Losing Reviews–the demise of LDSReview.net

I was surprised the other morning to see that LDSReview.net was closing up shop. I can’t claim to have been a regular or detailed reader of the service–to be honest, they didn’t review the kind of books I read. But I thought that they served an important role.

Historically, reviewers have served an important role in book publishing, both to let the public know about books and to serve as a check on quality. But it is also clear that the role of reviewers is changing radically.

As a result, I wonder whether or not we should mourn the loss of LDSReview.net.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m NOT suggesting anything about the quality of LDSReview.net’s service. BUT, I am wondering what the role of reviewers will be like over the next 25 years or so.

From what I can tell, we’re moving to an industry with more specialized reviews, and more crowd-sourced reviews, while many traditional book review sources are disappearing. January’s announcement that the Washington Post is shuttering its book review section was just the most prominent example of a substantial decrease in the number of book reviews appearing in newspapers and popular magazines. In addition to newspapers, historically academic journals have also reviewed books in their subject areas.

In contrast, blogs and other websites, usually with much smaller and narrower audiences, have taken to reviewing books in exploding numbers and book-selling websites like Amazon.com have pulled consumers into “reviewing” books, telling others whether they liked the book or not and sniping over often inconsequential details (something I too do in the reviews I write <GRIN>). Naturally, the quality of these reviews is often not quite as good as those they are replacing.

In the LDS market, many of these sources of reviews have been lacking in most of these areas. LDS books have had to compete with other books for space in newspapers and in popular magazines. With the introduction of BYU Studies, Dialogue, the Journal of Mormon History and other LDS-oriented academic journals, academic reviews of some LDS books became available. Only in recent years, with the rise of Mormon email lists (especially AML-list’s invaluable reviews, now managed by Jeffrey Needle) and the rise of the bloggernacle, has there been a steady supply of reviews of LDS books, even if still only a fraction of LDS books get reviews.

LDS books also get the same kind of  customer reviews on Amazon.com and other booksellers websites (including DeseretBook.com), except that few books actually get reviews on the sties of LDS booksellers.

The question here really is whether or not this is enough. Are we getting enough reviews? Are they quality reviews? And, does the LDS market have the review infrastructure that it needs?

I thought LDSReview.net helped increase the reviews available. To that extent, at least, it will be missed (unless someone takes up their offer to take over the service).

What worries me is if LDSReview.net was an important and needed part of the market infrastructure. The infrastructure we have is weak as it is. Losing a piece of it doesn’t help us at all.

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41 thoughts on “Losing Reviews–the demise of LDSReview.net”

  1. Kent,

    I agree that book reviews play an important part in the literary scene. Under my direction, Sunstone will be doing more book reviews — the kind that delve not only into the book, but into the larger questions raised by successes and failures of Mormon literature.

    For example, in the current issue, I have a review from Jonathan Langford on Coke Newell’s _On the Road to Heaven_ ruminating on if the autobiographical novel genre can fly in Mormonism.

    I’m also delving into DVD reviews. We recently reviewed the LDS Film Festival’s “Best of” DVD, and the next issue will cover Bill Maher’s _Religulous_ and _Desert Bayou_.

  2. As a small publisher, I’ve tried to track if sales go up after a book review in a prominent place, and I’ve been surprised (and quite disappointed) at how little reviews seem to directly affect sales in most cases.

    I think one thing that happens often is that if someone reads a well-written review of a book, often that is enough to satisfy the reader on that topic, and they don’t even need to get the book, unless they’re VERY interested. This is very true for me with The New Yorker and the NY Times Book Review, for instance. I like reading about lots of new books but comparatively rarely take the plunge to make a purchase unless it’s a must-have author or topic.

  3. Glad to hear it, Stephen. But I’m still not sure that what this means for the overall structure of LDS books and book distribution. What kind of reviews are needed, and where should they be available?

    Should Sunstone’s reviews be available on a bookstore website, alongside where the book is being sold?

    Are you suggesting that Sunstone’s reviews will take the place of those on LDSReview.net? (Somehow I think not, nor do I think that is what you were trying to suggest).

    My point is, there is a larger question of the structure of LDS book distribution. Sunstone is clearly a part of the solution, but only, I think, if we look at the overall picture.

  4. Chris, that is my experience in reading reviews also. BUT, I do think you need to also remember that marketing and promotional events build on one another.

