The First Five Days on Goodreads

5 January, 2012 Buzz Worthy News 70 comments

Welcome to 2012.

I’m reviewing the first five Goodreads days so far and it amounts to a fat 1 star because the drama llamas are out to play, folks!

So in case you’ve missed all the juicy GoodReads gossip – here it is, folks.

1. Kira Vs Krokos

Important Links:
The Review that started it all
Another blog
Discussion here
and another here

What happened:

Krokos begins by criticizing Kira’s prereview of Julie Cross’ Tempest.  It snowballs from there.  He takes the discussion to Twitter where other authors join in.  Their twitter messages can be found here.
Mindee Arnett: Apparently she tweeted as well but I can’t seem to find any tweets so I can’t confirm this one.  I haven’t been able to find any tweets to implicate Arnett so I’m taking her off the list.

Lauren DeStefano: “I’d even venture to say GR makes 4chan look like a hallmark card from my own loving granny.”

 Bill Cameron:  “Goodreads is such a hellhole I fled months ago.”

Jessica Corra: “Everyone’s a critic.”

Courtney Allison Moulton: “A hot new way to destroy a publishing career before you have it.”

Pam van Hylckama: “Where you go when you get a bit too full of yourself.”

Rachel Hawkins: “It is your right to be an a-hole on the internet.  But then you don’t get to be offended when someone is like, “Hey.  You are an a-hole.”

and she goes on:

“B/c be honest.  You KNEW you were being an a-hole.  Maybe you were even being a FUNNY a-hole. And that’s valid!  Sometimes we gotta get snarky!”

And on:

“But when you SAY A-HOLE THINGS, and someone is like, “HEY, THAT IS SLIGHTLY A-HOLISH OF YOU!” maybe don’t yell, “OPPRESSION OMG!”

And on:

“No one is trying to oppress you.  Or take away your right to be an a-hole on the internet.  But words have power, actions have consequences.”

And still goes on:

“So anyway, that’s my two cents.  In the words of @wilw, don’t be a dick.  And if you ARE going to be one perhaps climb down from high horses.”

We can’t actually confirm, or deny, whether Hawkin’s is still tweeting this commentary or if people just got bored and stopped screen-capping them.
The debate also led to Agent Suzie Townsend posting to defend her clients Julie Cross and Dan Krokos and then to delete her Goodreads account.

Krokos, Corra, Moulton, DeStefano and Hylckama later came forward to apologize.  It appears that Corra, Moulton, Hylckama and DeStefano were unaware of the hoopla and were simply responding to the hashtag.

Debate also raged on several user status’ and blog posts. An old post of DeStefano’s ignited debate over whether her attitude to negative reviews has changed in the year since it was published.

Then Hannah Moskowitz wrote An Open Letter To Those Who Review on Goodreads and everyone agreed she was, like, the coolest person ever.


2. Goodreads reviewer, Flannery, is attacked by author Danielle Weiller

Important links:   

The Review that started it all!

What happened:

On Flannery’s 3 star (huh?) review of Goddess Melina Marchetta’s Froi of the Exiles, Danielle Weiller takes a swipe at the reviewer for her gratuitous snark.  Then gets defensive.  Then apologizes.  Very quickly.  To Wendy (Huh?)

Message 49:
“I found this review quite harsh and extreme in taking things out of context. Finnikin and Isaboe have never had an easy relationship and have always struggled with sharing responsibility and power. Theyve had some fantastic arguments.
I know goodreads is a place to share opinions but the sarcasm in this review – then giving it 3 stars when it sounded like you really wanted to give it 1 – was a bit mean. Spare a thought for all the authors hard work and reading this review and seeing your picture of her character – sometimes readers are just too harsh.”

Message 56:
“Now now, let’s not surround the minority here like a pack of wolves. I dont know any of you outside this review and its comments. I just wonder if readers care at times that authors do actually read these and can be discouraged by certain tones and comments.”

Message 68:
“I fully understand all the comments here – Id just like to know where the ethics and boundaries are here.”

3. Leigh Fallon’s abusive email is sent to the reviewer it was antagonizing.

Important Links:

The status update!

