How I rate books! (and why my ratings might seem a little high)

So, after being on bookstagram and goodreads for a year and a half and after restarting this blog up I’ve noticed that I rate books quite highly compared to most people. Now before I started reading so much with my bookstagram account it was pretty normal to give high ratings for books that subsequently I think didn’t deserve it, but now I have a little bit more of a rule to it.

I think explaining why I rate things quite highly might be the best place to start. There are really only three reasons for it.

1 – I’m really easy to please. If the writing is okay and there’s a romance storyline then I’ll probably give a book at least 3*. I’ve gotten a lot pickier about my 4.5* or 5* reads but, if a book is entertaining for me, I’ll give it at least 3*

2 – I myself have quite bad self-esteem. I have very high standards and I often translate book ratings into things like grades or I think about how I’d like my own writing to be rated if I were ever published. So, I really want to be nice with my ratings and, to me, like a 3* is quite average. As someone who can’t stand that myself, a book has to be pretty bad for me to give it that rating. But as I said still entertaining (Valiant I’m looking at you), which leads me onto the main reason I don’t tend to rate below 3*

3 – I DNF. This is really the biggy. The thing is, if a book is going to be less than 3* for me, then it’s pretty bad. Some 3* books I read I have to drag myself through so if it’s less than that I have no hope. I don’t actually rate DNF’s because I often do that at around 50-100 pages. I feel like that’s long enough for the story to have drawn me in but too short to pass judgement on the book as a whole.

Those are basically my reasons for how I rate. I’m going to break down a little what different ratings mean to me.

3* I enjoyed parts of this book. I will definitely not be re-reading and I can pick out quite a few problems or things I disliked.

3.5* Overall an enjoyable read but the writing style or plot was lacking something for me. I probably won’t reread.

4* A very enjoyable book. There might be something with the plot, characters, or writing style that I’m not quite feeling but this kind of rating means I may read it again, if it’s part of a series I’ll likely continue

4.5* A really enjoyable book. I would definitely like to read it again and have felt very excited about it. I’ll probably have a few parts I really like that I keep returning to for a reread.

5* An amazing read. It might have pulled me out of a slump. The key thing is that I won’t want to stop reading it. I’ll often have read in under a day and I’ll keep pulling it out to reread parts. This book I will definitely be rereading at some point.

Thinking about books when I write reviews sometimes makes me change the ratings, but I largely go on a feeling’s basis. Sometimes I feel that my 5* reads are just because of the situation I was in when I read them, and I often feel like 4.5* could have been 5* if I’d been in a more receptive mood. There’s a lot of grey areas within my rating system but that’s what I have at the moment.

Just want to mention that all of this is merely my opinion and how I see things. I love hearing about other people’s rating systems, and they are often very different than mine. I can really see the argument for using the whole star system instead of scrunching it up to 3-5* but I don’t because of aforementioned reasons.

So, tell me about your rating system!

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