Angels and Demons, Book Clubs, Christian Fiction, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Inspirational Story, Reviews

Book Review – From Witchcraft to Christ by Doreen Irvine

Wow – what a book! I wasn’t expecting to be so emotional or brought to tears so many times as I was.  Doreen recounts her life story in this book in a very matter-of-fact way, despite having a very dramatic life she tells her story plainly and simply, in easy to read and easy to understand language.  Whereas, ‘This Present Darkness’ is an author’s artistic license to interpret the Bible’s teaching on spiritual warfare, ‘From Witchcraft to Christ’ is the real life happening of spiritual warfare within a person’s life.  Astounding, astonishing and moving beyond words.

Doreen Irvine

As a person who has never come face-to-face with the supernatural (and hasten to add that I am happy for it to stay that way) I do acknowledge the Bible as true in its entirety.  What that means is… I cannot discount the parts that I am a little afraid of and more than a little don’t really want to believe.  But the verses are there for all to read and believe.    

Ephesians 6: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Jesus himself cast out demons from people, do we believe this?  I have to say yes because I can’t break up the Bible into section and only read those verses that I feel comfortable with.  Matthew 8:28-34:  When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way.  “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”  Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31 The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”  He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. 33 Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.

I don’t want to dabble in the dark, nor do I wish to come face-to-face with a demon in order to cast him out.  But, I have felt the call to prayer.  Both of these books from my ‘research’ list have touched and moved me to tears and prayer.  I am burdened with the ever-growing oppressiveness of evil seeping – seemingly without opposition, into the world that is slipping steadily into immorality, where people seem blind to notice the loss of innocence.  I know a great many Saints are praying, if they weren’t we would be lost already, to those prayerful warriors go my eternal thanks.

From Witchcraft to Christ by Doreen Irvine on Amazon.com

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Book Review – This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti

In research for my next novel I selected 10 books to read, ‘This Present Darkness’ was book no 2 on this list.

Well, wow, what can I say?  I certainly hope my next book ‘Hope in Blackshaw Moor’ turns out to be a page-turner like this book by Frank Peretti!

This is one of those books that, although it starts interesting, it starts slowly.  Then it builds and builds into a tense crescendo that explodes towards the end.  I loved the pace, the steady build had me on the end of my seat, and by the time I was two-thirds of the way through nothing was going to make me put the book down!

The characters are very real, and our main protagonists are thoroughly lovable, whereas the antagonists are easy to ‘boo’ at.

Although first published in 1986 (some 33 years ago) this book hasn’t aged.  In my opinion it is quite a classic thriller.

Taken from Eden.co.uk website:  Ashton is just a typical small town.  But when a skeptical reporter and a prayerful pastor begin to compare notes, they suddenly find themselves fighting a hideous New Age plot to subjugate the townspeople, and eventually the entire human race. This Present Darkness rivals The Screwtape Letters with its keen insight into spiritual warfare and the necessity of prayer.  It is fast-moving, riveting reading, ranking with the best thrillers on the bookshelf.  Readers have picked up more than 2.5 million copies since its publication in 1986, and, with its companion volume Piercing the Darkness, it has sparked great interest in spiritual warfare over the years.

If we only knew the reality of spiritual warfare I am sure our churches would be full.

I was captivated by the angels and demons that fight over the town and the people.  I really enjoyed the way the people (with a couple of rare exceptions) never saw the spiritual warfare going on all around them.  I was completely emotional at the end when the town’s believers rally together for prayer.  What an image!  This is well written and very biblically correct.  I can’t recommend it enough, this is simply a fantastic read.

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Book Review – In For A Spell by Sharon Clare

Magical, enchanting, romantic, heartwarming… just a few words to describe this lovely book. Ever since I was little I have loved fairy tales. The magic, the mystery, the happy-ever-after. In For A Spell is definitely an adult (quite adult in one particular section!) fairy tale – and I loved it!

