Top Ten Tuesday: New To Me Authors (2016 Edition)

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(Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. The above image was taken and edited by me for the purpose of this post)

Hello Readers!

Seriously! How is it December? I mean, where did 2016 as a whole go? I know, you’re as shocked by this as I am, right?!?

Well, it’s December. Winter is here, Christmas is on it’s way, and the 2016 reading year is coming to a close. I am happy to say that I reached my reading goal this year. Of those books, many were books by new to me authors.

Before jumping into this Top Ten Tuesday post, let me explain a little bit. A few of the authors on this list are very well known. Why did I include them in this post/on this list? Because this year was the first time I’ve read any books written by them. While they may be household names in the book world, if I haven’t read a book by them up until this year, I am considering them new to me.

Here is a list of the ten books I read this year by new to me authors!

Nicola Yoon (read Everything, Everything in 2016)

Suzanne Young (read All in Pieces in 2016)

Kate Hattemer (read The Land of 10,000 Madonnas in 2016)

Adriana Mather (read How to Hang a Witch in 2016)

Eileen Cook (read With Malice in 2016)

Carrie Firestone (read The Loose Ends List in 2016)

Sarah Jude (read The May Queen Murders in 2016)

Jenna Evans Welch (read Love & Gelato in 2016)

Goldy Moldavsky (read Kill the Boy Band in 2016)

Danielle Paige (read Stealing Snow in 2016)

Top Ten Tuesday: Holiday Gift Giving Guide

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(Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. The above image was taken and edited by me for the purpose of this post)

Hello Readers! 

The holiday season is in full effect. And while you are probably done with your holiday shopping, I’m … not.

If you’re like me, and you’re feeling the holiday pressure building, I’ve put together, what I think, gift giving guild for nearly every book lover in your life!

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For the Horror fan… 

I Hunt Killers (Jasper Dent #1) Ι Barry Lyga

For the Contemporary/Realistic fan…

Everything, Everything Ι Nicola Yoon

For the Graphic Novel fan…

This One Summer Ι Mariko Tamaki

For the Classics fan…

The Bell Jar Ι Sylvia Plath

For the Fantasy fan…

A Great and Terrible Beauty Ι Libba Bray

For the Sci-fi fan…

Matched Ι Ally Condie

For the Romance fan…

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Ι Jenny Han

For the Historical Fiction fan…

Chains Ι Laurie Halse Anderson

For the Action/Adventure fan…

Heist Society Ι Ally Carter

For the Mystery fan…

Ten Ι Gretchen McNeil

 

Shootin’ The Breeze With Jessica Spotswood

Hello Readers!

Just because it’s Thanksgiving (weekend) doesn’t mean that I don’t have some fun stuff planned! As you already know I read and LOVED! Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood. So much so, that immediately after finishing the book – which I gobbled up in a mere few sittings – I e-mailed her to see if she’d be willing to answer a few questions for the blog.

And she said yes!

Before jumping into the interview, in case you didn’t already know this, Jessica Spotswood  is the author of the Cahill Witch Chronicles (which include: Born Wicked, Star Cursed, and Sisters’ Fate),  A Tyranny of Petticoats, and of course her latest Wild Swans.   If you want to know more about Jessica, and all of her fabulous books, make sure to check her out online!

So, sit back and relax while getting to know this awesome author a little better!

BookBandit Blog (BB): Can you tell a little about yourself, and about your path as a writer?

Jessica Spotswood (JS): I live in Washington, DC with my playwright husband and a very old cat named Monkey. In addition to writing and editing YA books, I also work part-time for the DC Public Library as a children’s library associate. I’ve been writing since I was in fourth grade; I started off writing stories about horses at the stables where I took riding lessons. In high school, I wrote three historical fiction novels that were all sort of terrible Gone with the Wind knockoffs about headstrong girls who rode horses and kissed boys and fought with their sisters during the Civil War.  (I also rode horses and fought with my sisters and wanted to kiss boys? And I read a lot about the Civil War because I grew up near Gettysburg.) I focused on theatre in college and then grad school, but after grad school, when I got to read for fun again, I started reading YA. I fell in love with it and started writing again. I spent three years writing and rewriting and rewriting my first YA book, which was about an artist who finds a portal to another world where artists are considered dangerous enemies of the state. I got an agent with that book, but it ultimately didn’t sell. Over the nine months it was on submission though, I wrote Born Wicked which sold to Penguin as a trilogy and came out in 2012.

BB: What was the inspiration behind your latest book, Wild Swans?

