#BookReview: The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel

793D7907-DB63-450A-8360-57FA9F2310F6Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: July 21st, 2020

Summary:

Inspired by an astonishing true story from World War II, a young woman with a talent for forgery helps hundreds of Jewish children flee the Nazis in this unforgettable historical novel from the international bestselling author of the “epic and heart-wrenching World War II tale” (Alyson Noel, #1 New York Times bestselling author) The Winemaker’s Wife.

Eva Traube Abrams, a semi-retired librarian in Florida, is shelving books one morning when her eyes lock on a photograph in a magazine lying open nearby. She freezes; it’s an image of a book she hasn’t seen in sixty-five years—a book she recognizes as The Book of Lost Names.

The accompanying article discusses the looting of libraries by the Nazis across Europe during World War II—an experience Eva remembers well—and the search to reunite people with the texts taken from them so long ago. The book in the photograph, an eighteenth-century religious text thought to have been taken from France in the waning days of the war, is one of the most fascinating cases. Now housed in Berlin’s Zentral- und Landesbibliothek library, it appears to contain some sort of code, but researchers don’t know where it came from—or what the code means. Only Eva holds the answer—but will she have the strength to revisit old memories and help reunite those lost during the war?

As a graduate student in 1942, Eva was forced to flee Paris after the arrest of her father, a Polish Jew. Finding refuge in a small mountain town in the Free Zone, she begins forging identity documents for Jewish children fleeing to neutral Switzerland. But erasing people comes with a price, and along with a mysterious, handsome forger named Rémy, Eva decides she must find a way to preserve the real names of the children who are too young to remember who they really are. The records they keep in The Book of Lost Names will become even more vital when the resistance cell they work for is betrayed and Rémy disappears.

An engaging and evocative novel reminiscent of The Lost Girls of Paris and The Alice Network, The Book of Lost Names is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of bravery and love in the face of evil.

 

 

Review:

I was left weeping and celebrating all at the same time! “The Book of Lost Names” pulled out emotions in me that were so intense I felt a true desire to do better, be better….Like Eva!!

When such raw beauty & awe resonates from the pages of a novel, it is because authors like Kristin Harmel can take a character like Eva and make her feel so real to us that we want to reach out and hug her in gratitude!

With the most tender kind of writing for a time in our history where the suffering was intensely exquisite, Kristin Hormel writes with delicacy and in such a warm way that this entire story leaves you breathless, closing the book grateful for knowing this part of history.

I am very grateful for all that I learned! Not only about history, but humanity and it’s desire to rise above darkness and truly be a bright light!

Eva and “The Book of Lost Names” is forever imprinted upon my heart. Like a tattoo!  As I am sure the true forgers had imprinted themselves on the hearts of so many children.

Bravo, Kristin Harmel! You took a cold, dark time and made it feel warm because of the hope of the people!

Any Child with a Lost Name would be proud to read this novel and keep it close!

I received a copy of this book from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

I’ve added Kristin Harmel to my favorite author’s list!

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Author Bio:

Kristin Harmel is the #1 international bestselling and USA Today bestselling author of THE BOOK OF LOST NAMES, THE WINEMAKER’S WIFE, and a dozen other novels that have been translated into numerous languages and sold all over the world.

A former reporter for PEOPLE magazine, Kristin has been writing professionally since the age of 16, when she began her career as a sportswriter, covering Major League Baseball and NHL hockey for a local magazine in Tampa Bay, Florida in the late 1990s. After stints covering health and lifestyle for American Baby, Men’s Health, and Woman’s Day, she became a reporter for PEOPLE and spent more than a decade working for the publication, covering everything from the Super Bowl to high-profile murders to celebrity interviews with the likes of Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, OutKast, Justin Timberlake, and Patrick Dempsey. Her favorite stories at PEOPLE, however, were the “Heroes Among Us” features—tales of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. One of those features—the story of Holocaust-survivor-turned-philanthropist Henri Landwirth (whom both Walter Cronkite and John Glenn told Kristin was the most amazing person they’d ever known)—partially inspired Kristin’s 2012 novel, The Sweetness of Forgetting, which was a bestseller all over the world.

