Lola’s Ramblings: How do you Rate books?

Posted March 5, 2015 by Lola in Lola's Ramblings / 34 Comments


Lola’s Rambings is a feature on Lola’s Review where I talk about me. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like blog tours, book blitzes, cover reveals or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are are personal discussions of a certain topic. Sometimes about book related topics and sometimes about non-book related topics. This feature was previously known as About Me. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Design.

One of the things I find interesting is how most book reviewers rate book, but for everyone the same ratings can mean different things. I’ve seen a lot of posts about ratings, but I still wanted to address my opinion on the matter and what my ratings exactly mean as those star ratings are a bit vague. So today I wanted to address how I rate my reviews and what those ratings means to me.

What do my ratings mean?

  • 5 Star. 5 star book are books I loved. It can be because I just really enjoyed reading it or it had elements I love in books. I try to be carefull with giving out 5 stars as I want a 5 star to reflect the book was really outstanding in my opinion. 5 star books are those book that really grabbed my while reading and probably will stay with me for a long time. Concernign which books I recommend the most those are obviously 5 star ratings, but a fair share of 4 star ratings as well. Book I rated 5 stars always get featured in my best books of the year post and when someone asks for recommendation they probably come to mind first. Still there’s a lot of difference in the books I gave 5 stars and I can love different elements in books I give 5 star. Often I also feel like the 5 star rating isn’t really rationaly explainable, the books just feels better then what I normally read. It made a bigger impression on me and if I ever decide to re-read books it will probably be those 5 star books I come back to. While I love 5 star books there stil can be things I didn’t like. For example I couldn’t connect with Tris in Divergent, but I enjoyed the book enough to still give it 5 stars.
  • 4 Star. 4 star books are books I liked. I think In general I give out mostly 4 stars books, which makes sense as I generally hope to read books I enjoy. I am not picky with giving out 4 star ratings, but I do feel like there’s a clear difference in a bok that receives a 4 star rating compared to a 3 star rating. A 3 star book is missing something that a 4 star book does have. 4 star books are generally books I enjoy and probably will read the rest of the series. I might even consider joining a street team for 4 star books. So while 4 star books aren’t a 5 star books, they still are pretty enjoyable and good books. I would gladly recommend these books to others. There are usually a few things I didn’t like or just could be done better. In most cases it just feels like that while these books are good, they just don’t reach that 5 star feeling of having read an extremely good book.
  • 3 Star.Ah the dreaded 3 stars. There is so much to say about this rating and it’s a rating that get’s talked about a lot. Is a 3 star rating negative? No I don’t think so. A 3 star rating means an okay book for me, but it can also be a book I was disapointed in, often in the case of when I dislike a book by an author whoms book I usually love. Often my 3 star books reviews feel more negative I have more things to complain, but overal I still enjoyed the book and/ or thought there were some good thigns about it. It was just missing something to make it a 4 star rating. It really depends on the book whether I will continue the series. I might recommend these books, but they probably won’t be the first to come to mind. So usually 3 star ratings aren’t negative, but I can have a lot of issues with the books and in the case of a book I was disapointed it the review can be fairly negative as I compare it with the rest of the serie,s but the book itself is still good enough to deserve the 3 star rating.
  • 2 Star. 2 star books are book I didn’t enjoy. The leave me feeling sad and sometimes wondering why I didn’t DNF them. 2 star books are hard to read and I often struggle through them. While I might enjoy parts of the book I probably have more complaints than praise. I don’t give out a lot of 2 star ratings since I gotten better at DNF’ing books, but they still happen. These books are books I probably won’t recommend and if this is a first book by an author I probably won’t be eager to read anymore of their books. If it’s by an author whom’s book I did previously enjoyed I probably won’t continue the series, but I might check out their other series. I don’t get happy when I have to give out this rating. 2 star ratings are often negative reviews and I mention a lot of issues and thigns I didn’t like, but I also take care to mention those thigns that I did like.
  • 1 Star. I don’t think I ever gave a book a 1 star rating. In my opinion if a book would deserve this rating I probably wouldn’t finish it. I can’t see a reason why I would dislike a book so badly that I will finish it, but really didn’t like it. And as I don’t rate DNF books I never gave out this rating. I don’t think I ever posted this lonely 1 star rating anywhere beside this post.
  • DNF. DNF books are books I did not finish. I won’t go into much detail as I have planned another post about that topic, but basically these are books I didn’t enjoy enough to continue and for some reason decided to put the book down. I sometimes have trouble deciding whether to DNF or not, but I’ve gotten better and prefer DNF’ing a book than reading a book I don’t enjoy.

