Question: Have You Ever Changed Your Rating?

Posted December 4, 2014 by Carmel in Question / 118 Comments


*Please note that although Julie is no longer blogging, I have permission to recycle some of her old questions. You can see her previous answers by clicking on the post graphic.

This happens to me on a fairly regular basis; it’s not usually a MASSIVE change, like say from 2-stars to 5, but I tend to rate my books on GoodReads immediately after I have finished reading them, write a couple of lines about my initial thoughts, and then will type up my review a few days (weeks… months…) later. I often find that I’ll forget parts of a story, especially if it’s a novel that’s taken me more than 48 hours to complete, or I had several titles on the go simultaneously, only to have the pieces fall back into place while I’m in the process of drafting my post.

My preliminary rating is based on my opinion of a book at that point in time, and the ending can play a huge role in that. I try to take notes while I’m reading for precisely this reason because although a strong finish can squeeze an extra star out of me on the spot; I like giving my followers the full picture, and think that it’s important to not let a mind blowing conclusion eclipse the elements that didn’t jive quite as well. The reverse is of course true as well, if the final pages sucked the big one, but the rest of the novel was A+, that should be taken into account too.

For those of you who follow me on GoodReads, you’ve probably noticed that sometimes I’ll flat out say that my rating may change once I write my review. That’s my way of saying that even though I enjoyed a title, my overall feelings are a bit of a jumbled mess, so I need to let the story sink in for a couple of days. Once I’ve posted my feedback though, I don’t go back on my star count; the only exceptions to this rule are re-reads. When a series wraps-up, I’ll occasionally start from the beginning just to get a feel for the whole picture, and that can have a dramatic impact on my rating because it allows me to catch stuff I missed the first time around, or I’ve since gained a better appreciation of what the author was trying to accomplish now that I have a better understanding of what the end goal is.

Have You Ever Changed Your Rating?

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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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118 responses to “Question: Have You Ever Changed Your Rating?

  1. Mostly I make changes after a re-read. The other time, is when I finish a book and I’m excited about it, then after a week or two, and I’ve thought about it more, I remember things that I might have forgotten. Like you, it is only a slight change, usually a 1/2 star. This is one of the reasons I’ve gotten to where I rarely write a review as soon as I’m done with a book. I like to let it sit for at least a few days before I write it.

    The other thing I notice, I usually go down. I rarely go up.
    Melanie recently posted…Review: Haunting You by Viola Estrella

    • I usually only write reviews immediately after finishing a book when it was really good or bad. No need to let it simmer cuz I know my opinion won’t change. Same here on the go down vs up.

  2. Nathan ( from reviewbarn)  

    I often want to, but I don’t unless I have done a reread and changed my mind. At the same time I don’t put a rating down until after I write a review. But I figure that rating catches my feelings the best at the time of reading so I owe it to anyone looking to leave it alone.
    Nathan ( recently posted…Tough Travels – High Priests

    • That’s a good system; I wish I could hold off on my rating until I draft my feedback, but it’s become automatic, especially with that GoodReads auto popup as soon as you mark a title as complete.

  3. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who changes my rating. No, mine never get changed from 2 to 5 either but I have finished a book before thinking it was a 3 star read. Then a few days later when I set about writing my review, I realize it was my mood or something that was making me feel that way. I have also finished a book thinking it was really good and then when I go to write my review, I can’t remember why I thought that. And by that I mean it was a good book but it didn’t stick with me. Changing my rating happens rarely but it has happened. Great post, Carmel!
    Bookworm Brandee recently posted…**That’s What HE Said ~ #19**

    • I only started using .5’s this year, so that has helped cut down my waffling a lot, instead of being torn that a novel wasn’t quite a 5, but 4 felt too low.

    • I’ve gotten better at writing my posts promptly after finishing a book, but every so often RL gets in the way, and that plan goes out the window. I’m overly generous towards werewolf titles, I admit it!

    • Once the killer ending euphoria wears off it’s easier to think straight, however if you rate a novel while you’re ‘in the moment’ it’s not difficult to get carried away.

  4. Mel from thedailyprophecy

    A while ago I made some changes that happened between 2.5 – 3.5 stars. Most of them went down with half a star, just because I felt I actually didn’t enjoy them enough to keep their rating. I don’t mind changing, because I want to have my honest ratings and opinions on my blog πŸ™‚ so when I don’t stand a 100% behind a rating, it’s only fair to change it.
    Mel recently posted…Review 304. Marie Rutkoski – The winner’s curse.

