I haven’t wrote an exposé in a long time, and to be honest, thought I’d never have to do something like this again because the backlash at outing someone is the fucking worst. But guys, I am going to take that risk. I’m going to put it all out there despite the fact some people are going to label me a hateful bully. But I do this not because I’m trying to harass someone. It’s because she has stolen from myself and other bloggers — over 15 others. And I can’t just take the shit lying down.
A blogger’s commodity is their voice, words, opinions and ideas. It’s what makes us stand apart and how we express ourselves. For some, it’s even a livelihood and a business. For others, it’s an outlet, a way of revealing your true self to others. And I don’t know about you, but I leave pieces of myself in my reviews (or anything I write for that matter). It’s personal, therapeutic, entertaining, enlightening, refreshing and everything in between. In many ways, we share this with the authors of our favorite books, just on a smaller scale.
So when someone steals this from you, your voice — YOU — it sparks justifiable rage. Journey with me down the rabbit hole.
**I want to give lots of cyber hugs to the person who tipped me off to this whole shebang. She doesn’t want to be named, but I want you all to know how much I, and many others, appreciate her speaking up about this issue. Thank you.**
Part 1: Plagiarism
Let me tell you guys a little story about a blogger named Samantha Reed, who blogs over at Reeds Reviews and Goodreads. Sometime last week, I caught wind that my review of Anne & Henry was copied word for word (I won’t post it in this post because it’s long and has images, but click the link if you must. The review is not yet live on CB.). And I’ll admit it, my first reaction was laughter. I’ll never understand the mindset of a plagiarist and it just baffles me that someone would do it like, “Yeah, this is cool. No one will ever know.” LOL. I mean, are you for real?
Plagiarism isn’t new to the book blogging community. We’ve seen it rear its ugly head here and there and it’s never pleasant. But we all know what to do. We take screenshots and try to handle it privately before resorting to bigger measures. However, in this case, things went a little differently when Christina (Reader of Fictions) noticed another one of Samantha’s reviews… one that looked shockingly like Emily May‘s review of Vengeance Road.
If you read through Samantha’s review, you’ll see pieces of Emily’s review. I’m also inclined to believe that other parts were taken from other reviewers, but I didn’t confirm this. Trust me, there’s more where this came from.
Notice huge chunks of copied text:
At this point, I’m thinking to myself, WTF. So I started looking more closely at her other reviews and found LOADS more.
Larger images of these reviews can be found here.
Samantha also lifted:
- Alyssa’s reviews of A Whole New World and Some Girls Are. This post is already full of screen shots, so you can view them here and here, respectively.
- Rosy’s (The Review Diaries) review of The Fixer. Original Review | Copy
- Amber’s (The Book Bratz) review of Naked. Original Review | Copy
- Bonnie‘s review (For the Love of Words) and Giselle‘s review (Xpresso Reads) reviews of All the Rage. Bonnie | Giselle | Copy
- Riley‘s (Riley Marie Reads) review of Everything, Everything. Original Review | Copy
- Jamie‘s (The Best Book Ever) review of The Foxglove Killings. Original Review | Copy
- Tricia‘s (The Bookworm Coalition) review and Andge‘s (Down the Rabbit Hole) review of Hunter. Tricia | Andge | Copy
EDIT: More review found after this post went live.
- Briana‘s (Pages Unbound) review of A Night Divided. Briana | Copy (Review was found AFTER she had been confronted the first time. So we are thinking this is one of the remixed second wave of reviews.)
After seeing all this, my mind was blown. How anyone thought this was okay, was beyond me and I really wanted to warn others of this Review Thief pillaging our content. So I tweeted about it and publicly encouraged others to flag the reviews on Goodreads to try and get them removed.
— Steph, Kat & Meg (@Cuddlebuggery) August 27, 2015
This seemed to work great because Samantha herself removed some 40+ reviews and removed all reviews from her blog. Think about that. I have only talked about 15 reviewers affected in this post. Yet, she removed 40+, leaving herself with around 20 still remaining. In that time, she also deleted her twitter, re-instated it and tweeted that she was being harassed. (Screenshot unavailable because Meg dropped the ball.) Yeah, okay. But she then tried to continue on like nothing happened.
