Five stars – Excellent (A). If I were told to pick books to take with me to a desert island, these are the ones I would take. Often, the authors are the ones whose new hard-cover books I would pre-order at Amazon.com. Guy Gavriel Kay and Robin McKinley are two of them. October Daye novels by Seanan McGuire, Kate Daniels novels by Ilona Andrews, Fever series by Karen Marie Moning, Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnet, Downside books by Stacia Kane, and “Good Omens” by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman are there.
Four stars – Good (B). Would recommend to others. Want them on my bookshelf at home, and will buy these books at Amazon.com in paperback (since they are usually hard to find at Half-Price books). Most of J.D. Robb’s “In Death” series books would go there, and so will the Lady Julia Grey novels by Deanna Raybourn. Also most of Terry Pratchett books. Ditto Sharon Shinn, Louis McMaster Bujold, Elizabeth Moon, Connie Willis, and Glen Cook’s Garrett PI series.
Three stars – Average (C). Writing was enjoyable, time went by quickly, but I am not seized with desire to run out and buy the author’s back list. Will check out other books by the author from the library, or pick them up at Half-Price books if I am trying to complete the series. Most books fall into this category.
Two stars – Bad (D). Either the writing was clunky, or plot holes abounded, or protagonists were not likable (or all of the above). Some times, the book is just weak compared to the author’s other works. Case in point: “Undead and Unwelcome” by MaryJanice Davidson. The first book in the series (“Undead and Unwed”) was a 4-star for me, the second (“Undead and Unemployed”) a 3-star, and the rest are in the 2-star category.
One star – Aweful (F). Writing is horrible, plot non-existent, protagonists inspire hatred. (The latter Anita Blake books are firmly in this camp.) Somewhere, trees weep at the horrible use their brethren and sistren were put to. Won’t read anything else by this author unless there is a good reason; books recommended by this author are automatically suspect.
No stars – Did not finish the book (DNF). Because maybe it’s wonderful and all, but I just couldn’t get into it. Or it could be horrible, but once again, I did not bother to finish. Who knows. For example, I could not finish Justine Larbalestier’s “How to Ditch Your Fairy.” The book got good reviews from others, it just didn’t click for me this time around.