All about star ratings (why I don’t use them & explaining my system)

Hey Happy Bookworms!

So I ghosted for a week whoops. It was my last week (SUMMER HOLIDAYSSS) & I was very unproductive and now here we are late again but shhhh

So while I was gone the blogosphere EXPLODED I completely forgot the book blogger awards were a thing and y’all are too nice to me *sobs* 😪
I was gonna make a nomination post but realised how pitifully small the number of book bloggers I follow is now (I just…stopped blog hopping?) but rest assured I have been scouring your posts for fresh meat to follow (hi all my new follows I swear I don’t bite 😁)

So a HUGE thank you to Clo @ Cuppa Clo // Charlotte @ Bewitching Books, Ravenous Reads // Ash @ Starlight Strands // Adi @ One in a Million // Xandra @ Starry Sky Books for nominating me 🥺 (just take those as my recommendations)


Star Ratings

I don’t think I’ve ever used stars on my blog (maybe once or twice if we search the ~treasure trove~ that is my old posts) but I think they massively confuse people. I mean WHAT DOES 3 STARS EVEN MEAN?? Stars are subjective and can vary massively even within one reader’s experiences. Obviously we all universally know that 5 stars is a must read & 1 star is a steer well clear but what do all the pesky little stars in the middle mean? And sure most reviewers have a handy guide but I’m on that #lazylife and can’t be bothered to find it (this is making me come across great right?)

So what do I do instead? Well I try to express ~emotion~ What? Wow *gasps all round* I know, I know, such a novel idea (omg novel I’m so punny) but I feel like from my mini reviews you get a good enough sense if I liked something or not. And here’s the other thing; books mean different things to different people & your background, experiences, time of your life, even what mood you’re in has a massive impact on whether you’ll like a book. And I don’t know if it’s just me but I’m extremely stubborn with books, if I’ve decided I want to read it I will probably ignore all the well-meant warnings & power on through. You can lead a horse (me) to water (all your well reasoned logic) but you can’t make it drink (I am stupid). I am trying to get better at listening to bad reviews though especially if EVERYONE hates it (then there’s probably something wrong)

Anyway time to be incredibly hypocritical & look at how I rate my goodreads books!

My rating system

Goodreads is more personal for me, I use it for tracking so I need to be able to break my books down and categorise them (also so I don’t forget everything in my monthly recap) Stars also mean I can do a quick check on the general opinion without entering the spoiler zone *dun dun duhhhh*

No I don’t know why I just explained goodreads to you I’m sorry

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 5 stars is my least logical rating it’s just a feeling, there’s just something that puts it above a 4 star (an extra sprinkle of pixie dust, who knows?) Some people use crying as a marker but I am a smol bean & cry at everything (I am not. Even. Kidding either I literally do)
⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Means I really liked it, it’s a great book & maybe just a smidge off perfection.
⭐⭐⭐ – It’s an average book; I enjoyed it but it’s nothing too special. Like fun in the moment but not gonna remember it kinda vibes, you know?
⭐⭐ – Something’s wrong – a lackluster plot or annoying characters.
⭐ – HOW DID THIS BOOK GET PUBLISHED?? Either rubbish characters AND a bad story or problematic content.


Opinions on ratings? What makes a book 5 stars? What makes a book 1 star? How do you classify the void (AKA 3 stars) Tell meeeeeee

I also found Sophie @ the Moonchild pages who does a series of recreating book covers & was nice enough to shout out my & Ash’s posts out! So definitely go check out her cute doodles 💕

30 thoughts on “All about star ratings (why I don’t use them & explaining my system)

  1. Aditi says:

    star ratings are so complicated, i’m always like is this a 5star? but the last one was too? and EVERYTHING IS SO GOOD why 😭😭 anyways I’m so sad that school starts in two days text me so i can cry to you about my schedule

    Liked by 1 person

    • El says:

      I relate to this SO MUCH! Sometimes when I read I’ll love a book then sit down to write the review & realise that it was the most problematic incoherent book ever & have to bump my stars down 😂
      Thanks for reading 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ruby Rae Reads says:

    Ah I love this discussion post! Star ratings are so hard for me, they’re so subjective and tbh I hate them too. BUT I feel like they work for my enjoyment indicator? But I also hate it because I’ve rated a few books 3 stars but they’re in no way “average” (average lowkey has this negative connotation that I hate) and I actually did like them, I just didn’t want to rate it higher because I didn’t ADORE the story you know? I used to not notice this but recently I’ve been trying to read a bit more critically and recognise parts of books that I don’t necessarily like and also just realise my taste. Just *insert keyboard smash* ITS SO HARD

    Liked by 1 person

    • El says:

      Yessss! I agree – star ratings are more for me so I can look back on books & see my enjoyment factor & yes average has so many negative connotations when really it should just mean a middle book! It feels bad rating books low but it’s important because then your friends will be warned about them 🤷‍♀️

      Hehe I used to be the exact same but now I’m such a cynical person 😅

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Charlotte says:

    Aww thank you so much for mentioning me in this post 💗 I love most of the bloggers that you’ve mentioned here but there are two which are new to me and I’ll definitely check their pages out soon (when I return properly). I’m hoping it’ll actually be this weekend that I start blog hopping again as I think (hope) that I’ve finally pushed passed my bizarre reading slump.

