29 April 2011

"Just Picked" is a new Feature here at A Life Bound By Books. Every now and then I'll be sharing with you various picture books that I've come across that I think everyone with kids, or even adults will love to read or would even make a great coffee table book.


Title: Cloudette
Author: Tom Lichtenheld
Illustrator: Tom Lichtenheld
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co, 40 Pages (March 1st 2011)
Age Range: 4-8
Order Online: Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository
From: the Publisher, Thank You!

Synopsis: Sometimes being small can have its advantages. If you’re a little cloud like Cloudette, people call you cute nicknames, and you can always find a good spot to watch the fireworks. But what about when you want to do something big, like help a giant garden grow, or make a brook babble?

This charming book gets at the heart of what it means to make a difference no matter your size. Young children will find much to relate to in Cloudette as they follow her on her pursuit for greatness.

Review: 4 Stars - Cloudette, story and Illustrations by author Tom Lichtenheld tell the tale of how being small is okay. No matter how small you are, you can do anything you put your mind to, that you can make a difference too. Cloudette takes an unexpected journey and in the end finds what she’s good at and what job she can do to join in with all the bigger clouds in the sky.  I loved the art and the touches of humor. The message will be clear to kids of all ages, and I’m always excited when my niece picks this book up looking to me to have story time with her. I highly recommend this book. Enjoy.

*Please note that this is feature here that I have created specifically for my blog. Should you wish to have a feature like this, please be sure to make it all your own. Thanks!

*I am not compensated at all for any of the links within this post.

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27 April 2011

Winners!!!


It's that time again to pick a couple of winners. Congrats to each of you... and here they are.


7 Kinds of Ordinary Catastrophes By: Amber Kizer

Lynossa

and

$15.00 to The Book Depository.......

Minas


Again congrats to each of you! The winners have been emailed and have 48 hours to respond or I'll have to pick another winner. If you were one of the winners posted and you haven't received an email from me, be sure to check your spam folders or send one to me to claim your prize. As always, winners are chosen via Random.org - unless otherwise stated. I can't say thank you enough to everyone who entered and if you didn't win this time, keep an eye out for the next giveaway which should be coming up pretty soon.

If you have any questions, please feel free to check my policy page or email.

Thank you again to Amber for the donation of her most recent book - 7 Kinds of Ordinary Catastrophes - that made the giveaway possible.

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"Waiting On" Wednesday is an event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. The purpose of this weekly event is to spotlight a soon-to-be-released book that you are very much anticipating. "Waiting On" Wednesday will also give bloggers an opportunity to share ideas for our TBR lists.


Title: Forgotten
Author: Cat Patrick
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 304 Pages (June 7th 2011)
Preorder here: Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Noble,
The Book Depository

Synopsis: Each night when 16 year-old London Lane goes to sleep, her whole world disappears. In the morning, all that's left is a note telling her about a day she can't remember. The whole scenario doesn't exactly make high school or dating that hot guy whose name she can't seem to recall any easier. But when London starts experiencing disturbing visions she can't make sense of, she realizes it's time to learn a little more about the past she keeps forgetting-before it destroys her future.

Part psychological drama, part romance, and part mystery, this thought-provoking novel will inspire readers to consider the what-if's in their own lives and recognize the power they have to control their destinies.

I've seen a couple of covers for this one...  So, I've posted both. I like the one of the girl asleep in the field better than the other, but it's really the synopsis that's got me hooked. I can't wait to read this one! Which cover do you guys like best?

*covers are always subject to change.
*I am not compensated at all for any of the links within this page.

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26 April 2011

Review: Being Jamie Baker By: Kelly Oram

Title: Being Jamie Baker
Author: Kelly Oram
Publisher: Bluefields, 353 Pages (June 14th 2010)
From: the Author, Thank You!

Synopsis: An accident that should end in tragedy instead gives seventeen-year-old Jamie Baker a slew of uncontrollable superhuman abilities.

To keep her secret safe Jamie socially exiles herself, earning the title of Rocklin High's resident ice queen. But during a supercharged encounter with star quarterback Ryan Miller she literally kisses anonymity goodbye. Now the annoyingly irresistible Ryan will stop at nothing to melt the heart of the ice queen and find out what makes her so special.

Unfortunately, Ryan is not the only person on to her secret. Will Jamie learn to contain her unstable powers before being discovered by the media or turned into a government lab rat?

More importantly, can she throw Ryan Miller off her trail before falling in love with him?

Review: 4 Stars - Author Kelly Oram’s Being Jamie Baker is more than just cute. It’s filled with choices and issues of the past… oh and it’s about a girl with superpowers and a boy, without superpowers and kissing! With a book trailer that’s amazing, seriously one of the best ones I’ve ever seen, I knew I just had to read this book. I was glad that I did and am happy to say that it was a fun read.

When a freak accident leaves Jamie with some crazy superpowers and some issues that are revealed throughout the story, her and her family move away to start new. They hope that this will keep Jamie safe and sound and her powers under wraps. She’s a character that you can see and hear struggling with what fate has cast. What’s even more painful to her is how much of an outcast she has become due to the powers she tries her hardest to keep under control. I did like Jamie, though I thought that she was a little dramatic and went back and forth on a lot of things she needed to make up her mind on, but really who wouldn’t feel the way she did? She’s a teenage girl for one, hello emotions flying all over the place. And two… her life is crazy now, so much has changed. And three… she has superpowers! I mean who wouldn’t be emotional? I know I’d be all over the place without half of what she has to deal with on a day to day basis.

Then we have Ryan. He’s the guy at school everyone loves. Heck, he’s the guy in the whole town everyone loves. He’s popular, the star football player and cute. Now, I’m not going to give anything away, but Jamie and Ryan have a run in of sorts and well… that’s really were the story starts. Their friendship has many growing pains that the two face as the story progresses and I liked watching them both struggle through. I mean I don’t like to see anyone suffer, real or fictional, but it’s through these trials we see who they/people (real and fictional) really are. It’s like pealing back their layers to get to the root of who a person is. I know, I’m getting a bit deep here, but it’s true.

