From one of Terry Pratchett’s books, when someone says to you, “May you live in interesting times.”, it’s not said to wish you well. It’s the fleas of a thousand camels infesting your armpits kind of wish. I’ve been having one of those interesting times kind of week. I’m way too sleep-deprived to go into details though – this is just by way of explanation, and apology for my brief and sporadic appearances over the last couple of days. I’ll be back on form after an extra long snooze, a snooze which is fast approaching now I think.
I’ve always said that if I can’t give a book a five star review, then I won’t post a review. I’ve also always said that I reserve the right to change my mind about anything at all at any time too. So. I hereby announce the changing of that rule. As most of you will know, I joined the Rave Reviews Book Club a little while ago. I’ve since been accepted as a member of the board. I’ll be cheering on and supporting our authors in the Spotlight chairs. I’m not the only one, and those authors really do get the most amazing support from everyone, so it’s actually a lot of fun too. Like a really big party.
Anyway. The reason that I’ve changed my five star rule, is because there is no way I would ever be willing to tack my name on to a review and give it a fiver if I don’t honestly believe it does deserve five. I’m generally quite good at buying books that I know I’m going to like at the very least, and there are loads of books on the club’s list to choose from, but once I’ve picked a book to read and review – apart from honesty being the club’s rule – I can’t then not leave a review, and I also can’t leave a five star review if I don’t think the book warrants it. So there it is.
I haven’t decided yet whether or not to post less than fives for my non Rave Reviews Book Club reads. It would be a lot easier if I wasn’t a writer myself. Today I’ve seen two one star reviews left for authors by other “authors”. Before I published I thought that a peer author review wielded more clout – because, being in the business, the reviewer knew their apples from their monkey nuts. But. A lot of reviewers these days seem to be leaving reviews more to attract attention to their own – apparently – fine writing, than to honestly critique what they’ve just read. Non-writing (but also literate) readers are much kinder with their reviews, and also less likely to pick up flaws that they probably wouldn’t even notice if they’ve never self-published anything. That’s why when I do leave reviews, I always ask myself if I would have noted a particular oops if I wasn’t a writer myself.
I have a three star review on my short story – The Visitation, from a reader who said that she really enjoyed, and got into the story and then it stopped. Even though that was my original intention – to make the ending shocking and abrupt, I think about that reviewer quite a lot, and I’ve been scribbling away at adding to that book for months now. I’m not planning on changing the original short, but I’m going to tack a novella in after it about what happens after my abrupt ending, with a note about what it is, why it’s there, and a little thank you and dedication to that reviewer. Because that was a good three star review. It was honest, and not in any way unkind, but at the same time, I do have readers who like that sort of short, so the novella has to be an optional read.
My one star review for Fly Birdie doesn’t bother me at all because it makes no sense to me personally, but I accept that the reviewer just didn’t like it, and I can only hold thumbs that she never reads any of my other scribbles, because she’s not likely to like them either, and if she took such umbrage to poor Hannah, she’ll foam at the mouth if she happens upon Suzette!
After all that waffling I’m still undecided whether or not to post below fives on my non-club choices, so I’ll just be moving along then. I’ll leave you with the second Rave Reviews Book Club Newsletter though. Things are really getting exciting too – writing competition ahead! Have a wonderful Sunday lovely people.
Later addition to this: Having had a re-read of this post, I’ve decided that I will post less than fives on my non-club reads from now on. Fair is fair, and a four star is much better than nothing at all.