Head Versus Heart: How do you Rate?


I’ve been pondering ratings a lot lately. First, I was mad because I didn’t think five stars were adequate. Then Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction posted about changing her ratings, which got me thinking about changing mine. But what ultimately inspired this post has probably happened to you a time or two (hundred): I was staring at a screen while checking Twitter writing a review, and even though I liked the book a lot and was entertained, I knew it had lots of flaws. Yes, the logical side of me knew that this was far from perfect. But from a “fun” perspective, I liked it anyway. How does one rate such a book? Yes, in my actual review, I can tell you both of those things- that I was entertained, and it was flawed. But if you’re just glancing at the stars? How do I do my fun side (heart) justice, while still ensuring that you, the readers, know that it does have issues (head)?

I think every reviewer and blogger operates on a sort of continuum. One end of the spectrum is head-only, the other is heart-only, and we all fall somewhere in the middle. I suppose the middle would  be ideal but… that’s rare. And I think it’s good to know where people stand! So, for your reference, here’s me on the continuum:

contI try to stay close to the middle, I do. But if I am being honest, I do veer a bit closer to the heart. I can’t help it, okay? I have a lot of emotions.post-10435-Feels-gif-wj14

And now, thanks to the inspiration from Cait @ Paper Fury (because if it weren’t for her fun quizzes, this would be a crappy end-of-magazine-like list), a QUIZ!


And now I must ask two questions:
1. Where do you think you fall?
2. Did the quiz match it at all? (This was my first quiz ever, and I won’t lie, I am excited about it!)

Posted April 23, 2015 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Discussion, Discussion Challenge / 65 Comments


65 responses to “Head Versus Heart: How do you Rate?

  1. First of all, this is a brilliant idea! I love it so much, I think about this kind of thing all the time, mostly because I do tend to rate based on how the book makes me feel(heart) and then sometimes a few months later I start second guessing my rating and then I get paranoid that I’m a bad reviewer because I changed my mind!(I’m not alone on this, right?)

    I think I fall towards the middle but closer to heart. The quiz says I’m in the middle and I feel like I cheated it a bit though! Still, I’m listening to the quiz and bragging that I fall perfectly in the middle. =)

  2. What a fun quiz! According to the quiz, I fall somewhere in the middle. I do agree with you though. Most of the time, I have to go with my emotions. If it made me feel ALL THE FEELS, but it still had flaws, then I may just give it a four star instead of a five star. But other times, I just don’t care. If I love it, I love it!

  3. Aw, this is actually a really fun and cute quiz! I got the middle, although once in a while my emotions get the best for me, and I might rate a book higher than it actually did deserve. I feel even if a book has flaws, it’s alright – it can still be a five star rating from my side if I loved it.


    I got in the middle! YAY. Which I completely agree with, but to be fair I’m soooo not consistent. -_- I’ll rate mostly on whether I liked a book or not. BUT SOMETIMES I GO CRAZY AND ANALYTICAL. GAh. I usually rate based on enjoyment and then the review will be ALL my thoughts. So I might list a bucketload of faults in the review, but I still gave it 4-stars because I had fun. x) Although just recently I read Altered and I thought it was MEGA cliche but I loooved it. I only gave it 3-stars but I would go back and give it 4-stars now. 😉 AHHA. Which brings me to the topic of…is it okay to change star ratings?! GAH. The trials of a bookworm.

    • You ARE inspiring! Yay for quizzes! I have wanted to make them before, but I didn’t know how, and you provided me with the tools! THANK YOU!!

      YES it is okay to change ratings. I say this because I WANT TO TOO. Especially all the books that I didn’t really love, but was too nice to give a bad rating to (like, before blogging, when it was only Goodreads, I made a mess of things!) The struggle IS real.

  5. I never gave this much thought, Shannon. I love this discussion! 😀 I’m somewhere in the middle. Thinking of it now, it really depends on the book I’m reading and whether or not I like the plot, characters, and the story altogether. But I’d have a say that my emotions get in the way too much that sometimes I disregard the book’s faults 😛 Haha.

    Again, love this post! Thanks for posting such a cool discussion 😀

  6. Bahaha, that graphic is adorable, Shannon! 😉 I think I’m right around where you are, too. If I enjoyed the book, I’d definitely give it a high rating, but I make sure to point out its flaws in my written review. I’ll also mention why I rated the book that way, of course. Same goes for seemingly perfect books that I just didn’t enjoy. I would lower my rating, but I’ll mention that maybe the book just isn’t for me.

