Figuring out My Ratings – What’s Up with the Strawberries & Content Warnings?

How in the world are you supposed to figure out how to rate books? And what do my ratings even mean?
Are they just random? Throw in stars, my feelings, mix it up and out comes a review?

Not quite that easy. 

I love rating books. But sometimes, well, maybe alot of the time, I feel conflicted. I may love the characters, the plot, the emotion. But there’s something else weird going on. Too much cursing, too much violence, too much sensuality.

And how should touchy stuff affect the rating? My professors like to call this stuff ‘objectionable elements’ How do you even start talking about that stuff?

But I think I’ve finally figured out how to do this. *happydance*

Here’s what’s going to happen. I’ll give books ratings based on a scale of 1 to 5 strawberries! Because, why stars when you can do strawberries? And of course, the more strawberries, the happier.

^Also, the best books are just chocolate covered strawberries.^

And then I’ll also include content ratings. We’ll discuss that after chatting about my rating system. Deal? Deal. 

my rating system

5 strawberries

The stars aligned. The last dream of my soul. Strawberry shortcake with lots of whip cream

5 strawberries is a big deal. These are my absolute favorite books. Books I can read again and again.

These books have characters I adore. A fun plot – either super easy to understand or so complicated it’s mind-blowing amazing. And a satisfying end. Nothing iffy – my love for these treasures is whole-hearted.

Maybe, Kindred Spirits?

These books are sweet friends. I’ll probably reread them, but I’m not raving about them. Maybe the plot was a little slow, the characters just a tad stale. Or the ending might have been a let down.
Could they have reached 5 strawberries? Maybe. Maybe not.

“A regrettable choice of words”

Ok, maybe quoting Magnus Bane is cheating. But it works, right?

So about these books… There’s potential to be a favorite. But it just fell short. I didn’t connect to the characters. Or the story. Or style. But I can see why other people like it. I can see how the story can be improved. And I get why people love the style.

But in the end, it’s not something I’ll pick up again. And I’m iffy about recommending it.

Just not that into you. Go away.

Meh, could have been worse. It’s not the worst, but it could have been the literal worst. Instead, it’s a forgettable read. And what’s worse than a forgettable read? It’s like small talk. <PAINFUL>

I’m not recommending it. I’m not talking about it. It just exists. And I’d really prefer to forget I read it.

Burn my eyes. Clog my ears. Drown the pages. 

This is the worst book. The only thing I like about this rating is I can rant. And I will rant. #gingersnap I will rant and rage, and fume and fuss.

I don’t give out zero stars, and 1-stars are rare. If I give something a 1 star rating, it’s because I really, really disliked it.

Life get’s tricky here. I’m just going to be blanket honest about content ratings – we’re going from crystal clean books to super messy, dark books.


Rare use of mild language.

Common use of mild language, such as s***, d****, a**

Rare use of fairly offensive language. Cursing, racial slurs, sexual language.

Language frequent.

Heavy use of swearing, offensive language.



Rare instances of violence

Mild, common violence

Heavy common violence

Rare graphic violence.

  Frequent graphic violence


Some kissing?

Mild, light. Romantic.

More innuendo

More suggestive, edgy scenes

Intense sensuality, graphic scenes.


Referenced abuse

Verbal abuse

Emotional abuse

Manipulation, suggested violence, spiritual abuse

Graphic, childhood abuse, sexual abuse


And I think that about covers everything! Hope all that information helps explain my crazy little mind. 🙂

Happy Reading!

Elizabeth signature