All materials are rated on five star scale with five stars being the best. All five star reviews are not created equal, however. Ratings are given based on expectations of the genre and (when applicable) based on previous books in the series. That said, a five star Young Adult book is not the same as a five star Contemporary story is not the same as a Fantasy novel.
DNF — Did Not Finish. After trying to really to get through the book, I simply had to give up. Can be due to writing style, subject matter, etc. A review will be given with the reason for DNF-ing.
½ — This little guy, the half mark. Usually when I’m torn between ratings, I’ll pop this little guy in. Usually means I really want to mark the book higher, but know it didn’t really feel as good as a book in the higher tier, yet it doesn’t feel as “bad” as a book in the lower tier.
★ — Material left me indifferent, or worse, indignant at having to read through it. Did not enjoy, but it was not so bad that I could not finish the book. Can be due to writing style, character/plot development, higher expectations.
★★ — Story was okay and did not feel like a waste of time. Didn’t dislike it, but couldn’t really love it to recommend to others. Usually has decently fleshed out characters and plot. May have problems with substance or be misleading in its synopsis/promotional materials leading to unfair expectations.
★★★ — I liked it and feel like others interested in that genre/style will as well! Usually well paced with an interesting plot, these books are thoroughly enjoyable, though still have a few issues that keep it from reaching higher. Usually due to books in a series that did not feel as though it furthered the overall arc of the series, or books that spend the majority of their time setting up the background for future books. Also applicable to books that I found enjoyable but would not normally be the target audience for.
★★★★ — Fantastic book! Could not put it down. Everything tends to flow easily, characters are relateable and likeable. Writing is solid. Just shy of maximum rating, possibly due to genre mostly due to its impact on me.
★★★★★ — AMAZING! These books leave me thinking about them for a LONG time and really had me feel something. These books have me invested in the story, the character, the world. Will likely be re-read multiple times and are actively recommended to everyone regardless of genre preference. Might I have cried? Might I have gotten angry? Probably. These five star books just hit me mighty powerfully and make me feel like a better reader for having read them. *Books in a series are a little different as they might get a five star rating due to being the best in that series where I already have a built in relationship with the characters and the world.