BTS Book Club discussion

Telling the truth when rating a book.

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message 1: by Christy (last edited Mar 02, 2012 01:08PM) (new)

Christy Wilhelm | 282 comments Mod
Sometimes I worry that I give to many 4 & 5 out for book reviews. In general though, I tend to pick books that I know I'm interested in. So I guess that's my excuse :) I know that a 3 is OK but it's not as if it is a horrible review! It means that I liked it and will read another by this other. A 5 to me means, I went to bed thinking about it and woke up wanting to read it. I'll read this again in a few years. A 4 is somewhere in between. I like it, I loved it but there was something missing.

Wandering what everyone else felt on this subject

Stephanie (Bookfever) (bookfever) For me it's...

1 star: NOT recommended
2 stars: Not for me.
3 stars: Good, but not the best.
4 stars: HIGHLY recommended!
5 stars: Couldn't put it down!

message 3: by Jessa (new)

Jessa Callaver (jessa_callaver) | 2 comments I agree with that rating description Stephanie. But you'd be surprised how many people equate a 3-star rating as a negative review, regardless of the accompanying comments. =/ =/ Unfortunate.

Stephanie (Bookfever) (bookfever) Guess it's different for everyone...

message 5: by Lynn (new)

Lynn Reynolds (goodreadscomelylibrarysec) | 14 comments I agree with Stephanie's rating system. I have yet to give a 5 but have gotten close with a 4 1/2. The lowest I've had to give is 2 1/2. I feel bad about having to give a low rating but I have to be true to myself as well as to the reader.

message 6: by Christy (new)

Christy Wilhelm | 282 comments Mod
When I first started on GR I found all my old fag books and handed out 5 like crazy but I did love. I'm trying to be more stingy with my 4 and 5 star ratings but the last 2 were 5 star quality. I think that I'm feeling more of what I want out of my 5 lately. Its weird, you can tell a 5 when you hunger for more words and long for it never to end. I just want my rating to mean something more than a number.

message 7: by Jessa (new)

Jessa Callaver (jessa_callaver) | 2 comments For me a five-star rating means I was just blown away (plot-wise, language-wise, originality, etc); that I feel sort of 'in on a great secret' for having found it and in some way bettered for having read it. Kinda like the perfect literary storm lol

message 8: by Joanna (new)

Joanna Mikalis (joannamikalis) | 5 comments I agree-- 3 is not a bad review. The book was okay, but wasn't the best book I've read. I probably give a lot more 4s than I should, but that means I only give 5's to books I LOVE!

message 9: by Lindsay Downs (new)

Lindsay Downs | 16 comments I also agree that 3 isn't bad. It's a book I might want to read again. 4's and 5's are of course definite rereads.
What's hard, as an author, to understanding is if I'm given a 3- is that 3 out of 4 or is it 3 out of 5.
When I give a score I try to let the author know the top score they could have achieved.

message 10: by Nadja (new)

Nadja Notariani | 46 comments I tend to look at a three star review as a positive - especially if I see feedback from the reader through a written review. Most writers appreciate the whole picture. That's how we gauge areas of success as well as areas that we need to develop further in our next book.

As for giving too many four and five star reviews...hmmm. I give quite a lot too; but like Christie, I suspect it's because I know what I like to read and gravitate toward those types of stories. When I give a three star review - it means that overall, I liked and enjoyed the story. When I gave a four star review - it means that I was very impressed with not only the story, but with the writing style. When I give a five star review - well...the book exceeded my expectations, was very well written, remains with me after I've finished. It went beyond.

message 11: by Thomas (new)

Thomas Wilson (StorytellerTDW) | 2 comments Stephanie ♥Loves Adrian Ivashkov♥ wrote: "For me it's...

1 star: NOT recommended
2 stars: Not for me.
3 stars: Good, but not the best.
4 stars: HIGHLY recommended!
5 stars: Couldn't put it down!"

I like this rating description, I think you should be careful with 5's unless it really kept you up, disturbed your normal routine because you had to finish the book.
On the other hand, if it isn't your genre, you didn't connect with the book or get it, you just hated it, don't take it a license to trash the book. Maybe it wasn't your kind of book. Move on you don't have to feel obligated to read every book.
Sometimes I start a book and just can't get into it, it isn't what I was expecting or not the kind of stuff I enjoy reading, put it down - walk away - there are plenty of other books in the world. Delete it from your reader - life is too short, too short to trash it, because somebody else may love it!
Somebody else may think it's the best thing since sliced bread.
That's my cent and a half worth - not worth two whole cents.

message 12: by Laura (new)

Laura Thomas (laurathomas) I also agree with Stephanie and like her I usually give 4 and 5 stars because I new I wanted the book. I have had to give a 2 star review before and I agonized over it. This was someone's baby, but I try to be honest with the author, the readers and myself.

