I feel like I should explain my rating system a bit because as I peruse, it's clearly a tad skewed. If you read posts based on labels, you'll see that the great majority of the reviews here at Novel Junky are books I read for a paid review.
Let me clarify, paid does not mean positive. I have turned down many paid review opportunities because the author or publisher insisted on a positive review. My rule is that I write my review based on my opinion and if my opinion is that it sucks, you won't find me raving about it here, on Good Reads or on Amazon. It has happened that my review wasn't favorable and whoever hired me chooses to not have me post a review at all. That's fine with me. They're paying for a review, if they don't want to publish that review, what do I care?
All that said, I rate paid reviews on a different scale than I rate books I choose for myself. It's my Work Scale. When I review for a paying client, I put the focus on more technical details; the flow of the story, character consistency, believability, editing errors, etc... I don't have to have that hug the book to your chest moment to give it a fourth or fifth star. A well written book in a genre I loathe, even with characters I despise, can be higher rated because there are no barriers in the way for a reader who does love the genre or connects with the characters. Even five stars are handed out more freely when the writing is great or there is clearly in depth research that went into it. Just because I didn't fawn all over it doesn't mean millions of others won't.
When I review books I have chosen for myself, it's all about me. I call it my Me Scale. How did I like the plot? Did I love the characters? How angry was I at the ending? Me, me, me... get it? A book has to have been pressed into my chest for a fourth star. I have to have found myself drifting back into that world with those characters after I've finished it. Every other book that author has written is now on my To Read list. If one or all of those happened and I tell my bookie friends to read it, if I give my copy to my sister with the stipulation that I get it back because I have to have it with me, there's my elusive 5th star. Sometimes I don't even write a proper review for the books I choose for myself because my feelings will change about it over time. I will go back months, even years after to finally express how a book impacted my world.
And that is the difference. The books I choose for myself, I expect an impact in some way, good or bad. That's a high standard to rate by. My paid opportunities are, for lack of a better word, work. I'm reading them because I have to in order to get paid. That doesn't mean there haven't been books that came to my attention as work and ended up reviewed on my Me Scale.
So now that I've made that clear as mud, continue on...