In addition to a long magazine writing career (which also included articles published in Travel + Leisure, Glamour, Ladies’ Home Journal, Every Day with Rachael Ray, and more), Kristin was also a frequent contributor to the national television morning show The Daily Buzz—where her assignments included flying to London three times to interview the cast of the Harry Potter films. She has appeared on Good Morning America and numerous local television morning shows–and even stumbled into a role as an extra in the 2003 American Idol movie while awaiting an interview with Kelly Clarkson.

Kristin was born just outside Boston, Massachusetts and spent her childhood there, as well as in Columbus, Ohio, and St. Petersburg, Florida. After graduating with a degree in journalism (with a minor in Spanish) from the University of Florida, she spent time living in Paris and Los Angeles and now lives in Orlando, with her husband and young son. She travels frequently to France for book research (and—let’s be honest—for the pastries and wine) and writes a book a year for Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster.

Live Interview:

Order Today from Kristin’s Favorite Independent Book Store…There are a limited number of autographed copies!

Writers Block Book Store

Orlando, Fl.

https://www.writersblockbookstore.com/book/9781982131890

#BookReview: The Wife Stalker by Liv Constantine

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Reviewer: Ann Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: May 19, 2020

Summary:

Breezing into the tony seaside paradise of Westport, Connecticut, gorgeous thirtysomething Piper Reynard sets down roots, opening a rehab and wellness space and joining a local yacht club. When she meets Leo Drakos, a handsome, successful lawyer, the wedding ring on his finger is the only thing she doesn’t like about him. Yet as Piper well knows, no marriage is permanent.

Meanwhile, Joanna has been waiting patiently for Leo, the charismatic man she fell in love with all those years ago, to re-emerge from the severe depression that has engulfed him. Though she’s thankful when Leo returns to his charming, energetic self, paying attention again to Evie and Stelli, the children they both love beyond measure, Joanna is shocked to discover that it’s not her loving support that’s sparked his renewed happiness—it’s something else.

Piper. Leo has fallen head over heels for the flaky, New Age-y newcomer, and unrepentant and resolute, he’s more than willing to leave Joanna behind, along with everything they’ve built. Of course, he assures her, she can still see the children.

Joanna is devastated—and determined to find something, anything, to use against this woman who has stolen her life and her true love. As she digs deeper into Piper’s past, Joanna begins to unearth disturbing secrets . . . but when she confides to her therapist that she fears for the lives of her ex-husband and children, her concerns are dismissed as paranoia. Can she find the proof she needs in time to save them?

Review:

“The Wife Stalker” is written with knot-like prowess! One woman’s desire to get her husband back evolves into an exquisitely tantalizing tale that won’t let you go until the very..last..word!

Did Leo fall vulnerable to Piper’s clutches? Did Joanna just have a gnawing desire to crush their relationship? Was there more to this addictive story that the Constantine Sisters brought to life?

The ending will blow your mind…like dynamite!!

I was given a copy of this book by the authors in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

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Authors Bio:


Liv Constantine is the pen name of USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and international bestselling authors and sisters Lynne Constantine and Valerie Constantine, co-authors of the Reese Witherspoon book club pick, THE LAST MRS. PARRISH. Separated by three states, they spend hours plotting via FaceTime and burning up each other’s emails. They attribute their ability to concoct dark story lines to the hours they spent listening to tales handed down by their Greek grandmother. Their next book, THE LAST TIME I SAW YOU, will be released on May 7, 2019.

Visit them at www.livconstantine.com

Live Interview:

 

#BookReview: Little Voices by Vanessa Lillie

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: October 1st, 2019

Summary:

The voice in her head says he’s guilty. She knows he’s innocent.

