January 2018 wrap-up!

January has been a really happy reading month for me because I spent it reading three of my favourite books. I did also read two other books, one by an author whom I adore and one by an author that has instantly become a huge inspiration.

I loved everything that I’ve read last month and I think it was a brilliant way to kick off this year.

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Wild Embers by Nikita Gill

“Wild Embers explores the fire that lies within every soul, weaving words around ideas of feeling at home in your own skin, allowing yourself to heal and learning to embrace your uniqueness with love from the universe.

Featuring rewritten fairytale heroines, goddess wisdom and poetry that burns with revolution, this collection is an explosion of femininity, empowerment and personal growth.”

This book is full of fire, empowerment and inspration. I gobbled it up and then preceded to read it again. It is the first poetry book I have read and I can’t wait to read more of them this year.

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The Sun is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

”NATASHA: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will nver come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

DANIEL: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraoridinary in store – for both of us.

THE UNIVERSE: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?”

A firm favourite of mine, re-reading this book made me fall in love with it all over again. Nicola Yoon has a special talent for writing out-of-this-world YA. Her stories pull you in and her words wrap you up in a special kind of bliss. I will forever love this book.

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Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

”Meet the March sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. Like all sisters, they don’t always get on but they know that when the going gets tough, they can always count on each other.”

A classic worth all of the praise. I have always loved Little Women and I never tire of this stroy about sisterhood and good morals no matter how many times I read it. It is my go-to feel good book and I make a point of reading it at least once a year to remind myself to be grateful and to be whisked away in its whimsical pages for the thousandth time.

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Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend

”Morrigan Crow is cursed and will die on her eleventh birthday. But as she awaits her fate a strange and remarkable man appears whisking her away to a secret city filled with magic and wunder. To stay in Nevermoor, Morrigan must compete in four dangerous and difficult trials against hundreds of other children. Can an outsider win or will she have to leave the city forever and face her deadly fate?”

This book encapsualtes everything magical and wonderful. I have no words to describe how much I enjoy its world, characters and story. It is incredibly written and completely one of a kind. It makes me feel like I’m eleven all over again and feeling like a kid  is one of the greatest pleasures around.

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The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

One eternal optimist. . .

Jess Thomas, with two jobs and two kids and never enough money, wears flip-flops in the hope of spring. And when life knocks her down she does her best to bounce right back. But there are some challenges even she can’t meet on her own.

Plus one lost stranger. . .

Ed Nichols is the good guy gone bad. He had it all, the one stupid mistake cost him everything. Now he’ll do anything to make it right,

Equals a chance encounter. . .

Ed doesn’t want to save anyone and Jess doesn’t want saving, but could Jess and Ed add up to something better together?”

Jojo Moyes has a knack for strory telling that can only be described as raw talent. Her books seem to grip me and I cannot get out of its grip – not that I ever want to. This story has a little bit of everything in it and I adored reading it. It gave me a little break – from my currently stressful school life – every day and I really appreciated the escape into its pages.

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I would love to chat to you, leave me a comment below! Tell me what books you’ve read last month and ones that you recommend I read. Until next time. . .

xx

tbn

 

 

 

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Travelling nerd #1

I was recently away for my summer holidays and I decided to do a bookish photo edit from my time travelling. Below you can find pictures from all of the beautiful spots my books and I traveled to!

My family and I went on holiday to Cape Town and then traveled home via the Garden Route. Along the Garden Route we stopped along at some of the most scenic spots and stayed over in the Tsistsikamma Forest and then in Port Elizebeth. I had the best time and came back home feeling well rested and ready to seize the year!

This photo edit only includes the main places we went to and the places where I remembered to pull out my book and camera and take a shot. We done so many other things and discovered a million little treasures along the way but if you focus on taking the shot all the time you miss the real thing and only see it from behind a lens. Nevertheless, I am very happy with the end result because they are little snippets of the trip and the books I was reading at the time, I’m already looking forward to the next one.

I won’t chat on about the sights as I’m sure the pictures will speak for themselves. I hope you like it,

xx

tbn

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We stayed over at a very picturesque b&b in Laignsburg.

