Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ever wonder what would happen if the clouds fell from the sky?


You've all had that sick-to-your stomach feeling when something big is about to take place, like a birthday party, and disaster strikes. That's exactly what happens in Carla's Cloud Catastrophe by Beth Bence Reinke.

Disaster strikes two hours before Carla's birthday party. Clouds are scattered on the ground like giant cotton balls! Papa says "The weather lady said a tornado knocked the clouds loose." But how can this be? Carla dubs it a cloud catastrophe. The playground swings and slides look like they're holding scoops of mashed potatoes, and at the duck pond, cloud globs float in the muddy water, like marshmallows in cocoa. Cleaning up the clouds is too big a job and there's nowhere to put them, but Carla has an idea and knows exactly where the clouds belong.

This is such a fun read, one sure to get every young reader wondering what it would be like if the clouds fell from the sky. And for anyone whose party might face a weather disaster of its own, this is just the book to set your little one's nerves at ease by reminding her that most disasters can be averted. Take it from Carla who makes it home just in time for her party and coconut cloud cake, of course!

Additional Information:
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Publisher: 4RV Publishing (June 2011)
8 1/2" x 8 1/2" softcover
ISBN-13: 978-0-9828346-0-2
Source of review copy: Author

Click to pre-order from 4RV Publishing's online catalog.
(Carla's Cloud Catastrophe is on page 4 of the children's books)
Disclosure: Some of the books I review are received from publishers , PR agencies, and authors, but it does not sway my opinion of the book. I maintain affiliate accounts with Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you purchase a book through one of my links, I will receive a small commission (at no cost to you). You can support this site by originating your purchase via these links and I appreciate your support of Lori Calabrese Writes!

Monday, May 30, 2011

How to Survive Anything

How to Survive Anything: Shark Attack, Lightning, Embarrassing Parents, Pop Quizzes, and Other Perilous Situations (National Geographic Kids)What if there was a great white shark behind you? Would you know what to do? Let's face it, we all could use a handy guide on how to handle that situation. Well, look no further! How to Survive Anything: Shark Attack, Lightning, Embarrassing Parents, Pop Quizzes, and Other Perilous Situations (National Geographic Kids)is just the guide you need that will show you what to do when life throws you lemons.

This is such a fascinating book and something you'll find yourself picking up now and then when you want something to pass the time. Not only will you learn to not panic, fight back and avoid things that attract sharks, you'll also learn how to survive your most embarrassing moment (we've all had those), how to survive a mean teacher (we've all had those) and how to survive being adrift at sea (okay, so we all haven't had that, but you gotta admit, it's pretty crazy to think about.)

And remember, as National Geographic points out in the beginning of the book, "Tornadoes and avalanches don't follow directions. And boats will pretty much drift wherever they want. Translation? No matter how careful you are, no matter how many rules you follow, bad stuff can happen. So even though this book is packed with advice from the experts, such advice isn't always guaranteed to work." But it is fun to read.

Additional Information:
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books (April 12, 2011)
ISBN-10: 9781426307744
ISBN-13: 978-1426307744

This post is part of Nonfiction Monday! Nonfiction Monday takes place every Monday as various blogs throughout the kidlitosphere write about nonfiction books for kids and collect them all in one place. This week, check out the Nonfiction Monday roundup at History with a Twist. To see the entire schedule, please visit the blog of Anastasia Suen.
Disclosure: Some of the books I review are received from publishers , PR agencies, and authors, but it does not sway my opinion of the book. I maintain affiliate accounts with Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you purchase a book through one of my links, I will receive a small commission (at no cost to you). You can support this site by originating your purchase via these links and I appreciate your support of Lori Calabrese Writes!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Fish for a Free Book: May 27

It's time to fish for a free book! 

If you are hosting a children's book giveaway, or if you found a giveaway somewhere on the net that you just have to share, I'd love to have you share your links with us here on our weekly giveaway linky so that we can all stop by and enter.