To rate or not to rate?

While I do give ratings to books I think my reviews more adequately define what I liked about the and not and why. You can’t adequately sum up a review of multiple words in one rating. And even within the same rating there is much variation, not two 5 stars are alike and they can have received that rating for very different reasons. So yes I believe my reviews are more important and have more value then my rating, but I still rate my books. So you would wonder why do I keep rating my books then? Because I believe that a rating can give a general indication of how much I enjoyed a book and together with the conclusion section of my review you can get a good feel of my opinion and thought without having to read the whole review. So those who don’t have the time or motivation to read my whole review can still get an idea of my opinion easily. Maybe I also rate becasue that’s what everyone else does and sites like Goodreads and Amazon require ratings and I don’t really see the harm or problem with ratings. I don’t think there is anything wrong with rating books, but I do think ratings are very broad and don’t tell you everything I thought about the book. So I do rate books, but I still value my reviews more.

Do you give ratings to books? What do your ratings mean? And do you value a rating more or the review itself?

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34 responses to “Lola’s Ramblings: How do you Rate books?

    • I do like the idea of half stars, but never used it myself. I find whole stars easier as then I don’t have to change my rating for sites like goodreads which don’t accept half stars. I usually take a look at the rating first before I start reading a review, so I know the general opinion.
      Lola recently posted…Lola’s Ramblings: How do you Rate books?My Profile

  1. Such a great post! I love reading these sorts of posts about people’s rating systems; because everyone’s different it’s sometimes hard to interprete what they feel about the novel when looking at the star rating. Recently, though, I’ve stopped rating them. Sometimes it’s hard to find a rating that…fit the novel, if you know what I mean. It’s so much easier to write a review, and not worry about the rating. Great post!

    • Thanks! I always find it interesting to read about other people their rating systems as well, so that’s why I decided to do a post myself about the topic. I agree it’s certainly hard to find a right rating for the novel sometimes and it’s often easier to write a review.
      Lola recently posted…Lola’s Ramblings: How do you Rate books?My Profile

  2. Yes, I rate my books too, for both myself and if anyone cares to search through my blog for recommendations. I think having the star rating is the easiest way to show the readers which ones you really liked and enjoyed and believe should be read.

    In Goodreads, I tend to read the 1-2 star reviews of a book that’s so well-read because I want to see both sides of the story 🙂
    Goldie @ My Book Musings recently posted…Blog tour excerpt: Fairy, TexasMy Profile

    • Indeed ratings are an easy way for yourself and others to get a quick feel of what you thought of the book. I also like taking a look at the lower rated reviews to see what they didn’t like about a book.

  3. I like to know the description of a reviewer’s rating system just so I can be sure why they assigned the rating they did, but I am more interested in reading the actual review itself. I don’t mind it when people only review and don’t rate the books they read, but personally, I do both. The rating is just a quick overview of sorts and the review is the details of why I gave the rating.
    My ratings are much like your own when it comes to GoodReads or Amazon. On our blog we actually use half-stars as well so that I have the option of bumping it up a half-star or knocking it down a half star. For example, I might love a story, but not connect with a character or I’ll love the story except for the end or the beginning so I’d give it a 4.5 star to demonstrate this.
    Sophia Rose recently posted…The Season Between: A Cape Cod Summer Romance by Anna Thorne #ReviewMy Profile

      • I think average is a good way to describe the 3 star rating in the way that it has an equal share of things I did and didn’t like. I think my actual average rating is the 4 star.

        I agree if a book deserves a 1 star I probably won’t finish it, maybe it will happen eventually, but so far I always found the 2 star rating negative enough to express the fact that I didn’t enjoy the book.