In every good story about someone with superpowers there’s always a villain and we aren’t lacking one here. There are a few and they come in all shapes. And yes.., I’m not going to say anymore than that.

Oram’s writing made Being Jamie Baker a fast paced read and her characters pop off the page. The humorous and witty dialog was a joy and lightened up the more tragic side to the teens. All in all, I found myself laughing and cringing many times while reading. It’s the reactions such as these that help make a book worth reading, and yes, you should give this one a try. I’ll be keeping an eye out for more from Oram in the future. Enjoy!

Also, check out the amazing book trailer. It’ll grab on and not let go.




FTC Disclaimer: I did NOT pay for this book, nor have I been compensated at all in any way or means for reading and writing this HONEST review.

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25 April 2011

Title: Darkness Becomes Her (Gods & Monsters, #1)
Author: Kelly Keaton
Publisher: Simon Pulse, 288 Pages (February 22nd 2011)
From: the Publisher & Author, Thank You!

Synopsis: Ari can’t help feeling lost and alone. With teal eyes and freakish silver hair that can’t be changed or destroyed, Ari has always stood out. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is.

Her search for answers uncovers just one message from her long dead mother: Run. Ari can sense that someone, or something, is getting closer than they should. But it’s impossible to protect herself when she doesn’t know what she’s running from or why she is being pursued.

She knows only one thing: she must return to her birthplace of New 2, the lush rebuilt city of New Orleans. Upon arriving, she discovers that New 2 is very...different. Here, Ari is seemingly normal. But every creature she encounters, no matter how deadly or horrifying, is afraid of her.

Ari won’t stop until she knows why. But some truths are too haunting, too terrifying, to ever be revealed.

Review: 4.5 Stars - Author Kelly Keaton’s Darkness Becomes Her is exciting and captivating all rolled together making this another welcomed edition to the YA paranormal genre. Keaton’s writing and intriguing cast of characters were absorbing, leaving me much to love about this new series.

Ari is one tough cookie. She’s different, with her teal eyes and silver hair, but she doesn’t let that hold her back. She wants nothing more than to understand her past, who she is and where she came from. When she gets a message from her mother she’s on the fast track to some pretty crazy life changing events. To find the answers she’s so desperately in search of she has to travel into New 2. The rebuilt city that used to be New Orleans has changed in many ways and Ari is about to find out how deep those changes run and what New 2 and its residents mean to her in the past and her present.

A group of kids who befriend Ari are a cast of characters to say the least. The one that sticks out front and center to me is Violet. She’s a touch creepy, but mysterious and likeable all at the same time. And then there’s Sebastian. What can I say about the dark, - and yes, he’s also mysterious - guy who has no idea what’s in store for him when Ari enters his life. Without a doubt both characters – Ari and Sebastian – are high up on my list of favorites. The attraction of the two is pretty quick at the beginning, and while it might have been a touch too fast, it’s how it progresses throughout the book that makes them a couple I am looking forward to reading more.

There are many twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. Some I had an idea of, but for the most part I was left surprised. Another part to the characters and the story that was surprising was the Greek mythology. The whole Gods and Monsters in the title comes blazing through creating the perfect “mash-up” for fans on the look out for something different in the paranormal YA genre.

With this being the first book I’ve read by Keaton it’ll be far from the last. I was intrigued, and highly entertained from beginning to end. Keaton’s has a wonderful imagination that comes out in the writing and her characters, making the pages come alive. I’m extremely looking forward to more from Keaton and I’m eagerly awaiting the next book in this series. I would highly recommend this book to anyone. Enjoy!

FTC Disclaimer: I did NOT pay for this book, nor have I been compensated at all in any way or means for reading and writing this HONEST review.

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23 April 2011

Title: The Vespertine (The Vespertine, #1)
Author: Saundra Mitchell
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books, 293 Pages (March 7th 2011)
From: Amazon Vine Program

Synopsis: It’s the summer of 1889, and Amelia van den Broek is new to Baltimore and eager to take in all the pleasures the city has to offer. But her gaiety is interrupted by disturbing, dreamlike visions she has only at sunset—visions that offer glimpses of the future. Soon, friends and strangers alike call on Amelia to hear her prophecies. However, a forbidden romance with Nathaniel, an artist, threatens the new life Amelia is building in Baltimore. This enigmatic young man is keeping secrets of his own—still, Amelia finds herself irrepressibly drawn to him.


When one of her darkest visions comes to pass, Amelia’s world is thrown into chaos. And those around her begin to wonder if she’s not the seer of dark portents, but the cause.

Review: 3 Stars - The Vespertine By Saundra Mitchell is an intriguing tale that takes place during the summer of 1889 in Baltimore. With descriptive writing and some fascinating characters, Mitchell’s intertwining combination of equal parts historical and equal parts supernatural will have many fans of both genres excited and ready to read.

When Amelia van den Broek’s brother sends her off to family in Baltimore to find a suitable husband, she had no idea just how the summer would turn out. Coming from a small village without prospects she’s more than eager to broaden her horizons in the bustling city. She becomes fast friends with her cousin Zora who welcomes her whole heartedly into her life and circle of friends. Amelia has some funny moments and together you can see the two being inseparable.

Soon after Amelia’s arrival she finds she’s able to see visions in the setting sun, visions of people and places around her, just small glimpses into the future of others. I have to say that this was a part of the story that I couldn’t come to terms with. And it’s at this point in the review I must warn of slight spoilers.

I didn’t understand how she just accepted without question that she was having visions… there wasn’t anything weird about it nor did she have any trouble simply believing she could see the future. I just felt it all came so easy. Thinking about that time in the past I would have thought there would have been more questioning and hiding what she could do than just accepting things as they are. Now, I was reading an ARC and as always things change from ARC’s to finished copies, so that could be the case here, so please keep that in mind.