If you're looking for more children's book giveaways, be sure to visit
Brimful Curiosities' Full to the Brim,
Winning Readings (listings of adult and children's book giveaways),
and Got Great Giveaways? (linky of adult and children's book giveaways at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer)

Please post your links however you wish. Some like to include their blog name, some just want to leave the prize and the ending date. Post it whatever way you feel like, but make sure that the prize listing and the date the giveaway ends is listed. And make sure you post a link directly to your giveaway - not just to your main blog page.
Here's an example:
Your name: Lori Calabrese Writes--Two Children's Books--4/25
Your URL: http://loricalabrese.blogspot.com/2011/04/hoppy-easter-eggstravaganza-giveaway.html

Now it's your turn. Leave your links here...
(If you're reading this in a reader, please click through to the original post)

Fish For a Free Book Participants

1. 5 signed copies of Star of Sea: A Day in the Life of a Starfish-ends 6/10

2. Lori Calabrese Writes! - 2 YA Novels - 5/31

3. Megan Frances Abrahams - a signed copy of Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Author interview with Donna Zappala

What Kind of Turtle Am I?Donna M. Zappala is a children's book author, who holds a BA in Elementary Education and Psychology. Donna also holds an MA in mathematics education. Zappala has taught young children for years. Currently, she stays at home to raise her children while continuing to write almost everyday. She resides in New Jersey with her husband Adrian, a university administrator, and their three young girls.

I had the fortunate opportunity to catch up with Donna and learn more about her latest book, What Kind of Turtle Am I?...

Tell us about your path to publication.
I was inspired to write, What Kind of Turtle Am I? because books of this nature do not exist. This particular story teaches children ages 2-8 about science concepts in a fun and fictional format. It is a story about Izzy and her quest to find out what kind of turtle she is. Readers will learn the differences between turtles, tortoises and terrapins. When I approached Dragonfly Publishing, Inc. about publishing this children’s book they were thrilled because currently only nonfictional pieces exist to teach such topics that this book teaches.

What was the inspiration for your new book, "What Kind of Turtle Am I?”
My inspiration for writing this book was my love of turtles. I think they are so inquisitive. There is so much to learn about these creatures. Diamondback terrapins are native to this area. It is important to conserve them and protect their habitat. Unfortunately, construction of buildings on our wetlands has been destroying the areas that diamondback terrapins live in. They are also losing their waters due to pollution. Writing about them helps people, young and old, become aware of these special living things and hopefully save them from harm.

Why do you think it's important for children to learn about turtles, tortoises, and terrapins?
As I mentioned above, only nonfiction pieces of work teach facts and discuss information about turtles. I felt it was important to teach the differences about turtles, tortoises and terrapins to young children in a way that they could relate to. I think it is important to teach the differences between these three creatures because at first glance they all look alike but there are several differences between them. Many may not know the difference between these three. I wanted to teach young people how unique each creature is.

You're previous book is "Albert's Perfect Pet." Do you find yourself drawn to writing animal stories? Why or why not?
Albert's Perfect PetMy first children’s book, Albert's Perfect Pet, is about a young boy searching for the perfect pet and in the process the reader learns about the science concepts of warm and cold blooded animals. “WHAT KIND OF TURTLE AM I?” teaches the differences between turtles, tortoises and terrapins. I have found myself drawn to writing about animals because they are such fascinating creatures. There is so much to learn about them. However, in the future I hope to further my horizons into other subject matters. I write almost everyday because I enjoy it so much. Therefore, my next story may be quite different from the other two. Only time will tell.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The bigger scope of BEA

Imagine a place with endless rows of publishers, clusters of authors, previews of the hottest fall titles, and free books, all while being surrounded by others who love books and can't get enough of them. This is Book Expo America, known to many as BEA, the largest trade book fair in North America.

I've been blogging about children's books for four years and have read countless posts about everyone's experience at BEA. This year, instead of envying those able to attend, I decided to finally experience the craziness for myself and believe me, it's crazy. Overwhelming at first, you quickly realize how to navigate the Javits Center and if you come as I did with an excel spreadsheet itinerary in hand, the amount of activities you can fit into one day is pretty impressive.