Devon Burges is in the throes of a high-risk birth when she learns of her dear friend’s murder. The police quickly name another friend as the chief suspect, but Devon doesn’t buy it—and despite her difficult recovery, she decides to investigate.

Haunted by postpartum problems that manifest as a cruel voice in her head, Devon is barely getting by. Yet her instincts are still sharp, and she’s bent on proving her friend’s innocence.

But as Devon digs into the evidence, the voice in her head grows more insistent, the danger more intense. Each layer is darker, more disturbing, and she’s not sure she—or her baby—can survive what lies at the truth.

Review:

Among the turbulence of a dark incessant postpartum-depression voice needling at Devon Burges and the murder of her friend the night she gave birth there is an underlying ferocious story yearning to combust!

I read Vanessa Lillie’s smart and expertly executed debut crime thriller with the eyes, ears and soul of a woman knowing the strength that explodes from inside when we are called to seek justice for our friend! “Little Voices” nails this intense desire like a hammer!!

Vanessa Lillie touches on so many variables that women struggle with and weaves them all into this thrilling story with a climactic unexpected ending. Woah! Fooled me!

5 Stars!

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Authir Bio:

Vanessa Lillie is originally from Miami, Oklahoma, where she spent a lot of time investigating local ghost stories at the public library. After college, she worked in Washington, DC, until moving to Providence, Rhode Island, which she calls home with her husband and dinosaur-aficionado son. Smitten with the smallest state, she enjoys organizing book events and literary happenings around town.

Website:
*Instagram:

*You MUST FOLLOW Vanessa on IG! She has an Amazingly Fun page. Vanessa and her son share wonderful pics, with Debut thrillers, New Releases,  Sales, etc! She is so much fun!

 

The Write Review Live Interview:

#BookReview: This Won’t End Well by Camille Pagán

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: February 26, 2020

Summary:

An ingeniously witty novel about the risks—and rewards—of opening your life to new people by Amazon Charts bestselling author Camille Pagán.

No new people: that’s Annie Mercer’s vow. It’s bad enough that her boss sabotaged her chemistry career and her best friend tried to cure her with crystals. But after her fiancé, Jon, asks for space while he’s gallivanting around Paris, Annie decides she needs space too—from everyone.

Yet when Harper moves in next door, Annie can’t help but train a watchful eye on the glamorous but fragile young woman. And if keeping Harper safe requires teaming up with Mo, a maddeningly optimistic amateur detective, who is she to mind her own business?

Soon Annie has let not one but two new people into her life. Then Jon reappears—and he wants her to join him in France. She’s pretty sure letting anyone get close won’t end well. So she must decide: Is another shot at happiness worth the risk?

Review:

Camille Pagán always delivers novels where her characters crack wide open, and we get to watch as they try to heal their souls! She writes with truth and honesty about their trials and tribulations. But, we do find ourselves laughing out loud and smiling as she has them walk their path!

I adored Annie Mercer! I was rooting for her! When I closed “This Won’t End Well”, I felt very close to Annie!

This novel was written using a rather invigorating approach, that I found to be genius! It was so original! She had her protagonist Annie Mercer share texts, emails and journal entries as she told us her story!! It felt more intimate! So cool!

The very essence of this story is hope and never giving up on yourself.

Truly unforgettable!

5 Stars.

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Author Bio:

I’m the author of six novels, including This Won’t End Well, I’m Fine and Neither Are You, and the #1 Kindle bestseller Life and Other Near-Death Experiences, which was recently optioned for film. My novels have been translated into nearly two dozen languages.

I’ve written for Fast Company, Forbes, The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Parade, Real Simple, Time, and many others.

When I’m not at my computer, you’ll find me with my nose in a book, running after my two kids, or planning my next trip (most likely to Puerto Rico, where my husband was born and raised). Visit me at www.camillepagan.com.