What happened:

All-round wonderful person, and hilarious reviewer, Stephanie receives an anonymous email.  The sender of the email claims to have received an email from Leigh Fallon regarding Stephanie’s Amazon review and it says the following:

There is the stupid cow from Goodreads who has been real nasty and keeps doing upreally bad reviews of Carrier, then gets her friends to go in and ‘like’ herbad reviews so that that review will be pushed up to the top of all the lists.Now she’s put it up on Amazon! She is a disgruntled old cow who doesn’t like meand how I got published. There’s no point in saying anything about her orresponding (she loves that) but what we can do is push her review back down thelist by bringing all the good reviews back to the top. How do we do this? Wellat the end of each review there is a little button where you can say whetheryou found the review helpful. Click YES on the good reviews. The more reviewsyou click YES you click on the good reviews the further down the list thatbitch will go. If you leave a comment on the good reviews, that helps too.She’s already got over 20 of her buds to YES her review so we will need to findmore people than that to YES the good reviews. There are about 8 pages of reviews(that’s about 7 reviews or something like that) so we can bury this horribletoe rag down the very bottom if you help me out.

As far as I’m aware, you don’t have to havebought anything on Amazon to get your vote to count. You just need to be a registereduser. It only takes about 5 mins to go through all the reviews and YES the goodones. I’m not asking to dickie with the system or anything, it’s just moving ahorrible review from the top spot. It’s so long, you have to scroll for agesuntil you get to the good ones. I’d really appreciated it help on his. I’d alsolove if you could maybe gets some friends or family to do the same.

Thanks a million, guys. You’re the best.


Disbelief over the authenticity is widespread.  Until Stephanie emails Leigh Fallon herself and discovers that it’s all true and so Fallon apologizes.

Dear Stephanie:

I owe you a message and an apology. I sent a private email to two close friendsand I’ve learned that that email somehow found its way to your inbox.Obviously, it was not meant for yours or anyone else’s eyes, but more to thepoint, it was not something I should’ve sent in the first place. It was writtenin anger and I’m sorry for the hurt it has caused you. As an author, I’mgrateful for all of my readers, including those who do not end up loving thebook—believe it or not!—and I appreciate anyone who takes the time to thinkcritically about the book and share their thoughts. That said, to put itplainly, your review hurt my feelings. I know it wasn’t meant as an attack onme, but some days, I don’t have a thick skin. So I turned to my friends andvented. I’m sorry for my hurtful words. You are clearly a book lover—youdeserve only my respect for our shared love of the written word. Please acceptmy apology.



Debate rages over Fallon’s response as indicated by the fact that in order to knock Stephanie’s review off the top spot, she would have needed far more than two people.

4. Vanity Published author, Jamie McGuire, lashes out at a reviewer.

Important links:

The offending blog post.  McGuire has now deleted this post. Luckily, I have a screenshot.
The review that started it.
One discussion, and then another, longer discussion.

What happened:

Sophie, a relatively new reviewer (since Oct 2011 and with only 30ish friends) wrote a review on McGuire’s debut novel, Beautiful Disaster.  The review is… less than complimentary.  Beautiful Disaster fans flock to attack her review.  Then complain when she responds.  Then McGuire gets involved, writing a scathing blogpost and makes several tweeted comments quoting 1 star reviews and criticizing them.

People point out that a reviewer, defending herself on her own review, does not class as someone attacking McGuire’s fans, but rather that her fans are attacking the reviewer.  Much discussion is had and McGuire… doesn’t apologize.  At all.

She does manage to make a bunch of half-assed responses, and then deletes them.

And onto the last and final scandal:

Drumroll, please!

5. Fabulous author of Seraphina, Rachel Hartman is caught belly dancing to Love in an Elevator.

No links because this is only an alleged scandal.  Pics or it didn’t happen, Hartman!ETA:It’s true!!!!!!!!  Hartman, you saucy minx!

I can also report and confirm that within minutes of Hartman posting this photo on her profile, Goodreads crashed.  True story.  You just can’t make that shit up.

The Wankfest contines here.

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy

70 Responses to “The First Five Days on Goodreads”

  1. CuddleBug

    I'm so glad you're not mad! I kept thinking, "I know Stephanie just wants this to go away but… damnit, people need to know what happened here!"I tried to keep it brief and not go into it too much though and I put it in the middle of the article so it all didn't flare up too much.

  2. Anonymous

    Wow, I just can't believe these people. Is there any decent YA writers left in the world? Or are they all prissy little princesses who can't take a hit?

  3. Becca Christiansen

    I can't believe all this happened. I'm so embarrassed for the way some of these writers behaved. But I'm so proud of my fellow readers and reviewers for not backing down.

