February 18, 2015

Would You Read It Wednesday #162 - Barebones The Skeleton (PB) PLUS Straight From The Editor

Happy Wednesday, Everyone!

It's time for another round of every writer's favorite game, Would You Read It?!!!

But first, I have to tell you about the Christmas present my brother gave me - a one year subscription to Audible!  (You have my permission to skim this bit if you're in a hurry :) - I just wanted to share because it's awesome.)

One of the best presents EVER!  And I'm telling you this in case you need a gift for a writer, or even a normal person :) in your life, because I know how hard finding a perfect gift can be.  (It's also a great answer to the question, "What do you want for your birthday?"! :))  This present is great for the car, yes, but also great for listening to while exercising, whatever your punishment of choice happens to be - unless it's swimming - not sure how your iPod or MB3 player would work with that... :)

The only hard part is making the monthly pick.  I have to read through many possibilities, and read and compare the ratings, and listen to a few moments of the narrator, and evaluate, and weigh, and finally, FINALLY, make a careful choice.  Because I only get ONE!  And it has to be GOOD!

For January I had The Baker's Daughter by Sarah McCoy, read by Elisabeth Rodgers and it was fabulous!  For February, I have Saving Ceecee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman, read by Jenna Lamia.  After The Baker's Daughter, I thought, there's no way it could be as good.  But it IS!  Different kind of story, but such a great listen!

I am totally hooked.  But that's part of what makes the selection process so hard.  Now that I've had two that are so good, I don't want to accidentally get one that is a disappointment and waste my precious pick!  It's a teensy bit paralyzing!

Current titles in the running for March are All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr... but I might not get that on Audible because my daughter has the book and I could technically borrow it... if I ever have time to read.  Also in the running is The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins which looks really good and Kristen Larson said it was even better than Gone Girl.  But it's way too early for a decision yet!  So if anyone has any stellar recommendations, feel free to share!

Now that I've given you completely free and fantastic advice on what to get everyone you need a present for this whole entire year I'm hoping you're still awake :)

*** Those of you who were skimming - stop and pay attention now! :) ***

Because it's time for Straight From The Editor for the December/January pitch winner.

You will recall Michele's winning pitch: Hoot And Holly (PB ages 4-8)

When Holly finds the orphaned owlet Hoot in a windswept field near home, she knows he won’t survive without her help. With clues from Hoot and a bit of creativity, Holly teaches Hoot to hunt and fly. And when he is ready, they say goodbye.    

Editor Erin Molta says:

Hoot & Holly is a great title, BTW! And the pitch seems intriguing but I think it might be more successful if you reworked the bit about the clues. That connotes a mystery and that’s not really what this story is about, right?
The highlighted section could be more like a question: But how will Holly teach an owl how to hunt and fly? With research and some imagination, the young girl teaches the little orphan owl how to find it’s food and soar high in the air. When he is ready, they say goodbye.
When Holly finds the orphaned owlet Hoot in a windswept field near home, she knows he won’t survive without her help. With clues from Hoot and a bit of creativity, Holly teaches Hoot to hunt and fly. And when he is ready, they say goodbye.    
As always, I find Erin's thoughts so insightful!  I hope they're helpful to you too!

Now then, dearies, lest you grow faint, let's have a little second breakfast, shall we?

Our Something Chocolate today has been provided by our pitcher, and I must say, she has EXCELLENT taste!
Recipe for this delicious beauty at the Stay At Home Mom HERE
All that luscious chocolate would go perfectly with a cup of coffee, don't you think?  And that way we'll get twice the veggies out of this healthful breakfast - cocoa BEANS in the cake, and coffee BEANS in the coffee.  Truly, it's a win-win! :)

Now, if you can just stave off that chocolate coma for a moment or two, today's pitch comes to us from the one and only Robyn - she of the luscious chocolate cake - who says, "I write stories for children making them giggle, making them think."

You can visit her at:



Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Barebones The Skeleton
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: BAREBONES THE SKELETON looses his click-clack, and it’s Halloween. He has to find it before the sun goes down, or he’ll lose his Halloween job. With a little help from his friend, Barebones searches high and low and where he finds it is truly a musical surprise in this Jack Skellington meets Fred Astaire story.

