Thursday, March 20, 2014

Reviewers' Roundtable- How Do You Feel About Ratings?

The Reviewers' Roundtable is a weekly discussion feature hosted by me and Emily from Read Your Bookcase.  Each week we discuss a different bookish/blogging topic and hope you guys will share your thoughts too! 

Go HERE to find a list of past/future topics.


RATINGS: How do you rate books and do you have a hard time with them?

I've been thinking about ratings a lot lately.  It used to be SO easy for me to rate a book and anymore I feel like I've been putting in way too much thought before I'll commit on the rating.  I think the main reason is when I first started rating on Goodreads, I was pretty harsh on books.  I mean a book would have to basically have sunshine and rainbows and chocolate candy coming out of it for me to give it 5 stars.  Then I went through a phase where I was like, if I liked it, it gets 5 stars.  So then I got to this point where I was going back and changing ratings.  And then I was questioning if I should be doing that.  Basically I'm a hot mess about ratings right now.  And I'm thinking about doing away with them completely (on my blog that is, not Goodreads).

These are my main issues:

  • I gave some of my FAVORITE books ever 4 stars instead of 5 for some really dumb reasons that I couldn't even remember.  Books like: The Fault in Our Stars, The Sky is Everywhere, The Hate List.
  • There were a few books that stuck in my head and I would find myself thinking about them years after I read them.... and when I went and looked at what I rated them, I saw that I gave them 3 stars.  I mean if I'm still thinking about the book 3 years later, with the amount of books I read, it probably should have at least have gotten at least a 4 star.  Like: Lola and the Boy Next Door, The Killer's Cousin, Wintergirls
  • There were some books I know I absolutely HATED and I gave them 2 stars.  Hello, if I HATE it, I should probably give it 1 right? Books like: Twilight (I freaking skimmed the 2nd half of that book, I hated it so bad), Popular (Alissa Grosso), It's Not You, It's Me (Kerry Cohen)
  • When I started my blog I thought I only needed a 4 star rating.  Not sure why... it was a spur of the moment thing that just stuck.  I thought 4 stars were easier to decide between.  But lately I've been giving a lot of 1/2 star ratings on my blog because I've been feeling conflicted.
  • Also I've been feeling like I have broad feelings about books I give mid-ratings to.  Like some I liked WAY better than others, yet they still got the same rating.  And that feels wrong, but I don't know how to fix it.

I like reading ratings on other people's blogs, but I mostly figure out how they felt based on the review, not the rating.  Goodreads on the other hand, I definitely look at ratings a lot more closely.  I don't know what the difference is.  Maybe it's that the stars are all right at the top of everyone's review?

Basically I'm just sort of over rating books on my blog right now.  I mean is it absolutely necessary to have them??

I think this is where you guys come in.  Do you expect a rating when you read a review on a blog?  Do you notice when blogs don't do a rating system?  Do you ever have trouble with ratings like I am right now?


  1. For me the review is more important than a rating. Even between books that I give the same rating there are still a lot of differences in what I liked and why I rated them that way. I do think ratings are difficult, especially those books that seem to hover between rating, like a really good 3 star book that isn't quite a 4 star. In those cases I think half ratings would be handy, but I don't use those on my blog and neither does Goodreads. So in those cases I think my review should make it obvious where my opinion is. I've thought about changing ratings sometimes, but usually decide against it. A rating is how I rated the book when I read it and I am sure if I would re-read some books I would rate them less now, but then again I don't re-read a lot of books. I do look at ratings, but more for the general trend and I usually read reviews to find out if I would like a book.

    1. That's exactly why I've been doing a half rating... but I've been getting carried away and rating A LOT of books with half stars. And that's part of my frustration. And I hear you on re-reading... there's just no time for it!!

  2. I have a lot of trouble rating books, too! On my blog I started instituting the half-star rating to help myself, but it's still difficult! I tend to only give a one-star review if I could not finish a book. Similarly, I only give five-stars out if I felt like a book was solidly written and made me think/feel/analyze more than the obvious storyline. I feel like 90% of my reviews are 3 and 4 stars and I swear I sit and stir over which to give something for way too long! I have found myself going back and changing ratings I gave that were too generous before I seriously started blogging. It's amazing how we grow as readers! :) Great topic to discuss!!

    1. Before I started blogging I was super harsh on books. Like I would NEVER give 5 stars. Now if I really like it, but had maybe one thing that bugged me, I'll just give it the 5 stars because I know that in a few months I'm still going to be thinking about that book. So that's why I had to change some of my older ratings. It shouldn't be this HARD!

  3. I think that ratings CAN change. I thought that one book was just okay, like a 3 star read. But as time went on I realized that the book was really stuck in my head and super memorable and I bumped it up to 4. Like months later. I rarely change my ratings after my review posts though. I like to have my reviews prepped AT LEAST a week early so I can contemplate my rating more and sometimes do change it. I like ratings because often I can't tell how much a person liked a book by their review. They point out positives and negatives but HOW negative are the negatives? Like enough to bump it down several stars? I think a rating gives me an idea of their overall feel for the book. So you can point out a ton of negatives but still like the book quite a bit. Maybe the romance was the ONLY good thing, but it was SO good that what was a 2 star read is now 4 stars. So I definitely prefer to read reviews with ratings. That's my two sense. Fabulous discussion though cause I know a lot of people are in this debate.

    1. I knew there would be some people who feel the ratings are important, which is why I've been putting so much thought into whether I should get rid of them or not. I think maybe I should just quit thinking about it so hard and just go with my gut when I'm trying to rate a book!

  4. I really don't like it when blogs don't include some type of a star rating...I think because I have trouble gauging how much they did or didn't like it without that at-a-glance way to tell. And I'm pretty serious about my own star ratings, too! I usually take a lot of time deciding exactly what rating I'm going to give it, because I want to make sure that it accurately reflects my feelings about the book. But sometimes that's really hard! There have definitely been a few times where I've had to go back and change a rating later because I realized that it needed to go up or down.