Live Interview:

#BookReview: What Happened That Night by Sandra Block

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: June 5, 2018

Summary:

One moment Dahlia is a successful Harvard student. The next, she wakes up from a party, the victim of a brutal assault. Her life veers into a tailspin, and what’s worse, her memory of the attack has been ripped away, leaving a cold rage in its wake.

Now, years later, Dahlia is a tattooed paralegal suffering from PTSD, still haunted by that night. Until one day, a video surfaces online, and Dahlia sees her attack for the first time. Now she knows what happened to her. And she knows who to blame. Her rage is no longer cold, but burning, red hot.

And she is about to make everyone pay.

Review:

Sandra Block does it again! I’m in awe of her writing! I’m in awe of the care with which she handles sensitive subjects! I’m in awe of her delivery!!

“What Happened That Night” is the search for vengeance by a character that you’ll champion from the first few pages. A fire was burning in my own soul for Dahlia!

I felt her need to make others pay….and it had me flipping those pages wickedly!

I cried for her. It was a roller coaster of emotions. Such an amazing ending!

A Special Thank you to Sandra Block for handling this vicious subject as wonderfully as you did. Giving Dahlia this voice; I loved it! Absolutely loved it!

5 Stars.

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Author Bio:

Sandra A. Block graduated from college at Harvard, then returned to her native land of Buffalo, New York for medical training and never left. She is a practicing neurologist and proud Sabres fan, and lives at home with her husband, two children, and impetuous yellow lab. Little Black Lies is her debut, a finalist in the International Thriller Awards, and The Girl Without a Name and The Secret Room are the other books in the Zoe Goldman series. Her latest stand-alone novel What Happened That Nightcomes out in June 2018.

 

Live Interview:

#BookReview: The Lucky Ones by Kiersten Modglin

E47319DC-5D19-4EBE-A387-AAD51C53464DReviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: January 17, 2020

Summary:

They were supposed to die.

Five years ago, the residents of the Gerbera subdivision in the small town of Fallen Oaks were brutally murdered in their beds. The only survivors, now called The Fallen Oaks Five, were children—practically strangers at the time, forever connected by the weight of all they witnessed.

Now grown, the anniversary of their families’ deaths approaches and the Fallen Oaks Five receive letters of warning: the killers are still out there and they aren’t finished with them.

In a race against time and murderers who remain both faceless and nameless, the Five must return to their old homes in order to piece together the events of a night they’d all rather forget. Their old town is riddled with secrets, and every person they come into contact with is a suspect. With everything at stake, can the Five solve the mystery and finally learn the truth about the night that cost them everything? Or will they find themselves victims of a fate they should’ve succumbed to years ago?

 

Review:

Boom! Kiersten Modglin starts “The Lucky Ones” off so quickly it’s like you’re off to the races!! I had to know what was going on with the “Fallen Oaks Five”!! My need-to-know felt like front line news!!

Of Course, The story was “mind boggling – Kirsten Modglining”!! The twists and turns were at every corner in this small town!

Kiersten has a gift! She leaves you breathless! Always a shocking ending! And, you will always need to finish her novel in one sitting….

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

 

 

 

 

#BookReview: What She Found by Emerald O’Brien

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: March 26, 2020

Summary:

After her recent separation, Tabitha Weaver is holding her life together by a thread. Luckily, her six closest friends have the perfect cure for heartbreak: a weekend in the countryside complete with relaxation, a blind date, and all the wine she can handle.

But it isn’t long before their night at the secluded rental house goes sour. The drinks flow a little too freely and lingering tensions arise before they’re interrupted by frantic knocking at the door. The stranger claims to have been in an accident, and though her head is bleeding, she refuses to let them call an ambulance.

With Tabitha distracted by her new beau, another friend leaving to check out the scene of the accident, and the rest of the group busy feuding, they lose track of the stranger’s whereabouts. It isn’t until she wakes up with a hangover that Tabitha finds a note on her dresser: Don’t stop until you find it.

