My rating system is inspired by Liss over at Shakesville.
As she so eloquently put it, "...So may I humbly suggest replacing "I love you and want to have 10,000 of your babies" with the blissfully unoppressive and yet devastatingly tantalizing "I love you and want to do your taxes free of charge."
*****I will do your taxes free of charge for the foreseeable future.
****I will do your taxes free of charge this year.
***I will give you the name of my tax professional.
**No, I will not do your taxes, not even if you pay me.
*I will thoroughly enjoy doing your taxes, just so I can purposely screw them up and land you in federal prison.
Another thing: Just because two books have the same star rating, it doesn't mean they are necessarily "equal." Typically, the biggest range is the 4 star area. This is because sometimes a book does a few things that I love enough to elevate it from the middling 3 star category. Sometimes I really want to lovelovelove it, but something is keeping me from giving it 5 stars. For example, take Sula by Toni Morrison. I rated it 4 stars, even though I think it's much better than In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez, to which I also gave 4 stars. Basically, it's more of a gut reaction to a book, dependent on myriad variables, than a precise scientific formula.