If You’re Like Me & Haven’t Read Divergent

Food For Thought, Random

Hello Readers!

Well, if the title of this post caught your attention, because you are like me, and HAVEN’T read Divergent, that both you and I should really check out this article. 

Calling all kid-lit loving ladies out there: isn’t this train case A-DORABLE?! I want it, but don’t necessarily want to make it? Will any of you, dear readers make it for me? (just kidding … not really)

A few days ago, my bff and fellow blogger Miss Print blogged about this great holiday (I know it’s not the holiday season just yet, so I’m considering it more of a pre-holiday season swap) swap, where participants swap, not books, by nail polish! I don’t know how she found this, but I’m thankful she did, and that she was kind enough to share it. So if you want it, check out the swap, and sign up here!

Before we know it 2014 will be upon up. And with that comes World Book Night. Check out this SLJ article about the 9 children’s and YA titles that made it to this upcoming years list!

Dear Readers, does anyone own one of those “Wreck This Journal” journal? Is it as awesome as it seems in the Little Book Owl’s video?  Please leave feedback on if you own one of these journals and if you love/hate it! I’m interested to find out your thoughts.

And last but certainly NOT least: Book Bloggers, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DO NOT FORGET TO SIGN UP FOR THE GIVING THANKS BOOK BLOGGER BOX SWAP that Miss Print and I are hosting!

BookBandit’s Beauty Basics

Beauty Basics, Beauty Basics Giveaways, Beauty Hauls, Monthly Faves, Product Reviews

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Hello Readers!

How are you on this lovely Tuesday? I hope everyone is doing well! I know I am, because I have some exciting news to share with everyone.

The BookBandit Blog is branching out!

What does that mean? Well it means that this blog, as it always has, will focus on books, but as of now, not just books. You see, I love reading, I love books, and I love sharing my thoughts/opinions with you readers. But I love a lot of other things, and want to share those things with you as well.

As you can tell from the above picture* The BookBandit Blog will feature weekly posts about everything and anything beauty related. I’m calling these posts: BookBandit’s Beauty Basics (thanks to the one and only Emma/Miss Print for coming up with such a catchy name!) . Once a week – every Sunday – I will feature posts about beauty related topics. I plan on featuring product reviews, monthly fave lists, beauty/cosmetic hauls, maybe a giveaway or two, and (don’t hold me to this) I’m going to try to feature interviews with beauty bloggers and/or vloggers!

At this point I just want to say a few things about my new blogging venture. I am in no way, shape, or form a beauty and makeup expert. I am not a certified or professional cosmetologist. I am just a woman who enjoys makeup. I enjoy playing with it, applying it (to my own face that is), and very obviously buying it.  I want you, dear readers, to know that first and foremost.

Besides that, I just want to take the time to mention, that yes I will be reviewing beauty/makeup products. I will not love every product I try. I will give an honest review, whether it’s good, bad, or indifferent. I want you all to know that this new blogging venture is simply to spread the joy of makeup. I am not being compensated in any way to post these views and opinions.

Readers, I hope you are excited about the BookBandit’s Beauty Basics! I have a lot of ideas, and I can’t wait to share them all with you! And please, if there’s a beauty/makeup feature you want to see covered, please either comment or feel free to e-mail at: bookbanditbeautybasics@gmail.com

*The above photograph was taken by me. It was altered by me using: Pixlr.com and Picmonkey.com Please do not “borrow” the above photo without asking permission first. That’s just rude!

A Wounded Name

Reviews

A Wounded Name by Dot Hutchinson (Recieved ARC from BEA 2013)