Finn, the interfering Elf, reminded me so much of Rumpelstiltskin it just made me smile every time he turned up on a page. This book is, however, much more than a fairy tale. For a start it’s a time-travelling romance, and a really good one at that. Maisie Armstrong is a wonderful character. I loved reading about the virtues that we nowadays would consider ‘old-fashioned.’ And who wouldn’t want to travel back in time to a place where honour was held in high regard? Especially if there was a tall, handsome, complicated laird Thane McKendrick waiting to sweeep you off your feet? This story is told really well, it flows smoothly and held my attention on every page. The theme takes you on a debate as to what really defines love and it’s importance in society in general, rather than just in your own life. Quite thought provoking. If you’re an adult, who like me, still loves a bit of magic, then this is a book you should read.

Sharon Clare has written other books and I really look forward to reading them. She is also an artist and offers book cover designs for authors. Sharon’s web page

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Book Review – Darkspire Reaches by CN Lesley

Ok, I admit it, I’m a fantasy fan through and through. What I’m an even bigger fan of is, fantasy books that are both gripping and easy to read. This means that, Darkspire Reaches has to go onto my list of really enjoyable fantasy books.

Raven is a wonderful heroine, a witch, who from the first page, brings the story to life and makes you want to know what happens to her. The author carries Raven’s story from start to end in a smooth, page-turning way. Poor Raven has it tough, her life seems to take her from the frying pan to the fire, over and over. Someone weaker might have been destroyed, but Raven uses it to mature her character. Diamonds are formed by heat and pressure, right? She isn’t the only main character though, and one of my favorites is Kryling, the endearing Firedrake who just simply has a great personality!

Oh how I enjoyed this well-written book! I can’t wait to read more books by CN Lesley.

I loved how the author took her time in explaining everything, while at the same time never once writing anything not necessary or boring.

The story line is unique – something quite hard to do when just about every story line possible to write has already been done in some way or another. Darkspire Reaches is filled with a rich tapestry of characters that just make this a really great fantasy read.

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Book Review – The Crimson Deathbringer by Sean Robins

Do you think the Akakies will visit us soon? I do love a good joke.

Well wow, you would not believe that this was Sean Robins first book! At the end when I read his short bio and discovered he’s a teacher, that made sense – because the book, especially for a first novel, is beautifully edited, easy to read and well-structured.

If you’re a SciFi fan then you’re going to love this big book. It’s meaty (long and detailed) bringing all the characters to life, making you like and care for them. They’re real people, in hopefully, not so real circumstances. Normally long books lose me, but not so this one. Each chapter kept bringing everything to life, definitely could see it as a mini TV series. Loved the alien humour – who’d of guessed that four legs and antenna could host a joke prankster? 
I really enjoyed that you saw the ‘bad guys’ (aliens) through their own eyes so you could see each aspect of the story as it came together. Well I could go on and on, because as you can see, I thoroughly enjoyed this story – highly recommend. ps also loved the GOT references, nice touch 🙂

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Sale alert – Grace in Mombasa

Hi everyone From today until 21st May ’19, Grace in Mombasa ebook is discounted from $4.99 to $0.99! Why not watch the 2 min video clip below to see if this is a book you might be interested in?

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Amazon kdp Select & advertising – is it worth it?

   Yes!

amazon kdp select

Well in my experience anyway, and I’ve been an indie author for three years now.  In fact yesterday I removed some of my books from various other sites – from which I had zero sales, and put my books back onto kindle select.

The reason? Well to make money of course.  The main reason for putting books onto other sites, for me, was so that I could get a BookBub deal – which are supposed to be amazing, however, after I think about 30 submissions to BookBub with a no-no response I began to wonder if it was worth it.  I decided ‘no it’s not’ yesterday, took my books off other sites and returned to good old Amazon kindle select kdp.

piggy bank

Here are some interesting things I’ve learnt recently.