JS: In 2014 I read April Tucholke’s creepy-gorgeous novel Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, in which the setting – a crumbling old family mansion called the Citizen Kane- functions almost as another character. I wanted to challenge myself to write a contemporary book where the setting played a really important role, and I wanted to write something set on Chesapeake Bay, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where I went to college. Originally, the book was going to be sort of Southern Gothic with a ghost; I ended up cutting the ghost. But when I thought about what kind of girl would live in a big old (first literally, then metaphorically) haunted farmhouse that had been in her family for generations, a girl who’d been raised by her strict professor granddad, I came up with bookish heroine, Ivy.

BB: If you had to describe Wild Swans only using three words, what three words would you use to describe it?

JS: This one is way harder than The Cahill Witch Chronicles, which was always witches + sisters + kissing. A Tyranny of Pettycoats is easy, too: badass historical girls! It’s right in the subtitle!

Um …. I’m going to go with: family + expectations + legacy.

BB: How did writing Wild Swans differ from writing your other books?

JS: The biggest difference is that it’s contemporary, not historical, and there’s no magic! I’ve always felt very like a very character-driven writer, but I really had to dive deep into my characters and the relationships in the book – Ivy and her troubled, selfish mom; Ivy and her two half-sisters she’s never met before; Ivy and her granddad, who has very high expectations for her; Ivy and her fierce best friends, Claire and Abby; Ivy and her forever best friend, Alex, who is in love with her; Ivy and her granddad’s hot tattooed poetry student, Connor. The stakes were about Ivy’s fears of being like her mom and disappointing the people she loves, not about being hanged for witchery in a society where magic is outlawed🙂

BB: Poetry is a big part of Wild Swans. Who is your favorite poet, what is your favorite poem, and why?

JS: I love Mary Oliver’s poem “When Death Comes,” especially the lines When it’s over, I want to say all my life/I was a bride married to amazement. The whole poem is really lovely, but I think those lines in particular remind me to never lose my sense of wonder. I have anxiety and depression, and it’s easy for my brain to focus on the zillion things I could worry about instead of all of the tiny beautiful moments.

BB: If you could offer any advice to aspiring writers, what advice would you offer?

JS: Read lots. Write lots. Find someone you trust to give you feedback on your work. Ask them what they like and what they want to see more of as well as what didn’t work for them and what confused them. It’s important to learn to take constructive criticism and figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are.

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Great interview, right! A big THANK YOU to author Jessica Spotswood for taking time out of her very busy schedule to answer a few of our burning questions! If you haven’t read Wild Swans or any of Jessica’s other books, what are you waiting for?!

For more information, check Jessica’s website out for more information about her and her books!

Wild Swans

Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood

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Ivy Milburn isn’t like the women in her family.She’s not a poet, or an artist, of even a musician. She has no apparent talent, and that’s totally find with her.

Being talent-less means that maybe, just maybe, the family curse will bypass her. Maybe it means that her beloved grandfather will cut her some slack and let her be a normal teenager. Just for once she wants a summer to kick back, relax, and just hang out with her friends.

But when she finds out that Erica, her absentee mother, will be moving in for the summer

But when Ivy finds out that her absentee mother and her two-step sisters will be moving in for the summer, her world practically crumbles. Goodbye relaxing summer.

From the moment Erica and company arrives Ivy’s life is sheer and utter chaos. She’s constantly on guard and defensive. Her and Erica can’t seem to see eye to eye on anything. And worst of all, it feels like there a riff forming between her and her grandfather.

Will Ivy ever get her life back on track? Or has Erica permanently wrecked everything?

Wild Swans, written by author Jessica Spotswood, is a contemporary young adult novel that is an emotional roller coaster that readers will look forward to riding!

To say Spotswood’s writing is enchanting would be an understatement. The writing that fills Wild Swans is lyrical, full of vivid imagery, and above all things: strong. Spotswood has an undeniable way with words – her writing doesn’t only endear readers, but captures their full attention. From the first page – the first line even! – readers will be hooked. And as an  added layer that will appeal to readers is the way Spotswood seamlessly wove poetry into her story.

Besides the writing, there are the characters.  In their own way, each were strong, easy to relate to, and played an important role, not only within Ivy’s live, but within the overall story. It was like the characters were all a part of a well oiled machine, and without one of them, this character driven book simply wouldn’t work, Because of this, no character really feels like a secondary character.

