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I came across this glowing review of LB Gregg’s book over at Smexy Books, and I couldn’t help but wonder if I could trust it.

The cynic in me couldn’t help but wonder if Mandi had really loved the book as much as she said she had. What? I’m just being honest.

Listen, maybe the book was the best thing since sliced bread, but you must admit, if you know that a reader-blogger is friendly with a blogger-turned-author, it does make you wonder doesn’t it?

19 Comments »


  • Mireya
    October 6
    6:47 pm

    I think that your reaction is quite understandable and, to be honest, I avoid reviewing the work of the one and only author I consider a friend to avoid the possibility of anyone accusing me of being biased in favor of her work. For that matter, I also avoid reviewing the work of those authors that I don’t like at a personal level (there is at least one in this category) for the opposite reason: the possibility of beinga accused of being nasty just because I personally know her and don’t like her guts. I understand not everyone feels this way, but honestly, since I do feel the same way you do, I’d rather not do it.

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  • di
    October 6
    6:53 pm

    I’ve had similar thoughts, not so much about reader-bloggers, as authors for other author buddies.

    …but I tend not to be the trusting sort.

    However, I’m not big on reviews. I don’t really go by someone else’s opinion. I use reviews to get a better idea of the story or the heat level, etc… And really long reviews? Forget it. I’d rather just read the book myself, as to read all that.

    I have read Cover Me and I mostly agree with her review.

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  • janicu
    October 6
    7:00 pm

    I don’t really see a problem. She gave it 4 out of 5 stars and she was upfront from the get go that she’s a fan of the author’s blog before she realized this blogger was also a writer. It’s up to the reader whether they think this makes them biased or not. *shrug*. I think I’d only wonder if I’d read the book and felt the review was TOTALLY off and not just: oh this person likes this scenario more than I do/other minor opinion differences.

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  • You are spot on here Karen. As someone who likes to write about the books I read I find it harder to write a critical book review if I am friends with the author.

    But di has the right idea. Reviews are to be taken in moderation.

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  • I can see where you would have concerns. I am friends with LB Gregg and try to keep in mind when I have read and reviewed works from other authors I am friends with if I am being unbiased.

    When I read Gobsmacked by LB I enjoyed it but it wasn’t the best thing since sliced bread. And I even said in my review I had some issues with one of the main characters.

    I still have to read Cover Me and hopefully if and when post my review of the book I can review it just as I would any other book that comes my way from an author I am friendly with or not.

    But I will admit, it can be hard reviewing an author friend’s book because of your relationship.

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  • I don’t know. I mean, I’m friendly with a number of authors, and so far I don’t think that has made me rave about any of their books I don’t like.

    Exhibit A
    Exhibit B

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  • Well, I couldn’t be arsed Karen if a blogger is friends or not with the author. They can ra-ra-ra all they like on the author’s behalf but it comes down to who has similar tastes to my own, you know? And quite frankly, I’m a picky reader anyway and rarely buy books from reviews I read. I tend to stick to favorites and take advice from readers who I’ve known a long ass time.

    Hope you all are doing well.

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  • I don’t know. I mean, I’m friendly with a number of authors, and so far I don’t think that has made me rave about any of their books I don’t like.

    I think it’s easier for reader bloggers to give far more critical reviews of books by established authors who they happen to be pally with, than ex reader-bloggers who are fairly newly published, plus who they are very friendly with. I think it’s the You-Used-To-Be-One-Of-Us syndrome.

    For instance, if you were to write a book that got published, and you asked me to review it, I would find it difficult to write a slice and dice review if it sucked.

    As much as I love Nora Roberts, it would be easier to do a slice and dice review of one of her books, than one of yours. Do you see see what I mean?

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  • Lydia Harlow
    October 6
    8:58 pm

    There’s a couple of ‘reviewers’ who always give their fav authors good reviews. Klausner is one of them, natch, but Chere at Paranormal romance is another. She never gives bad reviews, either.

