Why Star Ratings Are Frowned Upon

You´re probably thinking: “Wait. What? Star ratings for books are frowned upon?”

It´s true. The book universe has changed and with it the book ratings, as well.

Gone are the days where book bloggers express their powerful opinions in form of a skillful rant. Vanished are the times when people were brave enough to just say what they wanted, how they wanted ( in a respectful manner, of course ).

We´ve entered the age of warning labels and controlled speech. Because it´s not nice to say what´s really on your mind. Even if your opinion isn´t harmful… there´s always a little booger  someone who feels offended, mistreated or hurt.

These days, books have trigger warnings and reviews have no star ratings. Why? Well, I think it´s clear as to why certain books have warning labels. But why are reviewers ditching the star ratings? I´ve come up with a few ideas as to WHY.

  • They make no sense to the reviewer / they don´t believe in the system
  • They´re harmful and can influence a reader
  • They´re impolite

Yes. Book reviews with star ratings are frowned upon. But, says who? I could say say the people who´re over sensitive” but that would be hurtful of me. And I´m not out to point fingers at any particular group of emotionally charged people. Not today.

Some time a while back I´ve witnessed the slow death of the star ratings. Book bloggers started changing their review formats. Okay.

But what I also noticed was- Without the ratings I didn´t have a definite idea on what the reviewer was saying.

Because reviews have become modern riddles. “I loved everything about this book” and they go and leave a list of negatives “I didn´t really like this and that about this book.” All in one review without any type of rating or even a recommendation line.  And in the end, I´m sitting here wondering if the reviewer liked the book or not.

 

 

Aren´t reviews supposed to help a reader? Isn´t that why people search for book reviews ( or reviews for any product )? They want to read an opinion and see if that person would recommend a book or not. With an opinion consisting of 50% love gushing and 50% negative feedback… am I supposed to sniff out the 2, 3, or 4 stars on my own?

With that being said- Not all book reviews are confusing as hell. There are a few reviews without star ratings that give a clear idea on what the reviewer wants to say. Others, though? *  holding breath  *

So, why do reviewers frown upon star ratings?

I might lack the energy of doing a full blown research party on the topic but I don´t lack observation skills. And what I´ve observed is quite unsettling.

It´s not necessarily the reviewers fault that the star ratings have disappeared. It´s often times the combination of authors, trends and the reviewers.

In my almost 9 years of book blogging I´ve learned ( the hard way, mind you ) that many authors are slightly sensitive. One negative opinion could result in a public emotional outburst. Reviewers can be just as sensitive but on a different level ( that´s a new bedtime story I´ll tackle in the near future ).

This is something I´ve repeatedly seen in the almost 9 years of book blogging:

  • Author receives 1, 2, 3 star review
  • Author throws an online fit and even threatens to kick bloggers off their A – list / and will definitely avoid said bloggers and even warn others of a supposedly negative reviewer
  • Book blogger thinks of ways to express themselves and still stay in an author´s good graces
  • Book blogger decides to wash their opinions in unicorn glitter and ditch the star ratings
  • Author is confused about the positive & negative review ( because one little “I didn´t like..” will be seen as negative feedback ) but keeps book blogger on the A-list

 

Clever, right? * sigh * It´s not, really. It´s just a way to pacify a moody artist and still keep up a decent online reputation. This is a cycle among bloggers and authors ( not every blogger and author, mind you )

Star ratings only make sense when it´s a 3, 4 or 5 star rating. Anything below 3 stars is just not acceptable. Because why be THAT person and shit on something by giving it 1, 2 or possibly a negative 3 stars? Believe it or not… that´s how 1, 2 or even 3 star ratings are seen. As negative negativity no one wants. No one wants to be associated with negativity.

Living in the “Thou shalt not offend” era certainly makes reviews more interesting as well. Reviews have to be worded correctly, preferably without including a star rating or else….

It´s a trend. One that will hopefully pass soon because these neutral opinions aren´t really working. The reality is: We do not live in a world made of sugar. The key is to be respectful. If someone else can´t live with that then that´s for them to deal with.

I think what the real problem is ( and always will be )…

It´s about the product and not the person behind the product.

Authors fail to see that a reviewer´s opinion isn´t a personal attack just as reviewers fail to realize that they´re not going to hell if they just be more specific in their reviews.

And by specific I mean include either a definite opinion or re – include a star rating in their reviews.

So, like everything else in life, star rating – less reviews are a trend fired off by moody artists and careful book bloggers in a time of political correctness.

As for my own raw opinion on the subject: I like star ratings and like to include them in my reviews. I also highly appreciate reading reviews with star ratings because they help give that final conclusion on the reviewers thoughts. Stars ( doesn´t matter if 1 or 5 stars ) help me understand a reviewer. I also like to believe that my adding star ratings helps my followers.

