Book Spotlight/Guest Post by Robert Eggleton

It isn’t very often that I receive review/spotlight request for a book with such a unique premise – its contents addressing child abuse and mental health against a backdrop of     SciFi/Fantasy cross-genre. I am so pleased to feature Rarity from the Hollow on my blog today.

Rarity from the Hollow  

Synopsis2Lacy Dawn’s father relives the Gulf War, her mother’s teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in the hollow is hard. She has one advantage — an android was inserted into her life and is working with her to cure her parents. But, he wants something in exchange. It’s up to her to save the Universe. Lacy Dawn doesn’t mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first.

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. The second edition was released on November 3, 2016.

praises

“The most enjoyable science fiction novel I have read in years.” Temple Emmet Williams, Author, former editor for Reader’s Digest

“Quirky, profane, disturbing… In the space between a few lines we go from hardscrabble realism to pure sci-fi/fantasy. It’s quite a trip.”  – Evelyn Somers, The Missouri Review

. “…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse…tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…profound…a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.” — Awesome Indies (Gold Medal)

“…sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved…a brilliant writer.” —Readers’ Favorite (Gold Medal)

“Rarity from the Hollow is an original and interesting story of a backwoods girl who saves the Universe in her fashion. Not for the prudish.” —Piers Anthony, New York Times bestselling author

“…Good satire is hard to find and science fiction satire is even harder to find.” — The Baryon Review

About the Author:

Robert Eggleton

Robert Eggleton has served as a children’s advocate in an impoverished state for over forty years. He is best known for his investigative reports about children’s programs, most of which were published by the West Virginia Supreme Court where he worked from 1982 through 1997, and which also included publication of models of serving disadvantaged and homeless children in the community instead of in large institutions, research into foster care drift involving children bouncing from one home to the next — never finding a permanent loving family, and statistical reports on the occurrence and correlates of child abuse and delinquency.

Today, he is a recently retired children’s psychotherapist from the mental health center in Charleston, West Virginia, where he specialized in helping victims cope with and overcome physical and sexual abuse, and other mental health concerns. Rarity from the Hollow is his debut novel. Its release followed publication of three short Lacy Dawn Adventures in magazines: Wingspan Quarterly, Beyond Centauri, and Atomjack Science Fiction. The second edition of Rarity from the Hollow was release on November 3, 2016. Author proceeds have been donated to a child abuse prevention program operated by Children’s Home Society of West Virginia. http://www.childhswv.org/ Robert continues to write fiction with new adventures based on a protagonist that is a composite character of children that he met when delivering group therapy services. The overall theme of his stories remains victimization to empowerment.

Buy Links : 

Amazon     Lulu    Dog Horn Publishing

Connect with Robert:

Website Facebook Twitter 

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Here’s a guest post from the author about writing books with emotional triggers.

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Do you cry during sad or uplifting scenes in books or movies? Some people are so sensitive that they weep during fund-raising infomercials for Save the Children or another heart-felt cause.  

Good fiction, unless you are a total narcissist and unable to feel empathy, does trigger emotions on some level. Since adolescence is often a period of strong egocentrism, and since empathy is an acquired skill that develops as we mature, young adult content often prompts basic feelings – romance, excitement, or anger using plot and action. Whereas, literary fiction tends to be more complex and prompt contemplations about emotionally charged issues long exposures to the content, such as the book/movie Precious or The Color Purple.

People who avoid triggers of strong and complex emotions may be considered by some to be “faint hearted.” Some individuals are so faint hearted that they faint when there is no medical explanation, such as at the sight of blood, a condition that may have neurological roots: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/broadcast/read/838. They avoid, for example, horror movies or books because the content causes them to feel so uncomfortable that it could even cause nightmares.

Other people appreciate and pursue the powerful emotions triggered by some fiction. We each have individualized comfort zones, often reflected in our entertainment choices. In general, however, some psychologists believe that people should strive to break out of their comfort zones: http://lifehacker.com/the-science-of-breaking-out-of-your-comfort-zone-and-w-656426705.  

