Rating Guide

1 star ratings are pretty rare on this blog, because I usually give up on these books, and I feel that - unless I have an obligation to a publisher - I shouldn't review books I have DNF'ed. The 1 star books that are most likely to make it onto the blog are those that have seriously infuriated or upset me.

2 stars are awarded when I feel books were entirely or mostly underwhelming. This may be based on the perceived weakness of plot, characters or worldbuilding, the quality of writing, or it may be that there has been some element of the book that I have found to be very distasteful. You can see some examples of books I gave 2 stars to here.

I find myself less likely to review books I dislike than books I like, unless I feel a need to vent, so my ratings are artificially skewed towards higher ratings.

2.5 stars can mean I found some redeeming qualities in the book, but did not enjoy it overall, such as these. Alternatively, once again, it may be that I enjoyed aspects of the book, but was prevented from enjoying the book on the whole because of a particular element or elements. 

3 stars are given when I enjoyed a book more than not. It can mean a book was good but not overly memorable, that it had a good premise but didn't live up to my expectations, or that I'm apathetic about it. You can see some examples of 3 star books here. Also take a look at this piece from Brenna Clarke Gray about what a 3 star review means, and what it doesn't.

3.5 stars means that a book was a good, largely enjoyable read that I would recommend to some people, or with some caveats. The difference between 3 and 3.5 stars is probably the largest jump in my ratings. For example, if the first book I read by a particular author is a 3.5 star read, I'll almost certainly buy other books by them, but if it's 3 stars, I might need some convincing. You can see these for examples of 3.5 star reads.

4 stars are awarded to books that I have really enjoyed, would recommend to others and that feature original and/or interesting plots, characters and settings that are well-developed. 

4.5 stars are reads that are almost perfect and/or are exceptional in some way or another. See these for examples.

5 stars means a book is outstanding in both premise and execution and is one that I would wholeheartedly recommend it to others. The difference between 4.5 and 5 stars is fairly minimal, but 5 stars are generally awarded when I come away from a book stunned and unable to think of a single thing that could have been done better or differently, as well as books that are thought-provoking and stay with you long after you finish them. You can see some examples of books I consider 5 stars here.

Recommended is my only rating for for non-fiction reads, used when I have found something particularly interesting and worthwhile. Ordinarily, since I mainly talk about the content of non-fiction books no matter how I felt about them as books, I leave them unrated.

Disclaimer: As I gain some distance from books and form a clearer picture of where they sit relative to other books that have received the same rating, I very occasionally change a rating and I make a note of the change in the review. It's bad form, I know, but I do it anyway. 
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