Redheads Review it Better (redreviewsit) | 36 comments Pat wrote: "I try to stay close to the definitions given for the stars so 1 means I didn't like it, 2 means it was so - so, 3 means I liked it, 4 means I loved it and 5 means it was exceptional.

I try to be c..."

This is generally what I base mine off of too. I think I have one 2 star book rating on my blog but other than that I now will email the author and tell her my thoughts on the book and not post the review or I just don't post it. Generally though, I usually have 3-5 star ratings on my blog.

message 14: by Nick (new)

Nick Nicholas (nicksnicholas) | 90 comments My ratings are a little different, a little more personal than general.

1 star means "I didnt like it AND I dont recommend it."
2 stars means "Not for me, but maybe someone might like it"
3 stars means "Yogurt, just plain yogurt or otherwise Good!"
4 stars means "I liked it and I think you will too."
5 stars means "Thrilled, you gotta read this too!"

I sometimes have trouble putting down a book that I'm not entirely thrilled with.. maybe that's a little OCD behavior so as not to leave it unfinished, or to get it over with and not make the torture linger on longer than necessary.

message 15: by Suza (last edited May 01, 2012 08:14AM) (new)

Suza Kates (suzakates) If I can't get through a book I give it a 1, and if I'm glad when I've finally finished it, a 2. 3 means I liked it but may not go looking for more from that author. 4s are pretty good and I'll probably follow the author, but a 5 is a great read.

That being said, as a writer myself, I think it's bad form for me to give others a bad review, so if it's a 1 or 2, I just delete the book from my lists. If it's a 3, it just depends.

I really admire people who write review blogs, because it takes guts!

message 16: by Suza (new)

Suza Kates (suzakates) Joanna wrote: "I agree-- 3 is not a bad review. The book was okay, but wasn't the best book I've read. I probably give a lot more 4s than I should, but that means I only give 5's to books I LOVE!"

That pretty much sums it up for me, too. If it's a 3, I probably won't rush back to that author but may read them again in the future.

message 17: by Christy (new)

Christy Wilhelm | 282 comments Mod
Rick wrote: "I only give 4 and 5 star reviews. If I think the book is less than that I simply won't post it. I know people are out there struggling, as I am, trying to make a living as a writer. So far be it..."

I only give 3 and above. As a reader I want to know what people thought about a book and I really struggled with the decision not to do 2 or 1 star. I just thought that would be mean and decided not to review a book that is a 1 or 2.

message 18: by Michael Cargill (new)

Michael Cargill Cargill (michaelcargill) I don't think you have any real reason to feel it is mean to leave a 1 or 2 star review.

Although as a writer I would hate to get a low score such as that, ultimately I cannot complain just because someone didn't like my work.

Of course I am not saying that you should feel pressured leave a review for a book you didn't like, just that you shouldn't worry about offending the author. After all you have taken the time and spent the money to go through it.

You don't owe the author anything.

message 19: by Christy (new)

Christy Wilhelm | 282 comments Mod
Michael wrote: "I don't think you have any real reason to feel it is mean to leave a 1 or 2 star review.

Although as a writer I would hate to get a low score such as that, ultimately I cannot complain just becaus..."

If a book has nothing but 4 or 5 I start to think that they have had all their friends write a review(if a small number of people reviewed it) I don't think any book out there hasn't had a few bad reviews. If all I can do is complain about a book though :P I don't really want to write it then.

message 20: by Christy (new)

Christy Wilhelm | 282 comments Mod
Pat wrote: "I don't think it is fair to people spending money on book purchases to not tell the truth about your opinion of a book. When only high reviews are given, a buyer can lulled into spending money on ..."

I agree with you but I guess that I'm a chicken. I thought of that but I just hate writing them

message 21: by Michael Cargill (new)

Michael Cargill Cargill (michaelcargill) That's perfectly understandable Christy. To be honest I don't think Pat was saying that what you are doing is unfair on others, more that an author expecting a reviewer to spare his feelings is unfair.

