Reader/Writer Confessions: My Rating System

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A while ago, I confessed that I was a bit of a harsh reviewer/rater.

So I thought that today, I would go into a bit more detail about what my rating and reviewing process is like for those to frequent my blog. I tend to find that people are put off from negative/low star reviews — but that shouldn’t be the case. Because A) Everyone has different book tastes, and I might dislike you might love, and B) Just because I’ve given it a low-ish rating does not mean that I didn’t hate the book.

Five Stars —

Loved it. Harry Potter, A Game of Thrones, The Song of the Lioness series, Throne of Glass — these are all books in which I would consider to be “timeless” and in which I would re-read again in a heartbeat. (There are plenty more books to this list, by the way; these were just the ones that first hit me.) These are books with what I would consider to be phenomenal characters, a compelling and engaging storyline — the sort of Oh-look-it’s-four-in-the-morning sort of storylines where I just cannot put them down. Interesting fact: A series is more likely to make its way onto this list; I don’t know why, maybe because I feel like a story and its characters can be better development in more than one book. I’m sure that as time passes by, I’ll be adding new books to this list all the time. But few make it on. Also: Funnily enough, all these books have influenced my writing in some way.

harry potter animated GIF

Four Stars —

This was really good. I loved it. I might never re-read it, but I sure am going to remember it, and remembering it well. It’ll have a really good storyline, likeable (or otherwise!) characters, and I’ll be staying up late to read it. So why not just give them five stars? I don’t give out five stars often. I don’t. I keep them for the special, special books. But if you ever read a review of mine that has given a book four stars — you know it’s going to be good.

Three Stars —

This means that I have enjoyed the book. Sure, it might not have been the best. It might have been lacking in some areas — writing, characters, perhaps the storyline wasn’t as good as it could have been — but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. I give out three stars pretty often, which means that I’ve enjoyed it, so I’d say that I enjoy most of the books I read.

Two Stars —

Two stars is a meh book for me. I didn’t like it, but if I rated it two stars, then I mustn’t have hated it either. Often in two stars book I’ll find myself sitting down to write a review and not having much to say. Two star books lurk in that area of “I didn’t hate it but it really could have been a lot better.” Again, I encourage you to read books that I give two, or even one, stars. I don’t review to warn readers about the book; I review to share my opinions to the world. Often with a two star book I will read its sequel.

One Star —

I did not like this. At all. It had hardly — if any — redeeming factors about it, and felt like the novel didn’t deserve any more than one star for whatever reason. The characters, storyline, and writing all fell flat. If just one of these were good — eg, a boring story with forgettable characters but amazing writing — it might earn two stars, but nothing more.

thumbs down animated GIF

That’s all from me today. I’m off to study for Senior Science next week. Tell me: How do you rate books? Is it a similar process to mine, or completely different? Let me know!

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20 thoughts on “Reader/Writer Confessions: My Rating System

  1. Your two star rating is pretty much my three star – I think I’m an easy reviewer lol. But I do find myself rating less books 4 and 5 stars this year, because I’ve just read so much more than usual – it’s getting hard to impress me! :D

  2. Ooh, this is an interesting topic, Kara! I’m glad you posted this. :) I like seeing other people’s rating scales, as their 3 stars could mean something completely different from my 3 stars. I used to hand out 4 and 5 stars all over the place, but since blogging, I’ve found that most of my reads are getting rated 3 or 4 stars. Perhaps it’s because I’ve become more critical by reading more reviews and reviewing books myself? I don’t know. My rating scale is similar to yours, but not exactly the same. I use half stars as well. Here’s a rough idea of my rating scale (I’m currently working on an updated version):
    5 stars: I absolutely LOVED this book.
    4.5 stars: This book is almost perfect!
    4 stars: I loved this book, but there’s something missing.
    3.5 stars: Not a bad read whatsover.
    3 stars: I feel neutral about this book.
    2.5 stars: This book had potential, it just wasn’t executed very well.
    2 stars: I did not enjoy this book.
    1.5 stars: I don’t know why I bothered to read this book…why didn’t I just DNF it?!
    1 star: I did not enjoy this book AT ALL.
    0.5 star: I did not finish this book.

