I read for entertainment. I do plenty of critical reading and thinking for my day job. I’m unlikely to pick up a book that doesn’t at least sound appealing to me, so a lot of my reviews will be 4- and 5-star. But if a book merits a lower mark, in my opinion, that’s what I’ll give it. Also, I do take ARC status into account when it comes to mistakes that will likely be caught in a final edit/final proofread. I’m not going to ding an ARC read for misspellings.
So, here’s what my ratings mean:
Five stars is the best of the best. This is a book that I probably read in a very short time frame because I couldn’t bear to put it down. Five-star reads are likely to make it into my permanent collection, and authors of five-star reads are likely to be the ones to make my short list of those whose latest I’d pick up without even knowing what it was about. I would talk your ear off about this book and tell you to go get it right now, don’t wait.
Four stars is a darn good book. It was engaging, I enjoyed it, and if it’s part of a series, I’ll keep reading. This is a book I’ll talk about, and tell you to grab it next time you’re buying a book.
Three stars is, as we say in the South, fair to middlin’. It was a decent read. There were no glaring holes in the plot, no rash of distracting mistakes that kept snagging my attention. It just didn’t rock my socks off. I might mention it, or talk about it if asked, and I’d tell you that ‘if you like such and such, then this might be for you.”
Two stars is a book I managed to slog through and finish, but I’m not going to bring it up in conversation. Two stars means I found more to dislike about the book than I did to like.
One star means I found flaws that made the book well nigh unreadable, and I may not have been able to finish it. I’m not even going to mention this one to you, because you might dislike it enough to take me off the Christmas card list.