  5. Jennifer from The Book Nympho  

    I’ve changed my rating by one star. Either up or down once I get to writing my review. Usually for the same reason you mentioned about the ending be awesome but then remembering I had issues with the book earlier on. Or sometimes the beginning is awesome and then it craps out at the end. A book has three parts for me. The beginning, middle and end. Sometimes they are not all equal and that can effect my rating.
    Jennifer recently posted…An Island Kind of Christmas with Kat & Stone Bastion

    • It’s important that your star count reflects your overall impression of a novel, instead of just one specific part. It can be hard to stay objective when the beginning was clearly way better than the ending (or vice versa), but we must try!

    • I try not to backtrack because it’s how I felt at the time, however I agree that I’ve become a better reviewer over the years, and wouldn’t necessarily rank certain titles the same way today.

    • Time has a way of putting things into perspective, or at the very least allowing you to see thing from a different angle / with a clear head. Thank goodness ratings aren’t set in stone!

  6. Simple answer: YES!

    I wish I was one of those people that wrote reviews the second I finish a book but I’m not. I immediately rate it and write down a first thought. Though by the time I get to the writing of the review there is a chance that my feelings about the book have changed. I either decide I like or dislike it more than originally. This happens a lot with borderline 3/4 books.
    Felicia the Geeky Blogger recently posted…New Look by Creative Whim! #Awesome

    • I’ve gotten a lot better at turning my reviews around quickly, but that might be because I have a lot of free time on my hands at the moment. Those borderline books can be tough cookies!

  7. Hi Carmel!
    I haven’t changed from 2 to 5 rating ever (and have a policy not to post negative reviews like 2 stars and below). Once I’ve finished a book, I tend to go with my gut feeling. I feel guilty about giving 3 stars because that doesn’t mean I thought that a book was bad, but for me 3 means I liked it but I wasn’t ranting and raving about it or hailing it was a must-read. Like others, I try not to be too generous with 5 stars unless I think a book merits it.

    • I will very rarely post feedback that’s below 3-stars; I just don’t feel right doing it unless there was significantly something wrong with the title that readers should be informed about. 3 means it was ok, but not for me.

  8. Like you I’ve never made a drastic change to a rating, but I have moved it up and down slightly once the book has had time to sink in and I’m doing my review. There have been times when that first initial rating on Goodreads is one thing and then during writing the actual review I realize that what I’ve written doesn’t really support the rating, so I’ll change it. It’s usually only half-star either way.
    Traci recently posted…Gift Ideas for the Book Lover, #8

  9. I’m jealous of those that can write their reviews weeks or months after reading the book! I can’t pick up a new book to start reading without having written the review for the book before it. It gives me a nervous tic πŸ˜‰ As a result, I don’t usually change my ratings, I put my thoughts down and leave them at that for the most part. The only exception is when I’m genuinely torn and have the rating down as a range – 3.5-4/5 or something like that. Sometimes I’ll go back and choose a rating before the review goes live:)

    • I only do that when I’m reading installments in the same series back-to-back. I’ll refuse to pick-up the next novel until my review is done out of fear of mixing the two up.

  10. Usually while I read I know by gut feeling what rating a book it’s gonna get, but sometimes that rating changes from the moment I’ve finished a book till the moment I right the review, since it can be a few days later. Never by more than a star, more usually by a half star.
    Pili recently posted…2014 Debut Author Giveaway Hop!

  11. I most certainly have! Mine changes overtime like when I revisit my GR shelves, I’d see a few books that I want to rate differently.

    I get what you’re saying though, that has happened to me too. There’s a couple that I did not rate because it made a mess out of me. Also I usually avoid giving halfies but at times it’s difficult not to so there’s that, do I go conservative or generous? Like if it’s 3.5 should I select 4 or 3 stars for it.

    Great discussion as always πŸ˜‰
    Braine Talk Supe recently posted…Naughty Nooner: Need You Now by Lisa Renee Jones

    • I used to be against 1/2 stars, but they are slowly growing on me. Now, I struggle with whether to round up or not when it comes time to rate the book on Amazon / GoodReads. I think that’s where most of my changes occur.

  12. Nereyda from Mostly YA Book  

    Sometimes I know what my rating will be as soon as I finish the book but most of the time it will change as I’m writing my review. I realize things bothered me more than I thought or that I liked it more than I thought. I don’t rate books on gr until I actually write and post my review. This also helps me with knowing which books I still have to review.
    I still wish GR had half star ratings. for a 3.5 star book, I feel guilty for lowering it to 3 stars, but then I feel like I’m always 4 starring everything, off topic, but still πŸ™‚
    Nereyda recently posted…Is a happy couple…a boring couple???