Tabitha disregards the note, and the evening, and returns home believing the weekend is behind her. But when the strange woman is reported missing, the police start circling—the group must reexamine their accounts of what happened that night. And the discrepancies in their stories cannot be overlooked. It doesn’t help that the police have discovered clues to suggest foul play.

As the evidence mounts against them, loyalties are tested. Tabitha is desperate to find the truth about what happened to the woman.

Which of her friends is lying? Who can she trust?

Review:

“What She Found” proves to be a story that I found myself fully invested in! Unputdownable! With an ending I did not see coming…A mile away!

Emerald O’Brien offers generous amounts of shock value! She puts twists in this story that appear like a blind curves in the road!

I loved all of the friends! The drama! The baggage! The secrets! The Stranger!!

The goosebumps I consistently got!

Be Sure to Grab “What She Found” and be prepared to be Wow’d!

5 Stars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#BookReview: Time With Norma Jeane: A Time Travel Novel by Elyse Douglas

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: January 13, 2020

Summary:

A young woman is hurled back to 1954 to spend a week with Marilyn Monroe.

Together, they embark on their own personal journeys — one a coming-of-age — the other, Marilyn’s journey, a struggle to reconcile with her past and perhaps change the future.

Review:

I hear “Norma Jean” & “Novel” together and I often stop in my tracks. I love both fiercely! So, I had to read this novel,

Elyse Douglas brings Marilyn Monroe to life with breathtaking and genuine beauty inside and out in “Time with Norma Jeane”. Elyse captured her very essence! It was lovely.

Darla stumbled into an almost surreal adventure with Marilyn Monroe after her Mother died. Literally! Stumbling from 1998 to 1954, right in to the helping hands of Marilyn! Such an odd sensation! Fate? Time Travel?

No matter the reason, Darla was going to spend time with Marlyn! Along the way both of their lives might change…

This Time Travel novel is told so brilliantly, there is such an ease….I was in awe! Truly taken away, I could not put this story down until the very end!  I felt like I’d gone back to 1954!

I fell in love with Darla, and grew more inspired by Ms, Norma Jean!

It’s amazing what a pen can do when put to paper!

It’s super talented whimsy when Elyse Douglas holds that pen! It’s beautiful!

You won’t want the story to end! I didn’t.

5 Stars.

About the Author: (Too interesting not to share)995D1576-F33E-4A34-B6E6-E8E4C954567F


Elyse Douglas is the pen name for the husband and wife writing team of Elyse Parmentier and Douglas Pennington. Elyse began writing poems and short stories at an early age and graduated with a Master’s Degree in English Literature. Douglas grew up in a family of musicians, astrologers, and avid readers. Some of Elyse Douglas’ novels include: “Time Change,” The Summer Letters,” “Daring Summer,” The Christmas Eve Letter” and “The Christmas Town.” They reside in New York City.

 

#BookTour & #BookReview: The Liar and other stories by Alison Ragsdale

FEB91DEB-8D48-4E1E-87D8-590C59BDBAFAIt is a great pleasure to be one of Today’s Stops on Kate Rock Book Tours for “The Liar and other stories” by Alison Ragsdale! She is one of my most favorite authors! Thank you Kate Rock and Alison Ragsdale for this opportunity!

Date of Release: March 29, 2020

4E88F245-4B4A-44C0-A490-9CC195A299EFOrder Here: https://www.amazon.com/Liar-Other-Stories-Alison-Ragsdale/dp/173303773X

Website: http://www.alisonragsdale.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alisonragsdalewrites/

38A7F526-B44C-49F4-B5DE-615D91C37E93Summary: 

An accomplished liar who finally faces the truth about herself. A self-conscious lawyer who must quell her secret crush on her best friend’s fiancé. A stray dog that heals the hurt of his rescuers. A food critic who makes a startling discovery while reviewing a stylish bistro. A young widow who finds hope in the discarded wedding veil that floats out of a truck, and lands at her feet. With these, and other tales of love, regret and hope, The Liar and other stories will make you laugh, cry, and marvel at the strength of the human spirit.

