Lola’s Ramblings is a feature on my blog Lola’s Reviews where I ramble on about a book related or a non-book related topic. These are discussion type of posts where I talk about a topic and readers can weigh in on the topic in the comments. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like tours, cover reveals, memes, challenges, recaps or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are discussions of a certain topic and my point of view on them. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Designs.
Today I want to talk about the 3 star rating. I always find ratings such an interesting subject and I am pretty sure I’ve talked about it a few times on my blog so far. In this posts I wanted to focus specifically on the 3 star rating, whether I consider it a positive rating and how my 3 star ratings changed in value over time.
Do I consider a 3 star rating a positive rating?
In short, yes I do consider a 3 star a positive rating. When it comes to my own reviews I consider the 3 star rating a positive rating. If I give a book a 3 star rating I still consider that a book I enjoyed. Although within a 3 star rating there are differences, or as I like to think of it the higher and the lower end of the 3 star rating. And book on the upper end of that rating I enjoyed more than books on the lower end of the 3 star rating, which does cause some variation between books that got a 3 star rating.
As a tour organizer I consider 3 stars and higher a positive review and allow those reviews in review tours. I have seen companies who have the same rule, but also tour companies which only consider a 4 star rating or higher a positive review. Then again I have seen 3 star reviews that are quite negative or at least I wouldn’t call positive, but I think it really varies from review to reviewer what a 3 star means. I feel that the 3 star rating is one where there is the most difference in what it means between reviewers. A 5 star rating is always a book that was really good, but 3 star ratings seem to vary from very close to dislike till a good read depending on the reviewer.
I’ve also seen the question around when you tag the publisher and/or the author when sharing your review and often the 3 star rating falls on the no side. Which always makes me feel conflicted as I do consider those 3 star ratings positive, but the author or publisher might not find a 3 star rating positive. For that reason I usually won’t tag the author on twitter or facebook when posting it as I don’t want to risk accidentally offending someone. As a tour organizer I do share the links to those 3 star reviews during a tour as I do promote every stop.
I always feel the 3 star rating is a difficult rating as it never fully feels like a positive rating as not everyone sees it as a positive one. What a 3 star rating means depends too much on the individual reviewer. And at times I think that’s also what makes the 3 star rating so interesting as 3 star reviews often highlight both the things someone liked and didn’t. And I do enjoy reading 3 star reviews and I often look at those as well when I am trying to decide whether to read a book or not.
What does my 3 star rating mean?
If I give a book a 3 star rating that usually means I enjoyed the book overall, but also had enough issues or things that didn’t quite work for me to not give it a 4 star. I like writing my reviews for 3 star books, but on the other hand they also can make me feel conflicted as I they are often books with things I did and didn’t liked. If a book is on the higher end of the 3 star rating spectrum I will most likely continue the series or pick up other books by the author. A 3 star rating is a book that I might recommend to others depending on their tastes and if I think they will enjoy that book. Only a 2 or 1 star book is one I wouldn’t quickly recommend, but then again every reader is different and I am sure the books I didn’t enjoy will be enjoyed by others.
How my 3 star ratings changed to a more positive rating
Even though nowadays I consider my 3 star ratings a positive rating, I do think my 3 star rating is the one which changed the most over the years. When I read old 3 star reviews I am often surprised at how negative those were. My 3 star ratings years ago were often books that were just okay and books I sometimes even struggled to finish. 3 stars were the books in a series I loved that fall flat and left me feeling disappointed. Nowadays my 3 star reviews feel a lot more positive and I think that’s also partly due to my recent lack of 5 star ratings. It feels like my 3 and 4 ratings have become more common and both are more positive than they used to be. I think that my ratings and the way I write my reviews has changed over the years as well. I used to be way more critical and harsh in my reviews and I feel like that has changed over the years. Just for comparison lets look at my 2012 3 star review for Tirade by Cambria Hebert and one of my more recent 3 star reviews for Dating for Decades by Tracy Krimmer. I cringe when reading that old review for Tirade, the way it’s written is not at all how I would write my review nowadays and I think it’s pretty harsh. And then there is my use of the words “weak and stupid” which I wouldn’t use nowadays. When reading that review now I would say it reads more like a 2 star review instead of a 3 star review. My review for Dating for decades also lists issues that I had with the characters and connecting with them and such, but it also displays a lot of things I did enjoy and I feel that my review is better written and I better explain my thoughts. Then again I always dislike reading my older reviews, it just makes me cringe.