How I Rate Books // Star System ft. Me, Talking About Different Books (At Last!!)

When I did my last post, there were many requests about the second part.

Here you go!!! I hope it lives up to everything!! I’m super excited about this – it’s shorter than my recent posts have been but that’s okay!! Not everything has to be 1.5k Rhi!!!

As a side note, I hope everyone who is celebrating is having a wonderful Pride month so far – and don’t worry, I have many more queer posts planned. Most of the month in fact.

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Here is part one if you haven’t yet read it (the shameless self promo!!! it’s relevant though???) and yeah, let’s do this. (also since i wrote this in like… the middle of may, i haven’t *tried* to copy anyone with this, but i have seen a couple of posts since then and i really just want to yell that i!! haven’t!! copied!! it’s!! just!! bad!! timing!!)

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For a book to get 5 stars it has to be named a favourite of mine. Simple as that. A book can have gorgeous prose and the best plot yet I won’t give it 5 stars because I hated something about it – like the characters, for example. It will probably be the characters.

I also feel like sometimes I’ll call a book 5 stars (because I’m too kind!!) and then if I think about it later I’m baffled at why I chose that?? I know that Tell Me How You Really Feel originally got 5 stars but thinking back… it was probably only 4.5 (for reasons I go into later! Same with Hot Dog Girl (I’m sorry what was I even THINKING with that rating!?!?!?!), The Fever King (4.5 stars probably), I’m going to stop exposing myself now!!


The example I’m using is, for the last time (i promise i’m sorry i need to stop talking about this someone help meeeeee), The King’s Men. 10/10 the writing was messy (although i picked up on that less because i binged the ebook and the other parts i was listening to audio) parts were VERY problematic and unrealistic, people complain about the sport being flawed (could not care less about that – i’m not a sporty person and exy is the closest i’ll get??), but you want to know why I gave it 5 stars? (even though it was the WORST DECISION of 2020 why did i do that again remind me someone pLEASE)

I care so much about the characters. That’s literally it. I don’t care about Exy. I could not care less how much of the sport is realistic and how much is over done. All I care about is my Foxes!!! I care so much I put away all rational thoughts to rate it!!! (this may be the last time i mention it on my blog…. maybe… hopefully… probably not.)

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4.5 for me gets used quite a lot?? I use it for books that I love, but that aren’t sitting on my favourites shelf. I gave books like Call Down The Hawk this – because while I loved so many things about it – the intricacies of the plot, the character development, and the gay content (isn’t that the reason i read everything though? calling myself out here but honestly? iT iS) – it just wasn’t enough for me to drop everything and be obsessed. Maybe for this book it’s because I was already invested in the Lynch brothers, but that’s usually why it doesn’t get five stars.

4 stars is a common rating for me – it’s a default, I loved it, but it wasn’t super special. If I enjoyed it and can’t see any major flaws – 4 stars. I rated books like King of Scars four stars – it was good, the plot was enough to keep me going (until the end with that THING we were ripped off Ms Bardugo!!), I got invested in the characters – it just wasn’t amazing.

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3.5 I used to use a lot but I’ve been abandoning it in favour of 4/3 (normally four, I’m much less critical than others!!). It’s my ‘I liked it, but there’s nothing interesting here’ If there were some nice characters, a not super predictable story line, and some good vibes, I go for a 3.5 🙂 An example of a 3.5 from last year is A Curse So Dark And Lonely – I enjoyed it for sure, but it wasn’t a standout or anything.

3 is for books that are pretty meh, but have one amazing thing going for it?? Or for books I enjoyed but had a really big problem, issue, or something I just wasn’t comfortable with. It’s usually for books like Don’t Read the Comments – which was pretty good, but I kinda hated it for reasons I don’t want to get into!!!

Most of the time four stars are for books I enjoyed – default rating – and three stars is the default for books that I liked. There’s a difference in my mind?? One is better than the other??? 

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I don’t think I’ve EVER used 2.5 as a rating?? As it gets lower I become sloppy and I care much less about trying to find the right spot for a book. I guess this would be for books that had a lot of problems but I still enjoyed…… but by that logic, The Foxhole Court should have gotten 2.5 and we know how that turned out!!! 4.5 stars honey!!!

