If there’s one universal truth in the book world, it’s that star ratings mean different things to different people. Sure, the overall concept remains the same – we don’t know of anyone who uses 1 star for the best of the best books – but there can be a lot of variation.

We even had different ideas about what deserved 5 stars, but recognized we needed to have a consistent system. So we packed up our stuff and headed to our favorite coffee shop. Over flights of iced coffee and pastries, we hashed it out. There were disagreements, debates, maybe even a tear or two (not really, Lora doesn’t cry). But by noon, we had a rough draft of our guide to Book Besties ratings.

Like most reviewers, we use a 5 star rating system. When we were discussing spice, we realized neither of us really needed 5 levels. What a lot of people consider one chili pepper isn’t really spicy in our minds. So our spice chart has 4 levels.

Without further ado, The Ultimate Guide to Book Rankings by Logan & Lora

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Ratings

⭐️ I finished this book grudgingly or made it to 80% before DNFing. The writing or story didn’t hook me, I didn’t connect with it at all.
⭐️⭐️ #thanksihateit – this one was a dumpster fire. It absolutely won’t be a trophy in my bookshelf. The story / characters were not my cup of tea, had few redeeming qualities
⭐️⭐️⭐️ Just okay, character names and plot won’t stick with me. If you ask me for the FMC’s name next week, I probably won’t remember it. Most books honestly fall into this category.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “It’s great but…” This is a book I would recommend; characters were relatable, story was a premise I enjoyed or hadn’t seen before. But there was something missing – maybe the characters were forgettable, the geography all wrong, the pacing was too fast at the end.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I loved this book; I will recommend it to anyone who will listen (sometimes with caveats based on their genre/reading preferences – not every book is for every reader). No notes, no complaints, and I will continue series (if applicable) or will keep reading this author. This was a full-on page turner. If you ask me about the plot or characters a year from now, I will absolutely remember this book.

🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️ Ratings

Please be advised, pepper comparisons are provided by Lora, who grew up on Cajun food and loves buffalo sauce & Thai food.

🌶️ Intimacy would be described as fade to black or closed door romance. There’s sexual tension, but the book is more about relationships & love instead of sex. This is a good wholesome romance, tame, “cute”. In the movie world, this would probable be “rated PG”. It gets anaheim or poblano as its pepper equivalent.

🌶️🌶️ There may be a sex scene or two in this book. They’re typically shorter, less detailed, and less frequent than our spicier categories. More dedication to build up and aftercare than the actual act. This would probably be “rated PG-13” and Lora gives it serrano or maybe jalapeno pepper.

🌶️🌶️🌶️ The sex is plot driven, makes sense and is PART of the plot. There will probably be some dirty talk, curse words, imaginative names for anatomy. There is some “leave to your imagination” but you know exactly what’s happening. We’ll call this “rated R”, and it falls between Thai pepper and habanero.

🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️ The book is explicit, what could be considered erotica. There may be representation of kinks, unconventional relationship dynamics, imaginative settings. Almost always lots of dirty talk & spicy language. Sex is the main focus of book, with plot being secondary. This level is your NC-17 – or as Logan’s husband calls it, “closed caption porn”. This one is a ghost pepper, maybe even Carolina reaper.