Posts By: Vlora

Snow and Capitalism

November 22, 2015 miscellaneous 10

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What’s New?

This week I’ve spent some time at the university library not getting any work done; went to work where I did actually get some work done, because they pay me for it and apparently money is a stronger motivator than my self-development (who would have thought? Oh right, capitalism); and met up with some friends. NaNo is still on hold and will probably continue to be so, because I didn’t make that much progress on my term paper. In unrelated news, it was snowing today, so apparently winter is a thing now. More importantly, Christmas chocolate is a thing now! I mean, technically I’ve been seeing Christmas products in stores since August, but this is the time when I start to actually acknowledge them.

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The Martian

November 19, 2015 miscellaneous 6

This is just a quick movie recommendation post to tell you YOU NEED TO WATCH THE MARTIAN.

I know this was a book first, but I haven’t read it yet, so I can only talk about the movie, which is BRILLIANT. I liked Matt Damon in Interstellar, but I mostly went to see this movie because nothing much else was on at the time. I almost DIDN’T watch it, because I wasn’t in the mood for something too serious. Boy, would I have missed out.

The Martian is serious in parts, but it’s also really frickin’ hilarious. It’s exactly my kind of humor, and basically I want to be friends with Mark Watney. The premise is that a mission on Mars goes wrong and someone (Mark) gets left behind and has to survive all by himself. I was worried it might be slightly boring to watch a movie with a character who can’t interact with anyone, but nope nope nopity nope. It’s funny and uplifting, and I’m in love.

If you have the chance to watch The Martian do yourself a favor and don’t hesitate! You can thank me later.

Have you read the book? Watched the movie? Planning to watch it?


Why I Read Young Adult

November 17, 2015 books, discussion 20

See? See! I’m not only telling you why I DON’T do stuff. Today you can get another unwanted and unasked for insight into how my brain works. Aren’t you excited? I know I am.

I’m 22, and I love reading Young Adult. I’m pretty confident that’s not going to change anytime soon. It’s not the only thing I read, but I think it’s safe to say the majority of books I read are classified as YA. I know a lot of people already outlined their reasons for reading Young Adult as an adult, but I’ll contribute to the discussion, because I feel like it, and because some people still view YA as lesser.
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NaNoWriMo Week 2 + Snippets

November 16, 2015 miscellaneous, writing 2

My week two writing process was very… mercurial. You’ll see what I mean. I did write words though, so I decided to share some snippets in between my daily recounts. Everything subject to change, obviously.

Day 1:

I challenged myself to write 5.000 words today. I needed 3.700 to make up for not writing over the weekend, but 5.000 was a prettier number, and I like a good challenge. Actually I hate a good challenge, and I’ve been struggling all day, but- OMG I DID IT. I procrastinated all day and didn’t really start writing until late evening, and it’s exactly 3 am now, which isn’t ideal, because I need to get up and go to work at 8 am, BUT SCREW IT I ACTUALLY DID IT. I’d like to thank the academy, my family, my writerly friends, and, most importantly, the progress bar in the Scrivener project and session target tool that turns from red to green as you reach your target word count and makes writing seem like a mini game I am 97.6% convinced it’s the reason I’ve been reaching my goals so far. Word written: 5.211

Alex sat down on her bed to put on a pair of tights, swearing when her fingernail caught on the silky material. “I swear these things are made to torture people.”

Allie looked over her shoulder at where Alex was fighting with her tights. “I’m pretty sure they were used during the Spanish Inquisition. Who needs an eyeball scraper when you can use tights?”

“An eyeball scraper? Sometimes you scare me,” Alex said. She was finally happy with the tights and stood up to smooth down her dress. She had still been wearing her make-up when Allie arrived, but she added some dark red lipstick to round out the look. Allie beamed at her in the mirror.

“Thank you. I do try.”

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We’re live in 3… 2… 1…

November 14, 2015 books, fun, miscellaneous, writing 10

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What’s New?

Me and my friend Verena (she blogs in German, but I’ll link to her blog anyway, because you can look at her drawings) are going to have our own radio show soon! As you might or might not remember, I did an internship at a local radio station this summer, and I decided to ask whether I can do my own show. I convinced Verena to join me, because I thought it would be more fun together. We worked on a concept last week and presented it at the monthly meeting yesterday. They all voted yes, so we’ll be going live for an hour every four weeks starting January. I’m really excited about it, because I’m sure it’s going to be a lot of fun, and it’s good practice if I want to do something radio-related after uni. In other news, I’m still doing NaNoWriMo, although slightly less successfully. I’m a bit stuck in my story, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out and persevere.