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Robyn improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in July so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Robyn is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to poring over my Audible choices!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!!!


Reactions:

90 comments:

  1. Always enjoy Erin's advice!!


    And thank you for the cake. What a wonderful start to my day :-)


    The WYRI sounds very interesting. With it's Halloween theme, it could be quite an enjoyable read so I would read it.

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  2. Hmm. I MIGHT read it.... *taps fingers*

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  3. I have Audible already and I love it, too! Makes bathroom cleaning more bearable. ;)

    Erin gave great advice, per usual! And the cake...oh, my! I licked my phone screen.

    I would totally read Robyn's story! The pitch is well-written - succinct and intriguing. The only thing I would like to be added (if it can done with few words) is maybe just a bit more on his job. I know skeletons are expected to clack but I kind of want to know where and exactly why. But that could just be me. I really think it's great as it stands. Way to go, Robyn!

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  4. Mike Allegra writerFebruary 18, 2015 at 9:08 AM

    So Audible is a better gift than chocolate? Wha?


    Are you a pod person?

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  5. Totally love this pitch! Love the Jack Skellington/Fred Astaire reference so yep, I'd definitely read it. (The only thing I'd change: the spelling on "looses" to "loses")

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  6. Yummy cake *licks fingers and plate*! Robyn's pitch is absolutely intriguing, so I'd definitely read it. Love Halloween--my favorite holiday so am a tad biased. Great pitch, Robyn.

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  7. Thanks, Linda. Very much appreciated.

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  8. Oops, typos. GAH. Thanks for catching that, Cathy!

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  9. Teresa, I heart you. Thanks, pal. <3 Will play around with that.

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  10. Yes, I'd read Barebones The Skeleton. I love Halloween, and want to know about the Fred Astaire influence... Dancing figures are in my mind. Thanks also for Erin's insightful comments!

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  11. Oh, I love the vegetarian breakfast! Thanks Susanna and Robyn! :) Your gift sounds wonderful, Susanna! But what pressure. HaHa!

    Yes, I definitely would read Barebones. Halloween stories are so intriguing, and he sounds like a fun character. I like that we know what the stakes are right away. The music aspect makes you want to read it and find out more. Best wishes with this book, Robyn! :)

    And thanks again for the chocolate cake! :)

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  12. You did critique it, Janet. Thanks, my friend.

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  13. Thanks, Michelle. I'm glad dancing figures are in your mind. :-)

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  14. Thanks for critiquing it for me, Cheryl. <3 And vegetarian breakfasts are where it's at. Hahaha.

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  15. Ooh I want to read All the Light we Cannot See. I have cute right back on novels, ADD lol. Great pitch Robyn, it sounds great already. Thanks for the chocolate cake!

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  16. (licking frosting from fingers before typing...) Barebones loses his click-clack? or looses it? I'm thinking he's lost it and needs to find it. Sounds intriguing and I'd definitely read it - but I have no idea what you mean when you add: " in this Jack Skellington meets Fred Astaire story" - except that I know Fred danced. I know a lot of people say "it's _____ meets _____" but personally, I don't like that kind of popular reference shorthand. I just want to know about your story.

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  17. This sounds like a fun read, and what an opportunity for illustrations kids would love! I wonder if you need "THE SKELETON" in the title. Love the name "BAREBONES," and the cover illustration would leave no doubt about who he is.

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  18. Yes, I'd read it. Lots of intriguing ideas in the first two sentences. I'm curious about the concept of losing one's "click-clack"--that's cute! It also promises some fun sound-effects. And I can tell that you're not skewing toward scary in this Halloween story. The other curiosity is what his job might be. I like the idea of the skeleton having a job and a responsibility to uphold. Big question: who is his friend? I think you should just tell us. And I agree with another reviewer who didn't care for the Jack Skellington meets Fred Astaire reference. It shook me out of the story. But I do want to know that there's dancing in the story, so I'd advise you find a way to tell or hint at that. (Note: I wouldn't mind if, somewhere in a second paragraph within your query letter, you called him the "Fred Astaire of skeletons"--to indicate the kind of artistic tone you're going for. But for the first paragraph, I think stick to the thread of your story.) Overall, I really like this pitch and the concept!

