Reviewing: My Star Guideline

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Posted on : 3/02/2018 05:09:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,

A recent post by Lela Buis prompted me to recover my personal guideline for using stars in my book reviews.  I had originally posted this in the comments over at Clarkesworld.

As Goodreads uses a 5 star based rating system, all of my reviews use up to 5 stars.  I'll note in my review if a book might fall in between by calling it an x.5 star review or by indicating that the book is either "weak" or "strong" relative to a given number of stars.

My use of 5 stars...
1 star - really....bad. (probably did not finish)
2 stars - poorly told story, but it might work OK for someone else (possibility that I did not finish)
3 stars - good story. if I loan you the book, you can keep it or pass it on
4 stars - really good story. if I loan you the book, I expect it back so I can read it again
5 stars - really, really good story. I might just buy the book for you so you can read it.

I am not shy about giving out 1-star and 2-star ratings.  If my experience with a book is bad for reasons beyond a surface level reaction, then I'm going to pass that information along.  I try not to be stingy with the 4-star reviews as authors put a lot of effort into completing their work.

A good sign that a book will end up with a 3-star rating....or lower... is if I start making notes via Kindle.  That activity generally means that the book has plot holes or discontinuities, and/or it has a slew of spelling or grammar errors.

As of this moment, my starred ratings on Goodreads are:

32% (120)
41% (153)
17% (66)
7% (27)
1% (6)

Edited to add the paragraph about 3-star ratings.