Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Are You a Grumpy Chops?

Sometimes I hear critics say 'no book is perfect so no book should get 5 stars' although I beg to differ. Being an author myself I know how much hard work goes into a book, the time, the imagination, the sweat and the tears. And so, when I rate a book I like to give it 5 stars initially, and as I work through my criteria I wait to see if it stays there. 

A book is, quite simple a means to entertain and when I've finished reading I want to feel like I've enjoyed the experience. That the time spent going through it was well worth it and If I'm left feeling lost, empty, frustrated or annoyed then this is certainly not the desired outcome.  I mean who deliberately goes out there way to annoy themselves?

So when rating the books I've read I do so with entertainment value on my mind. Starting with maximal score then looking at plot. I liken books to a TV programme, If I'm flicking through the guide and read the info on a programme, it needs to grab my attention with a thrilling or intriguing plot line. When reviewing, if the plot played out and kept me watching or reading then it keeps its five stars. 

Characters-they have to seem real don't they? I have to engage with at least one of them. If  the character is funny, quirky, tough, mean or just damn right awesome without explanation! then chances are I'll engage with them. If the book I'm reviewing has a character I 'get' then it keeps its star.  A little mystery,  every story needs this to keep you reading as we all want to know what's going to happen don't we? whether it be romance, crime or supernatural thriller we all want to know if that person lives, dies or gets the guy. 

If the mystery is too easy, transparent or not even present then I know what's going to happen. I pay that little bit less attention and become less absorbed in the story which leaves me feeling a little unfulfilled. A good intriguing story line keeps its star.

Descriptions. I love a good story where I can really picture myself in the situation or really get a feel for what's going on. Is it a dusty battlefield where you can barely see the enemy and your heart is racing? Is there a beautiful lake view where its hard to tell where the mountain ends and its reflection begins or, is it a romantic-heart-racing scene where the girl is about to be kissed by her hero for the first time? Without well explained descriptions I'd switch off or change the channel. Good descriptions keeps the star. 

And last of all good grammar and punctuation is a must. I will liken this to a televisions aerial signal, if you've got a bad signal the picture will jump, shake or become fuzzy. It ruins the flow of the movie and in the end any sane person will just jump up and turn the TV off. Punctuation is vital for the flow of the story so the less errors the better. If punctuation and grammar are good then this point keeps its star.

So if you ever see me giving five stars to the books I've read then it means every box has been ticked and it's worth a read in my opinion. I'd love to hear how you decide what gets a five star review in your opinion? Sound off below. 

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