Can you explain what your star rating means? Why are your ratings so high?Everyone rates things a little bit differently. Here's a run-down of what mine mean. Keep in mind that everyone has a different taste in books, so you still may not entirely agree with how I rated a book.
3 Stars--This is the lowest rating you'll see on the blog for anything. The story had numerous problems that kept me from fully enjoying the book, but I can see how someone else could enjoy it.
4 Stars--This story had a few problems, but overall I enjoyed the book. I'm likely to reread it and/or continue in the series.
4.5 Stars--I can't decide whether to give it four or five stars. On one hand, it had something that kept me from enjoying it fully. On the other, it had something special that a 4-star book lacks--such as unique world building or really love-able characters. This will appear as a 5-star rating on GoodReads and other outlets.
5-Stars--I can't really find anything to complain about! I'll almost certainly be re-reading it and hunting down other things by this author.
5-Stars and Favorites Shelf--This story had that extra something that takes it above and beyond. The storytelling was excellent and the story itself resonated with me.
Why are my ratings so high? Good question. A lot of work goes into a novel. It is my personal opinion that an author who has created a good story deserves to be recognized for his/her effort. Others may hold that giving out five stars cheapens the rating, but I don't see it that way.
I see a couple different designations in your tags for each review/who you recommend it for. Can you explain what each one means?Sure! Here are a few of the most common ones.
Christian--this story has a more or less clear Christian message. Some books/types of stories that would fall into this category include allegory and stories where faith is directly mentioned. These books form the majority of my reviews. Some books that are written by known Christian authors may be filed this way, even if they lack an excessively strong Christian message.
Clean--this story doesn't have a Christian message per se, but it's "clean" in the following ways: lacks excessive foul language, lacks gratuitous or "adult" content, and violence is at what I would consider an "appropriate" level. The story also upholds Christian values/ morality. More of these books appear when I am low on time for reading.
Fantasy--contains fantasy elements, such as swords, medieval themes, low technology, dragons, fairies, etc. These stories may contain magic. If a story does contain magic, I typically denote that within the review, as I know some people choose to abstain from those books as a matter of conscience. If I review a book that does contain magic, I typically look for a stronger, more definitive Christian message.
Sci-fi/ Science Fiction--contains high tech elements. May contain space travel, aliens, advanced civilizations, etc. Space opera is also filed here and this designation is not limited to "hard sci-fi".
Middle-Grade--these books are written for a younger audience. It's typically defined as for readers between 8 and 12. I like these books for a change of pace. Often, I will give them two ratings--one for the intended audience, and one for how adults/teens might enjoy them.
Teen--these books have older characters, more advanced reading levels, and deeper plots than Middle-Grade reads. I typically mean it to include younger people in the teen age group. There are fewer dark themes in this section than Young Adult books.
Young Adult--these books have characters that are anywhere from teenagers to adults. Themes are darker. If the book deals with sexual temptation, rough violence, or more "realistic" magic use, it gets filed here. I look for a stronger Christian message in these books. Anyone from mid-teen to adult can probably enjoy these. Each book is handled individually.
I just read this great, Christian sci-fi/fantasy book. Do you take recommendations?
Yes! Please use the contact form in the left-hand column to send me suggestions. Please make sure that they meet Christian (or clean) guidelines and fit into the speculative genres as I have established. Keep in mind that I reserve the right to turn down suggestions. If you are an author/agent looking for a review, book spotlight, or author interview opportunity, I'd love to hear from you, too!
I really love hearing from my readers and discovering new authors. My typical response time is within three days and I can typically get reviews up within 2-3 weeks, depending on my schedule.
Why do you have such a problem with romance?
I wish I could answer that--honestly, most romance plots just don't interest me. It's one of my weird quirks and I have nothing against people who like a nice love story. However, if a book has some some great characters, action, and world-building, a little bit of romance isn't going to stop me from enjoying it. (Heaven knows I spend enough time quoting The Princess Bride).