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  • I have no problem with someone reviewing a friend’s book as long as they are upfront about it. It might make me regard a glowing review with a certain degree of skepticism but this very much depends on the blogger. If I see them review friends’ books on a regular basis with a variety of grades, I’m much more inclined to believe they’re sincere when they gush.

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  • KCfla
    October 6
    9:37 pm

    See, now to me it would depend on the blogger. There are some ( DA, SB’s, You, AL, Katiebabs to name a few) that have been around a long time and earned my trust? Not a problem- especially if they place a disclaimer up front. I’ve actually suspected a few of you of being a bit MORE critical of someone you know as a sort-of cautionary reflex.

    This is why I don’t even bother reading reviews on B&N, Amazon, Borders etc. For all I know- all the good reviews were posted by the author’s friends in an effort to help him/her out.

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  • Mireya
    October 6
    10:11 pm

    @AztecLady: To me, one thing is being “friendly” another is being “friends”.

    Are you “friends” with each and every single author you’ve reviewed? Know what I mean?

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  • Lydia Harlow
    October 6
    11:36 pm

    REVIEWERS/BLOGGERS BEWARE:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090519/1030204931.shtml

    http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/endortest.shtm#

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  • I always think that as long as the relationship is disclosed, readers are savvy enough to make up their minds whether the review is honest or not, or whether the book would work for them.

    I’m obviously biased, though, and it’s in my interest to continue thinking that reviewers give their honest opinion despite friendships. I have a lot of blogger/reader friends, or people online I’ve exchanged e-mails with, or twittered with, or have gone to lunch with. And maybe friendship makes them want to like the book more … but I also assume that if they don’t like it, they aren’t going to screw the readers of their blogs or review sites by lying about it.

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  • I always wonder, and especially since I recently read a book with a great cover quote from Lisa Kleypas that was an absolute wallbanger.

    But I do agree with Meljean readers are savvy and we learn from our mistakes. The Kleypas’ cover quote burned me once, it wont happen again.

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  • I think it’s a legitimate observation and question to ask. I’m friends with LB Gregg aka Lisabea. I guess since I talk about her on my blog I assume most people know that. It’s appropriate to disclose the relationship and I’ll be more careful about that very thing in the future.

    As her friend I can say my first words to her upon reading GOBSMACKED were something like, “I’m so relieved it’s good and I don’t have to pretend I like it.”

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  • So long as the relationship is disclosed at the beginning of EVERY REVIEW (or at the end of every review), I’m okay.

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  • I try to always disclose if I am a “fan girl” of an author – like JR Ward or if I am friends with someone. I don’t even know if I am considered a friend of LB Gregg..LOL. I met her once for literally 30 seconds at RWA. Yes, I visit her blog, but that is the extent of our “friendship.” Not to say I don’t find her very funny and a great person but what she puts on her blog is all that I know about her.

    I am a huge fan of her Men of Smithfield series and requested an ARC from her. That was it 🙂 But I totally see where you are coming from. I do have certain series and authors that I tend to squee over a bit too much..but like I said, I always say that at the beginning. Just like I will let everyone know if it is an unknown author to me, etc..

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  • Karen–What a great topic. Why didn’t I see this earlier?

    I built relationships with a lot of folks when I was a blogger and a reviewer, long before I ever sat down to write a book for publication. So, yup, I’m in a awkward position.

    Most of the folks I know online have been excited and happy to promote my work because they witnessed my progress from reviewer to author. They’ve been supportive. Yes. (and I’m damn grateful–no kidding)

    It’s always nice when people I’ve never met send me fan mail, and review sites I don’t know like my series. Uhm. That’s how I ‘met’ Mandi to begin with–she was raving about my first two novellas and I thought–who the hell is that chick? *g*

    But this isn’t about me specifically–it’s about legitimacy in reviewing and the small community of writers and readers online. We do interact and develop relationships, and the line can become blurred between author & reviewer. Do they think so-and-so is my friend, I don’t want to hurt them? when they write reviews? Sometimes–and then, if they have a following who trust them,(as Meljean said. She’s so smart.) they write the review anyway.

    Holy smokes. I don’t think I’ve ever been the topic of conversation before. Yikes.

    LB

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