Book Review: Fat Girl On A Plane

Aloha fellow readers!

I just finished Fat Girl on a Plane by Kelly DeVos and it was phenomenal! This book presented a very positive message in a fun and entertaining way.

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Synopsis: Fat.

High school senior Cookie Vonn’s post-graduation dreams include getting out of Phoenix, attending Parsons and becoming the next great fashion designer. But in the world of fashion, being fat is a cardinal sin. It doesn’t help that she’s constantly compared to her supermodel mother—and named after a dessert.

Thanks to her job at a fashion blog, Cookie scores a trip to New York to pitch her portfolio and appeal for a scholarship, but her plans are put on standby when she’s declared too fat to fly. Forced to turn to her BFF for cash, Cookie buys a second seat on the plane. She arrives in the city to find that she’s been replaced by the boss’s daughter, a girl who’s everything she’s not—ultrathin and superrich. Bowing to society’s pressure, she vows to lose weight, get out of the friend zone with her crush and put her life on track.

Skinny.

Cookie expected sunshine and rainbows, but nothing about her new life is turning out like she planned. When the fashion designer of the moment offers her what she’s always wanted—an opportunity to live and study in New York—she finds herself in a world full of people more interested in putting women down than dressing them up. Her designs make waves, but her real dream of creating great clothes for people of all sizes seems to grow more distant by the day.

Will she realize that she’s always had the power to make her own dreams come true?

So first off, props to Kelly for making a book that empowers people of all sizes. This is truly amazing. No one should ever be shamed or belittled because of the way they look or how big or small they are.

The main character, Cookie, is a strong female protagonist that doesn’t always have everything handed to her and she has to work hard for what she believes in. There are times when life becomes “unfair” to her but she always puts her best foot forward and strives on. She is very talented and a fashion guru. A lot of the clothes that she made in the book sounded very cool and the inner geek in me would hope that she would make some of these for men so I could wear some original Cookie Vonn.

I really enjoyed her best friend Piper. She was such a hoot! And she was from Australia which is epic because that is my dream destination to visit someday. Piper was the “giver of no f**ks” and I felt that she embodied that very well 🙂

Tommy kind of annoyed me a little bit because of how he would handle situations with Kennes being a complete asshole to the person he calls his “best friend” but that was just a minor detail.

This book is a rare one that will get a great rating from me! There are few out there that I would give 5/5 but I have to give it to this one! I am usually pretty generous with 4/5 but I found I couldn’t put this one down and would read it at every opportunity I had.

I would recommend this book to anyone out there who feels like they don’t like their body or are uncomfortable in their own skin. Let this book take you on a journey with Cookie to become empowered and feel positive about yourself because you are beautiful inside and out.

Book Rating: 5/5

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads. You can find the author Kelly DeVos on Twitter and Instagram.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley to read and give an honest review.

PS. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out my Giveaway Post where I am giving away a free book and some stickers!


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What are you reading?

Hey bookworms.

I have been so busy lately that I haven’t made much progress in terms of reading books so I figured I would ask you all what you are up to! I want to know what you have been reading!


What are you currently reading? What have you recently finished reading? What do you think you will read next?

I want to know. Let us start a conversation and talk about it. I can tell you all the books I plan to read (better take a seat and grab a snack because it’s a long list) and you could tell me if you have read them or what you think of the book covers or whatever we decide to discuss about.

I’m going to get back to my current book Fat Girl on a Plane by Kelly deVos now and hopefully get a big chunk of it done. I’m excited to write a review for this one 🙂

Comment below and lets chat 🙂 Happy reading!


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Update: Teaching College

So as many of you know, I am now teaching at Canadore College as a professor for the Appreciation of Media Design course. I never thought way back when I was in the Graphic Design program that I would ever be up at the front doing the actual teaching. But alas, here I am.

It has been taking a lot of my time as I have to lesson plan for each week and my books are feeling lonely (at least I think they are). On top of this, I still have my full-time job as a web developer and decided to do indoor volleyball for the autumn and winter season.

I am still doing my best to read as much as possible so have faith book bloggers, I will be adding more reviews soon. I am currently reading Fat Girl on a Plane by Kelly deVos and am about half way through.

