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This post has a twin for spicy read reviews over on our sister site Holihell.
Book reviews are almost as important as the sales figures to an author. In some ways even more so as reviews, even bad ones, can lead to more sales. I know this – I have always known this – so that means I leave a review every time I finish a book, right? Right?
Ehhh… I wish I could say yes. Of course, I always leave a review. Or a rating, at the very least. Sadly, that would be a bare-faced lie, and for someone who’s made a living out of their ability to make shit up, I am surprisingly bad at lying about things like this.
I do write reviews, and I always mean to, but I have this problem that trips me up. More often than not, I fail to bridge the gap between thought and action, and the biggest hurdle in this case is the criteria. How do you “judge” or assess a book from a strict reader’s enjoyment perspective? How can you even compare books? Each story stands on its own and, ideally, you’d like to think that’s enough. Right? Yeah, I wish.
In 2022, I finally managed to make myself a rating system for films and books that I watch or read for fun. For the love of stories. (There was a time I had to be see-ree-uss about reviews as I wrote them for money, but that didn’t spark much joy in me.) Unfortunately, I soon realised my new system didn’t work quite as well as I would have liked. Tweaking it to make it work better has been an item on my to-do-list ever since, and today is the day we finally pull it back out of the pit of doom.
Today, we’ll attempt to set up a list of easily applicable review criteria so we can start doing for others what all Resilience writers wish more people would do for us. Rate, roast or romance our stories. So, let’s see… How about this?
This was one of those rare treats that keep giving. The story hit all the right buttons, and I will re-read it, make references to it, remember certain scenes, and quote the characters for years to come. You never know, it may even influence aspects of my own storytelling at some point in the future. Sign me up for the newsletter, get me all the titles on the backlist, and put my name down for all future pre-orders.
I genuinely enjoyed reading this story and may even revisit it at some point. It’s well-written and well-told, and the characters are fully fleshed and relatable/believable. The promise of the premise was fulfilled, and a good time was had by all involved. (Yes, I am that reader!) I’ll definitely be checking out the author’s mailing list and their other stories.
This story did what it said on the tin, and I enjoyed reading it. There may have been some things I would’ve liked to change, and some things I didn’t particularly care for. Heck, it was probably not written to appeal to readers like me, but on the whole, it was a positive experience. What’s not to like about that? I’d be interested to see what else this writer has done and where they’ll go from here.
The story was okay, I guess, but it wasn’t doing it for me. There could be a number of reasons for this, but it was most likely because I didn’t enjoy it, didn’t find it, or its characters, interesting or engaging. It could also be because (I felt that) it was poorly executed. I’m not so sure I’ll be reading anything else by this author, not unless they have something that really piques my interest.
There was a start of something here that made me pick this book up, something that tickled my knowsy bone, but something about the story was so confusing it made my head hurt. I have questions…
Ehh, nope! Nu-uh. Not happening. DNF! Why? Well, I’ll have to tell you that on a case-by-case basis.
We have a plan!
Right, there we have it. The plan. Now we just have to put it into practice. Easy peasy, right? We’ll see about that, but at least we have a blueprint to use as some kind of reference point. I find that having a system – any system – works for most things. You don’t even need to like it, but once you start using it you’ll get ideas on how to tweak it and make it work (better) for you.
My goal for 2024 is to read a book a week on average and to rate and review at least half of them. Let me know in the comments what your goal is, what you think of this rating system, and/or tell me about yours if you have one.
I love talking about books and bookish things, so don’t be shy.
ABOUT LINNEA LUCIFER
Linnea Lucifer is the Captain of the imaginary, yet very real, pirate ship Resilience and her merry crew of indie authors and omnivorous readers. But that is not all – amateur liar, weaver of stories, peddler of merch, lifelong spoonie, ancient dragon lady and Maddox Rhinehart’s irreverent pet are a few more words often used to describe the bearer of many names.
The Captain was named after a delicate little flower that grows in mossy, Swedish pine forests, and a certain fiery fallen angel. She spends most of her days daydreaming and writing fantasy, smut and painfully crappy poems. A diva of delight, she takes great pleasure in everything that tickles the senses and adds a sprinkle of magic and spice to our world.
Linnea writes fantasy rooted in Norse mythology and Scandinavian folklore under the pen name Saga Linnea Söderberg. She also writes Sweet’n’Spicy Spoonie romance together with Leto Armitage under their joint pen name Linn Rhinehart.