    I’ve heard many times that it takes at least 7 presentations of a product to get a consumer to purchase. A book review, while it is probably one of the most persuasive pieces of information about a book, is still just one presentation.

  5. I believe that the demise of LDSReview.net leaves Jennie Hansen at Meridian Magazine as the only persistent reviewer of Mormon genre fiction. Or am I missing someone? Certainly, the AML-List receives reviews of genre fiction from time-to-time and you can find reviews/comments on publisher websites, amazon.com and LDS Publisher’s LDS Fiction blog, and LDS Readers. But in terms of one or two voices tracking the market and building up a portfolio of reviews, I think Hansen is it. Although Heather Moore at LDS Readers (and an author who publishes in the Mormon genre market) does quite a bit of reviewing.

  6. .

    I think the primary purchase of reviews is just to introduce the book to the reading public. Sometimes years will go by between reading the review and buying the book, at least for me.

  7. So no one is willing to say what the role of reviews in the Mormon market should be?

    Darn, I had hoped someone would tell me what to think!!

    William, you seem to think that there needs to be someone reviewing the majority of books in each genre or part of the LDS market, right?

    Anyone have any thoughts about the shift towards more reviews from the public, as opposed to professionals in newspapers, magazines and journals? Good, Bad, No change?

    Are there important holes in what gets reviewed that need to be filled?

  8. As an author working towards breaking in, there is a little concern. I would hope that there would be multiple someones reviewing books in the different LDs genres; partly because looking over J Hansen’s own comments she doesn’t even like the genres I write in.

    Her comments about the Whitney categories had me wonder if someone who doesn’t appreciate Speculative fiction should even be judging it. That and her concern over all the YA being fantasy? I just don’t think any of that should be an issue.Especially if thats what the people are nominating.

    p.s. I actually thought the hype (good or bad) around ‘Angel Falling Softly’ would have had it sell more copies than it did but then again we are the LDS market and not the world.

    “Say Lawvee”

    wink

  9. David, that’s a good point. It is better to have enough reviewers that there are multiple view points for any genre, if not for every book.

    Do you think that having review systems where the public can review a book on a site like Amazon.com works for this? Or is this nothing more than word-of-mouth?

    I must say that my own view is that the reviews on Amazon.com and similar bookseller websites can be very helpful, but a lot depends on the time and effort the reviewer puts into reviews.

  10. When I have looked at Amazon or other seller websites I kinda have to go with how well the reviewer phrases things. Everybody might as well have a say, but IF it isn’t an intelligent critique I would ignore it. So saying something sucks or is too violent isn’t enough for me. Word of mouth is alright but I want to hear beyond “I liked it” I want to hear WHY, good or bad in depth.

    Perhaps off subject a little. I recently watched “No Counrty for Old Men”
    Vicious movie in the violent sense and nothing anyone who watches crime dramas hasn’t seen before BUT the underlying theme, that wasn’t given until almost the end is what was important to me. Themes, I also carry over into my own BoM historical fiction; themes I am dissapointed nobody else has yet really tackled within the presently published field.

    Too much of a tangent? Sorry. I may be too much into my own sub-genre.
    Speculative-Literary-Esoteric-Historical-Adventure Fiction
    or just High Brow Mormon Sword and Sorcery

    I’m new here, we are allowed to have fun right?

  11. No. No fun allowed.

    And: Speculative-Literary-Esoteric-Historical-Adventure Fiction sounds good to me.

  12. David (12), I agree with your analysis of Amazon reviews. Most of them aren’t worth the electrons that store them.

    So, if Amazon and other reviews from open, anyone-can-comment sources are unreliable, and other review sources are declining, where does that leave us?

    Are blogs like ldsreview.net, online magazines like Meridian and services like the AML-list reviews the answer?

    If so, how do we encourage more of them? And how to we get them out to where the public can find them? None of these have the reach of a newspaper or magazine review!

  13. It might have helped if the majority of those going into a tizzy over the “hype” either went into more substantial tizzies or actually read the book before going into them.

    The basic problem is that “LDS fiction,” rightly or wrongly, has become its own genre, and so books that attract the label, rightly or wrongly, will be judged primarily on whether they belong in the category.

    Most of the “hype” over Angel Falling Softly seemed to be generated by those offended that the author and publisher had dared even think it belonged there (even if they didn’t).

