maybe it’s me, but…



Do you ever come across reviews or ratings for books by well known authors and think to yourself “wait. another 5 star rating? like that’s a fucking surprise.” and roll your eyes?

If I wasn’t so lazy arsed, I’d be tempted to start up a wankfest every time I saw a book review like this by asking if that’s what the reviewer actually thought or are they (a) starry eyed by the pedestal thing or (b) scared shitless of the minions?

Because, seriously??

When I see an author who gets a rating of 5 stars EVERY. DAMNED. BOOK., I call bullshit.
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About Kris

Reads, rants, randoms & R+s. You've been warned. BTW, don't follow me if you're a GLBTQQphobic wanker. It won't end well. For you.
This entry was posted in authors, maybe it's me but, not a review, reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to maybe it’s me, but…

  1. KT Grant says:

    Word…

    Except when it comes to mine.

  2. Chris says:

    You aren't the only one. 🙂 Also, when authors rate their own books…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Kris,

    I really thank you so much for this post, bc I seriously thought I was the only one thinking this.

    I still feel fairly new to reading M/M bc I simply didnt had the funds at the time to purchase the books that I wanted at the time that I started to read M/M plus I dont have a e-reader as of yet. With this in mind, I still read reviews because what maybe a piece of fiction that a huge majority have re- read millions of times (for ex. I havent started to read MY Fair Captain yet) it will be brand spanking new to me and I want to see if I join the general consensus of those who gave it such high reviews. With that in mind, I have seen reviews of famous authors where Im like “U mean to tell me that they hit it out of the ballpark EVERY SINGLE OF TIME? ANOTHER 5star review?” I look at such reviews with a skeptical eye.

    I dont think I will ever be a fan of anybody's work be it music, art, literature to where I can have a objective eye bc I have read books by writers who have won Nobel Prizes for Literature where I have been: “Sorry John or Jane Doe, your book this time around didnt do it for me. 2 out of 5 stars. Its not that I dont like that author any much less, but seriously there is no way ANY writer, living or dead, or any artist of any medium for that matter churns out masterpiece after masterpiece EVERY SINGLE TIME. Doesnt happen that way. Maybe in a perfect world….

    Ozakie

  4. K. Z. Snow says:

    Word…

    Except when it comes to mine.

    ” ” ” ” ” ” “
    😉

  5. Tam says:

    Am I the only one who never goes and looks at ratings? Sigh. I buy based on what a few of you that I know say or what appeals to me at the time. Later when I register them at Good Reads, I again, only look at the ratings that my friends gave it to see if they are totally whack 🙂 or in agreement with me. LOL But I just can't be bothered to go and look a book to see what a bunch of total strangers rated it. I know with yaoi on Good Reads there are people who give every single book 5 stars. It seems if it has a drawn penis in it, that means 5 stars. I just tend to ignore that stuff.

    Maybe I'm just too lazy to be bothered looking but in general I have no clue how a book is rated outside of my own little world of 5 or 6 sites.

  6. Jenre says:

    This is how it goes with me:

    I look up at book at GRs and scan down the list of people who have rated it. I then weed out those that I know only ever give 5 stars, and any ratings by the author which just make me roll my eyes at the audacity. I then look at what my trusted friends have given it (and add an extra star for Kris cos she's so mean). Then I may read a few comments/reviews as long as they don't give away spoilers or are so long I've fallen asleep before the end.

    If I'm still interested after all that, I may buy.

    As for the whole 5 stars for popular authors. Well, I pretty much know what I like and who I like and so can make my own judgements on those. There are some authors who have a lot of 5 stars ratings from me, but I only go on a book by book rating. If that author were to produce a dud next, I'm not going to doling out a 5 star, just because the whole m/m reading world is in love with/in awe of them. Then again I consider myself to be a bit of a jaded pro when it comes to m/m romance now. I can see how those readers who are new to the genre may be blinded by all those 5 stars.