I also edited my England vlog, so if you’re interested in seeing what I got up to, you can do that here. I know, you’ve been waiting with bated breath.

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Happy Endings Are …Underappreciated?

November 12, 2015 fun, recs, reviews, tv shows 4

TV Show Thursdays on Reviews and Cake

Welcome to TV Show Thursdays, where I discuss TV Shows, review episodes and give my commentary on anything TV Show related!

Happy Endings is one of the most underrated shows I’ve ever come across. No one I know has ever heard of it, let alone watched it, so it’s one of those I’m-the-only-person-in-my-fandom situations. I started watching it without realizing there were only three seasons and was completely dumbstruck when it suddenly ended. Still, there are three seasons, and they’re worth watching, so I’m giving it a shout out here.

What it’s about

You know how every TV show featuring an ensemble cast of friends gets compared to Friends? And how there are so many of them? Well, there’s a reason: a lot of times they fail, but when they work, they work (see: HIMYM). Happy Endings is one such show. It starts off with Alex and Dave at the altar, ready to get married. Only things don’t go according to plan, because Alex runs out on him, jeopardizing not only her relationship with Dave, but the entire dynamic of their clique. (Isn’t clique such a nineties word? I’ll keep it in here just because of that. And because I can’t think of another one at the moment, but psht.)
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Why I Don’t Go To The Library

November 10, 2015 books, discussion, fun, miscellaneous 19

This is sort of a companion post to Why I Don’t Review ARCs. I know it sounds like I’m just trying to be contrary, but I promise it’s more than just a leftover pseudo-rebellious streak from my teenage years. I think.

Let me start this off by saying I love libraries. I think libraries are one of humanity’s greatest inventions, and I spent about 90% of my childhood in one. For a couple of years, we had a library right next to our school, so it was basically get up -> go to school -> go to the library -> read -> go to bed, rinse and repeat. Then the library moved ten minutes away, and I had to walk up a hill to get there. Pretty sure that’s the most continuous exercise I ever got, which is saying something because it was a pretty short walk. I should look into gyms again.

So why haven’t I owned a library card in years and years? Well, my dear reader, much like Voldemort’s soul, the reason comes to you in seven parts. (If you’re asking what the eighth one is, it’s probably you.)

1. I’m lazy.

This should come as no surprise to you. I mean I’d have to actually leave my house and who wants that. Then I’d have to haul approximately fifteen books all the way to the library to return them and another fifteen from the library home. Why so many? BECAUSE BOOKS ARE SHINY AND I NEED OPTIONS. Like, seriously, they’re free no matter how many I take, so why limit myself?

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Strange Dates and Face Tattoos

November 9, 2015 miscellaneous 12

I’m supposed to write 5.000 words today, so I thought what better way to accomplish that than to …write a blog post that does absolutely nothing for my word count. If you’re new here, don’t worry; this is normal behavior. Well, for me.

I’ve always wanted to participate in the Beautiful People link up, but I wasn’t actually writing much, so there wasn’t much of a point. I am doing NaNo this year though, so MY TIME HAS COME.

1. Is the book turning out how you thought it would be, or is it defying your expectations?

Errr… both? It’s kind of too early to tell. I had very little expectations to begin with and the few things that I do have semi-worked out in my mind won’t be an issue until later in the book.

2. What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?

Dammit, you’re gonna make me share snippets? That’s not fair. Fine, here you go.

It was going to be great. No, it was going to be phenomenal. It was going to be the best date she had ever been on, and there was nowhere she would rather be at the moment. – a delusional character

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NaNoWriMo Week 1

November 8, 2015 miscellaneous 4

Day 1: Took me a while to get going (read: all day), because I was tired as hell this morning and realized I should have plotted more in advance, but I managed to reach the daily goal in the end. I had about 2500 words before I started, but the project completely changed from what I had in mind when I was first writing it a few months ago, so I had to rewrite the entire first chapter and change up the rest. I’m counting the rewriting, so I actually did okay on my first day. Words written/rewritten: 2733.

