How I Write Reviews
This is an in-depth explanation of how I set about reviewing books. Please read this carefully before you approach me with a request to review a book.
I start off my reviews with the rating, which I do in the Goodreads & Amazon style.
5 stars—I loved it!
4 stars—I really liked it.
3 stars—I liked it.
2 stars—It was OK, but it had content issues.
1 star—I didn’t like it at all.
Personally, I also added 5+ stars which means I really, really loved it. I also added .5 stars to add extra distinctions. So, for example: 4.5 stars means I really liked it but there was either some content that lowered my rating or it fell just little flat. 3.5 means I enjoyed it, but didn’t “really, really like it.” 1.5 stars would be I disliked it overall but there were a few parts I enjoyed. And so forth.
Recently I’ve also started doing hearts. (You will notice that my older reviews don’t have hearts; that’s why). I borrowed this idea from my friend Abi. She started rating books on a scale of 1 to 10 mushrooms (or ’shrooms) because it gave her more freedom. I decided to adapt that to my reviewing style so people could tell how much I loved a book. There’s 5+-star books, and 5+-stars books. So I took 10 hearts and gave each one a meaning.
I always include the rating at the start of the review, so that it’s right there in it and not just on the Amazon or Goodreads rating scale. I usually keep my reviews short, but on occasion I do write a longer one.
I will next list the stuff that I loved or liked. I don’t always do fangirling, and seldom at length, but that does happen sometimes. I don’t have a specific method for how I write this section, so it depends on the book and how I fell on a given day.
Next come the things that personally didn’t appeal to me.
I am a copyeditor. I notice things such as poor writing and typos. I unfortunately can’t turn that off. I value good writing, and I reserve the right to remark when a writing style or lack of editing severely bothered me. (However, I very seldom exercise this right). I also reserve the right to express my opinions and stance on various subjects (i.e., politics, bad family relationships, stupid characters…)
Then comes the content. Content is the sexual, religious, and moralistic stuff such as drinking, kissing, language, and things that I think do not line up with the Bible.
My romance standards are simple: absolutely no touching before marriage. Any sort of contact between a male and a female will affect my review. The more physical it gets, the lower the rating. I also will not stand for any sexual sins such as fornication, homosexuality, adultery, etc. Also, improper scenarios like an unmarried man & woman being alone together, living alone together, or traveling alone together also affects my reviews. Innuendos & mentions of intimate things are also not welcome. I also do not like romance scenes in general, even between a man and his wife. Bedroom scenes & mentions of intimacy immediately lowers the rating. I also do not believe in reading books with detailed physical intimacy, aka long kisses, much touching, and thinking of certain details. Illegitimacy & rape I am willing to accept as long as its non-detailed and not glorified.
I have read books with this type of content and haven’t hated them. It all depends what surrounds them and how the details are handled. I am aware that life is not pretty, and if there is redemption, I am willing to try a book with such content. But be advised that there is still a chance that this content will affect my review.
I am a follower of Christ and the Bible is my guidebook. If the theology of the book goes against what the Bible teaches, the review will progressively get more negative. This is so large I can’t give a full rundown, but here’s a few topics: Salvation by grace through the blood of Jesus alone. Prayer to Christ & the Father alone. All life is precious. One man + one woman joined before God is the only thing that creates marriage. Gender does not change. Suicide is not okay. Women can’t be pastors. Magic is 100% evil.
I am also not a fan of Biblical Fiction, especially when it starts changing the Bible stories or puts words in God/Jesus’s mouth.
Again, I do my best to live my life as the Bible lays it out. Swearing (that includes mild euphemisms such as “j**pers” or “d*ng”) instantly lower my review of a book. These things are non-negotiable.
Drinking & smoking, unless presented as a bad thing, also affects my review. Slurs or derogatory talk against any person for any reason is not acceptable. Lying & deceit is a huge problem. Unkindness in word or action by the “good guys” that is not resolved will also affect my review. Cross-dressing is not okay (even as a disguise). Ghosts, aliens, fairies/elves/leprechauns, etc, do not exist; superstition is silly; “reading in the stars” & “second sight” I don’t accept. Lack of respect or obedience to authority is not welcome. I do not read supernatural (aka super powers). This is a good beginning list; there may be other things but these are the main issues I may have.
Graphic scenes of violence (torture, wounds) are not welcome, but unless its very strong it does not usually affect my review. I am able to handle a good level of violence & crime (I love mysteries; Sherlock Homes & Anna Katharine Green’s books are some of my favourites). However, I do not read violence for the sake of violence, especially when it’s detailed.
I am well versed in history and am a stickler for details. Unless there is a very good reason for it (and it is explained), I’m not fond of changing the historical details. Historical inaccuracies bother me extremely. That ranges from details of everyday life, to actual historical happenings, to inaccurate language, to inaccurate opinions and thoughts. I also don’t take kindly to having geography changed or not consulted, unless it is a fantasy/kingdom adventure book. And I dislike when a culture is changed or misrepresented. I also dislike minimizing or misrepresenting real problems like anxiety, depression, etc.
While I list the negative content, I don’t go on and on about it unless it bothered me very much and I feel like I need to explain just why it bothered me so. This I do for the review readers, not to parade my opinions or bash an author. See an example here, here, and here. If there’s a lot of content, then I state there is content and add, “Look below for a list of the content” and after the quotes I put a list. See an example here.
After listing the content and/or negative stuff, I close with more positivity if I can. To close off the review I generally add a favourite quote, a favourite humorous quote, and a favourite beautiful quote.
I write one honest review and I do not change it except for such things as typos, bad writing (a.k.a. lack of parallelism, etc.), and if I find that I made a mistake (e.g., said there were 6 siblings when there were 5). I strive to state the truth in a kind, gracious way.
I also reserve the right to DNF a book, or to refuse to read it.
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