  13. I’ve never actually changed a rating once I’ve written up the review. That being said, I’ve changed my mind a lot up to the point of writing b/c like you a book headed for one rating in the beginning or middle might change by the end. Also, I’ve marked books DNF, but gone back in a different frame of mind, finished them and given them a rating.

    I’m not sure what I’d do with a re-read since I haven’t gone back and changed a review on a re-read not to mention I just don’t have time to do much re-reading.
    Sophia Rose recently posted…President’s Daughter + KGI Operative = Explosive #Review #Giveaway #Excerpt

    • Sometimes it really does just come down to your mood at the time. This summer I had a huge hate on for all things Norse mythology because I read so many similar titles back-to-back, and I think my ratings suffered as a result. Like you said though, there are only so many hours in a day, so we have to do what we can.

  14. Yes, I do that too. I find that I have an initial impression rating when I finish but often when I write my review I will bump it up or down, usually by a half star. It depends on how I feel after I stew on it. I don’t go back though and change ratings from months ago because I know a lot of the ratings would go down.
    Heidi recently posted…Review: The Vault (The Farm #3) by Emily McKay

    • It definitely helps to talk it out via a blog post; this is also why I rarely read other peeps’ reviews before I write my own, I don’t want their thoughts to influence mine.

  15. That’s the exact same thing I’ll do too. Usually only going up or down one star as I get my thoughts together. I’ve been trying not to star rate when I mark my books read on Goodreads anymore for that very reason. lol

    I try to always give a book 48 hours from finish before I review it just so I have that time to process all of it emotionally so I can be objective when I have strong feelings about elements.
    Rhianna recently posted…Cover Reveal: SONG OF BLOOD & STONE by L. Penelope [Excerpt + giveaway!]

  16. Like you, it happens sometimes that I change my rating from the one I put up just after finishing a book, and the one I feel is more correct after writing my review. It can go both ways, though, even if it usually goes down rather than up…
    I think that if I rated a book 4 stars just after reading it, then I write my review a little while later and can’t really find all that much to say, I just think the book should rather receive three than four stars.
    This is a great question, Carmel πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing your opinion.
    Have a terrific Thursday afternoon πŸ™‚
    Lexxie recently posted…Up Close and (un)Conventional #10 – WP Security?

    • It’s never a good sign whenever you draw a blank when it comes time to put your thoughts into words. If your review was painful to write, then I agree, your rating should reflect that.

  17. I think I will often have a initial reaction to the book, but once I write my review and consider the points that come out regarding the book, I may change my rating. In fact I’ve gone back and forth on Talon which I just reviewed – initially it was 1 star, now I’ve changed it to 2 stars because the writing was still fantastic but I was so disappointed in the story. Great topic Carmel, interesting to see that you do this is as well.
    Jeann recently posted…Talon by Julie Kagawa Review: Lamest Dragons Ever

    • Aahh yes, Talon… I was SO looking forward to this book, but the reviews have not painted it in a pretty light, so I’m passing on it. Isn’t great to discover that some of the things you do are normal? πŸ˜‰

  18. I don’t recall ever changing my rating on older reviews although there are many books that I would rate differently today than when I first read them.

    I have thought of doing it but just left my original impression.

    I have changed my rating within a day or so of posting on Goodreads. Sometimes I go with a 2 but then think on it and feel more generous in the morning or the reverse – I’m steaming mad by the time I wake up and downgrade it from a 3 to a 1 or 2 stars. lol

    • It’s hard not to rage rate in the heat of the moment, especially when an author does something especially heinous to piss you off. I try not to take it personally, but sometimes there’s just no helping it! Those usually turn out to be the more entertaining reviews to write AND read.

  19. Nicole from Feed Your Fiction  

    This is something I’ve struggled with because like you , I often feel like I rate a little high when I’m on that “end of book” high – I actually wrote a post about this – asking people how soon they review. I’ve actually been tempted to go back and adjust some of my reviews by a half star, but I haven’t done it. I HAVE changed a Goodreads rating when I go and write the review though (just did it the other day). I haven’t done it often, but I have done it.
    Nicole recently posted…5 Star Review – Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

    • It’s challenging enough as it is staying on top of my ARC commitments, so there’s no way that I’m going to start revisiting my 400+ reviews. I think a good timeframe is 24-72 hours.

