Hi friends,


Shanah @bionicbookworm asked us our top 5 reasons why we give 5 stars to book.

First of all you  may have noticed that compared to other reviewers I have a high 5 stars rate on all the books that I read every year. Last year I gave 87 five stars on the 136 books that I have read.

Hence the question: am I too generous? Maybe I could never resist a book looking forlorn on a shelf and just wanted to boost its ego?

Worse: am I too easy to please? Kind of “spread your pretty pages and I am in reader’s bliss”?

Even worse: am I LYING to all of you? Who knows maybe you think that I get paid by authors to boost their sale? Or that I am so poor that I need ARCs to feed my reading addiction and don’t dare give a bad rating for fear of being cut off?

I think that with my Saturday review we can confidently say that I am not sold to authors or PR agencies…. I promised myself that I would review for YOU and never lie.

Too easy to please? Mmm no, not if you ask my hubs!

My secret lies in choosing the right books for me! I’ll explain in another post how I achieve that miracle but in the meantime, let’s get to: what do I need to have a reading orgasm  and give 5 stars to a book?
Because anyone who will tell you that some books are not the best ride herm…read they had in their  life are either lying either to be pitied for missing that blissful experience.

First quality that I need from my book to rank high on my lovers list:
I need to cry, to fear, to swoon,to rejoice to….
Some books destroyed me with all the overload of emotions like Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma or Birthday by Meredith Russo.

I have to be so consumed by my read, so engrossed in the story that the outside world is fading. Sometimes with annoying repercussions like missing my train stop and watching for hours to get back home. Or forgetting to do chores ( not a bad thing if you want my opinion).

No no I don’t speak to them. Well I may insult some or want to shake some sense in their thick skulls. But I need to connect with them. To want to be their friend. To hug, console, encourage them. If I can’t connect with the characters it will never be above 3 stars.

I love when a book either makes me aware of a problem or issue I had no idea before or make me understand on a fundamental level the character’s actions and feelings even if the character does not look like me at all!
In A Very Large Expanse of Sea I lived what young muslims went through in the US after 9/11. Of course I had a vague idea but living in the character’s head was vastly different! The same can be said about Birthday.

Some writers have such a powerful writing that I am exclaiming “wow,wow, WOW” all along like Suanne Laqueur or Ruta Sepetys.

Others have an incredible grace in their words  like Amy Harmon.

Others have a finesse in their writing, in their analysis of situations that you can’t help but think: “that’s totally right!” Like Leylah Attar.

And others have a scheming mind like none others, building their intricate stories like plot masters and taking you totally by surprise without ever losing you like: Beth Flynn, James Cudney or Jewel E Ann.

And others simply have a writing that talks to my soul like Emma Scott.

I also must add that not all these five reasons must be present in the same book for me to give it 5 stars! Making me feel is enough to get these 5 precious stars. 


What about you? What makes you give 5 stars?

Thanks for reading!



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  1. I read 119 books last year and rated 61 of them 5stars. Like you, Sophie, I’ve found the secret: I choose books to read that I already think will be my sorta read!

    I didn’t take part in this week’s T5T but I have to say that your criteria would have been mine.

  2. I always find it delightful when I see people giving many five stars and enjoying a lot of what they read! I also need to fall for the characters and if I do I pretty much always love it. I also love when I forget the world and can do nothing but read. Important topics and deeper meanings always get to me a lot too. We have a lot of similarities!

  3. I am extremely picky in what I will read. I have a selected group of “go to authors” that I stay with because they pull all the emotions. When a new one has me forgetting to do “adult” things, I cannot wait to talk about it. I have a similar 5 star rate as you and after reading your reasons, I feel like we are on the same page. I always felt strongly towards the story when I give 5 stars. Great post!

  4. I agree…that the key to have five star reads is choosing the RIGHT books and know what books or authors will really work for you. For me rarely do I have a book less than 4 stars, and its because I choose the right books too and stick with the style or authors I know I will enjoy.

    1. That’s handy right? And I know that some are just wondering if we are honest in our reviews but …yes!

  5. Some much of what you said is the same for me. I think I am pretty good at picking books I like, and therefore, my ratings loo good. Entertainment and emotion really determine my ratings. There is something to be said about “the escape”. I will now be paying closer attention, but I think I rate books that “take me away” higher, since that’s sort of why I read. I generally need to like the characters, but I have read a few books with unlikable characters, that had incredible plots, and therefore, rated high for me (example: Gone Girl)

    1. I concede that there must have been a few books (less than fingers on one hand) that didn’t have likeable characters but the plot was so impeccable that I gave 5 stars …a long time ago…in another life LOL

  6. I agree with you on all five of those! 🙂

    I’m much more reserved with my five-star reviews … lots of 3-star (i.e., the quality that I’d expect from any published book) and 4-star (i.e., a book that’s definitely special) books.

    A 5-star book — for me — is something unique and special, and entirely captivating. A book that makes me wish *that* reality is the one we actually all lived in. Top-notch writing, plot, and characters aside … there’s something intangible and *magical* about THOSE words on THAT paper … your comparison to an orgasm is pretty accurate 🙂

    1. Bwahaha Em yes I can see it! But you know,I’ve been known to give “all the stars” and these are the books fitting your requirements here!

  7. A five-star book for me needs to have great writing, a vivid setting, and a premise that makes me think. It’s awesome that you’re able to find so many 5-star books. I usually only give 5 stars to around 10 books per year.

  8. I like your reasons and share most of them with you, especially the one about needing to feel something. Whether or not a book resonates with me emotionally is the difference between a 4 star and a 5 star read for me.

  9. I definitely need to feel something to award a 5 star usually. If it hits me in the feels that definitely helps! Learning something new or making me look at something a different way is also nice. 🙂

  10. Im such an easy five star’s giver too most of what I read will get 4 or 5 stars.

    I relate with mostly all of thoses!! Except for the one about writting.. because I just can’t tell if a book have good or bad writing. Completely oblivious, even worst if it’s written in english.
    It’s a must for me to FEEL the characters, probably the most important one for me – i’m way more character-driven than plot-driven. And I must also cry or laugh — though im an easy cryer ahah

  11. We’re pretty similar. I have learned what I like, so it makes it easier to rate high. Plus, if the book makes me feel something, I’ll give it 5 stars. Even if the writing isn’t the best or the pacing was off. It’s how a book makes me feel while reading it and after. I am one of the pickiest people on almost everything, but I’m not with books for some reason.