How do you get through week by week with so much to do? Comment below what helps you stay organized? Maybe I could pick up some tips or stargies from you!

Talk soon bookworms!

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Guest Post: How to Make Your Books Both Enjoyable and Educational

This is a guest post by author Fiona Ingram as part of her book blog tour.

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Teachers and parents welcome with open arms books that help kids enjoy reading, immerse them in a wonderful new world and encourage them to want to learn more about the subject or topics covered in the story. The hardest part of writing fiction that involves facts, history, mythology, geography and the details that my middle-grade adventures involve is knowing what to put in and what to leave out.

My first middle-grade book, The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, is set in Egypt. Although I actually went to Egypt with my mom and my two nephews (who later became the templates for my young heroes), going to a place and writing about it are very different. I think Egypt was even more daunting than I imagined because so much has been written about the country, its history, and its culture that I felt under enormous pressure to check, double check, and check again (just in case) all my facts. There are also conflicting opinions of experts so one must be careful whose opinion one chooses.

I confess I overwrote the rough drafts of the first manuscript. There was so much information that I ended up almost drowning in it. It seems a shame that hours of research goes into looking up facts that will make perhaps only a brief mention in the chapter concerned. However, there is no point in inundating readers with lots of information. After careful thought, I realized that all I should include was what the young heroes needed to know as the plot unfolded. Details should be carefully and subtly woven into the story, always being an integral part of what the heroes need to know to move along in their adventure.

So, after the excitement of Egypt, what came next? The next book in my adventure series The Chronicles of the Stone takes place in Scotland, where the heroes are in search of the Second Stone of Power. The title is The Search for the Stone of Excalibur and that should be enough of a clue for fans to see where the story is heading. I had already spent a few amazing weeks in Scotland, researching old castles. Ask me anything about castles … with or without drawbridges, moats, portcullises, battlements … you name it, I visited it.

Finally, I settled upon the fabulous, fairytale setting of Dunrobin Castle, for me
an exquisite vision, as the setting for Book Two. Interviews with experts are a real boon. Leila, our fantastic guide in Egypt, was a walking encyclopedia of knowledge on the country. Contrary to what one might think, travel guides (the official ones) in any country, have a vast amount of knowledge on their subject. It came as no surprise to find that Leila had a university degree!

In Book 3: The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper, set in Mexico, the young heroes must play an ancient form of a ball game, the Mesoamerican ball game, to survive. I was fortunate enough to find an expert on the subject whose advice and book were invaluable. Again, so much has been written on this topic, as well as the ancient cultures of the Maya and the Aztecs—that feature in the story—that I really had to pare down the details to just what was integral to the plot and to the young heroes’ survival. Dialogue is a great way to include details that are necessary and having characters exchange information makes the detail realistic and interesting. I try to include storytelling by characters to share information. In all my books there are old stories or legends that make an appearance and add to the mystery. Told as a story within the main story makes it interesting for young readers. This could also lead on to further activities—for example, the students might enjoy acting out scenes from the stories, or even undertake their own research to find out if and how the fictional version deviates from the known facts.

Stories within the main story are a must. This gives an added depth and introduces cultural elements that are so unusual for young readers in a modern, media-driven and technologically saturated world. Within each of my books, the young heroes are told old stories, either legends or myths or in the case of Book 2: The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, the old ghost stories surrounding the castle. What a lovely experience, with delicious shivers going up and down their spines! In Book 3: The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper, the young heroes hear some important stories about the ancient Aztec and Maya gods, and when their adventures are finally over, they tell the story of their exploits to the villagers seated around the campfire, perhaps creating their own legends in a way.

Another excellent idea for authors whose books contain facts and relevant information is to include an appendix, either a young readers’ guide (which I do) or even just a glossary of unfamiliar words. Parents can then encourage their kids to read this to enhance their enjoyment of the story, achieve a greater understanding of the environment and atmosphere of the events, and teachers can use it to inspire further research. Contrary to popular opinion, kids love to learn, be it new words or new facts and/or details. Books that inspire the desire in kids to learn more deserve a top place on every bookshelf.

