Let’s Talk About: How I Rate

discussion_howIrateHello guys! I haven’t really been in the mood to write discussion posts these last few weeks, but I’ve been meaning to talk with you about something that I think it’s important and that it’s different for all of us, book readers, reviewers and book bloggers, and that is: How do I rate my books.


This is a deeply personal thing, no matter how analytical a person can be about what we read, the truth is that the material will always affect us in different ways, and this is true from everything, from the writing, to the characters, to the plot.

The same rating from two different persons can mean two totally different things, and even the same rating from the same person might not mean that the books are comparable.


Most of us rate on a system of stars, usually from 0 to 5. Websites such as Goodreads, Amazon or Netgalley don’t allow for anything less than full stars, which I always found quite limitative, because a book can not be a 3 stars book, but also not quite reach the 4 stars, for instance.

So, since I started reviewing books a year ago or so, I decided to use all the decimal points allowed. This brought another problem for me, how to separate some books with such a fine colm. And at the end of the day, does it really matter if a book is a 4.2 or 4.3?

I decided to change to an slightly easier system, but not as limitative as the full stars, and that is simply using the half-stars. I rate books from 0 to 5 stars, using the half stars quite often.

But how does it translates to the rating on site such as goodreads?

Well, I’ve always learned in math that a .5 rounds up, so that’s what I do. If I rate a book 3.5 stars, its rating on goodreads will be 4 stars, and so on. It’s not the fairest thing ever, but I rather round up than down.


Now, a lot of you have the ability to rate individual aspects of the book, such as characters, pacing, plot, world building and so on, and then do a final rating based on the individual aspects.

While I do take all these things into account, I’m an emotional rater. I rate more on how the book made me feel, than how intricate things really were. The deeper a book affects me, the better the chances that it will get a 5 stars rating.


While some people think that 5 Stars are almost a myth, because for them a 5 stars rating means a perfect book, and no such thing exists, I do not think like that. Oh, don’t get me wrong, there are no perfect things, but a lot of books come really close, and I have no issues doting them with all the stars I can.

If a book makes me feel things, has a kick ass story, characters, plot, and at the end of the read I can’t find a single thing that I would change? Yeah, I’m giving it 5 Stars. 

If you follow my blog at all for a while, you’ll also find that I give 4.5 to 5 stars ratings to a lot of contemporary romances. I love the genre, first of all, and then I think it’s easier to slip up a bit on fantasy or sci-fi…


Another thing I have no problems with is rating a book 0 or 1 star. It might pain me, because it’s someone’s work, but I am always honest in the way I rate books. So if a book is not for me, or if I feel it deserves a bad rating, that’s what it will get.


I do! But because I like to read books that I think I’ll enjoy! With this in mind, all of my Netgalley requests and buys, and therefore the books I read, are books that I think I’ll like, or that have been recommended to me by people with similar tastes.

Just because someone has a good average on GR, doesn’t mean that they’re lenient on the way they rate. It means that they know what they like!


46 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About: How I Rate

  1. Merlin says:

    If I read it, or watch it, or listen to it all the way through, it gets at least one star. Zero stars is “I could not even finish this, that is how irredeemable this is to me.”

    I tend to use two systems at once, rating with stars and by a grade. It lets me bring some flexibility and nuance to what I rate without getting too technical.

    Which is part of an answer to how I rate: while I try to be analytical, there’s always something emotional, something subjective, something that I am thinking about that others might not be, and vice versa. So, objectivity is fairly impossible. I just try to be fair and honest, and the rest tends to fall into place, ya know?

  2. Marie @ drizzleandhurricanebooks says:

    What a great post 🙂 Blogging certainly made me more critical about books, but I’m a huge contemporary lover, and I easily give 4 stars rating, too. 5 stars, a little less.. BUT, just like you, I am an emotional reader. If a book just made me feel so many things at once, I’ll be most likely to rate it 5 stars. I do wish at times that we could rate books with half-stars, because, just like you said, there are books that deserve more than 3 stars, but quite don’t reach the 4 stars rating.
    I agree, I do have a pretty good average on Goodreads, too, but yes, that’s because I mostly pick up books I KNOW I’m most likely to enjoy.Even if blogging makes me want to read new, different books 🙂

  3. flowlessbooks says:

    What a great post !
    I also give a lot of 5 stars because I select the books I buy haha. I think I never gave less than 2 stars !

    And I try to analyze the plot, writing style and all but in the end what is the most important is how much the story made me forget about everything else !

  4. betwixt-these-pages says:

    I LOVE this post, and so agree with you on so many points you made here!

    I also rate mostly by emotions, though I do always talk about things like characters, plot, and grammar in my reviews. But the rating…that’s usually purely how the book made me feel, which is why some books with slightly annoying grammatical issues can, at times, be rated higher by me than, say, books with awesome grammar that made me feel absolutely nothing. XD Perhaps a bit unfair, in the end, but…Eh. I’m all about the feels.

