Updated: Nov 13, 2021
I've been reading romances since I was sixteen. Tack on a few 20 years and you've got my age. ;-)
I started with historical romances (Hello- Julie Garwood and Jude Devereaux - my two favorites) and then branched into paranormal historical romances, then paranormal. I took a break from reading when I met my husband to finish school and then eventually start a family.
Fast Forward a few years and here I am, sucked back into the world of Romance Novels. I've branched out though. Now I read everything from historical to the taboo. There isn't a whole lot I won't read. I love the character arcs.
I'll be honest in my review, judging based on the things below and not how I think the book should have been (because we all have ideas of what could have been done differently). So I will do my best to keep my subjective ideas out of my objective review. Yes, there will be spoilers, I like to go in depth and give examples- but I'll ALWAYS put that at the end. So if you want to skip the spoilers and just find out what the book is about- stick to the top.
So how do I rate things?
Like most website I'll give a score out of 5. Each section is worth 1-5 stars, and I'll give each section a rating and then average the categories to give an overall score.
Characters: I prefer first person point of view, I like being the character and want to experience the book through their eyes. But if third is written well, I can get into that. So- I watch their arc. Are they complete assholes in the beginning and turn to marshmallows in the end? I want to feel how it happens. I want connection with the characters and I want them to be relatable (if they are regular romances- dark romances are different).
If they are an alpha character, does the writer just tell us he's an alpha or does the writer show it?
You get it, I want a show vs tell. If they are brutal, show me brutality, if they are sweet, show me the sweetness.
Theme: When I close the book, what overall theme did I pick up. The best books (to me) are character driven- meaning that the purpose of the book is to change the character.
The BEST EXAMPLE in the world (okay, a bit of bias here) is Pride and Prejudice where we see Elizabeth Bennet change from hating Mr. Darcy to realizing that his quiet nature isn't him being arrogant, but him being shy and assessing. The other part of that story is Mr. Darcy realizing that lack of money and connections doesn't mean that Elizabeth isn't worthy of his attention.
Both characters ideals and beliefs are challenged in the story, causing them to grow. Oh, sigh. Love that growth.
Writing style: I look for emotional words- happiness, sadness, surprise, fear, anger, disgust, and contempt. If I see them in the book it takes me out of the story. I want to feel those emotions, not be told what I am feeling. If the MMC's angry, I want to know his blood is boiling, his fists are clenched and he's mashing his teeth together to keep from speaking out.
If I see the emotional words, or if I'm pulled out of the story for inconsistent issues then I start rating lower and lower
I really don't care if it's first person, third person or second person (although, I've never read a book in second person pov, so if you have one to recommend, please do!)
Chemistry: This is what we all want, characters who are tangible and you can feel their need, want, distress, anger, betrayal, frustation... you get it. I want that. I want to feel how they react with the people around them. I also, really, trully want all characters in a love arc to win. But there are times when the characters don't feel like they should be together. We've all read those stories and left the book going- what in the actual hell?
Chemistry is important in ever romance.
Overall: This is the average of the four categories
Then there is steam, which is important to every one. Some people want the closed door romances where you don't read the sexual part of the relationship and others want a good erotic story that just ties them up and makes them happy for awhile. Both are great! And kudos to you if you know which ones you like.
- Most of the books I read (if not all) will be a variation of 3 or higher, because I like to read that in stories.
Steam: Well, I came up with a steam rating a few months ago.
Is there something specific you'd like to see in my reviews? Let me know below.