  7. Tam says:

    (and add an extra star for Kris cos she's so mean)

    LOL Oh yeah, and that too. 😉

  8. Ingrid says:

    You are right Kris. It must be A with a dash of B as well.

    As I buy a lot of books in the week they come out, so a lot of them don't have a review yet. Which is a blessing, I can make my own opinion.
    In my experience knowing what other trusted friends and/or reviewers think makes a difference.

  9. Kris says:

    Katiebabs chook: *snort* Well, naturally. 😉

    Chris: “You aren't the only one.”

    Phew! 🙂 And, yep, the book rating thing drives me mental. It makes them look a wee desperate.

    Ozakie: “Its not that I dont like that author any much less, but seriously there is no way ANY writer, living or dead, or any artist of any medium for that matter churns out masterpiece after masterpiece EVERY SINGLE TIME. Doesnt happen that way. Maybe in a perfect world….”

    Exactly! No way someone is going to produce a win every single time. It's utter crap.

    I've stopped reading certain reviewers because I see that they consistently give high ratings to particular authors. Hard to respect either the reviewer or the author in those circumstances. Fangurl/guy much. Blech.

  10. I don't like using a star system. Just because today a book is awesome, I will read an awesomer book tomorrow. Then that first 5star rating is skewed….

  11. Kris says:

    KZ: Yeah, yeah. ;P

    Tam: “Later when I register them at Good Reads, I again, only look at the ratings that my friends gave it to see if they are totally whack 🙂 or in agreement with me.”

    LOL. And I can guess from your 2nd comment who you think the whack person is. *sigh*

    I know what you said about ratings, but you read reviews, right? Does a glowing review influence you?

    Jenre: “I then look at what my trusted friends have given it (and add an extra star for Kris cos she's so mean).”

    And you're mean for always mentioning it! Hmpf!

    “If that author were to produce a dud next, I'm not going to doling out a 5 star, just because the whole m/m reading world is in love with/in awe of them.”

    You're one of the few reviewers I trust to be honest, Jen. Others… not so much. And, yes, I would think that a new reader coming into a tight-knit genre like m/m to be a bit overwhelming and intimidating what with all of the little groups… like us. 😉

  12. Chris says:

    You guys were skeery when I was a newish m/m reader. But I'm persistent. 🙂

    I used Jenre's 4-5 star reviews to get me started on finding good stuff to read, then slowly found the rest of you.

  13. Kris says:

    Ingrid: Of course I'm right. I always am. 😉

    “In my experience knowing what other trusted friends and/or reviewers think makes a difference.”

    Yes. In fact I think that is excellent advice to any new reader. Do some surfing online or in places like goodreads, choose a couple of books and find other readers who have similar responses to you that you can trust.

    Miranda: “Then that first 5star rating is skewed….”

    When that happens to me I sometimes go back and change the rating I did on goodreads. Is that weird?

  14. Kris says:

    Chris: “You guys were skeery when I was a newish m/m reader. But I'm persistent. :)”

    No shit. Next we will be sleeping together.

    Hang on a minute!

    ;P

  15. Tam says:

    A glowing review CAN influence me, but usually only if it's from someone I know (y'all know who you are) but even now I'm learning that I need more than a glowing review to buy a book. Too often I've gotten it solely because of that even though something inside has told me it's not my thing and sure as hell, it's not my thing. So I go with a gut instinct combined with review, but not review alone if that makes sense.

    I rarely read reviews on GR if I've read the book, I do on blogs and will comment but I hardly ever read stranger reviews because I have no clue if their taste matches mine so it doesn't mean much.

  16. *puts on guilty face* some some authors are 4 or 5 stars to me, I pretty much like anything that author publishes *coughsJoshLayoncoughs*

    Buuuuuuut I do not care for a review site that only doles out 4 or 5 stars on every book they read.

  17. Kris says:

    Tam: “So I go with a gut instinct combined with review, but not review alone if that makes sense.”

    I go with a combination too. Rating, review, blurb, excerpt and gut. Even if something has 5 stars from people I trust I won't get it if my gut says no.

