How Books are Reviewed

A quick aside before I get into the details: if you only want the down and dirty for a book, read my Initial Response and my Icing on Top. I try not to get into too many technical aspects of the book in those sections, but you'll still get a feel for my overall perspective on the book.

So, on to the mundane!

Each review will have an introduction to the book, including its name, author, genre, and a quick synopsis. The maturity rating isn't scientific, but I think of it in terms of what I would be comfortable with my siblings reading.

There are only two maturity ratings that I'll work with for now:
13+: mild content (language/violence/sex at a minimum)
17+: adult content (language/violence/sex for mature audiences only)

There are two overall ratings that I'll explain in each review.
The first rating is my initial read-through rating and is out of 5 stars.

0 stars: Did not finish
It's rare, but it happens. Sometimes a book is so off the charts into terribleness, I can't fathom finishing it

1 star: I finished the book, but I would not suggest to anyone
Don't even waste your time

2 stars: Wasn't my cup of tea, but it wasn't terrible
What did I just read?
3 stars: I liked it, but it could have been a lot better
Sometimes a book is just okay. Not bad, not great, but still enjoyable.
4 stars: I really liked it, but there were minor flaws
A book that gets four stars is generally worthy of a happy dance! I was highly entertained
5 stars: I loved it, and I will probably read it again
What sorcery is this?! Can a book really be this good?!

Sometimes, even if a book is really well-written, I might really dislike it. An example of that would be Moby Dick. Definitely not a favorite of mine! This rating should be taken with a grain of salt because it's purely based on my gut feeling and my personal preferences. Because of that, I also have a technical rating.
I know; technical stuff isn't everyone's cup of tea, but, what can you do?

Each book that I review will have a technical rating out of 5 stars; the ratings will be based on points earned in categories that I believe are critical to the success of a book. Here are explanations of these categories:

Character Building: Are the characters fleshed out? Are they believable within the realm of their stories?
Characters play an important role in any story. Their actions and voices generally carry a story forward along an author's plot, and if the character building feels disjointed, the reader may never feel any connection to the book.

Plot Strength: Does the book have a story line that can be followed? Is the story consistent? Are the plot elements concrete?
There are a multitude of books out there that thrive on tangled plot lines, but let it be said that this approach does not work for every story. If plot points are contradictory and the story can't be understood on a basic level, the book will ultimately turn readers off.

Sincerity: Is the story plausible in the world built by the author?
This category can seem a little vague at times, but it goes hand in hand with plot strength. Many books are based in the reality of today's world with minor tweaks; it is up to the author to make sure that these tweaks (think vampires, hidden aliens, magic, etc) mold in seamlessly.

Editing: Can I read the book without cringing? Does the author/editor wield basic grammatical knowledge?
Honestly, this category is always big with me; I find it difficult to finish a book when I have to maneuver around numerous errors. If there's one thing that I mourn, it's a book with a stellar story to tell that can't find its way out of grammatical hell.

Pacing: Does the story progress at a reasonable speed?
I look for stories to have a good balance in its speed. It's important to note that this does not mean that I think that all books should have the same set speed; different books require different tactics. Overall, if a story progresses too quickly it can gloss over important plot points. On the other hand, if a story progresses too slowly it can get caught in the act of telling instead of showing. It's a fine line to be sure, but pacing is just as important as any of the other categories.

The above five categories can receive one of three ratings:
1 star=Excellent
.5 stars=Average
0 stars=Failing

Add all the points together for a rating out of 5 stars.

There is one additional category:

Bonus!: Examples: Originality, Satisfaction, etc
Not all books are the same, and some books have qualities that, while not reflected in the main categories, are worthy to bring to light for appreciation. This category can boost a rating by .5 points

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