Monday, March 31, 2014

RIP: Dottie

One of the most influential people in my life passed away. I just found out an hour ago.


I don't know how I'll live without you here on this earth. You were so much more than a caretaker to me as a child. You were my 2nd mom. You loved me like I was your 5th child despite my red hair. ;) Now you are in heaven with your beloved Charlie. I'm happy for you - that you two are reunited, that your suffering has ended and that you are home. I'm sad for me and your family still here on earth as we try to navigate the world without you.

I love you always.

Dear Nobody: The True Diary of Mary Rose edited by McNeil & McCain

Dear Nobody: The True Diary of Mary Rose
by Mary Rose - edited by McNeil & McCain

Add to Goodreads | Purchase on Amazon
Published by: Sourcebooks Fire on April 1, 2014
Genres: Memoir, diary, teen, YA, drugs, alcohol, disease
Pages: 336
Source: ARC from Publisher
Rating: Unrated

NOTICE: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

"I am a freak."

The words and drawings of Mary Rose present a gritty, powerful, no-holds-barred true experience of a teen girl so desperate to be loved, so eager to fit in that she'll go to extremes that could cost her her life.

This is not a story about addiction. Or sexual promiscuity. Or cystic fibrosis. It's the story of a young woman with a powerful will to live, who more than anything wants to be heard...and loved.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Follow Friday

This weekly link-up is hosted by Parajunkee & Alison Can Read!

Please follow me on Bloglovin' & I'll follow you!
Follow on Bloglovin

I'd also love it if you'd participate in my Book Blogger Buddy Meme! Let me know if you do!

Question of the Week: Snap it Time! A picture is worth a thousand words. Anything and anything. Just give us a pic.

In another life, I was an actor. Here are some photos from my past. If you act also, I'll love to see a pic of you! You can always email them to me at pookielocks at ymail dot com - just make sure you put Follow Friday in the subject line!

NOTE: I'm the redhead in all the pics!

Music Man - Zaneeta Shin
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Jekyll & Hyde the Musical - Chorus/Dancer (my bestie is on the right)
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The Pajama Game - Dancer (our final pose @ Summer Stock)
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Godspell - Player/Dance Captain
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The King & I - Tuptim
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1940's Radio Hour - Ginger Brooks
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A Cheer to a Kill - Jessie Belle (dinner theatre)
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Last of the Red Hot Lovers - Bobbi Michele (no - that's not real pot)
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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Etsy Finds: Mad About Austen

Thursdays are Etsy Finds Days here at She Read. As an Etsy shop owner myself, I love to promote handmade. Each week, I want to feature book-related and reader-related Etsy items for all my book blogger friends. :)

SHAMELESS PLUG: Visit Once Upon a Time, Again for all your Golden Book Journal & Custom Disney Autograph Book Needs! Use code SPB15 at checkout through April 6 for 15% off your entire order!

In case you've missed it, I'm a bit Jane Austen obsessed at the moment. So in honor of Jane and all the other Janeites out there (I've "met" quite a few of you), here are some Etsy finds for the Jane lover in you.

6 Jane Austen Bookmarks from Dorothy Jane - $7

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Land of Stories Tote Bag by Apples and Spindles- $27

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Elizabeth Bennet & Mr. Darcy Paperdolls by Ardently Crafted - $18

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6 Miniature Jane Austen Books from Carie Lewyn - $10

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Custom Regency Dress by Sew Many Treasures - $165

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Searching for Perfect by Jennifer Probst - Releasing April 29, 2014

Searching for Perfect
by Jennifer Probst

Add to Goodreads | Purchase on Amazon
Published by: Gallery Books on April 29, 2014
Genres: Dating & Sex, Social Issues, New Adult
Pages: 384
Source: ARC from Publisher
Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

NOTICE: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The up-and-coming matchmaking agency Kinnections is the hottest thing to hit Verily, New York—just like Kennedy Ashe, social director for the service she owns with her two best girlfriends. A coach, consultant, and cheerleader rolled into one super-sizzling package, Kennedy creates dream dates, encourages singles to shine, and never refuses a challenge—not even Nate Ellison Raymond Dunkle, rocket scientist, nerd extraordinaire, and Kennedy’s newest client.

Kennedy vows to work her magic and transform this hot mess in a lab coat with a disastrous relationship track record into the most wanted man on the Verily dating scene. If only she could turn the wand on herself…though she radiates confidence and sex appeal, Kennedy harbors deep-seated insecurities from a tormented past and lifelong struggle with weight issues. When she realizes she and Nate are cut from the same cloth and might be perfect together, can Kennedy learn to let her heart lead the way? Or will her fears sentence her to the sidelines as Nate finds love—with someone else?

