Thursday, April 3, 2014

Not Too Cold But Not Hot Enough

After reading a few very solid 4 star-esque books the past few weeks, I found myself almost dreading reviewing them. Why? Because I have come to the conclusion that the most difficult books to review are the 4 star books. I feel like Goldilocks navigating the beds and the porridge. I liked the books. I mean, I really, REALLY liked the books! They were super enjoyable, I looked forward to reading them but while they weren't life-changing 5 star amazing books, I also couldn't really find anything specifically that I didn't like or what didn't work for me.

Now you're probably sitting there thinking...


'What the hell is she talking about?'

This is what I'm talking about and I'm wondering if you feel the same way. Do you find it difficult to write reviews for the really good but not amazing books? The 4 star challenge I'm going to start calling it. So my new review style is broken down into 'The Belle' and 'The Beast' sections. And where I came to this realization was when writing my reviews for A Mad, Wicked Folly and Erased. I really, really liked the books! I was engaged, I could tell you why I liked them...but then I get to 'The Beast' section and I'm all...uhhh...

I found it difficult to pinpoint exactly what didn't make it a 5 star book. I could verbalize right here that while I liked them they just fell short of being AMAZING. As you can read in my discussion post 'What Makes a Book 5 Stars To You,' it just didn't have that life-changing quality or that content that makes me really think. I enjoyed it. I really liked it. It wasn't 5 star amazing but it was 3 star 'this is what didn't work for me' status. I can't put in ever 'Beast' section of my review that 'it just wasn't good enough' because that is a cop-out to me. As much as I want to to make my life easier, I find myself grasping and digging into my thoughts on what kept it from being amazing for me personally. Why wasn't it life-changing? Why didn't I think it was AMAZING? And I used to think the 5 star life-changers were the most difficult books to review because it is hard to verbalize ALL the feels and ALL the love. Now I'm changing my tune.

What do you guys think? Do you find the really great 4 star books the most difficult to review?

16 comments:

  1. Oh I totally agree with you. I have been kind of slowly changing my review style over the past few weeks. When I review four star books, I don't normally have anything bad to say about them. It just lacks that special something you're talking about. It didn't blow my mind. Which is why I've been toying with the idea of coming up with a new rating system that makes it a bit clearer what I mean. Because while four stars are (basically) flawless in my opinion, they aren't 5 stars. And I definitely want to make that distinction clear on my blog. But when I write 4 star reviews, I generally don't write anything "bad" in them. I just try to make a mention that it didn't blow me away, but I truly did love it.

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    1. Exactly! I have been trying to think of a rating system myself to gauge my feels but I still like the bottom line of the Should You RSVP aka should you read this book? I think that's what it comes down to but I it would be nice to try and gauge it a little better...I have more thinking to do...

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  2. I can understand that. The way I see it, 4 stars means it's a fantastic read, but 5 stars would mean that the book meant something special to that unique person. So what qualifies a 5 star book differs from person to person.

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    1. YES! I think 5 stars is exactly that! It just means more to you for one reason or another!

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  3. I definitely agree, but your "4 star" books are my "3 star" books. Everyone's rating system seems to be slightly different, and the 3 star boys are the ones I call a "meh" read; it didn't make me think, or get tons of feels, or do anything remarkable at all but it was a fun enough "fluff" read, I don't regret reading it...but I could have lived without it. I do half stars too because sometimes certain books have slightly more of an edge to them than others, they are reaching for the next star up but not quite getting there. Then, on top of all that I don't think the ratings of books can always be so easily compared - we need a simple enough system that works for reviewing purposes but really a YA that got 4 out of 5 stars isn't comparable to an adult thriller that got 3 out of 5, I think some genres have to work harder for those bad boys. I know with my ratings it's pretty much a snap shot of how I thought of that individual book based on my expectations, its potential and how disappointed (or happy) I was with the story-line at the end.

    I'm rambling... I'll stop! Lol - great post.

    R x

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    1. Yes, we all have subjective reading experiences which is why everybody rates books differently. My 5 star books are not everyone's 5 star books and obviously there are people that are going to 5 star books that are 2 stars for me. It's all in the subjectivity of reading and bringing our own experiences to the table. 3 stars is still a good rating for me. 4 stars bring more and 5 is just incredible. For me personally, the intended age audience (YA vs adult) doesn't play a role in my ratings. If it's 5 stars and affects me and changes my life in some way, it doesn't matter to me if it's YA or adult. Thanks for your thoughtful response! :)

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  4. I agree! So much! Sometimes it's a perfectly decent read, but just not worth 5 stars because it wasn't LOVE and I feel weird explaining why it's not 5 stars even though I've got nothing bad to say about it either... Maybe it's like with guys, some are guys you like but don't see yourself ever dating or falling in love with even though there's nothing seriously wrong with them, the feeling's just not there.

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    1. Yes! I sit here all, um well nothing was BAD per say but it just wasn't WOW or affect me personally. It's hard! LOL about the guys, totally g

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  5. I definitely identify with your feelings, Kelly! It's always hard for me to explain just why a book didn't hit that perfect 5 star mark for me, especially when it was so gosh darn close. It takes me some extra time to decipher what my issue is, and I've almost always found that it has to do with something personal :)

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    1. Totally, A! 5 stars will always come down to how they personally affected me and struck me in some way I find unique to myself and it will always be different for everyone. :)

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  6. YES! Yes! I'm not the only one! I have found a sort of solution for this: I now consider my "life changing, amazing" books six stars.
    If a book is enjoyable and I really like it and I don't have anything against it other than the fact that it wasn't "my book" I still give it five stars because it really was good. It just wasn't my good.

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    1. I totally feel your 6 stars! I actually created a shelf on Goodreads after writing this post called 'all the stars' because those are books that legit have changed my life or I have loved something fierce for one reason or another. 5 stars is hard enough to get from me but there are a special few that just totally transcend even 5 stars!

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  7. I know we all think of our ratings a little differently... 3 sometimes is a difficult one for me + 4 is like you said, almost perfect but not there. What makes a story memorable? Could be what you were experiencing when you read it, could be what you read before it -- I think ratings could change when you pick up the book again which makes this whole thing a bit more complicated.

    But I totally understand how you feel. Sometimes I'm like I DIDN'T CONNECT AND I DON'T KNOW WHY SOMEONE TELL ME BECAUSE I CAN'T PUT THIS ON PAPER. It is really hard to write about in a way that makes it flow. I'm not sure I'll ever solve this problem but it's nice to know others feel the same way.

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    1. I totally believe in the book karma and books affecting you or coming to you at certain times when you need them and they affect you in a particularly way. Haha, yes! I didn't connect and it didn't give me that oompf to 5 stars...AND I DON'T KNOW WHY! It's always something personal where it's really, really good...but it just didn't affect me super personally which is what 5 stars usually are for me.

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  8. I totally feel ya on this girl! Three stars are books that I liked but had a few issues with so those are typically not too hard to review IF I can clearly identify why they weren't working. And five stars are obviously ones I loooved and those reviews are usually more raving! But four stars are kinda challenging. I usually really enjoyed them but they just didn't totallllly win me over and sometimes it's hard to identify why. Honestly though I think reviews are kinda difficult no matter what. I love and hate them!

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    1. Totally!! 3 stars are easy because I can think of things easily that didn't work or what made it not up to that 4 star level. 5 stars are fun cuz you just flail all over the place! I have like one of each to write right now....I should get on that...

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