Pictured book: Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

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On the way to Cape Town, we stopped to go cherry picking at Klondyke Cherry Farm and it was, in one word, bliss.

Pictured book: Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

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On our first full day in Cape Town we just pottered about and I spent time reading at my favourite beach and all time happy place at sunset.

Pictured book: Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

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Visiting the gardens of Babylonstoren. Which is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to, also where I tasted the most delectable ice-cream sucker ever!!

Pictured book: Wild Embers by Nikita Gill

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Driving along another scenic route in Cape Town we spotted some dolphins in this stormy ocean and I got my sister to pose with a book.

Pictured book: Wild Embers by Nikita Gill

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At the postcard perfect harbour in Hout Bay, also home to Fish on the Rocks which is the best seafood resturant in SA (in my opinion)

Pictured book: Wild Embers by Nikita Gill

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The drive that will take your breath away, Chapman’s Peak.

Pictured book: Wild Embers by Nikita Gill

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We stopped at a beach, listened to the ocean and I wrote my name in the sand.

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Honestly, I cannot remember exactly where this is but the ocean looked glorious and I had to take a picture.

Pictured book: Wild Embers by Nikita Gill

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Wandered through the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.

Pictured book: Wild Embers by Nikita Gill

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Also at Kirstenbosch, the Boomslang walkway also known as the Canopy Walkway above the trees. It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen and in my awe I only took this one, not very good, picture.

Pictured book: Wild Embers by Nikita Gill

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First stop along the Garden Route: Hermanus. I could have spent all day looking at that view with its bright crystal waters and untouched glamour.

Pictured book: The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

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Spent the afternoon reading on a little beach in Sedgefield where I read one of my favorite pieces of poetry for the first time, Your Torment Has Meaning by Nikita Gill.

Pictured book: Wild Embers by Nikita Gill

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The spectacular view at the three heads in Knysna. We were exhausted and it was really hot and there is a fair bit of uphill walking involved but it was without a shadow of a doubt, worth it. I mean, look at that view!

Pictured book: The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

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At the Tsitsikamma National Park. This place is so incredibly beautiful, I don’t have any words to describe it. It was a gruelling climb to get to the suspension bridge but the feeling from the top is indescribable. I feel like I need to go to Tsitsikamma again, just to spend more time in this park. We also ziplined through the Tsitsikamma forest which was exhilarating and an experience I definitely want to repeat.

Pictured books: Wild Embers by Nikita Gill and The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

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Finally, the trip ended in Port Elizabeth. We spent the day walking along the beach and just relaxing. Also had a coffee at this McDonald’s which has an incredible view.

Pictured book: The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

 

My summer reading list

During the summer I usually re-read books that I loved during the year or just books that I love. This year I’m taking four with me although I haven’t read one of them. Four is quite ambitious, I might actually only take three.

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My summer reading list:

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

This is one of the best books I’ve read this year. I love Nicola Yoon and this book was incredible. I can’t wait to read it again.

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Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend

This is the most magical book ever. I am so glad I got the opportunity to read it and it just made me so happy which is why I chose to re-read it. I am impossibly excited for the next installment. I am going to be publishing a full review soon so stay tuned for that!

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Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

This book is my ultimate summer read. I have read it every summer for the past three years. There’s just something about it that puts me in a summer-ry mood and I don’t seem to get bored with reading it over and over again. Reading it feels almost nostalgic and I always pick it up first.

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Wild Embers by Nikita Gill

This is the one book that I haven’t already read before. I am extremely excited to read it. It is the most beautiful book I have ever seen and I’ve had a peep at some of the poetry and it is  b e a u t i f u l.

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And that is my summer reading list. It feels perfect to me and I am looking forward to reading them all. My next blog post is going to be a photo edit (or two) from my trip and I’m very excited to hear what you think. Until next time. . .

xx

tbn

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A massive thank you first, to PanMacmillan SA for sending me a copy of Nevermoor and to JonathanBall Publishers for sending me Wild Embers. I am forever grateful for your kindness.

