A Book Rating System of No Great Importance by Me

MY BOOK RATING SYSTEM -- The Riverside Library

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.

My Rating Style

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. To live inside of it, and 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 chord, books that seemed to me like they somehow contained a piece of my soul. If I own it, chances are I loved it.

Mikaela is an illustrator, and writer 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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