It kicked off with a Children's Author Breakfast, where the original WNBA, the Women’s National Book Association awarded Seattle’s Queen Anne Books a 2011 Pannell Award, recognizing  the bookseller for stimulating, promoting and encouraging children’s and young people’s interest in books. I knew right away this was a room full of people who eat, sleep and breathe books. But that was only the beginning as master of ceremonies Julianne Moore, actress and author of Freckleface Strawberry: Best Friends Forever; Katherine Paterson, the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, Brian Selznick, author of Wonderstruck (clad in the shiniest red shoes ever); Sarah Dessen, author of What Happened to Goodbye; and Kevin Henkes, author of Little White Rabbit and Junonia all stepped onstage. 

WonderstruckIt was fascinating to hear Julianne Moore's love for books evolve from Ann Likes Red and I think everyone was doubled over as Selznick debuted the illustrations for his latest, Wonderstruck. Selznick explained how it took him 3 years to put the book together (9-10 months for the artwork alone) and how it has 100 more drawings than The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Are you drooling yet? Sarah Dessen then took to the podium to explain how she just stumbled into writing for young adults, but there's nothing like catching teens at the beginning of their reading lives. It was apparent that Dessen has a passion for writing for teens and she stressed that an important part of reading is to feel less alone in the world, knowing that others have felt these emotions, too. Kevin Henkes read his latest picture book, Little White Rabbit and hit on the speculation of the death of picture books. Henkes explained that a picture book is an extraordinary art form, a kid's first exposure to art, and the trend of pushing kids to chapter books is small and misguided.

As if the breakfast wasn't fulfulling enough, there was an entire day left for visiting publishers, authors autographing their newest books, and collecting free Advance Reading Copies. Yes, many experienced BEA'ers come with rolling suitcases just to load up. Although I heeded the advice not to grab every book available, it was impossible not to leave without a backpack full of picture books and novels and I have the sore shoulder today because of it.

Some other fascinating parts of the day? A Guys Read: Thriller panel with Jon Scieszka, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, and Matt de la Pena. Nobody told Krosoczka that it was about their collection of short stories, so he hit the stage in red pleather and one glistening glove, ala Michael Jackson. Too funny! The authors shared their insight about creating lifelong readers and getting boys to read. I thought Scieszka made an excellent point when he said their goal isn't just on reluctant readers, but all readers and he stressed the original premise of the Guys Read initiative that young guys enjoy reading most when they have reading they can enjoy, something each author on the panel strives for everyday.

The Unbecoming of Mara DyerA young adult editors buzz panel consisted of some amazing editors who continue to contribute to the world of children's publishing and hyped up some of their latest titles. My takeaway? I cannot wait to get my hands on Daughter of Smoke and Bone and The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.These are two titles we'll definitely be hearing a lot more of come their release dates in September.

If you've never attended BEA, it's an exhilarating experience and will definitely give you the bigger scope when it comes to the world of publishing. As an author, it was amazing to see all of the possibilities available, how the market works, what publishers are looking for, how publishers market their books, and just how big the industry really is. You'll easily acquire knowledge about the industry, get inspired and approach your writing, so that it will hopefully be you at the autograph booth signing your latest bestseller at a future BEA.

It was inspiring being surrounded by others who love the industry and love books as much as I do and as Kevin Henkes said when it comes to books, "We love them, we need them and we know it!"

What's the difference between a turtle, tortoise and terrapin?

What Kind of Turtle Am I?Tell me the truth. Do you know the difference between a turtle, a tortoise, and a terrapin? Not many people do, and I have to admit, if I was quizzed, I'd probably flunk! Thus enter the children's book, What Kind of Turtle Am I? by Donna M. Zappala.

Izzy is a turtle, however, as she basks in the sun, she wonders what kind of turtle she is. Surely, there must be somebody who knows, so she sets off in search of answers. Izzy runs into different animals, including a fish, bird, alligator, and snake, who provide little tidbits about themselves, but are unable to tell Izzy what kind of turtle she is. Finally, Izzy runs into a turtle who looks just like her. The turtle explains that there are many different turtles in the world--turtles, tortoises and terrapins. He explains how they have many things in common and also many differences. With a little wise advice from the adult diamondback terrapin, Izzy not only knows who she is, but gathers new friends along the way.