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten

Synopsis:

“Adam so wants to be Robyn’s superhero, but how can he let himself fall in love when he can’t even save the world? What he needs is a list:

1. Grow immediately.

2. Find courage.

3. Keep courage.

4. Get normal.

5. Marry Robyn Plummer

A beautiful, funny and heart-wrenching story of love, brokenness and the purest form of bravery: giving in and asking for help.”

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book and rated it 4/5 stars.

I found it very informative. I feel like I understand mental health and OCD a little bit better since reading the book. It can be so difficult trying to understand something you have never experienced before and through reading a book you get to experience what the characters are going through. Obviously, it will never be exactly the same and it would be highly incorrect to say you have experienced OCD or any other issue but you can get a better understanding because you are essentially in the characters head.

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That being said, this book does have OCD and anxiety triggers. I found myself feeling a bit panicky and uneasy whilst reading certain pieces. I had to put the book down and pick it up again when I felt a bit more ready and steady. If you suffer from major anxiety or OCD I think that this book might be too difficult to read as there were a few parts that triggered me.

This is one of the few YA books that has a lead character who is suffering from a mental illness. I think it’s so important to recognize mental illness as a real thing, especially in YA. Having the protagonist suffer with a mental illness helps to create awareness and increase the understanding of the audience – as this book has. I really like that and I love that the author chose to do that and focus on a mental illness and explored it really well whilst still maintaining a gripping storyline.

The characters were really good, I especially took a liking to the lead character, Adam, he was so lovable and I became attached to him. I found the other characters to be extremely brave and interesting and I loved reading their story.

The ideas used in the book were excellent. There are so many things that I really took notice of and that stood out to me. It was also very original and nothing felt like it was said before. Even the love story was completely original, real and unlike anything I’ve heard before.

Overall it was a really good read. It was a bit more difficult to read compared to other YA books, which can be very light and easy to digest but I enjoyed that. I liked that it focused on such an important thing.

Tell me your thoughts in the comments below or visit me on my instagram page, @thebookishnerd , until next time. . .

xx

tbn

The Olive Tree by Lucinda Riley

*This book was sent to me by PanMacmillan South Africa in exchange for an honest review*

Synopsis:

”It has been twenty-four years since a young Helena spent a magical holiday in Cyprus, where she fell in love for the first time. When the now crumbling house, ‘Pandora’, is left to her by her godfather, she returns to spend the summer there with her family.

Yet as soon as Helena arrives at Pandora, she knows that its idyllic beauty masks a web of secrets that she has kept from William, her husband, and Alex, her son. At the difficult age of thirteen, Alex is torn between protecting his beloved mother, and growing up. And equally desperate to learn the truth about his real father. . .

When, by chance, Helena meets her childhood sweetheart, a chain of events is set in motion that threatens to make her past and present collide. Both Helena and Alex know that life will never be the same, once Pandora’s secrets have been revealed.”

My thoughts:

This book is the perfect summer read. As it is currently summer and summer holidays for many of us in South Africa, this is the perfect book to pick up or take away with you on your beach holiday. I rated it 5/5 stars, here’s why:

The first thing that really stood out to me was how beautifully described everything was. One of the best things about reading is that books can transport you to a whole new world and so books that have such intricate and lovely descriptive detail are only more enjoyable to read.

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The book in general is written very well and the introduction was done expertly. It was gripping and excellently written which instantly pulled me into its pages. From reading the introductory pages I was hooked and each time I picked the book up I was transported to a world in Cyprus. The author took me to Greece with the characters and that was the best thing.

The world around me would instantly melt away and suddenly I was there, with the characters, who I became very attached to. Their drama was my drama, I felt the happiness and the pain, the love and the loss, the excitement and the memories. It all became a part of me.

The characters were astounding and very real. I loved them and hated them and I never wanted to leave them. I learnt something from all of them and most importantly they made me very happy.

I fell in love with Cyprus through this book and promptly added it to my bucket list. I could see the landscape through the vivid descriptions even though I have never even seen pictures of Cyprus before. It also really made me want to go on a summer holiday and I loved it because for a little while each day whilst I was reading it, I was on a summer holiday in Cyprus.

The plot was really good and it sucked me in more than I expected it to. There was also an incredible plot twist that had my jaw drop from its hinges and that was completely un-guessable, which is obviously the best kind of twists!

