How My Rating System Works & How I Write Reviews

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Welcome back!

Lately, I’ve seen a lot of talk about rating systems and reviews. Some don’t understand the process of how someone writes a review and rates a book. So I thought I would explain my process and rating system so you understand me and it may help you with others. Now my Review Policy goes into a lot of detail about what I review and don’t review and how to submit a request. It also explains each heart and kiss meaning. This post is going to elaborate on the ratings and writing of reviews.

My Ratings

I use hearts in place of stars. They mean the same as stars and are just what I prefer to use.  I rate a book on a whole which means that I base it on my overall feeling at the end of the book and how glued to it I was. For example, a book has 4 hearts, but my review looks to you like it should be 5 hearts. There are many reasons it could lose that one heart and usually, it’s in the review as to why. It could be that it was too slow for me, too fast or parts were dragged out. Sometimes it’s because of the hero or heroine just didn’t work for me. At times it can just be as simple as it didn’t leave me wowed, but I still liked it and there’s nothing I can pinpoint to put in the review.

3 heart reviews for me usually have equal positives and negatives in the review. I’m usually split on it where I liked parts but also didn’t like a lot of parts. These tend to be ones that are also affected by my kiss rating, lacking story details, and not liking the hero or heroine for most or all of the story. Too many plot holes without hints of they will be resolved in another book. Many 5 kiss rated books land here if they are mostly love scenes and not enough story for me.

Now my kiss ratings for spice level are going to be different for every reader. What I may consider still on the sweet side others may think it’s too steamy. I use halves at times in my kiss rating because some may be just in between ratings for me. I base my rating on how many love scenes there are, how often they appear and the details in the scenes. These ratings also can affect my heart rating depending on how natural to the story they feel and if they take up too much of the story.

For example, books I give 4 kisses to usually have 3 or more love scenes that are detailed and may have more adult language. The scenes can be close together in books, but they don’t take up pages and don’t take away from the story. They are still natural to the story and characters. 5 kisses usually for me take up too much of the story and the scenes happen too early in a full-length book.

It’s like watching a movie or show and asking myself would I watch it with kids around and would it make my dad uncomfortable. I consider Outlander (the show) to be 4 kisses and it makes my dad squirm and I wouldn’t want kids around for those love scenes. There is full on nudity and nothing is left to the imagination. 3 kisses have nudity but only show from the back and sometimes the side without showing things still. So in a book that would be skimming over details a bit leaving things to the imagination and having 3 or less scenes most of the time.

How I Write My Reviews

When I write reviews I break it into three parts my overall thoughts, the heroine, and the hero. I don’t like to rewrite the blurb or retell the whole story. I try to keep it to the point about what I like without spoilers or going into too much detail. I use the blurb as a guide as to what I can safely mention with more details if needed. My reason is that I want readers to get a taste of what’s in the book with enough detail to keep them guessing. I don’t want to give it all away and a reader not want to read it for themselves because they know what happens. That’s why I say I loved such and such scenes or I didn’t see that coming with whoever. I stay vague so readers will have to read to find out what I’m talking about. If I went into details they would be really long reviews and you wouldn’t have to read the book. I do all that when talking to my brother to organize my thoughts because he’s not going to read the book (and isn’t fully listening) and is being my sounding board.

When I talk about the heroine and hero I talk about their personalities a bit, if I like them, understand them, and some things they do. I do this because I know there are certain types that readers like and don’t like and like to know before buying a book. If a heroine is strong and bold I will talk about that. Same goes for heroes that are misunderstood and come off one way, but change. I don’t go into full details on them but hint at things.

I sometimes add a section about other characters that I loved. How I hope to see them again or wished to have an ending to their story.

I also will include trigger warnings if there is something in great detail and a big part of the story. When I do trigger warnings I still try to avoid spoilers, but I have to mention the specific trigger. I will sometimes praise an authors way of handling a topic if they didn’t use it as an add-in or didn’t ignore the effects it can have. Using it an add-in or treating it as nothing will lower my rating and be mentioned in the review.

I will also praise being historical accurate on things that many don’t even though I understand the reasons for not being accurate with some things. I don’t point out inaccuracies or let them affect my rating unless they are really bad (using modern slag like cool or modern clothing etc).

If you ever have a question about something in a review of mine feel free to ask me by commenting or contacting me.

