“A” is for Author Crush, “D” is for Dud

If you have to ask what “F” is for, you’re reading the wrong blog

Flowchart: Will I Like Your Book?

So far in my avocation as a rookie book reviewer, I’ve just been winging it when assigning a grade. Reading back through the first reviews I wrote, it’s obvious my grading was pretty random, and my unstructured stream-of-consciousness reviews weren’t helping me distill my likes and dislikes.

Now that I’m settling into a more coherent (heh) review style and online persona (Smarmy Mean Girl), I’m trying to be more analytical about not only the final grades, but also my rationales behind those decisions.

Therefore, I have created A CHART. Specifically, a FLOWCHART. A color-coded FLOWCHART.

FLOWCHART: Will Kelly Like Your Book?

View the flowchart at a legible size
(1000x16000px – perfect for desktop wallpaper!)

Download a printable poster-size PDF
(11″x17″ – perfect for framing to give as gifts!)

NOTE — Re: the asterisk (*) in the “Heroine: Smartass or Dumbass” box…. The “hero/heroine” choices make this seem totally M/F-centric, but I couldn’t figure out a way to coherently encode the equivalent of “Hero(ine) A/B” in those little boxes — a dilemma which makes me respect authors of non-traditional romances even more.

If you are an author, this FLOWCHART will be an invaluable tool in developing your next bestseller. If you don’t write what I like to read, don’t come whining to me. You had your chance.

In case you’re wondering, I’m repeating the word FLOWCHART for search engine optimization (SEO) so I can be the #1 result on a Google search for yet another useless bit of romance novel geekery.


The Official Insta-Love Books Reviews Scale O’ Grading:

This is important, dammit, so PAY ATTENTION. But I reserve the right change this whenever I feel like it without any notification whatsoever. Because it’s my blog and I can do whatever the hell I want.


Smart Women Read Between The LinesGrade: A — for “Author Crush”

The must-have qualification for an A grade….

BOOK TRANCE. These are my one-sitting, go-away-don’t-bother-me-I’m-reading, staying-up-until-3-a.m., definitely-read-again books.


Forget the cooking - I'm going to sit and read!Grade: B — for “you Betcha, Baby”

The must-have for a B grade:

It’s got to be MEMORABLE. No matter how competent the writing is, if I can’t glance at the title two months later and distinctly remember the characters or plot, I can’t recommend it.


How About A Date - With A Good BookGrade: C — for “Coulda been better, Coulda been worse”

No must-haves for a C grade…

…but these are primarily the acceptable-but-forgettable ones that don’t give me anything new or different.


Don't Come Crying to MeGrade: D — for “Dreadful Duds”

The difference between a D and an F….

D-grade books are just generally BAD. But there’s at least one redeeming factor that kept me reading — and sometimes that factor is providing big, fat targets for my Darts of Mockery and Dismay.


I Wake Up ScreamingGrade: F — for “Festeringly Foul”

What? You thought I was going to use the F-dash-dash-dash word, didn’t you?

Is an F the Kiss of Doom for an author?

Probably. I hold grudges. But maybe not. It depends on how bad the Piss-Me-Offery was.


Smart Women Tell It Like It IsGrade: DNF

The benefit of the doubt:

My goal is to read at least one-third of a book before making the “do I keep reading?” decision — if I’m not invested by then, there’s usually no hope. But sometimes I’ll bail out earlier, and once in a while I’ll ignore the red flags until they accumulate past the tipping point.


Rights and responsibilities

I do NOT consider myself obligated in any way to finish a book. EVER. I couldn’t give a rat’s ass if an author has spent the best years of her life writing it and considers it her “baby.”

Steaming Cup Of Shut The Fuck Up

Try pulling that bullshit excuse in a real job — ain’t gonna get you much sympathy if your end product still sucks.