2 stars would be just ‘fjkjkdj this was a bit of a mess don’t really know what was happening’ but hey, it was a little fun? Once again I can’t actually think of books I’ve rated this low…. I think after 3 stars I just give up and give it one star because I hated it – even if I didn’t. I care more about the right rating for books I actually enjoyed rather than books I only felt meh about…… or books I hated with a burning passion. I don’t tend to dislike that many – which is good!! (thinking about it maybe it’s because other people have loved them so i feel pressure to love them oh no i hope that’s not it)

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Speaking of books I hated with a burning passion, I’ve only rated one book 1 star so far this year, and it was The Memory Book. Yes, it was *that* bad. (I’ve already ranted about this enough and like,,, let’s not go into it again.)

One star is usually for a book that was just a mess? I hated the characters, the plot line, the ending, the beginning, the whole book. 1.5 means it was marginally better….. marginally.

I also think I rate books quite highly because I’m good at knowing what I want. I get recommendations from you guys, mainly, and then others I see positive reviews from – so I pick it up. I’m more selective than I used to be, and so that helps??

I also reread a LOT so my average rating…. is high. I love rereading so much even though it puts me in a slump for a while (fUN tiMES) because I crave the comfort??? And the pain of sad books?? And the laughter?? rhi rhi rhi shut up up up you’re rambling!!! this is so off topic how do i get back on topic maybe i’ll just end the post here okay byeeee y’all

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was this an okay part two?? how do YOU rate books? do you have any recommendations that might be five stars for me?

also i’m SO happy i made this a separate post because this one is hitting 1.3k… it could have been 3000 words in total… now i get more content out of it AND you aren’t overwhelmed!! also does anyone else hate in the new editor how you can’t see word count?? THATS HOW I WORK MY POSTS ahgkjsh

30 thoughts on “How I Rate Books // Star System ft. Me, Talking About Different Books (At Last!!)

  1. Awesome post!! I love your system. 😉 Oh, and yeah, I was pretty peeved that you couldn’t see word count with the block editor as well, but I discovered you actually CAN!

    So, you know that all of the different paragraphs, pictures, etc. are all blocks. Just highlight whatever you what to find the word count for. Then, right next to the blue “Publish” button, there is a “Settings” symbol (looks like a little wheel). Click on that. Make sure it’s in the “Block” column and not the “Document” column. It should already be in the “Block” column, though. It should say something like (if you’ve highlighted two paragraphs): 2 blocks (and then underneath that), 350 words, or however many words it is. It doesn’t work if you highlight just one block, though; you have to highlight two or more.

    Hope this helps!


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  2. Ooooh, very interesting!😂 I read Every Last Word recently and I gave it a four or five star rating so, I would highly recommend it:)
    I’m checking out some of your 5 and 4 star reviews

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  3. I loved this post, Rhi!! It was a very satisfying and wonderful part two.☺️ And I have to say that I have not switched over to the new editor yet and I KNOW I should because I can’t stay on the old one forever- but you can’t see the word count?? Another reason for me to stay.

    I definitely agree with what you said about not really giving books low ratings anymore! I think I’ve only given books 3 and up stars this year and while I do think I’m a less critical reader than most, I also do chalk it up to the fact that I only try to read books I’m genuinely interested in, and being a part of the blogging community has really helped me find recommendations that I end up loving. And of course I just give books high ratings because I love the characters too and I mean, I just have it? Anyways, I’ll stop my rambling, but I loved this💗xx

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    1. Ah yay!! DO NOT SWITCH DO NOT SWITCH it’s awful!! PLEASE DO YOURSELF A FAVOUR and stay!!!!

      No need to stop your rambling!! I love it!! Definitely agree with you there – recommendations are pretty much the only way I read books now. And yes… the characters are always a big selling point 😉 Thank you Olivia!! x

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  4. Your system is so organised!!!

    My rating system is kind of weird. My 4.5-5 stars are all my favourites, plus books that will make me start fangirling halfway through (the infinite noise)(GREEEEEEEEN)

    And then I basically have everything else. Wow great organising good job Paradeabelle.