After reading the synopsis, this book sounded like the classic story of "Nerdy, unpopular character gets makeover, becomes hot and gets the girl/guy." Who doesn't love seeing someone transform from a shadow of themselves into their best form and find happiness at the end of the story? And that's exactly what I expected to find in Jennifer Probst's second installment of her series featuring Kinnections, an up-and-coming matchmaking agency in New York. Fortunately for me, I was only half-right in regards.

Searching for Perfect is a book about an ugly duckling turning into a visual swan, but it's also about being true to your inner self and not changing that for anyone or anything. It's a story of friendship, unconditional love, and trust. It's a story about finding yourself when you already think you've got things figured out. It's a story worth reading.

Kennedy Ashe is a modern day Henry Higgins at Kinnections. Her goal? Turn Nate Dunkle into the best version of himself so that he can find a wife.

As Kennedy and Nate spend time together, shopping for new clothes, working out, getting his hairstyle updated and practicing the art of conversation - something Nate sorely needs - something begins to happen. Nate's honesty and forthrightness about his childhood - mother leaving, school bullying and all - make Kennedy feel at ease with a man for the first time in her life. After being sexually bullied in her teenage years for being overweight and well-endowed, her fear of men only leaves time for quick one-night-stands. She never thought it was possible for her to have a real, long-term relationship with a man, but after hanging out with Nate, she begins to feel more than just a sexual attraction for him. Kennedy starts to feel something akin to love.

Despite their growing feelings for one another, Kennedy continues to push a reluctant Nate at other women from the matchmaking agency, assuring him that they can give him what she can't - a future. Things get intense after Nate lays every part of himself on the line for her. Will she be able to get past her own insecurities to go for what she wants, or will her damaged self-esteem hold her back and keep her from her true destiny?

I liked many of the themes in the book. As a woman who suffered with an eating disorder for many years in my twenties following a sexual assault, I identified with Kennedy's character. I understood her body shame and feelings of inadequacy. It's hard to get those old messages of hate out of your head long enough to allow yourself to feel the good in someone who deserves your trust. Jennifer Probst did a great job of making Kennedy into a real person with real feelings.

Did I mention that there were some hot love scenes? Hot. I don't want to spoil anything, but the scene in front of the mirror was the most intense scene I've ever read. Loved it.

Overall, I give Searching for Perfect 4 1/2 stars and am looking forward to going back and reading the first installment in the series about Kinnections.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Probst is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of contemporary romance fiction, both sexy and erotic.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Junior Bridesmaid by Amy Baker - Released March 5, 2014

I bought this book for $2.99 on Amazon because the premise sounded good and the reviews were good both there and on GoodReads. Although I finished it, I'm honestly not sure why.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Sixteen-year-old Delilah Welling never understood why Darcy Strong despised her so much. Especially since their mothers had been friends for a lifetime. So when Delilah is asked to be The Junior Bridesmaid in Darcy's wedding, Delilah is understandably surprised and reluctant to say yes. Upon her mother's insistence, Delilah finally agrees determined to look at the bright side.

And there couldn’t be a brighter side than Hugh Rowen, a.k.a. the groom. Delilah has always been in love with Hugh and could never understand what a nice guy like Hugh was doing with a wench like Darcy.

Before the wedding, Delilah discovers that the bride-to-be is keeping a torrid secret. Fearful that she will hurt Hugh, she remains silent, going about her Junior Bridesmaid duties as planned.


All hell breaks loose during the wedding ceremony. Embarrassed and devastated, Delilah flees the wedding. But not before hurting the love of her life.

Twelve years later, Delilah is 28 and living a happy existence in New York. Until one day when she receives a message addressed to JUNIOR? Has Hugh hunted her down twelve years later to exact revenge or is he in New York for a different reason entirely? Either way, twelve years is a long time to wait to find out!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Bucket List

From the Broke & the Bookish

Top Ten Things On My Bookish Bucket List

Short-Term Goals:
1. Interview authors on my book blog - bonus if I can interview Lisa Gardner!
2. Learn how to spot good ARCs from bad ARCs
3. Figure out the difference between all the genres and sub-genres - Anyone have a link that will help?
4. Connect with book bloggers who like the same type of books as me so that we can share books
5. Figure out my book review format when posting

Long-Term Goals:
6. Finish all of Agatha Christie's Poirot books & review each
7. Finish a rough draft of my memoir
8. Find a writing group/editing partners that I connect with (that write the same genres as me)
9. Read all of Jane Austen's books and review
10. Decide on a pen name

What's on YOUR Bucket List that we have in common?

