Like a lot of reviewers, I use a 5 star rating scale. However, since I don’t review books I don’t like , I have not included the criteria for 1 or 2 stars. As well, since my current theme/template will not allow me to show actual stars, I simply use text to identify the number of stars out of 5.
5 Stars means excellence for me, much like an A grade. All the different elements of a fictional story are present and the characters come alive and seem authentic. In the case of non-fiction, all the details are present and I either respect the author for the work or am inspired.
4 Stars means the book is very good but not quite perfect and I always explain how and why improvements could have been made. However, 4 stars is still a great book.
3 Stars means the book was really good or average but disappointing in some way. Of course, criticism is always subjective. Therefore, I recognize what I consider 3 stars, another reviewer might consider 4. Nevertheless, 3 stars still means I either liked the book or recognize that it was well research and/or well written.