Lately, I've been posting a lot of reviews on my blog in addition to my usual "What I'm Reading" posts. So how to I rate the books I read? What makes a 5-star review? How do I decide what to rate different books?
Here's the way I decide ratings:
5 Star Ratings
I'll be the first to admit I give out a lot of five-star ratings. Maybe I should be more strict about my ratings but if I really love a book why shouldn't I give it 5 stars?
Criteria for a 5-Star Rating:
A storyline that;
- blows my mind
- is unique
- has likable characters
- makes sense (doesn't leave me confused)
- sticks with me after I'm done reading.
Basically, a 5-Star Rating is an absolute-I have an obsession-can't stop talking about this book-feeling.
4 Star Ratings
What is the difference between a 4- and 5- star rating from me? Four-star ratings go to books I really like but I don't necessarily love. I like the storyline, the characters, the flow of the book but it's not as "jump up and down" fantastic as a five-star book. Sometimes if I'm reading a series and the first book blows me away but the second book is good but there's something lacking it will end up with a four-star rating instead of a five. It doesn't mean I didn't like the book... it's just that I liked the first book better. Maybe the author felt the sophomore slump?
3 Star Ratings
A three-star rating means the book was "just okay." I didn't love the book, but I didn't hate it either. Maybe it's just not my style of book, maybe the storyline was hard to follow, maybe there were a lot of errors in the book. If I think the book was somewhat good I don't want to give it too low of a rating so it usually ends up with three-stars.
I rarely give out less that three-stars when I'm rating a book but here's why a book might score lower:
2 Star Ratings
A book that receives a two-star rating is far from the best thing I've ever read, but it's not the worst thing I've ever read either. I think in my entire time of reviewing books I've only given out one or two two-star ratings. As an author myself I don't like to bash other books because I've had people get downright nasty if they don't like my books and I know how much it hurts. Usually to get a two-star rating the book has to either be a) really unrealistic, b) hard to follow, or c) full of tons of errors.
1 Star / No Star / No Review-Rating Ratings
I have never given out a one-star rating in my life. Usually, if a book is that bad I can't even finish it or I don't even bother rating it. I'd rather not rate or review a book than give someone a really negative review. I feel bad that I don't like the book in question, but sometimes it just happens.
Why do so many books get 4- and 5-star ratings?
Usually, when I pick up a book to read I'm pretty choosy. I don't buy books I don't think I'm going to like because that's money out of my pocket. When I'm asked to review a book in exchange for an honest review I've usually read books by that author before or I've read books by an author that recommended this person to me before that I've liked so I know what I'm getting. Another reason: I just really love so many books and think they're deserving of high ratings.
Ratings other than whole numbers:
Sometimes a book deserves a number other than a whole number. For instance, I might read a book and like it but I don't think it's quite worth a four-star rating so I'll rate it 3.5, 3.75, or 3.9 because I think it's better than just a 3-star rating. In some cases, I round up to the nearest number and just give it a four-star rating but other times I give ratings like those above.
Reviewing books and giving ratings is different for everyone. I might love a book and give it five stars but you might read that same book and think it's more like a three-star book. Believe me, I've seen plenty of one-star reviews on Goodreads for books that I've absolutely loved and I sit back thinking, "what are they thinking? How could they hate 'insert name of book' that much?" If we all liked the same things it would be a very dull world, wouldn't it?
What are some books you liked everyone else seemed to bash?