Rarity from the Hollow is an adult literary social science fiction novel full of tragedy, comedy and satire. Here’s what one book reviewer concluded after reading it, the second of two Gold Medals: “… Full of cranky characters and crazy situations, Rarity from the Hollow sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved….” —  https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/rarity-from-the-hollow

Emotional triggers prompted by fiction may also be related to warm or harsh personal memories. Memories of very bad experiences, such as rape, car accidents, war, child maltreatment, can traumatize a person. For example, one of the characters in Rarity from the Hollow begins the story as a war damaged Vet having returned from the Gulf War with PTSD. There is also one violent scene in the story, a flashback of domestic violence. And, there are references to child maltreatment and puns about sex (no actual scenes).

Perhaps more important than parental guidance advisories meant to define adult content appropriate to youthful consumers, book and movie reviews play an important role in helping people scarred by trauma, not merely the faint hearted, from unpleasant experiences in entertainment. We each take one step at a time in putting our bad memories to rest.  

While some degree of cautionary statement is appropriate to advise potential readers of Rarity from the Hollow, the early tragedy amplifies subsequent comedy and satire: “a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, only instead of the earth being destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass, Lacy Dawn must…The author has managed to do what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse, and written about them with tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…Eggleton sucks you into the Hollow, dunks you in the creek, rolls you in the mud, and splays you in the sun to dry off. Tucked between the folds of humor are some profound observations on human nature and modern society that you have to read to appreciate…it’s a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.http://awesomeindies.net/ai-approved-review-of-rarity-from-the-holly-by-robert-eggleton/

As a retired children’s psychotherapist, the novel was written to be a fictionalized road map from victimization to empowerment, especially for those victims still symptomatic after having been involved in mental health treatment or currently involved in treatment. This story is pure fiction, based on people that I’ve met during over forty years as a child advocate. It is not a self-help manual. It is a genre bender that uses science fiction as a backdrop.

To readers who have PTSD and who decide to check out Rarity from the Hollow, I do recommend please reading beyond the third chapter. Several book reviewers privately disclosed to me that they had experienced emotional trauma, and one publicly disclosed for the first time that she was a survivor of rape: “…As a rape survivor… found myself relating easily to Lacy Dawn… style of writing which I would describe as beautifully honest. Rarity from the Hollow is different from anything I have ever read, and in today’s world of cookie-cutter cloned books, that’s pretty refreshing…taking you on a wild ride you won’t soon forget….http://kyliejude.com/2015/11/book-review-rarity-from-the-hollow/

If you decide to read Rarity from the Hollow, yes, I hope that your emotions will be triggered. Its mission is to sensitize readers to the huge, world-wide, social problem of child maltreatment through a comical and satiric science fiction adventure. Author proceeds have been donated to child abuse prevention. “If I could, I would give it all the stars in the universe…I was hesitant to accept. I usually do not read or review books that discuss child abuse or domestic violence; however, I was intrigued by the excerpt and decided to give it a shot. I am glad that I took a risk; otherwise, I would have missed out on a fantastic story with a bright, resourceful, and strong protagonist that grabbed my heart and did not let go….”  http://www.onmykindle.net/2015/11/rarity-from-hollow.html
If you decide not to read Rarity from the Hollow but want to help maltreated children, there are several ways to contribute. There are hundreds of under-funded emergency children’s shelters all over the U.S. Google to find one, and then send an unwrapped anonymous gift to a kid, any size will do because maltreatment comes in all shapes and sizes. It is the Holiday Season. Furthermore, some community-based providers of social and mental health services are likely to be concerned that there could be cuts in federal funding of their programs under the new administration. Your help may be needed more than ever before.

 

Book Spotlight/Guest Post by Chuck Barret – Why Cyber Terrorism

While cyber-terrorism is featured as a plot quite often in films, it is still not seen much in adult fiction books. In this post, author Chuck Barret talks about what prompted him to pick this theme for his latest book in the Jake Pendleton series- Disruption.

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Why Cyber Terrorism?

