Dishing with Dee…the curious case of rating books

30 Mar

dishing with dee 2

It’s always hard when it comes to writing reviews for books. I don’t shy away from giving negative reviews (I mean, see the one from Friday that I wrote on the audiobook), but at the same time, sometimes that honestly comes back to bite me in the ass. I’ve never really mentioned it on my blog, but several years ago, one of the DNF reviews that I posted here was used as an example in an Indie Writer Blog on how to make sure you avoid picking bad reviewers for your books. The author’s premise – that since I read predominantly romance novels (per my Goodreads profile), that I was basically too dumb to understand his masterpiece. That is ignoring that fact that I have multiple degrees in a variety of different fields (although my primary focus is in Psychology); that I was in the military for multiple years…no, his whole hypothesis was based on my enjoyment of romance novels.

I’ve been reading for many years – I mean, my mom will tell you that when I started elementary school, I knew how to read basic words already (in fact, the one and only time – at least that I remember – that she had to have a teacher-parent conference was because I was bored in class). I’ve gone through many phases of reading, from mysteries, to suspense, to romance; through my non-fiction phase, and back to romance. I keep coming back to romance because it is my happy spot, but that doesn’t preclude me from reading other genres.

Since i’ve never really posted a “how I rate books” post, I thought I’d post something today – this is rough break-down of my approach to rating books. You will notice that I do write DNF and 1 star reviews for my blog, because I do believe in being honest and rating a book appropriately. I’ve been burnt many times by books that only have rave reviews and then wondering what the heck am I missing…and so, here it is:

5 stars – mind-blowing, I typically want to pick up the book and re-read it as soon as I finish it – this is a rarely used rating (in 2014, I only had 3 5-stars).
4 stars – well written, engaging, made me want to read more books by the author in the near future (i.e. as soon as I get a chance)
3 stars – decent writing, plot may be partially engaging, but may meander a bit; will likely read more by the author in the future, but not immediately
2 stars – writing needs work, possible serious issues with plot holes/writing style; highly unlikely to read more by the author in the future (unless they are a prior fav)
1 stars – normally the difference between a 1 star review and a DNF is that I managed to finish it
DNF – not worth my time to even finish


Posted by on March 30, 2015 in Dishing with Dee


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6 responses to “Dishing with Dee…the curious case of rating books

  1. AudioBook Reviewer

    March 30, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    I once reviewed an audiobook and the author was so taken aback by it that he posted it to Redit, celebrating his worst review ever. While he didn’t say anything negative about me or the site others did. But the bright side is that I am still getting traffic from Redit from that very post and my traffic continues to go up.

    I think it is important to post bad reviews, there is no way that one person or even one specific group of people to love every book put in from t of us.

    It is also important to know what makes something 5 or 4 stars, thanks for sharing!

    • Dee

      March 30, 2015 at 12:28 pm

      I still get random pings on that review, but not as often – it was intriguing reading comments on the Indie site after the review was posted – the comments like “I must be a failed writer” or that I purposely requested a book I would hate, because I was jealous…at the time, I had the only one star review on Amazon (since they make you star reviews) for the book, but it caused others to come out of the woodwork and post other less than stellar reviews

    • Dee

      March 30, 2015 at 12:29 pm

      I think what some authors fail to realize is that a negative review isn’t bad it its entirety – what caused me to write a negative review, may cause someone else to read my review and buy the book

  2. Lance

    March 30, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    I had a similar issue with a review generating a strange response – but it wasn’t from the author or publisher, it was from another person on Amazon. Dee will remember this – I wrote a review about the biography of a football coach who was the son of a preacher, and that fact is prominent in the book and is mentioned frequently. I took an issue with that, and another person immediately blasted the review and me – because in looking at my Amazon reviews, I also enjoy reading lesbian romance books. So, that must have made me anit-Christian or something to that effect!

    Overall, though, I have had a very positive experience since starting my blog nearly two years ago and I too at times struggle with rating. My star system is a little different and I am more generous with 4 and 5 star ratings than most other reviewers, but I will say that since switching to sports books for my blogging, I have found many more good books than bad ones. I will always give a book I finish at least 2 stars – IMO, it had to have someting good that kept me reading to the end. I don’t give zeroes – 1 is as low as I go for DNFs or truly awful books. I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to review books – just whatever standard used should be applied to all books.

    • Dee

      March 30, 2015 at 4:40 pm

      I will say, if I DNF a book, my first line of my review is normally something like DNF at xx% or pg XX – so readers know how far I got

      • Lance

        March 30, 2015 at 4:47 pm

        I am not that specific, but I will give a general area where I stopped (early, middle, late, etc) and the reason why.


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