Ratings In Hue

How do you rate books and other pop culture? Nice question. With care. Not enough of an answer? I understand. 

Nothing’s simple, and neither should book reviews. In a world of readers enamored with using five-stars and gushy reviews without a single critique, I guaranteed my place as an outlier – a rating rogue, if I may. 

Five-stars occasionally happen and one-stars, well, if I one-star a book, it’s because I did not finish (DNF), or if I completed the book, I suffered devastating calamities. In my opinion, these two options should have a limited life online and in print. You want readers to take ratings seriously, and when I venture onto book sites that have too much of these two ratings permeating the book in question, my eyes sweat as they roll to the back of my head.

Yet, I use a system based on fairness, honesty, and a bit of snark. Okay, I use a lot of snark. But, a rating wouldn’t be fun, if you eliminate sarcasm from the mix, right?

Without further adieu, let me present to you my rating system. 

  • 1/5. Harrowing. Not worth the energy, time, or money. Please use those three items to seek another book. I will use this rating if the book’s pretty bad in terms of plot, characters, grammar, and editing. I tend to not use this rating recurrently as I I will “DNF”, or read with thorns on my side to hate review later. Verdict: Recycle the book or burn for kindling. Punishment: One rock in trick or treat bag.


  • 2/5. Throw in the Towel. Just not worth the re-read. Did I waste my time, money, and energy reading this book? Yes. Verdict: Would place on the auction block. Award: Participation award for showing up.


  • 3/5. Peachy Keen. However, I’m not doing cartwheels. Verdict: Entertaining, but not memorable and probably would end up on the auction block to make room for 4’s and 5’s. Good plot, characters, and writing. Award: People’s Choice Award for books.


  • 4/5. Hot Tamale. Memorable. Verdict: Highly recommended. More likely to show on my end of year list. Will do cartwheels for, but not sing an aria. Great plot, characters, and writing. Award: Golden Globe of books.


  • 5/5. The Cat’s Pajamas. Verdict: Groupie for life. I will shout from rooftops, singing the book’s praises. However, I strive not to use often as many 5 star ratings make me nervous to take seriously. Awesome plot, characters, and writing. Award: Oscar of books.

Half-stars are used when warranted.

So, yeah. I hope you can see how serious I take rating books. I’d hate to rate a book with fives stars, only to have someone invest time, money, and energy onto a tome that’s not worth the hype. Over-hyped books without proper thrill delivery hurt readers, reviewers, and publishing. Trust me. I’m seeing this recurrent behavior throughout Goodreads, Youtube (Booktube), and other sites.

I’m grateful to those readers not falling into their sunken places, regarding popular books, as the behavior stifles welcome and sound book discussions.

Do you rate books? If so, care to share? Let me know down below.