I never paid too much attention to book ratings. I joined Goodreads a couple of years ago now, which was way before I began reviewing books. I didn't even notice their rating scale (like, dislike, etc.) back then, although it is obvious. Two stars clearly means you disliked a book.
The thing is, I barely gave two-star ratings. I didn't want to be mean. I write myself, and so I thought it was harsh and surely for even writing a book an author deserved a little credit. Writing is hard!
When I didn't like a book I would give it three stars and if I did write about it, my review would be sugar-coated. I would say it was good but . . . And it was difficult for me to express my dislike, because I worried too much about the author, or those readers who liked a book, and hurting their feelings.
Maybe I'm just done sugar-coating things. As a person, not just a reviewer, I've realized a bit of a change in myself lately when it comes to making things I don't like sound pretty and nice to avoid hurting feelings. I'm not saying I plan to be hurtful or cruel in my reviews or elsewhere, but I do plan to be more honest.
I want to clear up that I don't recall ever lying in a review. However, I do think we've all been to the place where we boost a rating because it's a lesser-known book and we think the author might see. Or because it's a popular book and we should have liked it.
Anyway, my main goal for this post is to explain my rating system now, as compared to before. Because three stars used to mean, I don't like this book. It also used to sometimes mean, this book is okay. I would like to be more clear than that from now on.
1 star - I can't stand the book. Most likely, some part was very offending or awfully written.
2 stars - I didn't like the book, but didn't hate it. It just wasn't for me.
3 stars - The book is okay, but I find it to be forgettable and pretty average.
4 stars - I really liked the book, but it had its flaws.
5 stars - This book was fantastic. It really touched me or has possibly become a new favorite. It's a book I know will stick with me for awhile.