  • The average indie author only ever sells around 50 books
  • People who know how to use Amazon kdp and advertising move out of being an average indie and earn approx $500 per month and sell a lot more than 50 books
  • Out of that $500 around $200 will be from kindle pages read

So the answer to… Is Amazon kdp select and advertising worth it… is a very loud yes!

hurray

To make sales and earn money… and get good reviews… you need firstly to enroll in kdp select and then you need to advertise.

However, before you follow the steps in my next blog for setting up your own advertisement campaign with Amazon I need to point out some things.

  1. The first thing people see is your book cover, if your cover is not eye-catching and appealing then forget about advertising, no amount of pushing your book before people will encourage them to buy if the cover is flat or boring.  There are great cover designers out there, if you want me to suggest a couple then please ask in the notes below.  In my experience you can get a really good professional cover done for approx $100.
  2. The Blurb… the blurb… we hates the blurb!  Well I do anyway, again if your blurb isn’t punchy and interesting, and pleasing to the eye (in other words do you know your amazon formatting?) forget it, you can spend $100’s on advertising and no one is going to bite.  I know a really good company that do blurbs but unfortunately they charge $300.  Again, if you would like to know who they are, please ask in the notes below. (ps I’ll tell you a little secret…  I paid $300 for the blurb on my first book, it really is a million times better than anything I could do… however, not being able to pay $300 for all the other books I copied and pasted the formatting they gave me – double dutch jargon that makes your blurb stand out as professional on the Amazon pages, and just changed the words to the other books.  The blurb itself might not be amazing but at least it is presented well ha ha) I suggest you look for help from friends – especially book readers, and also ask several different book clubs, I belong to three book clubs that I really rate on FB, you pop a post on and get invaluable information and help.  This is a good place to put your blurb and listen to the comments that come back.
  3. Last, but by no means least, the book itself MUST be a) a gripping story and b) edited to perfection.  I got this wrong with my first book and I so regret publishing before I was ready.  Some readers are vicious, I mean down right uncaring of the years of hard work you’ve put into a book, if the editing is bad they will give you 1* and tell the world your book is not worth reading.  Once that review is on there you can’t get it removed, it is there for eternity and once people see that review you have an enormous amount of work to do to try and correct it.  Please, please, do not list your book until you have had it proof read by a professional.

So, have you got all the above 3 points done?  Then you’re ready to start advertising.  My next blog will be a step-by-step guide to setting up an advert that should make you money.

money

 

Book Clubs, BooksGoSocial, Born to Be, Christian Fiction, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Inspirational Story, Kindle Books, Manchester, Mombasa, Reviews, World War 2

Grace in Mombasa – two endorsements

I’m so excited to say that I will probably have the kindle of Grace in Mombasa up by Friday 23rd November – a whole week early!

Grace in Mombasa 1 (1)

I’d like to share with you the two endorsements that I have had for the book.

Tracy Traynor’s writing transports you from World War 1 and 2 England to the courts of heaven, via Mombasa. With characters which pop off the page and straight into your heart, this is a book you will remember for a long time.  Wendy H Jones, author and member/webmaster of Association of Christian Writers.

The story of Grace captures the experience of many others who, though quite ordinary by themselves, find that the love of God propels them towards quite extraordinary endeavours.  Tracy is the author of Grace’s story but the inspiration was Moira Smith and the author of her story was none other than God himself, described in the Bible as the ‘author and finisher of our faith’.  I commend Tracy’s book Grace in Mombasa to you in the hope that, inspired by the story of Grace and Moira, you will become hungry for a story of your own and that you will turn to the great author of all our lives.  He already has a story prepared for you”  Sean McIntyre, missionary with Barnabas and now minister to the Assembly of God Church in Colchester.

author of our faith 2

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Only 3 weeks to go…

I'm not rubbish

When you’ve spent most of your life… and you’re 57 so that’s a pretty long time… thinking that you’re stupid and rubbish and an idiot, it can be hard to change.  I do believe I’ve come a long way to getting over low self-esteem but then in times like this, that old nagging voice “you’re an idiot” returns to throw me into chaos.