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Sixteen-year-old Ophelia Castellan isn’t the only girl at Elsinor Academy. But she is the only one who can see and communicate with the spirits of the dead. In the public world, the one in which her overbearing father and brother keeps a close eye on her, this is a very bad trait to possess. But in the comforts and the privacy of her four bedroom walls, Ophelia finds it intriguing.
So when she sees the spirit of the newly deceased Headmaster, Hamlet, Ophelia knows something isn’t right. Instead, something is wrong … terribly wrong.  Only troubled spirits are bound to this Earth, living a torturous life after death. But Hamlet isn’t just one spirit, he’s two separate spirits – one that’s full of anger and rage, the other the real Hamlet that she knew and loved.
Hamlet didn’t just die, he was murdered. As Ophelia struggles alongside Dane, the Headmaster’s grieving son, to piece together this mystery, she finds herself slowly but surely slipping further and further away from actual reality and into a world unknown and unseen.
A Wounded Name is a debut novel written by author Dot Hutchinson.
Judging by the above mentioned characters, you’ve probably already guessed that Hutchinson’s debut is a retelling of the Shakespearian classic Hamlet, set within the walls of a privileged boarding school. Hutchinson’s writing is strong and lyrical. She doesn’t just tell a story, she shows it.
From the start Hutchinson’s writing has readers wondering in what direction she’s going to take this already familiar story? But as the pages progress readers soon find that A Wounded Name is a retelling, just not as modern as they’d like.  Sure it’s be framed by a new setting, but the mindset hasn’t been changed.
Ophelia, in both the classic and Hutchinson’s version, is unreliable.  But the thing is: she didn’t have to be. Hutchinson had the chance to, not only flesh out this flat character, but to breathe a new, independent life into her. Instead, as a main character Ophelia falls short. I found myself often agitated by her, wanting desperately to shake some sense into her.
Yes, I wanted to shake sense into her. Especially when it came to her love for Dane, the Headmaster’s son. Ophelia loves Dane, and it’s blatantly clear that she will do whatever it takes to keep him close to her, even if that means letting him choke her. Their relationship isn’t healthy, neither is Ophelia’s acceptance of this kind of abuse.
Beyond that I found my real issue with A Wounded Name was that it’s labeled as a “modern” reworking of a classic tale. In today’s modern world women are considered a man’s equal. But this wasn’t the case for the world in which Ophelia lives. While her brother Laertes is free to sleep around, Ophelia is closed up in her room.
Beyond that, I found even the curriculum at Elsinor Academy was sexist. Girls were forced to take classes that would prepare them to be successful wives and mothers, classes that told Ophelia and her female classmates that their role within society is to – literally – stand behind their accomplished men.
For so many reasons I wanted to love Hutchinson’s A Wounded Name. But the truth is, for me as a reader, there were way too many moments – between the obvious sexism and abuse – that I couldn’t turn a blind eye to.

In Which I Blog About Ryan Gosling

Food For Thought, Random

Well … not really. But he is mentioned somewhere within this post.

On a totally non-book related note, in honor of  one of my most favorite holidays – Halloween – I thought it would be fun to include an fun, family craft. Who here loves Mod Podge?!? I know I do, it’s so … handy! Well, check out this blog to learn how to Mod Podge your own (plastic) pumpkins!

Calling all Hunger Games fans! May I have your attention! This is freaking awesome (and I really, really) want one of my own!

While wasting time of Pinterest I came across a pin from, I think (I’m not one hundred percent sure, so don’t go and quote me) from author Kami Garcia, about some splendid bookish items. How would you proudly show off your love of books?

Any children of the 90s out there? Even though I was born in the 80s, the 90s own a piece of my heart – the music, the movies, the clothes! If you feel the same way about all things 90s, here are some 90s inspired Halloween costumes!

As I mentioned above Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love watching anything scary and spooky. When I was little, I loved Are You Afraid of the Dark (even though, honestly, they weren’t very scary). This was my favorite episode.  And speaking of Are You Afraid of the Dark, did you know that Ryan Gosling was on an episode?

Enjoy!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Character Names That I Love

Uncategorized

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(Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. The above photo was taken and was altered by me*)

1. Atticus (To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee)

2. Penny Lane (The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg)

3. Clarity (Clarity/Perception by Kim Harrington)

4. Lola (Lola & The Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins)

5. Delaney (Fractured by Megan Miranda)

6.  Alaska (Looking For Alaska by John Green)

7. Cather (Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell)

8. Mackie (The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff)

9. Blue (The Raven Boys by The Raven Boys)

10. Gemma (A Great & Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray)

A to Z: YA Edition

Booklists, Food For Thought, Random

A few weeks ago, while I was on the road to Oz (North Carolina, that is) I put a my friend in charge of the tunes. At some point we listened to some stand up comedy and finally we landed on Slacker Radio (via my friend’s phone – it’s an App) and on a playlist called 90s A to Z.

In short it was absolutely great! Everything from Nirvana to TLC was accounted for. Seriously, great playlist! So much so that when I got home I made sure to download the Slacker App (and have listened to the 90s A to Z several times already.

But here’s the thing about this playlist, there wasn’t any rhyme or reason. Genres were intermingled, and sometimes it didn’t even make sense why a certain song and/or artist corresponded with the letter. For example, when we got to the letter P I swore it was Pearl Jam. I mean, how could it not be!? Pearl Jam’s Jeremy was a quintessential 90s jam! How could it not.