  4. Julianna Helms

    Wow, I actually missed Flannery's dispute. Thanks for recapping–it hurts to go back down that memory lane, but I really hope authors and everyone else learned something useful from this. :]

  5. Stephanie

    Kat,I totally believe people need to know what happen! That is why I went public with it. I'm just surprised at the huge reaction it caused and I admitt to feeling a tad bit gui–…what the hell am I saying? LOL. Nope, don't feel bad at all!Well, I do feel bad for killing everyone's feed yesterday. That seemed to annoy some people. That's the main reason why I wanted it to die. :/

  6. Patricia

    How is this even possible? I miss the days when I was ignorant about shit like that. I didn't even know about the whole tweet thing, although I actually follow some of the authors and have seen two of the "If you behave assholish bla" tweets. o.ô (Guess I didn't care back then)Thanks for the recap!

  7. Lauren DeStefano

    Hey. Lauren DeStefano here. I posted this on GR as well but I'll say it again here. The authors who responded to Dan's rather cryptic and now deleted GR tweet had NO idea about the Tempest drama. as I said here: <a href=";=5#comment_42890096… />When we responded to Dan, we had no idea about the Tempest review, and actually I had no idea what was going on until I had a bunch of less-than-savory emails and replies to a blog I wrote about a year ago:… I deleted most of them because I saw the discussion taking an ugly turn and I didn't want to turn what was meant to be an inspirational post into something ugly, which is where it was headed. I think my comment about Goodreads and 4chan was taken out of context. It had NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS REVIEW. I have never participated in a comment thread on a negative review, directly or indirectly or passive-aggressively.I kept mostly silent for the past few days because I thought anything I said would just make matters worse, but given what I'm seeing here, maybe speaking up wouldn't hurt. If you saw my tweet and took offense, my intention was NOT to take part in the ongoing drama. I am cool with people disliking me because of, I dunno, my haircut or my last name, or flat out hating my book. But please don't think I hate reviewers, readers, or people who use this site. I love the crap out of readers. I spend most of every day tweeting, facebooking, blogging, answering questions and interacting with readers and my life would be heather gray without them.Over and out.

  8. Andrea K Höst

    I snarl and grumble at the computer, and make up inventive insults when I read my negative reviews. And then I…well, go play "Star Wars: The Old Republic" or something which will make me feel far better than I would getting drawn into an argument on the internet.[assumed link to xkcd]For me this was a reminder that a public persona might not match a private persona. Not to mention that Twitter, blog posts, and email should not be used for anything you might not want to have publicly dissected. It's strange (or perhaps not so strange) that the reviews attracting these negative comments have generally been well-expressed, clearly explaining just why the reader didn't like it (which is so much better, in my opinion, than a mute one star, no matter the level of snark).And several people have made the very good point that these kinds of responses would be more than distressing for a young teen venturing into review-land.[PS. The day I see Goatse on Goodreads is the day I start comparing it to 4chan. It's got a long long way to go.]

  9. Vinaya

    THANK YOU! I get so annoyed when I've slept/worked/just generally missed an internet brouhaha, and everyone's talking about it, but they're being all PC and no-one wants to give you the details on what really went down and you feel like the unpopular kid in school that no-one will tell anything to! 🙁 This post is awesome, I hope you do this every time something like this happens so that a) we have a written record and people don't conveniently forget that they were douchebags, and b) so that poor sods like me can get back in the loop without having to hunt it all up themselves. I heart you Kat!

  10. CuddleBug

    Lauren DeStephano,I did actually mention in this article that:a) Yourself and most of the commenters apologized and claimed to not know about the source thread of the drama.I didn't actually speculate in this area. For the most part, whether others believe it or not, I think it's true that most of you guys were just responding to a hashtag. You can't be expected to investigate every single tweet to find out if it has a deeper connection.On the other hand, and this is my problem, most of the tweets do show a dismissive or outright hostile attitude towards Goodreads. If it were a site that had multiple functions then I could understand that there would be a myriad of reasons for this. But the only purpose of Goodreads is to talk about and review books. A dissenting attitude to do this isn't indicative of a positive attitude to reviewers. But I guess that's a discussion for another day.I understand that you want to put this all behind you. As a Goodreader, so do I. I'm absolutely sick of the drama. I only wrote this blogpost – first of all to make light of the situations because we could all use some humour after the week we've had, and secondly so that I do not have to reply to the 100th question of, "What happened here? I've seen all these status updates…"I'm pretty sure in the link I provided to your blog, the link goes straight to new your comment since I wanted people to be able to see it without drawing further attention by addressing it in the main body of this article.I hope that clears up that this article was not me taking a further potshot at you.

