The post in which I explain my reviewing and rating system as if it is something I’m not entirely playing my ear and fluking as I go along. Enjoy!
Sometimes I like to think I’m Temperance Brennan, all logic and brain and cause and effect, but other times I must face the (not-so) harsh reality that I am more like Seeley Booth, and I go with my gut. In an ideal world I’d be somewhere in the middle, and maybe I am. Although I might live majority of my life with logic guiding my footsteps, I often find I review books on sheer gut feeling (as if a book can feel like a particular number of stars or flowers or the cute emoji chocolate bars that you prefer to use in order to symbolise your overall opinion on a particular story).
I’m writing this today, in part hoping some great epiphany will hit me mid-way through and define the way I review and rate books for the rest of eternity, but also in part to link together the small shreds of logic that are holding me together … I mean, that give my reviews some order. Also, so you can line up my rating system with your own and translate it.
I have a few rules for myself when it comes to reviewing. I don’t give wholly negative reviews. If I dislike a book, I’ll tell you, and I’ll explain why it didn’t resonate with me, but I will endeavour to put the main focus on the elements I did enjoy, and if there are none, I won’t review them. You can check my Goodreads profile to see what books I’ve read, if it has no star rating, and no review on my blog – go figure. Sometimes silence speaks louder than words. Besides, because reviews are opinion based, if I didn’t enjoy something it doesn’t mean the book is bad, it just means it either wasn’t my cup of tea, or I didn’t connect the way I wanted to.
As I mentioned earlier, I generally rate books on my gut feeling, which primarily relies on the level of enjoyment a book gave me while reading. Reading is something I do for fun, first and foremost, secondly, it’s something I do to learn. For me, those two are the biggest factors that come into play when rating. Things like writing style and character likability will chiefly impact whether I manage to finish the book or DNF it, so therefore, they play less of a role in the overall, final rating.
There are seven (7) possible star ratings here on my blog.
|⭐||This was not for me at all. I really didn’t enjoy it. I might even go so far as to hide it behind other books when I see it in bookstores because sometimes I am that petty. Okay, maybe not, maybe I’ll just glare at it when I see it.
|⭐⭐||I found at least one redeeming feature in these pages but it’s not my cup of tea at all. It’s the anise of my teashop, and I’m certainly never stocking it. I won’t glare at it in the bookshop, but I may huff in confused frustration.
|⭐⭐⭐||This book was more frustrating than anything else because there were some bits that I actually really enjoyed and there were some parts that I really didn’t enjoy and if this was a cup of tea it would be lukewarm which is so frustrating.
I won’t huff at this one in the bookshop, but I’ll probably shake my head at it. In that very condescending way. You know the one.
|⭐⭐⭐ + ½||This book was pretty good! I could list off all the things I didn’t like but the list of things I did like is probably slightly longer. When I see it in a bookstore I’ll probably wouldn’t do anything. Maybe a slight nod? Depends on my mood.
|⭐⭐⭐⭐||Now this one was good. I very much liked this book. There were a few issues that I couldn’t ignore but overall, a solid effort. I would probably turn up to an author signing or discussion if they wrote this book. I’d even go so far as to recommend it.
In a bookshop, I wouldn’t pick it up exactly, I’d probably run my hand down the spine like the book creeper that I am.
|⭐⭐⭐⭐ + ½||I very very much enjoyed this book. It was so close to being that perfect cup of tea, but it was rooibos, not rooibos cream, if you get what I mean? There were just one too many flaws. It was almost there, but I still have a special place in my heart for it.
In a bookshop I’d probably move it to the front of every display and fawn over it for quite some time.
|⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐||I loved this book. Screw the flaws. Everything is flawed right? LOVE IS BLIND, MY FRIEND. AND I LOVED THIS BOOK. I want to read it every day for the rest of time. I want to live inside of it. I never want to let it go. I love love love love love love love love love love love love this book. Like, love it.
I will find it in every bookshop and I will pick it up and I will hug it and I may even shed a tear and ask it to marry me because I love it so much. Did I mention I love it? Because I love it.
I also have an extra level of book heaven for some novels, and that is a place on my bookshelf. I like to keep my book collection small, mostly consisting of books that struck a cord, books that seemed to me like they somehow contained a piece of my soul. If I own it, chances are I loved it.