What is causing this sudden panic attack that I might not have changed after all?  The release of my new book. Aha, you may say, really? that all?  Unfortunately, yes.  I have poured myself into my latest book ‘Grace in Mombasa’ and the fear of rejection is making me ill.  I have to wonder why I put myself through it.  Writing the story itself was quite fun and even relaxing, but then editing started and demanded sweat and tears from me in an effort to get it to a level that people could enjoy it.  Then all the expense comes, professional editing for someone with dyslexia like me is crucial and must be paid for.  Then there is advertising and promoting to be done.  I’m sure my friends must be sick of hearing about my books.

And now when I am waiting for the first reviews to come in, there is nothing left but feeling sick.  Maybe I should give writing up and leave it to the more hardy people out there.

you_know_you_re_a_writer611

I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed that people will enjoy Grace’s story, and until release date of the 1st Dec ’18 I am just trying to keep myself as busy as a bee and trying my hardest to switch off the anxious button!

Good news, getting an article in the local newspaper about the story – also keeping my fingers crossed to have a feature on Christian Premier Radio.

From war torn Newton Le Willows - to historical Mombasa

 

 

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Grace in Mombasa – release date 01/12/18

 

Release Date Sat 1st December 2018

I am happy to say, that Grace in Mombasa is now with a professional editor being polished.

The release date on Amazon will be Sat 1st December 2018.

I’m so excited and can’t wait for people to read it and find out what they think.

53 days to go….

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Review – Antiques and Alibis, by Wendy H. Jones

I have to begin by saying I think the book cover is great!  If you want a picture to draw you into a story, this one certainly does.  Its atmospheric black and white picture of a moonlit street simply shouts mystery and intrigue, a very good start for a detective novel!

As the blurb tells you, Cass Claymore is a red-headed, motorbike riding, ex-ballerina who inherits her uncle’s detective agency.  That alone was enough to tickle my interest buds and make me buy the book.

And I wasn’t disappointed.  From the get-go this tongue-in-cheek detective novel had me turning pages.

I really enjoyed the ‘lightness’ not taking itself too seriously, tone of the author.  The editing style also helped keep things crisp and easy to read and I found this very easy on the eye and relaxing to read.

The story is well paced and has good structure.  I instantly liked Cass Claymore and enjoyed the world-building that was created around her.  But I simply fell in love with the dwarf Quill (as apparently all the women around him do).  He’s a marvellous character, laid back, smooth talking and totally knows how to wind up Cass, just loved the conversations between the two, and have to say I do hope the author is planning a book two because I want to see more of them.

The only, very slight, downside for me was the ending.  It felt rushed, unlike the rest of the book which moves along at a lovely steady pace.  One minute something is left on Cass’s doorstep and the next minute (it felt) it was all round-up and over.  Who did leave the clue on the doorstep and why did they?  That’s too much of an unknown to leave me completely satisfied with the ending of the book.

That said, I totally enjoyed this book and found myself smiling in every chapter, and I would most definitely recommend you read it for yourself if you like murder-mysteries.

To conclude: A great, tongue-in-cheek, light-hearted mystery.  Highly recommend.

 

 

 

 

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Reviews by kids, for kids.

RVK_logo_tagline_w100

Love my latest review, which is by Autumn aged 14.  Nearly all my reviews are by adults and I was really happy to receive this one through the website Reviews by kids, for kids.

