Everyone rates books slightly differently, and different star ratings mean different things to different people. Hopefully this list will give you an idea of what's in my head when I rate a book a certain way.
(Note: Links below are to my corresponding Goodreads shelves.)
5+ Stars: New Favourite - Everything I've mentioned for my 5 star rating applies, but sometimes a book comes along that exceeds all the other 5 star ratings I've given in the past, and that's where this rating comes in. Also, I have a section of my bookcases dedicated just for my favourite reads, so if I own a physical copy of the book it'll be perched, quite literally, on my favourites shelf.
5 Stars: Perfection! - I reserve this rating for those books that leave a lasting impression on me, or is extra unique or special in some way. Essentially, it has the perfect balance of everything I look for in a book: well developed and engaging characters, awesome world-building, perfect pacing that engages from beginning to end and story arcs I'm completely invested in.
4.5 Stars: I Loved It! - As the name suggests, the books I truly loved reside with this rating. I've gotten quite stingy with my 5 star ratings over the years, and my 4 and 4.5 star ratings are my 'go-to' ratings for books I've really enjoyed and would highly recommend to everyone.
4 Stars: Really Liked It- Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Yeah, there might have been a few minor issues stopping me from rating it higher, but it didn't impact negatively on my overall enjoyment of the story. It's definitely worth a read!
3.5 Stars: I Liked It - Self-explanatory, really - I liked it! As to why I liked it, well, that'll vary from book to book and if I've written a review I'll mention what I specifically enjoyed the most. As to recommending reading it, if the synopsis sounds intriguing to you then you'll probably enjoy it.
3 Stars: Good - These are those good, solid reads that I did enjoy reading at the time, but they don't stand out from other books in their genre. Would I recommend it? Yes… up to a point. Maybe keep expectations in check and it'll be more enjoyable?
2.5 Stars: Just Okay - This is my middle of the road rating. It was alright, but nothing terribly special. There were some good moments, but the things that bothered me may have overshadowed the positive. Would I recommend it? Maybe… but, in my opinion, there are better reads out there.
2 Stars: Meh - You know that feeling of déjà vu when you feel like you've read the book before, only it had a different cover? Or after you finish the last page you feel exactly nothing? Or maybe even indifference? Well, for me, those book usually end up with this rating. Recommend it? Honestly, you won't be missing much if you skip it.
1.5 Stars: Not Great - Disappointment would be my overall feeling for these books, but there is probably a multitude of different reasons why I disliked it so much. Something was stopping me from outright hating the book, but I had a lot of issues with it. I wouldn’t recommend it.
1 Star: I Hated It - Hate is a strong word, so maybe extreme dislike would be a better option? Anyway, this book and I, well, we didn't get along. At all. If I've written a review for it, prepare for quite a bit of ranting! Would I recommend it? Hahahaha… No.
DNF: Did Not Finish - Self-explanatory, really. I didn't finish reading the book. I do my best to finish reading all the books I start, but there comes a point where I admit defeat and walk away. Sometimes I do mini-DNF "reviews" to share the specifics on why I decided to stop reading.