    The only long-term solution is for “LDS publishers” who can’t fit their products comfortably into that category to instead look to the non-LDS genre that best fits. In other words, for an F&SF title, forget LDSBA and peddle it at F&SF conventions.

    Unfortunately, even that remains an economic impossibility for most of us.

  14. It’s not like ldsreview.net was a large group blog with high-volume blogging (meaning, 2-3 review posts per day, a la Dear Author). It was a one-person shop–a valuable one, yes, but a one-person shop nonetheless.

    IMO, if someone feels so strongly that the LDS arts community lacks something, then they should feel free to fill that need. Nobody’s keeping anybody from opening up another one-person shop.

  15. Actually it was a two-person shop. And while you’re absolutely correct that nobody’s keeping anybody from opening anything up, LDSReview.net put together a quite respectable body of work and developed relationships with the pr people at the biggest Mormon publishers to get review copies as well as spending their own money on products to review. And while they were certainly boosters for the Mormon market, they also had a consistent approach that they took to their reviews.

    It’s not a tragic loss. But it takes time and resources to do what they did and their shutting down is a loss for the world of Mormon letters.

    They’re also your neighbors, MoJo. ;-P

  16. They’re also your neighbors, MoJo. ;-P

    I know, but I don’t know who they are. I suspect they’re in a different stake than I am, though we’re in the same building (my ward got pulled out of its proper stake to subsidize the priesthood in a different stake). I may even know them IRL, but don’t know their ldsreview.net alter-egos.

  17. .

    Maybe someone should suggest to them that they try and recruit more writers then? Would AMV be what it is today if Wm stuck it out alone?

  18. I should observe (and I should have said this in the post, to be honest) that the current LDSReview.net owners are willing to part with what they’ve set up — please contact them if you are interested in the challenge.

  19. Mojo (16) wrote:

    “It’s not like ldsreview.net was a large group blog with high-volume blogging (meaning, 2-3 review posts per day, a la Dear Author). It was a one-person shop”“a valuable one, yes, but a one-person shop nonetheless.

    IMO, if someone feels so strongly that the LDS arts community lacks something, then they should feel free to fill that need. Nobody’s keeping anybody from opening up another one-person shop.”

    You are right, but I think you are missing the point. I’m not claiming that this is a tragedy.

    I’m merely wondering how much we need them. I’m also trying to figure out if the LDS arts community is lacking something in the area of reviews, and what are the dimensions of what is missing.

    To be blunt, if we don’t talk about what the structure of the LDS arts community is and what would make it better, no one will ever realize what is missing and nothing will change.

    Mojo, what do you think the LDS arts community needs in the way of reviews, if anything?

  20. *I* didn’t say you were claiming it was a tragedy. *I* don’t think it’s one. *I* don’t have a dog in this fight and thus *I* have no opinion on what we do or don’t need.

    What bothers me:

    All across LDS Blogland I see one commonality and that is an overabundance of “WE should do X” and calls for “what can WE do about X?” and not a whole lot of “*I* (or WE) did X.”

    It seems to me like all of the bloggernacle wants this giant correlation meeting with the Committee on Arts & Letters in the RS room, the Committee on Sonia Johnson and What to Do About Her in the annex, the Committee on Esoteric Portions of Our History That Make Us Squirm in the kitchen, and the Committee on Why Roadshows Don’t Exist on the stage–and all the committees will all convene at precisely 9:07:34 MoST in the chapel to correlate and schedule the next meeting.

    I dunno. Maybe it’s just a byproduct of our culture and conditioning that we need to find consensus before we decide A) that something needs to be done, B) what, exactly, should be done, C) how it should be done, D) when it should be done, and E) by whom it should be done. Very little of that ever gets accomplished.

    Mojo, what do you think the LDS arts community needs in the way of reviews, if anything?

    I don’t care enough to have an opinion.

    I review books on my blog just because…I can. It’s my blog. I can do that. I reviewed Eugene’s book. I have a whole stack of LDS romance/women’s lit in my bedroom I intend to read and review as soon as my current project hits the street and I get a little downtime. Because…I can. Because…nobody’s stopping me.

    I’m saying if UGU (you, general you) think there’s a hole, fill it. If people don’t like the way UGU filled the hole, they can suck it up or go find a bigger shovel.

