My Ratings System

Every book reviewer has a different system or way of looking at rating books.

Like most book reviewers, I use a 5 star system.

5 stars

For fiction, I will give a book 5 stars if the book exposes me to a new way of thinking, makes me think about life differently, gets me involved with characters that somehow change my life.  Yup, all that is possible in fiction and it’s all happened.


For nonfiction, this is a book that has information that I have not seen anywhere else or have not seen presented so simply and easy to access anywhere else.  They may be books that I feel are important for people’s health and well-being or the well-being of our planet or society.  Cookbooks that I give a 5 star rating will have many recipes that I want to make.

4 stars

Fiction: 4 Star books are book that I really like, that I enjoy reading and can not wait to get back to.  These are books that catch my interest.  They have relatable characters that I like.  4 star books have an interesting plot, are well-paced and have a lot of hooks that keep me up late reading.

4 star books

Non-fiction:  These are books that I found interesting, but I have seen the information before, it’s nothing really new, but it’s still relevant.  Cookbooks that I give a 4 star rating will have quite a few recipes that I want to make, but not every single recipe looks like something I would make.

3 stars

Fiction: Three is in the center of my number scale, these are mediocre books.  They are the C-average, they did ok but could have put more effort in.  Maybe the book didn’t live up to my expectations in some way–the plot was too loose or went all over the place, I didn’t care about the characters or the dialogue didn’t seem natural to me.

Non-fiction: These are books that had promise in the description, but like the C-student they didn’t try as hard to deliver as I thought they could.  It has good information, but the presentation is lacking.  Just writing it out doesn’t cut it anymore.  We like visuals.  Graphs, charts, pictures help us digest and utilize and retain information. Maybe the cookbook has a lot of recipes I have seen many times and this cookbook’s version doesn’t offer a really unique twist.

2 stars

Fiction:  This is a book that offended me.  It’s a book that I thought was very well-written, but I found something in the book offensive or in poor taste.  Without mentioning any titles, there was a book that was popular a few years ago, it was very well written and captured my interested immediately, but halfway through I realized that the antagonist wanted to torture the protagonist’s disabled sister.  I felt that this was in extremely poor taste and extremely, extremely upsetting.  I feared it would give the wrong kind of person ideas of things to do.  I did not finish the book and I will not read anything by this author or even like a post or photo of any of this author’s books.

Non-Fiction: This is a book where I feel the information is old and stagnant.  Or where there are too many examples and not enough information.  For cookbooks, this would be a cookbook where there are a lot of exotic, hard-to-find ingredients.  If Whole Foods doesn’t have it (and they have some exotic ingredients) and I have to order it online from another country and pay international shipping, I am more than likely never going to make the recipe.

1 star

Fiction: I more than likely wouldn’t finish a book I felt I would only give 1 star.  This is something I gave at least 75 pages and just could not get into.  It might be the writing style, the plot, the characters.  Or my biggest pet peeve: relying on dialogue to tell the story or give description.

 example:  “That is a beautiful burnished cherry dresser, and I love the matching nightstands with the gold tone lamps with cream colored paper shades.  It all matches the deep green carpeting and the lighter green sumptuous looking comforter so well,” Marissa said, stepping out of her shoes and into Rafe’s arms.

I have been known to throw such books across the room.

Nonfiction:  This is a book that sounded great in the description, but that didn’t come through for me with the information or the presentation of the information.  This is the failing grade.  For cookbooks, this one has expensive exotic ingredients and pictures that are not appetizing.