A Book Rating System of No Great Importance by Me

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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.

My Rules

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.

(Highly Uncommon)

⭐⭐ 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.

(Most Common)

⭐⭐⭐⭐ 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.


Mikaela | The Riverside Library
Mikaela is an illustrator, writer and editor based in QLD, Australia. She's been writing novels for eleven years and editing for six. You can often find her with a coffee by the beach, pondering existentialism and the psychology of writing. She has a Bachelor of Biomedical Science and takes pride in her paradoxical nature. She's also very much like a cat.

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