Idi & The Oracle’s Quest by T N Traynor
ISBN 9781496043931
Reviewed by Autumn (age 14) for Reader Views Kids (7/18)

If you like mysterious rendezvous, witches, castles, demons, dragons and a quest to save the world then “Idi & The Oracle’s Quest,” book one in the Born to Be series, by T N Traynor, is a story you definitely should read.
A spell of forbidden love is cast, only to leave a princess grieving over her love after he is killed, and she is banished from her kingdom for the child she is carrying. Little does she know that the elements or earth witches have taken a solemn vow to protect her and her unborn child from an evil wizard by the name of Norvora. If he gets control of the child, he will unleash unimaginable horrors from the depths of Astaroth.
A plan is made by the fairies to intercept Princess Cassandra and her unborn child before Norvora can reach them. Their journey takes them through a forbidden forest to reach the mountains to a town called Tamarind.
A great and kind wizard named Marcus is called upon by the oracle Oleanna to find a boy named Idi who will become the greatest wizard of all time. Idi is an orphaned boy who has been pick on his entire life and felt like he would never amount to anything, until Marcus finds him and asks that he accompanies him on an important quest to save the kingdoms. Together they will set out on a journey to find the child who is meant to be king.

I really enjoyed reading “Idi & The Oracle’s Quest.” The story line was fast paced with hint of suspense. I liked how the author combined characters such as wizards, elemental witches, dwarfs and a dragon in a not-so-fairy-tale-like setting. The chase through the forest kept you on the edge of your seat, not knowing if Cassandra and the fairies would make it to safety before the evil wizard Norvora and his henchmen caught up with them. Every chapter had a twist in the story that was exciting and unexpected. My favorite character would be Idi. He felt like no one cared for him, but he would not give up on others and was always there for them.
“Idi & The Oracle’s Quest”, book one of the Born to Be series, by T N Traynor is a magical story that will leave you wanting more. I would recommend this story for 9th graders and up, and I look forward to the next book in the “Born to Be series.”

Link below to view the review on their website.

http://readerviewskids.com/reviewtraynoridiandtheoraclesquest

 

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The Innkeeper’s Son ~ K C Herbel

As a Christian, I love it when I find a book full of morals.  One of my all-time favorites is the Narnia series by C S Lewis.  Clive Staples Lewis (1898–1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day.

Image result for c s lewisImage result for the lion the witch and the wardrobe

I love that Clive went through changes in his life, which include losing his Christian faith and then finding it again later in life. A true prodigal son story.  He wrote quite a few books but I think the world’s favorite must be The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe.

I adore when a story has hidden beliefs and principles for life behind the writing.  My own series Born to Be, is exactly that.  I was once told that my story was too innocent to get anywhere, says a lot about the world we live in doesn’t it?

I was, therefore, over the moon to read The Innkeeper’s Son by K C Herbal, and discover a beautifully written, traditional fantasy packed with caring and sensitive characters.  Woven together in a magical story of dragons and fairies and magic.  I loved it and highly recommend it.  Very pleased to find there is already four in the series and I look forward to reading the rest.

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Ruin’s Lot by ID Johnson

Over time, many authors have painted a different image of angels and demons.  I loved the film Michael with John Travolta drinking, smoking and smelling of cookies… ingenious.  Also, really enjoyed Constantine with Keanu Reeves, which was intriguing and spellbinding.  And City of Angels with Nicolas Cage, which was lovely and moving.  These are just to name a few, there is a plethora out there.

So with so many books and films to choose from, do we really need another?

Well, I’m happy to say that yes, there is still more space for unique and interesting stories.  That’s what I found Ruin’s Lot by ID Johnson to be.

The story is well written and flows, making it an easy page-turner.  I won’t say too much about the story itself as I don’t want to ruin it (sorry no pun intended) for you.

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Are book promotions value for money?

My experience with OnlineBookClub.org online-book-club-org

I decided to pay to advertise my book with Onlinebookclub.org.

I paid $598.00 for their Book of the Day deal.

In the days running up, I began watching the rankings of other books that were the ‘book of the day’.  I was quite excited to see a few of them rise quite high in their category sections. For example: ‘The Buried Secrets of Peonies’ by Mernegar Dorgoly rose to #7 in kindle short stories, and, ‘A second, less Capable, Head’ by James Hanna rose to #14 in kindle anthologies.

I was quite excited then and anticipated a number of sales that would also help my rankings.

