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2023 Book Rating System

New year, new rating system???

It's not a secret that I always struggle with rating the books I read. I know whether I loved or liked a book, and I know when something might work but isn't for me. But when it comes to assigning a rating (who among us hasn't struggled with the 5-star system?!) and a heat level, something always falls short for me.

And who am I if not overcomplicated and a lover of too much data?

So, this year, I will be rating each book separately for:

  • Overall Rating - this is the number I'll put on Goodreads

  • Romance Rating - specific to the romance itself, whether or not the book is romance-genre

  • Heat Rating - need I say more?

  • Kink Rating - I'm separating this one out because kink and heat aren't necessarily tied to each other. Kink isn't inherently sexual, and it isn't inherently romantic. One book that really exemplified the need for this separation for me was Love Limits by Reese Morrison. It's got fantastic kink rep, and the kink is central to the story. The romance is fantastic. BUT there's no sex. One of the characters is panromantic and asexual. Having a "spice" rating alone wasn't cutting it for that review, so here we are.

  • Dark/Taboo Rating - I don't read much dark or taboo romance, so we'll see how much this gets used

Before I get into the ratings themselves, I want to preface that Overall Rating is the only one where the higher number is better and the rating ties directly to my enjoyment. I'll be throwing a "0" rating into the other categories for books that intentionally do not have romance, heat, kink, or dark/taboo elements.

Overall Rating:

aka the Goodreads review

5 - Absolutely loved it, a potential monthly or annual favorite

4 - Loved it and will definitely read more from this author

3 - Enjoyed it and would recommend

2 - Not for me or forgettable

1 - DNF (specifically for being problematic or offensive)

Romance Rating:

5 - Central romance & I would die to protect this couple

4 - Central romance & I adore the couple together

3 - Romance or romantic subplot are satisfying

2 - Romantic subplot is minimal/overshadowed, or I didn't like them as a couple

1 - I hated them as a couple. This is me rooting against the HEA (or not believing it)

0* - No romance or romantic subplot by design

Heat Rating:

5 - Sex central to the story, multiple scenes, open door, very hot

4 - Sex important to the story, multiple open door scenes, memorable

3 - 1+ explicit, open-door scene

2 - Closed door or fade to black

1 - Scenes existed, but they were not for me. Either I skimmed or I didn't like them

0* - No scenes by design

Kink Rating:

5 - Kink central to story, good rep, memorable

4 - Kink important to story, good rep, memorable

3 - Light kink, good rep

2 - Mostly vanilla

1 - Bad kink rep

0* - No kink by design


aka the rating I'm least likely to need

5 - Too dark for me

4 - As dark or taboo as I can handle (tbh, I don't know where this line is)

3 - Gray / Taboo

2 - Light gray / mild taboo

1 - Very mild taboo (brother's best friend) or dark vibes where the MC's never treat each other badly

0* - Not dark or taboo at all by design

That's it for now! Do you have a system for rating your books? Or do you just go by vibes, general impressions, and how you're feeling that day?

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