One thing I did love was the interaction between Amelia and Nathaniel, which were few and far between. Nathaniel was hands down my favorite character and was missing from a good part of the story, making him extremely mysterious. It’s the little glimpse we catch of him that intrigued me and made me want to know more about this captivating boy. Sadly, he’s someone she shouldn’t be so drawn to due to his status. I liked the fact that she didn’t let that get to her and still went out of her way to spend time with a boy who could understand her more than she understands herself.

While their relationship is what pushed me to finish this book and in the end gave this book a 3 star review… and the writing and descriptions were vivid, there were questions to things I just didn’t understand. The main question was as mentioned above.

Things go wrong… Amelia’s visions start to show more and more truth and people get hurt. When it gets too close to home she’s sent back to her brother, who was more than shocking with his treatment to his only sister. He had more of a reaction that I’d think was more normal for the date of when this story takes place.

All in all The Vespertine, for me, had some bumps but there were things that made up the difference. From the vivid writing and characters to the budding relationship between Amelia and Nathaniel, Mitchell has written a story that many will fall in love with. Since this is my first time reading anything by Mitchell, I’ll be more than ready to read something from this author again in the future. I will also be on the look out for the next book in this series to see where it might take Amelia and Nathanial next. Enjoy!

FTC Disclaimer: I did NOT pay for this book, nor have I been compensated at all in any way or means for reading and writing this HONEST review.

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22 April 2011

Review: Playing Hurt By: Holly Schindler

Title: Playing Hurt
Author: Holly Schindler
Publisher: Flux, 312 Pages (March 8th 2011)
From: the Blog Tour, Thanks!

Synopsis: Star basketball player Chelsea "Nitro" Keyes had the promise of a full ride to college—and everyone's admiration back home. Then she took a horrible fall during senior year. Now a metal plate holds her together and she feels like a stranger in her own family.

That summer, Chelsea's dad hires Clint, a nineteen-year-old ex-hockey player and "boot camp" trainer, to work with her at a northern Minnesota lake resort. As they grow close, Chelsea finds that Clint's haunted by his own tragedy. Will their romance end up hurting them all over again—or finally heal their heartbreak?

Review: 4 Stars - Playing Hurt is author Holly Schindler’s sophomore title and though I haven’t had a chance to read her first book – A Blue So Dark – I was excited to give her second book a read. Her writing flowed beautifully, creating realistic characters and teen angst that easily made this a book I’d recommend to others.

When a sports injury leaves Chelsea unable to do what she loves, she’s forced to see and do things totally differently. What she used to know of her life is no longer and she’s struggling with many different issues as a result. She has a loving boyfriend, who’s the guy all the girls want and Gabe goes out of his way to make sure she knows she’s the same person she’s always been and always will be. Their relationship is sweet and honest, on his part but confused on hers. It was easy to understand her confusion due to so many drastic changes that happened so quickly. I mean teens go through so much as it is and then to have such a huge part of who you are taken away, as she did would mess with anyone’s head.

Schindler does a great job writing the normal trials of teens and then mixes in some of the added stresses many face day to day….

When Chelsea’s family goes away on their summer vacation she has no idea that her dad has set her up with a trainer for their time away. Her family knows she’s hurting emotionally and they’re as much at a loss as how to heal as she is. They just want her to feel as normal as she can again. So through this “boot camp” she meets her trainer Clint, who is dealing with his own issues. He’s not much older than her, but he does have some scars that are in need of healing.

Clint is one of those rugged all around good guys. He helps his parents, works a couple of summer jobs and goes to school. He just can’t get over something that happened in his past… just as Chelsea has. Through the alternating character points of view – which, by the way, I love more and more – we get a better sense of just how both are and get a better feel for just how deep their scars run. I loved Clint, plain and simple. Schindler did an amazing job writing both the female AND the male side of teens and their physical along with emotional turmoil.

There were some parts of the story that will leave people with some issues. One major thing that I’ll only quickly mention is teen sex. While there were some extremely intimate moments throughout the story, I stand by what I said above in this review. That Schindler has written a realistic story and with a realistic story comes real emotions and issues that teens face. Very important to know - please understand - and I do need to stress, that while there are intimate moments between characters that there are no actual sex scenes in this title. Not all sex (if just mentioned or alluded to) in YA titles work, but for me, as a reader who loves the YA genre, as long as it’s true to the story and setting, I see nothing wrong with it.

All in all, I am now a huge fan of Schindlers work. With characters and writing such as this, who couldn’t find much to enjoy? I know am looking forward to her next book and I’m excited to check out A Blue So Dark soon. Happy Reading.

FTC Disclaimer: I did NOT pay for this book, nor have I been compensated at all in any way or means for reading and writing this HONEST review.

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21 April 2011

Title: Playing Hurt
Author: Holly Schindler
Publisher: Flux, 312 Pages (March 8th 2011)

Synopsis: Star basketball player Chelsea "Nitro" Keyes had the promise of a full ride to college—and everyone's admiration back home. Then she took a horrible fall during senior year. Now a metal plate holds her together and she feels like a stranger in her own family.

That summer, Chelsea's dad hires Clint, a nineteen-year-old ex-hockey player and "boot camp" trainer, to work with her at a northern Minnesota lake resort. As they grow close, Chelsea finds that Clint's haunted by his own tragedy. Will their romance end up hurting them all over again—or finally heal their heartbreak?


Interview with Author, Holly Schindler:

What was the hardest part about writing PLAYING HURT?

I initially drafted PLAYING HURT several years ago—about ’04 or ’05! The book had to go through several rewrites…and years of rejection before I finally realized what was missing: backstory for both Chelsea and Clint—and the sports subplot.

In some ways, I think enduring all that rejection was the worst…Now, though, I’m really glad I went through it all. Because the book is so, so different now. If I’d gotten the book accepted years ago, it wouldn’t have featured the healing subplot—or Clint’s voice! (The entirety of the original book was told from Chelsea’s POV.)

