Dear Diary: Confessions From A Blogger (9) 3 Star Reviews

We all know what goes on behind the scenes at our own blogs but rarely do we lift the curtain and share those experiences with others. Dear Diary: Confessions From A Blogger stems from the curiosity. This week I want to talk about 3 Star Reviews.

Here is my Confession:

Earlier this week I was reading a conversation on Twitter regarding 3 Star Reviews. I didn't follow it closely but the consensus was some people thought a 3 Star Review meant the book received a negative rating. I found this completely odd since for me 3 Stars means I liked it but the book didn't particularly wow me. 3 Stars for me is middle of the road. The book isn't great nor is it bad, it is just good.

Personally, I find 3 Star reviews are the hardest to write. In fact I probably spend double the amount of time writing them then books I love or hate. Why you ask? Well it's simple. When I love a book it is easy to pin point specific details that wow me. This might be the story, characters, world building or a combination of all three. On the flip side when I hate a book it is easy to say x,y and z are why I didn't like said book, and this is why I am rating it this way.

The problem I have is when the book is middle of the road. I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to just write meh or it was good and leave it at that. Course that wouldn't be very entertaining to read now would it? I always feel that when I rate a book 3 Stars I have to have a disclaimer somewhere within the review saying this book isn't bad, it is just not really memorable. Good, but not great. I never want a potential reader to think just because I give the book in question 3 Stars it means I don't recommend they read it. However, on the rare occasion that I have rated a book 3 Stars and not recommended it I have always stated my reason why clearly within the review.

I suppose what this weeks confession comes down to is I can see in some small way why a reviewer not loving or hating a book could lead to some people thinking a 3 Star review is negative although I certainly don't agree with doing so. I choose to view these reviews as ways the Author/story could use improvement. The reader/reviewer obviously liked your book since they rated it 3 Stars but they also did find things that bothered them or felt could be improved upon. That's not a negative it is constructive criticism! In fact, I find when I rate a book 3 Stars more often then not I enjoy the sequel more! One such book I can remember this happening with is Swipe by Evan Angler. The first book was just OK and I rated it accordingly but the sequel Sneak was WOW!! I loved it, so good. Now of course I'm not arrogant enough to think my criticism alone helped make the next book better but it couldn't have hurt it right??

I guess what I am mainly trying to say is that just because a book is 3 Stars doesn't mean an Author has failed to impress their audience. Average no matter which way one looks at it doesn't mean bad, least in this readers/reviewers world anyway.

Now that you've read my confession, Tell me some of yours:

What do you think of 3 Star Reviews? 
Do you see them as negative, positive or a mixture of both?
Have you ever been criticized for rating a book 3 stars?

Leave your responses in the comments below, I love reading them. Have a question? Leave that as well and I'll try and answer it.
That about wraps up this weeks confessions from a blogger.  Thanks for stopping by and reading,sharing, or commenting on this post. As always, it is appreciated.


  1. YES TO THIS. I don't see 3 star reviews as a negative or bad review of a book (unless said reviewer reviews this way since others have unique ratings) but like you, 3 stars for me is just an "I like this, but I didn't love it, but it wasn't bad" I think people think that anything less than a 4 is undesirable.

    1. Yes!! I've never understood that viewpoint. Not every book can be this great,epic read sometimes they are just middle of the road. I don't love it, but I don't hate it either.

  2. I also found out about this popular view on 3 star reviews. The other day, a tour organizer was asking reviewers to really consider before giving a 3 star rating. She said a 3 star means "meh". I was like WTF. Even on Goodreads, it means "I liked it", I think. Three to me means that it was okay. Nothing to rave about, but certainly worth a read still. Like you, it's my "middle of the road" rating. Everyone has their own rating system, which readers should be able to understand (ie. Annotations of your rating.

    Interesting post!

    1. I definitely don't understand why the sudden increase in 3 Stars mean it's not good. I'd ask the Author would they rather I rate it down to a 2 because if I rate it a 3 rarely would I vote up, I'd more than likely go down.

  3. On my site, a 3 star rating: "Definitely enjoyed the story enough to see what else the author has written. Stalker tendencies alerted."

    A 3 star rating is middle of the road. I liked the story enough to check out what else the author has written or to read a follow up to what I've read. I see it as a good rating because my interest has been piqued.

    1. 3 Stars also means I will read the next book in the series and enjoyed the Author enough to check out other stuff they might have written.

  4. For me a 3 star rating does tend to be a bit more negative so this is a great example of how different ratings mean different things to different people. I really struggle with these reviews too-any book that doesn't impact me hard (whether negatively or positively) can be tough to review.

  5. As an author, I don't find 3 stars to be negative at all. I guess I go by the Goodreads definition of "I liked it." I often rate books three stars that I liked, but didn't absolutely fall in love with the story.

    1. This. Exactly my view on 3 stars as well. In my world, you're still doing fine on 3 stars. Only on 2-1 stars are we entering do-not-want territory.

      ~ Lindie

    2. Since most sites do 1-5 Star ratings 3 is definitely still in like territory.

  6. I feel the same way that you do when I write 3 star reviews. For me I take 3 stars as an average rating. Not bad but, not great, just ok. I tend to use 3 stars when I though that a book was just in the middle.

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven

  7. I agree that 3 star reviews are harder to write. Sometimes I feel like I need to justify why I didn't love it, but truthfully sometimes you just enjoy a book without loving it. That's not a bad thing. And 3 stars isn't a bad rating in my opinion.


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