Day 2: It’s actually going well! I only really started writing in the evening, but I’m always tired in the mornings, so it’s probably for the better. I finished my rewriting and then kept going to add more words to the story. I really got into it the last couple of hours, but it’s almost 2 am, and I have to be at work tomorrow, so I’ll stop here. Words written/rewritten: 2505

Day 3: I’m kind of amazed I actually reached my daily goal today. I had to work during the day, and then I went to a friend’s place to write, but I was struggling with my (non-existent) plot, so I had to go back to the drawing board. I still need to plot more, but I actually managed to persevere and reach my word goal back home. I thought for sure that I would have to settle for less, but somehow I pulled through. It is 2 am now though, and I have to get up early tomorrow, so I’ll log off now. Words written: 1670.
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She Needs to Sort Out Her Priorities

November 6, 2015 miscellaneous 14

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What’s New?

Writing has first priority at the moment, so I’m more or less ignoring everything else. I went to work, obviously, because money, but university is a mess. I haven’t had time to write my term paper, which wouldn’t be that horrible if it weren’t for the fact that I have no clue how late would be too late to hand it in. I also dropped a lecture, but I don’t feel bad about that, because I wasn’t that interested in it, and I replaced it with a three day seminar in January, when I will hopefully have more time to attend to mundane matters like getting my degree.

The only other interesting thing I did this week was to work on a radio show concept with my friend Verena, who got roped into the whole thing, because I thought it would be more fun together, and I had no clue what to do on my own. I think we came up with something good, so let’s hope it gets the green light next week!

I’m off to visit a friend for two days, which means I probably won’t be able to write, but I’m looking forward to the trip!
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Why I Don’t Review ARCs

November 5, 2015 books, discussion, miscellaneous 25

Quick confession: part of the reason I started this blog was because I read that book bloggers receive ARCs, and I thought that was so cool. Now I quickly grew out of this, because I love blogging, and I realized I couldn’t care less about ARCs, but still hear a lot about ARCs, so I thought I’d address the subject.

Here’s why I don’t read ARCs:

1. I live in Germany, but I read books written in English. There are more than enough book bloggers in English-speaking countries, so it doesn’t make sense for publishers to send me ARCs.
2. This could easily be remedied by requesting ebooks, but I prefer print books, so that’s not an option for me.
3. I’m the moodiest mood reader in the history of moods. If I had a list of ARCs to read, it would just feel like work instead of fun.
4. I, um, kind of like book shopping. Would I like for books I’m genuinely interested in to randomly appear at my doorstep? Certainly, but I really don’t mind ordering them myself either. It can be costly, but money spent on books is never a waste of money in my head so that’s fine.
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Could You Be A Better Chosen One Than Simon Snow?

November 3, 2015 books, reviews 2

Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

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Ghosting Around

October 31, 2015 books, miscellaneous 16

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What’s New?

I should really change the title of this section already. I always sit here thinking yes, what IS new? Has anything happened? Should I get my memory checked? I mostly just went to work, did a movie review for the radio, and completely neglected university. Business as usual pretty much. I also wrote a couple of posts for November, so keep an eye out for those! And of course A HAPPY HALLOWEEN TO ALL OF YOU. May you spook forth and conquer a small kingdom by stealing souls, or whatever it is you do on Halloween. I’m going to visit my cousin, and we’re going to order some food and watch as many movies on this list as we manage:

1. The Nightmare Before Christmas – it’s such a classic, and I’ve never seen it. Also it looks like there’s Halloween AND Christmas? Sounds like a winner to me.
2. Hocus Pocus – this one’s a bit of a tradition. I watched it with my cousin once when we were young and then we announced we’d watch it together every Halloween. Of course we never did, but we always talk about it, so there you go. Maybe we’ll actually manage this year.
3. Halloweentown – this is another tradition. It runs on TV every year around Halloween, and I think it has about 5000 sequels. It might not be the best when it comes to …everything, but it has sentimental value.
4. The Cabin in the Woods – as you might have guessed by the previous films on this list, I’m not a fan of scary movies (thoughI am a fan of Scary Movie 1), but I figured I’d put at least one real horror film on the list. Mainly because Joss Whedon is one of the writers, but hey, at least I make compromises. The Joss Whedon biography I read spoiled the ending of the movie, but it’s been a while since I read it, so I’m hoping I forgot some of it!

The Shiny

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I Bet I Can Write A Book

October 30, 2015 discussion, miscellaneous 20

After all, how hard can it be, right? Hahaha. Haha. Ha. Help.