Well, guess what? Pearl Jam was not for letter P. Instead, it was Peppers, as in the Red Hot Chili’s. I like the Red Hot Chili Peppers. And yes, the completely deserve to be on the 90s A to Z play lists, but under P, really?!!

The thing is, with this playlist, anything goes.  The song title didn’t have to begin with the letter it was representing.  The band name (judging by the letter P, and the example above) It just, in some conveluded way has to circle back and relate to the letter it’s representing.

So, I thought I’d have a little fun. First I thought I’d put my own 90s playlist together.  But where would I post it? This isn’t a music blog. Then! The good ol’ light bulb lit up. What if I put together my own A – Z My Best of the Best YA Booklist!

Each letter will be represented by a book or an author. For example, M can be Devilish by Maureen Johnson (get it, M for Maureen?!).

I read a lot of YA, but I also read a lot of children’s (picture) books, so I decided that I’d do two lists – the YA Edition (this one) and next week I’ll post the Children’s Edition.

Without further adieu…

A is for All I Need by Susane Colasanti

B is for Bray, as in the one and only Libba and her 1920s smash The Diviners.

C is for cycle, The Raven Cycle # 1 The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

D is for The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

E is Eliot Schrefer’s Endangered

F is for, what else, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

G is for Green, as in John. The Fault in Our Stars is easily one of my most favorite books!

H is for Harrington, Kim Harrington’s Clarity.

I  is for In, as in in love, as in Falling In Love With English Boys by Melissa Jensen

J is for the J in Ilsa J. Bick and her awesome book Ashes

K is for kill, as in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

L is for Little Blue Envelopes, all 13 of them by Maureen Johnson

M is for Ms. Myracle’s Shine

N is for Nirvana. Not the band, but the book Adios Nirvana by Conrad Wesselhoeft

O is for kicking it old school with R.L. Stine’s One Evil Summer

P is for Perkins, not the restaurant but the author Stephanie and her book Lola and the Boy Next Door

Q is for the Queen of Kentucky by Alecia Whitaker

R is for the “r” in Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

S is for Struts & Frets by Jon Skovron

T is for Tara…Tara Altebrando’s Dreamland Social Club

U is for adventures in Underland, and A.G. Howards Splintered.

V is for Violet & Clare by Fancesca Lia Block

W is for the wonders to behold in Wonder Show by Hannah Barnaby

X (intentionally left open, because … well I don’t have a have book/author/character that begins with X)

Y is for Brenna Yovanoff’s The Replacement

Z is for Zevin’s All These Things I’ve Done

Shorty Review: The Little Prince

Reviews

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Title: The Little Prince

Author(s): Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Why Did I Read This Book: I love, love, love the film counterpart. I grew up watching it (on a daily basis might I add). I’ve wanted to read this book for quite some time, mainly to see if it holds as much magic as the movie does (surprise! it does!). But time has never been on my side. So when I did my self-imposed read – a – thon challenge I knew this was my chance!

Thoughts, Likes, and Dislikes: There was so much I liked about The Little Prince. I loved how imaginative this book is. Author Antoine de Saint-Exupery descriptive imagery draws readers into the book, and captures, not just their imaginations, but also their hearts. I also really loved the fact that the plot is original. The Little Prince was originally published in 1943 and there isn’t anything on bookshelves like it. Beyond this, I was very happy to learn, after reading, that the movie was close to the book – because don’t you just hate when you love a book and the movie it’s based upon is a total let down!?

Would I Recommend This to Other Readers: In short, yes!

What Famous Book Was Set in Your Home State?!?

Food For Thought, Random

Hello Readers!

I’m really into sharing some interesting links with you lately. And I figured that you, dear readers, are really interested in checking out what I’m interested in.

So….

While browsing on Twitter this past week (yes, browsing since I’ve been so busy I’ve hardly posted)  I came across a tweet from the lovely Cecelia from The Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia  tweeted about a Business Insider article that outlines what famous books are set in which states. I thought this was AWESOME, and figured I’d share with you, dear readers! Check out the article here! And in case you were wondering, Drown by Junot Diaz is set in my home state (New Jersey)

Dirty Little Secrets may be a song by the All American Rejects, but this article here exposes the dirty secrets of us librarians! Thanks to my bestie for sharing this with me on Facebook. I wonder what she thinks my librarian secret is?! (Some of these are REALLY funny!)

A girls gotta fight for what she believes in. And that’s just what an 8-year-old girl did when she spotted two books which she felt were sexist. Today.com posted all about this outraged avid reader! 

