Bookish Blatherings #39: Flames!!!

Posted April 18th, 2016 in Bookish Blatherings, My Features / 37 comments

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Welcome to Bookish Blatherings, a Bad Bird Reads feature where I ramble about bookish or bloggerish things and hopefully you will join in on the discussion.

So…Flame Ratings. I just don’t know what to do with them. Obvi, I use Ashley’s (NozeGraze) Flame Rating from her Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin. I love the concept but I am horrible at the application. I need your help. When you see a Flame Rating in a review, what does it represent to you? At first I was rating based on how much sex or sexual content the book had. Then I started to put more feeling into it. It was both how much sex and how well I thought the sex was written. Then I started thinking maybe I should just rate on how well the sex was written or portrayed. Or maybe just generalize it and let it say how hot I thought the book was. Kind of ambiguous though. Then I started to have a headache and stopped trying to think at all before my brain exploded.


I use to have similar problem with The Snuggly portion of my reviews. First they were for sexual content only, then it morphed into a section about romance. But I kept writing about good romance in the The Good section and bad romance in The Bad section. So that was scrapped. Now I am back to just sexual content with a brief overview of how much, how well written, and how hot. Aaannnnnnd back to flames.

So, I’m stuck. What the hell do these flames represent? Maybe they mean something different for everyone. Maybe I’m overthinking it. I need to know the most common flame reasoning out there. I just want to accurately rate the hotness of the books I read so most of you know what the hell I am talking about. Thoughts?


What does the Flame Rating in a review represent to you?

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37 Responses to “Bookish Blatherings #39: Flames!!!”

  1. Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    Oh, how I feel you, Jennifer! I have the flame ratings, too, but for the time being, I’m not actually using them. It is definitely for hotness, but what is hot? It can be a guy who knows exactly how to help out his girlfriend in an unexpected way, right? I find that incredibly hot.
    I’m curious about what other bloggers will say 😉
    Have a great week!

    • Jennifer (Bad Bird Reads)

      Defining Hotness is impossible!!!! And I thought it was going to be easy.

  2. JenM

    Everyone has a different “hotness” scale when they read and it doesn’t usually correspond to my own, so I don’t usually pay much attention to flame ratings. Unless an author is really skilled at writing sex scenes I often end up skimming them anyway, especially the gratuitous ones that don’t serve to advance the plot or the characters. I mean, there are only so many ways that you can describe inserting Tab A into Slot B LOL.

    • Jennifer (Bad Bird Reads)

      LOL, yeah some sex scenes should be stricken from history.

  3. Caro (@TheBookRogue)

    I use my heat rating solely for the sex, since I have a seperate style and character rating in my Area Scan as well. So the more tingles the sex scenes give me, the higher the rating.

  4. kindlemom1

    Oh funny, I always just saw the flames as stars, as in, your overall rating for the books, not just the hotness factor. Now I feel a bit stupid I think. ;P

    Either way, I think you need to rate it and use that system however you want. I’ve seen people do several ratings for a book, like plot, characters, steaminess. It really is up to you and what works best.

    • Jennifer (Bad Bird Reads)

      When things are up to me I have the hardest time making a decision. lol

  5. NOrthwoman

    I feel your confusion. I guess to me it is how much of the content is sexual and how graphic that sex is. To me it’s better if it’s not TOO graphic; it is actually more arousing, more good sex. So the more flames, the more time spent with sex and / or the more graphic. The emotions of it, if it works, would be covered in the Good or Bad review sections because it is commenting on the writing and its skill. But the rating only works well if it is explained and consistently applied. Ratings are difficult, even the overall stars because there are varied factors I use for giving and taking them for a book. Anne

    • Jennifer (Bad Bird Reads)

      True, it took me forever to get use to my normal rating system.

  6. Melissa (Books and Things)

    For me it is the context and how well I know the blogger is how I take the flames. Most use it for how hot the sex was, but a couple I know use it for both romance and sex. It is all up to interpretation so that is why we need to read the review to find out what it really means. 🙂

    • Jennifer (Bad Bird Reads)

      I think I am more inclined to use it just for sex.

  7. Nathan

    Flames I think refer to sexual content such as kissing and banter would be low on the flames rating scale but could elsewhere be a very good romance/ paranormal romance. Flames are higher if there is sex scenes and the higher the rating the more detailed and graphic they probably is. Some people rate both use of sexual language as well as actual sex in a flames rating.

