Book Talk: Rating & Reviewing Books


Happy Sunday Bookworms! Today I’m bringing a topic discussion that’s pretty important in the book blogging world. I know that every reader and book blogger has done this and that’s rating and reviewing a book. Even if you don’t have a blog or a Goodreads account, at one point or another, you’ve rated or reviewed a book. You could have done this through Barnes and Noble, Twitter, or simply recommending a book to a friend. Everyone has a different way to rate and review books. I found someone who doesn’t use 5-stars at all because they think no book is perfect. I’ve also found someone on the other end of the spectrum who doesn’t use 1-star or 2-stars; it was either 3-to-5 stars or no rating at all.

So essentially, my questions to you:
  1. How do you rate books?
  2. Did you make up a rating system?
  3. Do you have a format for reviewing books?
  4. When reading reviews, do you like long detailed reviews or short and sweet?

Rating and Reviewing Books — Love thy Shelf Style!

Here at Love thy Shelf, I created a simple rating system that you can find in my navigation bar when you click Reviews & Rating policy. You can also find it on my right sidebar! It looks like this:
Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 11.13.07 PM

I am honestly a very easy rater. I am not that picky and I don’t usually tear books apart piece by piece and make a tally of the rights and wrongs. My ratings rely heavily on how I feel when I read a book. Usually, if I can strongly connect with the main character(s) in some way then it would get a higher rating — along with a great plot. Amazing main characters do not mean anything when they’re doing nothing interesting in the book.

Plot is also very important when I go about rating a book. It has to go somewhere and it has to make sense. Plot twists are great but they also have to make sense. You can’t just throw in a surprise for the sake of it. The best are the ones that build it up and have those sneaky foreshadowing elements that you didn’t think of in the beginning.

I’ve rated most of the books I’ve read between 3 to 5 stars. I hardly hand out 1 or 2 stars. If I do, then that means either something was really wrong with the book or the book made me angry in some way and I couldn’t connect with the main character. It’s hard to differentiate the two unless you write a review. This brings me to my next topic to discuss: reviews!

Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 11.13.14 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 11.13.26 PM

Before I came up with my review system, my reviews were sometimes all over the place. I would jump from thought to thought, which really shows my thought process. However, to readers and authors who might be considering me to review their book, it can just be disorganized. So I made a review system that separates my reviews into 4 aspects: plot/concept, writing, characters, and favorite moments. Within that, I’ll talk about world building and how effective the author was with their writing style. I’ll also talk about the main characters and if there were any other memorable characters. Reviews are such great ways to communicate your likes and dislikes. It can also help readers decide whether they want to pick up that book or not.

When I read reviews, I go for the medium-to-long ones. I love when reviews go in-depth for both books I haven’t read and book I have read. Long reviews give me the glimpse I need to see if I would enjoy the book as well. I don’t like reviews that just say, “Greatest book ever” or “Did the author even try?”. First of all, I need to know why it was so good. Was it the plot? Was it the writing? Second, I generally do not like it when people bash authors for their work. Writing is incredibly hard and authors go through hell to get their book out there. If a book is rated low, I’d love to know why. Everyone has a different opinion and what they hate, I might love and vice versa. Long reviews are detailed enough to allow me to decide if a book is a right fit for me.

Tips on Rating and Reviewing

Be yourself! That’s the most important. Use your voice. Make your own system for rating. Everyone has a different idea of what a 5 star rating entails. Make sure you explain what each rating means so that your readers know.

Make it fun. Add gifs. Make it interesting. Add quotes. Make it readable. Check your grammar. We’re not all english majors or enrolled in the grammar police academy, but make sure that your point comes across and your readers can understand it.

Honesty is the best policy. *Gives out more cliche phrases* but it’s true. You’re not helping the author by lying and saying that a book is perfect when you really felt the other way. Authors need constructive criticism so that they know what they need to work on and what they should change.