Now I’m not a Dancing With the Stars fan. In all honesty I don’t think I’ve watched an entire episode. But as I was driving to work the other morning and listening to the radio (which is a rarity, I normally have my ipod playing, but alas it was completely and utterly dead) I heard a clip about Elizabeth Berkley’s (aka Jessie Spano) Saved By The Bell tribute. I’m So Excited, I’m so excited, I’m so … scared! (Don’t lie, you remember that episode just as vividly as I do. And if you don’t here’s a little reminder)

Calling all children os the ’80s! This one is for you!

And as a friendly reminder, if you’re a book blogger you should totally sign up for the Giving Thanks Secret Box Swap Miss Print and I are hosting! Or if your not a book blogger, but know one you should totally pass this information along to them!

Enjoy, readers!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Was “Forced” To Read

Food For Thought, Random

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(Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. The above photo was taken and altered by me*)

We’ve all been “forced” to read books. In high school we had to read the classics. In college we had to read even more classics.  And in our book groups/circles we’re still “forced” to read books. Being forced to read any book isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’ve read a lot of books because friends/family/teachers urged me to read. And you know what, some of those books I loved!

1. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee – when I was a high school freshman my English teacher had assigned us to read a book. Any book so long as it wasn’t, as he termed it trash. He said if we couldn’t find a book he would give us one. At that point in time there wasn’t much in the way as “YA”, and I didn’t really want to read a boring classic. So I asked him, and from deep within a book closet he pulled out what would become my most favorite book – To Kill A Mockingbird.

2. The Crucible by Arthur Miller – Yet another book I had to read during my freshman English Class. I knew before the actually reading of this, that I would love, love, love this book. Why? Because I love everything and anything to do with the Salem Witch Trials.

3.  Liar by Justine Larbelestier – back when I had more time on my hands I participated in Miss Print’s Online Book Club.  One month Miss Print chose Liar to be discussed. It was a book I had on my shelf, one I was definitely curious about, but one I wasn’t one hundred percent certain I would enjoy. Miss Print definitely did not “force” me to read Liar, but she gave me the boost I needed to pick it up, and read it. I’m glad she did because in the end it was a book I really did enjoy.

4. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte – This is a book I was definitely FORCED to read. Once again I was in high school (I think I was a sophomore).  This was a book I had never had a real interest in reading, and when I did read I really did not enjoy.

5.  Hamlet by William Shakespeare – Every year in high school we focused on a specific Shakespearian work. My senior year we focused on Hamlet. We read the text. We watched the film – the Mel Gibson version of course. We wrote essays, took tests, and discussed passages over and over again. And as if all that wasn’t enough we had to memorize Hamlet’s third soliloquy and recite it to our teacher.

6.  Animal Farm by George Orwell – I was “forced” to read this in my freshman English class. This was one of those books that I really wanted to enjoy, but I didn’t. Why? Because I just didn’t get it. I thought it was a bunch of talking animals just running about the farm. I took it as silly instead of serious.

7. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys – I was “forced” to read this for my women’s literature class in college. At the time I hadn’t a clue as to what the book was about. I wouldn’t say that this book became my most favorite book. But I didn’t hate it. In fact, at the time I really enjoyed it, and was glad that I was “forced” to read it.

8. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult –  I read this while I was in grad school. I didn’t read it because a movie was about to be released.  I read it because I was doing my part in a group project. I honestly didn’t want to read this book, and as much as I resisted, I have to admit it wasn’t a terrible read.

9. One Evil Summer by R. L. Stine – every year when I was in grammar school we had to read one book as a whole class in “library”. Every year from about fourth grade onward my class always wanted to read a R.L. Stine book. And not just any book but a Fear Street book. But because we were young, and our school librarian (which looking back I’m not one hundred percent sure if she was an actual librarian – I don’t mean that as an insult, just putting it out there as an observation) wouldn’t let us read any. That is, until we were in seventh or eighth grade. As a class we chose One Evil Summer, and I LOVED it! To this very day, it’s still one of my most fave books. I even have it signed by R.L. Stine himself!

10. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer – I wasn’t necessarily “forced” to read Twilight by any one person or class. Instead, because I was studying to become a librarian, and because of all the hype and media buzz surround it, I felt like I had no choice but to cave and find out what this book was all about.

(* The above photo was taken and altered by me. Please do not take it!)

We’re Off To See ….

Food For Thought, Random

 

The Wizard, as in The Wizard of Oz, of course!

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Last weekend myself and two of my bestest friends piled into my car, with 90s hits blasting loud and proud from the radio (thanks to Slacker Radio!) and headed southbound on I-95 towards the lovely state of North Carolina.

