Legend

Zero stars always means that I did not finish (DNF) the book; this is not a vindictive rating – I generally only give stars to books I’ve completed. On other sites, I have to rate the book the minimum 1 star or else the review is rejected.

Cover

Anthology: The story is part of an anthology, and uses its cover instead of a custom-made one.

Terrible: The author didn’t even try to get it right.

Fits the story: The cover is either as good as the story is, or as bad.

Headless torsos and/or exposed abs – how original: Self-explanatory; seems to occur more often when cover artists are inexperienced, when authors are cheap, or when both want a stereotypical romance cover. No shirt, no pants, etc. are included in this designation.

Doesn’t fit the story: The cover sucks, but the book is surprisingly decent.

Overused stock photos: When I see the same stock photo, same models on multiple books, any one of 10,000 wolves, etc., this is the automatic choice.

Meh: Unimpressive in all aspects.

Generic but attractive: Nothing special, but relatively decent.

Well done: Different than the rest in a good way – namely, the cover is original and has subtle elements specific to the story.

Made by a pro with marketing experience: Clearly professionally made; aesthetically pleasing while conveying the correct tone and message for the book.

Grammar

So terrible I couldn’t finish the book: Sometimes, a book’s grammatical errors are so jarring that I’m taken out of the book. If this happens multiple times in quick succession, I do not finish.

Bad enough that I almost DNFed repeatedly: If the errors are spread out across the entire work, my disbelief suspenders may come very close to snapping (but not quite).

Could use a better editor: It’s obvious that some editing has been done, but too many errors were missed and/or the changes weren’t implemented well.

Could use an editor: The book is likely self-published and it shows; the author should splurge a bit on a good editor.

Very few/no typos: There were no typos or so few that they didn’t cause more than a momentary distraction.

Engagement

Put it down for 3+ days; never again: When the book is mediocre or forgettable enough for me to put it down longer than a few days OR when I put off reading a book and start another one (a rarity), I choose this.

Too brief to put down: This applies to all short stories, so if you want to find them put this phrase in the search engine. They score lower if the story is rushed or the ending is abrupt.

Forgettable after I put it down for a few hours: When I am busy doing something else and either forget I was reading the book entirely until I open the app, or when I remember that I was reading something but not exactly what, this is the rating.

Memorable after I put it down for a few hours: This rating is for books that are interesting enough for me to remember character names, the plot, etc, when I continue.

Eagerly awaited after I put it down for a few hours: This rating is for books that are really interesting, but I don’t have time to read it all at once. I remember character names, the plot, etc, and am excited to continue.

Read all at once (normal): This is my standard – I read so quickly that I often go through novels in just a few hours.

Read all at once (riveted): This rating is for books that prompt all-nighters and holes in the space-time continuum because I can’t stop reading.

Likes

Self-explanatory: You’ll notice that I’ll practically write paragraphs about books I enjoy here, but if the book is mediocre or terrible this section is mostly barren. I may elaborate in the Extra Notes section as well.

Dislikes

Self-explanatory: If I don’t like a book, you will certainly hear about it here. I may elaborate in the Extra Notes section as well.

Sex Scenes

Dear God make it stop: When the characters perform anatomically impossible feats in a non-paranormal/fantasy setting or the sex scene writing is atrocious in a non-humorous book, I check this extra fast.

Scene-free: Most prevalent in YA books or general m/m fiction, and doesn’t factor into my rating for these books. I admit that it’s especially annoying when something momentous happens in a fade-to-black YA “sex” scene and we don’t know until the characters drop hints about it afterward. Just do that in the first place and save a page or two!

Not enough scenes: Most prevalent in the Harlequin-esque Dreamspun series books. If I wanted only one or two sex scenes, I’d read M/F. This rating also includes fade-to-black scenes in 18+.

Meh: These sex scenes are the same as thousands of other books – nothing impressive or novel.

Decently hot: These scenes are similar to all the rest, but also mildly salacious.

Decently sweet: These scenes are similar to all the rest, but are softer, more loving, more romantic, etc.

Plasma hot: When there are scenes in the book that really do it for me, I’ll choose this option.

Sucralose sweet: When there are scenes in the book that are either gag-worthy or repeatedly “aww”-inspiring, I’ll choose this option.

Character Depth

Toe deep: There isn’t much to these characters, and the author isn’t interested in digging too deeply. Typical of PWP stories.

Ankle deep: There is a bit of substance to these characters, but a lot more could be written about them.

Hip deep: The characters are on their way to being fully fleshed out, but still missing a few key points.

Chest deep: The characters are on their way to being fully fleshed out, but still missing one major point (for example, writing very little about their family interactions is becoming more common) and the spark.

Neck deep: The characters are fully realized, but the author is missing that spark that takes it to the next level.

Over my head: I feel like I have become the character, and their situation becomes emotionally overwhelming; these books are extremely rare.

Emotional Depth

PWP: Porn without plot, or erotica without emotion – it’s just sex, sex, sex, and maybe a happy for now (HFN).

Apathetic: Nothing new, nothing impressive, but not so terrible I’d stop reading.

Weakly emotional: I may tear up a bit, chuckle, etc. but nothing earth-shattering.

Moderately emotional: When there are a few angsty, sad, maddening, or hilarious sections in the book.

Full gamut of emotion: I’m being taken from one extreme to another; I have laughed hard, ugly cried, and/or wanted to throw the tablet/book across the room. These stories are extremely rare.

Mood Upon Completion

Self-explanatory: How I feel when I finish the book. Some examples include happy, sad, angry, annoyed, ready for the sequel, and apathetic

Content Warnings

My older reviews only have generic content warnings with no character type or further explanations.

None: You should be okay if you have any aspects you can’t tolerate.

Not a romance: Self-explanatory.

BDSM: Typically followed by (namely, *relationship type* – *character type*, *number participating*, *era*), e.g. BDSM (namely, Daddy/boy – major, two, past/present) if applicable. Books that feature Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, Sadomasochism, other relationship dynamics, or BDSM clubs fall under this warning.

Kink: Typically followed by (namely, *kink type* – *character type*, *number participating*, *era*), e.g. Kink (namely, spanking – major, two, past/present) if applicable. Books featuring kinks without the dynamic, or that heavily feature a specific kink within a dynamic (e.g. spanking in a domestic discipline relationship) fall under this warning.

Abuse: Typically followed by (*abuse type*, *character type*, *number affected*, *era*), e.g. Abuse (physical, minor, two, past) if applicable. These books feature physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse and may also reference a distant or recent memory of an event that happened to a major or minor character.

Character death: If the person is important to the story it falls under this warning – even when a minor character’s death is only mentioned in passing. I describe it similarly to the abuse category, but I don’t include the type of death…trying to leave SOME mystery, geez!

Dub-con/Non-con: I don’t typically read books with this content warning, but when I stumble across it, I describe it similarly to the abuse category.

Incest: These stories are primarily between step-family members, although some immediate family members may slip in occasionally such as twins.

Drug Use: Typically followed by (*consent type*, *drug type*, *amount of drugged*, *character level*, *era*), e.g. Drug Use (non-consensual, mushrooms, multiple, major characters, present) as applicable.

Violence: These stories contain violence uncharacteristic of a typical romance, or acts perpetrated by people unrelated to the main character (acquaintances, enemies, strangers, etc.).