Be honest, not hurtful. Criticize the work not the author. Some authors put their life and soul into these books. There are nice ways to criticize books without degrading the author. I’ve seen reviews that bash authors and insult them. That doesn’t help anyone either. I specifically write on my policy that my reviews do not reflect my feelings towards the author.

If you’re looking to have authors consider you to rate and review their books, explain your system on your blog. Have it on your navigation bar or anywhere accessible to authors/publishers.

  • Give your contact information
  • List the genres that you’re willing to review
  • Formats you accept
  • What your reviews include
  • Rating system
  • Anything else you think is relevant

Rating and reviewing systems aren’t only helpful for my readers, they help me a ton! After reading a book, I look at my rating system and the descriptions that I put under them. Having those descriptions really help me decide what rating to give a book. If you’d like to check it out, here you’ll find my Rating Policy!

How do you go about rating books? Do you have any other tips for rating and reviewing books? Let me know your thoughts below!


About Anjie @ Love thy Shelf

Hello there -- call me Anjie! I made this book blog where I can put down all my bookish ramblings and talk to those who have the same interests!
This entry was posted in Bookish Thoughts and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Book Talk: Rating & Reviewing Books

  1. Great tips! I think the most important thing when writing a review and rating a book is HONESTY. Even if your review is negative, that’s totally OKAY. If I were an author, I’ll appreciate both positive and negative comments because I think feedback is very important. I think a rating system also helps reviewers because if a reader is in a hurry and just wants to see how many ‘stars’ you gave the book, they can just scroll down and see that. Also, it helps reviewers put the book in a category they created such as 3 stars – ‘okay book’ … 5 stars – ‘favorite book’ etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When I first started blogging, I had a more structured reviewing system. Now, my reviews are not really organized.
    Knowing what to rate a book can be so hard. I use half stars because I feel like 4.5 or 3.5 sometimes more accurately describes how I feel about a book.
    i have given out two stars before, but not with a review. In the past, i’ve marked something as 1 or 2 on Goodreads but not for a while.
    That’s a tough question. If it’s a book I haven’t read yet, a short and sweet review gives me an idea of what it was about and what it was like without saying too much. And most of the time, I end up wanting to read the book. If it’s a book i’ve already read, I like long and detailed reviews so I can see what the other person specifically thought about it. I guess i’m kind of in the middle.
    Thanks for all of the awesome tips! I’ll definitely bookmark this post and come back to it again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Olivia! Glad to see you back! It’s been a while! I hope all is well 😀 I’ve been wanting to put in halves but they don’t have halves on Goodreads or anywhere else really.
      If I’ve read a book before, I love reading long reviews, too so that I can understand why they loved/hated it and fangirl with them if I can haha.
      I’m glad that you found my tips helpful 😀


  3. fiddlerblue says:

    This is such a good read, Anjie. I completely agree with what you said, and I’m happy to see that my way of reviewing books is almost similar to yours. Although, I think, I can be really picky and I don’t feel bad with giving 2 stars, especially if I can’t connect with the character or the plot feels unoriginal. I put the same important details for every book I review (author, publisher, pages, etc.) and I try to break down the book in terms of the plot, characters, the writing style, and sometimes even the book cover. If it’s a fantasy book, I tend to look at the world building and how it was set up by the author, because I love a really vivid fantasy world.
    I also write reviews close to the ones I like to read. I don’t want story spoilers in it so I put a synopsis of the plot and describe everything without giving away much of the key events in the story. So I tend to read shorter reviews. Sometimes, I do look for in-depth reviews after I finished the book, to see if they felt the same way as I do about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! That’s great. Yeah, I shouldn’t feel ba because it’s purely opinion and I can’t help it if I can’t connect with a character haha. Unless a book cover is really worth noting, I don’t usually bring it up. Yes! World building is so important in fantasy books! Long reviews for books I’ve read are so much fun because you get to fangirl with the reader (if you felt the same way, of course).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Josephine says:

    I am loving this topic right now! I’ve seen a lot of unique types of rating systems after visiting many different book blogger’s sites. I love your rating system and review policy a a honestly this post has motivated me to add an official Rating Policy and Review Policy page to my blog!
    I do have my own rating system and also I have a pretty set structure for how I review books which I am also going to re-vamp a little tonight… 😆
    This is such a lovely post, very informative and great for those beginner book bloggers out there.
    Loved it, as always Anjie.
    xoxo 💋

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post! I have a similar rating system to you, although I will definitely have to clarify it more on my blog as I don’t think it’s very obvious for people to find or understand.

    I made the decision to only write full reviews for books that I gave a 3 or higher because I struggle with how to give a critical review without feeling like I’m also criticizing the author. Like you said, they put their heart and soul into these books, and maybe it just isn’t the book for me. Someone must have liked it for it to be published, so obviously I’m not the intended audience. I’ll mention in my monthly wrap-ups that I didn’t enjoy the book, and will rate it on Goodreads, but I won’t do a full review. When I came to that decision I actually deleted a few of the negative reviews that I had posted, because I realized it was just me, not the book.

    When reading (and writing), I prefer a short and to the point review. I’m not so interested in the exact details of the plot/characters/setting. I want to know how it made you feel while reading it. Did you learn anything new? Who would you recommend it for? What was the reading experience like? Did you connect with a particular character? Does it compare to anything else you have read?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Yeah, I can understand that. Even when I’m trying my hardest to write constructive negative reviews, I still feel like I’m saying something mean to the author. I started this this thing where I tell my readers that even if i didn’t like it, it doesn’t mean that they won’t.

      I always try to see what kind of reviews readers like to read so that I can switch up my reviews. Sometimes I have to shorten my reviews because I feel like no one would want to sit and read such a long one haha. Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t really have a specific way of deciding how to rate books, as I’m reading I usually get a feel of what rating I’m going to give a book, like you I rely a lot on feeling, but plot, characters, writing style and world building all contribute to the rating I give a book.
    My rating system is marks out of 5, top marks being 5/5, lowest marks being 1/5. I tend to rate mostly between 3 and 5 like you, but I have rated some books 2 or 2.5 before.
    I probably should have a format for reviews but I don’t, I kind of just write what I feel (but I try to order my thoughts in a coherent way!).
    I like reading (& so try to write) long, detailed reviews better as I feel they give me a better idea of whether or not I’ll like the book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s cool that we look at similar things to rate a book. Yeah, I think that writing in a coherent way is very important, especially for those who haven’t read the book you’re reviewing. That’s my same reasoning for writing longer reviews haha but sometimes I feel like no one will take the time to read such a long review xD

      Liked by 1 person

  7. amazing post Anjie!

    I hardly ever rate below 3 stars, but I usually pick up books that I think I’m going to like, lol. But having a rating system sound like the right way to go, I should probably get on it 🙂


  8. I absolutely love this post. I agree with a lot of the things you’ve shared and you’ve also given me some ideas on ways I can improve my blog. When I started my YouTube channel, my reviews were all over the place and this year, I started a new system that I’m comfortable with that I really enjoy. The reviews I like depend on if I’ve read the book or not. If I haven’t I like to read short and concise reviews that are spoiler free but if I’ve read it, really long and fangirly type of reviews where I can see where I do and don’t differ in opinion are really cool

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I’m so glad that I gave you ideas :D. That’s great that you’re comfortable with the system you use. I totally forgot to say that for books I haven’t read, they need to be spoiler free haha. I love fangirly kind of reviews, too. They’re so much fun to read haha

      Liked by 1 person

  9. bhaktimotta says:

    I have similar rating system. I give 5stars if I loved the book and 1-2 if it was boring. I think quality is more important than quantity.

    Liked by 1 person

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