  20. It was fun finding out how your opinions changed as you thought more about the book. While I’m reading I usually have a good idea of the range it will be in (Like 7 or 8 stars) and as I analyze the book and my enjoyment of it and how much I want to read it again, I somehow decide how to rate it, but I flip flop back and forth often. Like you once I post my review I don’t change my mind. (It was hard enough to decide the first time)
    Molly Mortensen recently posted…Indie Book Review: Elemental Rancor by Charles Lominec

    • I keep a running rating in my head while I read; I always start out at 5, then subtract or re-add as I progress through the pages. But, Math was never my forte, so sometimes I need to tweak.

  21. Joy from Thoughts By J  

    Soooo much yes, Carmel! It usually doesn’t change much, like you mentioned, but I usually rate it at that point in time as well. After I’ve thought over the review and written it, I often find faults that bothered me and this would usually impact on the way I look at the book from an objective perspective. This usually leads to a ratings change…not often, but it does happen.
    Joy recently posted…Book Tag: Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

    • It’s interesting how certain aspects of a story can come back to you once your fingers start flowing over a keyboard. This is why I take notes, however sometimes I just can’t bring myself to take a 2 mins break because the novel is too good.

  22. Matt

    It rarely happens. When I read something, an opinion is usually formed early on. It goes up or down as I approach the finish. By the time I start writing a review, the rating is usually set.

  23. I’ll only change my star rating for a book if it’s a re-read, but even then I’m pretty hesitant to do it. I’m definitely a “go with your gut” style reviewer, I’m pretty decisive and I like to stick to my guns. It usually works out but sometimes I do scratch my head over my ratings (I rated a lot of the books that I read in 2009/2010 when I first started on gr weirdly low for me).
    Danya recently posted…Tough Traveling: High Priest

  24. To keep this from happening to me, I don’t rate the book until I have had a chance to write the review on the books that I write a review for. But I know exactly what you mean. I usually have a number in my head going into the review, and then dependent on what comes out while writing it, the number can change. If I’m not writing a review, I usually go with my gut and then leave it be. Great Topic!
    Judith recently posted…@TastyBookTours Review: A Cowboy’s Christmas Promise by Maggie McGinnis

    • Sometimes I go into a review fully expecting to have only positive things to say, however once it comes time to re-read I realize that that wasn’t the case at all, and have to change my star count. It happens to the majority of us it would seem.

    • That’s how I roll too! I’m an on-the-spot mood rater, but after I’ve had time to give it some thought, I usually have to revisit my original star count.

  25. I try not to change my ratings because it was my feeling at the moment but it’s possible for me to change it for 1 star for example but it’s usually not long after rating the book and because I’m still not sure about my feelings about it. But otherwise I stay like that.

    • Yup. Book 1’s have a way of redeeming themselves via a follow-up installment because then everything become crystal clear. It’s the reason why I usually give series debuts a mulligan. πŸ™‚

  26. Mogsy from BiblioSanctum  

    I try not to change because I figure what I rated a book is a reflection of what I felt at the time of reading, and even though it’s a long time ago, it’s still as valid as any. It serves as a good record for posterity as well. I wouldn’t change a journal entry for any reason, so I sort of see this the same way. But boy, sometimes it does get tempting to change those number of stars!
    Mogsy recently posted…Book Review: All Those Vanished Engines by Paul Park

    • I’m convinced that you could read the same novel every year, and come up with a different rating every time which is why I don’t revise oldies. What’s going on in your life currently can have an impact on how you connect with a story.

  27. You know I totally used to back before my book blogging days and now I will if its within a short time of having read versus writing the review – I don’t always mark my rating as soon as I’m done because I need time to digest and think about it and write out my thoughts and then its best for me to rate it. So that’s what I’ve been trying to do more.
    Tabitha (Not Yet Read) recently posted…Review: The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp

    • I’m surprised that so many bloggers take their ratings so seriously! The overall conscientious seems to be to let it stew for a few days, then establish how a title ranked out of 5. Us fan-girls take our job to heart!

    • The 1/2 modification is definitely the most common for me as well. It makes sense because a small element might pop into your head while you’re typing up your thoughts. The biggies tend to be more memorable.

  28. Amber Elise  

    I usually have a solid rating in mind about 3/4ths into the book, but of course that can change with the last page.

    I think the most I’ved changed my ratings is about a half star up or down. Usually if I’m not too sure on a rating, I won’t rate it until I write my review to get a better overview. Also sometimes I need some time to think about what I liked and what I didn’t like.

    Amber Elise @ Du Livre

  29. You don’t have to ask…When I read more books I learn more and my taste and opinion starts to develop, it would go from awesome to like disgusting…I kinda feel bad for the books I’ve read in the past, I don’t think I’ll love them as much now. πŸ™
    Chyna recently posted…Books with pretty fonts!

