My Lack of a Rating System

For those of you who regularly read my blog, you’ll notice that I don’t rate the books I review. There are no stars, no thumbs up, or any other kind of point system. Instead, at the bottom of every review I simply provide some reasons why I think you should or shouldn’t read a particular book. Why is this you ask? Well, to be perfectly honest with you, I am a harsh ass critic.


I do have my own personal computer database where I store and rate all of my Kindle books. Of the 247 books I read last year, do you know how many I considered to be 5 star reads? Zero. See what I mean? Harsh. This doesn’t mean that I’m not enjoying everything I read. On the contrary, I enjoyed the vast majority of the books I read last year, but for something to get a 5 star rating it really has to be near perfection. Normally, I’ll give 3 stars to a book with an entertaining storyline, interesting characters, and will even recommend it to others. It was good overall, but probably didn’t wow me, or cause me to think on it for days on end. I reserve that 5 star rating for the books which really stick with you.


I realize that for most people a 3 star rating means a book probably has more faults than it should, and I don’t want my pickiness to result in people not buying an author’s work because they think I hated it. Let’s face it, some people will just look at the stars rather than the words behind the review. Hence my reluctance to rate the books I review, and my use instead of the “Should you read it” caption on my blog. However, as I’m getting more and more author requests for reviews, I’m finding that they also want me to leave a review on Amazon, or Goodreads, which I’ve avoided doing in the past because they both have the 5 star rating system. I really want to help these authors out, so I’m starting to consider posting more reviews on these sites, but bumping up all of my personal ratings by one star to even things out a bit. What do you think?

good idea bad idea

23 thoughts on “My Lack of a Rating System

  1. I think the rating system in general is subjective. I’ve read 3-star reviews that sound like a 5-star review. Bumping up to even it out might not be a bad idea.

    I have scores on mine, but not ratings, and I like that idea because I think the number of stars turns people off to what they might have otherwise enjoyed. Just because I might give a book a 2-star doesn’t mean that another reader wouldn’t absolutely love it and vice versa.

    So basically, this comment really isn’t helpful, just a shout out that I like the no rating blog format, even if you have to rate on other platforms. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. My blog isn’t like yours, I only review books I love on my blog. Of course, I love a lot of books for a lot of reasons. Like you, I don’t do the 5 point rating on my blog.’s stars are labeled: I hate it, I don’t like it, It’s ok, I like it, and I love it. Following those labels as a guideline, a book has to have some flaws for me to just give 3 stars.
    On goodreads it is more strict. Their stars are labeled: did not like it, it was ok, liked it, really liked it, and it was amazing.
    So that means a 2 on gr is like a 3 on amazon.
    Quite often, when I review the same book on amazon and goodreads, I reduce one star on GR (unless it was close to the top of that rating for me.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I love your rating system on this blog. As for stars on other sites, that is a dilemma. People can give star ratings with no commentary (I’m to blame for that too) and that’s hard. A 2-star review should be explained. A 4 or 5 star rating is pretty self-explanatory.
    Go with your gut. It can’t be wrong. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Do you cross post? I started by not star rating (most of my reads are 3 star which isn’t bad to me, just not overwhelmingly great). I always found having to amazon and goodreads star rating was a bit depressing because authors think 3 star isn’t great 😑

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  5. I’d say rate it the way you mean it. Granted, that would be here on your site, not necessarily on Goodreads or Amazon. That is because you can post a ratings summary on your blog to show what you mean by those stars. That wouldn’t always match up with other sites, though. I’ve run into issues a couple of times between how I rate on my site versus how I may really want to rate on something like Goodreads because my system is a bit different than theirs, but really, for the most part, it is still all pretty close. Maybe do your own system here and, when you do write a review to post elsewhere, see how that review fits on the sites you are posting and assign a star rating based on how that site weights their stars no matter how you’ve rated it in your own system here if they don’t match up.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am the same as you- I hate assigning a number to something, especially because opinions vary so much – and just because I don’t think something is 4/5 star does not mean someone else might. I do rate how I feel (when subjected to a number system)- but I offer my rationale for it. I would just go with your feeling!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I like your reviews and the lack of stars/ratings doesn’t bother me. I “star” on Goodreads but rarely review. But me saying I “liked” a book is a pretty good compliment because I read a lot and I’m an author, so I feel I’m pretty picky. (I actually do blogs entitled “Picky Reader.”) A 3-star rating on GR means I enjoyed reading the book. 4 stars if I thought it was an excellent story (even if it had a few flaws), if I kinda sorta couldn’t put it down, or for other reasons that pushed it into the 4-star arena.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. This is really interesting, thank you for you sharing! Makes me realize that I never got around to explaining my own rating system in detail. I give five stars to a few books… anything that I know I’ll be re-reading over and over, or anything that really made me think or had me emotional. But for me, a 3-star is nothing bad, it’s just average. So you’ve inspired me to go post about the topic on my blog, thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Pingback: Deciphering My Rating System | Just Love – Romance by Any Definition

  10. I guess on one hand there’s an objective appraisal of the quality of the writing, and on the other a subjective sense of enjoyment in the reading (ie ‘I love it’ for five stars on Amazon). As a writer, I strive for perfection; as a reader, and also as a reviewer, I look for an enjoyable read regardless of the quality of the writing. Thanks so much for such an interesting post.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I believe that you can leave a review on Goodreads without a star rating? You can also include a link to your blog on Goodreads. Maybe that’s the answer? Writing a review on Goodreads without a star rating and linking to your blog? 🙂 That way you would be helping the author without changing how you do reviews? I’ve noticed that people tend to rely on Goodreads more than Amazon anyway so it shouldn’t be a problem 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. As an author, I like that you don’t use a rating system. Because even when I could tell you didn’t really like a book, you always have something nice to say about it, which is good for the author. No one wants to have their work obliterated. Also, you tell your readers what you did and didn’t like and allow them to make their own decisions. It really annoys me when a book/movie/restaurant reviewer gives the impression that anyone who disagrees with his/her review is a moron. Besides your ego-salvaging style of review, you write well and often make me laugh. So, thanks for always being fair.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I don’t really know what to suggest, but this is what I’ve done. When I considered my rating system, I actually wrote out different stages of enjoyment on a piece of paper and then tried to place them on the 1-5 spectrum. I then wrote out this system in a side note on my blog where readers could easily refer to them. I also use half-stars when a book fits somewhere in between. For Amazon and Goodreads, where you can’t do half-stars, I round up to be nice.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. My star rating is completely haphazard and its horrible!! I wish I didn’t have one because I literally get SO STUCK even trying to decide what a star is worth, but usually if I liked it I’ll give it 4 stars. And I rarely give out 1 star because that would just be an indication that I had wasted my time reading the book in the first place – and I dont like being wrong!
    If anybdoy has any suggestions on what a good system is for star ratings that would be much appreciated!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I wish I could suggest a better system. Maybe out of 10 stars, rather than 5. One reason I don’t do stars is because my blog only has books I love, and I love each one for a different reason–sometimes it is the original paranormal world, sometimes the characters, sometimes the dialogue. How can I compare them?

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Pingback: Stars Shine Bright …But My Reviews Don’t Need Them | SydneyGen Reads

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