You can find Fiona at –
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/secretofthesacredscarab/
Website: www.chroniclesofthestone.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/FionaRobyn
Author Site: http://www.FionaIngram.com
Blog: http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com
GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2868182.Fiona_Ingram


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Author Interview: Feyisayo Anjorin

Hey there bookworms! I recently read a book called Kasali’s Africa and the author decided to take part in an author interview. It was a pleasure to work with Feyisayo Anjorin.

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AUTHOR INTERVIEW

What is your top read of 2018 so far? 

1. ‘A Brief History of Seven Killings’ by Marlon James.

What is your favorite book?

2. This is a very difficult one because sometimes I’d think I’ve got a favorite book, and then I discover another book. But if I’m to choose one book it will be ‘A Time to Kill’ by John Grisham.

Most anticipated book release of 2018? 

3. Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver.

How many books are in your TBR Pile?

4. Three books: Different Seasons by Stephen King; The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso; Fictions, edited by Joseph F Trimmer & Wade Jennings.

Who is your favorite author?

5. Alice Munro, she is my definition of excellent writing.

How did you start blogging?

6. As a child, my father usually got me new books on weekends, so I read a lot. Eventually, the synthesis of ideas and stories became something new in me that I felt the compelling urge to put down on paper. I started writing in my pre-teen years.

Where is your favorite reading spot?

7. I treasure my couch in the privacy of my room. If I’m there with a new book,  that is a taste of heaven.

How long have you been a blogger?

8. I’ve been blogging for over 3 years now.

What do you like about reading?

9. Reading opens me up to new worlds, I get to explore individual experiences, different cultures, and I get to see things from different perspectives. Reading helps me to ask questions, so I get to write as a response to reading.

If you had to describe yourself in a book title, what would it be?

10. ‘A Bit of Difference’ by Sefi Atta.

And there you have it! Another author interview in the books…. Or blogiverse. Until next time bookworms 🙂


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Book Review: Unlocking Your Business Voice

New book review!! Unlock Your Business Voice: How to speak as well as you think by Simon de Cintra. This one was done by our external reviewer Chris Connors. He has been out and about traveling but managed to send in another review during his off time.

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Synopsis: The foolproof results of a polished and professional verbal delivery illustrate how the voice can be used to achieve greater confidence, credibility, professional success, and sales in this handbook on applying voice-control techniques used by voice-over artists in business communications. From a comprehensive voice evaluation of a step-by-step voice improvement plan, a range of activities provides information on how to improve diction and articulation, speak with greater warmth and enthusiasm, and make a lasting impression. Practical tips include how to leave a voice-mail message that is 40 percent more likely to be returned and how to make outgoing messages sound professional. Insider secrets about the influence of the spoken word will help speakers acquire and practice the skills necessary to sound more credible, tell great stories, and add a more musical quality to the speech by mastering voice pitch and inflection.

In book reviewing it isn’t often a title will raise a red flag. This one did because the title assumes people think in words. Many people do not. They see pictures or their thoughts are like road maps (general overview of many possible conversations, but no details).

Others deal with colours and flavours. One of the big challenges for people who think differently is to translate their pictorial representations into words, as well as take other peoples’ words and translate them into pictorial representations. At the end of the day, the need to translate can leave them mentally exhausted. However, as I read on the above critique doesn’t apply. The author’s point isn’t so much about how to speak as well as you think, but how to structure and order your message to get it across clearly regardless of how you “see” thoughts in your head. It is also about how you present yourself to an audience—how to command the attention of the audience—even if that is an audience of one. Personally, I’d just remove that whole subtitle so as not to distract from the message of the book.

The author’s VOICE (Vocation, Observation, Intention, Casting, Experiment) Methodology is outlined in the Introduction, but the details don’t appear till page 76 (in a 169-page book). He goes on at length about the business voice but buries the lede (to borrow a phrase from journalism). Chapters end with sentences like “Unlocking Your Business Voice is the logical and appropriate next stage in your career development”. Or mentions My Business Voice Methodology®, but doesn’t really explain it. In fact, the first half of the book comes across like an infomercial or that awful book on natural cures “they” don’t want you to know about that doesn’t actually have any natural cures in it: that author is currently serving a 10-yr jail term for criminal contempt related to his fraudulent claims.

