Thursday, October 2, 2014

More Than A Review Helps You Never Be Surprised By Bad Content

I'm happy to welcome Donna Feyen, creator of the site, More Than A Review, to guest post today. Read on as she shares her commitment to help readers choose books that line up with their personal standards and content preferences.

I am so excited to guest post on Belle’s Library and love that there’s another website dedicated to quality literature! My name is Donna Feyen and I love books so much that I created a website called More Than A Review. MTAR is a tool that can help readers of all book genres to never pick up a book and have the experience ruined by unexpected offensive content.

So how is MTAR different? 
More Than A Review offers a different kind of rating and review system. Most review sites offer the overall rating, which basically says “I liked this book a lot” or “I really didn’t like this book.” At MTAR, we have the same concept. The Overall Rating is the reviewer’s opinion of the book with one star being low and five stars being high.

Here’s where things get different: the Content Rating stars tell you how much violence, offensive language, sex, and drug or alcohol use will be found in the book. We’ve found these four issues are both the most commonly found types of objectionable material, and the issues that cause readers the most pause.

No stars mean no content in that category was found anywhere in the book. If “Language” shows zero stars, for example, then there is no rough language in the book.

The number of increasing stars tells the person reading your book review that there is some content in that category they may not appreciate.

Content ratings are in these categories:
Sexual content
Drug/alcohol use

Each person has his or her own level of sensitivity to a given issue and therefore might give a higher or lower rating of stars based on that sensitivity. That’s why we’ve created a guide that outlines what each star means. That review guideline is available on our website.

When you write a review, please use these definitions for the Content Rating stars. When we all do this, we can be sure that each reviewer’s stars mean the same thing. Forgive the pun, but it’s so we’re on the same page.

Who would use MTAR? 
My first response is that anyone can use MTAR but we do have a few audiences who are more likely to find it useful. These include:

Anyone with a more conservative belief system who would not appreciate certain kinds of content
Teachers and librarians needing to refer parents and older students to quality material
Those who might be sensitive to a given content area because it is a trigger for emotional distress
Parents wanting to help their teenagers discern better reading choices with cleaner content
Anyone who doesn’t want to be surprised by content in a book!

Want to learn more? Check us out at

Donna Feyen, founder of More Than A Review (MTAR), is an avid reader, a "stalker" (a.k.a. devoted fan) of popular band Third Day, and loves to scrapbook in both the traditional and digital styles.  Donna started MTAR after reading several books that fell short of their "traditional" reviews and included more graphic content than she was expecting to read. These disappointments and the inability to research the content of a book before purchase, led Donna to the purpose and vision behind MTAR.