I've been thinking about a book I recently read by Braden Williams. Originally I gave it a 3 star rating on goodreads. I had to re-rate it, and I'll tell you why.
I'll start with my weird-brain rating system. You'll probably notice I don't "review" the books I read and rate. Mostly this is because I feel I have very little intelligent sounding words to write a proper review. (I lack confidence I guess.) I think, "Should I have a formal 'scale' to assess books or should I go with my gut on placing a STAR on something I've read?" I find it hard to evaluate some and WAY easy for others. Most of the time I wish they had 1/2 star ratings as I think it would make the decision easier.
Like for instance... Light of the Body or Crossing Borders or With Caution... These I knew instantly they were 5 Stars! Why? They suck you in and keep you there; hanging on every word! When I can't get enough, or can't read fast enough that is a definite 5 Star! 4 is still an interesting read, I really liked it, but it just didn't sweep me away in a torrent like the "5 STAR" ones do. I tent to rate many books a 4 star mainly because I feel a 3 is saying something to the author that I didn't really like it. What SHOULD a 3 Star be? I liked it, but may not read it again? It was okay, but I hoped for better? I am not sure. 2 Star is probably a "I didn't like it much" rating; I don't think I have any of those. And a 1 Star? Well, if I just can't finish a book because it's that bad should I even rate it?
I know... I wrote a blurb on the AMR website about "rating books!" so I should give the 1 star if I have to.
So, Braden... Gone Stumping was a very fine read. I liked it. It was cute, it was interesting, and I like that a man wrote gay men. (So often straight women write about gay men, but that is another topic for another time.) I like that it is a man's prospective on men. I also liked the political elements, I was not expecting them. Nice. It was suspenseful enough with wondering how and why the vandalizing happened. (although this is NOT a suspense novella.) I liked the realistic pull of each man toward the other and how they get together finally. It was a very cute story :)
Why did I change my rating? 3 to a 4... Well, I liked it. But that was it. It was nice enough to keep me going and short enough I was not bored. Would I read it again? Maybe. So -- 3 Star. But then I kept THINKING about it! The story stuck with me. I think I even had a partial dream about something IN the story. When my brain kept revisiting the tale of Rafe and Aiden I had to reassess my feelings over it. 3 wasn't fair. I OBVIOUSLY liked it more than that. This is why I'd like the 1/2 rating because if I gave it 3.5 I probably would have been good with that. 4 stars I gave to Str8t Boys and Oleander House and Promises and Lies; does Gone Stumping's quality measure up to those? I'm not sure it does.
This is why I never review a book. Every review would sound the same. I liked it alot! I liked it. It was good. Not so good. etc... PLUS, I hate to sound like I am diss'ing the author!
I liked Braden's style. It was straight-forward and breezy. It carried me along very nicely. I would read something else by him any day!
This was Braden's first publication. Does he have another novel in him? Is he working on it NOW? I haven't heard from him in a long while. I hope he is deep in creating something wonderful. I encourage all of you readers out there, if you are looking for a sweet romantic tale between two realistically written men, go purchase Gone Stumping from Dreamspinner Press. It just might make you smile.
Ciao for now,