Top 5 Reasons I Rate a Book 5 Stars

I’ve been waiting to do this topic for a while now and thought that the beginning of the year was the perfect time. Book ratings are a bit of a controversial thing. You could have two books, both having the exact same elements and styles, but one is a 4 star and the other is 5. Why is that? Books can be similar in their formats and elements, but one of them has something special above the other. It’s time to explore why we rate the books the way we do!

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme where I explore different topics. If you are interested in participating I would love to have you! Here is a list of my Upcoming Topics in January – please remember to ping back a specific post of mine so I get a notification and I will add you to the participants list!


A book doesn’t have to be 100% character driven for me to love it, but I at least have to have a connection with the characters. They need to be well developed and I need to feel like they’re a real person. I love it when we get different character perspectives so that we get their emotions and thought process. It also helps to see the situations from different angles and immerses you deeper into the story. I also love it when characters are complete opposites from each other! I don’t know why but there’s something great about a character who is bold and rude paired up with one who is quiet and reserved.

Some great examples of this are:


A book doesn’t need to take off like a rocket and stay that way for me to love it. Let’s be honest – it’s rare to find a book that is fast paced the whole way through. There’s always usually a lull somewhere. I actually like slow burning books just as much as I like fast paced ones! The key though – consistency. If the highs are too high and the lows are too low, then I find myself getting disconnected. Slow and steady wins the race for me 🙂

Some great examples of this are:


I am an absolute sucker for a unique element. Tell me there’s a space ship that delivers whiskey – I’m in. Tell me that there are men made of wax who patrol the city – shit yes. If it’s creative and unique, then you’ve got me hooked. Just like companies use a catch phrase for marketing, authors can use an element to make me interested. BUT – this unique element must be a focal point throughout the ENTIRE story! Don’t just mention it in a few chapters then forget it because I’ll forget your book! These elements are things that can turn an otherwise familiar story into something that stands out from the rest!

Some great examples of this are:


I think we can all agree that a book that hits you in the emotions is one that sticks with us for a long time. Some of my favourite books made me sob like a child having an utter meltdown after being told they couldn’t have a cookie. But it’s not just tears of sadness that get to me – it’s tears of joy too! Any time where a book can throw in humour (either through characters or narration) tends to stick with me longer than most. Because of my anxiety it’s really hard to get me to laugh, so those ones I might even appreciate most!

Some great examples of this are:


Some people don’t like a lot of world building but, for me at least, info dumping is like candy – I can never get enough! If it’s done well of course lol. I love the rich descriptions that allow me to build the setting in my mind. It also helps create an atmosphere that you can lose yourself in. Is it magical, cold, warm, outdoors, in space, in the city, historical….. the list goes on!

Some great examples of this are:



Laughing Listener ——— Anxious Nachos ——— Wonderwall
The Punk Theory ——— The Secret Library ——— Realms Of My Mind
Birdie Bookworm ——— Rae’s Reads and Reviews ——— Comfort Reads
A Fictional Bookworm ——— Ace Reader ——— Jillian The Bookish Butterfly
Books On The Brain ——— Kristin Kraves Books ——— Synopses By Sarge
Kyera’s Library ——— Books Are 42 ——— Hail and Well Read
Tay’s Infinite Thoughts ——— Bookishly Rebecca ——— My Year Of Reading Dangerously
Hanna Reads ——— Kayla’s Wordsmithy ——— Zezee With Books
Elysa Reads It All ——— Strange Storyteller ——— Beware Of The Reader
Half Wild Books ——— CJR The Brit


There are so many other things that I could add to the list but these are the 5 best examples of what I consider when rating a book. What are the main things that you look for in a 5 star read?

Until next time, happy reading!

21 Comments Add yours

  1. I swear that I agree 100% with you on each point, especially on connecting with the characters, that’s so important for me & I LOVE atmospheric stories 😍💫

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree so much on pacing. I love how you included examples, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Birdie says:

    Uniqueness, for sure! I was reading your blurb and my brain was thinking of A Darker Shade of Magic. I agree with you completely.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t read A Darker Shade of Magic yet…… I’m terrified I’ll hate it!


      1. Birdie says:

        I would be SHOCKED!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. CJR The Brit says:

    Great points! Mine has just posted 😁


  5. Beware Of The Reader says:

    I really love that characters aside we have other elements making us give 5 stars Shanah! As usual, I am late and here is my post…


  6. I love this list, I completely agree with everything. When I was writing mine, I didn’t even think about pacing, but you’re so right, consistency is always better. And I’m a complete sucker for unique elements too!! Let’s please make whiskey spaceships an actual thing 😂


  7. savb says:

    This was such a fun topic and I loved seeing everyone’s rating process and thoughts.

    I agree with all your points! I hadn’t thought of the unique element part because I can absolutely read a book that isn’t 100% unique but it definitely helps if there’s an element that stands out from other stories.


  8. evelynreads1 says:

    Uniqueness and constant pacing are such good points!


  9. Pacing is a big thing for me too! I’m actually not a big fan of slow burns but I don’t like stories that move too fast either, I have a set sweet spot ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Shanah, these are all great reasons! Honestly, the pacing one really hit me. Slow pacing doesn’t necessarily mean BAD pacing, and I’m with you about consistency. As long as it doesn’t slingshot around, then the pacing is probably halfway decent! And frankly, slow pacing used right can be DEVASTATING in the best way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow. You said this perfectly!!!!! Seriously couldn’t have said this better myself


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