    • Maybe I should link to this post somewhere, so people can read it to know what my ratings mean. I am the same I take a look at the rating, but I am more interetsed in the review itself. I don’t mind it when peopel don’t rate, although I do prefer ratings so I can get a quikc view of their opinion, I like to look at the ratign first before goign on to the review so I know the general opinion before I start reading.
      I have considered using half stars, but some sites don’t accept them and then I still have to round up or down.
      Lola recently posted…Lola’s Ramblings: How do you Rate books?My Profile

  4. 1 star is-DNF and really didn’t like it, 2 is DNF and it wasn’t my thing or just didn’t grab me enough to finish it, 3 star is decent read or good read that I finished. Some of these books I might read again or continue with the series a bit longer. 4 star is great read which I finished and enjoyed and would read again. 5 star are the top books that I want to read many times because I loved them! Sometimes I use half stars between 3 and 4, or between 4 and 5.
    chucklesthescot recently posted…Release Day Blitz: Hunting Season by Nikki Jefford (Aurora Sky #4)My Profile

    • I think I once gave a DNF a 1 star rating, but changed it later as I didn’t feel right ratign a book I didn’t finish. I don’t even count DNF’s as books I read anymore. I don’t re-read a lot of books, so that’s why that doesn’t get taken into account in my ratings, if I re-read a book it says something special about that book though.
      Lola recently posted…Lola’s Ramblings: How do you Rate books?My Profile

    • I have seen some peopel for whom 2 stars is okay, like goodreads does, which always confuses me as 3 stars is the middle rating which makes it the average or okay rating in my mind. I think the rating backs up the review and vice versa, they complement each other, although while a review can stand on it’s own a rating says less on it’s own.
      Lola recently posted…Lola’s Kitchen: Korma RecipeMy Profile

  5. I stopped rating books when I became an author and now only do endorsement posts or blurb of books I really enjoyed. But sometimes, in my head, when I’m reading a book, I do a thumbs-up, thumbs-down overview. Two thumbs-up, I LOVED IT. One-thumb up, I liked it and I would still recommend it to people who love this genre or writing style, even if those things weren’t for me. All Thumbs-down, put it down because I couldn’t get through it. But, like I said, these are only in my head and what I might tell someone one-on-one 🙂

    You should definitely link to this post! Maybe under your Tours Organization on the right column?
    S. J. Pajonas recently posted…Full Moon Report – March, 2015My Profile

    • I like your thumbs-up, thumbs-down idea. And I can understand why you stop rating books when you became an author.

      I ended up puting a link to this post in my review policy, where I also explain that I rate books with 1-5 stars

  6. When I first started blogging, I *think* I had an actual system in my head for deciding how many stars a book got. But as time went on, it went down to:

    5 stars: REALLY ENJOYED IT OMG. Doesn’t need to be perfect, but if I just couldn’t put it down, it can get five stars.
    4 stars: Enjoyed it, would recommend, but didn’t grab me all the way.
    3 stars: It was fun, more like “okay.”
    2 stars: A “meh” feeling.
    1 star: I think the only rating I have where I actively disliked the book.
    Ana @ Read Me Away recently posted…AWFairyTale Day 5: No Rest for the Wicked and ErstwhileMy Profile

    • I agree tastes vary and reading a negative review can tell you a lot about the book and some people don’t like things that others do. I recently came across a reviewer who didn’t like first perosn perspective while I love that.
      Lola recently posted…My To-Be Read List #7: pollMy Profile

  7. I rate very similarly, Lola. And I agree that a 3 star rating is NOT negative. I have thought about not using a rating system but you’re right, we have to use one on GR and anywhere else we cross-post, so I think it makes sense to do it on our blogs. Reviews are absolutely subjective – we aren’t grading them like a teacher would…we’re offering our opinion on the book. And our opinions are influenced by moods, etc. I’ve even stated in my reviews that my lack of enjoyment of a book was probably affected by my mood. But I’m still going to tell you what I liked and what I didn’t. Great post, my dear!
    Bookworm Brandee recently posted…My TBR List ~ March ~ What Should I Read Next?My Profile

    • Thanks :). I also considered not using a rating system as I feel like my reviews hold more value, but I am using a rating everywhere and I do think ratings do provide some value namely the quick first impression. I do often look at the rating first when reading a review.

  8. The average book for me is 3 stars. That meant I finished it but it is probably forgettable. I give 4 stars to books I really liked. I almost never give 5 stars. I only give those for books that either taught me a lot or that I will probably reread often. I don’t give a lot of lower ratings because usually I don’t finish books i don’t like. A two may be for a book I was liking but ended badly. I gave a 1 once for a book that was so disturbing bad that I wanted to rant about it.
    Heather recently posted…About Last WeekMy Profile

    • Your rating system is very different than mine, although I can see how it works. I hate it when an ending ruins a great book, I’ve had a few books where the ending influenced the rating quite a bit.