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  19. Thanks, Sydney! I added THE SKELETON because that's part of the title. Hmm. Will rethink.

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  20. Thank you, Heather. I appreciate it.

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  21. I would love to listen to Brown Girl Dreaming, if they had it. I LOVE that book so much I had to review it!


    I love the visual I get when I think of a skeleton dancing like Fred Astaire. This book could have the feel of Nina Laden's "The Night I Followed the Dog" and its Casablanca-esque setting. But, as they say, it's all in the execution. I'm having a little trouble with the Jack Skellington image since he doesn't really look like a full skeleton with bones jangling everywhere. I'm wondering who his friend is? Not sure I'm making sense this morning. My son and I are sick, and I'm not in the best frame of mind today. Perhaps I should just go back to bed....

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  22. Thank you, Jill. Feel better. Will take another look at this.

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  23. If I gave up chocolate for Lent, can I still have virtual chocolate, Susanna? :)

    Hi Robyn! I HAVE read this story and it's a lot of fun! ;) You've got some key elements here that are important. I think you could combine the first and second lines, and only mention Halloween once. The last line of the pitch gives me the feeling that the entire story is focused around dancing. (Perhaps that has changed since I last critiqued it? You've got me curious. ;) But, I do love the idea of using Fred Astaire to hint at the resolution or identify with the character's voice if it is consistent throughout the entire story. Best wishes!

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  24. Hey Carrie! Thanks so much for your input. Well, I added more music. The solution is built around dancing. *waves*

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  25. Awww. This one sounds perfectly adorable and should appeal to both boys and girls. You bet I'd read it.

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  26. Been waiting for something chocolate all week. Just didn't get enough on Valentine's Day. So, as for that cake, Thirds please!

    Robyn, I love that you tell us that Barebones loses his click-clack right before an important gig on Halloween. Yes, I'd read it. You make us all want to read it. I think that you've received good feedback on your pitch. Barebones, coming to a bookstore near you..

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  27. Susanna, Thanks for the chocolate!

    Well, I am definitely curious. I agree with Carrie that you could combine the first two sentences. I too am not sure about "Jack Skellington meets Fred Astaire." I also to want to know a bit more about what his job is and who is his friend? here is a possible way to tighten it a bit:

    BAREBONES THE SKELETON looses his click-clack. He must find it before the sun goes down, or lose his Halloween job. With a little help from his friend, Barebones searches high and low and where he finds it is truly a musical surprise in this Jack Skellington meets Fred Astaire story.

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  28. Susanna, I can't believe you haven't read GIRL ON THE TRAIN yet! It's so good. :) In the meantime, I am very intrigued by this story. However, I don't think I'm 100% sure what the "click clack" is. Is he losing his ability to make sound? I love the snappy title. Great hook.

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  29. Glad Hoot and Holly won the pitch. Erin's advice is spot on again. And Robyn, you click clack girl. Love that. When you mentioned Fred Astaire, I got the connection immediately. I imagine a musical. Just wondering if children will make the connection. If indeed there is a musical element, why not add something about that. Wonderful pitch, Robyn. :-)

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  30. I agree that you can combine the first two sentences, and that you only need to say Halloween once. I would also recommend that you mention a couple of the unusual places he looks for a bit more intrigue and fun. Love it otherwise.


    And I LOVE Erin's advice for Michele! Great stuff!

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  31. I would love Audible. Putting that on my wish list for next year.

    The pitch is adorable--very Halloweensie too?! Great premises, though I think you have a few: loses his Halloween appeal, has a friend, musical theme. I'd love a bit more focus, or if they're related (appeal is musical) to highlight that throughout. My try:

    Right before Halloween, BAREBONES THE SKELETON looses his music-making click-clack. He searches high and low, [examples, esp. if musical], and only to find it hidden in the most musical place.

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  32. Good details! I have a fuller reply above, but I too loved the music aspect and thought I'd have a go at weaving it through the pitch. My try:

    Right before Halloween, BAREBONES THE SKELETON looses his music-making click-clack. He searches high and low, [specific examples, esp. if musical]--only to find it hidden in the most musical place.