With PLAYING HURT, the main character must deal with the emotional and the physical aspects of overcoming a life-changing injury. Was this something you or someone close to you had to deal with? And if not, can you tell us how this story / topic came about?

I actually never did experience anything like this…and I’m not an athlete at ALL! I’m horribly clumsy. If somebody had told me a few years ago that my second book would be about a couple of athletes, I’d have laughed right in their faces.

What happened was that I re-read PLAYING HURT after selling A BLUE SO DARK, and realized how athletic my characters seemed. (Chelsea still did go on vacation in Minnesota, even in the first draft…she fished, she hiked…) So I started playing with the idea that Chelsea was an athlete. I was about a quarter of the way through that last rewrite when I realized Clint needed backstory to match Chelsea’s…and I began to write chapters from Clint’s viewpoint…

Hard to imagine now, but that storyline regarding overcoming a life-altering injury didn’t even exist in PLAYING HURT until I rewrote it the last time…about four or five years after initially drafting the book.

Were any of the characters in either book - A BLUE SO DARK or PLAYING HURT - based on people you know?

Actually, no—all of my characters are fictitious! So are my situations…Anytime you pick up one of my books, you can always assume it’s a complete product of my imagination…

What do you look for when reading a review?

I love this question! I really adore blog reviews for their unflinching honesty. I love reviews that give a gut reaction to a book.

Let’s face it—it’s not easy to read blog reviews. I always compare it to walking down a dark alley, only to meet up with a shadow-cloaked figure. And that figure could either be your best friend or somebody who’d like to completely gut you (which—come on—can be what a rough review feels like).

But blog reviews have helped me connect with the readers who DO love my work. When BLUE released, I often reached out to those who wrote positive reviews…I’ve had the opportunity to get to know my readers. I know many of my readers by their names…and that’s so, so special. But I’d never have had the opportunity to create that kind of relationship without bloggers.

What’s your favorite part about writing a story, from concept to release?

I love that you included “concept” as part of the process. That initial spark of inspiration really is incredibly exciting. I have to say, though, I far prefer revision to drafting. Mostly because it’s during the revision process that the book really takes on its final shape—really starts to feel like a novel, rather than a pile of typed pages.

What are five random things about you?

1. I’m a huge music fanatic—I still far prefer vinyl, and I swear, I’ve never been in any establishment that has ever felt as drop-dead cool as a record store.

2. I have terrible eyesight—TERRIBLE! 20/700—a by-product of so much reading, I’m sure…

3. My favorite smell? Fresh-cut hyacinths.

4. I have a pretty extensive hat collection…I’ve actually been a big hat wearer since junior high.

5. Favorite writing fuel? Springfield-style Cashew Chicken.

Can you share with us your favorite line or two from PLAYING HURT?

This is from the section in which Chelsea meets Clint for the first time:

Okay—here’s the deal. I am not a romance-novel kind of girl. I’m not a giggler. Or a flirt. I’ve never doodled a boyfriend’s name in any of my notebooks…I don’t twirl my hair around my finger and bat my eyelashes…I’m not the sort of girl who has ever, in her entire life, gone all mushy-mushy at the mere sight of anything male.

But this guy? Hair as shiny and black as the feathers of a raven. Skin licked by the sun. And a body sculpted by sheer strength…

Holly, Thanks for including me in the blog tour for Playing Hurt and for taking the time out to answer these questions. It was great of you and I look forward to whatever you are working on next!



Find Holly Online:


Order Playing Hurt Online:



Keep an eye out for my review of Playing Hurt to post tomorrow!

*I am not compensated at all for any of the links within this post.

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20 April 2011

Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop!


I thought I'd say Happy Easter with a giveaway!
The Hoppy Easter Blog Hop was the perfect chance to do just that!
Want to know what I'll be giving away??


How about $15.00 to The Book Depository?


Here are the rules and how to enter:

You MUST be at least 13 years old to enter.
You MUST complete the form for your entry to count.
Giveaway is open: INTERNATIONAL! (if the Book Depository ships to you, you are welcome to enter)
Giveaway ends: April 25th, 2011, 11:59 PM EST




Check out all the other Hop giveaways going on around the internet via the link list provided below!



Good Luck to everyone who enters! As always, winners are choosen via Random.org unless otherwise stated. If you have any questions please check my policy page or feel free to email.

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"Waiting On" Wednesday is an event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. The purpose of this weekly event is to spotlight a soon-to-be-released book that you are very much anticipating. "Waiting On" Wednesday will also give bloggers an opportunity to share ideas for our TBR lists.


Title: Dead End
Author: Jason Myers
Publisher: Simon Pulse, 382 Pages (June 14th 2011)
Preorder here: Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Noble,
The Book Depository

Synopsis: Dru and Gina are young, in love, and can’t wait to get out of Marshall, Nebraska, a town where bloodline means everything and whoever has the money makes the rules. But all their dreams are shattered when Gina has a monstrous run-in with the son of the richest man in Marshall—an incident that leaves her broken, battered, and violated.

Driven by rage, Dru and Gina take matters into their own hands, and quickly find themselves in over their heads. Without any other options, Dru and Gina are on the run. But there’s more chasing them than they think, and love might not be enough to save them.


Title: Witches of East End (The Beauchamp Family #1)
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion (June 21st 2011)
Preorder here: Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Noble,
The Book Depository

Synopsis: The two novels will follow the lives of the Beauchamp girls, who live in the fictional town of North Hampton, as they struggle to stop an arch nemesis and restore the delicate balance between good and evil. De la Cruz will weave characters from her best-selling Blue Bloods young adult series into this new paranormal series for adults.

I can't wait for both of these books. Dead End sounds different and I'm always on the look out for something different to read. I enjoy the Blood Bloods series from Melissa De La Cruz, so when I heard about this new adult spin off series I knew it would be a must read! Love the cover of this one too.


