How I rate books – A Discussion

Hey, lovelies! I’m back to talk about my rating system and discuss how I come up with the ratings I give. I’ve been struggling recently with rating some books, especially those in the 4/5 star bracket, so I decided to rethink my whole system and I came up with one conclusion only – I started being ruthlessly strict and it’s damn hard to impress me.

Let’s start with 1 star and work our way up, shall we? (oh my god, I just discovered the possibility of marking a half star on the little rating below and I’m freaking out!)

Rating: 1 out of 5.

I give those out very rarely. The book needs to be painfully bad, but have something in it to fuel my anger, so I actually finish it, and not chuck it into my slowly growing DNF pile – at least in the recent years. I love ranting, and 1 star rating is reserved for books that made me rant an ungodly amount. Currently I have 5 books on my Goodreads which I rated 1 star, and some of them are more of a 1.5 star.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

Eragon and Throne of Glass belong in this category – books I thought were terrible and atrocious but had 1 tiny thing that had a potential to be good. I honestly don’t remember what it was for Eragon, as I have vague and bad memories when it comes to that book, but Throne of Glass had and ending that wouldn’t be half bad if the whole book before that didn’t suck, so I raised the rating a bit. I don’t know if you see the point I’m trying to make, so let’s just move on.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

This category is much more populated. A 2 star book is a book that I liked the plot of, or the characters, and on the whole it could be a good story, but every other aspect fell a bit flat. It could also be the fact that it was an absolute snoozefest, even though the world building was quite good and the characters didn’t annoy the shit out of me. 2 star books don’t usually make me rage (with the exception of Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare), but if you asked me if I enjoyed them I would most definitely say no.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

2.5 stars books are very nearly passable, yet they’re not. They have a potential and it’s quite sizable, but they don’t quite reach it. In case of those books, there’s more than one thing I like about them but those aren’t enough for me to say I enjoyed the book. 2.5 stars are the most disappointing books, they’re the ones I COULD like, if done a bit differently.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

We have reached the “middle of the road” rating. Books I rate 3 stars are those I like just fine, but they have nothing that sets them apart. They’re not bad, but also not great and the most eloquent word I can think of to describe them right now is “meh” (I have a great vocabulary, y’all). If the first book in a series is a 3 star book, I will give other books a try, if I ever come across them. I also pull a lot of recommendations from this little section – more often than not, the books in this category have an element that doesn’t work for me but might work for others.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

3.5 star books are ones I genuinely like and that are slightly above average. They’re not quite great, but the good outweigh the bad, big time. A lot of these are books I fly through, but have no profound thoughts about after finishing them. They’re the hardest to review, because they’re ones I enjoy but not have much to say about – they don’t have elements I can give constructive criticism on, as they’re just enjoyable and fun.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I rate A LOT of books 4 stars. They’re books I really like, the ones I praise quite often. They have minor things that make the reading experience lack a certain something, it might be a pacing issue, or one character that is a pain to read from or about; or it can be the writing. Whatever it is, those books sit super close to my favouite books of all time and I rave about them a lot.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Similarly to the 4 star books, 4.5 star books are ones I really, really, REALLY like. Some I even love and make it to my favourites list. They’re smart and they keep me invested to the very last page. I get attached to the characters so much, I might briefly mistake them for real people (yes, I’m THAT person). Why aren’t they 5 star, so? That’s the catch! Compared to books I would literally carve my heart out for, they don’t quite get there. It’s not due to anything specific anymore – it’s not the writing, it’s not the characters, it’s not the plot – it’s more of a feeling.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

5 star reads are my absolute favourite. They are perfection. They are the most precious things ever. They’re the books that make me speechless when I turn the last page. Worlds I love with all my heart. Characters that feel like family. There’s nothing more to say here.

That is all I have for you today. How do you rate your books? Do you use the 5 star rating system, or maybe something different? Let me know down in the comments, I’d love to know.

Until the next time!

14 thoughts on “How I rate books – A Discussion

  1. I have 7 ratings, sort of!. 1 star is a book that made me so angry I likely threw it across the room. If it’s especially bad it makes my “The Worst Books I Have Ever Read” Goodreads shelf. 2 stars, it was terrible but it had a redeeming factor, like an unique plot. 3 is really middle of the road, books I had little feelings about and probably won’t remember in a couple of weeks time. 4 stars was pretty great but had a couple of problems. 5 stars is pretty much perfection and 5 stars plus adding to my “Best Of 2020” shelf is absolute perfection and probably made me cry.


    • We’re fairly similar when it comes to rating books, so. I’ve been thinking of adding more shelves on my Goodreads, actually. I’d like to have my TBR more organised.


  2. Great post! I use the 5 star rating similar to you and have tried to be a bit stricter this year with my 4/5 stars! To be a 5 for me it has to be like wow stand out amazing, stay on my mind for ages, recommend to everyone type book! I’ve only had 2 so far this year!


  3. Great post! And I love the effort and time you put in to deciding – I tend to go on a gut feeling. I have been thinking about ratings more often lately and I really wish Goodreads offered a half star system.


  4. Hallo, Hallo Joey,

    This was the most entertaining post I’ve read about rating books – for me personally, I’d rather blog the heart out of the books which truly captivate my attention (such as “Christmas Once Again”) or dig into what truly took me out of the story itself or which elements of the story were simply not my cuppa vs trying to encapsulate that into a numbered rating. The only time I use ratings are for certain early reviewer programmes but not on my blog and not as a mainstay as a reader, blogger or reviewer. However, I know a lot do use them – except, in that regard I think you have a better grasp of how to rate books because of how much you put into ‘behind the rating’ vs how I’ve seen ratings used. In essence you’re fuelling your ratings with a heap of worthwhile perspective as it co-relates to how you’re processing what you’re reading and I find that mad brilliant!

    PS: Some of your selections were matching my readerly wanderings too (ie. Timekeeper is a beloved read but I heard it in audio which was smashing!); Dune didn’t float my cuppa either and We Hunt the Flame I am determined to read this Spring (either in print or audio)!!


    • Thank you. I feel like ratings help get the point accross, as not everyone reads the review fully, a lot of people skim through it. I’m glad I’m not the only one who didn’t like Dune.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I do realise that’s the truth of being a book blogger – lots of people skim but thankfully I have a lot of feedback from regularly readers who love the lenghts in which I personally chose to write my blog’s reviews and/or posts; I can’t worry about people who’d rather not read a full blog post because I never understood why they’d follow us if they didn’t want the full content we’re providing? As that is what separates book bloggers from reviewers – the length.

        As an aside I found DUNE so dearly disappointing I had to drop out of the RAL I had joined! I borrowed the audio from the library and I couldn’t make much headway into it all – quite disappointing but it was the switch in tone and intention with the characters, the world itself, the point of the plot, etc that just really didn’t sit well with me and I barely made it into the first bits of it too! Just felt off and I didn’t want to waste more time trying to ‘like it’ when it just rubbed me wrong.

        I admit, we’re in the minority – most readers adore it and I’m still trying to sort out ‘why’.


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