  30. Lately this has become a problem for me, changing my rating. Especially for a book which is the last in the series. I get so swept up in the emotion of the book, knowing it is the last and there will never be another again! When I finish I find myself immediately going to Goodreads and giving it a 5 star. Then, I sit down and start thinking about it. Days later I realise all the things that may have been missing in the book. I am then forced to reconsider and go rerate my books. So, I have learnt, to wait a few days upon finishing a book before I rate it.

    • Series finales are the most difficult novels to rate IMO. It’s impossible for an author to please every fan with their end game, and last books are always bitter sweet.

  31. I used to do this a lot, but now I actually write my reviews as soon as I finish a book and the rating isn’t established until I’m done writing the review. But I think it could also easily happen with rereads – especially for books I read pre-blogging.
    Berls recently posted…My TBR List | December 2014 Voting

    • You’re so organized, Kimberly! Whenever I finish a title my first thought isn’t ‘I need to write my review’ but rather ‘what should I read next!?’

  32. It happens a few times: sometimes when I re-read it and sometimes after a few weeks/months after I finished it and I see someone else reading it, I usually remember stuff that annoyed me and I down-rate it πŸ˜€

  33. Oh that is an excellent question. I have changed my rating for books that I look back and think nahhh, that book did NOT deserve that rating. But, that only ever happens on Goodreads. Also, I don’t do it all that much, and when I do, I only ever bother changing it if it’s some drastic change, not like if it’s a matter of a .5 star.

    Great post, Carmel! <33
    Melanie (YA Midnight Reads) recently posted…Midnight Madness Newsletter (74)

  34. I’ve actually been debating whether or not I should go through and change my reviews on my personal site. I notice that I experience a book high immediately after reading a book, and I tend to write my reviews during that book high, so my ratings are a little inflated. The ratings don’t seem to reflect my honest feelings about a book after the high has fizzled out, so I’ve been leaning toward “Yes, I will change my ratings”.
    Jackie recently posted…Weekend Review: Trial & Error

    • It’s damned near impossible to give a fair rating when you’re still ridding that OMG buzz. I try not to visit GoodReads when I’m in that kinda mood, but sometimes you just need to fan-girl it up!

  35. I usually don’t change my rating, but I write my review right after I finish the book. Even though my opinion of a book might change over time I usually don’t change my rating as it was true at the point I read it.
    I have had a few instances were I gave the rating then wrote my review and then changed the rating as I felt like my review was either more negative or mroe positive then I thought I felt at first.
    Lola recently posted…Sunday Post #103

  36. I haven’t changed a rating yet. But this year, I just marked the books as read on GoodReads and wrote reviews. The stars are not mandatory. I plan to go back at the end of the year and look at all the books I read and give them stars at that time.

    I actually find a graded/star system difficult. I either liked a book or I didn’t. So on my blog the books get a simple thumbs up or thumbs down. I try to explain in my review why I didn’t like a book.

    Terri M.
    Second Run Reviews
    Terri M recently posted…Scenic Sundays 14: All the colors and Beryl Bainbridge

  37. I think for me a book might go down slightly in rating. However I might rate something on Goodreads a 4 but on the blog it will really be a 3.5 which to me isn’t downgrading the rating only going as close as I can to the full star ratings on Goodreads. I do sometimes rate something too high because it is of a fav author or series but then as I think about the book I realize the imperfections that decrease the rating. I usually don’t go up in ratings unless it was a re-read that I enjoyed more the second time around.
    Alexa recently posted…The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin *Alexa’s Review*

    • I try round up / down on GR accordingly; sometimes a book is closer to a 4, however the reverse can be true as well. The author does play a role in that too.

  38. Occasionally, I do change my ratings, mostly for the reasons already mentioned. I don’t think I do it very often though. I usually like my initial reaction to guide my ratings. but there are some books that require a little more thought/time put into the rating. I compare my books though — like, I loved this book, but did I love it as much as this other 4 or 5 star book? Should they have the same rating? — that kind of thing! Very interesting question!

    • I’ll compare installments within the same series, but otherwise I try to avoid doing so for different authors / genres because for me, it’s not a fair correlation IMO. Thanks for weighing-in!

  39. Yes, this exactly. I have had a 5* go to a 3* after I’d had time to ponder it more, but I did note that in my review & I explained why my opinion changed. (The previous book I’d read had been so horrible that anything was awesome in comparison).