*covers are always subject to change.
*I am not compensated at all for any of the links within this page.

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19 April 2011


What is your favorite part of writing and can you tell us a bit about your creative process?

My favorite part is when things you wrote as throwaway details suddenly converge on a really cool idea. Walk-on characters that become stars, a bit of world building that becomes central to the plot. It always tickles me to death that my subconscious can weave all that together for me.

My process is all about layers. I think up plot first, (I’m an outliner) so I like to get the plot ideas down and then work up from there. First drafts are just to get the story on paper, see how it all unfolds, then I go back and layer in world building, deepen motivations, check character goals and arcs, add description and internalization, etc. I build the framework of the story, then take my time to flesh it out. I always find interesting things to do after a draft is done and then I can go back and bring out those neat ideas.

I read on your site that you started writing at an early age when reading books while in class – that weren’t an actually part of the class – got you into trouble. Did you know then at that early age you wanted to be an author?

I always knew I wanted to write, but it wasn’t until high school I realized “author” was a real job. I thought it was a fantasy job, like wanting to be an archaeologist, or a horse trainer (both things I wanted to do), but not something I could actually do. Once I figured out I could, then that’s what I wanted to do with my life.

What was the first memorable, life changing book you read and why?

It was a book I’d heard actually. My seventh grade English teacher, Ms. Hagy, played a record for us one day, an author reading one of his short stories. Harlan Ellison’s “Repent Harlequin! Said the Ticktock Man.” I was blow away. I wanted more of his work, wanted to write like he did, tell stories like that. I’d always written, but that was the first time I wanted to get better as a writer.

Was there any part of your road to becoming published that you were completely unprepared for?

How much time it would take away from the writing. There’s marketing, networking, promoting your book, doing school visits, events, etc. All fun and I enjoy doing them, but there were weeks where I was swamped and then I’d realize I hadn’t actually done any writing. Still happens, and juggling the writing with the business side is tough to do sometimes.

What inspired you to write each book in the Healing Wars Trilogy?

THE SHIFTER was first inspired when I went to see the X-Men movie. Rogue is my favorite superhero, and her power is that she involuntarily absorbs the powers (or life) of anyone she touches. I started wondering what would happen if someone did that with healing. If they bumped into folks and healed them. That led to a really hideous ten-page outline that got stuffed in a drawer and forgotten about. Years later, I was at a conference that stressed how much you needed fresh ideas to get published. I was trying to sell a very un-fresh novel at that time, so I came home and looked through my old idea file for something original and fresh. I found that outline. It was still hideous, but the idea of shifting pain stuck with me. I’d never seen healing portrayed with consequences before and that intrigued me. I started world building, and the plot developed from there.

BLUE FIRE just picked up the story. I knew I wanted to explore one of the other aspects of the magic (enchanting), and that I wanted Nya to be ripped from her world and dropped into the land of her enemy. She needed her world view shaken up quite a bit.

DARKFALL was all about coming full circle. I wanted to explore the war in the trilogy’s title, and really let Nya cut loose and be as dangerous as I knew she was. But she also had to find her vulnerable side, and figure out where she belonged once and for all. Now that I’d torn her apart (so to speak) I had to out her back together again.

If you could describe each character in one word what would it be?

Nya = impulsive. Aylin = optimistic. Danello = dependable. Tali = naive.

What was the hardest part in writing each of the three books in this trilogy?

THE SHIFTER wasn’t hard at all. It was the easiest thing I’ve ever written and it practically fell out of my head onto the page. The only tough part (and it wasn’t that tough) was rewriting the ending for my agent. That took me a few tries to get it right.

BLUE FIRE was tough all the way through. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever written. Just getting the plot right took work, because it kept feeling like extra chapters added to the first book, not a stand alone book with its own plot. I knew story-wise what I wanted to do, but finding the right plot to show that story took five complete start-over-on-a-blank-page drafts to do it.

DARKFALL was somewhere in the middle. It took two full drafts. The first to understand how the war played out and who did what, and the second to decide where Nya and her friends fit into it. The hardest part was figuring out what to do with Tali. She’s so central to the story, but I couldn’t just have book three be a copy of book one, where Nya is trying to find her sister again. But one of those great throwaway lines I mentioned earlier hit me and I knew what to do with her. It made the whole book fall into place.

Being that the 3rd book in the trilogy is set to come out in a few months, is there anything new you’re working on and can you tell us about it?

I’m working on a YA fantasy about a deep cover spy who gets caught between love and loyalty when a political assassination exposes her true identity. So far it’s a blast and I’m very excited about this story.

Thanks so much for stopping in to chat with us today Janice. It was really great to have you here.

Thanks for having me here!

Find Janice Online:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Order the Healing Wars Trilogy Online:

Amazon | Borders | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository


*I am not compensated at all for any of the links within this page.

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16 April 2011

Title: Delirium (Delirium, #1)
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperTeen, 440 pages (February 1st 2011)
From: the Publisher, Thank You!

Synopsis: Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love - the deliria - blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.


Review: 5 Stars - Lauren Oliver has created something epic with the first book in her new trilogy Delirium. You know from the first page right through to the very last that you are reading something… special? Yes. Stunning? A thousand times over. Easily making this one of the single best books I’ve read. Oliver has taken words and made them submit to her in this now, beloved by many, dystopian story surrounding a society hell bent on curing… Love.

Who would have thought that a book telling the story of a single girl – Lena – and her path to being cured of “Love” or in Oliver’s world “amor deliria nervosa” would have had the effect that it did not only on me, but so many other readers. It’s hard to imagine a world where love is medically cured at the age of 18, but Oliver’s writing, characters and story make falling head first – your heart following soon after – into its pages inevitable.