I was to be hugely disappointed when I only sold 14 books.  My books normally sell for $2.99 and for this deal I’d reduced the book to $0.99 to encourage sales.  Total income $4.90, a loss of $593.10.

If like me, you’re an indie-author who works a full time ‘day’ job and writes like crazy in-between life’s normal activities, you will understand how crushing this was for me.  That, on top of the fact that, I received some rather stringent criticism almost had me jacking it all in and calling it a day…

I do feel I’m like a typical sensitive-author, I think I should nickname myself Sea-Saw-Tracy, because I am constantly up and down.  Harsh remarks though cut deep, this book is after all ‘my baby’ and I have been working on it for 25 years.  I confess I haven’t yet managed to grow a thick skin.

It took my youngest (always positive) son, Daniel, to put things in perspective.  I received 170 comments, of which nearly all of them were positive and encouraging.  Lots of people said they added the book to their ‘want to read’ list.  Time will tell if they actually read it.  If you want, please feel free to check out the comments below.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiscountBookOfTheDay/

So maybe young adult fantasy isn’t a genre that’s really popular?  Or maybe my book just isn’t up to scratch?  Perhaps if you have a romance, thriller or short stories, then you’ll do loads better than I did.

Will I be booking another deal?  Definitely not.

Should you book a deal?  I think it depends on a few things: Is your book in a popular genre? Do you have a gripping first three chapters? Does your book cover jump up and grab people’s attention? Do you have an intriguing blurb? …and most importantly, do you have $598.00 to spare?  If the answer to all these questions is yes, then go for it, because obviously some books do really well on these deals.

 

 

 

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AMAZON – INDIE-AUTHOR HATER?

We are sensitive people us indie-authors.  I know I for one, practically fall apart when Amazon ‘hit me’ with another veto, whether removing reviews I received or those I have given.

We're watching you!

I do feel that Amazon has taken an underlying – almost sub-conscience, decision to get rid of us, well the ones not selling thousands of books a month of course. Woe betide that they should lose someone who makes them money.  Profit is their goal after all.

And therein lies the problem.  Although let’s be honest, we would like to make some money, actually, our inner-drive is usually to share our stories with people.  The joy I receive when someone leaves me a positive review is, in fact, a far greater reward than the pennies I earnt from the book sale.  Because positive reviews make me so happy I always want to reach out to people who left them and add them to my friend’s list, I actually invite people in the back of my books to come and find me on facebook so that I can build a relationship with the readers of my books.  Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t correspond with me and ask me about it, they just see that I have become friends with someone who left a review, and bam, they take away the review and 5 others for good merit.  Gosh but Amazon has made me cry on numerous occasions.

We are highly emotive, creative people, and Amazon is a money-making machine.  I wouldn’t say they hate us indie-authors, but I would say they’d like to get rid of quite a few of us.  We have infiltrated the world of books and if book publishers are not careful we will one day rule the world of publishing, from behind our computers in the comfort of our homes, an army of like-minded, self-driven, revolutionary writers.

Having lost several lovely reviews from people on Amazon, I have to say in hindsight, that I wish I had read Amazon’s T&C’s before blindly clicking ‘accept’.  Their policy clearly states that ‘friends’ are not allowed to leave reviews.  My distress comes when they removed reviews from people I have never met, who in fact were not friends, but that I foolishly clicked ‘Add friend’ to on Goodreads after they left me a review – big mistake.

Amazon owns Goodreads, what a dreadful thing that is.  I always thought Goodreads was an independent place where people who loved books could leave their thoughts and share with other like-minded people, all totally nothing to do with profit and suchlike.  I was, therefore, most upset to discover that the money-making machine that is Amazon actually own this previously unbiased platform.  So be warned, DO NOT ADD PEOPLE AS FRIENDS JUST BECAUSE THEY LEFT YOU A REVIEW, or like me, you risk the chance of losing reviews that you have worked long and hard to receive.

REMEMBER – AMAZON ARE WATCHING YOU!