This is a wonderful book for any turtle lover or anyone looking to learn the difference between all the different kinds of turtles. Readers will be interested to learn that a big difference between tortoises and turtles are their shells, tortoises have clubbed feet not webbed, and they spend their days and nights in different places. If you're looking to share facts with your young readers, but in a fun story, What Kind of Turtle Am I? is just the read.

Additional Information:
Paperback: 24 pages
Publisher: Dragonfly Publishing, Incorporated (April 14, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1936381141
ISBN-13: 978-1936381142
Source of review copy: Author
Disclosure: Some of the books I review are received from publishers , PR agencies, and authors, but it does not sway my opinion of the book. I maintain affiliate accounts with Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you purchase a book through one of my links, I will receive a small commission (at no cost to you). You can support this site by originating your purchase via these links and I appreciate your support of Lori Calabrese Writes!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Splash into Summer Giveaway Hop

Do you like free books? Then you came to the right place--the Splash Into Summer Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Page Turners blog.

What better way to celebrate the arrival of summer? Over 200 participating blogs are offering a book related giveaway and we're all linked up together so you can easily hop from one giveaway to another. This all takes place from Wednesday, May 25th through Tuesday, May 31st.

Now on to my giveaway. I'm giving away TWO young adult novels.


Fury of the PhoenixFury of the Phoenix
About the book: The Gods have abandoned Ai Ling.

Her mysterious power haunts her day and night, and she leaves home—with just the moon as her guide—overwhelmed by her memories and visions and an unbearable sense of dread. For Ai Ling knows that Chen Yong is vulnerable to corrupt enchantments from the under-world. How can she do nothing when she has the skill and power to fight at his side? A dream has told her where he is, the name of the ship he is traveling on, his destination. So she steals off and stows away on board.

The ocean voyage brings with it brutal danger, haunting revelations, and new friendships, but also the premonition of a very real and terrifying threat. Zhong Ye—the powerful sorcerer whom Ai Ling believed she had vanquished in the Palace of Fragrant Dreams—is trapped in Hell, neither alive nor dead. Can he reach from beyond the grave to reunite with Silver Phoenix and destroy Chen Yong? And destroy whatever chance Ai Ling has at happiness, at love?

In this sequel to the acclaimed novel Silver Phoenix, four lives are woven together and four destinies become one, now and forever.

The Unidentified
The Unidentified
About the book: Fiften-year-old Katey (aka Kid) goes to school in the Game--a mall converted into a "school" run by corporate sponsors. As the students play their way through the levels, they are also creating products and being used for market research by the sponsors, who are watching them 24/7 on video cameras.

Kid has a vague sense of unease but doesn't question this existence until one day she witnesses a shocking anticorporate prank. She follows the clues to uncover the identities of the people behind it and discovers an anonymous group that calls itself the Unidentified. Intrigued by their counterculture ideas and enigmatic leader, Kid is drawn into the group. But when the Unidentified's pranks and even Kid's own identity are co-opted by the sponsors, Kid decides to do something bigger--something that could change the Game forever.

Giveaway Details: Enter to win both of these books!
To enter giveaway, please follow this blog and leave a comment below.
**UPDATE: THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED. Congratulations to our winner, Kaity! And thank you so much to everyone who entered--I was blown away with the number of entries this go around. You guys rock!

Optional Extra Entries:
+1 Like my Author Page at Facebook
+1 Follow me on Twitter
+1 Have a confirmed email subscription to The Book Bugz and/ or Lori's Newsletter
(please let me know in the comments about your extra entries)

Giveaway closes at midnight on Tuesday, May 31st and is available to US and Canada Only.

Good luck and don't forget to visit the blogs listed below for more great giveaways!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Want to look like Jennifer Lopez?

The Look Book: 50 Iconic Beauties and How to Achieve Their Signature StylesTeens are continually drawn to magazines, entertainment shows, and movies that feature Hollywood stars on the red carpet and they continually try to emulate their hair and make-up. Now teens can get the inside scoop on achieving those looks in The Look Book: 50 Iconic Beauties and How to Achieve Their Signature Styles.

