I was pondering this in a chat room full of authors last night. I got a lot of good answers, but I don't think I'm any closer to figuring out a middle ground for myself.
On one hand, I can see the argument against authors reviewing other authors. I mean, you don't want to buy a book based on back slaps from friends, you know? (Which is giving the author network a lot of credit. I "know of" a lot more authors than I "know." I'm sure the same is true for everyone else. So you're far more likely to read a review by a reader who happens to be a writer than someone looking to do a fellow writer a solid IMO.)
Which flows into my next point. I'm a reader too. My love of reading why I started writing. If I really enjoyed a book, regardless of who happened to write it, is it wrong for me to want to share that enthusiasm with other readers?
Well, maybe. Reviews should be impartial. Or let me say I place more value on impartial reviews.
That's part of the reason why I don't review friends' books, no matter how much I enjoyed them. The other part is because I beta or crit for several of them, and it feels wrong to rate books I had a hand in polishing, you know what I mean?
I'll be honest, as much as I crave reviews as an author, I'm rarely moved, as a reader, to give them. A book really has to knock my socks off for me to sit down and write up a review. I should also mention here I'm a horrible reviewer...
I get so excited about really good books I gush and my vocabulary is reduced to "awesome" and "whoa" and "want." So yeah, things I don't think another author would read and considering valuable input. Although, I do bring the foaming fangirl pretty well. ;)
I don't know. Maybe I'm over thinking this.
Sometimes I get so excited and want to spread the gospel of whatever I happen to be reading at the time. Last week was Kelly Armstrong's Otherworld series. And yes, Bitten did rate a review from me. I love that series. (And Lucas!) (And will book thirteen hurry up and get here? Or do I want it to get here since it's the last one?) (But I really need to see A and S get together!) <- See. Most of my reviews aren't even that cohesive. LOL
So what do you think? Is it okay for authors to review other authors? Crit partners? Friends? Do you believe that's where the idea a bad review that teaches you something is better than a good review that lavishes praise without giving you room for improvement?
(Oh, and I'm also reading The Darkest Surrender, Gena Showalter, and it's one of her best, if not her best in the Lords of the Underworld series.)