New Rating System (5/28/19)
Books are rated based on a 1 to 5 star scale given to different areas of evaluation then combined for an overall total star point average, an SPA, for the book as a whole. This rating applies only to my blog. Star ratings posted on Goodreads and Amazon will match their system criteria. They should mostly overlap, but there may be times they differ.
Basic Star Rating Scale:
1 – Really Didn’t Like
2 – Didn’t Like/Okay
3 – Okay/Good
4 – Really Good
5 – Excellent/Loved It
Below are the different areas I may choose to use for my averages and the things that I look for that help determine that rating. Not all areas are used in all reviews. Normally, I will only pick a few (3 to 5); the ones I consider as having the most impact on my impression of the book. The one area that will always be used in all ratings will be Personal Opinion. The others will vary depending on the book. I will also sometimes include other areas of note that I feel worth mentioning in a review but not include it in overall SPA rating, giving them a standalone rating for that specific area. Commentary on things like covers normally fall into this area.
Personal Opinion: This would be how I felt about the book in general, more along the lines of my emotional response to the book as a whole.
Characters: How well were the characters written? Were they likeable or relatable?
Plot/Themes: Did the author have a fully developed plot/themes? Were there any threads left unfinished?
Uniqueness Factor: I particularly like it when an author gives me a story that feels new and interesting or at least addresses something common in a different way or from a different perspective.
Problem Free/Editing: While this is an area that I really hate to harp on, it is also one of the things that will yank me out of a story faster than just about anything. Timeline screw ups, an abundance of, or consistent, grammatical mistakes, inconsistencies in character histories and any other issue that should have been caught with a good editing process. The more problems in a book, the lower this will rate, but most well written books won’t even draw this area for commentary.
World Building: This is one of those areas that I can see applying more towards fantasy and paranormal than most anything else, but isn’t exclusive to those genres. It is just a lot more critical to them than a contemporary novel. I look for uniqueness, believably and level of detail in this area.
Peeve Factor: Not sure how much this will get used, but I’m tossing it in there because I know I have a lot of pet peeves when it comes to books. There are times where a book will smash that peeve button over and over again, but still be a pretty good book. Others never even come close to any of my peeves. Again, books that are less likely to touch on one of my peeve areas probably won’t draw this commentary, but the books that tried to break the damn button are going to get a really low rating here.
Believably: Did the author convince me to believe their story? Fantasy novels have to make me believe in that world, that magic system and how things work. Contemporary novels have to make me feel like the story is possible, even if it seems outrageous. Basically, did they make their story work?
This is an area that is important, but only applies to those books that are in an ongoing, interconnected series where each book builds on the next and how well the book fits in with the rest in the series.
Similar to the area above, readers develop expectations within a series. This is for evaluating how well a book fits into those expectations, whether the reader is surprised (pleasantly or not) or disappointed.
Blurb: Not sure if I will use this one for sure, but I’m putting it here as a place holder as there are times where the blurb is problematic. Either it doesn’t match at all to the book, it is misleading or it pretty much gives a plot away.
Cover: Is the cover unique? Did it match the book? Did it grab my attention? As an artist, cover art plays a huge role in what books I choose as a reader, but don’t normally impact how I felt about a book after I’ve read it.
Previous Rating Scale (Outdated as of 5/28/19)
A 5 star rating is reserved for my absolute favorites. I will absolutely be willing to spend the money to buy this book. This type of book is one that I will read multiple times, has such great content that I find myself so absorbed in the story that I’m incredibly disappointed when the book is over because I want more. The books that receive a 5 star review will be few and far in between because there just aren’t that many books that speak to me on that level.
4 star books are really good; excellent story/characters/world, but just miss the mark of falling into the favorites category. There is a good chance that I might read it again if I didn’t have something more interesting in my To Read list. It would definitely be something I’d recommend to others if asked.
3 star books are good, but not great. I enjoyed it, didn’t feel like it was a waste of time, but more than likely won’t take the time to read it again. They may have mostly decent writing, but often one major aspect seems weak or not well thought out or fully developed. I might read other books by the same author or in the series when I’m looking for something to read, but don’t have something more anticipated or interesting on my list. A lot of the time they are the type that seem like a replay of every other storyline out there. Cookie cutter writers eventually fall into this category, no matter how much I may have liked the first book or so. There are only so many times you can read the same story with only slightly different characters/scenarios before it gets really old.
2 star books are books that I didn’t particularly like. They are usually books that just weren’t for me, now matter how well written they may have been. Sometimes quality of writing alone will drop a book down to the 2 level, even if the story concept was good. There are only so many flaws a story can have before a reader loses interest.
1 star ratings are not ratings that I hand out often. These are those that I seriously question every single person involved in the process because that book was BAD. Bad story, horrid characters, no way was there any editing involved, or any combination of those things. An awful lot of times, these are the books that I may get a few chapters into and cannot force myself to attempt to plow through another sentence and are absolute and total garbage. I really hate using the last term for these books as I don’t like to slam anyone, but there really just isn’t a nice way of saying it when a book is actually that bad.