Review Policy

✔️ I do not accept compensation for reviews. I blog and review books because I love to read and am happy to provide this service to readers, authors, publishers and the book community at large.

✔️ I read and review most genres, with the exception of Heavy Romance or Erotica, Fantasy, and Christian Fiction

✔️ I do not publish reviews of 3.5 stars or less. I will complete a review and send to the requestor but it will not be posted.

✔️ I post reviews on Instagram @BooklyMatters, www.booklymatters.com, amazon (US) (and CA where appropriate), Twitter, and Goodreads. Although I have been successful so far, Amazon does not always accept all reviews submitted, so I cannot guarantee a posting.

✔️ I accept ARCs in paperback (preferred) or digital. Kindle is my preferred e-format.

✔️ I accept book review requests up to 2 months in advance of when I expect my schedule will permit completing the review. For special timing requests, please discuss in advance. As all book reviewers can attest, our TBR lists are very long and it’s not always possible to accommodate all desired timings.

Rating

RatingDescription
⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2 A good book and an enjoyable read for its genre.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️A very good book and a highly enjoyable read for its genre. I would recommend it to readers of its genre.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2An excellent book of great quality for its genre. I loved it. I would recommend this book and look forward to reading more by the same author.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️I adored this book. An excellent quality book for its genre. I would follow this author and read everything he or she wrote. I would highly recommend this to anyone, add it to my own library of favorites, and read it again.
Note: A book review with a rating of less than 3.5 stars is not posted

Rating System

For anyone who is interested in the behind-the-scenes look at how I calculate a rating, please feel free to read on. I have found this system works well across Fiction genres. (For Non-Fiction, I have a separate rating system)

Each of 5 categories (Setting, Plot, Characters, Themes, Writing Style) is scored out of 5 points for a total possible point count of 25

Setting/Atmosphere

  1. Was the setting immersive, a well-drawn world, or an perhaps exotic locale that I found myself visiting and experiencing fully in my mind.
  2. Was the setting realistic. If the genre is, for example, a police procedural or historical fiction – how accurate (well-researched) did the setting feel.
  3. Did I believe and get lost in this world

Plot

  1. Did the story pull me in from the very beginning.
  2. Did the story develop in a believable and interesting manner.
  3. Did it end with a twist, emotional arc or something unexpectedly original
  4. Was the story’s pacing appropriate – ie. it did not drag in the middle, get bogged down with superfluous plot devices, and moved in an interesting pace throughout the entire story arc.

Characters

  1. Were the characters well-developed, authentic, interesting and varied.
  2. Did each character have their own voice.
  3. Was the story character-driven.
  4. Did the author provide enough in terms of protagonists backstories or internal thoughts to make their journey psychologically nuanced.
  5. Was there an element of character-driven discovery revealing more of the protagonists as the book progresses.

Themes

  1. Were there interesting or unusual ideas or questions raised by the author.
  2. Were there things raised by the book to think about once the book is closed.
  3. Was there a felt synergy between the ideas presented in the themes and the characters and plotting – ie. did it all hang together.

Writing Style

  1. Did the writing style reflect quality for the genre.
  2. Was the reading experience one I continued to look forward to. When picking up the book to continue reading, was the experience not like ploughing through heavy snow, but more more like skiing, or skating, or ice dancing.
  3. Did the sentence construction, paragraphs, chapters, organization and structure of book show cohesion, planning and skillful execution.
  4. Can I award extra points for quotable, brilliant terms of phrase the author provided that are so descriptive, evocative, or charming I just have to write them down.
  5. Did the writer make exceptional use of humor, irony, or wit.
Points Rating
22-25⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2
19-22⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
17-19⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
Note: less than 17 points is not rated


After the initial rating, I then look at:

Emotional Reaction

  • Did the book grab my attention and hold it throughout to such an extent that once the book is closed, there was a feeling of loss – i.e the characters had become my world and I didn’t want to leave them.
  • Did I crave a sequel
  • Did the book leave my head spinning with ideas, thoughts, or complex emotions that will take time to resolve.
  • Did the writer’s style (eg turn of phrase or use of humor) transform the book to a higher level emotional reaction

If so, I elevate a 4.5 star book to 5 star, 4.0 to 4.5, and 3.5 star book to 4 star.

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