Despite the rambling and slightly confusing first part of the book, there are some good bits of advice. For example, “playing it safe with non-verbal communication is a false security because dialing down your body language, contact and facial expressions too much is likely to be interpreted negatively by recipient”. People will see what they want to see—or fear to see—in a neutral face (see The Kuleshov Effect), so bosses playing it neutral to give their employees a voice may actually discourage their voice.

He also recommends hitting people with the conclusion first. Don’t fall in love with your own well-reasoned arguments as you build to a conclusion. People hearing the argument for the first time don’t need to know all the details; they don’t need to have a logical step-by-step process to arrive at the conclusion. Perhaps this advice should be applied to the book because it takes too long to get into the details of the Methodology®. For example on page 116 is the VOICE template. This is the page that should be stuck right in the first few pages of the book! Put this template on page 10 where the generic ambiguous
VOICE is now. Giving people this template will give them the mental “hooks” on which to hang the ideas they find in the book. Perhaps with this template, the chatty rambling in the first half of the book will be less confusing.

And while I’m nitpicking please note that the table on page 17 has the acronym spelling VIOCE (just switch Intention and Observation in that table and it’d be fine). Page 37 continues with a story about “Jerry” except in one paragraph the name is changed to “Scotty”. The paragraph about what science entails is also woefully incorrect. I hope he doesn’t use that example in his classes.

Another good bit of advice that I found useful was “Your intention is a choice you make first in the mind. It is then carried in the language your [sic] use, the simpler the better,…”. At the time I read that I was struggling with a science communication letter. It was down to 8 pages from 15, but I wanted it at a page or two, each paragraph one or two lines for easy reading. When I read the paragraph about intention I realized my intent with the letter was not to persuade the person I was sending it to but to have that person understand how their views unintentionally hurt others. A detailed logical argument wasn’t necessary—I just needed to show how the views were harmful. After that, it was easy to get the letter down to 1.5 pages.

Once de Cintra gets into the VOICE details the book comes together. It is like the author had two books in mind as he wrote, but wasn’t clear on what the first book should be—i.e. his intention wasn’t fully formed. The latter part of the book though has the intention much better formed. There is some excellent advice to follow for speaking to an audience summarized into easily remembered phrases (“Did you take the opportunity to sparkle or did you just deliver the main ingredients?”). There’s also a good section on what he calls “low status” and “high status” behaviours that nicely summarize how to
present yourself to an audience. These are presentation tips that should be taught in all high schools.

I’d give this VOICE detail section 4/5 stars. The first half of the book probably 2/5 stars. Overall, 2.5-3/5 stars. With a bit of reworking of the order of the chapters, removal of some of the earlier material, and jumping right into the details first rather than trying to sell the VOICE methodology this could be a 4 to 5 star book. It has some good advice scattered throughout, and a solid workable outline of learning and applying the VOICE methodology. I can see why people would want to take Simon de Cintra’s courses—there’s some solid working material that everyone can use.

Book Rating: 3/5

You can find the book on Amazon and the author on Twitter!

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in ebook format to read and give an honest review.


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Author Interview: Jay Cadmus

Hey there bookworms! I did another author interview with a gentleman I have been conversing back and forth with for a while. His name is Jay Cadmus and he is the author of Constable Outreach 35. I am currently reading his book and will be posting a review of it in the near future. But for now, check out the interview I conducted with Jay!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW


ERIK: What is your top read of 2018 so far?

JAY: Just finished reading a resurrected copy of The Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra, Second Edition. With another in the TBR list of Scarab of the Black Vatican by E.R. Robin Dover.

ERIK: What is your favorite book friendship?

JAY: Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill.

ERIK: How many books are in your TBR Pile?

JAY: Periodically, I cull my book holdings, based on interests. As I grew – and, those I’ve outgrown. However, I’m left with thirty books. Think: …Re-Read. A picture would probably be best.

