My Review System
This is a totally personal and subjective view about books. I always start with five stars. Then depending on certain criteria I deduct stars.
A) Minus 0.5 star if the book has more than ten missing words, misplaced words or punctuation, spelling errors, or extra words.
(B) Minus 0.5 stars if the above errors drew me out of the story.
(C) Minus 1 star if the sentence structure and grammar make it awkward to read.
(D) Minus 1 star if I had to give up reading the book because of the above.
(E) Minus 0.5 stars if the book is shorter than 200 pages and not reflected in the price.
(F) Minus 0.5 if there is unwarranted profanity or gratuitous sex scenes unless this takes up only a tiny proportion of the whole book.
(G) Minus 0.5 if the story content leaves me a little dissatisfied.
(H) Minus 1 If the story leaves me wholly dissatisfied
The Secret, Karen Mossman 4****
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.
My Barsetshire Diaries by Lord David Prosser 4****
I enjoyed this light hearted, tongue-in-cheek look at the lives of Lord and Lady Prosser mainly because it didn’t need me to do anything but read. As a lover of thrillers with suspense and intrigue, my reading involves trying to remember every detail and clue. This book was a refreshing change. It’s an easy flowing, non-taxing, absorbing read, liberally splashed with good clean humour.
Between garden fetes, fund raising events, a visit to the opera house, endless shopping, and dining out, they lead quite busy lives. I was amazed how little time they spend at home despite not having jobs. Then there are their pets and other family members to fit in. All this activity and Lord David’s charming way of looking at things made the book charming and interesting.
Although it was a good read which I would recommend to anyone, I knocked half a star off for the very few editing errors, and another half a star off for it being less than 200 pages. Sorry, but this is just one of my quirky rules unless the shorter story is reflected in the price.
(A) minus 0.5 star (E) minus 0.5 star Awarded 4*****
BloodMarked by Lu J Whitley 5*****
Lu J Whitley demonstrates her wonderful talent for creative writing well in this, her debut book. Even though her fantasy characters are purely fictional, they’re created with remarkable skill and utterly believable. It’s the same with the setting. A modern-day world co-existing with the living remnants of a much older one, yet, it doesn’t seem odd at all when you’re reading it. Not even when two unlikely characters like the troll, Stein, and Jami, the 800 year old guardian of Greta, both take a plane ride with normal passengers. I put that credibility down to the author’s clever writing style.
I won’t go into the story since it’s already explained in earlier reviews, and I couldn’t really add more without giving spoilers. It’s sufficient to say I was hooked from the first page to the last. It was fast paced, engrossing and thoroughly enjoyable. The only let down for me was the ending which seemed abrupt and left just as many questions as the story began with. For this, I would deduct 0.5 stars but since Amazon doesn’t allow me to award 4.5 stars and the fact there will be a sequel, I’m awarding it 5 stars. I’m sure further books in the series will resolve everything. I’ll certainly be buying the rest of the series to find out what happens.
I’d recommend this book without hesitation, even if it does whet your appetite for more.
(G) minus 0.5 stars Awarded 5*****
Older Reviews Written Before I Introduced My System
The Lost Heirs: The first story of Eshla by Amanda Soley 5*****
5th Nov 2014
Although this book is described as YA, in truth, it’s an enjoyable read for any age group. It has all the elements of the Harry Potter stories, and more. This author knows how to create a fascinating make-believe story. Her wonderfully descriptive scenes pull you right inside the world of Eric who has stumbled upon another world. He and his friends are given a task to solve leading them into mystery, excitement, and danger. Cleverly written, it’s sprinkled with humour to contrast with the tense moments. It had me laughing out loud at the colourful phrases used, like: ‘He spoke quietly and dangerously again, his massive walrus moustache quivering like a dying slug in the last spasms of life.’ Wonderful! I can’t wait for the second story.
‘Ice’ by Jessica Wren 5*****
5th November 2014
I really enjoyed this book. It has all the elements you expect to find in a small American town where everyone knows all there is to know about everyone else, and strangers are treated with some suspicion. What’s not expected is the special telepathic capability the community have. It’s an unusual story with some unexpected twists, especially the crime scene. The author has cleverly handled the large number of characters well and you feel as though you get to know most of them quite quickly. It’s a well written, easy read that flows nicely. Well done!
Review of ‘Transitory’ by Ian Williams 5*****
13th Jan 2015
‘Transitory’ has opened up a new genre for me. Its well thought out plot, though complicated, is executed extremely well. It keeps the reader guessing the outcome all the way through. The writing is superb, overpowering the very few typos that managed to slip through, rendering them insignificant. The author, Ian Williams, took me to a fantastically different location without the normal dreary travel time evident in some science fiction books. His characterisations were brilliant. They made me care about Nate, the main character, and also the others who were helping him get to the truth. They also made me really hate Stuart and the hired assassin. I congratulate this new author and look forward to reading more of his books.
Review of ‘Imogene’s Message: A Thriller of Extreme Prejudice’ by Christine Sherborne 4****
16th Feb 2015
The story begins with one chilling scene, and continues with many more, each one even more suspenseful and weirder than the last. The characters are imaginative, and extremely diverse. The religious zealots trying to eliminate Xantara, the Energy Guardian of Avebury circle were terrifying. I was wondering what awful torture they would dream up next, and it didn’t disappoint; it was more horrific than I expected. I did get a little confused in places, but generally, it was an enjoyable read. If you like fantasy this book has plenty to keep you interested.
Review of ‘Kissing Demons’
by Jen Winters 4****
1st Mar 2015
Kissing Demons is mostly a fast paced fantasy, but does slow down in places where necessary explanations are given. As a new reader of fantasy, I found these passages helpful but others might think differently.
It has all the usual elements of guardians, demons, werewolves, fae, and witchcraft. The heroine Geneva, an immortal guardian, along with her sister guardians have to fight and destroy a powerful demon who’s sired many Halfling children. Geneva discovers one of them is her soul mate, but as a good guardian, she is willing to sacrifice him, if need be, for the world good.
I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline, but for me personally, her servant of God character was spoiled a little by the graphic sex scenes. They seemed superfluous to the plot.
Johnny Nothing by Ian Probert 4****
3rd Mar 2015
Although this book is primarily written for children, I found myself laughing out loud in places. It’s dark, but cleverly written and witty enough not to frighten the younger reader. Reading certain passages might make them squirm a little, or even a lot, especially when Felicity has to kiss her brother’s corpse. Yuk! The author has been creative with the characters, especially Felicity, who is colourful and completely over the top. There are plenty of lessons for children, although maybe repeated a little too often. I’d recommend this book to anyone wanting a quick read with a bit of humour.