    • Ooh, half stars is such a good idea, Ebony. I upload a lot of my reviews on GoodReads, and unfortunately there’s not a half-star option there, which SUCKS, because sometimes I do feel that some books fall into some categories, you know? Usually I’ll just round it down/up depending on if I’m feeling nice ahah. :)

  3. I’m also very harsh with ratings; I don’t give 5 stars at all that often (but to be fair, I also don’t give 1 star often, either). I’m more of a 2 – 3 stars kinda person :p

    Mine are almost the same as yours, except 3 stars is either “it was okay for me” or “meh”. 2 stars are reserved for the craptastic but readable books, and one star … well, those are usually the ones I couldn’t finish or found no redeeming qualities to it at all.

  4. I am pretty much the same as you. If it’s a two stars book though I won’t continue on with the series. I’ll use 3.5 and 4.5 occasionally in my reviews as well. If it’s better than a 3 but not quite a 4, I’ll go 3.5. And if it’s better than a 4 but not quite a 5 I’ll go 4.5. And unless it’s a review copy, I won’t write a review for a book under 3 stars simply because I have so many books to read (and review) I don’t want to waste time I could be reading on a book I can’t find that many good things to say about it.

    • Ooh, that’s actually a topic that I plan on blogging about soon — about if people review every book they read. I try to but some times it gets hard. xD And there are so many books out there, and so little time. I used to use .5 ratings, but over time, I’ve pretty much forgotten to use them — I think because Goodreads doesn’t have an option of a half star rating, and most of my reviews are on there, too.

      • Before I was getting review copies from publishers, I use to review everything I read, but now I just don’t find the time to review everything. I put my reviews on Goodreads as well, but if it’s a .5 rating I’ll say what my actual rating is and then go on with my review.

  5. The trouble with ratings, I reckon, is that things DO add up differently. I seriously had someone on amazon tell me I gave a book the wrong star rating compared to my review. o.O I mean, um, that is what 4-stars (or whatever) means to me, dude. Go away.

    So usually for me its:
    5: jfdkafldsajfds OMG FREAKING BRILLIANT
    4: good read but not a favourite
    3: okay, kind of meh, I have no strong feelings either way
    2: didn’t like it, but I finished it
    1: grrrrah, I am so angry.

    I do give out a lot of five-stars though. Hehe. This is me who actually gave out two this week! XD I’m easy to impress??

  6. dude we have such similar rating systems! i am very stingy when it comes to my 5 star babies, they only go to books that i’ve reread and loved each time or books that i believe i’ll reread. 4.5 stars go to those books that i loved but not to the point where i’d reread them again and again. and 4 stars? about the same as you :D

    awesome post, kara! <33

  7. Oooh! I’d say I have a slightly similar system to you but I’m a tad…harder to please nowadays. Which is so sad. I want those four and fives but I can’t let them go. It’s like I’ve got a short supply and to give them out too soon would be to regret it. Therefore I find myself at 3 stars ALOT. So many things that I thought would impress me this year fell into 3. Nothing was wow. But then I get complicated. I give half stars like nobodies business. I have a criteria written done somewhere but it’s like a full-fledged, each half gets it’s own page of description type of thing. Yeah :P There are times when I go even crazy and half the half stars. That’s when I know I’ve lost it, but according to my system, it all works! I love your system though and totally agree about those 5 stars being super, duper precious. The four in the morning thing is ON POINT. Totally true! Great post, Kara! xx

  8. I liked this post! I rate books in a very similar way to you, using the star rating system. Only, my three is slightly more neutral and means there were several problems with it, and my one indicates that I probably didn’t finish it, if it was that awful. If I was able to finish an awful book, that in itself is saying something and I’ll probably give it two stars. (heh heh, I loved that cat gif.) Good luck for senior science =D

  9. My rating system is also very similar to yours, though my five-stars are based on more than how much I love the book. I focus on the other feelings the book gives me as well. If I finish a book feeling awed, it goes on my five-star list. If I just love a book, it’s usually a four-star book.

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