Book Reviews

Picture Book Reviews
Middle Grade Book Reviews
Young Adult Book Reviews
Adult Book Reviews

The first thing to note is that I will not review a book I did not enjoy. Second, book reviews featured here are primarily by independent authors or from small, independent publishers. I am not against books from the big publishing houses, but those books have more exposure and more outlets for reviews. Also, I enjoy hearing stories with a different world view than what we normally see from the major publishing hubs.

What makes a book good varies with every reader. So, instead of a traditional subjective book review, the reviews featured here will rate each book based on a selection of objective criteria followed by a short description of the story and a few theme topics, so you can decide if the book looks right for you or the young readers in your life. Clicking on the book’s image will take you to a link where you can learn more about that book.

The criteria is as follows:

P=Plot: Logical progression with an intriguing beginning, an active middle, and logical ending.

Points off for rabbit holes, sagging middles, coincidental solutions to problems, and heavy reliance on dreams, visions, overheard conversations, or supernatural interference to convey or resolve plot.

C=Characters: Believable, consistent characters whose actions and speech are true to their character.

Points added for characters intended to be likeable who actually are likeable.

Q=Quality of writing: Good balance of showing versus telling, vocabulary suitable for audience, and evocative language.

The more dots, the more professionally written. Points off for excessive wordiness, weak settings, and passive voice.

E=Editing: Well proofread and well edited.

The more dots, the more professionally proofed. Points off for excessive typos, misspelled words, poor grammar, misused or missing punctuation, poor formatting, and floating dialogue (who said this?).

H=Humor: The more humor, the more dots.

V=Violence & Vugarity: The more violence and vulgarity in the book, the more blue dots.

An on-page, violent death or sexual assault will get ten dots. Dots added for gratuitous vulgarities. F bombs and compound-word vulgarities get additional dots.

O: Possibly culturally offensive or irreverent.

Dots added for characters who make comments, actions, or internal observations, intentionally or through lack of awareness, which some readers may find offensive.

S=Sex: The more sexual activity in the book, the more blue dots.

Hand-holding will rank one dot and go up from there. On-page sexual encounters will get ten dots. I do not review erotica.

D=Drug use: The more drugs, alcohol, or other substance use, the more blue dots.

The rating won’t change for historical fiction, so keep in mind the common use of tobacco and fermented beverages in previous decades and centuries.

R=Religion: The more religious belief influences the characters, the more blue dots.

Church attendance and non-dialogue prayers will rank one dot and go up from there.

So, a review for CHARLOTTE’S WEB by E.B. White would look like this:

P: 🔵🔵🔵🔵🔵🔵🔵🔵🔵🔵
C: 🔵🔵🔵🔵🔵🔵🔵🔵🔵🔵
Q: 🔵🔵🔵🔵🔵🔵🔵🔵🔵🔵
E: 🔵🔵🔵🔵🔵🔵🔵🔵🔵🔵
H: 🔵🔵🔵🔵🔵🔵🔵🔵⚪⚪
V: 🔵🔵⚪⚪⚪⚪⚪⚪⚪⚪
O: ⚪⚪⚪⚪⚪⚪⚪⚪⚪⚪
S: ⚪⚪⚪⚪⚪⚪⚪⚪⚪⚪
D: ⚪⚪⚪⚪⚪⚪⚪⚪⚪⚪
R: 🔵🔵⚪⚪⚪⚪⚪⚪⚪⚪

When a runt-of-the-litter pig named Wilbur learns he is being fattened for slaughter, his friend, a spider named Charlotte, comes to his rescue.

Themes: Friendship, farm life, fiscal responsibility, valuing life, grief

I hope you find something you like. Happy hunting!