How We Rate Books
There are loads of different ways to rate books. We happen to like ours. Below, you’ll find a brief description for each Book Rating category and what kinds of books fall into them. Additionally, the internet kind of forces us to conform to a percentage-based rating system, so each of the rating categories has also been associated with a given number of stars (1 through 5). We still like our own ratings though, and so that’s what you’ll see highlighted across the site. Here we go:
Books We Love (5/5 Stars): These are books that are awesome. They are well-written, typically have great characters, and tell an engaging story that makes us remember them long after we’ve turned the last page. We will crow from the rooftops about any and all of these books, and actively suggest that our readers go buy them, so the authors who wrote these amazing novels will be able to keep writing more.
Books We Like (4/5 Stars): These books are good reads that just didn’t quite push all our buttons. They typically have some minor issues with the writing, or the story-telling, or the characters, but were still able to leave us with a favorable opinion by the end of the book. We fully expect that people will enjoy these books and encourage others to read them.
Books We Like… and Hate (3/5 Stars):These books have all of the hallmarks of the “Books We Like” category, but also have aspects that really annoyed us, enough so that they overcame our ability to fully enjoy the book. In the end, the book had enough things we liked that kept them out of the “Books that are Mediocre” category. This category came about expressly because of this dichotomy, and we’ve never looked back.
Books that are Mediocre (3/5 Stars): These books are perfectly decent. After all, someone actually bought them for publication, yeah? However, the writing in these books doesn’t necessarily pull them up out of the miasma of other books with the potential to qualify for your time and money. Those things are precious to us and we figure they’re precious to our readers, as well.
Books We Don’t Like (2/5 Stars): These books ultimately had enough in them that we didn’t like to have overshadowed all of the other positive aspects of the book. They will often have some aspects that are good, but are predominantly filled with things that bother us or that ruined the overall reading experience.
Books We Hate (1/5 Stars): We try not to give out too many in this category–mostly because it annoys us to waste time on books like these. Essentially, receiving a hate rating from us means there were little to no redeeming aspects of the book. These will typically be poorly written, poorly told, or poorly something-elsed that absolutely killed the book for us. We usually recommend that people avoid these books.
Also, because books don’t always fall exactly in line with these star-ratings, we allow ourselves a little wiggle room and will occasionally give a book a bump up or down in the actual numbered rating. This won’t make any difference to the rating categories that we use (Books We Love, Books We Like, etc), but will translate over to what our readers see on Google Search Results. For those that are interested, we’ll tack on +/- 0.4 stars, if we feel the story deserves it.
Interested in seeing our rating spread? We have a page set up just for you: Book Ratings Breakdown
In the end, just remember that these are our opinions. If you have an opinion different than ours… you’re obviously wrong. 🙂 No. In all seriousness, everyone should have an opinion about what they read, and the point is to find someone whose opinions you agree with and then look to them for recommendations on what to read in the future. That’s kind of the point of this book reviewing gig. If you have an opinion about a book we’ve read, we’d love to hear it. Feel free to make comments on the review. Just remember to be respectful. We try to keep it that way around here, even if we do come off as a little hoity-toity every once in a while.
In addition to giving all of the books we read and review a rating, we also try to give our readers a couple more things.
The first thing we give our readers is a decent idea of what kind of potentially offensive content is in a book. We’ve split this into the typical categories you see for other things, like movies: Language, Violence, and Sex. If you’re one that likes to know what you’re about to get into, this can literally be a money- and time-saver. If you don’t care, then this is just extraneous material and you can safely ignore it.
The second thing we try to relay is a general age range to which the story fits. Where it’s fairly easy to say, “Yeah, that book had a lot of profanity in it,” or, “I don’t even think there was a bloody nose in that one,” trying to pick an age range can be a little more subjective. So, don’t take these age range suggestions we’re handing out as hard-and-fast. Again, lots of potentially offensive content? Easy: 18+. Ten year-old protag? Again, simple: 10+. Fourteen year-old protag with lots of sexual content in it? Erm… 16+? 17+? Like I said, it can sometimes be subjective. Still, we like to try, and we like to think that our readers appreciate it.
Last, our illustrious leader and founder of Elitist Book Reviews, Steve Diamond, once wrote up a brilliant editorial on How to Review Books the EBR Way. It’s something we try to stick to here at EBR because we think that this is an awesome way to do things. You should read his words of wisdom if you want to understand us. And if you write book reviews yourself? This is some great reference material in general for you to follow. At least we think so. 🙂
Hope this has helped clear up any questions you had about the way we do things here at EBR. If not, feel free to drop us a question or comment below. In the end, getting lots of free books and reading them are just the perks of this job. We really do all this for our readers. Well, that and because it’s so much dang fun.