NOTE: No trigger warning label needed for this post. This is an opinion friendly blog. All respectful opinions regarding the subject are welcomed and will be treated with the same respect in return. ❤ 


Do you agree? Or do you perhaps disagree? How about we agree to disagree? I would love to find out what you think about reviews without star ratings! Do they bother you not? Have you even noticed missing star ratings? Let´s chat. ❤  


Thank you so much for reading. ❤

Sending out much love and positive vibes,

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October Recap

Good bye, October. I´m not sure I´ll miss you as much as I miss last year´s October. 

And Happy  Belated Halloween!

Yes. It´s the last day of an epic month. Soon there won´t be any vibrant colors to admire and I´ll probably have to pack my knitted UGG boots away again because they´re not suitable for the long rainy days of November. I don´t fancy wet socks.

With that being said… Let´s just hop on over to the subject that really matters ( although, It´s really important to point out how nasty it is when you´re wearing socks and they get wet. Just saying )

October was an odd book month for me. Some time the middle of the month I reached my reading goal and even went on to add a few more books to my October reads.

A mind blow moment for me because that hardly ever happens. But with something positive always comes something negative, right? Right.

All my reads ( with the exception of my current read ) have earned 2 stars.


oct. review recap

 

 The Surface Breaks – Louise O´Neill

The Surface Breaks

A charming idea with too much feminism. I don´t mind politics or feminism in my chosen reads but this was supposed to be a Little Mermaid retelling. A classic fairy tale with a modern twist? Sure. Just don´t add Social Justice Worrior vibes to it, like this author did. Well deserved 2 stars. Full Review Here.

 

The Fault In Our Stars – John Green

The fault in our stars

This is a hyped beyond belief book I was reluctant to read. In fact- It took a few years to come around. In my opinion, this book is over-hyped. 2 stars. Full Review Here

 

Lie To Me ( Rising Star #1) – Lee Piper

Lie to me

A rockstar romance that wasn´t meant to be read by the likes of me. Not only did I have Bon Jovi´s song ” Lie To Me” stuck in my head te entire book, I also didn´t feel the stories vibe… nor did I understand the meanings of certain scenes. I expected more depth because rockstars are all about being deep and stuff, right? Well earned 2 stars. Full Review Here

 

All Your Perfects – Colleen Hoover

All your perfects

This book made me wish I had listened to my gut feeling. A true heartbreaking novel that didn´t touch my heart strings at all. Because of everything the book had and didn´t need. 2 stars. Full Review Here


 

And in between reading and typing up painful 2 star reviews I managed to break my head over a few other book related topics.

Do I Need A Domain For My Book Blog?

Standalones, Duets, Trilogies, Oh My.

The Book Blog Makeover

5 ReasonsWhy I Avoid Hyped Books

 

Not to forget my beloved Mug Monday features including other worldly bookish topics.

Mug Monday & Happy Bookish October

Mug Monday & Booktube Thoughts

Mug Monday & Bookish Talk

 

Unfortunately, life got in my way and forced me to skip a Mug Monday post.


 

So, you see? Disappointingly eventful, or, an eventful disappointment. Meeh. October was crappy. There. I said it.


 My newest Netgalley read ( which I´m enjoying, so far )

A Curse so dark and lonely

Book Title: A Curse So Dark And Lonely

Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Genre: Fantasy / Young Adult, Retelling

Expected Release Date: 29. January 2019

Publisher: Boomsbury 

 

Synopisis

Fall in love, break the curse.

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

 

Sounds good, right? Well, it´s been quite a read so far. I haven´t had a chance to complain about anything, yet. Wish me luck for this one. ❤


 

I guess that´s it for October. Unfinished Reviews will be added to the November Reading / Review List. And other than that…. I think I have some cool news to share with you all next month. News I´m really excited about.

Let´s keep our fingers crossed that bookish November will knock me and everyone else out of my / everyone else´s socks.


 

Feel hugged and loved, dear bookish Padawans. Have a safe Halloween.

Much love,

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Why Book Reviews Aren´t What They Should Be

I think it’s safe to say that alot of people know what book reviews are, so no use to give a deeper explanation for that term.

But what is a review for?

Well, to keep this simple- reviews are there for indecisive people who search for a good book to read( and to help authors with sales ).Or, sometimes not help them ( depending on the reviews content). Either way- reviews are important. ( read 5 Reasons Why Book Reviews Are Important )

But, did you know reviews can also be corrupt? Oh, yes. Quite so.

There are 2 major types of reviews.

1 )reviews

2 ) do-me-a-favor-reviews / help-me-climb-the-ladder-to-success-reviews

Confusing? It shouldn’t be. An author usually has a goal, and that is to make a living off of writing and that’s perfectly fine. If it were up to me I’d wish everyone the success they want. Unfortunately, the road to that success can be a rocky one. There’s so much to do to get „out there”. Writing a book and hoping for a miracle to happen doesn’t cut it anymore.