The Wrong Woman by Brenda J Brown: Releasing April 17, 2014

Was she The Wrong Woman . . . or was he The Right Man?
Can a romance between a talented small-town girl next door and one of Hollywood’s hottest stars survive the cutthroat world of the film industry?

As an actor myself, I was intrigued by the premise of Brenda J Brown's novel, The Wrong Woman: Girl-Next-Door meets Handsome Attractive Movie Star on Film Set. Romance ensues.

The story could have gone one of many conventional romance plot ways:

1. Girl meets famous guy - he uses her - leaves her - girl is stronger for learning her lesson and falls for nice guy whose always been there for her.

2. Girl meets famous guy - they don't get along but are secretly attracted to one another - they hook up but don't stay together.

3. Girl meets famous guy - they don't get along but are secretly attracted to one another - they hook up and end up staying together.

We've all read those books, haven't we? They're an okay read, but unless you're very into the main characters, the plot gets rather old.

This is where Brenda J Brown's book, The Wrong Woman comes into play.

Norah Rothe isn't your typical 20-something girl-next-door. She's in her late 30's, raising her two-year-old daughter Ella alone after Ella's father's death in the Army. Leaving her lifelong theatre and film dreams behind, she moves back to her hometown to help her brother Brett keep the family cafe afloat.

David Raurke isn't your typical stuck-up actor. Yes, he's handsome, talented, and down-to-earth. He's in Norah's little Canadian town directing his first movie, Kosma, a biopic about the world's famous serial killer, Wayne Kosma. Things are running smoothly until the film's female star injures herself on the way to production. No female star means no film.

While two of the film's producers are sitting in Norah's cafe, lamenting over how they can possibly find another lead on such short notice, Norah sees her big chance and takes it. Convincing them to get her an audition, she's soon on her way to the set and into David Raurke's steamy gaze.

I really enjoyed this book. The two main characters, Norah and David, actually seemed to really like one another. It was refreshing to read about characters who got along instead of ones who were always fighting then making up. There was virtually no conflict between them until over halfway through the book. That didn't bother me at all. It gave me a chance to understand both characters and to see why they genuinely cared for one another.

Even when there was conflict, it was not between Norah and David. Yes, it was conflict that tore them apart for a bit, but it was realistic conflict all the same.

Brenda J Brown also did a great job of portraying the film industry. The movie set lingo sounded correct as did the description of the actors' movements (Norah as Clare and David as Kosma - he was directing and acting). I never thought reading film direction could be so eye-opening and emotional until I read this book. As an actor, I really felt Norah trying to capture Clare and David trying to capture the human side of a serial killer. Some moments were really touching.

If you like romance, well-written characters, theatre/film and hot sex (but not too terribly crazy), The Wrong Woman is the book for you! I'd give it 5/5 STARS!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Before writing The Wrong Woman, Brenda dabbled in a myriad of professions. She’s been a waitress (back in the day before they were called servers), a security guard, a ballroom dance instructor, an interior decorator and design consultant, a set dresser for the film and television industry, where she is still a member in good standing, and a restaurant manager. She is currently working as a visual merchandiser for The Brick, a chain of furniture stores throughout the lower mainland.

In the midst of all that, she’s been an active part of the Community Theatre scene, doing set design but principally acting and studying most of the great works since her late teens. She currently lives in Coquitlam, British Columbia, with her beautiful daughter, one dog, and two cats.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Jex Malone by CL Gaber & VC Stanley - Released June 18, 2014

A famous case. A missing girl. If they find her, will they be heroes? Or dead?

From the Publisher: Stuck with her father for the summer, Jex Malone fears she might snap from boredom. Then she meets three girls, already best friends. Jex risks banishment to eternal geekdom by confiding her goal--to solve her dad's unsolved cases, especially the disappearance of a young girl that so obsessed her dad it helped break up the Jex's parents. To her surprise, even glam girl Deva is willing to swear Jex's crazy oath and set out on the trail to find out what happened to the lost child. What they learn is not only answers, but a truth that's beyond belief.

I received a free copy of this ARC for my honest review.

After reading the synopsis of the book, and seeing that it was labeled as a Teen/YA Mystery/Thriller, I quickly requested the book. I loved the character's name and couldn't wait to settle into an updated Nancy Drew novel, perhaps even a Veronica Mars for the new millennium. What I found, however, was that this book was mislabeled. Instead of the YA-level reading I'd expected, I found middle-reader material, something fitting more of a pre-teen or tween reading level. As this was not what I signed up to read, I regret that my review may be a bit biased and not as glowing as some of the reviews listed on Good Reads.

