I rate books on a 5 star scale. The most basic explanation is this:
5 Stars: I LOVED this book! I’ll gush over it. And I don’t typically gush. This will be on my “Best Of” list for the year. I will quite probably read it more than once, maybe even more than twice. I’m going to tell everyone to read it even if hey don’t normally like the genre and if they probably won’t read it anyway. Very few criticisms if any. This is the kind of book that stays with me a while. It will often do more than one of the following:
- Blows me away
- Hits me in the gut
- Makes me cry
- Makes me laugh out loud
- Frightens me
- Expands my horizons
The above is not a an complete list. Put basically this is a book with all “the feels.”
4 Stars: I really liked this book. I’m likely to read it more than once. I’m going to tell everyone who loves the genre to put this on their TBR. There were a few criticisms but still not enough to really detract from the story. May do at least one of the things listed under 5 Stars above. This book may have some of “the feels.”
3 Stars: I liked this book. It was entertaining but it didn’t blow me away. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it. There may have been a number of issues with it, or maybe it was just an enjoyable read but not one I would write home to mom about. It was worth the read and I would recommend it to fans of the genre but I probably would not read it again.
2 Stars: I didn’t like this book. I found plenty of things to criticize. Will not be recommending it to anyone.
1 Star: I hated this book. I either didn’t finish it (DNF) or just hated the story that bad. Will recommend people steer clear of it. This should be a pretty rare rating. And yes I still give a DNF a 1 Star because otherwise I can’t give a score on Goodreads or Amazon.
Now…all that being said I will also give .5 ratings in between those above (3.5 or 4.5). You’re all reasonably smart people so I’m sure you can figure out the grey in between. If not hopefully it will make sense within my review.
Most of my reviews will be 3 Stars or above. This is because like most of you, when I sit down to read I’m not looking to find things wrong with the story and I genuinely anticipate a fun and enjoyable experience. I rarely dislike a book so much that it will fall below 3 Stars. Maybe that’s grade inflation or maybe not, but my point is I don’t rate on a bell curve.
Why A Rating Scale?
I’ve gone back and forth over time about whether I wanted to continue using a rating scale for my reviews. I even solicited feedback from friends in the blogging community. I finally settled on keeping a rating scale system. Here’s my reasoning:
- They are helpful for review readers: Many of you noted how you really like seeing how people score a book, especially if it the rating is given by a reviewer they like and trust. Yeah it’s always possible you may not agree with another reviewer’s score but often it helps when choosing future books to buy and read.
- They are helpful for me: I had to admit that even with the negatives I came up with for deciding whether to keep a rating score when it’s all said and done a score does help me when looking back on the year to see what books I absolutely loved compared to those I really liked. This doesn’t mean I no longer think there are negatives to a rating score, it’s just that the positives are worth it for me as a reviewer.
- Goodreads and Amazon: <sigh>…yes in the end these two platforms had a lot to do with my decision too as much as I dislike it. I post to those sites because of the help they provide to book sales and to readers. Both are important to me in their own way. I feel that to really get the most benefit from those platforms I need to provide a rating. If I’m going to do that I might as well keep them on the blog as well.