Author Erika Stalder has said, "No one inspires us to maximize our own beauty more than celebrities, so I wanted to compile the most stunning and enduring trends in beauty history in The Look Book." And Stalder has done just that in what can be considered an illustrated hair and makeup how-to that features celebs such as Farrah Fawcett, Naomi Campbell, and Uma Thurman.

For each celeb, you can read their bio, a famous quote then learn how to get their look. You'll find out who the look works best on, tools needed, time it takes and how to do it. You'll also find professional tips from celebrity make-up artist Cameron Cohen and celebrity hair stylist Christopher Fulton.

What I love about this book is that it's almost a history of iconic looks that range from Farrah Fawcett's hair to Kate Winslet's no-makeup makeup. It shows how celebrity looks affect our society and set off trends that girls of all ages attempt to emulate.

Additional Information:
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Zest Books (May 18, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0981973388
ISBN-13: 978-0981973388
Source of review copy: Publicist

This post is part of Nonfiction Monday! Nonfiction Monday takes place every Monday as various blogs throughout the kidlitosphere write about nonfiction books for kids and collect them all in one place. This week, check out the Nonfiction Monday roundup at Great Kid Books. To see the entire schedule, please visit the blog of Anastasia Suen.

Disclosure: Some of the books I review are received from publishers , PR agencies, and authors, but it does not sway my opinion of the book. I maintain affiliate accounts with Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you purchase a book through one of my links, I will receive a small commission (at no cost to you). You can support this site by originating your purchase via these links and I appreciate your support of Lori Calabrese Writes!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fish for a Free Book: May 20

It's time to fish for a free book! 

If you are hosting a children's book giveaway, or if you found a giveaway somewhere on the net that you just have to share, I'd love to have you share your links with us here on our weekly giveaway linky so that we can all stop by and enter.

If you're looking for more children's book giveaways, be sure to visit
Brimful Curiosities' Full to the Brim,
Winning Readings (listings of adult and children's book giveaways),
and Got Great Giveaways? (linky of adult and children's book giveaways at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer)

Please post your links however you wish. Some like to include their blog name, some just want to leave the prize and the ending date. Post it whatever way you feel like, but make sure that the prize listing and the date the giveaway ends is listed. And make sure you post a link directly to your giveaway - not just to your main blog page.
Here's an example:
Your name: Lori Calabrese Writes--Two Children's Books--4/25
Your URL: http://loricalabrese.blogspot.com/2011/04/hoppy-easter-eggstravaganza-giveaway.html

Now it's your turn. Leave your links here...
(If you're reading this in a reader, please click through to the original post)

Fish For a Free Book Participants
1. Mymcbooks - 5/21
2. The Storm Chasers by Jenna Blum (5/25)
3. 5 signed copies of Star of Sea: A Day in the Life of a Starfish-ends 6/10
4. The Adventures of Bella and Harry: Let’s Visit Paris! – 2 WINNERS
5. 4 books for Middle Sch. girls 1 Year of Discovery Girls maga - 5/28
6. Read Aloud Dad - Classic Children's Book, (US/Ca/UK) ends 5/31

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Is it an alien, mysterious creature or roaring animal?

What is That thing?Adding a new sibling to the mix can be a big transformation for a child. What is That thing? by Kevin McNamee tackles the subject in a humorous way.

Jenna likes to play pretend. What kid doesn't? Astronaut Jenna sees a strange looking alien and attempts to make contact, but she doesn't think it understands her. Then, Princess Jenna addresses her subjects, but something is stinking up the castle. Soon Jungle Jenna is swinging on vines to check on a strange animal, roaring inside a cage. When her mother asks if she'd like to feed her baby sister, Jenna stops playing pretend and realizes her sister is not a strange alien, mysterious creature, or roaring animal. Even though she wasn't sure if she'd like being a big sister, it turns out maybe she'll like it after all.