Since my latest thriller, DISRUPTION, has been out (October 25, 2016 release date), I’ve been asked numerous times why I picked cyber-terrorism as the main theme of the book. I say to them, why not cyber-terrorism? I mean, it’s in our faces every single day. You can’t open a newspaper or listen to the news without hearing about another cyber-attack somewhere in the world. It’s a daily occurrence. Many times a day, if truth be told. Other than the recent elections that dominated the news for a few weeks, cyber-security is THE hottest topic in this day in age. And it’s one that is extremely important to everyone except the most technologically challenged.

All of the examples of hacking in DISRUPTION are accurate. Most have already happened! Many are realistic threats that our nation, as well as many other nations, fear could happen anytime. Just look at the elections, our government took extreme measures to prevent any attempt by foreign entities to hacking the election results and plummet this country into total chaos. Much worse than how anyone might have felt about who won the election. This would have shaken our trust at a much deeper level.

The dark world of hacking is a fact of life we must live with every day. Currently, there is no way to avoid that threat. Certainly, we can and should take every precaution available to us, but we aren’t free of the possibility of being hacked. And won’t be for a very long time.

When crafting the storyline for DISRUPTION, I consulted a man who has been a vital part of my research since my second novel, a man who became the character of The Toymaker, and is now the boss. We discussed conspiracy theories and political implications of cyber-warfare. We discussed, in pain-staking detail I might add, encryption technology and how that technology could be turned against a country. Actually, I came away more paranoid about cyber-security than I did going in.

I took what I had and weaved a storyline around it. It is plausible. It could happen. And this should scare the hell out of you. Cyber warfare is real and it is looming on our horizon.        

The greatest threat to our country right now is not nuclear warfare or aggressive threats by Russia or Islamic State. Cyber-security is the greatest threat to our country today. Or rather the lack of it.

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Thanks Chuck and good luck with Disruption!

About the book:

Disruption (Jake Pendleton #4)

There are two types of people: those who have been hacked and know it, and those who have been hacked and don’t know it.

Former Naval Intelligence Officer turned secret operative Jake Pendleton finds himself in a pulse-pounding race to stop a cyber-terrorist from releasing a string of the most heinous cyber-crimes the world has ever seen. Crimes that could render the world’s advanced technology useless.

Jake teams with his partner, Francesca Catanzaro, to track down their only lead, a white-hat hacker in Italy known only as The Jew. A man who might hold the key to stop a group of black-hat hackers from causing worldwide chaos—tag named Disruption.

After a search of the hacker’s flat in Rome turns up empty, Jake and Francesca follow the clues—a trail of dead bodies that leads them across Europe. Along the way, Jake discovers a possible link between recent hacks and a Malaysian airliner that mysteriously disappeared.

In the final adrenaline-charged moments before Disruption, Jake and Francesca find themselves in a high-voltage race to stop these cyber terrorists from unleashing destruction against their sworn mortal enemy.

About the author:

Chuck Barrett

Chuck Barrett is the bestselling author of the Award-Winning Jake Pendleton series—Breach of Power, The Toymaker, and The Savannah Project, as well as his latest award-winning blockbuster, BLOWN, the first book in his new Gregg Kaplan series.

In addition to writing thrillers, Barrett speaks and conducts workshops at book festivals, book clubs, reading groups, writers conferences, and writers groups. Some of his topics include Nuts & Bolts of Self-Publishing based on his book—Publishing Unchained: An Off-Beat Guide To Independent Publishing—as well as, Blueprint for a Successful Book Launch, Getting from ‘Idea’ to ‘Finished Manuscript,’ Mysteries & Thrillers: Fact or Fiction, and Adding the “What if” in Storytelling.

Barrett is a graduate of Auburn University and a retired air traffic controller. He also holds a Commercial Pilot Certificate, Flight Instructor Certificate, and a Dive Master rating. He enjoys fly fishing, hiking, and most things outdoors. He and his wife, Debi currently reside in Colorado.