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  5. Your system is great! I aspire to be so organized lol I’m just a bundle of chaotic energy rating books however I feel lol. although I will agree that for me 5 star books are favorites and 1 stars are ones I hate… and I just get a lil sloppy in the middle lmao

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  6. This was so interesting! I love how everyone’s rating systems are each so unique!

    My rating system is highly subjective. I use 5 stars for favorites, obviously, but also for flawless books, even if they aren’t necessarily a favorite. Those are few and far between, but it has been known to happen! As for 4 stars, that’s one of my most common ratings! I use it for any book I really enjoyed and would recommend and reread. So a 4 star rating for me is still really high.

    Then comes my 3 star rating. This is probably the rating I use the most often because it can mean so many things! It can mean that a book was good, but I just didn’t love it. It can mean a book was okay and I just feel very middling about it. Or it can mean a book was boring and I didn’t care about it at all. These are books I wouldn’t recommend because I don’t think they’re anything special. However, I don’t hate them in any way so they don’t get a lower rating.

    A 2 star rating is for books I absolutely hated but can understand why another person might like them. There have only been around 40 or so books with this rating, which is a tiny amount considering I’ve rated over 1500 books! Although there are probably a few 3 stars that upon some more reflection are actually 2 star reads. And then there are the 1 star reads. I’ve only had about 5 of these. These are for the books I hated so much I don’t understand why anyone likes them. Thankfully these are few and far between, but it does happen every once in a blue moon!

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    1. ah malka!!! this was so interesting!!!!

      ah i’ve never actually come across a ‘flawless’ book but i can see why it would be a five star rating!!

      aah exactly you get my vibe with 3 stars!!! it can literally mean anything haha.

      1500 books!!!! that’s so impressive ahh. i know i definitely can revise a rating to be lower even just days after reading for the first time… something about the after high!!!

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  7. The new editor sucks with how you can’t see word count!! I’d always try make sure my posts weren’t too long and not too short using it and now it’s just. Whole guessing game and a heck of a lot more rambling! I love how you explained what each star really respires to for you and what sort of books fit into their, I feel like your rating system is like so organised and then there’s just mine like totally random 😂 Wonderful part 2 to the incredible part 1! 🙂

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  8. throwback to the times when i was younger and used to rate every book i liked 5 stars lmao!! thankfully, now i totally agree with you that a 5 star has to be an absolute favorite (i keep going back to re-rate books that i thought were 5 stars but were actually more like 3 or 4 haha)! and omg yes, i use 4.5 SO much, especially for books that just don’t have that extra *spark* to be a fav. also same about barely ever rating books below 2.5 stars, i’m picky as a reader but i tend to pick up books i like??

    i loved reading your rating system fleshed out, this was such a fun post!! ❤❤

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  9. Hi, Rhi! I totally agree with you. I only give 5-star ratings to books which belong to my all time favourites. I also give half stars which sometimes confuses me a little, haha. 1-star ratings are ones I rarely give because I dnf before this can happen. Great post!! xx Linda

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  10. yes about 5 stars going to favorites!! i’ve gone back and re-rated a bunch of old books, because i’ve honestly forgotten about them so i don’t see how they deserve the full 5 stars lmao. and omg finally someone else who hates the ending to king of scars… i swear all the [that person] stans are in love with it and it makes me cry out of anger 😭

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    1. omg i got goodreads a couple of days ago and i’m adding every single book i’ve read since the start of 2019 in there… i’m rerating SO MANY books that i thought were good but… really. not. good. ahaha i’ve never read s&b but i knew how it ends and most things that happen even before i read kos but like,,,, it’s a CHEAP way out and i HATE it !!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Reading your post on your rating system makes me think about mine. I’ve finally figured out what my 3 stars rating means but it’s still kinda complicated with 4-5 stars rating. Past me would have no doubt giving a book 5 stars for the ones I enjoyed but now that I’ve grown and my reading habit and taste have changed, the way I rate books also does. Welp. I think I’m gonna have to keep figuring that out along the way. But one thing for sure, 5 stars is always for all-time favourites!

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