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Why You Shouldn’t Always Give Five Star Book Reviews

Introducing Kevin Cooper

Five Star Book Reviews
On Reviews by Kevin Cooper

Kevin Cooper has created an amazing website for reviewing books and highlighting authors with interviews and allowing authors to rave about their new and upcoming publications. Kevin strongly believes that writing honest and sincere reviews is the best way one can support authors. He hosts an annual book award which is a crystal diamond-shaped paperweight engraved with the book award acknowledgment and year.

I really like his style, and asked if he would be interested in doing a guest post for Always Write. He agreed.

If you write or read book reviews you will appreciate his insight into writing a great review. This is part one in a series.

On Reviews

This is the first of a short series of four posts covering reviews where I shall discuss writing reviews for all the star ratings. From when we shouldn’t write a five-star review, to why we should write lower star reviews, and how to do so in a constructive manner.

Series One

The Five-Star Review

The five-star review is probably one of the easiest reviews to write no matter what genre(s) you’re into.  You love the work, there are no issues surrounding grammar and sentence structure, the plot is excellent, and the story entices you to keep reading. In some cases, you probably love the work in as much you want a sequel or wait eagerly in anticipation for the author’s next work to come out. Everything you say in your review screams out something like, “Guys, you gotta read this book… It’s fabulous!”  This is usually followed by great praise for the author. If this is not the case, if the book you have just read doesn’t quite tick all the boxes for you, then it shouldn’t be a five-star review.

There are many reasons why you give five-star reviews for works that are found lacking:

  • You know/like the author.
  • You don’t want to offend the author.
  • The author gave you a five-five star review and you feel obligated to return the favour.
  • You don’t like being negative.
  • You’re afraid that if you criticise, the author may retaliate.
  • You only write five-star reviews.

The reasons can be endless, but either way, you look at it, it’s dishonest to other readers, and you are deceiving yourself if you think you are doing the author or yourself any favours.


Because, if a reader buys a book based on your review and it does not live up to the expectations that you have influenced, there could be serious repercussions. They may they take it out on the said author by leaving a very negative review, they may even criticise your review. They most certainly will never rely upon any future reviews you write.

However, I don’t want you to be deterred from writing a five-star review. What I just said above, is probably a worst-case scenario. All I want to do is for you to start thinking about whether you should or shouldn’t write a five-star review. If you have to think about it, you probably shouldn’t. There is nothing wrong with writing a four-star, three-star, or if necessary even two or one-star reviews. Be honest, be constructive, and let folks know why you chose to give any particular star rating.

Join me as I continue my short series, On Reviews. My next episode will cover the four-star review where I will discuss how the four-star review can be as rewarding to write a five-star review and the positive impact of a well-written four-star review.


Five Star Book Reviews

Kevin Cooper is an author & songwriter. He studied in both England and in the US. Since returning to England, Kevin authored several works and recorded/released a few of his songs. He is working on several projects which include a fantasy, and working towards his first full music album.

Books and Music By Kevin Cooper

Five Star Book Reviews
Books & Music by Kevin Cooper

Animal Tales, The Wizard, The Girl and The Unicorn’s Horn. Miedo: Living Beyond Childhood Fear. Miedo 2: A Reckoning With Fear. The Devil’s Apology. Reflections. Music Releases: All I Can Say. Magical. Elaine. Christmas Time!

19 replies »

    • He is, isn’t he, Lavinia? He’s got a new one coming out on Always Write on Thursday. You won’t want to miss it. 🙂 Thanks for reading and better yet, leaving a comment. 🙂


  1. Reviews are such a touchy subject. I look forward to the whole series.
    I do give 5-Star reviews, but I will also give a 3 or 4 star as well. I just can’t bring myself to leave less than 3-star. That’s when I don’t bother reviewing (odds are the book was a DNF for me).


    • I’m with you on that one, Mae. It’s painful to read the books that are less than a three star, let alone write a review. 🙂 Kevin’s new article comes out this Thursday on Always Write. You won’t want to miss it. 🙂 Thanks again for checking in and commenting. It means a lot, as you know! 🙂


  2. Oh, so jealous!!!!! Lol. It’s truly a magical place. And wouldn’t that be fabulous! I’d love to spend a week or two there one day in late spring or early fall. Just the time you went now is perfect! 🙂 x


  3. Hi Stevie, it’s true, you may genuinely love the book in which case, for you, it ticks all the boxes, hence for you it is still an honest review. Not everyone who reads cares about things like grammar, sentence structures and the like. We are all very different in our approach to writing reviews.

    All I’m saying in this episode is, be honest about your reviews. So if you give five stars, let folks know why you gave five stars… e.g. I was so captivated by the story, I couldn’t put it down… I had to give it five stars for being an excellent/memorable read! Folks don’t have to agree with the reasons for your rating, but at least you’ve been perfectly honest and not misleading.


  4. Oh Fabulous Marsh! So I take it you’ve been to Sedona. My heart aches just thinking about it. I shall look forward to hearing about it on your blog! ❤


    • Yes, we just got back late Friday night. It was perfect, not to rub it in. I hope that you can meet us there sometime. There’s still so much we haven’t done, and that was my fifth trip. We made it to the Grand Canyon finally. We took Vince’s son and his girlfriend, and it was so much fun watching their enjoyment as well. 🙂


  5. Good points Marsha. Oh, and while I’m here. Sorry for the delay, my plate runneth over. I have the q and a’s prepared for your interview, I just can’t do anything for another week or two until my new book goes to the editor. Once it’s at the editor, I’ll have a week to breathe better and we can lock up a Skype date. 🙂 xx


    • That sounds great! I’ve been on vacation at one of your fav places last week. Back this week in full swing. So a week or two works better. 🙂 Thanks, I’m very excited about the interview. 🙂 You can talk about your new book, too. 🙂


  6. Good post and nice to see Kev here. But one thing, if we feel a book is justified a 5 Star review and someone else may not feel the same that’s a matter of opinion. No two people will take all the same things from one book. If I feel satisfied that I’ve read a good book, ticking off the important things I enjoy from the book, it’s getting 4 or 5 stars from me. If I didn’t enjoy the book, for whatever valid reasons, I prefer not to review it. Just how I roll. 🙂


    • Thanks for sharing, Deb. Kevin did not mean that we should never give five stars. That was my title for his post. However, those are the easy ones to review. I’m anxious to read what he as to say about other books that one might rate less than five stars. I never used to rate mine because it is my opinion. I do look at Amazon and I was including the overall rating of the book. That too depends on lots of things, mostly sales. Not all books that are read are sold, though. It’s like pictures on FB and Instagram. The exact picture on one of the sites I oversee drew over 25,000 views on FB, but on Instagram only got 4. By that reasoning, a book that sells well on Amazon might do poorly on Barnes and Noble or in a local store. Thanks for reading. Your comments always engage.





Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

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