  21. BUT.

    I will offer a suggestion.

    There are a few (a lot of?) little blogs (some of them Mommy Blogs) (ahem Th.’s blog) that review books. It might not be their sole purpose for existence, but they do read and review.

    For a Q&D stopgap until [sarcasm] WE can get IT accomplished [/sarcasm] , set up an aggregator blog that automates the RSS feeds from those blogs and filters the reviews. One weekend, boom, done.

    Who’s volunteering?

  22. .

    That’s a very good idea. But I’m not smart enough to create such a filter. But I do know that if I was listed on such a feed I would try and be careful to make sure my review posts would pass through.

    Of course, probably less that 10% of my reviews are LDSspecific, but still: that’s a lot more than most any other site.

  23. Gee, Mojo, I had no idea I was hitting a nerve!!

    I blog about these issues because I think that there are things to be done, but I’m quite sure I don’t know ALL of what needs to be done, nor what the priorities should be.

    I’m just looking for input.

    Perhaps I’m coming across as all talk and no action. I hope not. My intention is to do things–to contribute. Like everyone, I have limited time and resources.

    One of the ways I think I can contribute (at least on AMV) is by trying to pull together information and ideas that either I or others can use.

    The only thing I expect from those who choose to comment is their input — their ideas about things like reviews, what is missing, what is needed. Of course I can’t demand that from anyone, just like I can’t really even expect anyone to comment at all!!

    Again, my apologies if my question was out of line.

  24. David West said this upthread:

    We are the LDS market and not the world.

    That kind of sums up this particular discussion for me right there. This is a very small puddle to swim in, so I wonder who really benefits and if it’s worth the trouble.

    On the other hand, just setting up a review site would be relatively. You gather a few bloggers who are willing to commit to reading and posting and/or have an aggregator (or a hybrid), and go to town.

    Kent, you have A LOT of great ideas. I haven’t seen one klunker out of you yet. And I believe I’ve made the comment that you and I have probably actually met somewhere in the Student Review‘s place very soon after it was born and that was because I thought Student Review was brilliant enough to go volunteer my services. (Didn’t need me, sadly.)

    But I think your question was too open-ended and/or hypothetical. What do we need? Well, in reality, nothing. What do we want? That’s a different matter.

    If you had posted, “I want to create a new review site to replace ldsreview.net. I want it to have X, Y, and Z features. I don’t know how to do that and where do I start and can you help me make a to-do list?”,

    you would’ve gotten all sorts of technical help (I would’ve given you ideas), but you would have also garnered suggestions and offers of other kinds of help (possibly reviewers) and an enthusiastic audience waiting for you to open your blogdoors. People would’ve volunteered what they like/don’t like about review sites and you could have taken those into consideration.

    Sometimes I can’t differentiate between a hypothetical “what it” and a more solid speculative “I really would like to see X happen.” So…

    …all that said, I’m going to assume that I’ve misread this entire thing because I do that quite frequently and it’s because my reading comprehension is about the level of a dung beetle’s.

  25. On the other hand, just setting up a review site would be relatively. You

    That should say “relatively simple.”

  26. I’m not a blogger nor particularly internet savvy beyond Google, so forgive my ignorance but MoJo (23), are you suggesting setting up something that pools reviews together from these various “mommy blogs” and so forth into one, convenient website? A sort of rottentomatoes for LDS arts and literature? So that I could go to one place and see, “Oh, Twilight got a 64%,” but then I could scan the reviews and say, “Yeah, but they only say it’s good for x reason, not because it’s actually, legitimately good” (see Sith, Star Wars: Revenge of the). Or I could see that while there may be gripes about “Angel Falling Softly,” I could weigh those gripes against my personal preferences. And of course, there would be links to the blogs of all of these “mommies, etc” allowing me to go and scan over other reviews they’ve given (to see if our tastes even remotely align… I’m looking at you, Leonard Maltin). Did I understand your comment correctly or am I completely illiternet?

  27. Mojo, I think we are talking past each other or something. You seem to want very specific, contained ideas, things that can be easily implemented.

    I’m not working at that level in this post. I’m trying to look at the overall market, not one specific idea.

    One thing that particularly bothers me in your post is the line you quoted from David West:

    We are the LDS market and not the world.

