It’s in the Stars – Or Why I Don’t Give Ratings on My Blog

Posted April 22, 2016 by Lisa Mandina in discussion post / 25 Comments

Here we go, my 2nd discussion post as part of the 2016 Discussion Challenge hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction and It Starts at Midnight.   My first one was all about if teens are really as dumb as we think, and will expect what happens in books to be real life.  You can go read my thoughts and then share what you think on that one HERE.   Today I want to talk about giving ratings to the books I read.  
I admit that I often go look at the stars or ratings that other blogs give sometimes before I read the actual review.  And whenever I finish a book I always give it a star rating on Goodreads. And if I leave a review on Barnes and Noble or Amazon, I give star reviews there too.  But here on my blog, ever since I quit just copying my reviews from Goodreads, I’ve not bothered to put the rating in the post.  
I’m not sure exactly why. But here is what I came up with when I tried to think about it a little more.  I feel like rating systems are often hard to use.  A lot of time I LOVE a book, but I know maybe it isn’t the most well written, or maybe the story itself is really silly and superficial.  And maybe then I feel weird leaving it a 5 star review, when a book that was really well written and on a very deep subject, I didn’t enjoy even though I feel like I should have because of what book it is, I would only leave a 3 star review.  Examples.  I love Twilight.  

I know that supposedly it is written horribly.  But to me, the writing grabbed me, and I couldn’t put it, or any of the others in the series down.  To me, that is a good story, and it is well written.  A book I could not stand and had to force myself to get through, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night,

I know that really I should have thought it was a great book. Right?  I mean the character is autistic, and of course it didn’t read like something I am used to, and it shouldn’t read easy because it was written the way they would think and they think differently.  Another book that I couldn’t even finish, yet so many people talk about what a great, profound book it is, is Dante’s Inferno.  I was bored to tears.  And didn’t finish it.  

Another issue.  I have a friend who is self publishing. And while I do like her stories, and enjoy reading them.  I often feel maybe it isn’t as fair to compare it to traditionally published books that have editors that are paid to make sure it is done well.  Or if there is a book that I can see why other people really liked it, but I just didn’t really care for it, I hate to mark it down, because then it is my opinion, not necessarily whether it is a good book or not.

On Goodreads, you can’t do half-stars, and there are some books that I don’t want to give them a 2, or a 3, but honestly they don’t really rate as a 3 or 4.  So that is another thing I think of.  And then sometimes the sites tell you what each star stands for.  On Amazon the ratings go:  1 star – I hate it, 2 stars – I don’t like it, 3 stars – It’s okay, 4 stars – I like it, 5 stars – I love it.  But sometimes I give books a 4 that I loved, because they had issues that kept me from giving them a 5.  On Goodreads they are different:  1 star – did not like it, 2 stars – It was okay, 3 stars – liked it, 4 stars – really liked it, 5 stars – it was amazing.  On Barnes and Noble:  1 star – poor, 2 stars – below average, 3 stars – good, 4 stars – very good, 5 stars – excellent.  

Okay, so those are my reasons for why I am not big at rating on my blog.  I know a lot of other blogs have their own rating systems, and they show what each star means on the side bar of their blog.  I do like that method for sure.  But for me, I think I just like to talk about the book on my blog and tell what I do and don’t like about it.
What do you think of my reasons?  What do you think of ratings?  Please, leave me some discussion below. 
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25 responses to “It’s in the Stars – Or Why I Don’t Give Ratings on My Blog

  1. I use ratings and have a page dedicated to explaining those. But I do see where you are going with this. My ratings align more closely with that of Goodreads, and Amazon's rating is not even close. Stared ratings are certainly objective because they mean something different to everyone.

    • I've seen the blogs that have their own ratings, and I've thought about doing it! I like when the blogs do explain them like you do. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I do use ratings, but sometimes, I really enjoy the blogs that don't use them – it means I have to pay closer attention to exactly what they are saying ๐Ÿ™‚
    I have completely made up my own system for rating, though, because my blog is mine, and I could do it ๐Ÿ™‚
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    • I've seen your ratings, and I like how you have it set up specifically to your blog. I've thought about doing that on my blog as well. Maybe something to do with wiener dogs. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for visiting!

    • Wiener dogs for rating would be SO cute, Lisa! But I think that it's nice sometimes to just read a review and then kind of make up my own mind about whether or not I'd enjoy a book to – so what you're doing definitely works for me.

  3. I, honestly, just ignore what the sites like Goodreads and Amazon say certain star ratings are supposed to mean and use my own rating system for every site. Maybe this is a bad thing to do because someone might think my rating means something different than it does, but that's just what I do!

    Interesting that you yourself look at ratings before reading reviews on other blogs, but don't include them in your own. I don't think I could ever get rid of the ratings in my reviews.

    I know what you mean, though, about just falling in love with a book that isn't perfect. In my opinion, though, it's okay to give that book a five-star rating if it truly made you fall in love. I mean, as long as that is explained in the review, then I think it's acceptable. I know I have done this in the past.

