I "grade" the books on a scale from 1 to 5 based on:
Story: The criteria for STORY is that there actually needs to be one. No characters running around for majority of the novel doing really nothing. A plot. A beginning, a middle, an end*.... Things need to be accomplished, because there has to be goal of some sort; perhaps a mystery or a treasure hunt or a discovery, whether it be eternal or internal. There has got to be a point!
Pace: A good book knows how to make the story move along without going too quickly or too slowly. The characters move the story along at a plausible and reasonable rhythm. The events do not just happen to make the book action packed and drama galore. A good book knows when to breathe and when to let the reader marinate in the story so they can appreciate everything. Then when the action and drama does occur it should not be drawn out, but to the point, hard hitting and emotional. A balancing act.
Originality: This should not be a remake of some other book because the author was a fan and just wanted to keep living in the world and decided to write the story in their own way. Re: No Twilight or Hunger Games or LOTR or Harry Potter remakes. The world cannot take anymore!! Originality may not exist in the definition of the word, but a true author can take an idea or concept and turn it on it's head to weave a captivating tale.
Characters: The characters in the novel should not seem like characters at all, but rather like fully realized human beings (mermaids, wizards, werewolves, etc.) They should have flaws and not be perfect or Mary Sues, because no one likes a weak character, especially as the protag. The reader should love a character, hate a character, be afraid of a character, wanna hug a character and even punch a character! The reader should have plausible and reasonable reactions to the plausible and reasonable actions of the character!
Writing: Basically what you learn in school: show do not tell. Writing is tough because it truly depends on what type of writing style the reader likes. Showing and not telling are the big deals. Prose is also a biggie, everyone likes reading a novel filled with beautiful imagery and allusions that sound like poetry.
*Ending: The ending fits in with story because in order for there to be a satisfying ending, there must be a beginning of a story and a middle that compels the reader to go, on thirsting for the ending. An ending can be tied up in a neat bow, devastating (Mockingjay, I'm talking you, you awesome evilness) or even open ended, as long as it is justified in regards to the rest of the novel. The ending has to leave the reader either dying for a sequel and/or thinking about the novel for days after the read.
After I have taken the above into consideration, I add the scores up and divide them by the number of categories which is 6 and get my result, which is the over all score for the book out of 5. From 0 to 1.5 to 5 and even, 6! 6 out of 5 is the highest praise!
My thoughts are my own. If you don't agree, please tell me what you think, 'cus I really wanna know!
6/5 . . . . JUST WOW.
This book was heart-stopping and astounding and is what I live to read!
5/5 Bloody Brilliant!
This book was fantastic! I loved every single second of it and I want more!
This book was terrific and I loved it! Everyone should buy, read and blab over it!
3/5 Eh, Tis Pretty Okay.
This book was good, but not perfect! I will continue to follow the authors work!
2/5 Not Really.
This book was put down quite often and I continued only in the hopes it would get better.
1/5 . . . . uh?
This book was sadly, not good. At all. I was barely able to continue. Probably didn't.
This book has yet to be finished. Probably wont be. It was bad. Worst then bad; a catastrophe.
p.s. if i am to be honest, i tend to be easy(er) on most books because i know a lot of hard work goes into writing a book and i never wish to be cruel or harsh. but if i will give a fair waiting, so be warned. i do not want any trouble.