|used to be my rating|
When I started this reviewer talk I wrote briefly about the relationship between reviewer and author. The trust and what I don't do in reviewing.
There's another relationship that must be recognized - Reviewer to Reader. Those who read reviews and those who read the authors. No, they're not necessarily the same people.
Readers can visit a review site to find new authors or to see what's being said about their faves. It doesn't matter why the readers are there, it matters how you treat and engage with them. If someone wants to argue, what's the point? No matter what you may want to say, an arguer is listening with closed ears. Your counterpoints - and let's face it this works with every hat I wear - are seen as nothing but defending and being blind to the truth (the arguer's truth that is).
Or, of course, you're saying this, that, and the other thing because you're friends with the author. Sorry, knowing and engaging with someone via social media does not make you friends...no matter what certain vendor-people want to dictate. You're more acquaintances which doesn't mean you can't, don't, or won't develop a friendship. The friendship starts and continues on trusting you. That you will continue to be open and honest about what the author has written.
Look, I'm not about to offer an opinion on friends who review friends. That's an entirely different avenue with complications of its own.
Should readers be made aware if the reviewer and author know each other? I don't have an issue with this relationship. Personally, one review doesn't make or break anything for me. I've tried to let my own readers know if I know the author.
And that's where trust comes in. Authors trusting reviewers and then readers trusting the reviewer. Reviewers trusting both with the knowledge that in the end, a review is just an opinion. Weigh it against all opinions and you'll find a balanced answer (if reviewers have done their job well, which is why reviewing is so nerve-wrecking, but that's for another day)
Keep writing, keep reading!