In many ways star rankings are a waste. Look at the 1-Star reviews on Amazon for the free, public domain version of your favorite classic literature – something like “A Scarlet Letter” or “A Tale of Two Cities.” Review those that actually discuss the book content rather than formatting issues. Are these people wrong? Are you wrong? No, you just have different taste. A good review will give a reader an idea of whether they’ll like a book or not. How well the reviewer liked the book is secondary. Many 1-Star reviews describe a book that sounds perfect to someone else.
However I post some of my reviews to other sites that require them. Since I can’t skip them entirely I save the star ranking until last to de-emphasize them. A component of assigning the star ranking is based on my personal taste, however no book will be ranked 3-star or lower based purely on taste. Books with these rankings will have clear flaws. The following is a rough indication of what each of the rankings mean to me.
5-star: An excellent book. If the description, review, and genre appeal to you don’t hesitate to buy.
4-star: A good book. Recommended.
3-star: A decent book. Although some people may love it, this book has significant flaws. These could be technical (formatting, bad editing) and/or issues with the story. What these are should be apparent from the review.
2-star: A poor book. Serious flaws, but not without some positive qualities.
1-star: A very poor book.
Each review has several sections. At the top is basic information about the book including links to purchase the book in Kindle format from Amazon as well as the cheapest paper (DTB) format from Amazon if available.
Author: A brief bio of the author, normally with a link to the author’s website.
Description: A brief description of the book.
Appraisal: This is the meat of the review. My overall impressions of the book and how well I think the author did telling the story.
FYI: Included here will be things that might be pertinent in an individual’s decision to purchase a book, but are a matter of taste rather than positive or negative. Examples of items that might be here include a series where not having read the prior books might be preferable, language, or sexual situations. This section will not be included if there is nothing pertinent to report.
Format/Typo Issues: For those books I acquired from Amazon or in an eBook format directly readable by the Kindle this will include notes on any significant formatting issues, proofreading or editing problems, etc. Because of the nature of an eBook these kinds of issues are often corrected when they come to light. Generally speaking any problems of this type I encountered should be the worst you would expect if you purchased the current version of the eBook. If I reviewed a pre-release copy or a file that required conversion prior to reading on the Kindle this section will indicate I could not evaluate these factors.
Star rating: As explained above, this is my personal rating of the book taking into account all factors including my personal taste.