Random Musings by Frodosco

My Rating System Explained

Smiling Frodo Ratings Explained

Five Smiling Frodos

        Five Smiling Frodos

5 Smiling Frodos – I LOVED the book! This is one of my absolute favorites and I will reread it countless times. Recommended for anyone, a must read! If I give it a 5-Frodo rating I found almost no flaws, certainly no major ones and felt the author did just about everything right. This may result in immediate purchase of the rest of the author’s works. (I don’t have a problem I swear)

Four Smiling Frodos

     Four Smiling Frodos

4 Smiling Frodos – A very good read. It had some very minor flaws that kept it from being a favorite but I definitely enjoyed it and will probably reread it when I get the chance. Recommended for anyone. Books receiving a 4-Frodo rating didn’t have any substantial flaw in one of the  major categories (further explained at the end of this page) but I did have some minor issues. Common examples of this are a few too many coincidences, specific events lacking full believability, minor character flaws (of any character), and if an eBook copy minor grammatical/spelling errors. Nothing that hinders the readability, just touch ups or things I personally didn’t LOVE. Still a great book and definitely worth your time to read.

Three Smiling Frodos

Three Smiling Frodos

3 Smiling Frodos – A good book. There are notable flaws in one of the major categories (Plot/Characters/World Building/Romance/Writing Style, again explained at end of the page) and potentially minor flaws in others, but it isn’t enough to stop the book from being enjoyable. 3 is a POSITIVE rating on this blog, I liked the book but the flaw(s) hurt its re-readability and overall feel/flow. Recommended for fans of the book’s genre/book’s author. I have reduced the number of 3-Frodo ratings as it was a catchall for this blog and I felt that needed to be altered. Common problems in these books would be ONE of the following (never more than one major category flaw): Insta-Love ruining the romance, writing style being passive or in a POV that hinders the flow of the book, major character (not necessarily MC) has some issues (too many to list but you’ll know what it is by reading a 3-star review), holes in the plot that are unexplained, unrealistic or that detracts from where the story is trying to go. Again, only one of the five major categories can have a flaw, if there are multiple (exception being VERY small overlaps) then it can be no higher than a 2. I DID like this book, I do think it is worth reading, but there are things I’d like to see fixed especially if it is part of a series.

Two Smiling Frodos

    Two Smiling              Frodos

2 Smiling Frodos – A decent book. There are notable flaws in multiple major categories. The issues are enough to keep the book from being a possible reread altogether. If I rate it a 2 I am not (usually) unhappy I read it but I don’t recommend the book. If it is a 2 I probably found stylistic issues in addition to the major categories flaws. Read only if you LOVE the author/series. I don’t recommend reading any book receiving lower than a 3 on my blog. There are too many amazing books out there but if you absolutely adore the author or it is part of a series you have enjoyed and you want to complete it then I understand. Usually a limit of 2/5 major category flaws but can have a maximum 3 if the other categories are strong enough to elevate the book to a 2 rating. It’s a borderline case, it was alright but given the knowledge about the book I have now I probably would skip it. Proceed with caution.

One Smiling Frodo

 One Smiling        Frodo

 1 Smiling Frodo – I’m not a fan. Major issues across the board. If a book received this rating I do not recommend reading it whatsoever. Bad flow and feel, major category issues (at least 3 out of the 5), didn’t like the writing and/or the choices the author made. Books receiving a 1 I likely barely made myself finish, skip it. Huge issues. I hate not giving any book a full chance because I know how much work goes into writing them, but I struggled to do so here. Often in one stars I have few if any positive things to say about the MC, the writing level might be sub-par compared to other pieces I’ve read even their 2 star brethren, major holes in believability, uninteresting or incredibly obvious plot, insta-love to the max, or any variety of other problems. Don’t read it.

DNF DNF – Did Not Finish. As of right now there are only 3 books I have reviewed on this blog receiving this rating. Issues with just about everything, often poor level of writing and just plain bad in my opinion. Don’t bother. If it has been DNF’d not a single major category was strong enough to interest me in finishing. I just couldn’t push past a certain point. Do not go near, it isn’t worth the time.

Breaking Down the Major Categories 

Often the major categories overlap but usually in my reviews I try to break down each one separately and explain what I loved and what I was not so fond of for each. This is essentially an outline of how I do this and should help to show where the holes are in a book if it was rated low. Feel free to comment or ask any questions somewhere on the blog or via Twitter if you’d like. Remember, this is MY breakdown, other bloggers would combine some of these, ignore one or two, or break them down much further.

5 Major Categories Are: Plot, World Building, Characters, Writing Style and Romance


  • Beginning
    • Capturing Your Audience
  • Fluidity
    • Transitions
  • Believability
  • Feel
  • Ending
    • Resolutions
    • (Series) – Unanswered Questions/Intrigue
      • Cliffhanger(s)?

World Building

  • Imagery
    • Landscapes
    • Visualize
  • Unique
  • Plausible
  • Compatibility
  • Detail


  • Main Character(s)
    • Likability
    • Personality
    • Impact
    • Compatibility With Other Characters
  • Secondary Character(s)
    • Compatibility with MC
    • Unique
    • Reason For Existence
      • Throw Away?
      • Purpose
  • Minor Character(s)
  • Opposing Character(s) – If Any
    • Purpose
    • Goals
    • Good/Evil
      • Middle Ground

Writing Style

  • Unique
  • Point of View(s)/Tense
    • Compatibility With Plot
    • Ease Of Understanding
  • Flow
  • Detail
    • Too Much/Little
  • Matching Your Target Audience
  • Consistency


  • Build Up
    • Insta-love
  • Chemistry
  • Purpose
    • Impact On Plot
    • Impact On Other Characters
  • Originality
    • Cookie Cutter
    • Stereotypes
  • Intimacy
    • Appropriate For Target Audience
    • Purpose
    • Impact
      • Flow
      • Feel
      • On Plot

So there you have it. That’s the vast majority of what goes through my mind when I am reviewing a book. Sometimes that comes across crystal clear and you know exactly how I felt about an aspect and why. Other times the “feels” get in the way of the analysis. My reviews tend to focus on two or three of the major categories more than the others, this is because the book I’m reviewing utilized those categories more and so they had a bigger impact on whether the book was successful or not. Again, if you have any comments or questions feel free to leave them here or contact me on Twitter. You may also email me at my blog specific email at frodoscoblog@yahoo.com if you want a more in-depth conversation. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

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