Review Guide

What the heck does that mean?

A Guide to Book Reviews and Review Terminology

Have you ever read a review of a book and wondered, “what the heck does that acronym mean?” I know I sure have!

So, I have decided to have a little “cheat-sheet” of sorts to explain what the things mean on my blogs and then a few other short-forms other review sites might use.

My Reviews   |  Other Reviews


My reviews:

The Stats

  • # of books – this is the number of books within the series that have been published or confirmed to be published. If there is a + sign beside the number, it means more books might be possible.
  • Book Order – describes what order the books and its sequels follow
    • Chronological – the books follow the same characters and need to be read in published order
    • Connected – follow different characters from the previous books
      • Connected but Chronological – follow different characters but must be read in order due to a series of events
    • Companion/Alternate POV Sequel – often follows a different character (or characters) from the first book through those same events
      • Typically, I use “companion” when the sequel book takes place in the “present” but has flashbacks to the original book. I use “alternate” when the sequel is basically the first book but with a different POV
  • Complete? – Have all the books been published in the series?
  • Genre – I try to narrow down the type of elements in the novel that might appeal to people
    • Dark – a genre that deals with mature subject matter like crimes, abduction, murder, sexual assault
    • New Adult – is the genre between Adult and Young Adult literature. It mostly focuses on characters between the ages of 17 and 26 and are mostly set in college or university settings.
    • Paranormal – I use this to describe books with ghosts, psychic abilities and some magic books.
    • Supernatural – I use this to describe books that feature unnatural creatures like werewolves, vampires, faeries, etc.
  • Heat Rating – this is about the sexual content of the book
    • Cold/Cool – maybe a chaste kiss; no descriptions
    • Warm – sexual references; a little description
    • Hot – a sexual scene is mentioned and described
    • Steamy/Smokin’ – sex scenes in all their glory and in numerous quantities 
    • *Spicy YA* – the sexual content in this book is more descriptive than your usual YA fare
    • BDSM Categorizing:
      • BDSM: Light – a scene or two of mild bondage
      • BDSM: Mild – many scenes of bondage
      • BDSM: High – all scenes features some sort of bondage/role-playing
      • Kink: Minor – one or two scenes with kinky preferences
      • Kink: Mild – not your typical “vanilla” sex scenes
  • Point of View: who the story is told by
    • First Person: told by an “I”
    • Third Person: told by an external narrator who calls everyone by their names
    • Multiple: lots of people give their take on events
    • Alternating: alternates between two characters
    • Single: only one narrator
  • Series Book Recaps: A link to my brief book ending synopsis for the series in case you have forgotten!
  • Rating: I give a rating out of 5 just because that’s what Goodreads uses but I use half-stars as well.
    • 1 = hated it!
    • 2 = it was ok
    • 3 = I liked it
    • 4 = I really liked it
    • 5 = LOVED it!
  • Conclusions: you can find my whole guide to these here!
    • Read if You Like: I offer themes in the book I think will appeal to readers
    • Avoid if You Like: I offer themes that may cause a person not to enjoy the book
    • Would I Recommend it to a Friend: would I tell my friends to read this book? (only on reviews April 2013-April 2015)
    • Recommended for – this is only on my old standalone book reviews but it refers to what ages & gender I think will enjoy this book
  • Similar Reads – these are books that I have read before that I feel have a similar story/content/message as the book/series being reviewed.

Content/Things I say:

  • 50 Page Rule – If I don’t like what I’m reading so far, this is the point where I decide to continue with what I am reading. If I don’t care what happens after 50 pages, I’ll drop the book like it’s hot!
  • Alpha Male – a male who feels the need to be dominant in everything he does. Mostly found in romance novels or werewolf reads. This is typically the male who feels like he needs to “own” the female because he has everything else in life and is the last to admit he is in love but when he falls, he falls HARD. Examples: Christian Grey from Fifty Shades of Grey or Remy from Real
  • Angst – feelings of insecurity/anger — most of the time I use this referring to teenagers who are needlessly dramatic
  • Assumptive Communication – the classic case where one character assumes that the other character means A when they really mean B, causing drama and often results in a temporary break in the relationship
  • Bella-Swan-I-can’t-live-without-him syndrome – basically, a heroine who suffers from the fact that she can’t be parted from her significant other for more than 3 minutes at a time. This results in her becoming a whinny girl who equates her life with that of her partner. (FYI: The cure is growing a backbone and gaining some female independence in a relationship.)
    • It is often the opposite personality of “Lead-Heroine Sacrifice Syndrome” (unless the heroine is making the sacrifice FOR her significant other)
  • Book Two Slump of a Trilogy – where the sequel novel isn’t as exciting as the first book but is needed to progress the plot enough to set up the finale book of the series
    • It is the opposite of “The Curse of Book 2”
  • BFF – best friends forever
  • CADCanadian Dollars (I am Canadian so when I put prices on my website, I put them in Canadian Dollars)
  • The Curse of Book Two – a trend I have observed in my reading habits where I absolutely love Book 2 in a series and then end up disappointed in the next book because I have set ridiculously high standards.
    • It is the opposite of the “Book Two Slump of a Trilogy”
  • Fifty Shades Trend – tends to be contemporary romance books where one or both of the leads suffer from a tragic past that explains their aloof or extremely possessive nature towards their partner. The book may or may not include: jealous exes, BDSM, alpha males, billionaires, abusive pasts, sex (that is nearly a guarantee) and drama.
  • Goodreads – if you read a lot and don’t know what this is for SHAME! Honestly, check it out! Goodreads is the best website to find book descriptions, publishing dates, series information, and how to contact your favourite authors. They also have a ton of giveaways! But the best part is you can keep track of what books you read, how far you are, books you want to read, get suggested reads and make endless lists of books! Check it out at goodreads.com!
  • Happy-Go-Lucky – plot lines that have no resistance; i.e. everything works out very easily, there is not backlash or serious consequences for character’s actions. Often associated with cheesy novels.
  • Kobo – Kobo is an eBook supplier. Sometimes I refer to my Kobo Touch eReader as a Kobo.
  • Lead-Heroine Sacrifice Syndrome – a condition heroines suffer from where they believe that they are the only people capable of saving the world and as a result often do stupid things that make the reader smack their head in disbelief. (FYI: The cure is communication with the other characters in the novels and not running off on their own.) 
    • It is often the opposite personality of the heroine who suffers from “Bella-Swan-I-can’t-live-without-him syndrome” (unless they are sacrificing for their significant other)
  • MC – motorcycle club; typically filled with bad-ass alpha male characters
  • NANew Adult genre; typically books dealing with 18-24 year old characters
  • OMG – Oh my goodness!
  • POV – Point of view. This is the perspective or who tells the story. First person is “I walk” and third person is “Jim walks”
  • Reading Slump – When you haven’t read any really good books lately and so you don’t get inspired to read at all hours of the day
  • Recap – a basic plot synopsis of what happened in a previous book
  • The South – this is used to describe the book setting when it takes place in the Southern part of the United States, like Texas or Georgia
  • Spin-off – is a book series that takes characters from one book series and creates a novel or series solely featuring these characters
  • WTF – What the Fudge!
  • YAYoung Adult Genre; typically books dealing with 13-18 year olds

Other Reviews:

  • BDSM = “Bondage, Discipline, Sadism and Masochism” – basically erotica books that feature scenes of role-playing, restraint and other “kinky” scenes/topics. Fifty Shades of Grey is probably the most famous example for this type of genre.
  • HEA = “Happily Ever After” – usually the epilogue takes place a fair amount of time later and they are happy for life
  • HFN = “Happy For Now” – the epilogue (if there is one) doesn’t go into very much detail about the future and the characters are happy with how things currently remain
  • NSFW = “Not Safe For Work” – it has content that you probably wouldn’t want a co-worker to read over your shoulder
  • OTP = “One True Pairing” – I guess it’s the cool way to say “soulmates” nowadays
  • Smut – books that have sexual content
  • Teaser – a little preview of what is to come without the big reveal, usually cause major AHHHH stress and the demand to read the next book in the series
  • Vanilla – sex scenes that don’t feature BDSM or other “kinks”

To view my review policy and/or submit a request, please follow the link here!

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