Thoughts of a Reviewer: Q&A about Book Reads and Reviews’ Rating System

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Recently, as I was writing my reviews, I realized I’ve had more 5 star reviews than any other rating. It made me wonder if some readers might question why that is, or how I come up with these ratings. Although I have the rating system on the site so people can see, I’ve never really addressed it personally. So I’m taking this moment to do so and to answer some questions that might be going through your head if I were in your place.

How do you come up with your Final Rating? My rating system ranges from DNF(Did Not Finish) to 5 Stars.  I use a rubric, as do any of my Guest Reviewers, to determine the final rating.  It judges 5 Qualities of the book.  Plot, Characterization, Style, Threshhold Quality and Addictiveness. Here it is:

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Are all these books REALLY 5 Stars or are you afraid to hurt an Author’s feelings? Of course I don’t like hurting someone’s feelings! But from day one, I have promised myself, authors and readers, that I would be a 100% honest. So yes, any reviews I’ve posted as 5 Stars really are just that in my opinion(or if it’s a book Tamera McIntosh or another Guest reviewer has reviewed, then in their opinion it is.)

Why are there SO many books rated as 5 Stars on your site? I have quite a few 4 Star reviews and some 3 Star Reviews also, but to answer the question, there are two reasons for this.

  1. The obvious reason..The Rubric Score.
  2. I don’t choose books to review that I don’t think I’ll really enjoy reading.  Life is too short to read books I have no interest in. That not only wastes my time, but also is unfair to the Author. I can’t review a book honestly and fairly if I’m not wanting to even open it up or I don’t like the genre. So odds are in a book’s favor already, that it will have a higher score on the rubric. That’s not always the case though. Just look in the 1 Star/DNF and 2 Star areas.

Why don’t you have 1/2 Stars? Wouldn’t it make more sense? Yes it would!  But the answer is quite simple. Because Goodreads, Amazon and B&N DON’T. It’s not exactly fair to post it as a 4.5 Star book on here and only give it 4 stars on Amazon. Or if a reader sees I’ve posted it as a 4.5 Star on here, then sees I’ve put it as a 5 Star on Amazon.  Then they really WILL question my honesty. Wondering if I did it to help the author out on sales. By using the rubric, I take the guess work and confusion out of whether I should move it up a star or down a star when reviewing it on Amazon, etc.  Trust me though, if they did, I WOULD! Many times I’ve actually considered it.  Even creating special images for the site, to represent those half ratings. But in the end, I still come back to the same issue and same decision.  Once in a great while, I will make a rare exception to this rule though and I will explain why in the review. Just look in the 4.5 Star area.

Is there a way to know how much you REALLY liked a book besides just the Star Rating? YES! There are three ways in fact!

  1. How many points the book scored. I always place at the bottom of each review, the points in each area the book received. So just compare it to the rubric that I link with the points.
  2. Read my review. My final thoughts section, towards the bottom, are ALWAYS about…well…my final thoughts/opinion on the book and how it made me feel.(Tamera’s reviews don’t have this, but you can always tell when she’s really excited about a book!♥)
  3. It’s in the “Robin’s Favorites” category. I only place books in this section that I really love and recommend.(I’ve recently started this category for Tamera too.)

My Final Thoughts: I hope this answers some questions you might have had when seeing all these reviews being posted with higher ratings. If there are questions you have that I haven’t thought of, then ASK ME! On here, facebook, twitter, etc. Just message me. I’m more than happy to explain my thought process and rating system! And as ALWAYS….thank you for reading my reviews! I’m always amazed that people actually care what I think! ♥

~Robin Malone(Founder of Book Reads and Reviews)