Buy links : Amazon  ~  Barnes & Noble  ~ Audible

Connect with Chuck : Website  ~ Twitter  ~  Facebook

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Book Spotlight/Guest Post by Lauren Carr – I’m Sorry If I Offended You … Now Grow Up

I am pleased to feature a guest post by the author of Lauren Carr as part of a blog tour for her latest book. It is written from an author’s perspective, but anyone who wants to hold an opinion – and voice it – will be able to relate to this post!

I’m Sorry If I Offended You … Now Grow Up

The year: 1508

Setting: Sistine Chapel

Michelangelo enters the Sistine Chapel with his paints and scaffolding. He has a great image in his mind. This will be his piece of art that will define him as an artist. The creation that he puts on this ceiling is going to put his name in the history books to immortalize him as a great master painter.

As Michelangelo is setting up, someone comes in. Spying one of the cans of paint, he asks, “Is that red paint you have there?”

Michelangelo says it is. The red will be needed for much of the paintings: for example, in the creation of Man.

“Can’t you use another color?”

“No,” Michelangelo says. “Red is one of the primary colors.”

“But it is so offensive.”

“How?”

“Red is the color of evil,” the visitor says. “Evil is offensive. Therefore, red is offensive.”

“It is the color of blood which gives us life,” Michelangelo says.

“Maybe according to you, but a lot of people don’t like the color red and if you use it you will offend them, which will make you and us look bad. People will think we’re endorsing evil.”

With a shrug of his shoulders, Michelangelo relents and takes the bucket of red paint out of the chapel. He is thinking about how he is going to adjust his painting when he comes in and sees someone else standing over the bucket of yellow paint.

“Is this yellow paint?” the new visitor asks with a glare in his eyes.

“Yes,” Michelangelo manages to say before the gentleman launches into his offense.

“Are you saying that we’re cowards? Yellow is the color of cowards used in terms like yellow-belly and—”

“No!” Michelangelo throws up his hands. “I just need to use yellow because it’s the base color in brown—”

But before Michelangelo can finish the second visitor hurries from the chapel while muttering about bigots and stereotyping of some social group which Michelangelo doesn’t have time to discern before a third person comes in to spy yet another bucket of paint.

“Is that green?”

“‘I need it for the Garden of Eden,” Michelangelo says in a firm tone.

“Why green? Aren’t you discriminating against the color blue? Blue has just as much right to be used for the Garden of Eden as green. Besides, were you there? How do you know the Garden of Eden wasn’t blue instead of green?”

A month later, Michelangelo finishes the Sistine Chapel. When the great ceiling is revealed to the public, they stare up in awe at the great white ceiling high above. After all, after Michelangelo had eliminated all of the colors that offended anyone, all he had left was white—to which, one member of the audience commented:

“Did you have to choose white? White gives me a migraine.”

* * * * *

In January, my ninth Mac Faraday Mystery, Three Days to Forever was released to rave reviews from both readers and reviewers. This time, I took readers on a thrill-ride. Three days before his and Archie Monday’s lavish wedding, Mac Faraday, Joshua Thornton (of Lovers in Crime), and Archie’s mother are running for their lives after a professional hit team attack Spencer Manor.

Many reviewers and readers have declared this suspense-filled mystery the “best of her best!”

Not surprisingly, a small number of readers have expressed disappointment and even dismay because they were offended by a storyline which involved home-grown terrorists. Current political issues were raised and discussed by the characters involved. It would have been unrealistic for them to investigate a case involving terrorism without these discussions. Because some of the views expressed by some of the characters differed from their views, a few readers were offended by the whole storyline.

Based on one of the twists in my suspenseful mystery, a couple readers even took a leap-frog jump to proclaim Three Days to Forever was my political message accusing our current President and his administration of corruption and cover-up.

This response was in spite of an author note on the book page on Amazon and in the front pages of the book reminding readers that:

Three Days to Forever is fiction. It is not the author’s commentary on politics, the media, the military, or Islam. While actual current events have inspired this adventure in mystery and suspense, this fictional work is not meant to point an accusatory finger at anyone in our nation’s government.”

This is not the first time that I have unintentionally offended readers in my quest to write a challenging and fun-filled mystery.

