Terry kindly agreed to tell us how she chooses to rate the books that she reads.
As part of Rosie’s Review-A-Book Challenge #RRABC, we continue our week of advice posts. See the link at the bottom of the page for details of the challenge and where you can sign up for a free book in exchange for a review.
Book Reviews: How do I choose the star rating?
Here is a basic guide to what they mean to me, and what they signify to readers.
Some reviewers give lots of 5* reviews, for any book they liked, to be kind to the author. Others are more discerning; it’s up to you, but for your reviews to be authentic, it’s best that the star rating reflects your true feelings. I only give 5* if I can honestly say ‘I loved it’. As it’s not possible to go higher than 5*, I think it is best to award this rating only if you found the book truly memorable. It doesn’t have to be great literature; it might be a zombie novella or even a short story, but if it left you wanting more, you would recommend it without hesitation and would be happy to read it again – that’s your 5*!
I use four stars in two different ways. The first is when I enjoyed a book, enough to say, yes, it was good, I’d recommend it, though it wasn’t one of my absolute favourites. The second is the objective viewpoint: when it didn’t suit my personal preferences, but I can see that it’s very good of its type, with a great plot, characters that come alive, a good pace, a great structure, etc. For instance, a historical novel that is more romance-orientated than I had hoped; I am not keen on romance. So I might think, well, it wasn’t really my sort of thing, but I can see that lovers of the genre would adore it.
I look on the 3* rating as a combination of positive and negative. I might give this rating for a story that is basically well-written but the plot needs more thinking through, or for a great book that needs a serious edit or proofread. It could mean a terrific plot, but one-dimensional characters that you never grew to care about, or for a story that didn’t live up to the promise of the blurb and first few chapters. For those ‘I quite liked it, but…’ books!
Most people use 2* for books that they didn’t like, although they weren’t awful; there were aspects that you liked or could be worked on. They might be not ready for publication (badly edited or proofread), or have dull writing, an unconvincing plot, unrealistic dialogue – or they might simply be rather boring, and fail to grab your attention.
Generally, a 1* book is one you consider truly dreadful, and would only continue reading if you had to, or out of appalled fascination.
If you’d like to read more about Rosie’s Review-A-Book Challenge #RRABC click here
Tomorrow Georgia will be giving advice about how to write a review for a non-fiction book.