Discussion: What’s on your mind TWG? Star ratings – are they really needed, or are they just there for a bit of razzle dazzle?

Welcome to this week’s ‘What’s on your mind TWG?’! I didn’t write one last week, as many of you are aware as to why, but I’m back! The topic up for discussion this week is one that will no doubt create a big discussion (hopefully) – Star Ratings! Love them, or hate them? How do YOU rate the books that you’ve read?

Goodreads star ratings are as follows:

1* = Did not like it
2* = It was okay
3* = Liked it
4* = Really liked it
5* = It was amazing.

HOWEVER, just to make it even more confusing, Amazon has a completely different star rating definition:

1* = I hated it
2* = I don’t like it
3* = It’s okay
4* = I like it
5* = I love it.

At first glance of both sites and their star ratings, which one do you go by? Personally, I find it to be a royal pain in the tooshmanush. Why? Because, under no circumstances would I rate a book online at 1 or 2 stars. I find those two ratings to be horrible and unless the book is filled with spelling errors, unbelievably bad storyline/characters and a plot that has no depth or feeling, does it really deserve a low rating? Thing is, not everyone is going to like the same books. I might find a book amazing, and then someone else could come along and find the book to be what I just said above.

It’s a tricky one for sure. Authors rely on reviews and feedback from their readers as it helps their books stand out. But sometimes, reviews may be written yet the star rating doesn’t match the content of a review. For example ‘oh my word, this book was amazing, loved the detail, characters. Only flaw is that it wasn’t long enough’ = 3 stars. Seriously?

I am definitely one of the type of reviewers that starts off with a clear 5* at the start of the book and I ‘deduct’ star(s) as I go along. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t sit there and create a chart (sorry Nath! *brother*) with my criteria for each book. I’m not that pompous. It does change for each book that I read though, because I read a lot of different genres. How can you rate each genre the same? I personally can’t because a chick lit book will give me a completely different feeling whilst reading than a psychological thriller would.

Can you imagine it though if a one star rating was given to a psychological thriller for being ‘too scary’? Unless you’re wanting the baddie in the book to come and tuck you in at night, it’s not exactly going to be a fluffy type book! At the other end of the scale, what if a one star rating was given to a romantic comedy style book because it was ‘too slushy’? Romance comes with feeling, albeit not a complete slush puppy type feeling, but a low star rating for that is completely ignorant.

When it comes to reviewing and rating, there is always one word that needs to be remembered – CONSTRUCTIVE. By all means, rate a book honestly, but if your review doesn’t explain your thoughts in a constructive(and polite) manner, then it becomes irrelevant.

When I rate books, I think of how it made me feel, did I get bored, were the characters/storyline believable, just to name a few. I back up my star rating with my review. Sometimes I do find it difficult when faced with a book that didn’t quite hit the mark (for me) in terms of storyline/characters because obviously I don’t want to hurt the authors feelings, especially if you’ve worked with them before. However, I don’t and won’t, lie about my opinion. Even if books don’t hit the mark for me content wise, it’s still highly likely that I may enjoy the author’s style of writing generally in terms of descriptions and so forth. Everyone seems to rate books differently, which can get confusing, but everyone has different ways of doing things and different opinions!

So I’m asking you. How do YOU rate books? What do you think of star ratings on Amazon/Goodreads? Please do let me know what you think!

14 thoughts on “Discussion: What’s on your mind TWG? Star ratings – are they really needed, or are they just there for a bit of razzle dazzle?

  1. That’s why I never used a star rating on my blog, it’s too confusing. If your review is a good review then you should be able to give a valid opinion without them. I tend to use a rating similar to Goodreads if I have to xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Although I am aware of the difference in star ratings on the sites, I apply the same star to a review across the board, what matters more to me is what I write in the review. If a review will be lower than 3* from me and I’ve been asked to review it by the author, I will provide an appraisal which I hope is more valuable than just a low star rating. If I don’t know the author, I might still try to be constructive or I won’t post a review or a rating at all.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Well maybe I’m singled out here but I always look for the stars first when I read a review or look up a book on Goodreads. If it’s got 4 stars on whichever site or blog I know it’s really a good read and I read it even more attentively because it could get on my readlist. With so many books out there, it’s a way to make a first selection I guess. But I understand that people don’t want to rate books too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think it is important to keep 1 and 2 stars for books that you want to warn people away from, but I see your point about the variations. That is why it’s good to get a review with it. Some people rave about a book and put 3 stars and others put 5 and are more picky. I don’t mind either. The ones I find frustrating are the stars with no comments at all. I’ve had a few 1 stars on GoodReads with not comment as to why. How will that help anyone, including me? I want to know what people don’t like as well as what they do, or else I’ll keep writing the wrong stuff.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. If I read a book that I believe is a one-star or a two-star, I don’t finish the book. And I don’t review it. I think it is harsh to give an author one star. I know it is vital to give readers an idea of the standard of a book, so I only concentrate on books that I believe my fellow readers would enjoy.
    P.S. I think this is a great post, Kaisha.

    Liked by 1 person

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