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Where Have I Been & Amazon Troubles

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Where have I been? I know that’s what you have been wondering for the past week. If you’re not friends with me on FB then you have been wondering why no reviews suddenly. I got hit with a bad summer cold that wore me out and I couldn’t read. I’m talking horrible sore throat for days followed by a bad cough and congestion after that. My mom was hit with Strep so there was the worry about me having that too. I just started to really feel better a couple of days ago, but wanted to give myself a good amount of time to rest.

I had planned to read yesterday and last night for a review today. But I was woken up at 7am yesterday to my mom taking my brother to the ER. He had gotten hit with this cold too, but he got a nosebleed that would not stop and wasn’t a little one. Good news is it was nothing serious but took almost two hours to stop it and most likely due to a sinus infection. The focus was on him for the day and making sure he was okay.

I will have a review for you on Friday.

Now my Amazon troubles. In short, I’ve been banned from reviewing on Amazon. This happened at the same time that I got sick so I’ve been dealing with that too. I contacted them three times before I heard back about why all my reviews were gone and why I couldn’t post any. I was told that elements of my account indicated that I have a relationship to sellers, publishers, and other reviewers. Or that I received compensation for my reviews or requested free or discounted products in exchange for reviews.

Do I have a relationship with these people? Not in the sense of being a close friend or family member. I’ve never met a single one in person. I’m a fan, reader, and blogger. My reviews show that I read the books and aren’t always 4 and 5 star reviews so they are honest too. I have bought many of the books and products I’ve reviewed on my own because I wanted them. Not because I was asked to review them.

Am I compensated for my reviews? No. I would never take payment for a review. I am given books to review, but I voluntarily review them. They are honest reviews which means authors don’t expect glowing reviews just because they gave me the books. The only money I make is as an affiliate and that is very little ( a few cents at a time). That’s not for reviews and is just links I post for things I love.

Have I requested free or discounted products in exchange for reviews? No. I know some bloggers will approach authors and publishers for books they want to read. But I don’t do that as I don’t feel its right to do. If I want to read a book I will buy it if there hasn’t been an opportunity to review through a tour, street team, or author asking me if I want to read it. I do have on my blog that if an author submits a book they need to provide a copy. This is standard for bloggers as we can’t possibly afford to buy every book and we usually buy the ones we love.

Book Blogger Tag

Book Blogger Tag

It’s Random Friday and time for another tag! I found this one on Trice Read and thought it was a great way for you to get to know how I work.

Enjoy!

Where Do You Typically Write Your Blog Posts?

In my living room with fur babies running around me.

How Long Does It Take You To Write A Book Review?

Depends on the book. It can take anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour because I try to avoid spoilers and include what I love. Sometimes if the book wasn’t my favorite or the blurb is very short it takes me longer.

When Did You Start Your Book Blog?

It’s been two years now and I love it.

What’s The Worst Thing About Having A Book Blog In Your Opinion?

Falling into reader burn out. This is why I don’t post every day because I don’t want to get burned out and not be posting reviews.

What Is The Best Thing About Having A Book Blog In Your Opinion?

Helping authors get the word out about their books! Especially the new authors that are publishing their first book.

What Blog Post Have You Had The Most Fun Writing So Far?

I think my post about why I write reviews was the most fun.

What Is Your Favorite Type Of Blog Posts To Write?

I really love writing book reviews. I can share my love of a book and it helps me learn what I like and don’t like in books.

When Do You Typically Write?

In the afternoon most of the time.

How Do You Write YOur Book Reviews? With A Cup Of Coffee or Tea? With Netflix? Cuddled With YOur Fur Baby? 

Usually cuddled with my fur baby next to me while the tv plays in the background.

When Do Write You Write Your Book Reviews? Right After Finishing The Book? Two Weeks After Finishing The Book?

I read at night most of the time so I write my review the next day. That’s enough time to think and not forget anything. If I read during the day then right after I finish.

How Often Do You Post?

I post three times a week. Usually, two are reviews, but sometimes all three are reviews.

New Releases This Month That I’m Looking Forward To!

New Releases This Month That I'm Looking Forward Too! (1)

It’s Random Friday and today I am kicking off the idea I talked about on Monday. A post about the new releases this month that I’m looking forward to. I know how hard it is to keep up with all the new releases especially when you love so many authors. I plan to do this once a month at the beginning of the month.