ERIK: Most anticipated book release of 2018?

JAY: Most anticipated release? Back in April 2018, I anticipated the release
of my book, Constable Outreach 35. Now, my next book. Don’t feel it’s appropriate to make this about me. So, I’ll leave it at that.

ERIK: How did you start blogging?

JAY: WordPress.com. I felt there was something inside I needed to get out.
Seeing the words that came out, where I fit into society. Based on what
I’ve been taught. Opening lines of communication. Learning from alternate
points of view.

ERIK: How long have you been a blogger?

JAY: With such a sporadic record, the start was near 2012. Consistently? In
linear fashion? Sixteen years condensed into three months. Learning as I
went. Most postings deleted. With the changes in the situation.

ERIK: Who is your favorite author?

JAY: Hard to pin down one of many. But, one author I follow today is
Steven Pressfield (The War of Art.)

ERIK:  Where is your favorite reading spot?

JAY: Grabbing a minute or three while waiting… wherever that may be.
Other than that, at my desk so I can make notes on my thoughts from
reading.

ERIK: What do you like about reading?

JAY:  Learning. Experiencing the thoughts produced by the words of others.
My reading and following action have made me change. I like who’ve I
become.

Sidenote: How great was that last answer! It gave me chills when I read how he responded to this question. Such a beautiful way to express his love for reading. OK, back to the interview.

ERIK: If you had to describe yourself in a book title, what would it be?

JAY: Chameleon – Novice who learned from every ‘You’.


If you are an author and wish to have an interview with me, just comment below and I will be in touch with questions for the interview!

Talk to you soon bookworms 🙂


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Book Review: Hollow Fissure

Hey there bookworms! We have a new reviewer that has joined the ranks to help out with some of the ebooks I have piled up over here. His name is Joseph Harrison and he is a writer. I am thankful for his help. For his first review, he took on Hollow Fissure by Max E. Stone.

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Review:

The story opens with Melissa recovering from wounds suffered when she killed her father, a sex ring trafficker. She was hiding out in Trieste, Italy until the authorities found her and now want to bring her to justice in America, specifically, Rhode Island, however, she is not without guilt as we learn that she had taken a knife to her sister-in-law’s stomach and kidnapped her own daughter under what we learn
are hallucinations. Leeann feels Jon, Melissa’s brother is hiding something from her. I won’t spoil it so you’ll have to read it.

Overall, the story was easy to read and the writing was good. The dialog was especially good, but I felt like there was something missing. There was barely any description of any place the story took place in. For example; it said Kyle and Melissa’s flat. I would have liked a little more description here, also it didn’t explain to my satisfaction why they were in Trieste, Italy. Did they have relatives there? Did they know someone there? It could have described the city. I think readers would like to know what the city looked
like and felt like. At times, I felt like I was just listening in on people’s conversations as opposed to feeling like I was actually there.

CONS
The story could have been better with more description of the places. I know this was the 4th book in the series so I understand some of the events probably happened in earlier “books” but if you are going to market this as a separate book, it should bring the reader up to date as to what happened earlier. For example, if I watch Seinfeld or the Big Bang Theory I don’t need to know what happened in previous episodes, each episode has its own story. The last sex scene in the book bordered on light porn and I didn’t think it was necessary.

PROS
The dialog and editing were excellent. I could not find any glaring errors. I liked the writing, it made me want to find out more about the characters and the plot.

Book Rating: 3/5

You can find the book on Amazon.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in ebook format to read and give an honest review.


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Author Interview: J.L Mulvihill

Hey bookworms, I joined a book tour and decided to do an author interview! This author is promoting her new Steel Roots Series.

About the author:  A California native born in Hollywood, J.L. Mulvihill has made Mississippi her home for the past seventeen years. Her debut novel was the young adult title The Lost Daughter of Easa, an engaging fantasy novel bordering on science-fiction with a dash of Steampunk, published through Dark Oak Press in 2011. The sequel to this novel is presently in the works.

Her Most recent novel, The Boxcar Baby of the Steel Roots series, was released in July 2013 through Seventh Star Press. Steel Roots is a young adult series based in the Steampunk genre and engages the reader into a train hopping heart stopping adventure across America. Book 2, Crossings released December of 2014.

