I think the idea of only doing positive reviews and no negatives would cut down on the helpfulness of the review site or journal. I can see the publishers not wanting to hurt authors and also that some reviewers can be too negative, but if you only read positive reviews you wouldn’t get a whole view of a book. Collection development needs to know what’s being said about a book in order to know if it’s useful or a good read. If they can only find positive reviews then they may think it’s a good read, but actually be missing out on an important negative aspect.
Reviews of free e-books always make me hesitate, I’m not sure why. From the two over The Billionaire’s First Christmas, I would probably take the blog review over the Amazon review. The Amazon review is what I’ve come to expect from the site, not much information over the editing and very personal. While the blog does have some personal feelings in the review, I feel the author gave off a better evaluation. It wasn’t just about how the plot went and it actually had some drawbacks the author felt the book had. I don’t think I’d buy the book for my library, however, and I don’t believe that it’s romantic suspense. From these reviews I don’t have a sense of suspense at all, just a cozy, feel-good, romance.
The reviews for Angela’s Ashes defiantly make the book sound extremely interesting. I’m not usually one for memoirs but I think I may check this one out. The difference in these reviews from the ones for The Billionaire’s First Christmas is mostly dealing with the delivery. These reviews over Angela’s Ashes defiantly have a professional feel and give a better delivery then the blog and Amazon review. I find it unfortunate that some books get little coverage while others are in just about every review magazine or site. However, if a book is very good it’s more likely to get more attention while if one is less liked or well-written it won’t get as many reviews. Sometimes the number of reviews can point to the likeliness of a book being a good buy or not, while sometimes a real gem can be hidden in obscurity.
If I’m looking into reviews for a book, which I actually don’t do often for personal use, I usually go to professional places rather than Amazon or other such sites. I’ve bought books from Amazon reviews and regretted it, but usually the professional reviews give me a much better idea. I usually go to places like School Library Journal and Booklists. I’ve also used Goodreads, but I’m carful of those since it acts a lot like Amazon. I’m actually more of a shelf browser, as I usually just go along the selves and pick books that sound interesting. If I hear about a book I’ll research it but otherwise I just go with what my gut says.