    • Choosing the right rating can be hard indeed, although I usuauly doubt between two ratings like 2 or 3 stars/ 3 or 4 stars/ 4 or 5 stars. I did found it helpfull to think about what each rating means to me and write it down, but often I still rate more on feeling than on actual definition.
      Lola recently posted…Sunday Post #116My Profile

  9. I’ve noticed that my ratings tend to be different than the majority. Mainly because of my three star. I see that for most bloggers 3 = okay, like you. Well, for me 3 is “I liked it, but…” and 2 is okay (usually). So sometimes even my 2 star reviews have a lot of positivity in them, or most likely just weren’t for me, or there was some main issue that just nagged me, but overall I liked the book. It’s my two star ratings that have the most variation in them (liked okay to disliked), instead of three, which is probably weird. So viewing my ratings without reading my reviews is probably very misleading, especially since I don’t have a rating scale on my blog for reference.

    5 stars are SUPER rare for me. The book has to give me all of the feels to even qualify. I feel like I’m a harsh rater, but when comparing books across my ratings, I don’t see how I can fix that. I don’t want to give a book I just kind of loved 5 stars, when most of my other 5 stars I absolutely loved and want to scream that love from the rooftops! So they get a 4 or 4.5 instead, which then drives down the rating for books I liked, and then books I thought were okay…
    Angie F. recently posted…Review: Wild Card (Etudes in c#, #1) by Jamie WymanMy Profile

    • Ah that explains it, I always felt like you rated books pretty low, but now that I take into account that your 2 star is my 3 stars and your 3 star is more like my 4 star it makes sense. I always try to find some positive things to mention even in 2 star reviews as usually every book I read has some aspect I like.

      My 5 star ratings are pretty rare as well, I think I only gave out 1 5 star rating this year so far.
      Lola recently posted…Review: The Best Laid Plans by Amy VastineMy Profile

  10. I used to have your same ratings, but I found myself giving out mostly 4 and 5 stars even though not all the 4 stars were the same, so I ended up stretching out the top half since I obviously tend to read books I’m pretty likely to at least mostly like, haha. I definitely hope that people always look to see what led to that rating, but also find ratings really helpful when I’m just trying to get a general idea of whether it’s a book I should keep an eye out for or not!
    Anya @ On Starships and Dragonwings recently posted…Three Parts Dead Read-Along {Part 1}My Profile

    • Somedays I really want that 4,5 rating, I recently read a great book Adamant by Emma L Adams, it was better than a 4 star book, but not yet a 5 star book. Ratings are very helpfull for a general idea idee!

  11. I rate the books I read as well, I usually give out 3 stars or 1 stars the most </3 I'm kind of a tough reviewer.. 5 stars is for books I loved, even if they might have a few minor flaws. 4 stars are books I really liked, but something about them stopped me from loving them. 3.5 stars is if I liked the concept of the book, but the plot fell a little too short. 3 stars is for average books.. 2 stars for books with interesting concepts, but the characters, plot fell apart. 1 star is for books I didn't like at all. I don't review books with a DNF on my blog though, but I give the rating a lot more now on goodreads. Can you believe I DNF'ed Cinder from The Lunar Chronicles? o.O Great discussion post!
    benish recently posted…Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover ♥ ReviewMy Profile

    • I never gave out a 1 star so far, although I don’t give out 5 stars often either. I mostly give out 4 stars and some 3 stars as well, I liek to think that mostly I read books I enjoy. Oh I heard good things about Cinder, but haven’t read it myself, I am sorry it didn’t work for you.
      Lola recently posted…Bookish Resolutions Challenge: March RecapMy Profile

  12. I’m an easy grader, Lola, because if a book doesn’t grab me, I don’t finish it. In fact, I barely get past the first page. But when I give three stars, that’s bad, and two is even worse. I’m not sure if I’ve ever given a book one star because I just wouldn’t finish it if I hated it that much. The only time I even give two and three stars is when an author I like has deteriorated significantly or a highly hyped book has disappointed me. (I did that for Game of Thrones, which I thought was pretty poorly done for something that’s spawned such a popular TV show.)

    • I am the same when it comes to 1 stars, I’ve never given a book one because if it’s that bad I probably will DNF it. But I do give a book a few chapters to grab me as I know some books have a slow start and get better. Although I’ve also DNF’d a book when I just started it as I just knew it wasn’t a book for me.
      For me a 3 star is still a pretty decent read and the higher side of a 3 star are books where I will continue the series.

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