    • Aw thanks! And yes- I do the exact same thing- and of course, for the black sheep ones, point out that ALL the other people loved it! Rating is hard. Reviewing is easier, almost, since you can put it all into words, but rating… it’s tough!

  7. I rate books on how I liked them. I have rated some books 5 stars that I know other reviewers had issues with the plot, or the characters, or the insta-love. If I like it, I rate it on my feels. I loved your quiz. I fall in the middle according to it. Great graphics, as always.
    (Your posts are always so fun, but I do wonder how you find the time for all the perfect gifs. I think you must have a time machine or some Harry Potter necklace type thing that allows you to make time up. Or maybe you are a witch of some sort, but a good witch who has a lot of little minions searching the internet for the perfect thing. I am a bit jealous, it takes me forever to find great gifs.)

  8. I always thought I was more towards the heart side too, but apparently I’m in the middle. I DEMAND A REVALUATION, QUIZ. I guess it depends on the book, or if I’m feeling like a cold hearted bitch *cough* I’m more picky with ones I’m just ‘eh’ about, and go with my brain. But, how can anyone be brain with ones they love? If it gives you ALL THE FEELS, I totally rate it with ALL THE FEELS. 😉 P.s. I am totally amused by the spectrum graphic for some reason, haha.

    • Well, the quiz is a little ridiculous at the extremes, soooo that is probably why. I lean more toward the heart side too, for sure. I also agree with you- if I am just full of feels… there really isn’t a ton of logic behind it! I think some people can legitimately put that aside though, and rate it like, as “emotionally gripping” or something. Or maybe they are pod people. Either way.

  9. Apparently, I fall in the middle. I mean, there are times I don’t really enjoy a book BUT I always say that maybe someone will. Not all of us have the same likes so I always try to explain why others may like it. I try to fall in the middle but I think I’m just a smidge towards the heart, at least a smidge, in my opinion. Anyways, this is a great idea, Shannon! I love the quiz and your thoughts on this subject. I have to say it is hard to rate. I feel even more conflicted when I like a book but I know I didn’t fully love it so I feel like maybe a 3 star rating is okay but then I see others giving it 5 stars and I’m just here like…did I miss something? It’s really difficult ugh.

  10. I absolutely love this post idea! I figured I leaned more towards the middle and the quiz supported that. If I had to pick a side, I would usually pick heart. If I overall enjoyed the book but it had some flaws, I usually go with my gut and my heart. This inspired a post of my own, keep an eye out for it! (I’ll credit and link over to you, of course!)

  11. I fall right in the middle, which is what I guessed. I usually give myself a few days to digest a book before reviewing it, which helps me be more fair if my feelings were really involved. On the other hand, it is hard to get me emotionally involved in the first place! If a book can do that, I will look at it pretty closely 🙂
    Fun quiz, fun post!

  12. LOL love the infographic.
    I took the quiz and got “The Middle”, but in reality, I’m more like you. There are books I have to rate 5 stars even after addressing some small issues about them, and there are other books that are maybe more perfect formally, but don’t ignite the spark in me, so they stop at 4 stars. I honestly think that taking the heart into account is a fair way to rate books. After all, books are meant to trigger emotions in us…

  13. Love, love, love this post Shannon. And the quiz is amazingly accurate too. xD I expected myself to fall towards the head, and that’s exactly what I got. (Which is hardly surprising since I’m a Virgo, and a Virgo’s most prominent traits are being critical & analytical. I guess I’m just meant to be a reviewer, right? 😉 ) If there’s something about a book I don’t like, I’m not afraid to deduct for that or critique it, even if it has something redeeming in its place. Thanks for sharing this and, as always, fabulous discussion!

    • Thank you! I am really quite impressed by people who can review critically, I am just simply not that person. I am a Scorpio, does that mean anything? (I also think since I was supposed to be a Sagittarius, I fall into whatever its traits are too!)

  14. I thought I would fall toward the farther end of the Heart spectrum, but I was put right in the middle. I guess in the end that actually does make sense! I might give a book all the stars despite its flaws, but I’ll always have a section in my review to be honest about potential pitfalls for other readers.

    LOVE the quiz by the way!