Let me tell you a secret: Ever since I was a child, I wanted to write a book. As you all know, I still like reading today, but when I was a child it was basically all I did. I devoured books. It was my happy escape from reality, and I don’t know what my childhood would have been without books. So I guess it only made sense that I wanted to give some of that back. I wanted to give someone else the chance to experience what I’d experienced. More than that, writing became my way of dealing with things. I wasn’t writing that much, but whenever that teenage angst overcame me, and I was overwhelmed with some emotion or another, I turned to writing.

Over the years I wrote short stories for friends, in which they got together with their crushes; took Literature in school and wrote some more short stories, and a couple of years ago, I dabbled in fanfiction for a bit. I wrote shitty poetry and whiny diary entries and a story about our car Brunnhilde (don’t judge, she was part of the family). And then, of course, I started blogging. The one thing I never wrote was a book. I started countless books, but, like so many others, I never had the motivation to write past chapter two.

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Carrying On

October 24, 2015 books, miscellaneous 28

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What’s New?

Aloha amig@s de libros! (yes, you may hit me for that)

I hope this post finds you feeling well and spooky. It’s been three weeks since I’ve done one of these, so have a non-comprehensive list of things that happened since then

  • My internship ended, and a new semester at uni started
  • I went to Newcastle for a couple of days last week! I vlogged it, so I’ll upload a video about it within the next weeks
  • While in Newcastle I watched The Martian, which is a GREAT movie and you should definitely see it because it’s hilarious. I’m slightly upset that no one ever recommended the book to me, but now I shall have to read it
  • I watched the first four episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. It’s good so far!
  • Gilmore Girls will be continued with four 90-minute episodes! It’s one of my go-to favorite shows, and I really didn’t expect it, so I’m thrilled-nervous-enthusiastic about this

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Tea and Milk and All Things Silk

October 21, 2015 books, fun, miscellaneous 12

I’ve been logged out of my own blog, so I figured it’s probably time for a new post. Alyssa created the milk tea tag ages a while ago and – in true Vlora fashion – I decided to do it months later. You’re welcome, creators of tags who would have run their course without me bringing them up once the bandwagon has long derailed, caught fire, and crashed into a mine wall. (Why a mine? Because I was on a 4D motion ride last week and the experience imitated driving through a mine in a wagon, which made me think of Gringotts at the time, but NOW whenever I hear wagon I think of mines. I didn’t say my head makes sense.) (Also, by “derailed, caught fire, and crashed into a mine wall” I mean that it is lovingly remembered and has its own Walk of Fame star.)

Tea: the foundation of your reading life

This one’s easy. I’ve read the Harry Potter books more times than I can count (I mean I probably could count it, because despite what my old math teacher thinks I can actually count all the way up to the double digits, but let’s not go there). They have a special place in my heart; Hogwarts is home; no need to call me Sir, Professor; yadda yadda. I’d show you a picture of my HP books, but some of them don’t have a spine anymore, and we’re working on building up their self-esteem at the moment.

seasonally appropriate Hogwarts gif

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The Amazing Post Is Not On Fire

October 9, 2015 books, fun, reviews 10

Hello reader,

In this book is a world. A world created by two awkward guys who share their lives on the internet!

We are Dan and Phil and we invite you on a journey inside our minds! From the stories of our actual births, to exploring Phil’s teenage diary and all the reasons why Dan’s a fail.

Learn how to draw the perfect cat whiskers, get advice on what to do in an awkward situation and discover which of our dining chairs represents you emotionally. With everything from what we text each other, to the time we met One Direction and what really happened in Vegas…

I remember exactly how I discovered Dan and Phil. It was a day like any other on YouTube, and I was watching one of Hank Green’s Sims videos. A lot of people in the comments mentioned these Dan and Phil guys and their owl slide. I had absolutely no clue what they were talking about, but for some reason I was probably procrastinating, I decided to check it out. Fast forward to 5 a.m. and I had watched the entirety of Sims 4 with Dan and Phil. There were about 12 episodes at the time. Despite my lurking on Hank’s gaming channel, I don’t usually watch gaming videos, but these were hilarious. I found out Dan and Phil have YouTube channels other than their gaming account, so I took a look at those as well, but it was more of a cursory glance, and videos like the photo booth challenge don’t really make me stick around.