    KC! Geez. 😛

    “Buuuuuuut I do not care for a review site that only doles out 4 or 5 stars on every book they read.”

    Me either. Both it and the high ratings always given to particular authors annoy the crap out of me.

  18. You guys are still skeery to me.

    You'll be even skeerier after you've slept together.

  19. Kris says:

    Wren: “You'll be even skeerier after you've slept together.”

    Well, that's fucking rude. How do you know that we won't be all mellowy satisfied and shit?

  20. Twimom227 says:

    Then don't look at my Meljean Brook reviews – I actually gave her TWO – yes TWO 5-star reviews (and I think I've only given out 4 all year!) but I get what you mean. Earlier this year, I read a book by a beloved author and felt it just wasn't up to par, but I was seeing review after review of 4.5 and 5 stars. I thought maybe I mis-read something, but I still posted my review just as I had it. And then I started getting comments agreeing with me.

    I also make an effort never to read a review of a book I am also reviewing until I'm done… I don't want false 5s tainting my experience!

  21. lisabea says:

    Hey. Remember when I used to review other people's ” favorite books” and I wound up not liking them? Before I turned into a ….non-reviewer.

    God. Those were the days.

    🙂

    5 stars to LB Gregg WOOOOT!!! She totally rocks.

  22. Hi 🙂 I'm new to the m/m world (a little over a year), and I draw my book recommendations from myself and what I've read. I love to read others' comments on books as to why they gave it the rating they did, and I'm on GR, and I guess I have yet to see an author with all 5 stars. What my pet-peeve is when authors rate themselves!! I mean, come on, of course you'd give yourself 5 stars—it's your book!! The fact that it's published speaks that yes, you are an author. I know there are people out there who are so critical that to read their reviews is an exercise in futility, and those that are so effervescent and (possibly) bowing to *peer-pressure* that they'll rate ANYTHING 4.5-5 stars, but I try to weed those people out and concentrate on those of y'all whose reviews are well-thought out, and genuine.

    Tame

  23. Angelia says:

    For me? I KNOW who is getting 5 stars because of the Marching Minions who give them and then harass anyone who doesn't.

    My taste is mine. A workmanlike book that doesn't move me gets 3 stars. A good book, one I'll be thinking about or rereading is 4. One I can't wait to re-read, or am bouncing and begging for a sequel? That gets a 5.
    2 is a book that could have been good, but the author just cannot write/handle the plot.
    1 is a book that sucked so much I am mocking it viciously.

  24. Kris says:

    Jen: “Then don't look at my Meljean Brook reviews – I actually gave her TWO – yes TWO 5-star reviews (and I think I've only given out 4 all year!)”

    zOMG! You're going to hell. *whispers* Which ones were they? We may need to synchronize lists.

    *ahem*

    “Earlier this year, I read a book by a beloved author and felt it just wasn't up to par, but I was seeing review after review of 4.5 and 5 stars. I thought maybe I mis-read something, but I still posted my review just as I had it. And then I started getting comments agreeing with me.”

    I think it is interesting when this happens. I also am always intrigued by what may have bothered one reviewer enough to give it a low rating might not have been as bad for another one. It is the whys associated with issues like that which always make for such interesting discussions.

    Lisabea: “God. Those were the days.”

    I have to say that I miss your reviews. Readers could always count on you to give a totally honest opinion without being influenced by what others were saying. Good stuff.

    “5 stars to LB Gregg WOOOOT!!! She totally rocks.”

    Who's she? I've never heard of her. 😛

  25. This is so funny you brought this up. I had a fellow writer email me about a somewhat scathing review I received on Goodreads. My response was, hey it happens. It's part of the job.

    I feel that if you're going to enter this business you have to be prepared to take the good with the bad. Not everyone is going to love my books. If I only got five star reviews, I would know that something was up because then only my mom, sister and grandmother were reading my books. They always love my stuff. 😛

  26. nichem says:

    Eeeep, I just gave a 5 star review today. But it really did rate 5 stars in my book!