    This is one of the biggest problems with the mentality in the LDS market — this mentality of “poor us, we’re just a small little market.”

    I’m NOT saying that the LDS market is the world. I AM saying that our VISION of what we think the market is, is TOO SMALL!!!

    While they don’t say it explicitly, this view of the LDS market is that it only includes the kind of books that are sold now, sold only to the audience that is now buying.

    This is too limited.

    We have to talk about the overview, look at how to expand the market, how to get good books, probably books that don’t fit the narrow “LDS Fiction” label now dominant in the market, books in other languages and for other cultures.

    Asking open ended questions about reviews, like I have in this post, is meant to figure out what the role of reviews are TODAY in the LDS market.

    Good ideas for what changes should be done don’t show up out of a vacuum. Ideas come from talking about where we are now and what things should be like.

  28. ET, yes. It was just one idea of many that just kind of popped into my head. I get trackbacks to my blog from such aggregators all the time, but done by not-so-sophisticated bots. A real human would make it more pointed, sift out the wheat from the chaff (say, a recipe post got through the filter for whatever reason), and keep it on topic, but yes. That’s what I mean.

    *

    I think we are talking past each other or something.

    Yes. As usual. And it’s my fault. I often don’t really understand what you’re asking until I put my foot in it.

    One thing that particularly bothers me in your post is the line you quoted from David West:

    We are the LDS market and not the world.

    This is one of the biggest problems with the mentality in the LDS market — this mentality of “poor us, we’re just a small little market.”

    I’m NOT saying that the LDS market is the world. I AM saying that our VISION of what we think the market is, is TOO SMALL!!!

    Hmmm. Well, I think the sheer numbers (lack of) of A) people in the church, B) people in the church who read, and C) people in the church who read LDS fiction make it a little hard to not think that way.

    Okay, let me give you an analogy that I hope will work.

    I’m really into e-books. All the readers/writers I hang out with online are into e-books. We compare device notes, haggle over which one is The Best, talk about formatting issues. Yet…I leave my house with my e-book reader and NO ONE I run into has the slightest clue what it is. Lots of people are curious, though, and when I tell them what it is, what it does, that it has 90! full-length books on it, the astonishment flows. Not only THAT, but most of the people who are intrigued by the concept (get that? they’re still bowled over by the CONCEPT, much less that it’s a reality) have never heard of the Kindle or if they have, what the Kindle is. Further, these people have PDAs and iPhones and they do not know they can purchase and read e-books on them.

    Nothing is going to cure that but time and a concerted effort by a lot of people to educate the public.

    I see that about the LDS market, only in this case, what you’ve got is a far smaller population base than, say, a broad spectrum of readers and, more specifically, the spectrum of readers who also like gadgets or like e-books.

    I don’t think review sites are the way to build or expand a MARKET, but review sites are a good way to build a community of readers–particularly bigger review blogs with many reviewers and consistent offerings and a lively voice and a variety of books. A lot of the blogs I had in mind when I made my aggregator comment already have decent followings.

    Perhaps our VISION of how big the market is really *is* too small, but how would we know?

  29. Here’s a good example of an aggregator blog. All you need is a blog like this one (meaning AMV) to say, “Send me links (preferably already embedded)” and then once a week or so post them.

  30. .

    Hey! Sounds like another AMV project all ripe and ready! (Not that I’m volunteering. Oh no. I’m part of the problem here.)

  31. –We are the LDS market and not the world.

    –This is one of the biggest problems with the mentality in the LDS market — this mentality of “poor us, we’re just a small little market.”

    Baal’s Devils! In no way was I ever trying to make that statement of poor us. I disdain the victim mentality of it. On the contrary Kent once I feel I have a leg to stand on (as in any amount of creative control over a non-self published work) I want to be able to work with someone like you to get my Spec-Lit-Eso-Hist-Adv-Fiction out to the many worldwide non-english reading Saints. Who knows perhaps Brazil would like it better than Covenant.

    Granted there are plenty of things I don’t know of the ins and outs. So Im trying to comment on 29.

    My original statement was more about how (back in the Wor’ld) a controversial book would only sell more copies, whereas here, they apparently sell less. (unless said revenant is approved by deseret book)

  32. David, my apologies. I don’t know the original source of your comment, and I certainly didn’t intend for this to be a criticism of you personally, but rather a criticism of a certain mindset in the LDS market — one that you clearly don’t subscribe to.

