t set in stone, but I do try to be consistent with how I write my review, my ratings system, and well, I try to be honorable. I try to respect the amount of work that goes into producing a book. Most of the time.

I thought I’d share my book review process. It’s not set in stone or anything, but this is generally how I craft my review.

  1. READ A BOOK: This one is pretty easy! I have to admit that I don’t stretch my reading boundaries a whole lot. I like Romances, YA, Fantasy, Sci-Fi and a little Mystery, though typically my type of mystery is romantic suspense and not a cop procedural. I do like to watch Law & Order, but I don’t like to read about it. So, I stay in my wheelhouse. I find if I go outside a genre I enjoy, then my rating for the book suffers. It may be a great book! It’s just not a book I usually like to read. So, I don’t.
  2. CHARACTER GROWTH: I am a reviewer that likes to identify and feel something for a character. I talk about the hero, heroine, villain etc. If I don’t see growth from my main characters through the novel the rating suffers. I like to feel a connection and more importantly, I like the characters to connect with each other.
  3. PLOT DEVELOPMENT: This one seems pretty obvious to me, but there must be some sort of conflict that the characters are trying to overcome in order for there to be a resolution and an end to the novel. I’m sure you’d all agree that you hate wasting time on a book that doesn’t go anywhere!  I hate those cliffhanger novels where I have to read 3-5 books just to get to the resolution of the main conflict. AARGGHH!!! Kill me now!
  4. FEELINGS: Humor, passion, anger, pain, hell- even hunger!  Let’s pack that novel full of emotions. Please, please, make me FEEL something. If you can make me laugh, cry, fall in love, then most likely you’ll get at least a three rating from me. If the feelings are not there I probably won’t like the book. Don’t like? Don’t review.
  5. RATINGS: I don’t think I’ve ever given a one star- or heart actually, since I give hearts not stars. However, I have given out a couple of two ratings. I will only give out a two or two and a half rating and review it if I was upset by something in the story line or was sickened by the direction an author has taken and want to make a statement against that plot point. I can think of one off hand where I gave the book a two and a half rating and ranted about the hero in the novel. He was a stalker yet they created a romance out of it. I wanted to ask about why women find that attractive. So I reviewed the book. Normally I would respect the authors efforts and just not review the book.
  6. FUDGING: This is kind of a side note, but do you ever give a book a five rating and then re-read the book and ask why you gave it that rating, when it was really only a four? I’ve done that, I think everyone has! I have some authors that I just love, love, love. Maybe I give them a half point higher than the book deserves because I just love the author that much. I’m in the moment, I’ve finished the book and am in the haze of that world while writing the review. Maybe I should’ve sat on it for a week. Oh well, I’m not going to lose sleep on it, I doubt anyone will fault me for it. Will you?
  7. REQUESTS: I have received a TON of book review requests from independent authors lately. I love that! However, I am one person writing on my blog and only have so much time in a week to read and write. So, unfortunately I have to limit my requests to just an occasional newbie. When I do read a brand new author’s book, I try to read it with the same eye for character development, plot growth and feelings I mentioned above. Every writer is equal in my eyes. (Unless you’re a favorite, HA!) I have read quite a few brand new (to me at least) authors this year and have been pleased to add them to my list of must reads.

I’ve seen a lot of book review bloggers write about trying to read outside their comfort zone, but I have to ask why?  OK, sure, every once in awhile I read a best seller that I normally wouldn’t have picked up. I’ll admit to feeling pretty good about myself for making that effort. However, if I love to read in a certain genre, and I write 3-4 reviews a week, shouldn’t I spend more time reading what I love so my writing will be a reflection of those feelings?

Do you read outside your favorite genres because you are bending to peer pressure?

How do you handle reading your favorite authors novels? Are you fair?

Do you ever make a statement with your review? Should a reviewer make a statement?

What are your book review rules???

I’d love to have a discussion and learn about you!

Until next Sunday,