Secondly, I found the writing style jumpy and hard-to-follow. There was nothing smooth about it. It honestly felt like a chore to try to make sense of the plot and to complete the book. There was no flow to be found; everything felt disjunct.

The characterization was alright, but the characters, though high school age, would have been more suited if written as tween detectives. They were two-dimensional caricatures of teens rather than possessing the real-life qualities of teenage girls. I could not make myself invest in them as people.

I think this novel has the potential for greatness, but I think it needs a few more rewrites first and perhaps a different editor. I hate to give such a negative-sounding review, but these are my true thoughts.

Follow Friday

This weekly link-up is hosted by Parajunkee & Alison Can Read!

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: How have your reading habits changed in the past few years? Did you get interested in a new genre? Do you read more? Less? Why do you think your habits changed, if they did.

Like most book bloggers, I've been a reading fiend forever. I've always loved escaping into a good book and have been known to read more than one at a time. That said, as someone who suffers from Bipolar II (mostly Depression) & PTSD, there are times when I am unable to read. My mind may either be too distracted to be able to pay attention to the words/story or it may be that my mind is on overload and doesn't process the material I'm seeing before me. For example, please read the following sentence: Aunt Sandy read the book on the table. When you just read that sentence, your mind thought, "Aunt Sandy read (red - as in past-tense) the book on the table." When my mind is "acting up" it would comprehend the sentence as follows: "Aunt Sandy (reed - as in present-tense) the book on the table." Do you see the difference? Our brains are such that they automatically pick up the correct tense in a sentence so that it makes sense. When my brain is not working properly, I end up deciphering words like "read" that can sound differently when different tenses are used in the incorrect way. What are some other words like that?

Ok, so after that tedious brain explanation . . . lol. Bet you thought my FF was going to be some light & fluffy fun answer, right?

I've recently taken up reading again - as in the past 2 months. The real world has become a challenge to me due to my PTSD flaring up, so escaping into a good book has been a lifesaver for me. I know it's not always a good idea - this idea of escaping and hiding from the real world - but sometimes it helps calm me down and gives me relief from my anxiety.

I'm currently reading a lot of Jane Austen and Jane Austen-inspired books. After seeing the movie Austenland, I had to read the book by Shannon Hale and it's sequel. You can find my review on all 3 here. That put me in the mood to read more Jane and stories set in the Regency period.

I do have one question. With my recent resurgence into reading, is there a link or site I can go to that can tell me the difference between all the genre terms? If I read something like that, maybe I can actually post which genres I like to read. :) There's New Adult and Dystopian and YA Contemporary but what do those all mean? Help a book blogger gal out, will ya? :)


Follow on Bloglovin

Twitter: @SheWroteSheRead

If you'd like to be listed on my blogroll, let me know. I'd love to swap links.

Also, please post my Book Blogger Buddy Meme on your site! It's a great way to share your link with other book bloggers! Let me know if you do it and I'll stop by!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

What I'm Watching & Listening To

Every book blogger needs a break from reading every once in awhile, right? So what have you been watching or listening to lately?

In the Theatre, I've Been Watching:
Veronica Mars Movie (At AMC Theatres NOW! I saw it twice opening weekend!)

It began as a dream in a Kickstarter campaign on 3/14/13. Rob Thomas (the creator) and Kristen Bell (the star) were trying to raise $2 million to make a movie sequel to the popular 3-season tv show. In Kickstarter history, it became:

•Fastest project to reach $1 million.
•Fastest project to reach $2 million.
•All-time highest-funded project in FILM category.
•Third highest-funded project in Kickstarter history.
•Most project backers of any project in Kickstarter history.

A total of $5,702,153 was raised by 91,585 backers (including me)! The moviemaking process went into high gear and, in less than a year, the Veronica Mars movie was ready to go, 1 year to the day the Kickstarter campaign began: 3/14/14!!

As a die-hard Marshmallow (or V Mars fan), the movie was EVERYTHING I wanted it to be and more. MUCH MORE! If you've never seen the series, I recommend watching the first 3 seasons now and watching the movie when it's out on video! You won't be disappointed! Preorder The Veronica Mars Movie today for only $10 on Amazon!

On DVD, I've Been Watching:
Austenland starring Keri Russell, JJ Feild, Bret McKenzie and Jennifer Coolidge. See my review here!

