Armchair Book Expo – What Do Readers Want?

“What makes or breaks a book? How do we rate the books, or determine if it is good literature or a good story?”


I’d like to think that I’m not a picky reader.


There are just things I feel strongly about.

There are too many series that don’t need to be series.

I like series. I do. But, not every story needs to be a trilogy. If you do write a series there should be a complete story in each book. Don’t write just one very, very long story then chop it randomly into three pieces and call it a trilogy.

If you are going to be writing a series you should also get the sequels out in a timely manner. You really, really need to do this if you have a cliffhanger ending. There is one sequel I’ve been waiting years and years for and I don’t see it coming anytime soon.


There doesn’t need to be a romance in every book. Well done romance is fine but don’t have a great story and then think, “You know what this needs? Sexual tension!” and then shoehorn a needless romance in there.  You can go save a dragon by your own self or with friends without dragging along an annoying potential love interest that will just need to be rescued.


I took any star rating scales off the blog because it was too subjective.  People didn’t always know what I meant.  For Goodreads, here is my mental scale.

  • 1 star – had to be so horribly racist or something that I just finished it as a hate read – Jules Verne’s stupid balloon book
  • 2 star –  a good story that was told very poorly – One Hundred Names
  • 3 star – most books.  I read it and enjoyed it as I was doing so.  It was entertaining.  I’m moving on now and won’t remember much about this in a few months.
  • 4 star – will stick in my mind for a while.
  • 5 star – loved it.  Will rave about this and recommend it to everyone I know.  Very rare and elusive


For Amazon, I only rate books I really loved (because I have to do it by hand instead of Ultimate Book Blogger automatically doing it for me.  Lazy!).  I tend to give only 4 or 5 stars.  Amazon’s ratings feel more inflated than Goodreads so I tend to rate high.

I think I’m a picky reviewer.  I don’t give many 5 stars at all.  I know some people give lots.  I give less than 10 a year. Maybe I embody the spirit of these guys.


Do you think you are a tough reviewer?



  • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    I sometimes think maybe I’m too easy of a reviewer, actually—I used to fret about it a lot, but now I’ve just come to realize that this is me and I’m probably not going to change anytime soon. I tend to look on the bright side of things—including the books I read. So 4 stars is pretty much my standard, and I have more five star books than three, I believe.

    • heather

      Right now I mostly put books I want to talk about on the blog so it might seem like I’m liking everything for a while – except for one absolute rant I have coming up.

  • Kel

    Your rating system sounds a lot like mine! Except, I think I have like five 5-stars total, lol. Although I find out some books I initially gave 3 stars stick with me more than 4 stars and wind up rereading them more. So I have no idea. Great post and great gifs! 🙂

  • vendija723

    I agree with your points, but I’m really coming here to say how much I loved the gifs you chose for this post!

  • Krysta

    I agree that there are too many series that don’t need to be series. I understand that series are easier to market, but that doesn’t mean, as you say, that you should arbitrarily chop up your story or randomly throw in a last-minute cliffhanger or quest or mystery to justify a new installment. Plus sometimes I just want a nice standalone instead of knowing that I am involved in an eight-part series that will need my active involvement for at least the next eight years.

  • Haley

    To add to the romance thing, it’s even worse when it’s a love triangle that feels entirely unnecessary for the book. I hate having a really great story and then having a love triangle tacked on when there would be a great story without it and it doesn’t really contribute anything at all.

  • Katie Fitzgerald (@mrskatiefitz)

    My Goodreads mental scale is a lot like yours. I have been told I am a tough reviewer, but sometimes I feel like I am more generous with 5-star reviews than I really should be. I almost think I’d do better with a four-star scale. 3 is my default, but I have a harder time differentiating between what deserves 4 and what deserves 5. If 3 was “good” and 4 was “great” I feel like it’d be easier for me to assign ratings! Also, I completely agree with you about series. Sometimes one book is enough!

  • Brenda

    I’d like to think that I’m picky with my reviews, but I’m probably not as much as I think. I just know what I like and what I don’t and usually stick with that. It does seem like I don’t rate many books as a 1, most likely cause I just DNF them.

  • Terri @ Alexia's Books and Such

    You know, I never thought that I was a picky reader until I realized just how many genres I don’t read. ha! And I totally agree with you about unnecessary romances. Why would you ruin a perfectly good story by shoehorning in a useless romance? pfft!

  • Erica @ Erica Robyn Reads

    Great post! I also like to think that I’m not very picky, but there are certainly things that I cannot stand! 🙂 I fully agree that not every series really needs to be a series. Since the Hunger Games trilogy boom, I have noticed a LOT more books that have the “curse of the second book in a trilogy,” but also many that fell very flat with the third book as well. It’s such a bummer!

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