A Books & Benches review is an honest, unbiased opinion of the book. Our reviewers do their best to provide an accurate impression of the book without revealing spoilers. Not everyone will agree with a reviewer's opinion, but that's okay because each reader is as unique as the stories they read.
When we relaunched in February 2020, we did so without a rating system. Ratings remain for books reviewed up through 2017. Content ratings are still active for all books posted on this site.
As of Feb 2020 . . .
We only review books we like and no longer assign a rating. If a reader did not enjoy the book, it will not be reviewed on this site. We do have a Seal of Distinction for all those books that stood out in some way, kept us reading, and left us with a feeling of enjoyment. These books are among our reviewers' top picks and is our equivalent of a 5-star book.
Previous ratings you may see on this site prior to the end of 2017.
Star Ratings Deciphered!
5 Stars: Stupendous! In the reader's opinion, you can't go wrong with this book. It's a Top Pick!
4 1/2 Stars: Excellent Book! In this reader's opinion, we're impressed and hope readers pick this one up. It's a Top Pick!
4 Stars: Good Book! In the reader's opinion, this was an enjoyable book and think you should read it, too.
We do not post ratings below 4 stars.
Previous ratings you may see on this site prior to June, 15, 2017.
3 1/2 Stars: Enjoyable Read! In this reader's opinion, we'd recommend this book for a light escape and easy read.
3 Stars: Decent Book! In this reader's opinion, we think there's an audience out there waiting to enjoy this story.
Content Ratings not active after 5/17/2017.
3 Hearts: Now that's chemistry! We love when two people know how to express their passion, but we like it even more when they do it behind closed doors.
4 1/2 Hearts: Still hot, and boy do we feel the passion, but not as graphic as expected.
Content Codes Deciphered!
0 Hearts: Does not apply. This is not a romance book or does not contain obvious romantic elements.
1 Heart: Aww! We love those sweet, clean kisses. This is a clean read appropriate for all audiences.
2 Hearts: Our hearts are aflutter. This author knows how to turn up the heat with some passionate kisses. Nothing graphic here!
3 Hearts: Chemistry is a little sweet and little spicy. A touch of detail, but the stuff that makes us blush is behind closed doors.
4 Hearts: We're getting hot in here! These characters know how to have a good time. Lucky for us, they don't go into too much detail.
5 Hearts: Pull out your fans and grab a glass of ice cold water because this book is steaming hot! One or more graphic sex scenes.
**We do not review erotica or erotic romance.**
Content Ratings (Non-Romance Books)
N/A: No Sex; No Violence
PG: Non-Descriptive Sex; No Violence
PG-13 (1): Non-Descriptive Sex; Some Violence
PG-13 (2): No Sex; Some Violence
R (1): No Sex; Graphic Violence
R (2): Descriptive Sex and Violence