Deciphering My Rating System

Comic by XKCD.

Comic by XKCD.

After reading this really interesting post about ratings on books from Romance Novels for the Beach, I realized that I’ve never explained my own rating system in detail. That post made me think that people might find me too stringent, because I tend to give books 3-out-of-5 ratings more often than anything else.

All of my reviews are rated out of five. (Five what? Five elephants, five bananas, five glasses of wine, doesn’t matter… but these things are hard to illustrate in Paint, so we’ll assume five stars.) I see a lot of book reviewers giving everything four or five whatevers stars, while I give a lot more three-out-of-fives, but that doesn’t necessarily mean something bad!
Here’s how I break it down:

1outof51/5: This book was not very good. At all. I finished it, but it was a struggle
for one reason or another, and I do not recommend this book.
2outof5 2/5: This book was not especially good, but had some aspects that I enjoyed.
I may or may not recommend it, depending.

3outof5 3/5: This book was good. It was not amazing, and it did not rock my world, but it
was enjoyable. I would recommend it, although possibly with a caveat or two.

4outof5 4/5: This book was great. It was entertaining, and I really loved reading it.
Interesting characters, captivating plot, and well-written. Definitely would

5outof55/5: This book was amazing! A five-out-of-five means this book left me
thinking after I finished the last page, or left me emotionally compromised.
Highly recommended.

Sometimes a book doesn’t fall neatly into these definitions, so you’ll occasionally see a 3.5 (read as: a great book, but with a few things that negatively impacted my enjoyment) or the like. On sites like Amazon or Goodreads, I’ll almost always round these up, rather than down, so read that as you will.

Hopefully that explains my rating system a bit better! And I apologize for my one-out-of-five star ability to draw stars. MS Paint is pretty much the extent of my computer graphic skills.