I feel like this book is a classic novel in the sense that it was a story full of drama and ups and downs. A story more than anything, just a classic story. There was nothing too crazy or too difficult to process. It was easy to digest and an absolute pleasure to read. It was enjoyable with the right amount of lightheartedness and seriousness. It was also funny and interesting. Simply put – a great read.

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Let me know your thoughts on The Olive Tree if you’ve read it and tell me if you’ve visited Cyprus and if not do you want to?

xx

tbn

*A huge thank you to PanMacmillan South Africa for sending me a copy to review. I am forever grateful.

The Heir by Kiera Cass

Synopsis:

“Princess Eadlyn has grown up hearing endless stories about how her mother and father met. Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won the heart of Prince Maxon – and they lived happily ever after.

Eadlyn doesn’t expect her own story to end in romance – she has no interest in repeating the fairy tale. But a princess’s life is never entirely her own – and Eadlyn cannot escape her very own Selection, and one particular entry who may just capture her heart…”

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My thoughts:

I am a hopeless romantic. I adore love stories above all because they can truly transport me into an entirely different world to my own. Something about that is completely magical. So, naturally the Selection trilogy became a fast favourite of mine. I loved the romance and the bonus is that they aren’t all about the romance. They have a political side to them that is just as intriguing, just as interesting as all of the romance which makes them the perfect books for me. Therefore, obviously I was overjoyed to hear that there was to be a fourth book. Whilst The Heir was an excellent read in many ways, it did not live up to its predecessors entirely which is why I rated it 4/5 stars.

I have to first talk about the cover. No, books should not be judged by their covers but that does not mean that the covers of books don’t have any impact. Books with beautiful covers are just lovely to hold in your hand, to own and, of course, to photograph. All of the selection novels have the most stunning covers and I think that this one is my favourite – the colour scheme is stunning!

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The book is as they all are completely addictive and impossible to put down. I could sit and read it in a single sitting if I didn’t have actual responsibilities. It was a real page-turner, full of surprises and excitement on each page.

Kiera Cass’s writing is beautiful and that did not change. The Heir was just as nicely written as the other three. Kiera’s writing flows along in an addictive way and she has a knack for bringing her characters out of the page to the point where it feels like you’re watching them do the things you’re reading. I love that. I can picture each thing, in great detail, in my head. And that is one of the greatest qualities a book can have.

Now for the characters, I am so happy that Eadlyn is such a strong women. I think that having strong female characters is so important and I love that she is independent, opinionated, strong-willed and clever. I love that she is not the cliché princess. It makes all the difference in the world. Reading about strong female characters is also very empowering and inspiring. As for the other characters, I liked them too but I could not relate to any of the characters, nor did I feel too strongly for any of them.

That is one of the things I didn’t quite like about this book. With the first three I was in it with the characters whereas with these characters I don’t feel that.

I also miss the romance. There is romance in this one but it’s not the same and I really miss that. Maybe I just miss America and Maxon 🙂 I feel like it’s just not the same as the first three, I didn’t enjoy it as much even though I did enjoy it.

It was still extremely exciting to jump back into the world of the Selection and I loved reading it. As with all of our favourite books we constantly want more to read and its wonderful when the authors give that to us because we get to re-enter these magical worlds and be whisked away once more…

If you’ve read it let me know what you thought and if you haven’t, are you going to? Let’s chat in the comments down below!

xx

tbn

 

 

 

Reading motivation for kids

Ever since I could read I wanted to. As a kid I loved reading and that love only grew as I got older. However, the other day I realised that not all kids enjoy reading, in fact lots of kids consider it boring and think of it as a chore. I had some ideas on what I think might help motivate children who don’t particularly like reading to read.

These tips might be useful to parents, caregivers or teachers.

Before I begin I would like to mention that I am no professional and all of the content in this post are my thoughts and opinions. If I do contradict any specific scientific proofs please let me know so that it may be corrected.