Lena is just a few months away from being cured and while she’s questioning things because of her past, it’s her present and what’s ahead in her future that ultimately changes her. She knows being cured is what comes next and is what is expected when you turn 18 years old. Once cured you are married to your perfect match and go on to live a normal if not mundane life. Her struggles to accept things on either side… the cure vs. Alex are what nudge her on and into a decision that’ll ultimately change the world for her and those around her forever.

And then there’s Alex. He’s different and Lena knows it. She’s not sure exactly why, but it’s there. It was quick to see how they were drawn to each other. Some secrets about Alex come out and in many ways force Lena to see the world, love and her life through different eyes and in the end giving her many different options that were never there. Alex was the perfect blend of good guy. Their relationship was thrilling and sweet and full of many emotions that you’re able to experience right along with the two.

With the date of Lena’s cure approaching fast the two are faced with some hard choices. It’s a thrilling end and a heartbreaking last few pages to say the least. Oliver has taken such an emotion as love and turned it upside down, inside out and changed it from head to toe. How is that possible you ask? Well, you’ll have to read Delirium to see for yourself.

FTC Disclaimer: I did NOT pay for this book, nor have I been compensated at all in any way or means for reading and writing this HONEST review.

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15 April 2011

Title: Kiss of a Star (Artemis Lupine, #2) - eBook
Author: Catherine Banks
Publisher: 168 Pages (February 18th 2011)
From: ebook from the Author, Thank You!

Synopsis: Artemis’ life completely changed when she met Ares and learned of her true genetics. Achilles comes to her and her life is changed yet again as she learns more about herself and Ares’ past. Now nothing is simple and life is anything but calm. As she adjusts to her new life she learns that shedding a little blood is more than necessary and that she must do whatever she can to stay with her pack and her mate. Can she figure out a way to protect her pack and stand against the man hunting her? Or will treachery and deceit separate her from the first family she’s ever had?

Review: 4 Stars - Kiss of A Star, the second book in the Artemis Lupine series picks up right were we left off in Song of the Moon. With many things answered and more questioned asked, the characters and story held up well from the first book into this one. I do have to say that while the book was a tad on the short side and I felt that a few things were rushed, I was excited to see just where author Catherine Banks would take her characters next.

Artemis has changed so much from Song of the Moon, yet she’s still growing into herself as she continues to evolve both physically and mentally. With the continuing help, support and love of her Alpha and mate Ares, she further learns about her people and the many trials that loom for the halfbreed. She still has so many questions and things are about to get worse before they have a chance to get better. Artemis still wants the same things. To protect those that she loves and find out who’s after her. And Ares, he’s an alpha through and through. The only thing about him that rubs me the wrong way… in both books is that he never gives Artemis enough information. I understand he’s trying his hardest to protect her from everything, including herself, but that aspect of the story and his personality frustrated me here and there.

Characters old and new popped up throughout and lead too many twists and turns, some more shocking then others. It’s Banks imagination that has created strong characters and a plot that continues to lure me in and leave me ready for more.

The only down side, as mentioned above was the length of this second installment and how some key parts to the story felt somewhat rushed through. Did this take away from my overall enjoyment of Kiss of A Star? No, not at all. Would it have improved my enjoyment? Some what but let me explain that further. I really enjoy the story and characters and I simply wanted more. It’s not that it was lacking from the first book to the second, or in the series as a whole.

With an ending that’ll leave you wondering if what happened did in fact just happen, it forced me to reread the last few pages to make sure I wasn’t reading things incorrectly. With the turn of the last page… both times, I was surprised where Bank’s led the story and am eagerly awaiting the next book – Healed By Fire, in 2012. And oh, what a wait that’ll be.

FTC Disclaimer: I did NOT pay for this book, nor have I been compensated at all in any way or means for reading and writing this HONEST review.

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14 April 2011


First and most importantly - Yes, we do have a winner…Congrats to Amanda W. who should be receiving her Kindle in the mail any day now.

Second, there are definitely some lessons we learned from running this contest. We thought we would share just in case anyone else ever considers hosting a similar contest:

1. There are a lot of people interested in winning a Kindle. Over 1,000 people totaling up to over 5,000 entries (based on the entry guidelines).

2. If you are going to run a contest with high interest, consider how difficult it will be for the person(s) who will be selecting the winner.

3. If you haven’t considered how long it will be to go through all the entries, plan on lots and lots of time.

4. If you are sharing this between bloggers, develop a plan for how to select and contact the winner and who is responsible for what.

5. Have a back up plan for when “life happens” so that someone can jump in and help another person.

6. Also, clearly have a agreed upon plan for how long you will wait for a "winner" to respond, just in case your first one or two people don't respond.

Finally, we just would like to express our deepest apologies for how long it took to select and announce a winner. We truly appreciate your patience and understanding.

And once again…congratulations Amanda and happy reading.

Lisa (A Life Bound By Books) & Aly (Kid Lit Frenzy)

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Title: Awakened (The Guardian Legacy #1)
Author: Ednah Walters
Publisher: Pill Hill Press, 272 pages (September 2nd 2010)
From: the Author, Thank You!

Synopsis: Most teens turn sixteen and get the license to drive, Lil Falcon gets the license to kill demons, but no one told her she is not supposed to fall in love with one.

Orphaned as a child and raised by an eccentric grandfather, Lil is concerned with surviving high school and is unaware she's a Guardian—a being with super powers charged with killing demons and protecting humanity. But when she meets Bran, a mysterious boy with amazing abilities, his psi energy unlocks her latent powers.

But Bran has a secret that can destroy their growing relationship. He's part demon. But in her heart, Lil knows Bran is not evil. So when her grandfather is kidnapped by a powerful nature-bender and Bran is the only one who knows where he's being kept, Lil convinces the other Guardians to trust him, not knowing her grandfather is just the bait. And the truth that she discovers in the demonic enclave may just destroy everything she believes in, unless she makes the right choice—love and sacrifice.

