The “Lazarus Rating System”
As I look for new books to read, I always refer to the Goodreads reviews, for both the number of stars and the write-ups. I may be the outlier here, but when I read a review, I don’t necessarily want a summary of the plot. That, in of itself, is a bit of a spoiler to me. Anything more than the few sentence synopsis is more than I want to know.
So, when I review books, I don’t summarize the story but rather point out what I liked and didn’t like. Just recently, it occurred to me that I should use a consistent format, no different that the supplier quality audits I did years ago in corporate America. So, from now on, I’ll be using my newly created “Lazarus Rating System” with the elements that I think are worth noting, each with the highest possible score of 5 points.
Here’s an example with the most recent book I completed on New Year’s Day – how’s that for a fresh start to 2017!
Title – Behind Closed Doors
Author – B.A. Paris
Overall Score – 5
Overall, I give this novel a 4.5 rounded up to a 5, primarily for the pace and character development.
Book Cover – 4
The bold red font is eye-catching and the red has significance in the story, so good tie-in there. The door and doorknob are a bit mundane, but I do prefer objects versus people on book covers so appreciate that the characters’ images were not shown—better to leave to the reader’s imagination what they look like.
Plot – 4.5
I read a Q&A from the author that she had suspicions of a friend’s marriage and her imagination took it from there. I found the story line to be original and, for the most part, believable. Towards the end, I was worried that the author would miss a loose end (like the paintings Grace did that were hanging in the basement) but she wove them into the story, leaving a satisfying ending.
Character Development – 4.5 ***SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT***
Grace – 5; The author did a very good job of showing how an independent woman could become trapped over time. Often when I thought Grace should do something or act in a certain way, she did, which made her character very believable.
Milly – 4; Milly’s truncated language made her stand out as a character. I did question how she could be as clever as she was portrayed given her limitations, but I have to admit, I liked that she was. The George Clooney references were hilarious. (He should make this book into a movie and play Jack for that alone!)
Jack – 3; Although Jack’s childhood was explained briefly, I would have liked to see more motive behind his actions. Also, why was having Grace not enough for him? Why did he need Milly, too?
Pace – 5
Never once did I think “get on with it already.” Paris did an outstanding job of keeping me interested and eager to find the next block of time when I could continue with the book, which to me, is the single most important criteria if I like a book.
Basics (Grammar, Punctuation, Format) – 5
PS – if you listen to the audio book, narrated by Georgia Maguire, you won’t be disappointed.
Price – 4
Hard Cover – 12.99; which is on par with other novels of this type.
Kindle – 9.99; which seems a bit high compared to the hardcover price.
Any other criteria that you think I should add to my new rating system?
- T (Title)
- A (Author)
- O (Overall)
- 1C (Character Development)
- 2B (Book Cover, Basics)
- 3P (Plot, Pace, Price)
Leave a comment below or on twitter @liz_lazarus to share your thoughts.