 

 

39076139Blessings from Heaven by Lynn Winchester

Releasing April 18

I can’t wait to continue the series.

 

 

 

39685317Lord of Fortune by Darcy Burke

Releasing April 24

I have been waiting for this book for a long time and can’t wait to dive into it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I’m Reading This Week

What I'm Reading This Week (2)

This week I am busy with work so I won’t have three reviews, but I will have at least one. This book will be The Hellion by Christi Caldwell which I have been looking forward to reading. If I’m able to do another review it will be Erica Ridley’s latest book.

Something I’m thinking about starting here on this blog is at the first of every month I will post a list of new releases I’m looking forward to that month. Or If there isn’t any I will post what I will be reviewing for sure that month. That way you can see if there is a book you are wondering about coming up in my reviews.

You can always ask me about a book and I will see if I have reviewed it before or if it is in my TBR list of books I already have and I can review it.

Why I Review Books and Why You Should Too

Why I Review Books and Why You Should Too

I am asked why I review books all the time and if it’s because I get free books. The short answer is NO, but I thought I would explain why I review books. Maybe it will inspire you to review the books you read.

I started reviewing books way before this blog because I read a book that I loved and wanted to thank the author by leaving a review for others to see. Then I started reviewing all the books that I loved even though they were short reviews. If I won a book in a giveaway I left a review as a thank you then I joined some street teams of favorite authors and learned about ARCs and started reviewing those. That is also where I learned about book blogs and fell in love with the idea.

When I started my blog It was and still is my mission to help support authors and spread the word about their books. The way I write my reviews as changed over time from short say “I loved it” to longer with more details as to why I loved it. When I started I only had the books I bought to review and it was a long time before I was asked to review a book. I turned down quite a few then and still do because I’m not after a free book. I only accept ones I’m truly interested in and know I have time to read them. I still have street teams I’m apart of because I love those authors books. I know that my reviews help those authors spread the word about their books and people that are looking for a book to read can see that others liked it.

The best feeling in the world is when an author says your review touched them or made them feel great. Another great feeling is when a reader says your review made them want to read the book.

If you love a book leave a review to let the author know so they keep writing. They don’t have to be long or detailed reviews. Even if you didn’t love it, a review can still be helpful to the author to know what people aren’t liking. Just don’t be harsh or not explain why you didn’t like it. Reviews like that also help readers avoid something that might trigger them or has something they don’t like in it like foul language or open door love scenes.

My tips for writing a review:

Say what you loved, but leave out spoilers. Look at the blurb to see what is mentioned so you don’t give away something. How you avoid spoilers is to be vague about details like say you love the twist with a certain character or that you loved the proposal scene because it was different. You want to intrigue someone to find out what happened or is different.

If you didn’ like something then explain why, but in a nice way. You don’t want to bash it or spoil something for others, but want to explain that whatever didn’t work for you. If there is something that upset you, triggered you, or could bother others include that. I always put a note in my review if the book deals with a sensitive subject (abortion, abuse, etc) as a main part of the story and not just mentioned in passing, or if there is graphic violence or rape.

Size doesn’t matter. You can do the short and sweet “I loved it” or longer ones. whichever fits the book. The only time that I think short doesn’t work is if you didn’t like it because nothing is worse for an author or even a reader is to see “I hated it” without an explanation. Sometimes those reviews are for the wrong book or just someone being mean that has never read it.

Would You Like to See Contempary Romance Too?

Would you be interested in reviews of Contemporary Romance too_

It’s Random Friday and I have a question for you! If you follow me on Instagram you saw a few weeks ago that I won a bunch of books from a giveaway. I didn’t know what they would when I entered and they were all romances, but not all historical. You know that I don’t read and review anything but historical romances and I’ve never actually read other romance sub-genres. But a few of these looked good and this gives me the chance to try them out without wasting money if I don’t like them.

Thank brings me to my question. Would you like to see my reviews of these books and maybe more in the future? This blog would still be focused on historical and these reviews would have a special day once a month or week. Answer the poll below and feel free to comment too.

Come Join Me on Facebook!

Sassy Historical Romance Lovers (1)

Come join my Facebook group! I started this group months ago, but have neglected it because I’ve been busy. That has changed! It got a refresher with a new name and look. This is a group for everyone, not just readers.