Hell Baby is a comedy scripted by Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant (''Night at The Museum,'' ''Reno 911!: Miami'') marks their co-directing debut. Jack (Rob Corddry) and Vanessa (Leslie Bibb) are an expectant couple that moves into the most haunted fixer-upper in New Orleans -- a house with a deadly demonic curse. Things soon spiral out of control for Jack and Vanessa, as well as their not-so-helpful neighbor F'Resnel (Keegan-Michael Key), Vanessa's friendly psychiatrist (Michael Ian Black), Vanessa's Wiccan sister Marjorie (Riki Lindhome) and the detectives assigned to look into the rising body count (Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer). Only the Vatican's elite exorcism team (Garant and Lennon) san save them -- or can they?

If you like silly movies and the type of humor in shows like Reno 911, you'll love this movie. CAUTION: There is nudity, so this is NOT for children of any age! It is the first movie I've seen in a long time that I watched 3 days in a row. Well, this one AND Austenland. Lol. Not exactly similar movies, but there you are. :)

I've Been Listening To:

1. Bobby McGee sung by Jennifer Love Hewitt - Seriously, don't knock it til you listen to it. It is a capella (drums do accompany, but they aren't melodic). Download this version right now!
2. What's Good For Me by Lucy Woodward
3. Somebody to Love by Queen
4. The Way You Make Me Feel by Michael Jackson (love it from Center Stage!)

What have YOU been watching or listening to? Leave me a comment so I can check it out!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Etsy Finds: A Reader's Paradise

I recently decided to share some book-related Etsy items on my site. You can find all posts here.

If you're in the market for a Golden Book Journal or a Disney Autograph Book, visit my store: Once Upon a Child, Again.

Reading Mug from Lenny Mud $15

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Decorative Pillow by Life Crafts Whatever $28

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Literary Note Cards from Jennifer Dare Designs $8

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Bookkeepers Hand Cream by Paintbox Soapworks $6

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Portable Book Holder from Layd Back Products $39.95 (folds into 5 positions)

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Ultimate Blog Party 14! #UBP14

Ultimate Blog Party 2014

It's my favorite time of year! The Ultimate Blog Party @ 5 Minutes for Mom!
April 4 – 11 #UBP14

What Is The Ultimate Blog Party?The Ultimate Blog Party is an annual blogging event, hosted here at 5 Minutes for Mom, where several hundred bloggers join together in a huge week-long, blog-hopping, commenting and tweeting extravaganza to meet others, grow their networks, have fun and win prizes!

The official party lasts one week – this year April 4th through 11th. But the action starts now and continues throughout the event and afterward. Within that one week we will essentially generate a jam-packed directory of awesome, active bloggers across several different categories.

How To Join:
2. Tell your friends & add a banner to your site
3. Consider donating a prize (It could be a set of 10 books or the donation of a series)

You can the chance to win prizes as well as to meet new bloggers!

Top Ten Tuesday

This week we are talking about the books that are priority on our spring 2014 reading list -- old and new!

1. Persuasion by Jane Austen (The Kindle edition is free on Amazon right now) - Ever since reading Austenland: A Novel & Midnight in Austenland: A Novel last week, I've become a bit of a Janeite. Have you read this one before? Which book of hers do you like best?

2. The Wrong Woman by Brenda J Brown - This is one of my NetGalley books to review. Here's the plot: Can a romance between a talented small-town girl next door and one of Hollywood’s hottest stars survive the cutthroat world of the film industry? Come behind the scenes and see for yourself if dreams can become reality and what really happens once the lights fade to black.

3. Ballerina: A Novelby Edward Stewart - I LOVE a good dance book or movie as I was a dancer in my past life. I've begun it, and so far it is very worth the read.

4. Then and Always: A Novel by Dani Atkins - Another NetGalley book. When a sudden fall lands her in the hospital, Rachel wakes to find that her life has completely changed. Now the people she loves most are not the way she remembers them. Unable to trust her own recollections, Rachel tries to piece together what really happened, and not even she can predict the astonishing truth.

5. Searching for Perfect by Jennifer Probst - NetGalley book. Since this is the 2nd in the series, I should probably read the first one first, right? Searching for Someday

6. The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale (Austenland & Midnight in Austenland) - Becky is seven months pregnant with her fourth child when she meets her dream actor Felix Callahan by chance. Twelve hours, one elevator ride, and one alcohol-free dinner later something has happened, though nothing has happened...

7. The Junior Bridesmaid by Amy Baker - This one just sounds fun & I can afford the $2.99 Kindle price. All the reviews describe it as hilarious, plus there's a hint of romance in there too. . .

Have YOU read any of these? If you've reviewed them, please share your link in comments!

Follow me on Bloglovin & I'll follow you back!
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Or on Twitter @SheWroteSheRead

Also, please consider doing my Book Blogger Buddies Meme on your blog & pass the Book Blogger love around! Let me know if you do it and I'll check out your post!!