How I Review and Rate My Book?

HI, people! :)

I’ve been thinking to put this up on my blog since forever but never really had a time to write it down and post it here. Now that I finally had the time, I will let you in on my little secret of reviewing and rating book.

Before I began reviewing on my own, I used to wonder how people review and rate books. What do they put on their reviews? What makes them rate several books with five, four, or even one star? I read a lot of reviews from professional reviewers to amateur ones and learn that everyone has their own style to review and rate a book. And now I want to share how I do mine. This article written below hopefully will give some understandings on my review and rating system as to clear any confusion that might come across when you read my reviews.

How I Review My Books

Lately I try to adopt a habit of reviewing every book that I read as I become more and more careful in picking books that I really interest to read and review. So when in the future you know that I read certain books on my Goodreads status but you cannot find my review about them then it would mean the books totally do not grab my attention (good or bad) like others do, or I’d probably too busy to review them.

‘I believe reading is a joy and reviewing it is the way to share the joys with others.’

Holding on to this principle of mine, I try to review book as careful as possible. I am always honest within my reviews though sometimes honesty is not always what people want to hear. So I try to be detailed on all of my reviews as to cover both sides of the books vastly, good and bad. Even when I do not really like the book, I always manage to find little details inside it that I find good. This does not mean I make up things; I am just honest and detailed like that. Just remember that almost everything in this world is made of good side and bad side to shape a whole thing as one. So in my opinion there is really no such thing as bad book. You just have not seen its good side.

My reviews contain my sincere opinions about every aspect of the books along with honest thoughts from my personal experiences as a reader. Sometimes I put my own version of brief synopsis of the books on my reviews, but it is not something that I always do. I love to put my reviews in words than pictures or gifs, but when I do include pictures or gifs, it is just to emphasize my feeling and for fun purpose only. I write long reviews and short reviews depending on my degree of laziness at the moment and how excited I am about the book.

There are some reasons for me to really love a book:
  • Smooth writing style,
  • Unique plot,
  • Relatable characters, and
  • Meaningful message(s)/lesson(s) implied.
For a book to be on my ‘favorite-ever-after’ list, they need to have all four of characteristics above on amazing level of quality. Books on this list are those that will definitely earn full rating (five points out of five) from me.

How I Rate My Books

I used to give a lot of 5 stars during my beginning year of reviewing books. But as time goes by, I am thinking of being fairer with my ‘stars’ as majority people on Goodreads notice a book from its rating.

As per 2015, I started to get better with my rating system. And those reviews that were rated fairly in my opinion, I put them all here in this blog. So you know now why I read a lot of books on Goodreads but not many of them are presented in this blog.

Like other reviewers, I adopt 5 stars rating system. Or as per July, it would be 5 flowers rating system (I am using flower icon from
(UPDATE! I'm using book icon now per October 2015 : from Down to Earth Icons)
(UPDATE! Since January 2016 I'm no longer using any kind of icon as rating symbol, lol~)
But unlike other people who would give two or even one point for books they do not like, my lowest rating is three point. I have my own reasons for this.

Besides reading, writing is my other favorite things to do in my spare time. I always dream to be a writer even though my writer block is bigger than my passion most of the time. I also do not have enough braveness to put my finished writing for people to read. When I successfully finished a story, I would just keep it to myself. It is amazed me to see a lot of people out there who’s brave enough to do what I always want to do but cannot bring myself to do; how they are so confident with their works especially their very first works and ready for whatever reaction public would give to them.
And that makes an automatic one point from me for every book published out there.

There are a lot of books out there for readers like me to pick and read then review. When I decide to pick a book out of those hundreds or even thousands of books out there, that’s when the second point is automatically added to the rating.

So, that makes each book that I read earn two points by default. And below is what each rating on the scale means in my system:
3 points
The book is okay. Nothing really special. The characters are hard to relate. It might not be my cup of tea or simply just a light read that does not really imply important message within the story. At some point the book could even be pointless from my perspective as a reader. I might enjoy the book a little.
4 points
The book is great! I enjoy majority of the book. I might slightly have a problem with one of the characters or minor part of the book but the well-built plot or the writing style holds my heart tight with them. The book contains good amount of important lessons on it. I would recommend this book to my friends but might not re-read it in the future.
5 points
The book is total perfection! It’s almost flawless. I love it from title page to acknowledgement. Each character is my favorites. The lessons contained inside… it moves my heart and soul. Reading this book equals experiencing a whole new set of life where I learn a lot of things as if I have lived a hundred year for it. Majority of books with this rating get to enter my ‘favorite-ever-after’ list. I would recommend this book to everyone I meet and will read it over and over again and still could never get enough of it.

Important Note:
I actually do not really care about the rating I give. For me rating is a result and review is a process I go through to conclude a result which is the rating. As people with process-based thinking system, the content of a review is more important for me than its rating. 
That is why you will sometimes find two books with similar ratings, say 5 points, where ‘book 1’ is being tagged as ‘favorite’ and ‘favorite-ever-after’ but ‘book 2’ is only tagged as ‘favorite’.

Well, that’s all!
Though this probably bored you a lot, I hope you read the whole article as not to miss any important thing. I tried to be as detailed as possible so you'll be clear on things like why I never give one or two points for books that I dislike or why most of my reviews seem so long and never-ending.

I know that not many people would agree with how I rate and review my books.
And I truly respect their opinions just like I want others to respect mine because like I said in the beginning of this article, every one has their own style on reviewing and rating the books they've read. My only hope is that once you read and understand this article, you can better judge all of my reviews and enjoy them thoroughly.

Thank you for reading this and enjoy your visit!

Love, read, and review,
Cynthia D.

This article is last updated on January 5, 2016.