Why my reviews don’t come with star ratings

I will give a book a star rating on Goodreads or Amazon, but when it comes to my blog and my reviews for WatchPlayRead, I’ve been leaving stars and letter grades out. I’ve been focusing on whether I recommend the book or not, and if so, to whom. For example, I might say a particular book would be enjoyed by fans of paranormal romance or anyone that enjoyed Buffy the Vampire Slayer.




I feel that star reviews are too simple and oftentimes, do not do the book justice. I may give a book a 5-star review but that doesn’t mean everyone and their mother is going to enjoy it as much as I did. I also don’t want readers to focus on the star rating. I want them to read the negative and the positive within the review and then decide for themselves.

Also, my criteria for what makes a 5-star book may be different from yours. I feel a great book has something new to say about what it is to be human. A great book also evokes emotion: good or bad. I don’t need to love the characters to appreciate a book, but the characters do need to be authentic and well-written.

Now I want to hear from you! Do star ratings help you to decide if you want to read a book or are you fine without them? Would you enjoy my reviews more if I included some sort of rating system?


27 thoughts on “Why my reviews don’t come with star ratings”

  1. I know I’m approximately ten years late to replying, but here’s my ten cents:

    I like star ratings because unless you as a reviewer have a set regimen that you review by discussing every single pro and every single con, I like to get a little variety. That being said, sometimes I myself as a reviewer will review a book and discuss only the points I didn’t like all that much but still give it 3 or 4 stars. Conversely, sometimes I’ll review a one-star and discuss the things I DID like.

    I’ve seen other reviewers do this as well.

    Honestly, though, it’s all a matter of personal preference. I also like the “would/wouldn’t recommend” method; it forces me to actually read the review, whereas stars are such a shortcut that sometimes I won’t read the entire review (especially if it’s boring).

    So, yeah, to-may-to, to-mah-to.

    1. I like your ten cents! It is way more than most people’s two cents! 🙂

      When I read other people’s reviews I’m not usually concerned with how they rated it or even if they liked it. Sometimes the synopsis alone will make me want to read the book regardless of what they thought or if they say it was too silly or dark then a lot of times I will think, “hey, I’m silly and I like dark stuff. I will probably like this book.”

      I’m more inclined to pay attention to a star review or care about what the reviewer thought if it’s someone that I know has similar tastes than me.

      1. Well the reviews I was are pretty much only from blogs I’ve shared views with in the past or whose differing opinions I respect, so when I read a review it’s on a book I either never had any interest in, am already interested in or will debate my interest in depending on the what the review mentions about it.

        Case in point: a blog I follow but don’t share views with per so read a book about a party girl with lots of drugs and stupid antics. She hated it, but it sounded right up my alley. So that she gave it 1 star gave me a good idea of just how much she hated it – enough that I just might love it haha!

        Kind of an extreme example but a very true story. It was Wild Awake. 😛

        1. I’m the same way. Most of my friends and blogs I follow hated Gone Girl because they thought it was too dark. I saw those reviews and thought: challenge accepted 🙂

  2. I usually don’t pay attention to the ratings, but to the facts the reviewer has presented. I’ve learned through experience that I should form my own opinion. You’re absolutely positively right when you say that one person’s criteria for a 5-star book might be different than another’s.

    Great post! This topic is going to be on the brain for a while 😀

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