A couple of years ago, I received a review for Blast from the Past, a Mac Faraday Mystery, in which the reader opened with “Thankfully, this book in the series contained no insulting-to-fat-people characters.”

I did a lot of head scratching trying to figure out what she could possibly have been talking about. When did I insult fat people? Apparently, one of my fans had the same question because she went onto the site to ask the reader, who claimed that in one of my previous books I had presented a fat character in a derogatory manner. The fan came back to say that if it was the book she was thinking of, it was the character, not fat people who were presented in a derogatory manner.

The fact remains, this reader was so offended by my use of an obese character in It’s Murder, My Son that she felt compelled to carry out her grudge by posting a negative review four books later.

In It’s Murder, My Son, the character of Betsy is a victim. She is sloppy and, yes, obese. Her low self-esteem puts her into the perfect situation to be manipulated and used by the killer—who is slender and attractive, by the way.

Rightfully, it should be the skinny people posting negative reviews about me making them out to be manipulative and homicidal. In It’s Murder, My Son, I killed five skinny people to the one fat one. I mean, if I’m prejudice against fat people because I killed one—I must really have it out for skinny people!

How can a mystery author write books that are entertaining without offending anyone? Well, obviously, I can’t have fat characters be victims because they will offend readers like the one I mentioned above. I also can’t use them as killers because I will be saying that fat people are homicidal maniacs—unless they are driven to it by skinny people.

I guess I should stop using women as murder victims. People may start to think I’m sexist. For that matter, I should no longer have the killer be a woman. Then people will think that I’m saying that women are bad people. Heaven forbid I kill a blonde woman—then they’ll think I’m prejudice against blondes, even though I am one!

Furthermore, I really should avoid using short people—because I will offend those readers who suffer from dwarfism.

In recent history, the world has become a great melting pot. Along with the melding of cultures and people becoming more aware of each other’s differences, sections of our society have felt justified in demanding that everyone else—including artists—walk on eggshells in order to not offend them or anyone. Children can’t even pray in school because they may offend the one atheist child in the room of thirty students.

This post is not directed toward those sensitive readers who throw hissy fits in the form of negative reviews because their feelings were unintentionally hurt in the name of art. Nothing I, or any author writes, can change their perception. Rather, this is directed to writers who may fear being on the receiving end of such a tantrum when they have, without intention, offended someone somehow someway.

If writers bend to such criticism, they might as well throw away their laptops.  All murder victims in mysteries will need to be white men (because they deserve it); and the killer is always going to be the white man (because they’re always the bad guy).

Mind you, these white men have to be of average height and weight.

I guess they can’t be bald either because you may offend those readers who are bald.

Also, they need to be heterosexual otherwise you’ll be called homophobic. (Been there! Done that! More than one reader accused me of being homophobic when a homosexual couple died in A Wedding and a Killing.)

They can’t be Muslim because the terrorists will be justified in coming after you.

I guess you need to make them American because we are the great bad guys …

The end result would be authors shaking in their boots afraid to write, “It was a dark and stormy night,…” for fear of messing with Mother Nature.

The pathway to political correctness is a very narrow strip in the middle of the road. Realistically, no one can travel it.

So writers: Be bold. Be brave.

As Jerry Senfield told David Letterman, “We offend everyone. If we haven’t gotten to your group yet, just wait. We’ll get to you.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Thanks Lauren and good luck with Candidate for Murder!!

About the book:

It’s election time in SpCandidate for Murderencer, Maryland, and the race for mayor is not a pretty one. In recent years, the small resort town has become divided between the local year-round residents who have enjoyed their rural way of life and the city dwellers moving into their mansions, taking over the town council, and proceeding to turn Deep Creek Lake into a closed gate community—complete with a host of regulations for everything from speed limits
to clothes lines.

When the political parties force-feed two unsavory mayoral nominees on the town residents, Police Chief David O’Callaghan decides to make a statement—by nominating Gnarly, Mac Faraday’s German shepherd, to run as mayor of Spencer!