    I tend to be a somewhat easier rater in general, I think. My scale is 5 for great, 4 good, 3 okay. I rarely give 1 or 2. BUT I'm also really picky about choosing my books. If it sounds good from the blurb, then I check the ratings of people I know have similar taste to mine. Unless it's an author I love, I don't buy a book until I see a good review or rating by someone I trust. And there are some m/m authors that everyone seems to love, but I've tried them and I don't like, so I continue to avoid those.

    I don't think I've given any author all 5 stars, even my auto-buys.

    I have noticed some reviewers getting shit for giving less than 5 star reviews for some fave m/m authors though. Makes posting a less than glowing review or rating for those books a bit intimidating.

  27. Kaetrin says:

    Despite having accounts at Shelfari, Library Thing and Goodreads, I really don't spend much time there – when I get around to it I plan to try and link my blog reviews to Goodreads but who knows when that will happen. Mostly, I buy books from authors I already know and like or based on reviews from trusted reviewers – Sarah Franz from DA is usually a win for me with M/M and both you and Chris have given me some great tips.

    I've been on a KA Mitchell glom in the last little bit – re-reading the ones I already had and reading the ones I hadn't read yet and despite liking all of them, they weren't all A's for me. She's an autobuy author for me (to use her as an example) but some of her books are, IMO, better than others – even though I have liked all of them.

  28. Kaetrin says:

    *just following the comments – nothing to see here*

  29. Kris says:

    Hey Tame 🙂

    “What my pet-peeve is when authors rate themselves!! I mean, come on, of course you'd give yourself 5 stars—it's your book!!”

    Word. It smacks of desperation and as an author friend of mine said offline douchebagery.

    “… but I try to weed those people out and concentrate on those of y'all whose reviews are well-thought out, and genuine.”

    Would you mind explaining this a bit; for eg, how you identify the more genuine reviews? I think it would be especially interesting – if you wouldn't mind – to get your POV as you are relatively new to m/m.

    Angelia: “For me? I KNOW who is getting 5 stars because of the Marching Minions who give them and then harass anyone who doesn't.”

    Yup, they're the ones. Fandom has it's negative and positive points and this ain't one of them that's for damned sure. I know a couple of reviewers who have been attacked because they have dared to question the writing ability of an author. That's bullshit.

    Stephani: “If I only got five star reviews, I would know that something was up because then only my mom, sister and grandmother were reading my books. They always love my stuff. :-P”

    I ❤ you, Stephani. I think that is an awesome approach to have and hopefully one that will help you and any author survive this sometimes demoralising industry.

  30. Kris says:

    Richelle: “I have noticed some reviewers getting shit for giving less than 5 star reviews for some fave m/m authors though. Makes posting a less than glowing review or rating for those books a bit intimidating.”

    Did you read that, Jenre and Tam?! Richelle says you're being fucking rude to me, beeyotches.

    “Unless it's an author I love, I don't buy a book until I see a good review or rating by someone I trust.”

    You obviously have willpower. Me? Well, I'm a book slut no doubt about it. 😀

    Kaetrin: “I've been on a KA Mitchell glom in the last little bit – re-reading the ones I already had and reading the ones I hadn't read yet and despite liking all of them, they weren't all A's for me. She's an autobuy author for me (to use her as an example) but some of her books are, IMO, better than others – even though I have liked all of them.”

    I think that is a great example of what I was no very explicitly talking about in my post. Yes, you may like an author to the point of autobuying them. Yes, that author may be extremely popular. Does that mean you MUST like every book and rate it 5 stars? No. Especially if that review or rating is not warranted.

    Kaetrin:

  31. Jenre says:

    Did you read that, Jenre and Tam?! Richelle says you're being fucking rude to me, beeyotches

    It's only cos she's scared of you, you know. Really she's thinking the same as we are. Perhaps it's like all those fans who are in awe of their favourite author *ponders*.

    😛

  32. orannia says:

    It's like you read my mind *grin*

  33. Kris says:

    Jenre: That doesn't count when it comes to the awesomeness of me.

