Books Between a 3 and a 4-Star Rating

Deciding on the rating of a book can sometimes be difficult. I usually struggle when my opinions and feelings about a book change throughout the reading experience. Some books have great beginnings, while others become outstanding closer to the end. I decided early on not to give half-stars, since that would make me overthink (even more) the rating. Why only give a book 3.5 stars when it could maybe be a 3.75? That decision left me with another problem, though – how to rate books that I enjoyed for the most part, but that I also had more qualms about than I typically do for a four-star read.

There are at least five books that I struggled to decide whether to rate with four or three stars.

 

Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb

The second book in The Farseer Trilogy continues to tell the story of Fitz, who, being the bastard son of Prince Chivalry, is a member of the Farseer royal family. Court intrigue, battles and magic abound in this novel that I rated with four stars after some contemplation. For almost half of the book, the plot doesn’t seem to have a well-defined direction and the pacing is all over the place. However, the rest of the book is engaging and affecting. The characters gain a new life and shine as bright as in the first book in the trilogy, Assassin’s Apprentice. Continue reading

Books That Didn’t Live up to First Impressions

There are books that grab our attention from the outset. Reading some of them is a pleasurable and gratifying experience until the very end. Others, on the other hand, can leave us slightly frustrated, because they end up not living up to our first impressions. In the latest years there were some books that I was quite enjoying reading at the beginning, but that I didn’t like that much as a whole. Below are some of the most striking examples of books that had potential to be far more than just satisfactory reads.

 

Mirror, Shoulder, Signal by Dorthe Nors

In Mirror, Shoulder, Signal, we are introduced to Sonja, a woman in her early forties who is struggling to learn how to drive. Overall, this is a story about loneliness and lost family bonds presented in a fluid writing style. I was intrigued by the references to Sonja’s past and her relationship with her sister. However, the ending was too abrupt and I felt that there was far more story left to tell.

 

The Power by Naomi Alderman

I had high expectations for The Power even before I started reading it, since the premise had great potential. This is a speculative fiction book in which girls start to electrocute people with their hands. The prominent question is: what would women do if they had supreme power? It reveals that power can corrupt and that the aim should be to achieve equality. But it lacks character development and tries to cover too many points of view and events in an insufficient number of pages. Continue reading

Books I Struggled to Rate

Sometimes, as soon as I finish a book, I instantaneously know how many stars I’m going to award it. Other times, to choose one from only five numbers becomes a hugely challenging task. My main difficulty, so far, has been deciding whether some books were 3 or 4-star reads. There was also an instance when I was unsure whether a book deserved a 2 or a 3-star rating.  However, I’ve never had indecisions involving possible 5-star reads – those are just faultless books in my eyes, easy!

Since I’ve started this blog, the following books were the ones that I remember struggling the most to rate.

 

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

In All the Light We Cannot See, readers are introduced to the stories of Marie-Laure and Werner, whose lives are deeply affected by the events of the Second World War. The overall story is quite inspiring, and I really appreciated the ending. However, I didn’t immediately connect with the characters, mainly because of the structure of the book, which felt too fragmented. I was unsure whether to rate it with 3 or 4 stars. I ended up going for a 4-star rating and now feel like it was the right choice. Continue reading

‘The Butcher’s Hook’ by Janet Ellis

My rating: 3 stars

The Butcher’s Hook, Janet Ellis’s debut novel, left me with mixed feelings. Although it has some funny undertones, this is quite a dark and twisted tale that I was promptly interested in and eager to know the outcome of. However, the writing style and the pacing were not very consistent, and I was somewhat disappointed with the ending.

Anne Jaccob, the narrator of the story, is quite a curious young woman, whose parents have just had another daughter. But this is not the story about a joyful household. Her mother had several miscarriages beforehand, and a baby boy died some years earlier. Not having a son is for Anne’s father a great disappointment, and one day she hears him voicing it to her mother in unfriendly terms.

Along the novel, which takes place during the 18th century, we realise how Anne resents her family, mainly her father, and still mourns for the baby boy who died, since she had become quite close to him. But she doesn’t intend to feel any love for her new-born sister, showing bitterness about having to share her mother with her. Continue reading

Book Haul – January 2017

New year, new books. Well, at least they are new to my shelves. At the beginning of this month I bought a few books that I have either been wanting to read for a while or that I have discovered more recently. During this year, I will try to read both the books that I just bought and the ones that I already owned before buying new ones. However, I have a feeling that won’t happen and that I will fall to the temptation of buying more books.

These are the book I bought this month:

The Muse by Jessie Burton

I loved Jessie Burton’s debut novel, The Miniaturist, and ever since The Muse was released I have been wanting to read it. However, as I much prefer paperbacks, I patiently waited until now. I plan to read it pretty soon to know everything about a lost masterpiece and the connection between the characters from two time periods – 1967 and 1936.

 

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

This book has been on my wish list for years. As an adaptation for TV will be broadcasted pretty soon, I thought this was the perfect time to finally buy it and read it. Continue reading