Thoughts on a rating scale?

Ok so I’ve been reading and “reviewing” YA books for what now….  1.5 years?  WOW I never thought I would keep this up when I started it.  Remember this was all part of a YA course requirement – I remember thinking at the beginning of this project that there was no way I’d be able to or be comfortable with writing my thoughts about a book in such a potentially public forum!  Well…  I don’t know what I was thinking back then – because I absolutely LOVE doing this.  Yes there are times where life gets in the way – but most of the time this is such a great release valve for all the other “stuff” life throws at me.

So…  I’ve been thinking and if anyone is reading this I would love to hear your thoughts on this.  Many book bloggers incorporate a rating system into their reviews.  Now…  I’ve been pretty free with my “reviews” or rather my thoughts on my books until now.  No rating scale other than Highly recommended, Recommended, and Not Recommended.  I’m wondering whether it’s time to make it a bit more robust????

Being a statistician and data person during the day – yes I work with numbers ALL day and I LOVE it!!!  I’m beginning to think about a 5 point rating scale?  Seems that everyone does this and from the day-job perspective I like!  Gives me that middle-ground leeway 🙂

However, the point of this post was to see what others thought about this?  Do you have or incorporate a rating scale on your blog?  Do you think that a rating scale will affect an individual’s desire to pick up a book or not?  I would love to hear what your thoughts are on this as I continue to contemplate the merits of a rating scale on the Pineapples&Pyjamas blog.

Thanks and I look forward to your thoughts!

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Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder

What a beautiful and heart wrenching story! I’ve been putting this one off for a while thinking that the storyline just wasn’t going to grab me.  But Boy oh Boy!!!  was I ever wrong!!!  I fell into the classic – “judge a book by its cover!”  Well this will teach me!  This was such a beautiful, beautiful story!  Yes I cried my eyes out!  Sitting on the back deck for the whole world to see – but I didn’t care I had to follow through with Brooklyn and Nico.

A year ago, January 1, Lucca, Brooklyn’s boyfriend and Nico’s brother and best friend died in a car accident.  For both Brooklyn and Nico, their worlds were changed forever – each holding their own demons.  As time passes, each of our characters begins to venture down a road marred and haunted by Lucca and his best friend, Gabe who just died – he drove the car where Lucca was killed and is suspected of committing suicide.  Nevertheless….  Lucca and Nico are thrown together and despite their own demons struggle with letting each other in.  This is an absolutely beautifully written story about the loss of love & friendship and the struggles held by those affected by the loss.

This story was written in verse and is so fitting!  So easy to read and I know I’ve said this before but there’s an added “something” to putting the story into verse.  Can’t put my finger on it but it just seems to add so.. much to the meaning behind the story.

Highly recommended

Ages: 14 and up

Here’s the Book Trailer – if you’re not convinced by my review to read the book let’s see you how feel after watching this!


Favourite Quotes:

Ok it was REALLY REALLY tough to narrow my favourite quotes to one.  Realistically I would call the whole work my favourite quote 🙂  However…  for the purposes that I set out for this section of my review I will list one that did touch me:

“The twins ask me
to play Chutes and Ladders
before they leave tomorrow.

Moving across the squares,
climbing the ladders for good deeds,
sliding down the chutes for bad ones.

When I land on the square
and slide down the longest chute of the game,
Matthew says,
“I hate that one.
Sorry, Brooklyn.”

Everyone hates that one.
It’s the square nobody wants to land on.
But it’s there.
And when you land on it,
you slide down,
practically to the beginning,
and all you can do is keep going,
wishing and hoping,
for a ladder to push you back up.

As I think of that,
I realize losing Lucca
was my chute.

After that, I gave up,
so sure a ladder would
never show up.

When it’s my turn
I roll the dice.

I’m not giving up.”          p. 366-367


Schroeder, Lisa. (2010). Chasing Brooklyn. New York, NY: Simon Pulse.

Author website:  http://www.lisaschroederbooks.com/

Once Every Never by Lesley Livingston

Oh you know I really like Lesley Livingston’s books – ok she’s Canadian from Toronto, just down the road from here – so you know I’m probably a little biased – but heck if you haven’t read her stuff you should!  Now that I’ve expressed by bias and my thoughts on the author I’ll admit that I did enjoy Once Every Never but not as much as I enjoyed her previous Fey series.  You’re going to laugh at this – it wasn’t the story –  which I did LOVE – it was the perspective it was written in.  Every once in a while I had to stop go back and reread to see who was talking.  Maybe I’ve been reading too many 1st person books??  This one is written from the 3rd person perspective but like I said every once in a while I had to stop and figure out who was talking – there were a lot of conversations between and within characters.  Many of which were from Clare’s perspective and I think at times it felt like it was her talking or telling the story (1st perspective)….  I don’t know maybe it was just me.  But all in all I REALLY enjoyed the book.

So what’s it all about…  A really cool mix of sci-fi and Druid folklore.  Clarinet Reid, really messed up at home (something about a Facebook party – ask your teens at home about this one 🙂 ) and is shipped off to spend the summer in London with her archaeologist aunt.  Terms of her “punishment” are very clear – no extra-curricular activities, no boys, no shopping… all while living an aunt who watches her every move and has a very shallow opinion of her niece.  In any case, Clare and her best friend Allie fly to London with different expectations for their summer vacation.  First day there, they are indeed summoned to the British Museum, as expected, where Clare’s aunt Maggie, works.  Clare struggles to keep her interest up while touring the museum for Allie’s sake until they enter the room that houses the “Bog Bodies” where something just seems to grab her interest.  When they head down to the Restoration Room to meet with Maggie, Clare breaks her Aunt’s number one rule: “No Touching”.  From then on Clare’s summer vacation turns into an adventure and mystery of a lifetime or rather lifetimes.  Clare has somehow been linked to the artifacts recently acquired by the Museum.  The artifacts are 2000 years old and hail from Queen Booudica’s rule.  Along with the help of Allie and Milo, her once-geek turned hottie cousin,Clare discover that she has a new talent and that she can no longer call herself “average”.

Again – an awesome story!  I continue to be fascinated with authors who have this talent to create a story that is new! Sounds silly I know – but this whole area was new to me and it was great!  Sucked me in…  yes I did read it in one and half days – it helps when the sun is out and it’s too warm to garden 🙂  and you have a great book that keeps calling you back….  Looking forward to more Lesley!

Recommended

Ages: 12 and up


Favourite Quotes:

“The whole thing was giving her a headache.  It was like one of those word problems in math class crossed with that broken telephone game.”         p. 80

“‘Clarinet.  I’ve never met anyone like you.’
‘I can believe that.’  Clare had come a long way from thinking of herself as just an average teenager from Toronto. She laughed a little. ‘I’m the kind of girl a guy like you only meets once every – I don’t know – never?’ ”          p. 211


Livingston, Lesley. (2011). Once Every Never.  Toronto, ON: Puffin Canada.

Author website:  http://www.lesleylivingston.com/