Main character Ivy is the true star. She’s strong, yet vulnerable. She’s flawed, but real. She’s brave, even though she doesn’t necessarily herself that way.  Granddad, the most important man in Ivy’s life, though overbearing at times, adds a lot of love and heart into this story. While it seems that he only cares about what Ivy is capable of, rather than who she is, readers will see by the end that his heart is always in the right place. And even Ivy’s long-lost mother Erica, though unlikable, is an exceptional character. She sheds both light and truth on the life that she, and her now almost grown daughter, live. Readers will sympathize with her, and they will see that while she isn’t a great mother to Ivy, she’s a great character to Wild Swans.

Wild Swans has a little something for every reader. If you haven’t already read it, I suggest you do! There is seriously something for everyone – there are real life situations that readers will easily be able to identify with. There’s a touch of steamy romance and good-looking boys. There’s poetry. But above all things, there’s a lot of heart in this book.

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life Celebration: Gilmore Girls: Currently Reading

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Hello Readers!

And welcome to another guest post. Today I’m hosting someone who is no stranger to me or to this blog. Can you guess who?

Well, if you guessed fellow blogger and in real life bff Emma/Miss Print than you guessed right! I’m so glad that Emma found some time in a her (busy) schedule to create this post, because this post is seriously awesome!

Take it away, Emma!

It’s hard to top a Girlmore Girls Read-a-Likes list but I knew I wanted to do something fun for Nicole’s amazing celebration of the Gilmore Girls revival. Since I’ve already covered books to read if you’re a fan of the series, I decided this time around that I would recommend some books for some of my favorite Gilmore Girls characters.
Lorelai Gilmore is a bit of a free spirit despite settling down to run the Dragonfly Inn. She has a wild past, a strong moral compass, and she definitely learns by doing (even if that means she makes some mistakes along the way. If Lorelai came to me for book recommendations I’d give her: Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley, Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon, Boss Babes: A Coloring and Activity Book for Grown-Ups by Michelle Volansky
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Rory Gilmore is probably already bogged down with reading–likely weighty non-fiction, classics, and some research for her job which I assume involves covering the Clinton campaign. That said, if she had time to read for fun, I think Rory would love: The Last Time We Were Us by Leah Konen, Ten Days A Madwoman The Daring Life and Turbulent Times of the Original “girl” Reporter Nellie Bly by Deborah Noyes, Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World by Mark Pendergrast
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Emily Gilmore was the consummate debutante as a young woman and social hierarchies have always mattered to her. That said, Emily has mellowed a lot thanks to Rory and Loralei so I think she’d enjoy these books that turn various aspects of polite society upside down: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray; She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth by Helen Castor; My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows
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Luke Danes is a man who plays his cards close to his vest. I can’t imagine him asking for book recommendations. Luke tends to be very practical so my first instinct was all non-fiction and dry texts. But since Luke wouldn’t admit it one way or the other, I think he’d probably like to kick back with some thick fantasy novels. If I lived in Stars Hollow I might try to leave these lying around his diner for him to find (and hopefully read): American Gods by Neil Gaiman, Hounded by Kevin Hearne, Vicious by V. E. Schwab
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Lane Kim always wanted to be a wild child but her rebellions were small and stealthy to avoid friction with the inimitable Mrs. Kim. Now that Lane is married with children of her own, she would definitely want some books to remind her of her (almost) misspent youth: Enter Title Here by Rahul Kanakia, This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales, M Train by Patti Smith
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Sookie St. James is the peanut butter to Lorelei’s jam as her best friend and business partner. Sookie maintains a perpetually cheery outlook and is passionate about food–especially baking–so her her books practically chose themselves: The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book: Uncommon Recipes from the Celebrated Brooklyn Pie Shop by Emily Elsen and Melissa Elsen, Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
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Kirk Gleason is the resident jack of all trades in Stars Hollow. Given his checkered job history, it’s safe to say that Kirk’s reading tastes would be eclectic including a variety of things like Careers The Graphic Guide to Finding the Perfect Job for You, The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith, The Marvels by Brian Selznick
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Jess Mariano is one of my favorite Gilmore Girls characters so of course I had to include him here. Jess first arrives in Stars Hollow as a rebel without a clue but fans see him grow as he starts to build relationships with his uncle Luke and, of course, with Rory. As an aspiring author and generally creative soul, I’d love to hand Jess Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, The Hero Is You: Sharpen Your Focus, Conquer Your Demons, and Become the Writer You Were Born to Be by Kendra Levin, Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman (this last one is cheating because it’s not out until Apr 18, 2017 but I feel like Jess is cool enough to have some publishing connections to get an ARC)
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Paris Geller is the perfect foil to Rory as she alternates between a bitter rival and a best friend. Paris puts a lot of pressure on herself to be the best of all things (and let’s face it, she’s totally obsessed with Hamilton) so I think she’d get a lot out of these titles: The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst, This Raging Light by Estelle Laure, Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter
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So now you know what books I’d give to some of my favorite Gilmore Girls characters. Thanks again to Nicole for putting together this celebration and letting me contribute!
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A big THANK YOU to Emma for taking time out of her (busy) schedule and creating this post! For more information about Emma and her block, check her out at Miss Print!