    • Jennifer (Bad Bird Reads)

      Oooh, I like your break-down. It’s how I usually see it too.

  8. Braine

    I personally don’t pay much attention or put too much value on the flames rating because it can be subjective. Like it’s a good gauge of how heavy the sex scenes are like is it a cute romance or erotica. But in terms of hotness, that’s when it gets tricky IMO as we have different definitions of “normal” and “kinky”.

    • Jennifer (Bad Bird Reads)

      True, my BDSM might be different to your BDSM. Ugh, this is making my brain hurt.

    • Jennifer (Bad Bird Reads)

      Yeah, I think that’s how most of us are seeing it.

  9. Christy LoveOfBooks

    Dude, I don’t even know. I have a hard time using regular ratings as it is. lol. I just assumed it was a combo of sexual content and like the steam factor. Oh hell, I don’t know. Don’t ask me. 😀

    • Jennifer (Bad Bird Reads)

      LOL, you are no help!!!! *kicks you on the ankle*

  10. melliane

    I don’t really know… the best is what it is for you but I confess I coudn’t rate that, it would be too complicated for me. The stars is already a big thing to do

    • Jennifer (Bad Bird Reads)

      The stars alone is already hard, stupid flames make it worse.

  11. Anna

    If it was me, I’d use Entangled Publishing or another romantic site like it for a flame range. They start at boy next door (1) to sizzling attraction (5). Writers also use this as a guideline when submitting. Then expand what you mean (how many flames) in your snugly section so the reader can determine if the book is right for them.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  12. Olivia Roach

    Personally when I see the flame ratio I think of how “heated” or in some words dirty the book gets. Which is more so how much sexual content there is in there, and that it has nothing to do with how good it is or whatever – I always imagine that to be incorporated into the stars rating!

    • Jennifer (Bad Bird Reads)

      I think you are right. This feels more natural to me.

  13. Melanie Simmons @mlsimmons

    I don’t use the flame rating. We don’t have UBB at Hot Listens and at Rabid Reads, we just don’t use the flame rating. I notice them on people’s reviews, but don’t put a huge amount of stock in them. I think because it is so much more subjective than even the overall rating. Plus I think many people are like you and don’t know exactly how to use it. If I were to use it, I would say how sexually explicit the story is. If there is no sexual interaction at all, 1/2 a flame. Something like BDSM erotica that is full of sex, maybe taboo stuff, 5 flames. Something that has a single sex scene, maybe 3. I don’t know. So hard to tell.

    • Jennifer (Bad Bird Reads)

      That’s a good breakdown though. It makes sense.

  14. kimbacaffeinate

    I use them and base them totally on heat level Here is my breakdown: 1= smooching,
    2=smooching and closed door sexy-time, 3=we are invited in, but it’s not overly detailed, 4=detailed sexy time, 5=word porn

    • Jennifer (Bad Bird Reads)

      OMG, I love this. I am keeping a copy for reference. Thanks!!!

  15. Kristin

    I always associated flame ratings with steaminess. If there are no flames I assume there’s little to no romance, but if the flames are across the board I assume it’s got some pretty sexy detailed scenes that would be up there with erotica. Aside from the quality of writing during the sex scenes, I would read the review to see how the reviewer thought the author executed them. Not sure if this helps at all. I don’t use flame ratings but when I see them, that’s just what I think.

  16. Lover Of Romance

    this can be pretty tricky to figure out!!! For me I have always viewed it as the level of heat, not really the style of sex scenes but more how heated they are. But each blogger has different ways they view it, so in my ratings info I describe my ratings for flame if others are curious.

    • Jennifer (Bad Bird Reads)

      I was thinking of breaking it down somewhere on my blog, great idea.

  17. Jaclyn Canada

    It could really go either way here. As a parent, I would prefer to know how much sexual content and what ages we feel the book is acceptable for based on how graphic it gets. You do such a good job of mentioning that in the Snuggly portion though that I would say you could use it to represent how well you think it’s written and you’d have both aspects covered nicely.

    • Jennifer (Bad Bird Reads)

      A very good point. Happy my Snuggly works for you. 😀

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