My reviews--and ratings-- are subjective, and since they are based on my personal reaction to a book, they are inherently rather quixotic.
My ratings are especially variable, as they consist of some combination of my enjoyment of the book, my belief about its objective merits, and, I must admit, my mood at the time of rating and writing. I tend to rate books with respect to their genres, which means that a 5* in urban fantasy does not imply it is a 5* in literature or a 5* in nonfiction.
In terms of reviewing, I consider worldbuilding, characters, and plot to be the most important aspects of a story, and while I will sometimes discuss writing style, it's usually in terms of how it shapes characters rather than the beauty of the language itself. I try extremely hard to avoid open spoilers in my reviews, which includes any details of the plot past approximately 10% of the book. (Even with that 10%, I'll try to be careful.) I do like discussing my full reactions to the books, so before you open one of my hidden spoilertags, know that it may be hiding a "Luke-I-am-your-father" or "the-butler-did-it" variety of spoiler.
Please let me know if you think I've spoiled something--I'll correct it as soon as possible.
I generally don't discuss formatting issues or mild typographic or grammatical errors in my reviews. Even with my advanced reader copies, I generally read only big-six or strong indie publishers, so I haven't encountered the grammatical disasters that some other reviewers have mentioned. If I run into formatting problems in an ARC, I generally don't mention them because (a) I don't consider them relevant to the discussion of the book, and (b) I feel quite certain that they will be corrected before publication. I will only mention them if they actually inhibited my ability to read the book.
In terms of ratings, here's roughly what each numeric value corresponds to.
- 5: This could mean "fantastically enjoyable," "incredibly creative," and/or "my mind was blown." I'll be rereading it and lining up the author's other works as quickly as I can.
- 4.5: I consider the book outstanding, but I still perceived some flaws or issues. I will definitely be hunting down the author's other works.
- 4: Thoroughly enjoyable. If this is a series, I'll probably find the next book.
- 3.5: Enjoyable, but either not quite my thing or with some perceived flaws that decreased my enjoyment.
- 3: I don't regret reading it, but I may not read the author again.
- 2.5: Not for me, but I still see some objective merit in the book.
- 2: I really did not enjoy this.
- 1: Nope. Consider this an extremely strong anti-recommendation.