A couple of months later, I randomly took another look okay fine, I was probably procrastinating again, and that was that. I watched videos like Existential Crisis, I Talk to Myself, Fandoms, and I Mumble, and had one of those OH MY GOD FINALLY SOMEONE UNDERSTANDS ME I’M NOT THE ONLY PERSON WHO DOES THIS moments. I know, I know, you’re never the only person who does this, but sometimes you need some equally weird person on the internet to remind you of that. Dan was that person, which is my excuse for spending an entire day doing nothing but watching his videos.

If you’ve read this far, you might be asking yourself okay, Vlora, but why the eff did you write all of this without even having gotten to the review part of this post yet? and you’d have a good point. I realize not everyone is as obsessed with YouTube as I am, leave alone these two tight trouser aficionados in particular, but I need you to understand something: I really wanted this book to be good. I feel fairly neutral about all the YouTube book deals, and the only book by a YouTuber (apart from John Green) I’ve read was Connor Franta’s, which I didn’t particularly like. I read Dan and Phil’s book the day it came out.
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Music, Interviews and Social Awkwardness

October 4, 2015 miscellaneous 15

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What’s New?

What do you mean I haven’t updated in weeks. Are you sure you didn’t just get stuck in a tumblr spiral and now it’s suddenly two weeks later than you thought? Yeah, I had a feeling.

Things have been semi-busy what with the internship and rewatching about a hundred YouTube videos, but I thought I should probably pop in here to give you this incredibly exciting update on my life. y’all can hear my sarcasm even when I’m writing, right? Okay, good. Alright, let’s check my calendar reminisce to see what I’ve been up to! Last weekend, I was at a live broadcast of a local event for the radio, and I did a few interviews with the participants. At first I was a bit out of my comfort zone, but then I got more used to it, and I think I did fine!

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There Are No Heroes Here

September 23, 2015 books, reviews 6

A masterful tale of ambition, jealousy, desire, and superpowers.

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates–brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find–aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge–but who will be left alive at the end?

Superpowers? Villains? Old college roomies with a vendetta? I was sold the first time I read the blurb. Add to that the gorgeous cover, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book. I’ve had more than enough time to reflect since I’ve read it now, so let’s dive straight in.
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Doing Things Exquisitely

September 20, 2015 fun, miscellaneous 20

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What’s New?

Gooood afternoon my squishy friends,

I hope you’re all well and swell. My week has been busy, but good busy. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been a little stressed, because I always had all the things I need to do for university at the back of my mind. I wasn’t doing them because of all the other stuff, but I still had this nagging feeling all the time. Because of this, I’ve decided I’ll concentrate on one thing – the internship – and somehow do all my university things after. So technically nothing has changed, but it’s making all the difference, because I can focus on what I’m doing instead of resenting the time it takes me to do it.

I recently read a story whose moral it was “If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing exquisitely” (or something like that, I forgot where I read it exactly). Obviously it’s the same thing as “If things are worth doing, they’re worth doing well”, but exquisitely is a much more fun word to say and write, so I’m sticking with that one. From now on, I’ll try to do things exquisitely more often.

The Shiny

Well, well, well. I did not get books this week. I got something a little… bigger. I GOT A CAR. Okay, technically, I didn’t GET it. It’s not mine; it’s just borrowed for a couple of months. It’s the most unlikely thing to happen to me ever, but in short: a friend of my grandma doesn’t need it the next couple of months and somehow thought of me and let me borrow it for free. I only have to pay for gas, which is still expensive, but it doesn’t use much, so… EFF YOU PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION. I mean… it’s important to be green and stuff. BUT EFF YOU. Just goes to show you never know what life throws at you, I guess. I can do everything so much faster now! Mucho convenient.

Tune of the Week

O… Saya by A.R. Rahman and M.I.A.

I was a huge fan of M.I.A.’s Paper Planes even before I watched Slumdog Millionaire, but that’s not the only song worth paying attention to on the movie’s soundtrack. The theme song (Jai Ho), for example, won a very deserved Oscar. Let’s focus on O… Saya for now though. I love how it starts out almost otherworldly and then builds up until M.I.A. comes in and nails her part. I feel like the music fits the lyrics, and the whole song is just perfectly restless. Awesome stuff!

What’s your favorite movie soundtrack? Do you have/make book soundtracks? What’s the most unlikely good thing that’s ever happened to you?

I’m linking up with the Sunday Post hosted by the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

sunday post