1 Star – Just no. Bad writing, characters and plot. Nothing redeeming.
2 Stars – Not good, but has one redeeming characteristic. Could be a good character, plot line or pacing. But even that one thing can’t save it.
3 Stars – A decent read. Good characters and pacing, but generally has one thing that drags it down a little. Usually formulaic but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. An average read.
4 Stars – A step up from the usual. Great characters and good pacing. Good supporting cast and a well fleshed out world. A book you could re-read.
5 Stars – Oh this book…everything about it just works. Few and far between these books, but when you find them you hold on to them and add them to your stack of precious tomes.
I also use half stars to acknowledge a book in the middle of two rating tiers. I rate based on Plot, Characters, Pacing and Writing (includes world building and feelings). I also have a star rating for the book cover but that does not factor into the content rating.
*No longer used but you will see these quarter stars on old reviews – My ratings also include .25, .50 and .75 after the main rating. These partial ratings are for the feelings invoked by the book. If a book makes me laugh out loud, tear up or cry, get angry on behalf of someone, or the like, it earns partial feelings points.