  15. I got in the middle as well! I think I’m usually closer to the heart side of the spectrum, though, much like you are. I feel so bad giving books low rating or giving up on books or even nitty picking things that were maybe wrong with books that in the end I really enjoyed reading. In my head, I know these books had flaws, but if I had fun reading them and the flaws didn’t bother me too much, I will give them high ratings anyway!
    Loved this post and the quiz! 😉

  16. What a fun quiz! I always thought I rated with my heart, but fell in the middle on the quiz. I do give star ratings based on how the book made me feel and if I enjoyed it or not, but do point out any flaws. I’m getting better at not finishing books and giving low ratings, but it’s still based on my heart. Thanks for the fun quiz!

  17. I AM IN THE MIDDLE HAHAHA. Also I think my ratings also depend on what I’ve read before that book? Like if I read an AMAZING book before, I will most likely compare my current read to that one. 😛 OR I JUST GO WITH MY GUT AND GIVE IT WHATEVER STARS. People should take my ratings as a grain of salt because my review is what matters hahaha

    • Ohhh that is a good call! I have the same problem! Which I guess, falls into the heart category? Because that happens to me alllll the time. I do not like.

      I TOTALLY agree with you- reviews as a whole are FAR more trustworthy, likely for ALL of us, than just a rating!

  18. I LOVE your little diagram — that’s such a great way to portray it!

    I’d say I’m kind of in the same space as you — normally when I go to review/rate a book, I first think about how the book made me FEEL (was I super engaged? Did it elicit any strong emotions? etc). Then I ask myself about the quality of the writing. Usually if I find myself being overly critical of the writing but was really positive on the feels side, I’ll rate slightly higher than normal, comment that even though there were some (potentially significant) flaws in the the actual execution, but also point out that since it successfully made me have the feels, they obviously did something right.

    And I definitely just made that process sound an awful lot more linear than it actually is, but I’m sure you understand what I’m getting at 😉

  19. haha i love this!!

    I actually fall in the middle – which the test was accurate on. this changes between genre/subject etc. So that changes too. I am an INCONSTANT MIDDLE RATER. hahaha

  20. I love this post. I’ve been thinking about changing my rating system too (actually in the never ending process of doing so) for a while now. I think I’m definitely in the middle and I got middle on your quiz! I love books that make me feel emotions, but if there are flaws, I’m going to point them out. Every blue moon, I’ll overlook the flaws and just give them a high rating. I imagine anyway. 🙂 I don’t think I’ve actually done that except with one possible book where I think I remember saying that even with it’s flaws, I loved it.

    And let me just say, I’d totally read that unicorn/moon book, which you should already know. 😉 (Sailor Moon and unicorn obsessed).

    • Aw thank you! I have definitely given high ratings despite flaws (see: The Jewel), but I HAVE still talked about the flaws, and then basically said “I don’t care, I love it”! Let’s get the unicorn book started then! We’ll co-author! 😉

  21. The quiz gave me Heart, but I think I’m somewhere around you on the Head-Heart continuum. If I liked something and it made me swoon, I’ll give it a high rating, no matter how cliché it is. For example, I didn’t want to like Anna and the French Kiss, because St Clair is a cheater and I really hate cheating in books. But they were so cute that I just couldn’t help myself.

    I do try to look at it from a rational way, but honestly, if a book can make me laugh, you automatically receive bonus points and I don’t really care about your flaws.

  22. Oohhh a quiz! Love those. I got middle, which is what I expected. If I like the book, that goes into the rating. But I have to justify what about it I liked too.

  23. I think it depends on if I like a book or not. When I don’t like a book, I tend to lead with my head because I want to make sure that I explain why I wasn’t a fan. As a reviewer, I don’t want to just say, This book sucks.

    When I love the book, I think with my heart. I flail on my blog, on social media, all over my friends. I vomit book love!

    Terri M., the Director
    Second Run Reviews

  24. I definitely go with my heart. I find it easier to write reviews and rate that way. I think if I rate a book based on how much I enjoyed it then it gives a fairer view? Because The Selection, for example, if I was to rate it based on my head it would only get about 3 stars but I gave it 5 stars. If I rate a book 3 stars then people will think that I didn’t enjoy it – even though I did. I also think that in general I’m a heart over head kinda gal so why change that in terms of reviewing books 😉

  25. I don’t know actually! I think it really depends on the book and author. When I read something by my favorite author I always seem to judge with my heart. When it comes to the genres I love: heart. When I read something by a new author or a genre I don’t read very often: more head.

    But in my reviews I like to find the good balance 🙂

  26. I fell into Head more than Heart, which I think is accurate. Even when I absolutely love a book, I try to break down the review into what elements made me love it.

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