Review by Annie Horsky McDonnell:

Life and all of its remarkable facets are captured by Alison Ragsdale in “The Liar and other stories”. There is so much hope and warmth pouring out onto these pages!

Each story has it’s very own heartbeat!

Ultimately, You will be moved!

Don’t miss this glimpse into Alison Ragsdale’s thoughts!

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

Review by Serena Soape:

Alison Ragsdale has given us a charming yet serious series of short stories with “The Liar and other stories”.

All of the stories in the collection are believable and definitely relatable. I love how the endings told us enough but also allowed me to have my own “beyond the ending”

My favorite stories were “Homeless”, “The Guardian” and “Whisper”.

I absolutely recommend this, as well as, Alison’s other books!! You will not be disappointed !!!

I received a copy of this book by the author in exchange for fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

Thank you Alison Ragsdale for another amazing book!

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#BookTour: A Dog’s Hope by Casey Wilson

8297BD5E-C091-45C4-B34A-F9312C2EC61BTitle:  A Dog’s Hope

 

Publication Day: March 6th  2020

 

Author:   Casey Wilson  

 

Buy  Links:       

Amazon: https://geni.us/B083XYXMLKSocial

Apple: https://apple.co/2u41lyH

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2FYLp3f 

Google: http://bit.ly/2RweWa6

 

Description:

There are some things in life that only a dog can teach you.

A poignant, heart-wrenching, but ultimately uplifting novel about the unbreakable bond between a boy and his dog. Perfect for fans of A Dog’s PurposeThe Art of Racing in the Rain and Marley and Me.

In the farming town of Riverside in Washington, Toby Fuller is feeling more alone than ever. Nothing Toby did was ever good enough for his father, but he never expected his father to leave, to abandon him and his mother forever. He loses hope, until a scruffy golden retriever called Buddy follows him home from school.

Though he’s struggling to walk, Buddy matches Toby step for step, never taking his eyes off him, as if Toby is all he needs in the world. And from that day on Buddy never leaves Toby’s side.

Buddy shows Toby a loyalty that he has never known. But then disaster strikes and Toby’s life is changed forever. Will Buddy be able to give Toby the strength he needs to carry on?

A tale of how unconditional love can bound into your life when you least expect it, giving you hope in the darkest of times.

 

770FB7EA-F696-4EF2-AA4B-121F4A24BCE0Review:

By Serena Soape

Ahhhhh- Not only was this a beautiful cover, but a truly poignant story written on the pages between……so moving and emotionally stirring!

Casey Wilson has written a totally heart and gut wrenching novel with “A Dog’s Hope”.

Buddy was such a loyal companion to Toby and is with him through it all. I loved watching their relationship grow.

I read the last couple chapters through tears as it touched me very deeply.

I absolutely recommend this page turner! You will not want to put it down!

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

Review:

By Annie Horsky McDonnell

Written with all of the things you can’t buy; but, all of the emotions you can feel, “A Dog’s Hope” by Casey Wilson touches on a lot the hardships we deal with in life with grace…often seen through the eyes of a dog named, Buddy.

Such a captivating tale! So moving and touching!

The relationship between Buddy and his person are full of such love, it is beautiful.

This intensity can sometimes even hurt immeasurably.

It’s surprising what is on the other side of that pain.

Hope.

This is a story to wrap yourself up with!

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

68CE303A-F198-45A0-BDBB-59175A855443Author Bio:

Casey Wilson is the author of A Dog’s Hope, published with Bookouture.

Born and raised in the United States in Nevada, she is the owner of a gorgeous golden retriever, who may or may not have inspired the dogs in her novels.

Author Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CaseyWilsonAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CaseyWilsonAuth