What Do My Star Ratings Mean?

After looking at a lot of review stats recently (mine and others), I've realised that I could be considered quite a lenient reviewer. My average Goodreads star rating is 4.32 - I've never rated anything less than 3 - whereas other, more high-profile bloggers, like Cait @ Paper Fury or Kate @ The Magic Violinist, tend to have average ratings nearer to three.

I don't mind that, really: I review my way and I'm not going to let a desperate hunt for viewing statistics or to be like everyone else change that. Besides, if someone's picking books they think they're going to enjoy, they'll usually be right, and I've been reviewing books for a lot less time than they have. I've had less opportunity to hate things.


However, I would still like to explain what star ratings mean to me, so that you can fully understand my reviews, I guess. I might need to use this reference to help me decide some ratings in the future, too, so . . . I never said I wasn't selfish.

5 STARS - This book might have tiny issues, but I honestly don't think, even if those were fixed, I could like it any more. It has a shot at my 'Best Reads of the Year' shelf, and that means it's good. Like, really good. I really care about the characters, I was sucked into the settings, I will be shoving it in all my friend's faces, ready to watch them laugh or cry just like I did.

4.5 STARS - Great, although I probably won't be able to tell you why, but this book didn't quite make the virtually flawless mark for me. The likelihood is that I'm still going to remember and recommend it, while still wondering (to the point when it gets a little frustrating) what is niggling at me.

4 STARS - There is a specific problem that is holding me back just a little from enjoying this book fully. Thankfully - perhaps - for my sanity, I know what it is, but I really enjoyed other elements of the book and that redeemed this for me. I can't give it a bad review, because the plot or the characters or the settings or something pulled me along enough to make me feel like I'd be letting the author down by doing so. Remember that this doesn't stop it being a good book.

3.5 STARS - This book is . . . meh, I guess. It has perfectly well-structured writing, and I was interested by it, but I don't think it's memorable enough for me to recommend it to everyone. Just the people I know have specific interest in the genre / what the characters are like / the English Civil War (you know, if I know someone interested in the English Civil War, and the book actually involves it). Maybe this book just wasn't my cup of hot chocolate.

3 STARS - This book has some redeeming qualities, but I have a serious issue with it, the kind that I can't just overlook. Giving it this rating is probably really annoying me, because I know that some elements are really well-done and the author deserves credit, but I got really annoyed with other bits.

2.5 STARS - Eh, I was bored. Sorry, but it never really interested me even though the writing wasn't necessarily bad. I'm not going to recommend it because I know I didn't enjoy it, and wouldn't wish a waste of time on anyone else. That doesn't mean you won't like it, though!

2 STARS - Something about this book is written badly, I find. Maybe the characters fall flat or the worldbuilding just wasn't good enough, or the prose is annoying me. Probably a combination of these things. I finished, so something must have been ok, but it was a hard slog.

1.5 STARS - Um . . . I've never given one of these. Slightly better than books with one star?

1 STAR - This. Book. I probably can't even work out why I finished it, but I did, out of sheer Capricorn stubbornness (not that I really believe in star signs, it's just a good metaphor). There were probably grammatical errors or something. *grinds grammar queen teeth and sharpens grammar correction pencil*

0 STARS or N/A - We have a DNF, people! DNF alert! I'm not going to give it a ranking because I haven't finished, so I don't have all the information. But the bit I read . . . no, thank you.

In the comments: What do your star ratings mean, bloggers? Non-bloggers, were my reasonings similar to what you thought? And did I overdo it a little on the GIFs?
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