Review: 4 Stars - Awakened, the first book in The Guardian Legacy series and freshman title for author Ednah Walters was more than I expected and then some. I found much to enjoy, from the rich story and brightly crafted characters to the fascinating mythology. It was quick to draw me in and had its hooks into me within the first few mysterious pages straight through to the last… leaving this reader scrambling for what comes next.

Lil Falcon, a 16 year old girl who wants nothing more than to make it through high school. She has no idea that she’s different, that she has powers that’ll help her to protect everyone around her. She lives with her grandfather and they tend to move around a lot. She’s stronger then even she knows, and it’s one of the things I liked about her the most. She grows into who she is as the story progresses and as she comes to terms with what is the true world around her. I mean she has a lot to deal with as what she knows morphs into everything that she only thought existed in books or movies.

And then there’s Bran. He’s different and Lil knows it. He’s one of those guys who are a mix of both good and bad boy. He has his own secrets and a lot to prove too many people. He’s character adds many layers to a well built plot. The relationship between Bran and Lil has twists and turns along the way that only added to such an original story. I rooted for them the whole time, even with all the uphill battles their relationship was set out to face.

Then there’s The Guardian Trainee’s and each character was so different from the next. Their strength and honor were incredible to say the least. Oh and yeah, Sykes gives Bran’s swoon worthy-ness a run for his money. Both guys wormed their way into my heart and made me grin from ear to ear when ever they were on the page. I mean, Walters great writing makes characters such as these here in Awakened easy to love.

With such detailing, Walters has a knack for writing and offers readers a great tale and a different telling of Good vs. Evil. In a world and character as vivid as hers, it was easy for this book to become a favorite on my bookcase and that I’d be eagerly awaiting the next book in the series - Betrayed. Would I recommend this title to anyone? That would be a definite YES.

FTC Disclaimer: I did NOT pay for this book, nor have I been compensated at all in any way or means for reading and writing this HONEST review.

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13 April 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday is an event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. The purpose of this weekly event is to spotlight a soon-to-be-released book that you are very much anticipating. "Waiting On" Wednesday will also give bloggers an opportunity to share ideas for our TBR lists.


Title: The Day Before
Author: Lisa Schroeder
Publisher: Simon Pulse, 307 Pages (June 28th 2011)
Preorder here: Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Noble,
The Book Depository

Synopsis: Sometimes there's no turning back.

Amber's life is spinning out of control. All she wants is to turn up the volume on her iPod until all of the demands of her family and friends fade away. So she sneaks off to the beach to spend a day by herself.

Then Amber meets Cade. Their attraction is instant, and Amber can tell that he's also looking for an escape. Together they decide to share a perfect day: no pasts, no fears, no regrets.

The more time that Amber spends with Cade, the more she's drawn to him. And the more she's troubled by his darkness. Because Cade's not just living in the now--he's living each moment like it's his last.

I really can't wait for this one! Not only does it sound great, but I'm really loving this cover.

*covers are always subject to change.
*I am not compensated at all for any of the links within this page.

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12 April 2011

Book Feature: Enclave By: Ann Aguirre

Title: Enclave
Author: Ann Aguirre
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends, 259 Pages (April 12th 2011)
Preorder here: Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Noble,
The Book Depository

Synopsis: New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20's. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters—or Freaks—who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight, in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs. As the two are guided by Fade’s long-ago memories, they face dangers, and feelings, unlike any they’ve ever known.

Find out more about 'Enclave' here, including the first two chapters and an interview with the author!

http://www.annaguirre.com/books/ya-novels/enclave/

http://us.macmillan.com/enclave-1

Book Trailer:


*I am not compensated at all for any of the links within this page.

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08 April 2011

Giveaway - $100 in FREE Custom Stickers!

I'm holding a giveaway where ONE lucky winner will be given $100 in custom stickers! They do everything when it comes to custom stickers - from die cuts, to custom skins for your laptops, iphones and more!! Free shipping to US &Canadian residents - (International entrants will see a shipping charge on check out.)

Here are the details and how to enter:

You MUST complete the form below to enter
You MUST be at least 13 years old
Giveaway is open: INTERNATIONAL (please know anyone outside US or Canada WILL be responsible for the shipping costs.)
Giveaway ends: April 28th, 2011



This giveaway was donated by Stickermule.com.
A huge Thank You goes out to them for asking me to host this.
Good luck to everyone who enters!!

As always, winner(s) are chosen via random.org unless otherwise stated. If you have any questions about this giveaway, please feel free to check my policy page or send an email.


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07 April 2011

I first want to thank Lisa for allowing me to talk with all of you today.

Let me introduce myself, my name is Sean McCartney and I am the author of the new young adult action adventure series entitled The Treasure Hunters Club: Secrets of the Magical Medallions. The story is about 13-year-old Tommy Reed who is sent a medallion by his famous treasure hunting uncle “Diamond” Jack Reed and Tommy and his treasure hunting club friends must find the secret behind the medallion before an ancient evil hunts them down.

I have been asked numerous times on what it is like to write for young adults. I usually stick with five basic points throughout any story for this group.

1. A Fast Pace. Kids don’t have a governor on their minds and the faster your story the more likely they are to become engaged by it. Remember they are being bombarded by things that make noises and are bright and shiny, not a book. Give them a fast paced story, short chapters and they will stick around.

2. Believable Characters. The characters from The Treasure Hunters Club are made up from kids I grew up with and students I have had in class. The idea is to find what makes the character unique so they can connect with the reader. I made the club members hard workers who have to study to do well, with the exception of Jackson, because that is most of us.

3. Adventure. Take the kids to places they have never been and do things they only dream about. For example, Tommy dreams of being a famous treasure hunter like his uncle but it isn’t until he is on the run from the ancient evil that he comes to understand how difficult treasure hunting can be.

4. Be Realistic. This is important even when writing fiction. The story has to be something that the kids can believe will and could happen. All of the treasure that the club goes after is based in reality. For Secrets of the Magical Medallions, there were many hurricanes that blew through Port Royal Harbor, Jamaica and wrecked many merchant ships leaving gold and jewels on the ocean floor.