    -Sam @ Sharing Inspired Kreations

    • I always just gave my own thoughts of what the stars meant whenever I posted on those sites, but then noticed one day that they were supposed to be something a little different on each site. And that is what made me come up this post. I do like to see other ratings though, so it is kind of weird that I don't do them myself on my own blog. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. I do the same thing you do, and for the same reasons mostly. It's so subjective- a 3 star read for me might be a 5 star (or a 1 star lol) for someone else, so on my blog I just write what I think of it and go with that. I mean there are times when a book is well written and obviously deserves credit for the craft that was put into it, but I didn't like it. What to do? So yeah- although having said that, I reconsider from time to time. I could put together my own rating system I guess… just haven't.

  5. Ratings are always such a tough subject because, let's face it, they're subjective and everyone rates a little differently. And I agree that it's frustrating when different sites have different "meanings" for the ratings – so I basically just ignore those and go with my gut (though I generally go with Goodreads' descriptions). Still I DO really like to have that bottom line, so I don't think I'll get rid of ratings – but I say if you're not crazy about them, leave them off!!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    • I'm kind of like you. I tend to go with what I feel the stars mean, and it's probably closest to Goodreads, since that is where I first started doing book ratings. And I do like sometimes to see a rating quickly if I don't want any spoilers, but want to know how someone liked a book. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. I've noticed you don't use ratings, but still your reviews speak for themselves. I use ratings and have an explanation for them. I do know what you're saying with how they can be totally different from one place to another (GR vs Amazon). Makes it all a bit confusing.
    @dino0726 fromย 
    FictionZeal – Impartial, Straightforward Fiction Book Reviews

  7. It's weird because I don't base my decision to read a book on its rating or what rating anyone gave it, yet I too find myself looking for the rating first every time I look at a review on a blog. But I don't blame you for not using them. Ratings are so arbitrary and subjective and mean different things to everyone and heck, my ratings mean different things to me even. And like you said, do we rate based on how much we enjoyed it? Based on technical aspects? Based on both? But that's why I always pay more attention to the actual reviews than ratings. I think ratings are just a helpful way to quickly see someone's feeling about a book and maybe whether you have similar taste.

    • Exactly! They are a quick way to see what someone thinks, and always you have to decide how to rate it, technical vs. enjoyableness. I rarely base my reading on someone else's ratings either. In fact, if it is a book I'm really looking forward to and know that I'm going to read, I often won't look at any reviews until after I've read it. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  8. I use ratings, but I rate them by how much I enjoy the book. I doesn't have to be the best written book in the world or the book with the most depth to get a higher rating. It is all based on my enjoyment of the book. If the book is poorly written, it is probably going to get a lower rating, just because I going to be less likely to enjoy it. But I judge a quick fun read the same way I just a deep emotional read. Did I enjoy it for what it was meant to be?

    As for your comment about self published versus traditional publishing. I feel that self published books should have the same level of editing and work done with them as a traditionally published book. I read several self published authors and if it wasn't for the fact that I know that they are self published, you wouldn't know that they're work from a traditional published author. If the book has tons of errors, typos and etc, I will not enjoy it, and it will get called out in my review no matter the publisher.

    Lastly, on Goodreads star ratings, I have shelves for all my ratings. I also created shelves for half stars. If I decided to rate something a half star, I'll put it at the top of the description before the review. I usually round up with selecting the stars in Goodreads.

    Great topic.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

    • I love your Goodreads shelves idea! That is awesome! I think that my ratings on Goodreads pretty much have to do with how much I liked something as opposed to how well it is written. But the editing issues do get a rating knocked down even if I really liked the book. Thanks so much for joining in on my discussion, your thoughts actually have given me some ideas as well!

  9. Ratings are hard! I've thought about this too. I need to actually explain my ratings, but I normally try to do that in my reviews. If I loved a book, I give it a five. Reviews are based on the reader's opinion anyway. There have been books that have been written well too that I haven't rated as high, but I also explain what didn't work for me, so I feel like my ratings should back up my review and vice versa. They're still hard though. And I think everywhere should allow half stars too. I normally say if it's 3.5 stars or whatnot if it's in-between for me. I think there are a lot of us that feel the same. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • All of your points are exactly what I've been thinking! I debate on a rating system a lot, but haven't actually gotten around to trying it yet. Maybe some day. Thanks for stopping by and joining into the conversation!

  10. I think your reasons make total sense — I actually started my blog not doing ratings and then added them at some point because people could never tell if I didn't like or liked a book based on just my reviews (not sure what that says about my reviews) but, still, I get it!!

    • I keep thinking about starting a rating system. But it feels like one more thing I'd have to do, and right now I'm pretty happy with how I do my review posts. Thanks for joining in to the conversation!

  11. I think your reasons are valid. I use star ratings on my blog because that is what I post on Goodreads and Amazon and B&N. I personally use ratings because I feel that it is the universally understood rating system. Although what may be 5 star to me may not be 5 star to others, but they generally get the idea. I personally read lower rated reviews to see if a book is worth reading or not. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I do look at lower rated reviews often because I want to see if it makes me want to read it more or not. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for stopping by and joining in!

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