Up front, I need to tell you: three stars is positive. Two stars is “okay.”
While I use the usual five star rating scale, I am more rigorous with my ratings in 2014. Previously, a book I liked got four stars, now it gets only three.
I made that alteration so that my four and five star ratings really meant something. I don’t want to be one of those raters who gives only 1 and 5 star ratings, then whines because the scale is so resistive.
I also apply what I variously call the 50-page and the 100 page test. As Frank Zappa said, “So many books, so little time.” Some books are so bad that I quit them within the first ten pages; those you’ll never hear about–I delete them from my database. But some books seemed to have enough quality that I soldiered through 50 or 100 pages (depending on the length of the book and the deepness of my exasperation) before I quit. Those I tend to write reviews on. (So far, those reviews are only posted on Goodreads.com.)
I have no special credentials for reviewing books other than liking to read. I am a college graduate. I’ve read thousands (of documented) novels and hundreds of non-fiction books. I’ve attended half a dozen writing conferences as I struggled to learn the craft myself. I know from first-hand experience that it’s harder than it looks. Few of us can be Tolkiens or Rothfusses; in fact, I’d settle for producing the page-turning excitement of a David Weber space opera.
Likewise, I have no special credential for reviewing movies; I probably see many fewer than the average American.
So, my ratings are conservative but, I hope, informed.