5. Make it Fun. The story has to hold their attention and the more fun it is the more kids are going to read it. That is the most important thing.

Thank you so much for allowing me to talk with all of you today and I hope you all go out and buy Secrets of the Magical Medallions and let me know what you think.

About the Author:

Sean Paul McCartney (he’s not related to the Beatle) was born in 1971. He graduated from Alfred University in upstate New York with a Bachelor’s in Communications in 1993. From there he played two exciting season traveling around the world with the Washington Generals playing against the world famous Harlem Globetrotters. In 1996 Sean earned his Masters in Education and embarked on a career as a teacher. He is employed by Plain Local Schools in Canton , OH . The first book in the series The Treasure Hunters Club: Secrets of the Magical Medallions introduces the four teens Tommy Reed, Jackson Miller, Shannon McDougal and Chris Henderson. The series is a cross between The Hardy Boys and Indiana Jones with a touch of National Treasure. You can visit Sean’s web site at http://www.treasurehuntersclubbook.com/ or e-mail him at seancoach at juno dot com. Visit his The Treasure Hunters Club: Secrets of the Magic Medallions Facebook Fan Page by clicking here!

Thanks so much for stopping by today Sean. It was great having you here to share with us your 5 key ingredients to writing for young adults.

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06 April 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday is an event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. The purpose of this weekly event is to spotlight a soon-to-be-released book that you are very much anticipating. "Waiting On" Wednesday will also give bloggers an opportunity to share ideas for our TBR lists.


Title: Sirensong (Faeriewalker, #3)
Author: Jenna Black
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin, 336 Pages (July 5th 2011)
Preorder here: Amazon, Borders, The Book Depository

Synopsis: When Dana is invited to Faerie to be officially presented at the Seelie Court, it’s no easy decision. After all, everyone knows Titania, the Seelie Queen, wants her dead. But Titania claims not to be the one behind the death threats; and her son, Prince Henry, makes the decision a whole lot easier when he suggests Dana might be arrested for (supposedly) conspiring with her aunt Grace to usurp the Seelie throne. So she and her father better do as they're told...

The journey through Faerie is long – and treacherous. Dana thought it would be a good idea to have friends along, but her sort-of-boyfriend Ethan and her bodyguard’s son, Keane, just can’t seem to get along, and Kimber’s crush on Keane isn’t making things any easier. When a violent attack separates Dana from their caravan, the sexy Erlking saves her just in the nick of time… and makes it clear that he hasn’t given up on making her his own.

Arriving at Titania’s beautiful palace should be a relief. But Dana is soon implicated in an assassination attempt against Titania’s niece, and is suddenly a fugitive, forced to leave her father behind as she and her friends flee for her lives. Will she be able to prove her innocence before the forces of the Seelie Court catch up with her? Or, worse, the Erlking? And will she save her father before he pays the ultimate price in her stead?

Title: Trial By Fire (Raised By Wolves, #2)
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: EgmontUSA, 432 Pages (June 14th 2011)
Preorder here: Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository

Synopsis: No synopsis when I last looked....

I can't wait for both of these! I loved the first two books in the Faeriewalker series and the first book in the Raised By Wolves series. Both great and I'm excited to read these. Not to mention the covers are pretty amazing too.

*covers are always subject to change.
*I am not compensated at all for any of the links within this page.

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05 April 2011

Title: 7 Kinds of Ordinary Catastrophes Author: Amber Kizer
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 304 Pages (April 5th 2011)
Order here: Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository

Synopsis: Okay, so here's the deal: there are books about volcanoes erupting and meteorites hitting Earth and plane crashes where the survivors have to eat people—those are extraordinary crises.

That's not what this book is about. I'm more the ordinary catastrophe type. This second semester of my sophomore year, there are basically 7 KINDS OF ORDINARY CATASTROPHES: high school, boys, heartbreak, family, job, friends, and the future.

Well, I guess everyone's life is full of ordinary catastrophes. These are mine. Hi, I'm Gert Garibaldi. Welcome to my crazy life.


To help celebrate the release of 7 Kinds of Ordinary Catastrophes I'm giving away ONE SIGNED finished
copy to ONE lucky winner!

Rules and How to enter:

You MUST complete the form below for your entry to count.
You MUST be at least 13 years old to enter.
This giveaway is open: INTERNATIONAL!
Giveaway ends: April 26th, 2011


*This giveaway was made possible from the Author... a HUGE Thank You
goes out to Amber for her generous donation.

*I am not compensated at all for any of the links within this page.

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In accordance with FTC Guidelines, I have not received any monetary gain for any information posted within the pages of this website/blog. Any and all information has been provided by the publisher, author and or publicist for free. Content is also based on purchases made by myself or of my guest reviewer(s). Any and all opinions expressed within the pages of this website/blog are solely my own or those of the authors of any and all guest reviewers(s) or guest bloggers.



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About Me

Hi, I’m Lisa and I'm a proud bibliophile.

I enjoy reading and reviewing a variety of different books within the Young Adult, "New Adult" & Adult genres/categories. If you have any questions or if you are an author or publisher and would be interested in promoting a book, please feel free email. You can find my email under the "mail" button or under the contact link at the top of the page.

I look forward to hearing from you!


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My Ratings

When I review I rate from 1 to 5 stars, 5 being the highest rating. I review based on many different things from the writing, to the story - to the characters and how I can relate to them or how they are developed. I also review based on if an author has worked their magic and was able to draw me into a story so deeply that I don't want to put the book down. If you would like me to review a book, please contact me or view my Contact Information and Review Policy for further details.

5 Stars - I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!
4 Stars - I Really liked/Loved it.
3 Stars - I liked it/Was pretty good.
2 Stars - It was, eh okay.
1 Star - It just wasn't for me.

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