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life Celebration Gift Guide

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Hello Readers!

Today, I’ve put together a gift guide for all the Gilmore Girls fans in your life. I’ve also included links to each of these items so if you really do want to buy them for the fan in your life (or yourself) you can do so!

For the book worms:

Everyone knows that Rory is serious reader. I mean she doesn’t leave home without a book. Remember when she went to the winter formal with Dean? Even though she didn’t bring a book she did bring along something to read … a copy of The New Yorker. Because she’s such a book worm, I like to imagine that Rory has a rockin’ bookmark collection.

As a reader yourself you too collect bookmarks, and the Gilmore Girls magnetic bookmarks that BeyondthePages19 (on Etsy) offers are, not only affordable, but they are great! I should know I bought two for myself. See:

 

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Yes, I bought the Lorelai and Rory bookmarks to add to my own rockin’ bookmark collection. But there are bookmarks for all of your favorite Gilmore Girls characters! I totally plan on getting a few more. And if you’re a bookwork who loves the Gilmore Girls, or know someone else who is, I think these would make awesome gifts!

Bonus: For the bookworm there are also some books: Someday, Someday by Lauren Graham, Talking As Fast As I Can (also) by Lauren Graham, and finally Eat Like a Gilmore by Kristi Carlson.

For the coffee lovers:

Let’s be honest … Lorelai and Rory are the ultimate coffee junkies! They consume the hot beverage daily … it’s probably the reason why they talk as fast as they do. And why all the men in their lives have a hard time keeping up with them.  If you’re like them, and have a coffee addiction of your own to feed, or know someone who has a borderline unhealthy obsession with the beverage, you should check out Boca Java. They have several Gilmore Girls themed coffee products.

But because Lorelai and Rory often quenched their thirst at Luke’s, I feel it’s only a fitting gift for your Gilmore Girls fan to give Luke’s No-Nonsense Roast.

What’s coffee without a mug?! If you head over to Amazon, Cafe Press, or Etsy you’ll find an assortment of Gilmore Girls themed coffee mugs! There’s a wide selection on any of those websites, however I personally love the Luke’s Diner coffee mug that BethLynnDesigns offers on their Etsy shop.

This shop offers a Luke’s Diner mug in an assortment of colors to choose from. So you can easily find the perfect color for that Gilmore Girls fan. I personally like the mint green color.

(I also wanted to mention, that BethLynnDesigns also offers other Gilmore Girls themed mugs, and they all look like they’d make great gifts!)

For the music fan:

The rockin-est band in all of Stars Hollow is obviously Hep Alien! And what Gilmore Girls fan wouldn’t want to rock out with Lane and company?! I know I would. If there’s a music lover in your wake who also happens to be Gilmore Girls fan, well I found quite possibly the perfect gift.

FriedGreenDesigns over on Society 6 has a great Gilmore Girls themed items. Specifically though, there’s a pretty rad  Hep Alien band shirt!

For the makeup lover:

It’s rare that you see Lorelai or Rory primping … I mean they’re naturally beautiful, so there isn’t a need to primp really. But  they have their favorite products.

“When did I become one of those girls with dozens of beauty products, none of which are expendable. It used to be a touch of mascara, a dab of Copper Tone. Zip, bam, boom out the door.”

And if you, or the fan in your life is a makeup lover, Brija Cosmetics has you covered! They offer Gilmore Girls Matte Eyeshadows. The colors range from a shimmery white shadow (called A Film by Kirk) to a smokey charcoal grey colored inspired by our favorite Gilmore Girls grump: Michele Gerard.  And as an added bonus, it looks like they are coming out with a line of Gilmore Girls inspired lipstick as well!

For the person in a secret society:

In quite possibly my favorite Gilmore Girls episode, we – along with Rory – learn all about the Life & Death Brigade. It’s a secret society that her future boyfriend Logan is a member of. They throw lavish parties, wear creepy gorilla masks, and tend to launch themselves off of very high structures.

