In one of my English classes at school our teacher makes us make notes while we write our paper. These notes are essentially us asking ourselves questions. Why did I just put this quote here? What does this point in my paper mean? Why am I pushing for this? How does this connect to my thesis? Those types of questions, and my brain, in one of the many levels of thoughts it has, ended up recently thinking to itself: MB, why do you rate the way you do?
See, I don't have a special equation that I use. Honestly, I don't know of any reviewer out there that does, but the point is, I really don't think hard about it at all. And truth be told, by the time I get to page 100 I am about 89% sure of what rating a book would get. Many readers of my blog would know that fancy is not what I use, in fact I rate my stars (that are in the shape of books but they still count as the same thing in my mind).
While I don't have a special equation, I do think of several factors. Here are just two examples:
1) Do I Connect With the Character? This is the first thing I think of when it comes to a book. And I don't mean 'connect' as in, 'Have I ever gone through a similar experience?' or 'Do I know someone that has gone through a similar experience?' because it is not a lie that out of the most books I read a large number of them come from the paranormal section. So, no, I will not have gone through a similar experience as someone who has fallen in love with a fallen angel or has been turned into a vampire or lives in a dystopian world ruled by vampires. What I do mean by 'connect' is, do I care about this character? Do I want to see them succeeded? Do I want to see them happy? And this, by the way, I decide pretty quick. If an author can make me care about a character from page 1 I can guarantee that book won't receive anything less than three stars.
2) Emotions: This one is always a little difficult because I do feel something for all the books I read. Whether it is anger or happiness or sadness - I always have some emotional reaction to books (and this says nothing about the book that's just how I operate). But when it comes to the 'right' emotion I think to myself, "I am so happy with this character right now" as in I could be friends with this person and not want to kill them. But the biggest emotion I have that usually sets me off is annoyance. Once a character, especially the main one, does something that ticks me off and continues to behave in such a manner than I stop feeling any kind of emotion for them and that is when a book is in danger of going below three stars (books).
I do look at other things like plot line, who the characters are, how the supporting characters are, the speed of the novel, sometimes even the size. Let me tell you guys, I normally don't want to give a shout out to any particular novel but I feel like this is the best way to explain. When I first read Twilight it was only the second largest novel I had ever read at that point (The Da Vinci Code I had finished earlier) and I honestly felt like I could have written a similar book but in 120 pages or less. What I'm trying to say is that I don't care if it is long (I like 400+ pages of books) but I want something to happen in every single one of those 400+ pages.
So, this gets me down to what each of the ratings mean:
5 Stars (Books) - This book I finished in one sitting. Granted, I may take awhile to read it sometimes but it is a book that I start and did not put down. There are exceptions of course. For example, when I started The Mortal Instrument series I took a really, really, really long break after finishing the second book. I say really as in a year. Why? Because I was so emotionally attached at that point that I could not handle this idea that Clary and Jace could be brother/sister. But the point is that I loved every miserable second of it because Clare made me love them from the first book. This is the book that I would own and recommend to just about anyone.
4 Stars (Books) - I liked this book but it was missing something. I didn't feel the attachment, the story left me wanting more but I wasn't receiving it; it felt like with just maybe one more edit it could have reached that 5 star perfection. I would still recommend this book but not as widely and possibly to a narrower crowd.
3 Stars (Books) - This rating is really the tie-breaker. Most books begin at this point. I love to write and I know the work that goes into so whether the author is self-published or traditional, I know that a lot of work went into it. This is why I like to give the benefit of the doubt. And really, this just means I read the whole thing and I'd recommend borrowing from a friend or checking out. I didn't hate it but I didn't love it. This book was great but lacked in several areas.
2 Stars (Books) - I finished but I wasn't pleased. While it failed in a lot of ways something kept me from finishing it. The most notable example I have is Wither. To this day I hate that book. I really do, so much that I will not even consider reading the rest of the trilogy I was so upset with it. You could read my reasoning in my review, but essentially no matter how much I disliked it I still finished it and I still gave it 2 stars because I did like the way DeStefano wrote. She had beautiful imagery and I could visualize a lot of everything. This book I would not spend money on and only read if there was really nothing left to read.
1 Star (Book) - Honestly, I don't have a DNF pile. What I do have is a Skim Pile, which means that I started this book and after page 100 (sometimes lower or higher depending on the length of the novel) I decide to stop reading and just skim the rest of the way because the novel is nothing like what I was expecting. It disappointed in many levels and I could care less on what went on in the lives of the characters. Not to mention there was probably poor editing involved as well. This is a book I would not waste my time on because there are other better books out there and I'll even go as far as saying that if this book could get published any book can. I know that might seem harsh but it is the truth. What should be noted is that in my year and a half in blogging, I have probably given out less than ten of these 1 star. A book would really need to tick me off in order to receive a rating like this.
So this is my rating system in as much detail as possible. I don't always stick to it by the letter, like I said there are exceptions, but this is just the run down on how it looks.
Like I said nothing fancy.