Every person that reviews books does things a bit differently when it comes to rating the books that they've read. Right, wrong, or indifferent, here's how I typically rate books.
This is pretty self-explanatory, yeah? If a book receives this rating, it means that I absolutely loved it. It rocked my world. This is essentially my way of giving books a 5 star rating. Please note, a book does not need to be ENJOYABLE in order for it to receive this reading. I think some of the best books are books that make the reader think, as well as books that challenge the reader. Some of the best books I've ever read have been exceptionally difficult to read. Consider yourself warned.
When a book receives this rating, it means that I liked it well enough. It was a good read--one that I'd suggest you read, but maybe also one that I'd suggest checking out at the library rather than telling you to rush out and buy a copy for yourself. I'm glad to have read it and would recommend it to others.
Look, not every book is every person's cup of tea. A book that receives this rating means that it simply wasn't my style, but that I can understand how others enjoyed it, and that I think it has enough merit that I'm not actively telling you NOT to read it. Just that I didn't prefer it.
This is a book that I disliked enough that I can't in good conscience recommend it to others. Perhaps I had major issues with the characters or storyline. Perhaps I thought the conclusion was lazy. Perhaps the book was filled with misspellings or other things that annoyed me. Regardless, I'm telling you that I disliked it so much that I can't recommend even checking it out at the library.
There are lots of times when I put a book away on the shelf and come back to read it later. Often times, those books become some of my favorites, once I'm finally in the right mood or frame of mind to read them. This rating does NOT describe that situation. This particular rating describes a book that I disliked so much that I elected not to finish it. Perhaps it was even a book that made me so mad that I threw it away instead of donating it to Goodwill. I can think of only a handful of books where this is the case, so I don't anticipate this being a rating that's used particularly often, but we live in interesting times, and anything is possible.
Note: It took me awhile to settle into this system, so if you browse the archives (pre-2017), you'll find several different variations of this system. They're similar, and I think you'll be able to easily see how any of those ratings equate to the current system.