Do you know some in a secret society like The Life & Death Brigade? Or are you in a secret society?  Well, I found the perfect give on Amazon Handmade.  It’s a beautiful sterling silver In Omnia Paratus necklace made by Annie’s Arts & Follies

Of course, there are a TON (literally a TON) of In Omnia Paratus items all over the web! If a necklace isn’t the ideal gift, what about a bracelet?

JLWhiddonDesigns on Etsy offers a hand-stamped bracelet. It’s a simple silver bracelet stating “In Omnia Paratus” with an umbrella image. It’s fun, it’s whimsical, and a must have!

And sill, Silver Statements  on Etsy offers a super cute wrap ring. On the inside it is inscribed with “In Omnia Paratus” and on the outside, a simple umbrella.

For the shop-a-holic:

It’s hard to imagine that two women living in a house do not own any tote bags. But it’s true. Lorelai and Rory don’t have any tote bags.

If you or your GG fan needs a tote for all their shop-a-holic needs, this Doose’s Market tote from CafePress is the bees knees! And I should know, I actually own my very own tote! It’s study, it’s roomy, and it’s a definite conversation starter!

For the art lover:

Lorelai and Rory Gilmore have refined palettes – in food, in music, and in art! Need I mention the monkey lamp?!

Well, I think that the Gilmore Girls (even picky Emily Gilmore) would approve of this print on Etsy by RoaringSoftly.

This super cool shop offers four very unique art prints: Coffee of Gilmore Girls, Moods of Gilmore Girls, Foods of Gilmore Girls, and the quintessential Dean vs. Jess print. Each one is perfect for yourself or that fan of yours!

For the collector:

Lorelai and Rory aren’t known to collect a lot of things. Okay, so Rory collects books, and once she even collected facts about Mitchum Huntzberger when she was getting ready to intern at one of his many newspapers! (And yes, Richard, I agree! He crushed Rory!)

But if you or that GG fan in your life likes to collect unique items, like Funko Pop figures, that you are in luck! They just came out with three figures based off of Lorelai, Rory, and Sookie!

And finally …

For the subscription box junkie:

While subscription boxes were not a thing during Lorelai and Rory’s day, they certainly are a thing now. And they celebrate all of our favorite fandoms. And Stars Hollow Monthly put out by Lit Cube is the perfect subscription box for any Gilmore Girls fans.

I can tell you from first hand experience that this box is chock full of Gilmore Girls goodness! Each month this box is full on one of a kind items. In the past three months I have gotten some awesome items like: bowls from Al’s Pancake World, a Luke’s Diner travel mug, Dragonfly Inn coasters, and so much more!

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I think that about covers it! There are tons of Gilmore Girls themed items. And they are all waiting to be purchased … so go forth and shop!

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life Celebration Giveaway

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Hello Readers!

And happy Friday to all of you lovely Gilmore Girls fans out there! In exactly one week from today, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life will be streaming on Netflix! I can’t believe it! I feel like I’ve been waiting nine years for this revival! And I’m sure you feel the same way!

In celebration that the revival is a mere one week away, I’m hosting yet another giveaway for you!  Today, I’m offering you a chance to win a copy of ….

Boss Babes: A Coloring & Activity Book for Grown-Ups by Michelle Volansky

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Before getting into the fine print, let me give you some background about this book. The first thing you need to know is that it’s AWESOME! Seriously, awesome! Workman Publishing Company contacted me a few months back asking if I would want to participate in a project they were putting together. Because this book celebrates women, celebrates our strengths, our wisdom, our beauty, and everything that makes women the wonderful beings we are. I jumped at the chance to participate in such a project. And on October 17th I posted my fave Boss Babes page (that I colored myself!) on my social media. In case you didn’t see it then, I colored the Lady Gaga page.

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To spread the Boss Babe love, Workman Publishing gave me an extra copy to give away to a fellow Boss Babe!

And today, I’m giving away that extra copy. Why today? Because let’s be honest — Lorelai Gilmore is a Boss Babe! She’s strong, independent, and quick-witted – and she’s raised her daughter to be the same way.

So, how do you enter? You must be 13 years old or older and live in the United States to enter this giveaway. Giveaway is open from today (November 18th) and will run until 11:59 pm on Thursday November 24th (Thanksgiving).

One winner will be selected at random on Friday November 25th (Gilmore Girl Day!!) and will be contacted via e-mail. Winner will have two days (until November 27th) to respond to e-mail with a valid mailing address. If response is not received within that time period a new winner will be selected and contacted. So when entering please make sure to enter a valid e-mail address.

This is ….

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Good Luck fellow Boss Babes!