Guest Post: Lucy V Hay (author of Tear Me Apart: SkyJack, part of The Forgotten Women Series) #damppebblesTakeOver

I am thrilled to have the incredibly talented Lucy V. Hay join me today on damppebbles.  For those who don’t know Lucy she is a woman with many strings to her bow.  Not only is she an author but her day job involves the film industry and she is the associate producer of two films (starring Danny Dyer).  However, the reason I am in total awe of Lucy is that she runs two blogs, TWO!  The first is which offers advice, support and encouragement to writers.  The second blog is all about Lucy’s own writing and her love of the crime genre.  Lucy’s latest release is Tear Me Apart: SkyJack which is part of The Forgotten Women series.  Here is the blurb for Tear Me Apart: SkyJack.

“In the not-too-distant future, women have started dying out due to a mysterious event known as The Fall. Set nine years after it began, SKYJACK follows the fate of Maddy, one of the survivors of the ominous London City Haven where remaining women and girls were rounded up by government scientists.

Having escaped to the Westcountry with her father Bill, they created a fort with other surviving women and male allies as their last stand. They feel safe; roadblocks and nature have created barriers in the way of a river, the moor and the sea. But what they don’t count on is the air…

SKYJACK is the first novella in The Forgotten Women series, which explores the journeys of four young women through the brutal post-apocalyptic world of Tear Me Apart.

For more content including the feature-length film, animated web comics and novella anthology visit”

I am delighted that Lucy has chosen to write about star ratings.  I’ve been blogging since January and I still haven’t quite got the hang of where good stops and bad starts.  I wrote a review recently which I started by saying that I wasn’t sure how many stars I wanted to give the book.  I have to confess that several days later, I am still wondering whether I made the right decision…

star ratings graphic

By @LucyVHayAuthor

If there’s anything that gets authors, readers, book bloggers and social media lurkers talking online, it’s the reviews system!

Just what IS a ‘good’ review, or a bad one? Are they for readers’ benefit, or the author’s? Should authors respond to bad reviews? Should book bloggers not review books not enjoyed, or is that dishonest? The list goes on and on.

As well as being an author, I am a passionate reader and book reviewer. As well as reviewing my own crime fiction book picks via my ‘Best of 3’ feature on my blog and on my Goodreads profile, I opened up the floor for others to do the same, too. (If you want to send me *your* ‘Best of 3’ for your favourite crime fiction novels? CLICK HERE).

Having been a book reviewer for over eighteen months now, here’s my Star Rating Guide based on my experiences:

  • Star Ratings Mean Different Things To Different People

This is an interesting one, because as far as I’m concerned, 3 stars is a GOOD rating (provided it’s with a non-critical review!). Others will consider it ‘neutral’, others will consider it ‘bad’. You need to decide how *you* see stars and what they’re ‘worth’.

  • 3 Stars Means Different Things On Different Platforms

It’s worth remembering sometimes reviewing platforms see ratings differently, too. 3 Stars on Goodreads means ‘good’, but on Amazon it means ‘it’s okay’. This lead me to reviewing a number of books as four stars at first early in my reviewing, that these days I’d rate as 3. But no problem, lesson learned.

  • For Some, Stars Matter Less Than The Review

As a reviewer, star ratings are kind of secondary to me. I don’t write long reviews but I’m always honest (even though I lean to the positive side). As an author too, I don’t care about the star rating as long as the review is constructive – yes, even 1 or 2 star reviews! For others however, it will be the opposite.

  • Star Deduction Is A Thing

I never announce the deduction of stars, but I may do in my head if I feel the ending is not up to scratch, or characters are doing stuff that seem a bit ‘handy’. Some reviewers however will be more overt about this and say, ‘this was a five star book, BUT …’

  • For Some, ‘DNF’ Reviews/ Ratings Are Acceptable 

DNF reviews and ratings are for those books readers did not finish. I have particular hatred of these. I really don’t see the point. That said, I don’t think other readers take them seriously – I know I don’t.

So, here’s what my personal star ratings mean:

  • I never give 1 or 2 stars. Yes, I’m one of ‘those’ people! If I don’t like a book, I don’t finish it. If I don’t finish it, I never review or rate it. I work on the basis that just because I didn’t like it, doesn’t mean it’s a bad book or that someone else won’t LOVE it.
  • 3 stars – This is a good book in my opinion and I enjoyed it. This might cover concept, actual writing craft, characters, structure, action, the writer’s style … Anything really!

As a script editor for movies in my day job, I’m really touchy when it comes to dialogue, so at this star rating it’s most likely to be this aspect that I’m ‘marking down’ IF I don’t mention I guessed the twist in advance.  The majority of my reviews are 3 stars and I will recommend this book to others.

  • 4 stars – This is a GREAT book. I’m a structure queen, so it has to flow effortlessly, plus I love a book that’s written with sharp, visual prose. I don’t feel I have to like characters to relate to them or their journeys, but if I feel they do things for the sake of the plot, or the ending feels rushed or conversely ‘too neat’, I might deduct one star from five stars. Overall however, I really, really like this book! I will definitely recommend it and read more from the same author.
  • 5 stars – I LOVE this. The characters have something special about them – they’re not your ‘usual’, plus plotting and structure flows brilliantly. Dialogue is sharp, visuals and the five senses in particular are on point as far as I’m concerned. Most importantly, whodunnit or the twist will have kept me guessing throughout, right up to the last minute. I am now a lifelong fan of this author!

How do YOU see star ratings and reviews? Over to you … 

Thank you Lucy.  I still struggle with 3 stars (is 3 good or bad in my mind, not sure…) but agree wholeheartedly with you when it comes to 4 and 5 stars.  What do you think?

Smith & Sons (11)

18237690373_815d61f89a_o1-e1460651356489@LucyVHayAuthor is currently writing her first psychological thriller novel. She is also a script editor for movies and has written the nonfiction book, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays (Kamera Books). Join The Criminally Good Book Club to sign up for news, offers and giveaways.