Reviews I’ve Given


My Review Star System

I always start with five stars. Then depending on certain criteria I add points or deduct them.

A) Minus 0.5 star, if the book has less than ten missing words, misplaced punctuation, spelling errors, or extra words.

B) Minus 1 star, if the book has more than ten missing words, misplaced words, spelling errors, or extra words.

C) Minus 0.5 stars, if the above errors drew me out of the story.

D) Minus 1 star, if the book is less than 50,000 words, unless it’s promoted as a short story and reflected in the price.

E) Minus 1 star, if I didn’t enjoy reading the book and maybe had to give up.

F) Add 0.5 star, if the book maintains my interest.

G) Add 0.5 star, if the book invokes strong responses, such as suspense, tension, fear, sadness, sympathy, empathy, happiness, or is thought provoking.

H) Add 0.5 star, if the book flows.

I) Add 0.5 star, if I felt it was a reasonably good read at the end.

J) Add 1 star, if I thoroughly enjoyed the book

My Reviews

The Secret,  Karen Mossman 4****

(B) minus 1 (C) minus 0.5 (D) minus 1 (F) Add 0.5 (H)  add 0.5 (I) 0.5

Kerry was part of an ordinary, happy family until her father died. Struggling on her own and with few choices left, Kerry’s mother eventually accepted the shelter of another man’s home, a man who loved her until things turned sour. In hindsight, it was probably the wrong move, but sometimes you have to live through these circumstances before you realize it’s not what you want. It certainly wasn’t what Kerry wanted.

The way this author wrote about one family’s life in 1970 Manchester was authentic and enjoyable.  It was an easy read but somewhat short for me because I prefer a longer read. Nonetheless, I enjoyed being lost in nostalgia for a short time and wallowing in the memories of that era’s music and singers. The well-developed characters seemed realistic and the places were vividly described. I based my star award system  on editing, book length, flow, maintaining interest, reading enjoyment, and whether it invokes strong reading responses like fear, suspense, happiness, sadness, etc. For this review see:

About caroleparkes

My husband calls me a butterfly because I flit from one hobby to another. Apart from being a wife for 52 years, a mother of three sons, and a grandmother, I'm also an author, genealogist, amateur artist, a lover of most needlecrafts, and occasional poet. Of the above, my most enduring interest has been writing and I hope to be doing it well into old age.
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10 Responses to Reviews I’ve Given

  1. Carla Doria says:

    This is a great idea! Until now, my reviews have been very subjective. Mostly, they were 5 stars if I really loved the book, 4 stars if there were some things in the plot that didn’t convince me, and 3 if the book was more or less. I’ve read tons of books deserving 1 or 2 stars but I really don’t have the heart to leave them. As a writer myself, I know how much this would hurt. So I’d rather not leave the review in these situations… But now that I read your system, I think I might have come with some review system of my own, since I always feel that my system is too subjective.


    • caroleparkes says:

      I too am reluctant to leave low scoring reviews and would rather contact the author privately if that’s the case. I think most authors feel this way, while those that only review have no qualms about it. It is our right to refrain from giving a poor review.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. If you start with five points and a book is good you can’t really add any more can you?

    I think starting with five stars is silly. There is no logical reason to assume a book will be excellent.

    What has length got to do with it?

    You are basically adding three stars for a good book and deducting three for a poor one, length excluded. Why not start at three stars in the middle?

    What do you do when books have 100 or 200 errors? Get the name of their central characters wrong?

    Do you send an email? And inform the author? Or just knock off a star for ‘poor editing’?

    Anything with loads of errors doesn’t merit 4 stars. When I review on one site, the guidelines are that so many errors do not get more than three stars, over and above everything else.


    • caroleparkes says:

      Reviews are down to each individual readers take on that book. You can’t follow other people’s rules about ratings. This is my own personal scale based on my own individual tastes. I have the right to exercise this viewpoint here. If the book had more errors than I could tolerate, then I would contact the author privately.

      For me, a book that has an interesting plot, is well-written, has no editing errors, believable characters, flows well, and holds my attention to the end deserves five stars. Yet, my next read may have a brilliant plot, be exceptionally well written with no errors, have amazing characters, flow fast and free, and not only holds my attention to the end but captivates me with it’s clever plot. Now, since I’m giving this exceptional second book five stars–because I can’t give any higher, does this mean the first book doesn’t deserve five stars? I would argue I should.


    • caroleparkes says:

      I think what it comes down to is the fact I can tolerate a few errors and still enjoy a book. I know many people can’t and that is entirely their own opinion. I can respect that.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. M E Cheshier says:

    I love this concept!


  4. Sounds like a reasonable review system. Wouldn’t it be great if Amazon could publish such a guideline.


    • caroleparkes says:

      I’m not convinced review rankings should be standardized like that, though. As I’ve just stated in a previous reply, reviews should reflect individual tastes. In life, people like or hate different things. If we all followed the same criteria, the reulting reviews wouldn’t reflect the differences in people’s tastes. Feel free to use this for your reviews if it fits with your tastes, but it’s probably better if reviewers thought about their own preferences.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I meant it as a guidance paper. Of course personal opinion should enter into it. So many people don’t review because they don’t think they know how.


        • caroleparkes says:

          In that case I’m happy for anyone to use this. First reviews can be difficult to do. For me, the bottom line is how much you enjoyed the book, no matter what others thought of it. For me, personally, a book that has too many errors makes it unreadable and I would choose not to review it. We don’t have to review every book we read or attempt to read. In that case I would contact the author and explain why I found it difficult to read and review.

          Liked by 1 person

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