This wasn’t just a weekend getaway, it was a weekend in Oz. Yes, you read that correctly, Oz. I went to Oz. Traveled, not by twister, but by Honda Fit to the land that’s paved with yellow bricks. And boy was it a whole lot of fun!

A few months back, which I was browsing SLJ’s website, I clicked one of the many SLJ blogs, not because I’m an avid follower, but because something caught my attention, and sparked an interest.  So I clicked, and inside I found a small blurb, a reposting of a Huffington Post article (found here) about an abandoned Wizard of Oz theme park that has been closed for quite some time, but open every single year for only two days for an event called Autumn At Oz.

Now, before I continue on I want you to understand something: one of my friends is Oz obsessed. I’m not lying about this. Her collection is vast, her love for all things Oz runs deep and true. So when I heard about this, I knew I had to tell her. I felt a moral obligation to, not only my friend, but to our friendship, inform her about this event.

Being the fan(atic) she is I figured she already knew about this. I mean, how could she not!? So I told her, fully expecting a bored expression as a response.

Now, let’s be shocked readers! My wizard of Oz loving friend did NOT know about this! Yes, readers this was a proud moment for me! The Wizard of Oz fan imparted some wisdom on the Wizard of Oz fan(atic).

So from the moment this information passed my lips I knew we’d be off on our own Oz adventure.

This past weekend I went to Autumn At Oz in Beech Mountain, NC with my aunt and two bestest friends in tow.  For any Wizard of Oz Fan  fanatics this is a dream come true! Even for us regular fans it was pretty awesome!

It was a whirlwind of weekend, with us driving down to my aunt’s house in North Carolina (which took close to 10 hours give or take) on Friday, us driving just over three hours to get to Beech Mountain, NC to attend Autumn at Oz on Saturday, and then driving another 10 plus hours to come back home to NJ.

Crazy? Yes? Worth it? Most definitely. We had the chance to visit a place we were once only able to visit in our imaginations! We had the chance to see a part of Americana history.

So after many hours spent in a car, driving up and spiraling into the mountains of North Carolina, we arrived at Oz. Or well, the parking lot that would eventually lead us to the Emerald City. We had to park and then take a bus further up the mountain to the actual theme park (a very rickety, often herky-jerky ride up a steep mountain).

This is where the fun begins ….

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He still hasn’t given Dorothy’s picture of Aunt Em back!
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We may have been on our way to Oz but we certainly weren’t there just yet. We made a brief pit stop in Kansas, and visited Dorothy’s house  – pre – twister!

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Dorothy, Aunt Em, and Uncle Henry were out, but little Toto was home!

 

 

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That chair right there, in the left corner of the room. That there chair is Uncle Henry’s chair. (imagine I said that with a thick Southern accent)

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And this is Dorothy’s room. She even has a picture of her idol, Judy Garland, on the wall.

After touring the pre-twister house we made our way through the black lit basement. Man it was a twister!

“The wind began to switch – the house to pitch – and suddenly the hinges started to unhitch. Just then the Witch

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to satisfy an itch went flying on her broomstick, thumbing for a hitch.”

Things got topsy – turvy on the other side of the twister!

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Boy it was a real doozy walking through that twisted house.

A terrible accident happened while we visited Oz. Someone dropped a house on a ….

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Ruby-Slipper Wearing Witch!

Greetings! And Welcome to the Land of Oz …

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Follow The Yellow Brick Road? Follow the Yellow Brick Road!

Follow, Follow, Follow the Yellow Brick Road

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As we made our way through Munchkin Land

DSCN1619We spotted Glinda’s bubble (which is a lot smaller than it appears)

We stumbled upon the Tin Woodsman and his tiny tin house. Cozy, isn’t it?!

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 We followed the Yellow Brick Road, and it led us to one of the greatest thinkers of all time

DSCN1635“With the thoughts I’d be thinkin’ I could be another Lincoln, if I only had a …. “

I could tell you why, the ocean’s by the shore, but I can’t tell you which way to go

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And neither can he

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So through the haunted forest, where lions, tigers, and bears roam freely we stumbled upon the Green Faced Witch’s castle.

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We even stumbled upon the Witch herself!

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(who slipped in and out of a British Accent. I thought I was in Oz, not back in London!?!)

But she’s wasn’t nearly as scary as these guys

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But we made it out of the evil clutches of the Wicked Witch of the West’s lair, and before reaching the Gates of the Emerald City, met the whole motley crew!

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It was a long, tiresome journey. But finally we reached the gates of the Emerald City

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It was through this long journey that I learned that Dorothy was right: THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME!

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The Four Friends Wave Goodbye!

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