How I Determine the Number of Stars to Give a Book

How I Determine the Number of Stars to Give a Book

Sometimes I wonder how other readers come up with the number of stars that they give a book.  I’ll see views that are purely rated as 5 stars and only state “a good read” or 2 stars with “I didn’t like it”. I don’t know what that means and I am sure the author is wondering too. Why was it good? or Why didn’t you like it?

That is why I strive to write a bit more comprehensive reviews explaining what I loved/disliked about the book and why. My ratings are based off a certain criteria, such as storyline, characters, pace of book, etc. as well as how I feel after a book.  I seem to have about 100+ books on my kindle that I plan to read so I am trying to reign in the number of books that I buy - this makes me pretty picky. I always look at the reviews - I look at the highest review and the worst review.  I also have certain authors where always 1-click if they have a new release.

5 star and 4 star reviews: 

I recommend this book

I rarely give out 5 star reviews.  Although I know that lately I seem to be giving out more than usual - seriously, there are some really good new releases out there.  The main thing that separates a 5 star from a 4 star review is: do I plan to read it again?  I also look at was this a book that I stayed up all night because I just couldn’t put it down even though I knew I would have an early morning the next day?

Other things that I look at:

Storyline - I like a unique plot and a book that isn’t predictable.  Sometimes you cannot tell this by the blurb that accompanies the book, but if it has a lot of stars or it is an author that I love, then I’ll snatch it up.  The story must engage me at the beginning and also keep me entertained until the very end. 

Characters - are both the hero and heroine interesting?  I don’t like cookie cutter characters.  The book is more likely get a 5 star is I absolutely love both the hero and heroine.  A 4 star review if I love one and only like the other or I like both characters.  Bonus points for if the secondary characters are awesome and I am hoping that they get their own books.

Would I like this hero to be my book boyfriend?  Is the heroine someone that I would love to be friends with?  Are they strong characters?  I am not a big fan of heroines who are a push overs.

Character Development - it is important that the main characters are well developed.  I want to know their background - why they are the way they are.  I want to know what they like about each other - what qualities made them fall in love rather just a “my cock is so hard when I look at her”.  Do the characters stay true to themselves the entire story? 

Pace: The story moves at a good pace.  It doesn’t drag on nor are there parts that I feel the need to scream “get to the point!” or “stop repeating everything”.  Or the end is rushed - this is something that I see a lot. I hate it when the entire book is about how attracted they are to each other, but they don’t act on it until the last 5-10% of the book.  

Cliffhangers:  I am sorry, but cliffhangers annoy me.  I often won’t even start a series until all the books have been released. That being said, there are books that have so much going on that it really needs to continue in another book.  The cliffhanger needs to be shocking - do I want to know bad enough what happens and buy the second book?  These are books, that despite cliffhangers, that I will give high rankings.

3 stars:
recommend this book.

Storyline:  the storyline is intriguing, but very predictable.  Or I got bored during parts that I skim a huge chunk of the book just because I wanted to know what happens. 

Characters:  This is where I like or love one character, but I just cannot completely warm up to the other as the book progresses.  Is there cheating between the hero and heroine?  This is the type of book where if I know ahead of time the hero or heroine cheats on the other main character, I will not read it. It is a hard limit for me.

Character Development:  Besides liking the characters, this is a big one.  There are books where one character is fully developed - you know his/hers thoughts, why they are the way they are, why they love the other character- but the other character you don’t know much about or you have no idea why they are acting the way they are acting.  The character(s) drastically changes midway through the book to the extent that they seem like a totally different character.

Cliffhangers: I already mentioned that I don’t like cliffhangers and the 3 stars is really where I feel like it could have been all tied up within one book.

2 stars and 1 stars (must have most of the following):
I don't recommend this book.  Do not waste your $.

Storyline: Obviously, I will not pick up the book if it doesn’t have an interesting storyline.  So I really can’t base a horrible review off this.  See 3 stars for if I get bored and start skimming.  2 stars, if I absolutely couldn’t finish the book.  I always try to read at least 1/3 of the book to see if I can get sucked in, before quitting.

Truth: I once picked up this book that was recommended by multiple people in an author's Facebook group.  I started to read it and wasn’t sure if I loved or hated the hero (he ended up being one of those hate to love characters) and I wasn’t sure if I was going to finish it.  I stuck it out and about 1/5 of the way through, I was sucked in and it was so good the book earned 5 stars and I promptly downloaded the other 5 books in the series.

Characters:  This is the most important reason behind a bad review. I loathe both characters and they have no redeeming qualities.  

Editing: Lots of grammatical errors.  I’ll read books with repeated paragraphs, tons of words that are wrong, and/or have multiple misspellings.  The occasional error does not bother me, but when it is every single page, I will stop reading the book because it is difficult to follow along.

I typically do not post 1-2 star reviews on Goodreads or Amazon.  If it is an ARC, I will privately message the author my feedback. 

How I am feeling:

Did the author leave me wanting more because I enjoyed it so much?

Am I in a book hangover where I keep thinking about what happened and I can’t get into another book immediately afterwards?

Is this a book where I would buy it as a print book to give as a gift?