I think that the key is to make kids want to read, it should never feel like work or a chore. It should be something to look forward to.  Essentially, make a child fall in love with reading. Here are some of the ideas you can use:

1. Create a reading treasure box

Fill a box with small things that children like. For example, little sweets, chocolate coins, stickers, stationary, small toys, key rings etc. Once they have reached their reading goal for the day or perhaps the week, they get to choose something from the box. The box should be something exciting and something that they look forward to. This will create a form of motivation for them and they will want to read. It gives them something to work towards.

2. Make reading exciting

Get a child interested in a book by reading the beginning pages of the book out loud. Make it exciting by doing all of the voices and expressions, create suspense and tension with your voice and then suddenly, STOP, just before an intriguing bit. Get them on the edge of their seats before stopping abruptly. This should spark a chil’s curiosity and they’ll want to know what happens. You then tell them that they have to read themselves to find out. Sometimes children just need a little help to bring their imaginations to life. Staring at the words on the pages trying to be excited by it can be very intimidating and thus become boring. By doing all the voices, a child will become gripped by the book and natural curiosity will make him want to find out what happens next.

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3. Use visuals

This somewhat stems from the previous point – children sometimes need a little help to spark their imagination. Show them pictures related to the book or little drawings of the characters or even book trailers from YouTube. These might spark their interest and get them into the book or get them to fall in love with the characters. Another interesting thing to do which can also be really fun is: read them a description of a character or a few characters from the book and ask them to draw what they think the character looks like from the description, in this way children may realise that their imaginations are one of the best places to hang out and that they can in fact create anything with it. Also seeing their own drawings of the characters may cause them to want to know what the characters get up to and how they end up.

4. Use audio books

Audio books serve the same purpose as doing the voices out loud. It creates an interest for the book in the child without the child having to read the words. Again, switch it off just before a main event or a crazy twist and the child has to read on to find out what happens.

5. Choose the right book

As J.K.Rowling said: “If you don’t like reading you haven’t found the right book.” I think that many children don’t enjoy reading because they are forced to read books about things that they have no interest in. If you’ve already tried getting a child to read various different children’s classics like Harry Potter and he still shows no interest in reading, ask him what he would like to read or pick a book relating to something he is interested in. The point is to get them reading, no matter what it is. You can even try a different form of reading so instead of novels, maybe graphic novels, highly illustrated books, magazines or comic books.

6. Make fun reading snacks

These don’t have to be very elaborate, just little snacks that children enjoy. For example, apple slices, dried fruit, gummies, biscuits, almonds e.t.c I once saw a picture somewhere of a packet of gummy worms labelled ‘bookworms’ to enjoy whilst reading and I thought that was really cute. Something like that gives children something to look forward to during reading time and may make them want to read more because of it.

7. Free time once the goal is reached

Children generally love time to themselves to do whatever they like. Promising 5-10 minutes of free time if they reach the reading goal will excite them and give them a goal to work towards. The idea is that in the process of reaching that goal, they fall in love with what they’re reading without even realising it.

8. Find out why reading is the enemy

Many children don’t enjoy reading because of some underlying cause. It might be that they find reading difficult or because they can’t seem to make sense of the words or it’s a book that they hate. Whatever it is there is usually a reason behind their dislike for reading. Find out what it is and fix it.

Book suggestions

As I said before, the key is to find a book that the child will like and be interested in. These are some suggestions of popular and wonderful children’s books which I have read and loved that may be a hit although it’s not guaranteed.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dhal 

Matilda by Roald Dhal 

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dhal 

The BFG by Roald Dhal 

Alice’s adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol 

The Harry Potter series by J.K.Rowling

Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend (realeasing in South Africa in November 2017)

The Secret Seven by Enid Blyton

Mallory Towers by Enid Blyton

The island/castle of adventure by Enid Blyton

The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

A little princes by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

The Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz

Anything by Dr. Suess

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

*All of the above titles except Nevermoor are available at Exclusive Books, Readers Warehouse and Takealot.com (Nevermoor will be available in South Africa next month in all leading bookstores)

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I hope that this post was helpful. Please do leave me a comment below telling me if it was. I’d love to know. You can pop me a comment or an email through my instagram page too.

xx

tbn

*This post is in not sponsored by Exclusive Books, Readers Warehouse or Takelot.com