Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What Makes A 5-Star For You?

When you read a story, what determines if it deserves the optimal 5-star?

I've been reviewing books for a while now. Haven't written very many reviews as of late due to time constraints and, well, also the fact that they aren't that easy for me to do. It takes a lot of energy out of me to write a review that I feel is worthwhile posting anywhere. If I can offer a 4-star or 5-star rating for a review for a particular book, then I'll attempt to write one at some point for the author to help them with marketing. Either posting on Amazon, sending in for the Afictionado Ezine, or just posting here on my blog.

But I've been seriously considering that I've been way to easy on some reviews in the past. Have you found that you get pickier the more books you read? Apparently I have.

For me, I've decided that if I don't experience at least three out of the following four effects from a read, I'm not giving it a 5-star. The criteria I'm referring to is:

1) a good laugh (and I mean I physically laugh out loud),
2) get choked up (crying would be the ultimate, but rarely does that ever happen),
3)actually feel or can picture vividly a setting or experience described in the book,
and lastly,
4)it makes me challenge a preconceived perception of a life situation or belief in such a way that I grow as a person from the read.

I've read lots of books that get 2 out of the 4, but not many get three, and I can only think of a few of Karen Kingsbury's books that have hit all four (she is one amazing author who owns emotion in her writing).

So what about you, what do you look for in the ultimate read?




Jessica said...

Probably similar to your list. I like a book that hooks me emotionally, so that I don't want to put it down, then I like the ending to make me smile and feel satisfied. :-)

Anonymous said...

i like your list. except i'm a big sap and tend to get choked up over a sappy commercial, so i'd have to nix number two on your list.


Eileen Astels Watson said...

Jessica: So true about the ending. It really does need to clear up the loose threads and leave me feeling satisfied, too.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

DebH: Thanks for stopping by! I'm one of those gals who it takes a lot to get me choked up, and a whole lot more to get a tear to flow, so very few reads get this star from me. Karen Kingsbury and Nicholas Sparks are about the only authors who have succeeded for me.

I guess this why reviews are so subjective, everyone has different things they're looking for and depending on the reader, some are easier to achieve than others.

Gina C said...

I look for a page turner. Doesn't always have to be fast paced, but if it's a suspense or thriller it better be. I look for an emotional ride and characters that pop off the page. Sadly, I can count on one hand the books I've read that fit that criteria in the last year!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Oh, Gina, I'm totally with you on the page turner and fast pace. My time is so limited that both of those REALLY help me get through a book. Though, I must say, when the read is done, I wonder if I missed something since I ran through it so fast.

They are few and far between. I think a lot of that has to do with you really connecting with the characters. That makes the world of difference and is so very subjective.

Thanks for stopping by!