  11. CuddleBug

    Andrea – You're hilarious. Goatse… ah, the Goatse!Vinaya. You are most definitely welcome. That's exactly why I wrote this. So many people were so confused and had missed out – where as, I am a gigantic loser and seemed to have been in on almost every debacle!

  12. Kaethe

    As another one who missed all the original brouhaha, I thank you. It's vitally important to know who what when where and why there are internet snits/scandals, and I salute you.Appropriately, my verification word is "re-vent". Ha!

  13. P.E.

    I'm so shocked at all this… even me, in my little bubble of ignorance heard there was drama. It's really making me uncomfortable about reviewing and authors and reading.Thank you for this post, I'm glad to know everything that happened. Knowledge is power, right?

  14. lavi

    Sad, very fucking sad. I am new to Goodreads and have therefore skipped the drama while trying to figure out how to add shelves and books to my profile. But all this is extremely familiar. I cannot criticize GR, and I will not, because I do not know it, but the reason why I turned my back on other art/culture sites such as Deviant Art and Allpoetry was the fact that no one can take criticism anymore. So what if a reviewer uses profanity? I am so sick of this obsession with fake kindness and censorship. If a book makes a reader so angry, or if that is simply their way of speaking, they are free to curse and express themselves. But you always find prissy little bitches who fixate on your every little curse world, instead of actually reading and understanding your comments and your point of view. They judge you and gather their masses against you, using sad faux arguments such as "Why can't people mention what they liked?" or "Look at them using those words/phrases/pics?" WTF. And look, I understand that it hurts when your book gets torn a new asshole, but maybe it deserved it. Maybe it pushed the wrong buttons, maybe people are sick of reading about the same weak heroines, the same abusive asshole love interests. Or maybe we are all wrong and you, the individual who envisions such absurd relationships are absolutely right. Does that instantly eliminate our right to comment? To discuss? To vent? Lastly, let us be honest here. These books that are so criticized (and for good reason) are nothing society cannot do without. They are not classics, not even to this generation, they have little value over-all. They are okay as escapism, or as a trend, but in the long run, they fail to make an impact because they are unoriginal, dumb, silly and most are badly written. And yet, discussions about them ignite catastrophic reactions, conflicts, etc. Very sad. I do not know how I might react if I wrote something or did something and that thing were to obtain bad reviews. I would like to think I have reached an age and a level of maturity high enough to cry it out or punch it out or whatever, and then either write a defense as well as I can, or simply move the fuck on. I would not send my friends to hate-rape the fuck out of my READER, who invested money, or at least time in my shit.

  15. Sandra

    I saw much of this drama on Goodreads and was appalled with the crap that went down. Thanks for putting a cohesive recap of it all up in this blog. And to Lavi – Amen!

  16. Jeyn Roberts

    I take my reviews with a grain of salt. Not everyone is going to like my book. I'm ok with that. Bad reviews do not keep people from reading your book. Bad behaviour does. Authors are in the public eye. People in the public eye get criticized all the time. A truly good artist doesn't let criticism rule them.

  17. Becky

    For the authors that stepped up and apologized for their comments: I'm glad. I'm maintaining my decision to NOT read or purchase their work anymore, but for the sake of the reviewers who were being targeted (like Stephanie!), I'm glad there was some closure. That being said, I'm appalled at the entitled attitude being displayed by some of these writers. It takes hard work and dedication to write a book. But that hard work does not automatically guarantee (or entitle anyone to) our praise or our money. A reader pays for a product. It's within a reader's rights to discuss and criticize what they have paid for, and choose to stop paying for their work in the future. If the writer is unhappy with that, writing is not the profession for them. (Obviously, I'm talking about actual criticisms of the book, and not personal bashing of the author themselves.)

  18. CuddleBug

    Lavi, I agree that all this drama is really ridiculous. But I want to make it clear that book bloggers tend to be there for each other and support each other.I have a passion for ensuring that nobody feels their freedom of speech is impinged upon or that they need to monitor their words when it comes to reviewing books. I think what we can all take away from these issues is that, at the end of the day, there is a lot of support out there.

