Book Review

Crap Critiquing Skills

I’ve been thinking about my ratings lately.

I love how people toss them out or definitely have an actual system.

I don’t, my three cups of coffee for a thriller or fantasy means it was pretty good, not great.

Three coffees on a poetry book means it was probably a bit boring at parts.

2 coffees is usually not great, sometimes I give things higher ratings if I think that it’s more enjoyable for a target audience I wasn’t included in. Like let’s face it, I’m not 16, but sixteen years old me might have loved it more, and if that’s the case, up the rating goes, who the hell am I to judge if a YA book is good for YA or not?

[UNLESS I think it’s harmful, or just does not promote something important for teen girls, such as when a book uses pop feminism to somehow put down other kinds of girls. That’s not cool. That’s not how it works. Okay, different tangent for a different day but there you have it in miniature so you know where I’m coming from! Don’t teach girls and boys abusive relationships are cool, don’t teach boys it’s not okay to cry, and don’t make it seem like makeup doesn’t make you a genuine person and I won’t hate your novel lol]

I also tend to just enjoy so much. Again unless it has issues that I realize, and sometimes I don’t’ realize something is an issue because I’ve never thought of it and I have to look to my fellow readers/writers/bloggers for support and learn and grow, I tend to just give books good ratings.

So, really, the fact of the matter is, I am crap at critiquing.

But is that a huge problem? Hmm maybe, maybe not but book blogging has forced me to think of my reviews more as I’m writing and before I post. I want to make sure I at least attempt a pros and cons list when I can, to show readers things that may not suit them despite my positive review but sometimes I just don’t have that much to say about the book! However, I promise guys, I really am learning as I go. So maybe it is a huge problem and a lot of you are like ‘Haley why do you love everything’ but I am trying to be more objective.

I also know that when I do remember (even if it’s after a review has gone live) I do try to post content and/or trigger warnings. NOT so much on a book whose plot clearly states this is gonna be dark, such as like say a thriller about serial killers told in the first person. But if it’s a book that’s like ‘oh yes a mystery, let’s see what happens’ and then boom gore upon gore, then I do try to remember to let you all know. So again, growth. Things I didn’t usually think about before have to be on the forefront for me. Because I know sometimes I appreciate the content warnings if I’m not expecting a book to have anything in gross detail. For me, people can’t really give trigger warnings for my sorts of triggers but I do try to remember things I think will generally be good to warn ahead, violence, deaths, drug/alcohol usage, abuse of any sort, but if you ever see a book you think should have more warning to it, please let me know, I’ll always appreciate that.

I’m about to write up my Crown of Feathers review and I know I’ll be warning about animal deaths and such, I don’t want someone to pick up a book because of me and be traumatized, that’s not my goal for those who are kind enough to read my blog.

So I guess what I’m saying is, thank you all for putting up with me being on a steep learning curve. I may be crap at critiquing but I’m always going to better myself for you all. However I think we’ll just have to all accept that I’m too easygoing with books, I just tend to like what I read. [Except for the time I don’t, and then I turn into a very salty and smarmy book blogger].

Thank you all, promise I’ll keep trying to grow.


By TheCaffeinatedReader

A Caffeinated Reader and Musician, destined to write lacklustre book reviews with the over-ample amount of free time.

10 replies on “Crap Critiquing Skills”

First of all dont let anyone tell you how to run your blog. It is yours. I have more positive than negative on mine. It isnt because I kiss up to author or publishers. It is A) because I dont post DNFs (that is my stance for multiple reasons and unless there is a severe ethical reason, which there has been once, I am sticking to it), which is why in WWWs or up coming seasonal posts you’ll see a book listed and then there isn’t a review. B) I am choosy about what I pick. Sometimes I pick out of my comfort zone because we should (sometimes it pans out sometimes it doesn’t and if I finish said book – hey I have posted some 2-2.5/3 star review) and sometimes sequels are disappointing.

But either way? You post what you want. If people complain? That is on them. For me? Still after years of hockey blogging with editors and now on my own with books AND 15 years as an ELA specialist? My ability to edit my work for grammar, missing words etc SUCKS. I am constantly trying to get better. If I had a printer it would help but I cringe when I go back post publishing (like that night) and find all kinds of embarrassing errors. It is still a learning curve for me. WE ALL HAVE THEM. All we can do is kindly support each other. If someone catches mine and nicely points it out I’d be grateful. But no one should say you need more negative reviews. That doesn’t make you any more valid, in my opinion. Hell I just made two hugely embarrassing mistakes with publishers because I didnt sleep last night and have to go off somewhere till 6 PM and rushed.. live and learn. Hopefully they will understand. If not lesson learned. It hurts but I cant change it.

Deep breath 2…

I have been thinking about this a great deal. Truthfully I want to get rid of it. For me (not everyone, I speak only for me) I think it is the right call. Coming from education we had set rubrics for this kind of thing and that doesn’t make sense here or if it did? No… it just doesn’t because it would have to be pere genre or format and then genre within each format and I cant imagine we, as bloggers, would have a consistent rubric across all blogs. So it wouldn’t work and that is how MY mind works. And now that I talk it through I dont know what I was thinking starting it to begin with.

I just dont know how or when to phase it out so it makes sense? Ugh.

OK I’m done. Hope that might have helped and didnt just hijack you.

Liked by 3 people

It did help and I enjoyed how much you explored your views in your comment! I do think that it’s important to be objective but that doesn’t mean critiquing and I think we blur that so much in the education system.

Thanks so much for the wonderful comment Susan!!

Liked by 1 person

We are all learning here ! I am aswell, i’m like on my third different way of writting reviews now XD
I do try to include all trigger warnings as I think about them aswell- which I might slip some which the case it wasnt on purpose ! Sometimes it’s just so hard to think when you aren’t used to it yet ?

I always have the same qualifications for my stars though, though it doesn’t mean they are flawless and what not. Five is where im left standing “!!!!” and cant stop thinking about it – four was GOOD, but just erh. Probly not rereading that… enjoyed while I read but that’s it. Three was meh- not too sure. just okay.
two and bellow is a DNF or problematic XD

Liked by 1 person

I’m not very good at critiquing either. I know what I like in a book so I only pick up a book I know I’m going to enjoy. I’ve gotten better at it as well, after I started blogging. I used to give a book 4 or 5 stars because I enjoyed it. That’s not necessary a bad thing, but I’ve learned to see problems with a book and rating it accordingly. It’s just about learning to get better at it,the more we read. I also forget about trigger warnings so I need to make a conscious effort to add them in.

Liked by 1 person

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