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  33. The premise for the story sounds very original :) I would only suggest that you explain what his "click clack" actually is (his bones clacking together?), do a bit of tightening on the second sentence, and double-check spelling :) Love the names, btw!

    And, Susanna, I've heard of Audible through Sheila at Book Journey (http://bookjourney.net/) and it wouldn't hurt to ask her! Just give her the names of the books like listed here that you love so much and I bet she'll know books to recommend :D Enjoy!

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  34. Thanks so much for your comments for Robyn, Donna! And for your recommendation of Sheila! That sounds like a great idea!

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  35. Thanks of your very helpful suggestions and re-wording for Robyn, Stacy! And I hope you get Audible - I've only had it 2 months and I'm totally hooked! I was lucky it was a gift though. For a year, it's not cheap. But I'm guessing I'll be scraping pennies together to keep it up next year :)

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  36. Thank you so much for your helpful comments for Robyn, Joanne! And I'm glad you enjoyed Erin's advice!

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  37. Thanks so much for your enthusiasm for Michele and your thoughts for Robyn, Tracy!

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  38. Thanks for sharing your reactions with Robyn, Kirsten! And at this rate, I have a sneaking suspicion GIRL ON THE TRAIN is going to be my March pick! :)

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  39. You are very welcome, Maria! I know how important chocolate is! :) Thank you so much for your helpful suggestions and re-wording for Robyn!

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  40. I'm glad I was able to help out in the chocolate department, Pam! You KNOW you can always count on me for that! :) And thank you for your lovely comments for Robyn :)

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  41. Thanks so much for your positivity for Robyn, Rosi! :)

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  42. I'm a little fuzzy on the Lent rules, Carrie, but virtual chocolate seems like it should be okay :) Thanks so much for your very helpful comments for Robyn!

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  43. Ooh! What a great idea, Jilanne! I hadn't thought of that one on audible, but I bet it would be amazing! Thanks so much for your comments for Robyn, and I hope you and your son feel MUCH better very soon!!!

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  44. Thank you so much for your very thoughtful and helpful comments for Robyn, Heather!

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  45. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with Robyn, Sydney! :)

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  46. Glad you enjoyed the cake, Sue :) And thanks so much for your helpful comments for Robyn!

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  47. Thanks for your positive comments for Robyn, Catherine! And I'm glad you enjoyed the cake :) I totally want to read/hear All The Light... one way or the other - it sounds great!

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  48. It's very healthful to be vegetarian, Cheryl, and chocolate cake is a nutritious part of a vegetarian diet :) Thanks for your comments for Robyn, and I will do my best to bear up under the pressure :)

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  49. Thank you for sharing your reaction for Robyn, Michelle! And I'm glad you liked Erin's comments - she's great, isn't she?!

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  50. I've read at least one version of it and it was wonderful :) Thanks so much for your encouragement for Robyn, Janet!

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  51. Thanks for your thoughts for Robyn, Linda, and glad you enjoyed the cake! :)

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  52. Thanks so much for your comments and for the typo catch, Cathy! :)

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  53. Now, Mike. Apparently you were one of the skimmers. I said "ONE of the best presents ever" not "THE best present ever!" :) Audible WITH chocolate would be pretty hard to beat :) I do not know if I'm a pod person. iPod? I do have an iPod... which is how I listen to audible... through the app.

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  54. Thanks so much for your helpful comments for Robyn, Teresa! I'm glad you enjoyed the cake and Erin's comments - not necessarily in that order :) What have you listened to on Audible that you love? and hmm... I didn't think of using it for house-cleaning chores but by golly I think that's an inspired idea!

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  55. Glad you enjoyed Erin's advice and the cake, Angela, and thrilled I could get your day off to a good (and healthful! :)) start! :) Thanks so much for your comments for Robyn!

