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I sometimes recommend books; when I do, you should be aware that sometimes I receive free books from people. I would say that I receive those books in exchange for my honest opinion, but I always try to make it clear to people that I rarely have time to read them even so, so if someone sends me a free book I might not even give them my opinion. I receive a lot more books than I recommend, and I receive no other compensation for my recommendations.
I am often friends (and/or at least friendly with people whose books I recommend, mostly because the romance community is not large.