  19. Ebola

    So much facepalm. Kind of makes me giggle about how much back peddling has been done by people because their doucheyness has become public and they've been outed as unprofessional. My do-not-read list just got fatter 😛

  20. Fireflywishes

    Wow, I saw the goodreads hashtag tweets the other day but had no idea they were connected to all that drama on the Tempest review. After reading all those comments on Goodreads on the Tempest review and then on the subsequent scandals – I feel like my head is going to explode. I also feel quite ignorant LOL people almost always send me links to drama and I almost never see it unfold first hand (well, I guess I never KNOW it's drama, case in point the tweets I saw) but I also think maybe that's good for my sanity. Thanks for filling those of us in the non-know in 😀 April @ My Shelf Confessions

  21. Dhympna

    Thank you for mentioning the Goodreads hashtag. Even though many of the participants were not aware of the bruhaha going on surrounding *Tempest*, the hashtag was still a little malicious and not good natured. Not knowing the cause of the hashtag does not absolve the participants from their actions and statements. I found many of the statements to be juvenile and malicious. If you don't like Goodreads, then delete your account.

  22. Kate

    GAWD. First of all, a big shout out to McGuire for making us indies look like SOOOO GOOOOD. *sigh*Secondly, why in the world can't reviewers just be reviewers? Isn't that what goodreads is for?? Maybe I'm confusing it with the "every book is perfect and wonderful" website for reviewing books?

  23. Nimue

    Thanks for posting this. I heard here and there a bit about the *shit* going on o n goodreads but hadn't realizes what was going on completely.I guess we shouldn't be surprised but another ideal goes down the drain. I'm actually still shocked about Leigh Fallon's email and Jamie McGuire's open letter. More so about the latter where she implements that not everyone is able to perceive her novel (which I actually read and liked) the right way. Are you kidding me? The right way?It's good to openly speak about this and to make other readers, reviewers and bloggers aware of it! Thanks.

  24. Anonymous

    I don't suppose you have a screengrab of Jamie McGuire's blog post? Because she's deleted it.

  25. Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate

    I think it's funny when author egos are so huge that they feel compelled to try and change the opinion or right a wrong in a review. Agent Suzie Townsend and others like her have ENORMOUS egos. I'm sure Krokos and company do as well.

  26. clairewriteswords

    What is going on with writers at the minute. Everyone seems to have gone boogaloo.Honestly though, if those writers are that thin skinned then they probably aren't in the right job.

  27. Anonymous

    Wow, great post. I started reading comments and when I read DeSteFano's comment I wanted spit on my computer screen. She is no prize princess, as far as accepting negative reviews goes. In fact, she sends out a link to reviewers that links to a blog post she wrote – in which she basically says (and I'm paraphrasing here) all reviewers suck, review because they can't WRITE, and should get a life. What a cow. I will NEVER buy another of her books. Ever.

  28. Lianne

    Wow. I've been very lucky on Goodreads, it appears. I've been posting reviews for a couple of years now, running the gamut from scathing 1 star reviews (well, rarely scathing, except in one case, but definitely multiple 1 stars) to 5 star raves. I've never gotten any flack for it, and a couple of times I've had people 'like' my reviews. I guess I just don't review books with sensitive writers or readers who are on Goodreads.

  29. Vinaya

    Th-th-there's a link to this post on The Guardian. THE GUARDIAN! :O Kat, you are playing in the big leagues now! 😉

  30. CuddleBug

    Vinaya, I actually think a mistake has been made. The link is for a quite fromThe Bookwuurm and doesn't exist on my blog, so I don't know why I've been linked to, really.

  31. CuddleBug

    Anonymous, do you have any links clarifying your claim that DeStefano wrote this blog post or has been referring people to it?Overall, I've seen her make a video and write two blogposts defending reviewer's rights to write what they like. She's also been very vocal in her apologies over this incident.If what you're saying is true, that would be a big departure from her behaviour that I've seen and documented for myself.

  32. georgemartin31

    lol. Ive just written some less thancomplimentary (but fair reviews) both on Cass’ work (the siren) and on Fallon’s carrier of the mark. Oops. I did get attacked about the siren, but as yet nothing on COTM…..

  33. georgemartin31

    lol. Ive just written some less than complimentary (but fair reviews) both on Cass’ work (the siren) and on Fallon’s carrier of the mark. Oops. I did get attacked about the siren, but as yet nothing on COTM…..

  34. coharrington

    I just fell down the rabbit hole clicking through your post. I loved it. Is it wrong that the pic of the drama llama is priceless to me?

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