— Karina Romano (@Watcha_Reading) August 31, 2015
Part 2: Apologies
Rosy and Alyssa had contacted Samantha and had received apologies with the usual blanket statements. I personally had not contacted her because I was just so angry, I didn’t trust myself to send a coherent email. Plus, what is there really to say? So Rosy tells me that Samantha has no idea who all the people who she stole from are and that she’s trying to find them to personally apologize. Naturally, that sent me into another rage, and I decided it was time for me to take my angry self to bed before my head exploded.
The next day, I woke up to an email in my inbox from Samantha, apologizing for what she’d done. At least, that’s what she thought she was doing. I’ve not responded to the email because it’s so insulting and I’m at a loss for words. I wonder why? OH YEAH. THEY WERE STOLEN.
EDIT: It appears that this is the exact same letter Rosy got from Samantha, minus the las paragraph about Australia. Guys, I don’t live in Australia.
Which leads us to…
Part 3: Bullshit
Maybe up until this point I would, some might say I’m being mean for not accepting her apology. After all she’d taken down all the reviews, right? I even started doubting myself, because even though I truly did not believe Samantha’s apology, at least she tried to apologize and make amends. But my gut just continued to disagree, and maybe this is the natural cynic in me. But I put those feelings in a little shoebox, on the top shelf of a closet in my mind. For peace, I would leave this alone and move on.
Update: fraudulent reviews were taken down. Victims were notified. Thanks, everyone, for helping your fellow bloggers out! ????
— Steph, Kat & Meg (@Cuddlebuggery) August 27, 2015
I was feeling grateful that the situation didn’t appear to get out of hand and was pleased that other bloggers assisted in getting the plagiarized content removed.
Or so I thought.
The next day, I found out about Bonnie and Giselle’s review of All the Rage was still up. Later, she took down it after this exchange:
— Bonnie (@missbonnie13) August 28, 2015
— Steph, Kat & Meg (@Cuddlebuggery) August 28, 2015
A slight tremor went off in my mind, and my little shoebox of frustration and disgust rattled. But, again, I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she missed one of the reviews when taking the others down. It is says something when you have so many plagiarized reviews up, that you can’t even remember which ones are plagiarized, but I digress.
But guys, the worst happened. Yesterday night, I discovered she was re-uploading several of the reviews that she stole. Yes. I can’t believe it either. Any and all excuses I tired to make for Samantha immediately flew out the window. As I sat and re-read those remixed reviews, several things happened simultaneously: That little shoebox fell off its shelf. An earthquake suddenly rocked through me. I raged across my living room floor until lava oozed from my carpet and burned my house down. I was livid.
Essentially, these re-added reviews (around 20 something) were rephrased and reworded, but considering I had screenshots of the originals vs the first batch of plagiarized reviews vs these new plagiarized reviews… it was pretty obvious where she had gotten her “inspiration.” In some of the instances, she still used direct sentences. The audacity!
Re-mixed plagiarized reviews (click for screenshots):
This is also when I first discovered the reviews of The Foxglove Killings and Naked (perviously linked), so I don’t have screenshots of the first ones that were uploaded. BUT WHAT THE HELL? Why on earth would she upload them again? You can clearly tell they follow the same pattern and thought process of the original reviews.
But the thing that gets me was the fact that she “learned her lesson,” “is prepared for the consequences,” “is truly sorry.” And yet, she went right back and did it again a day later. I honestly wouldn’t put it past her to steal other content.
And that brings us to the reason for this post. At the writing of this post, Samantha Reed has set her Goodreads to private, removed some reviews (but I am unsure which), and changed her twitter to @BookReeds (EDIT: She has either changed her twitter handle or deleted it entirely). The purpose of me sharing all this info is spread awareness to the reviewing community. This is an individual that will continue to steal any review she wants. She has proven that she has a blatant disregard for the intellectual property of her peers and does not deserve my respect or forgiveness whatsoever. She sure as hell doesn’t deserve our community.