    Star ratings are so tricky I find. I feel too generous with five stars as some are bigger favourites of mine than others but if I can’t pick out any problems with a book then it feels like it should receive the top rating to me. And one star would have to be really bad for me with nothing to really redeem it. Three are the ones I struggle most with though as they’re generally just okay like you said. I think they generally either end up being books that start off really well then go wrong somehow or that I just find pretty average on the whole.
    I like stars to get an idea of what people think of books but i agree that getting your emotions and reaction across in a review is more important. Although like you said sometimes reading reviews is worrying due to spoilers. That’s partially why if I’m determined toread a book I tend to avoid looking at any reviews for it until I’ve had a chance to read it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • El says:

      I’m honestly so bad at blog hopping right now I got lazy 😂
      But yesssss! I can’t wait for you to come back! 👏💕

      Yeah I agree, there are some 5 star reads that are just above other 5 star reads & then it makes those 5 star reads feel more like 4 stars but then they’re better than the other 4 stars 😅
      I also avoid reviews unless I’ve read the book because I’m TERRIFIED of spoilers! 🙈

      Liked by 1 person

      • Charlotte says:

        Aww don’t say that, it’s not lazy. It just gets a bit overwhelming at times trying to keep up.
        And thank you 😊

        Exactly. It’s so hard to pick from just five ratings. And then you look at past ones and start second guessing everything.
        I’m glad it’s not just me. Spoilers are so hard to avoid.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Amber says:

    I totally agree the star system is so hard to work with sometimes! Also this post was hilarious?! Like the comedy levels 😂 El you are giving Jay a run for his money with your punny jokes lmao!
    I always know whether a book is one or five stars but I feel like in the middle is no mans land and it’s just really hard to choose? The star I use most is the four star because it means it’s a good book but it wasn’t AMAZING but like you said we all get with different books because of different reasons. Just because someone hated this book it doesn’t mean you will because maybe they could relate to the main character on the same level. Overall rating books is just HARD. As much as I love Goodreads I wish that I didn’t always have to do a star rating if I wanted to write a review 😂 I actually love this and I am so sorry for my late read of this incredible post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • El says:

      Honestly the true british comedic icon ✌️

      No man’s land I love that! Yes they’re all very similar between them & although it’s easy for me to assign some sort of meaning & rules to them it’s a whole different thing actually pigeonholing a book into them!
      Thank you so much & don’t worry I’m normally so late to posts 😂 (but I’m actually on it right now?? What’s going on??)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Amber says:

        For sure El, you definitely deserve that title! ☺️
        Yes, I thought it was a perfect metaphor about the stars hehe! Exactly, I can describe how good the book has to be to get into each of the stars but as soon as I’m faced with the book I literally have no clue sometimes or I have a massive indecision between 2 of the stars! 😫 No worries at all and same here!! That’s amazing, good for you ❤️ I want to try keep on top of blogging now I have no school?! It’s all gonna flop after summer haha 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Octavia @ Mermaid Reads says:

    I think you’re totally right when it comes to star ratings being completely subjective! There needs to be a designated rating system for all of us to follow so we don’t get confused 😂 I have a personal star rating system widget on the side of all of my blog posts, in hopes that it will help people understand how I rate books, but gosh! It’s too complicated. Don’t even get me started on those pesky three star ratings!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. sophie says:

    my five stars are the same!! i can’t specifically give a criteria for what makes a five star book it’s all in the ~feeling~ !! also i cry at everything too so i definitely can’t be one of those people that lists that as one of the reasons lol ! thanks for shouting me out, el ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. erin from rinsreads says:

    Yes this is perfect!! Like I can’t even explain what makes a 5 star book, just that my heart tells me it’s a full rating. 4 is still great, and 3 is like “meh yeah I enjoyed it but probs won’t read again”! Feelings are so subjective and it’s hard to accurately portray things through star ratings, but they are super helpful for when you want to go back and see what you thought of a book (: Thanks for a fun post, and hope you have a lovely summer! 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

    • El says:

      Right! I just kinda get this weird gut feeling that a book is my new obsession 😅
      3 stars is always a hard one because when I look at other’s reviews I often view it as bad but then in my own reviews I see it as ok 🤷‍♀️
      Hope you have a great summer too 💕

      Like

  8. Kerys @ The Everlasting Library says:

    Exactly!! It is so hard to share the exact feelings you have about a book with someone else and star ratings are just quite confusing at times. I definitely think I want to work on focusing on emotion when writing reviews rather than just trying to give it a number. Lovely post el! Also yay for summer!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • El says:

      I know! Books completely depend on the moment of your life that you read them & with some even 100 stars doesn’t express it and for others you want to start going into the negatives 😅
      I can’t wait to read some of your new reviews then! Thank you so much 💞
      (And yes I don’t think I could take a second more of school *shoots our history & geography work a dirty look*)

      Like

      • KK says:

        It’s so interesting to see how you rate books! especially considering i take a lot of books from your read list to be added to my tbr list😂 and shhhhh it’s fine we don’t always have to be productive … right?

        Liked by 1 person

        • El says:

          Yes! I see that & I love it 😂 I really need to have a look at your guys’ recs but my TBR is huge already (although I will get round to spin the dawn…at some point)
          IT’S THE SUMMER KK IT’S OK(k 😉)

          Like

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