 Writing a book and hoping for a miracle to happen doesn't cut it anymore

Authors/ writers depend on one major thing- positive feedback. The more positive feedback they get the better their chances are for more exposure. Word can spread really fast and that helps loads.

(Uugh…this is boring……* head against table * )

I like to say I’m a skilled book ninja. I have my eyes and ears all over the place, especially in the indie-author community. When blogging I keep an eye on all sorts of stuff, such as: new book releases, blog tours, author streetteams, yada yada yada, AND reviews. Yes. I read reviews, too. And due to my ninja observation skills I know who’s besties with who and who’s fan #1. If you take a closer look I’m sure you’ll notice, too. 

Can anyone remember the shitstorm Amazon caused with their taking down reviews from certain books? Yes. That was a thing and it pissed so many people off. I would know. I witnessed it, first hand. Amazon never took any of my reviews down ( Thank God ) but they did with other bloggers and fans. And guess what? Bravo! It was about time. Not that I´m pointing fingers at anyone in particular. I´m sure many deleted Amazon reviews were wrongly accused of diabolical review-washing. But the majority? Serves them right. 

I’m positive that won’t win me any plus points. But I don’t really care. When I hunt for books I’m just an ordinary reader. And when I notice someone is just doing an author a favor my blood pressure rises. How am I to trust these people who devote their lives to these authors? Their judgement is clouded in so many ways that their reviews aren’t trustworthy anymore.

Sure, I’m all for supporting my favorite authors. But stay realistic. Stay professional.

I’ve seen people befriend authors ( mainly through Facebook ) and get really REALLY tight with them ( again…that’s fine. Anything that floats their boats). And then I’ve seen those authors publish book after book after book and each book got the same LOVE as the ones before, by the same people. An author can write 12 books ( each with different stories ) in a year and still, they’d get 12 outstanding reviews from the same blogs who are oh-so-tight with them. Something is totally fishy there. There is no way a person will LOVE everything an author writes. No-ho! 

It’s impossible. There always a slower book in-between great books. A story that, in truth, deserved 3 stars because it was, in fact, slower, or a bit more softer, or just not someone´s cup of tea. Any normal thinking person would rate the slower book with 3 stars ( or less) because that’s how they actually felt about the story, no matter how much they loved the authors other books. But, nooooooo.Some bloggers / fans feel so much loyalty towards an author that they feel compelled to give the slower book 5 stars.

Why does that happen? Do readers/ bloggers think their friendship will go down the drain if they’re honest? Or does it have anything to do with stupidity? I. Don’t. Know! You tell me. But something is definitely not right there.

I’m not sure if that can be considered as healthy behavior.

Would you like to know what helps me pick a book? I skip all the 5 star reviews and jumped right to the 3 or fewer ones. I’m not saying that all high rated reviews are full of shit, but can you blame me for doubting them? Reading a 3 star review will not convince me NOT to buy a book because tastes are different. It’s as simple as that.

I know I shouldn’t waste my time breaking my little head over the review matter, because it’s really not worth it. Reviews are… subjective. I’ve wasted so much energy trying to figure out why bloggers aren’t fully honest with their thoughts regarding a book * sigh *. But you’ve got to see my point of view, here- I want to read a book and the only way not to dive blind into a story is to read reviews and see how others judged a book. And people who do authors those stupid favors ( because they want recognition or what not) aren’t helping me, or any other book nerd out there.

That’s basically why I was happy about the Amazon clean-out.

The book universe is sometimes a dark place. Bloggers doing authors favors because they’re afraid to jeopardize their friendship is not okay. 

There was a time, way back in the early blogging days, when bloggers helped authors get reviews by doing so called blog tours for their favorite writers. Blog tours are nothing other than a virtual book promotion where often free copies of a story were/are offered. The only thing wrong with those blog tours were / are… a reviewer CANNOT publish a review with less than 3 stars, depsite what their true thoughts of said book were/are. Anything to avoid a bad review. So, a reviewer either lies or they don´t review at all and risk a potential shout out from the blog tour hosts. I call that…. corrupt. And wrong.
Another observation I made:
Authors releasing new books and bluntly asking for 5 star reviews. Because a 4 star review isn´t going to make sales. * holding breath * The same authors then wonder why hardly any people leave reviews.  That screams desperate.

This is also the main reason why I believe honesty is the best policy. State your real opinions instead of doing favors. 

And for the authors who are hungry for fame….. The big shot writers often have alot of negative reviews along with the 5 stars. That´s definitely something to think about.

It´s amazing to watch authors and their devoted fans go to such extremes. But it´s less amazing when you spot the lie.

I feel cheated on. Ripped off.