    Please don’t take it personally.

    BTW, did you mention Brazil in particular for a reason? Do you, perchance, speak “A língua de Deus?”

  33. I didn’t take it too personaly. Baal’s Devils is how my Nephites swear.

    My Portugese is worse than my Spanish, I am just all for spreading the literary word beyond our borders and was relating my thoughts based off of previous posts and thoughts on your company. Granted I know nothing of what Luso-Brazilain Books does just yet but I like the idea as far as your Bio goes.

  34. I think I’m starting to get an inkling of what you’re saying, Kent. I can feel my brain doing the same things it did when I was in college reading Daniel Quinn’s Ishmael. I can tell something foundationally different from how I currently think is going on.

    I’ve a had a few ideas on expanding the Mormon literary market. Tell me if they’re going in your direction. One was to have a “book of the year” type program at Sunstone where we either pick an excellent book from a Mormon author published in the past few years, or find, edit, and publish one ourselves, and distribute it to our subscribers. It would make those books into instant bestsellers (in the world of small presses, anyway), and give Mormon novelists another platform.

    A few months ago I was talking with Boyd Peterson about the state of the Mormon novel, and we both agreed that they always need more editing. That no one seems to be willing to put the work into a novel that it needs to actually be good.

    So I started thinking (though I think William has already proposed something like this) that we could start an editing collective that would focus on finding a book and writer with heaps of potential and tease it out.

    Perhaps the AML would be willing to publish it, and Sunstone distribute it or something like that. But it would be under a very exclusive imprint that says, “This baby is as close to perfection as we could possibly get.” Most likely, we’d want to aim such books at a market outside the current Mormon scene.

  35. One place to look would be the Marilyn Brown Unpublished Novel award. Those novels have generally been published, but not consistently by the same publisher and not always with the amount of editing that they could probably use.

  36. Although honestly, the best thing that I think the market could do is up the number of short stories we edit and publish per year by 10 — with one or two of those being novellas.

    I know everybody writes a novel at 23 these days, but I think the more short stories and novellas we can push through the dance between hungry, talented writer and good, hard but fair editor the better.

  37. Stephen Carter (37) wrote:

    I think I’m starting to get an inkling of what you’re saying, Kent. I can feel my brain doing the same things it did when I was in college reading Daniel Quinn’s Ishmael. I can tell something foundationally different from how I currently think is going on.

    I like that you are thinking about things and coming up with ideas — creative ideas too.

    I’ve a had a few ideas on expanding the Mormon literary market. Tell me if they’re going in your direction. One was to have a “book of the year” type program at Sunstone where we either pick an excellent book from a Mormon author published in the past few years, or find, edit, and publish one ourselves, and distribute it to our subscribers.

    I think the idea of a “Book of the Year” is good.

    But I’m not sure about the part where Sunstone starts publishing books. The editorial part is similar, I admit. But I think you will find that the distribution and marketing is very different than anything you do now.

    If nothing else, you do need to carefully consider how much you want your editors distracted from turning out issues of the magazine (unless they have a lot of slack time or something).

    I know that some magazines do publish books also — but usually its compilations or extensions of material in the magazine.

    It would make those books into instant bestsellers (in the world of small presses, anyway), and give Mormon novelists another platform.

    Perhaps I don’t understand how you think the distribution would work. Why would these books be “instant bestsellers”?

    The Washington Times article today said Sunstone’s circulation is 2,500. Even if every subscriber purchased a copy of the book you are talking about, that wouldn’t make a bestseller in the LDS market.

    And, if you’re giving the books away to every subscriber, I don’t think that qualifies as a bestseller.

    Perhaps the AML would be willing to publish it, and Sunstone distribute it or something like that. But it would be under a very exclusive imprint that says, “This baby is as close to perfection as we could possibly get.” Most likely, we’d want to aim such books at a market outside the current Mormon scene.

    I think several publishers would be very interested in a “Book of the Year” project (although I’m sure you know that some would object to Sunstone’s participation), but a lot would depend on who does what and what the expectations are of each party. Sunstone does have the ability to reach a lot of people, and with the right partner, it could be a very good project.

  38. Just looked at LDSReview.net and guess what guys. LDSReviews will not close up. Someone seems to have taken over the website. Is this cool or what?

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