    I don’t, however, often give 1-Penguin (my version of stars) ratings. This is because I’ve found that I, like you, know what I like and therefore usually only request or accept books that fit my “reading personality.” Books I give 1-Penguin ratings to, therefore, are those that I go into THINKING I’m going to love…only to find myself DNFing them shortly after. Because sometimes, a blurb gets you, but the book lets you down–am I right?!

    Thanks so much for sharing your rating system with us!

    • My Tiny Obsessions says:

      i totally understand what you say about the correctness of the book vs feelings. I don’t think it’s unfair. I’ve read a lot of books with perfect grammar and perfectly good english that just didn’t appeal to me at all. If I’m not happy with the writing style, no matter how correct it is, it’s gonna affect my enjoyment of the book.
      Also, yes to the one stars! I don’t often give them, but sometimes the blurb is so misleading… =/

  5. Ashley says:

    Great post!
    When I rate books, I use half stars too. I usually round down most of the time though. So a 3.5 star I usually give a 3 star. I’m also more of an emotional rater too. I do take in account of the characters and everything else, but I don’t analyze everything like that. I tend to go by feelings. I used to give 5 stars all the time, but the last six months or so I’ve been being really selective with what gets a five star. I usually compare my past five star books and how those made me feel versus how I am feeling after the book I just finished. Especially for series books.

    • My Tiny Obsessions says:

      🙂 why do round down? I wish that GR would allow for half stars, because at the end what we signal there it’s not a true reflection of how we feel =/. I do the comparing thing too 😀

      • Ashley says:

        I’m not really sure why I round down. When I go to do a rating and it’s a half star, I just don’t feel right giving the higher number. Weird, I know. lol. I guess because I feel like if it deserved the higher number then it wouldn’t have been a half. So I don’t feel right giving it the higher star.

  6. emmyfictionaire says:

    Love this! I am definitely an emotional rater, of course there’s no such thing as a *perfect* book but there are books that are perfect to you and make you feel something you can’t even describe. My five star books are ones that I am absolutely head-over-heels in love with and will never stop thinking about them 🙂

  7. Sara @ freadomlibrary says:

    We are almost the same haha I’m an emotional rater as well, the star rating that shows on goodreads is based on my feelings about the book. I leave the critical thinking to my review but the critical rating and emotional rating don’t have anything in common. However I am bitchy and I round down when a rating has .5 and something stars. I feel like if a book is 3.5 stars, I have to represent the three because there’s a reason it didn’t get the full 4 stars hahaha I’m kind of awful like that. And I totally agree with what you said about high average ratings. I make it a point to read books that I feel like I will enjoy, especially if they’re ARCs. That doesn’t mean I don’t review critically or that I’m too nice haha

  8. Kat Impossible says:

    Great discussion post, Cristina! You know how my rating works. Everything starts out as a 3 star book and then it either gets better or worse. I am not really consistent in my ratings though, sometimes I only use half stars and then I have 4.7 – like whatever the heck that means, right? But I am definitely not that analytical and way more emotional. Even if the writing wasn’t groundbreaking, as long as I had fun, it’s probably going to get a high rating.

  9. Mariana | Book Is Glee says:

    “Just because someone has a good average on GR, doesn’t mean that they’re lenient on the way they rate.” <<< That's the best thing I've heard today! ❤️ I tend to choose books that I know will intrigued me, even though I try to expand my reading comfort zone.
    I'm also an emotional rater *high5*. I'm not that good about grammar and all, so some problems in the writing wouldn't bother me. Though if I was annoyed by that, then you know there are some serious problems with the book haha… 😄
    Thank you so much doe this post. It's a very refreshing read! ❤️

    • My Tiny Obsessions says:

      I admire those you will read anything, even if they don’t particularly like the genre. I can’t do that. I’m also a mood reader, so if I’m in the mood for contemporary romances, I’ll chose those who have good ratings, good recommendations and that intrigue me, and they’ll most likely receive a good rating from me 🙂

  10. Keira says:

    I like that statement at the end! I tend to have very high averages because I pretty much don’t read things I don’t think I will like. I’m actually kind of the opposite to you in terms of genres: contemporaries tend to get lower ratings than fantasies for me, because I tend to have more issues with them. I also don’t read as many. I recently started using half stars and I round up or down based on whether I feel like the book is better or worse. So if I’m solidly at, say, a 3.5 stars, but my main issues was over the plot then I would give it 3 but if my main issue was over, let’s say, one stupid incident, then I might give it 4 stars on goodreads, if that makes any sense 🙂
    I’m also definitely an emotional rater first and foremost, but sometimes I go back and change ratings at a later date when the hype from just having finished the book has gone down. Do you ever do that?

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