Many years ago I had a brief stint as a computer games reviewer and I would be sent the games to review.

When I got a bad game it was soul destroying having to force myself to play it and to then write about it.

message 22: by Michael Cargill (new)

Michael Cargill Cargill (michaelcargill) I think I am coming to the conclusion that life for reviewers can be just as fraught as life is for authors...

message 23: by Nadja (last edited May 16, 2012 05:14AM) (new)

Nadja Notariani | 46 comments It's difficult to gauge reader reactions unless they leave a written review. For example, three stars mean "Overall: I liked it". It also means that there were things which could have been better - or at least things that would have added to my personal enjoyment of the story (all readers are not the same). That's okay, but when a three star rating is accompanied by a written review - the author is then able to see what the reader loved - and didn't. It allows the author to see consistant threads running through readers 'thoughts', which adds insight to improve on creating stories that readers want and love.

As for writing one or two star reviews... I rarely do; but I have. I usually note only with stars that I didn't care for a book. I'm not out to write a review on a book I loathed. If I didn't enjoy it and have nothing positive to offer the author - it's better not to write anything at all. Isn't that what Thumper (from Bambi) recited?
"If you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all." Ha.

I guess it boils down to that. If I can offer some positives along with the negatives - I write it. If I cannot; I don't.

message 24: by Christy (new)

Christy Wilhelm | 282 comments Mod
Pat wrote: "Christy, I understand that you would not like to write a negative review and I certainly did not mean to be critical of you personally. I just think it is important to remember that reviewers are ..."

No I've thought of that myself to... sometimes I wonder though if how the editor's could miss some of the sentence stuctures that are so bad or plot holes...

message 25: by Tiana (last edited May 18, 2012 05:36AM) (new)

Tiana Laveen (tianalaveen) | 1 comments Rick wrote: "If I read a book that I consider too poor to review I contact the author and give them a private critique and explain what I think is wrong with their book. I have worked with several writers to h..."

I do the same, Rick. Since I am an author myself, I follow an ethics code that is self imposed. If I don't believe the novel is 3 stars or above, I will not leave the review but will contact the author privately and typically it is received well. Now, people that are not fellow authors are of course free to review it however they wish but I know what it entails to write a book, etc. so I would never attack another author's "art" or do something that could negatively impact them - especially in front of others. I don't worry about readers not getting a 'true gadge' of a book if no negative reviews are left because I can promise you, if a novel has significant issues, there will in fact be negative reviews left because some people, authors and/or reviewers, will relish in leaving them, happily to do so - and I don't need to be one of those people. The market is already saturated with it. (Again, I'm talking about very critical reviews vs. constructive grievances that can assist the author and readers.)

I take the discussion 'private'. I also believe just as we as authors should be mindful of what we write and strive to grow and improve with each release, reviewers should be fair in their reviews and be constructive vs. just 'mean'. You can leave a critical review without being ugly about it.

At the end of the day, I write what I enjoy and simply share it with the public. Not everyone will like everything we write and honestly, I don't even read my reviews on certain websites anymore because I know the many games that are played, such as other authors slamming new authors under alias names, reviewers that are fans of other authors being asked to slam an author etc. Reviews many times are not trustworthy on certain websites, and that is my educated opinion.

message 26: by Xavier (new)

Xavier Edwards (xavieredwards) | 6 comments I kinda see the thread is dead, but I'll wade in, nonetheless.

With the genre I'm currently writing in (erotica), what lights one reader's fire can be a bucket of ice water over another. I've seen at least one one-star review, with most 3-5 stars.

With the spread of ratings, I'd like to believe that reviewers actually are being honest and not just throwing out numbers because that's what they think I want to see.

One thing I've committed to do, is to leave all reviews as they are - not to 'like' them or comment on them to avoid any suspicion of having paid or otherwise coerced them.

I'm okay with people not liking my books, it just means I'll have to try harder with the next one(s) to reach them. Anyway, what turns someone on is always an intensely personal thing which, I think, makes it more difficult to attain a consistently high review score in Erotica.

message 27: by Christy (new)

Christy Wilhelm | 282 comments Mod
Xavier wrote: "I kinda see the thread is dead, but I'll wade in, nonetheless.

With the genre I'm currently writing in (erotica), what lights one reader's fire can be a bucket of ice water over another. I've see..."

To each there on I suppose :)

It seems a hot button topic for some, just depends on how you feel.

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