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.
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.