4-star reviews are usually lumped with 5-star reviews as “positive.” But they are really tricky because they’re usually negative reviews in disguise. I skim over 4-star reviews as not helpful at all. (Which probably makes it awkward that I’ve published a lot of them myself, including one most recently for Brave. :P)
I always wonder: Why wasn’t it a 5-star? What’s making you hold back? 85% of the time it’s because the person giving the 4-star review actually dislikes the book or movie, but won’t admit it. Either they’re feeling social pressure from others not to be too blunt or they don’t want to admit their feelings to themselves. The other 15% the opposite is true. The person loves the book or movie and also, even more curiously, doesn’t quite want to admit it.
4-star reviews tend to be inarticulate and vague. I post them sometimes if I really can’t think of another way to say what I think. But they are the insincere reviews and we all know there’s nothing more useless than that. 4-star reviews are also a vital part of the eco-system–probably because this exact insincerity is something we’ve all had, or been expected to have, from time to time. It’s hard to imagine the world without it.
With Bellevere out of the way, I plan to get back to my series on what reviews really mean, especially since the next post will be about 4* reviews, which are some of the most complex. But first I’ll share what I’ve been reviewing myself. I’m on Amazon as BusyCat because my cat Luna has been very active in the review process. I swear she tells me what to say. 😛
In the last couple of months I’ve watched and read:
Star Wars Saga I-VI
The Force Awakens
The Pulse Effex series by Linore Burkard
The Lord of the Rings trilogy
The first two Hobbit movies.
The Complete Jane Austen (2007-2009)
Anne of Avonlea (1975)
True to You by Becky Wade
The Lost Medallion
Sheet Music for LOTR and Star Wars I-III
…and got up quite a list of reviews. Not everything, of course, if I couldn’t bring myself to express an opinion. Either that or I didn’t think speaking would be a good idea–or I didn’t have time–or something like that. For the first time in quite awhile reviewing was actually fun. But of course I should just have accepted it years ago. Cats are smarter than people.
Bellevere House (Vintage Jane Austen–Mansfield Park) ebook is now available for pre-order. It has been modified from the beta manuscript in several areas. Beta readers are strongly advised not to review until they have downloaded and examined the new book thoroughly, to avoid making incorrect statements. If you don’t have the time to read the new book, don’t comment publicly until you have read it. New readers may request a review copy here. Put “Review Copy Request” as the first line in the comment form. The review copy will be in PDF format.
Bellevere House will release on June 17th. A paperback is planned for a later date
There were things I loved about this book, but some of the content and relationships were too disturbing and I ended up feeling let down. Nora was realistic and faulty, but also someone to sympathize with. Not a cardboard character at all. There were also little comic references to period movie girls, centered on Nora’s fangirl obsession with a British soap opera actor, and the humor about this was gentle, but so, so hilarious. But John was macho and I felt arrogant. [SPOILER ALERT] His search for his birth mother led into a twist at odds with the light tone of the rest of the book. He learned his mother had been raped by a serial rapist who also raped (and murdered) Nora’s mother—his girlfriend’s mother. So both their mothers were raped by the same man—Nora’s died and John’s became pregnant with him. There was a lot of anxiety over this that almost broke up the couple. This plot left a bad taste in my mouth and even though they are not related biologically, it linked them too closely. It felt weird. So—worth a read, because Wade’s vivid storytelling is really excellent. But definitely not reread.
I was given this book in exchange for my honest review.