I'm sure when we all became a sister or brother, we looked at our siblings as aliens, strange creatures and animals, which is why we all can appreciate this heart-warming tale. This is a wonderful book to share with any young reader about to take on that new role, but I can't promise it will make them want to toss dirty diapers.

Additional Information:
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Paperback: 16 pages
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc (February 24, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1616331410
ISBN-13: 978-1616331412
Source of review copy: Author
Disclosure: Some of the books I review are received from publishers , PR agencies, and authors, but it does not sway my opinion of the book. I maintain affiliate accounts with Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you purchase a book through one of my links, I will receive a small commission (at no cost to you). You can support this site by originating your purchase via these links and I appreciate your support of Lori Calabrese Writes!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Any fan of Pinkalicious will love Silverlicious

Silverlicious (Pinkalicious)The blockbuster picture book series by Victoria Kann has brought us such faves as Pinkalicious and the Pink Drink, Pinkalicious: Tickled Pink and  Purplicious.
But the newest addition to the lineup is Silverlicious (Pinkalicious). Pinkalicious has a wiggly tooth she's been wiggling for days. When she takes a bite of her brother's chocolicious cookie, her tooth finally comes out, but it wasn't just any tooth--it was her sweet tooth! All of a sudden the cookie tastes like dirt. So Pinkalicious writes a letter to the tooth fairy and asks for something sweet to eat until a new tooth grows in. She's determined to finally see the tooth fairy, but instead she falls asleep and hears from Cupid, the Easter Bunny, and a Christmas elf. When she finally receives a letter from the tooth fairy, Pinkalicious learns that sweetness comes from the inside and perhaps she wasn't as nice as she should have been to her brother, Cupid, the Easter Bunny and the Christmas elf.

Any fan of Pinkalicious will love this latest installment. Not only are the illustrations bright and colorful, but the story is just as delightful as the silver coin chocolate Pinkalicious dubs "Silverlicious."

Additional Information:
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (February 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 9780061781230
ISBN-13: 978-0061781230
Source of review copy: Publisher
Disclosure: Some of the books I review are received from publishers , PR agencies, and authors, but it does not sway my opinion of the book. I maintain affiliate accounts with Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you purchase a book through one of my links, I will receive a small commission (at no cost to you). You can support this site by originating your purchase via these links and I appreciate your support of Lori Calabrese Writes!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Teaching young readers about devastation

Thunderstorms, severe winds and tornadoes recently slammed the South, killing dozens of people in four states. It's very difficult to witness such devastation and a resourceful way to teach young readers about this weather system is with National Geographic Kids' TORNADO! The Story Behind These Twisting, Turning, Spinning, and Spiraling Storms.
Tornado! is another one of those amazing National Geographic books. I know I say it all the time in my reviews, but what makes National Geographic books amazing are the pictures. You'll be amazed at the photos in this one as it chronicles the destruction that these tornadoes can cause and even witness them in action. But readers will also enjoy the first-person accounts, news reports, and facts behind these twisters. Young readers will enjoy learning that twisters are born in thunderstorms and are often accompanied by hail, most tornadoes in the Northern Hemisphere rotate counter-clockwise and almost all tornadoes in the Southern Hemisphere rotate clockwise.

This is an amazing resource and a must have for any young reader interested in these twisting, turning, spinning and spiraling storms.

Additional Information:
Reading Level: Ages 9-12
Publisher: National Geographic Society (April 12, 2011)
ISBN13: 9781426307799
ISBN: 1426307799
Source of review copy: Publicist

This post is part of Nonfiction Monday! Nonfiction Monday takes place every Monday as various blogs throughout the kidlitosphere write about nonfiction books for kids and collect them all in one place. This week, check out the Nonfiction Monday roundup at Simply Science. To see the entire schedule, please visit the blog of Anastasia Suen.
Disclosure: Some of the books I review are received from publishers , PR agencies, and authors, but it does not sway my opinion of the book. I maintain affiliate accounts with Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you purchase a book through one of my links, I will receive a small commission (at no cost to you). You can support this site by originating your purchase via these links and I appreciate your support of Lori Calabrese Writes!