For each of my review, I will give it a rating at the end of my review, which you can skip down to if you don't have much time. Here is some shorthand for what I mean by my star system:
1 star: Horrible. I wouldn't give this book to my worst enemy. The writing was flat and awkward, the characters were one-dimensional or seemed to develop personality disorders as the writer can't keep track of their own characterization. The plot was unoriginal, filled with plot holes, or never went anywhere. It took every bit of resolve to finish this book. I do NOT recommend this book.
2 stars: It was pretty bad. The writing was shaky at best, and the characters never seemed to speak to me. There were several plot holes, and it wasn't very compelling. It was a dull read that had its fair share of problems. I do not recommend this book.
3 stars: Most of the time, the only literary crime this book commits is not being interesting enough. It was alright, but maybe the characters were a little flat, or the plot just didn't reel me in. The writing is usually standard, but there's no pizzazz. It's possible this book has parts, like characterization, writing, or plot, perfect but the other two are lacking. Depending on my reasons for giving a three star, I may or may not recommend this book.
4 stars: This book was fun to read. I found myself enjoying the book and wanting to know what happens to the characters. The plot is solid and captures my interest. The characters are compelling, often very realistic or well thought out. The writing is above average. Everything except for very minor details is good. There is just a little bit missing from this book. I recommend this book.
5 stars: I don't know why this isn't a bestseller. I want to go to my friends, family, and next door neighbors to talk about this book. The plot is good, the writing is clever, and I find myself more engrossed in the characters' lives than my own. It is by far one of my favorite books. I highly recommend this book.
Some things separate from continuity, characterization, and style that do affect the ratings:
Typos will obviously be a bad sign and if it really detracts from the meaning then the story has to be stellar for me to forgive it. Usually a docking of .5-1.0 stars.
Edit: I used to 'dock' points for lack of diversity or things of that nature, which I will no longer do (and may consider looking back at my other entries and editing them as needed). A lot of classic literature contain stories with very little racial diversity, LGBT characters, or feminist leanings, but that does not necessarily detract from the tale itself, and I would not automatically give one a low rating for that reason. Rather, much of the problem comes from the stale plot devices, characterization, etc. that tends to happen when authors do not bother to include people outside their demographic.
Therefore, I will not necessarily take points off, but I will take note of diversity or lack thereof in my reviews.