What starts out as a joke turns into a disaster when overnight Gnarly becomes the front runner—at which point his political enemies take a page straight out of Politics 101. What do you do when you’re behind in a race? Dig up dirt on the front runner, of course.

Seemingly, someone is not content to rest with simply embarrassing the front runner by publicizing his dishonorable discharge from the United States Army, but to throw in a murder for good measure. With murder on the ballot, Mac Faraday and the gang—including old friends from past cases—dive in to clear Gnarly’s name, catch a killer, and save Spencer!

About the Author:

Lauren Carr is the interLauren Carr 2national best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries. The twelfth installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series,
Candidate for Murder will be released June 2016.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs (including the real Gnarly) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with Lauren: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

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25 Literary Must-Haves for Book Lovers (via Reader’s Legacy)

Do you read past your bed time?
Find yourself begging, “Just one more chapter!”?
Have an emotional break down when your favorite character dies?

 

Then say it loud and say it proud: I LIKE BIG BOOKS AND I CANNOT LIE!

Here is a list of must-have pieces for every literature lover.

  1. Harry Potter

Represent your Potter pride with this tank.

Cozy up with your favorite Quidditch player. Pillows here.

Just in case Hogwarts starts delivering their acceptance letters via text. Here.

***Attention Harry Potter Lovers: In honor of J.K. Rowling being named the Top Followed Author on Reader’s Legacy in 2015 we’re holding a 1 week sale on ALL of her books. From April 25th-30th, 2016 any Rowling book is 20% off AND double the LitCoins will be loaded into your account just for purchasing. Click the link to check out this limited time offer! ReadersLegacy.com/JKRowling***

 

2. The Hunger Games

If you get a set of these bracelets you’ll know it’s real. See what I did there? Click here.

Let’s be honest, Seneca Crane’s beard is the real winner of the Hunger Games. Mug here.

But what do we do about the tracker jackers? Tank here.

 

3. Lord of the Rings

The one fire pit to rule them all here.

You’ll love these leggings like a hobbit loves second breakfast.

 

4. Alice in Wonderland

Now you can go to Wonderland every night. Bedspread here.

“I’m not crazy. My reality is just different from yours.” -Cheshire Cat Here.

 

5. To Kill a Mockingbird

…and stick it in my awesome tote, thanks.

 

6. Sherlock Holmes

 

Nothing says ‘high-functioning sociopath’ like these Baker St. cuff links.

*ring ring* Detective Holmes, is that you? Phone case here.

 

7. The Great Gatsby

Why Daisy Buchanan, you are simply radiant tonight! Headband here.

 

Ain’t no party like a Gatsby party because a Gatsby party don’t stop until two people are dead and everyone is disillusioned with the jazz age as a whole. Gatsby envelopes here.

 

8. The Chronicles of Narnia

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So how does it work if you keep your map of Narnia in your wardrobe? Do you fall into Narnia when you go to put it on? Narnia-ception. Scarf here.

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Three cheers for The Great Lion! Necklace here.

9. Pride and Prejudice

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Is it just us, or did Mr. Darcy give you unrealistic expectations of love too? Printable here.

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Never leave home without your Jane Austen! Bag here.

 

This wisdom from the 18th century still holds. Pillow here.

10. Where the Wild Things Are

 

I think they’re hiding in your hair! Bow here.

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Capture the wild side of parenting with this matching set.

 

And for all of the book lovers that can’t choose just one novel to rep!

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How’s THAT for a full-fandom? Shirt here.

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You other readers can’t deny; when a book walks in with a good plot base and a big spine in your face you get sprung! Tote here.

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Deep breathe in. Ahhhhh books! Candle here.

As an added perk of Reader’s Legacy’s Rowling celebration, we will be holding a special 20% off sale for each of her novels from April 25th to April 30th – ReadersLegacy.com/JKRowling

The sale not only celebrates J.K. Rowling, but was also brings attention for a special grant program we have created in order to give away 1 million physical books in support of literacy programs! Spreading a love of books, and ending illiteracy around the world is 100% possible, and with the help of reader’s on the site, we believe will be one step closer to achieving that goal! Get in on this sale HERE.