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  56. There is nothing more boring than doing laundry and cleaning bathrooms so it's nice to listen to a book all the while. :) My favorite reading was LIFE OF PI (the narrator did a great job). Stories I enjoyed included WOOL (by Hugh Howie) and THE DARWIN ELEVATOR (by Jason Hough). I'm listening to a great terrific book called THE INVISIBLE GORILLA right now. It's nonfiction about the fallibility of memory. I like to intersperse NF with fiction. Oh, I also loved DOLL BONES by Holly Black. :)

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  57. Wow, thanks for the great recommendations, Teresa! Can you believe I still have not read Life of Pi? I must add that to my possible list!

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  58. I thought I was the last person on the planet to read LIFE OF PI! :D Hope you'll find it intriguing, too!

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  59. I haven't read it yet because I'm scared it will be sad :( Is it sad?

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  60. It is sad only in the overall narrative (that is, in terms of the MC's loss) but it is so oddly humorous throughout that you would never notice that it's sad. I cry at things no one else does but I never cried once with this book. :)

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  61. Thank you, Donna. Will have another look. This is the first time I've been able to load this blog. ACK!

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  62. Thank you, Stacy. Haha. You did the same thing I did with loses. Much appreciated. Will reword.

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  63. Hey, Joanne! Thank you, thank you for reading and commenting. Will redo. AGAIN. Ha.

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  64. Tracy, you are using your noodle. Thanks, for commenting. Hugs, my friendly cuz.

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  65. Thank you, Kirsten. Back to the drawing board. I appreciate your help.

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  66. Thanks, Maria. I really appreciate you having a look at this. Will redo it.

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  67. Pam, LOVE YOU, WOMAN. Of course, you've critiqued it. So you get the musical part of the query much better than most. Thank you, pal.

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  68. Rosi, you made me smile a mile. xo Thank you.

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  69. Hehe - I know how you feel, Robyn. TRUST me (and I'm up next week, so feel free to turn the tables yourself - turnabout is fair play and all ;)

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  70. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikFebruary 22, 2015 at 5:02 PM

    This is a great post! Audible! Ms. Molta! Audible! Ms. Campbell's pitch! Audible! DONUTS!
    You can tell I like the idea of Audible, right? And the donuts is in reference to Ms. Campbell. :)
    I would totally read the book! As in, I critiqued it! So, I'm biased. BUT I still like it! :D

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  71. Clearly someone (who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent) was asleep at the switch when she forgot to mention DONUTS in this post! Thank you for rectifying the mistake, Erik :) Do you have Audible? What have you listened to that you loved? Thanks for your comments (and DONUTS) for Ms. Campbell :)

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  72. Oh, well that is good to know! I can cry at a good kleenex commercial, so there's not much hope for me if there's anything remotely sad :)

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  73. Mike Allegra writerFebruary 23, 2015 at 9:52 AM

    If you were the real Susanna you would have said "the SECOND best present ever".


    WHAT DID YOU DO WITH SUSANNA!

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  74. Just remember, it's your story. And I may be wrong. Hugs back, cuz'n Robyn. And happy to help, Susanna. :-)

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  75. MWAH-HA-HA-HA-HA! (hoping that's how you spell an evil laugh :))

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  76. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikFebruary 24, 2015 at 7:24 AM

    No, I don't have Audible, but I want it! :)

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  77. I think you just gave me a good idea for a prize for a future contest! :)

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  78. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikFebruary 24, 2015 at 5:49 PM

    YAY! A video contest? ;)

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  79. You're incorrigible! I foresee a career in film! :)

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  80. Hahaha, my number one crit pardner! YOU ARE THE BEST!

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  81. Fun pitch from Robyn! I would read it for sure!


    I love Audible. Member since 6-22-06. 275 books! Currently listening to Wonder by R.J. Palacio and loving it. So glad Kristen recommended The Girl on the Train. I have it on my Wish List and now I think I'll go ahead and use a credit for it. Before Wonder I listened to Brown Girl Dreaming...need I say more. But, I kind of think Brown Girl Dreaming might deserve to be held and read traditionally. Before that I listened to The Sky is Everywhere...WOW! Happy Audible-ing, Susanna!

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  82. Oh, wow! You're an Audible pro! So many great books! Someone else mentioned Brown Girl Dreaming, which I'm dying to read, but I think you might be right about it and I love the way you said that! :)

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