When I Give A Book A Look!


Cozy Cat AuthorsReviewing books that I have read is occasionally hard work. I know what it is to get a good review on a book you have written and I know what it is to get a bad review on a book you have written. There are times when someone reviews my books and offers a critical review that the review makes me a better writer and then are times when I read a review of my book that I wonder what they are talking about. I always look at the other books the person reviews. A few times I found that every book the reviewer reviewed got a bad or lukewarm review.

I felt honored at one review early on for my Granny Hooks A Crook on Goodreads. The reader gave me a four because she had just read The Help and gave The Help a five star rating. I felt honored for the four star rating she had given me.

I have given a lot of thought to what I say and how I say it when I review a book. I don’t ever want to skewer an author’s works because I know what it takes to get from start to finish, putting your heart into those words that are written for all to see in a book.

I did learn something from that reader that gave me a four because she had read The Help first. I think of that when I am clicking on those stars. A five blows me away. A four keeps me turning the pages, investing part of myself in the book by laughing, crying and feeling connected to the characters. A three has me leaving a little advice, gentle advice as to what could make it a little more to my taste. I never leave a 1 or 2.

Having said that I must also keep in mind when reading, whether the genre of the book is for me. I could easily give a one star to a history book no matter how well written and how fascinating the story was. I am not a history buff nor am I a historical romance buff so those books would get low stars from me. Is it the books fault that I didn’t like it? Is it the authors fault I didn’t like it? It merely would mean that I had no business thinking I should read the book because everyone else was gaga over it. And I’m not talking about Lady Gaga.

I try to read books occasionally that are out of my comfort zone and interest. Occasionally I am surprised and keep on reading. When I find a book that I start, and am yawning by the second or third chapter, I know it is out of my interest zone. I usually forgo leaving a comment or rating it. I do the same if there is a book that I start and absolutely do not like because of the writing. I do not rate it or leave a comment unless I am absolutely committed to leaving a review. Then I gently word what I have to say.

That is the way I rate books. I do not need to destroy a writer’s confidence or character. I do not need to attack their writing if the book is not what I feel is worth reading. Writers put their sweat, tears, heart and soul into a book and most of the time is for the sheer joy of writing.

If you are writer reading this, don’t let anyone destroy your love of writing. If you are a reader, think about your reviews. Are they accurate for what you are reviewing? And remember, be gentle with your criticism, there is a real person behind those words.

Every book you pick up has its own lesson or lessons, and quite often the bad books have more to teach than the good ones.

 Steven King


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