Armchair BEA, Day 2 | Posing the Question: What do Readers Want?

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Readers all like something different. Some of us crave an intelligent story that opts for smarts rather than fluff. Others among us want an adrenaline rush sure to leave our pulse racing by final page. Then there are those among us who prefer a swoony romance between two people we can relate to.

For me, I tend to enjoy many different genres for different reasons.

I love a good mystery/thriller novel because it keeps the puzzle pieces moving, and me flipping the pages.

I love a novel that can make me laugh from its first page with its endearing characters.

I love when a novel I go into with a prejudiced opinion (because I was sure it wouldn’t be a “me book”) takes me by surprise, because sometimes those are the best stories.

I love a sweet romance that leaves me mushy inside and could basically be summed up with the heart eye emoji.

All of these story genres are among my most treasured for these few reasons and so many more.

Today’s Armchair Book Expo question (prompt) is an interesting one, and something I thought would be fun to look deeper at. Here’s what they ask…

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? What do we want from an author event? How does diversity representation fit into all of this? – Armchair Book Expo

Armchair Book Expo, Day One | #ThisISMe and Welcome

I decided rather than write an article related to this question, I would break it up by answering some of the questions this prompt poses.

What Makes or Breaks a Book? If a book is making me willingly and excitedly flip its pages, it’s a match made in heaven that I consider a win (aka this assists to “make” the book). If the book is long (lengthy chapters mess with my reading psych), slow (why do we need an entire page describing the set up in a school cafeteria?), “shock value” content (there’s nothing more tiresome than profanity or adult content that’s put in the book just because the author “can”) or crippled by issues of society that shouldn’t be issues, then sadly, I find the book monotonous. All this sets into motion the “breaks a book” conclusion.

How Do We Rate Books? This is a really good question. I feel like I’ve very generous in my ratings where most bloggers (who, don’t misunderstand, I admire) tend to be harsher in their ratings. I give out more five-star ratings that anyone I actively read or am friends with. And there is nothing wrong with either method.

When I sit down to write a review and come to the “rating” line in my review, sometimes I pause, think back on the book, and type in the rating. Other times I skip it and begin to write the review to determine and answer the unspoken question, “How high do I want to rate this book?” Then there are the books that receive the highest rating without hesitation like my latest 5-star read, True to You by Becky Wade.

If you want to get into the details of how I rate the books, here are some of the things I consider.

+ Characters
+ Content
+ Story
+ Writing
+ and Enjoyment!

Above all else, how well the book entertains is an important factor in my rating system. If I’m feeling something, giggling over the character quirks, or perhaps I’m swooning over its hero (I always have a weakness for dudes with an accent), then chances are, I’ll award that fifth star. 

Then there are novels like True to You that is the complete package. Sure I was entertained, but the story is so much deeper than that. Could it and The Start of Me and You (another five-star) be compatible? Perhaps not, but both made me laugh. Both made me fall in love with their respective heroes. Their heroines are bookish, just one reason why they work their way into your heart.

How Do We Determine if it’s a Good Story? This echoes back to my “how we rate books” answer. Classic literature is all well and good, and has its iconic place in the world of literature (without them, we wouldn’t have our favorite authors today). But if I like a story, no matter its simplicity, then its going to affix itself in my heart, and find a “keeper” place on my bookshelf.

I’m, what I like to say, a “simple girl” when it comes to the books I enjoy. Whether or not the writing is the best or the story is cliché, if I like the concept or characters, then chances are, the end conclusion will be a highly rated book and a happy reader.

And if you made it to the end of this post, thank you. Goodness, but I talked a lot.
That wraps up Armchair Book Expo day two! Tell me, how do you rate books? What, to you, makes a good story? Comment down below with your opinions, thoughts and all that fun. I look forward to chat with you. PS; I might not get to visit your blogs today, but if you share a comment/chat, I will visit your bookish space, too. Just may take me an extra day. *smile*

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland


  1. I love that you point out that your wants differ depending on genre. I am the same way. My expectations for fantasies are different that contemporaries. I enjoy voth genres but in different ways. Loved reading your post this morning!
    My Armchair Book Expo post

    1. Hi, Alicia - and thanks! It was fun to put this together.

      Glad to know I'm not the only one whose thoughts differ depending on the genre. We do expect something different from every genre, so I guess it's a good thing that's how we judge. :)

      Appreciate you stopping by! :)

  2. Wonderful post. I really like your initial genre breakdown then the answers to the prompt! Very interesting :)

    1. Thanks, Steph. Appreciate you visiting - and look forward to reading your post. :)

  3. I feel weird saying this, but the quality of the writing is never the first thing that catches my attention when I'm reading. I will always go for a page-turning plot and/or interesting, likable characters over gorgeous prose!

    1. Nothing wrong with that, Monica. I've read books that lacked "great" prose, and loved the story regardless because the characters were endearing or the story pulled me in. Stories are subjective, so really, it's all about every reader's personal likes vs. dislikes. As it should be. :)

      Thanks so much for visiting!

  4. I love the points you made! I totally agree with you on everything. Thanks for this thoughtful post, I will be keeping it in mind as I read and write reviews.

    1. Thank you, Heidi. It's great to have you stop by. :)

  5. I don't actually rate books in my reviews. I do assign a star rating at Goodreads because it asks for it, but I find ratings too arbitary. I rather know why a book was good or not, what made it the best you ever read. You can read more about what I want and ways I collaborate

    1. I know lots of readers detest ratings, Donna and that's totally fine. We all have a different method, and as with everything else, we have to find what works best for us. :) I still share what I loved about a book (in fact, my reviews often tend to be a bit TOO lengthy ;D), but I also appreciate seeing the ultimate rating (i.e. when I visit other's blogs). I think Amazon requests a rating, too...

      Thanks so much for visiting!

  6. Classics are just old books that have remained in print. They weren't even necessarily the literature of their day.

    Armchair Book Expo day 2: What do readers want? and Collaboration

    1. Perhaps not. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and visiting! :)

  7. Replies
    1. Thanks, Molly. Appreciate you visiting. :)


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