Let’s Talk about Star Ratings

Let’s Talk about Star Ratings

What’s Up with Star Ratings?

Much like judging a book by its cover, I find star ratings to be highly subjective, and I really don’t like “assigning” a number to a book I’ve just read.  I find the coveted 5-Star-Review to be a bit over-rated – in my mind it’s the content of the review that matters most. 

I read and edit a substantial number of reviews each year for Reader Views, and there is nothing more baffling to me than reading a review laden with critiques that somehow scores a 4 or 5 star rating.  Gee, the plot was full of holes and the characters were like cardboard cut-outs, but I highly recommend this book as a 5-Star read!  What?  Likewise, I don’t think a book necessarily merits a 2 star review just because the reader didn’t like the story – there has to be more than that.  For me, 2 star issues include a lack of readability, numerous grammatical errors, character development issues, stagnant plot and dialogue issues, etc.

The Magic Numbers?

I personally assign star ratings based on the following scale:
5 Stars – Excellent
4 Stars – Very Good
3 Stars – Good
2 Stars – Fair
1 Star – Need a bit of work

I just want to point out that 3 stars is a good review!  I think the mind-set of everyone in the industry today is that if a book doesn’t rate 4 or 5 stars it isn’t any good. I totally disagree with this line of thinking!  A good review is a good review.  Not every book you read is going to be great or blow your mind, but there are a lot of good books that will leave an impression. 

When I read a book, whether for pure enjoyment, to learn a new skill, expand my knowledge, or for a literary contest, I want to feel a connection to that book. Be it fiction or non-fiction, humorous or biographical, when I finish a book it is the connection I make with all points of the book that will determine the number of stars.

What are your thoughts on star ratings?

Originally published for Reader Views.

Book Review – How to be the REAL You

Book Review – How to be the REAL You

Darity Wesley
Lotus Wisdom Publishing (2018)
ISBN 9780999542521
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (1/19)
This article first posted on ReaderViews.Com.

“How To Be the REAL You” is the second book in the ‘Modern Day Oracle Wisdom Teaching Series’ by Darity Wesley. A meaningful, significant guide – the book provides genuine and heartfelt wisdom to use on your journey, be it the path to self-discovery, personal empowerment, a deeper spiritual connection, emotional growth, or all of the above.

Wait! What??? Aren’t I Already ME?

I knew this would be the perfect book for me after reading the title of the first chapter: “Wait! What??? Aren’t I Already ME?” because that is the EXACT question I asked when I picked up the book! Darity answers yes, of course you are you.  But then she goes on to ask what if the person you think you are isn’t the REAL you – the genuine you – the authentic you?  This book expertly leads you through the process of discovering that authentic self, using the steps called ‘The Five Keys to Unlocking the REAL You’.

The Five Keys

‘The Five Keys’ involve accepting yourself, losing the past, allowing yourself to be vulnerable, stop caring what others think and being open and honest.  Familiar with personal discovery work, this text feels relatable and fresh. But, more importantly, it is inviting and encouraging.  What I love most about the narrative is that Darity writes like she is talking to you directly.  Her warm and engaging tone floats off the pages. I often felt like she was in the room with me, having a cup of tea and chatting – my own personal life coach!

There are so many ‘aha’ moments in this book, and each one of ‘The Five Keys’ hits home in ways inspiring me and giving me courage to look beyond my surface.  One area I find a most meaningful connection with personally is in the final key – Be Open and Honest.

This key IS key in creating an authentic connection with oneself, and I spent a lot of time on this chapter.  I consider myself an honest person. In fact, my facial expressions, the way I carry myself, my whole being transforms if I even consider telling a story.  Let’s just say I’m not very good at poker. That’s a good thing on some levels, right? What do I excel at, however, is deceiving myself and there is a story included in this chapter that hits home a little too closely! 

Self-Discovery Prompts

The final section of the book is a self-discovery journal with prompts on each page to help you along.  This is a great place to get started on your own journey, as you read through each chapter or after you finish reading the book.

In Summary

Overall, I highly recommend “How To Be the REAL You” by Darity Wesley. There is also a companion guide for those wanting to dig deeper called, “How To Be the REAL You Go Deeper Workbook.” Clearly written, easy to understand and full of valuable information, it’s a book I will refer to often. Good stuff!

Picture Book Review – I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug!

Picture Book Review – I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug!

I'm Going to Give You a Bear Hug! cover

I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug!
Author: Caroline B. Cooney
Illustrator: Tim Warnes
ISBN: 9780310754732
Publisher: Zonderkidz; 1st Edition edition (December 27, 2016)
Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 3

Amazon Synopsis : I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug!, written by bestselling author Caroline B. Cooney, is a playful and comforting bedtime book that imagines all the wonderful ways a child might give and receive a hug.

Whether it’s a big bear, gasp for air, knock over a chair hug or a wet and drippy, slimy, slippy fish hug, children will giggle their way through all the imaginative examples. Cooney’s sweet and simple rhymes encourage playful interaction between parent and child and ultimately help them wind down before they snuggle into bed and drift off to sleep.

My thoughts

I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug! is a delightful read – a perfect reason to snuggle up on the couch for a little quality time with your child or grandchild. Written in rhyme, the melodic tone shines throughout the pages as the little boy (with no name) hugs various types of animals such as a bear, a cat, a dog – even a horse and a fish. Little Boy’s excitement as he gives hugs to all of these animals is contagious and kids will easily want to act out the story right along with him. It might be a good idea to put the cat or dog (or horse or fish) in a different room!

The writing in “I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug! is phenomenal – the rhyming is on tempo, the wording clever, concise and entertaining! As shown in the picture below:

” I’m going to give you a dog hug.
A knock over chairs,
Chase up the stairs,
And sleep like a log hug.”

I'm Going to Give You a Bear Hug!

The pictures are the perfect compliment to the story, telling their own story, as pictures do – with bright colors, endearing animals and a whimsical, care-free little boy whose playful disposition exudes love, happiness and tenderness. In every picture his actions seem to say, “I love you.”

I give 5 stars to I’m Going to Give you a Bear Hug! by Caroline B. Cooney.

About Caroline B. Cooney

Caroline B. Cooney is the bestselling author of teen suspense, mystery, and romance novels that have sold over 15,000,000 copies and are published in several languages. Of all her books, she is best known for the young adult novel The Face on the Milk Carton that has sold over 3,000,000 copies and was made into a television movie.  — (Bio from her Amazon Author page).

Review Copy

I obtained a copy of this book to review from my local library. Want a picture book review? See my review policy.