Authors are welcome to join and post about their books, look for reviewers, host days, post tour signups and just have fun. All historical romances are welcome. We love the ones that dare to be different.

Readers can post too and not just about books. Everyone can talk about shows, movies, facts. Anything historical/romance related. Outlander, Poldark, Victoria and other shows are big right now.

If you would like to join just click this link —–> Sassy Historical Romance Lovers

There are very few rules once you join.

The Bookshelf Tag

The Bookshelf Tag

It’s Random Friday and time for another tag! I found this tag on Dreamland Book Blog. I thought this one looked like a lot of fun to do.

On to the questions!

Describe your bookshelf and where you got it from

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This is my only bookshelf and it doesn’t hold all my books. I’ve had this since I was little so I have no clue where it came from. I have books on my desk by my bed and then books in a chest.

How do you organize your books?

As you can tell in the above picture my books are just stacked with series together. They have to be in order.

What’s the longest book on your shelf?

20180112_142334-01.jpegAt 1,438 A Breath of Snow and Ashes is the longest on my shelf.

What’s the shortest book on your shelf?

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My shortest book is The Misfortune of Lady Lucianna with 177 pages.

 Is there a book you received as a birthday gift?

Surprisingly there isn’t one. I have many from Christmas and contests, but not birthdays.

Is there a book from a friend on your shelf?20180112_143552-01.jpeg

Two actually. I’ve read The American Heiress already, but have been too busy to read The Fortune Hunter. A friend read them and thought I would love them and sent them home with me.

The most expensive book on your shelf?

Has to be the Outlander books, but I don’t know which one is the most expensive.

The last book you read on your shelf?

 

Do you have a complete series?

20180112_144847-01.jpegYes. I only have one and that is the Star Trek Destiny series.

What’s the newest addition to your shelf?

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No Earls Allowed which is even published yet.

The oldest book on your shelf?

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The Lawman is how I found romances books. I had the ebook version first.

What’s a book you’d hate to let out of your sight? (A.K.A. No one is touching it. Ever.)

All of my signed books.

Most beat up book?

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My Outlander books are pretty beat up

Most pristine book?

No Earls Allowed because I haven’t read it yet.

A book that doesn’t belong to you?

None.

A book that is your favorite color?

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I have many in my favorite color, but this is my favorite cover in that color.

A book that’s been on your shelf the longest and you still haven’t read it?

Part of the Outlander series

Of all the books on your shelf, which was the first you read?

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Never Surrender to a Scoundrel. This was my first giveaway win too!

Any signed books?

 

 

What I’ve Learned from Reading Historical Romance

I'm Still a Proud Modern Day Blue Stocking

If you know me or have been a part of this blog for awhile you know I proudly call myself a modern-day bluestocking. I haven’t posted about that in awhile and since it’s Random Friday I thought this would be a perfect time to do it. You can read more about being a modern-day bluestocking by reading Shamed For Being A Modern Day Bluestocking

I’ve learned a lot of things that have helped me in my life by reading historical romances. A lot of it applies to real life romance and has helped me stay away from guys that wouldn’t respect me.

 You don’t have to say yes to every person that asks you out

By reading I have learned that just because I’m asked doesn’t mean I have to say yes. I will only say yes to the ones I want to and won’t be pressured into it. It’s not always about playing the field to find out what you are looking for.  You need to be interested in them to say yes.

You need to share some views, beliefs, and interests

Yes, opposites attract and that is great in most cases, but you need to be alike in somethings if they are very important to you. I love to read and talk about books and that’s something I would love to have in common with someone, but just them respecting it if they don’t share it is fine. Then I have some views and beliefs that are strong and I need someone that shares them. Being on opposites sides doesn’t always mesh in this case.

You deserve respect at all times

Everyone should be respected at all times. If they put down anything about you from looks to interests then they don’t respect you. I’ve been put down for reading, the types of books I read, not wearing makeup all the time, and many other things. I will not be with someone that does that.

Be you no matter what

You are you for a reason and shouldn’ hide it or change for anyone. If you are very smart don’t play dumb to get someones attention. If you dress a certain way or don’t wear makeup don’t change unless you want to for yourself. I wear makeup when I want to and don’t hide my love of romance and books. Don’t be pressured to change your views, choices, looks, beliefs, or interests.