A little bit on my philosophy of reviewing books.
I think most often the cause of disappointment (in many things but especially in books) is mismatched expectations. You're expecting to read a Regency and you get a zombie nun space thriller (is there such a thing?). Needless to say, you're going to be disappointed.
So in my reviews I try to give information to potential readers about the type of book it is and who might enjoy it. The fact that many of my reviews come with samples of the first chapter is a great way for readers to discover if this book might be for them. I also like to warn readers if there is subject matter that some people might find troubling.
However, as with many things in life, there is some legal nonsense. A good portion of the books I review are provided to me by either the publishing house, the publicist, or the author. This has been done for many years in print publications so I'm not sure why lately it has caused such a hornet's nest on the Internet.
A free book can hardly be construed as a bribe for a good review. It simply is a request that this book be reviewed in a timely manner, say for the release of the book. There is a certain advantage to creating a buzz around the release of a book and reviews, either good or bad, do that. If I reviewed the books as I got around to them in my TBR (to be read) pile, it might be years after a release date that the review would get published.
Additionally, given the time it takes to read and write a decent review of a book, reviewers would be getting paid only several pennies per hour for their effort if you consider a book payment for a review.
Finally, if reviewers only wrote good reviews of the books they received for free, then soon their reviews would be worthless. If everything they review is good, then how can their opinion be trusted by a consumer looking to spend money on books?
Okay. Rant over. If you want to see some of the books I've reviewed, click here.