She is also the co-editor of Southern Haunts; The Spirits That Walk Among Us which includes a short story of her own called Bath 10, and a fictional thriller involving a real haunted place. Her poem, The Demon of the Old Natchez Trace, debuts in Southern Haunts part 2, Devils in the Darkness.

J.L. also has several short fiction pieces in publication, is very active with the writing community, and is the events coordinator for the Mississippi Chapter of Imagicopter known as the Magnolia-Tower. She is also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), Gulf Coast Writers Association (GCWA), The Mississippi Writers Guild (MWG), as well as the Clinton Ink-Slingers Writing Group.

And now on to the author interview that I conducted with her!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

1. How did you start writing?
I have been writing short stories and poems for as long as I can remember I just never saw myself as a writer so I never did anything with them. One day I had a very queer dream about being chased through the woods by a giant spider. That bizarre dream turned into my first novel, The Lost Daughter of Easa, which sold out at DragonCon in 2011 at its debut. I have been seriously writing ever since.

2. Who is your favorite author?
I have way too many favorite authors but I can tell you the authors that have influenced this series is L. Frank Baum who wrote The Wizard of Oz books and Laura Ingalls Wilder who wrote The Little House On The Prairie series. Some other great authors I admire would be Robert A. Heinlein, Mike Resnick, Terry Brooks, Nevada Barr, Ramsey Campbell, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, David Blalock, Kimberly Richardson, Michael West Alexander S. Brown and Stephen Zimmer and. Those are just a few of my favorites like I said I have so many it really is hard to pick.

3. What goes into your writing/planning process?
If I am writing a novel and/or series I plan out at least an outline of plot points. After that, I just go with it because I want the story to be as free and organic as possible. I do tend to do a lot of research of places, people, and things. Though I am writing fiction, I try to make the story as real and plausible as possible. Of course, there are no children eating trolls living in America, as far as we know but if you do your research you will find it is very possible that a carnivorous race of beings could very well have crossed the ocean hidden on the boats with the immigrants and settled down in caves and eventually abandoned mines in the United States.

4. What do you like about reading?
I like reading all genres as you can tell by the wide variety of authors I like. Any kind of a book that can take me away on an adventure either on earth or in space I love. Any kind of a book who can take me through a mystery and engage me in the game of who done it I enjoy greatly. Any story that can send shivers down my spine and quicken my heart with anticipation thrills me. Any kind of a book that can make me think about the world around me and the possibilities of what is and what could be amazes me. So, I pretty much like reading just about anything as long as it holds my interest which it will if written well.

5. Where is your favorite reading spot?
I don’t have a particular reading spot just anywhere quiet where I can immerse myself into the story. A good cup of tea and a cuddly blanket in my easy chair of my office is good. I do a lot of driving so Audiobooks work great for me as well, especially if it is a large series of books, for instance, The Game of Thrones series got me across the country and back.

6. What words of advice do you give to readers of your book?
Never stop reading because it opens the minds and feeds the soul. If you want to write then read everything you want to write about and then write your version of a story. Also, pay attention to your characters but they are so real and sometimes they will lead you down a better path of the story than you had planned on. Always be true to yourself and don’t jump on the bandwagon. Enjoy the adventure and find yourself along the way.


That’s all for this author interview! Feel free to answer some of the questions yourself in the comments below because I would love to know 🙂

You can find J.L Mulvihill on Twitter and Facebook.

Talk to you later bookworms.


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Shared Post – What Does Your Bookshelf Reveal About You? — The Bookish Elf

Bookshelf is pride of a bookworm and it speaks about the personality of the owner! The way you arrange your books in shelves clearly states your preferences in life as well. American novelist Walter Mosley said, “A man’s bookcase will tell you everything you’ll ever need to know about him,” and this is absolutely true.…Read…

via What Does Your Bookshelf Reveal About You? — The Bookish Elf

This article is fantastic and I completely relate to this! Let me know your thoughts about how you arrange your bookshelf in the comments below!


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