    You should have known that already.

    Orannia: YAY! *power air fist* My psychic abilities are growing!

  34. Mandi says:

    I feel more pressure posting a five star review than a two star review. I'm afraid people are going to buy the book, hate it and be like – bitch, give me 8 dollars back. Smack.

    And I can't stand it when authors pad their reviews on amazons with 5-star reviews from friends.

    Don't get me all riled up at 7am. I'm going to go drink some coffee and day dream of Vutch.

  35. Nikyta says:

    Lmao. See, I think it's based on the reviewer. A lot of my books are 5 stars not because I'm starry eyed or afraid of what the author would say but about my enjoyment of the book. When it comes to my ratings I don't rate them like reviewers do with all the writing styles, characterizations or any of that stuff but on how I enjoyed how they made the book work. Does that make sense? If I don't like things that happen in a book (i.e. a couple having sex RIGHT after a person is shot) then I'll lower my rating but, to me, if the book catches my attention enough for me to read it in one go and I like how it turned out then I'll give it a 5.

    See, I didn't do good in English, or grammar or whatever, so if I judged it on that, all my ratings would most likely be 1s. Lmao.

    I do agree with the 5 star rating when it comes from the authors, though. I mean, seriously? Of course you think you're own book is worth 5 stars, you published it!

    (Is it bad that my word veri is solourga and I thought it said salami? heheh)

  36. Kassa says:

    I only look at those who I've friended to be honest when looking at reviews. I've stopped looking at review sites because everything is 4 or 5 stars. EVERYTHING! So clearly 100% of what they read is fabulous.. I would kill for that kind of luck.

    I think readers in general are extremely generous. Finding critical reviewers who are honest is hard and so I appreciate those on my friend list more than I can say. No one likes a bad review and frankly no one likes giving a bad review so I think there is a lot of pressure to “be nice” and write a complimentary review. Especially in this day and age of digital when authors become “friends” making critically reviewing almost impossible.

    We've all had authors be nice to us before they read their first “bad” review from us and then oops.. never heard from again lol. Too much pressure I think to just say fuck it and be nice.

  37. nichem says:

    Yes, that's exactly what I meant– Jen and Tam please stop being rude to Kris. 😛

    *whispers of course I'm scared of Kris, Jen. She does that scary trout stare thing endwhisper*

  38. Kris says:

    Mandi: “I'm afraid people are going to buy the book, hate it and be like – bitch, give me 8 dollars back. Smack.”

    I'm so going to do that to you at some point. You're welcome.

    I would have thought day dreaming of Vutch would have, erm, riled you up rather than calmed you down. 😛

    Nikyta: *snort* I think I would have been surprised if you hadn't though of salami. 😉

    “When it comes to my ratings I don't rate them like reviewers do with all the writing styles, characterizations or any of that stuff but on how I enjoyed how they made the book work. Does that make sense?”

    It makes total sense. I tend to do the gut rating myself. It's only when I come to doing reviews for Wave that I make shit up about all that other stuff. *g*

  39. Kris says:

    Kassa: “Too much pressure I think to just say fuck it and be nice.”

    You think that's really it? Yeah, I can see that it would be influential. I guess from my POV some of the larger review sites in particular have a responsibility to give an honest review or rating, not to just toe the line. If that's their intention from that outset, than they need to stop hiding behind that 'I review for readers' crap.

    Richelle: I'm not typing to you anymore.

    *sociopathicrainbowtroustareofdeath*

  40. JenB says:

    Oh damn, sorry I missed this discussion.

    But that's okay, because I would've kept my lips firmly zipped anyway.

    *zziiipppp*

    O_O

  41. Kris says:

    JenB: “But that's okay, because I would've kept my lips firmly zipped anyway.”

    Online anyways. 😛

  42. JenB says:

    Either you're a serious perv, or you were implying that I might say mean things about people behind their backs.

    Either way, I'm horribly offended.

  43. Kris says:

    Yeah, yeah. We all know how rainbows shoot out of your arse too.

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