If It’s Not A Rant, It’s A Rave: Review of Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

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Title:
Starry Eyes
Author: Jenn Bennett
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

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Synopsis:

Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern day, Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets.

But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.

What could go wrong?

With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely.

And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars?


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If you love second chance romances, complicated friendships, and downright brutally honest characters, Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett is the perfect book for you. Take everything you love about Bennett’s past young adult books (if you haven’t read them yet…OHMYGOD, READ THEM!) and then multiply that love by a bajillion, and you get Starry Eyes. This novel is a mix of coming-of-age discoveries, molding friendships, and holding on to the aspect that pure love exists in all shapes and forms. 

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Starry Eyes is a meshing between Katherine Center’s Happiness for Beginners, an adult hiking story centered on new beginnings and self-discovery, and the messy complications of teenage life found in Jenn Bennett’s own Alex, Approximately.  The main characters in Starry Eyes, Zorie and Lennon, struggle throughout the pages trying to understand what happened to their past friendship, how did they come to this point in “hating” each other, and can their friendship re-ignite as they hike through mountains, fend off bears and snakes, and map their way to new beginnings. I love the chemistry between these two characters. Zorie and Lennon have a fantastic history between each other; it’s filled with inside jokes, the “great experiment,” and familial dynamics that balance on a thin line of love and hate. 

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Furthermore, I really enjoyed Starry Eyes because it focuses on so many relevant topics and diverse characters. Without providing too many spoilers, Bennett takes a refreshing stance on modern-day families. She challenges the idea of the traditional sense of parents, and it made my heart grow 3 times bigger whenever I read a scene between Zorie and her stepmom. I also liked Bennett’s ability to write about positive and safe sex decisions in a young adult novel. Zorie and Lennon’s path towards discussing sex is based on affection, consent, respect, and love. 

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In the end, this story is a beautiful mashup of star-gazing, glamping shenanigans, and a destined friendship that can withstand anything. I’m going to say it right now, Starry Eyes is by far my favorite contemporary book of 2018, so far. Zorie and Lennon’s fierceness, angst, determination, and quirks made them so captivating and so hard not to love and root for throughout each chapter. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good romantic story filled with great character-development, laughs, swoons, and warm, slow-rising smiles. 

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star rating

5 out of 5 Stars!

 
Note: I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in an exchange for a review. I received this book from a friend, and I reviewed the book at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are my own.
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If It’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave: Review of Truest by Jackie Lea Sommers

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Title:
Truest 
Author: Jackie Lea Sommers
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

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Synopsis:

Silas Hart has seriously shaken up Westlin Beck’s small-town life. Brand new to town, Silas is different than the guys in Green Lake. He’s curious, poetic, philosophical, maddening– and really, really cute. But Silas has a sister– and she has a secret. And West has a boyfriend. And life in Green Lake is about to change forever.

Truest is a stunning, addictive debut. Romantic, fun, tender, and satisfying, it asks as many questions as it answers.

 


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Truest threw me into a whirlwind. It swept me in, carried me like a feather, and then knocked me over with a ton of bricks. The writing is gorgeous. The characters are achingly raw and realistic and oftentimes so heartbreaking. Sometimes I found myself wanting to give them each a hug, and I’m not even a hugging person. And in the end, this story is so riveting and overall stunning.

Jackie Lea Sommers’ Truest is not only funny and witty, but also fist-clinching, grief-stricken, and thought-provoking. Truest contained so much love in every aspect–love between siblings, friends, parents, old friends, and new friends. But with love there is also the painful aspect of grief, loss, and heartbreak. This book is an emotional roller coaster and I could not put it down.

Each chapter detailing Westlin and Silas’s growing friendship had me swooning, laughing, and gasping for air: sometimes from too much laughter and sometimes from shock. I was left with overall thoughts rationalizing the life we’re given, the people that enter our lives and forever change it, and how do we cherish the time we have with each other. Truest is definitely one of the most memorable contemporary YA novels I have had the pleasure of reading. 

star rating

5 out of 5 Stars!

 
Note: I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in an exchange for a review. I bought this book with my own funds, and I reviewed the book at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are my own.

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Review of Pacifica by Kristen Simmons

PACIFICA Blog Tour Banner

PACIFICA
Title:
 Pacifica
Author:  Kristen Simmons
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

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Synopsis:

Marin is cosario royalty, a pirate like her father and his father before him. Sailing the ocean to chase adventure is in her blood. But these days no one cares that the island town her people call home is named after her grandfather. They have a new leader, one who promises an end to their hunger – and one who thinks that girls are meant for the kitchen or the brothel. Marin knows she’s meant for more than that, and with the sudden influx of weapons on the island, and rumors of a pending deal with the enemy oil nation in her wake, she knows a big score to gain the council’s favor is the only way to save her people, and herself.

Ross lives a life of privilege. As the president’s son he wants for nothing, but he longs for a life of adventure. On a dare, he convinces his best friend Adam to sneak out to the Docks, the site of local race riots between the poor Shorlings and the upper class. But when Adam is arrested along with the other Shorlings, and not even the president is willing to find him, Ross finds himself taking matters into his own hands. He journeys back into the Docks, ready to make deals with anyone, even a beautiful pirate, if it means Adam’s safe return.

When Marin and Ross meet in dangerous Shoreling territory he sees a way to get his friend back and she sees her ticket home. The ransom a president’s son would command could feed her people for years and restore her family’s legacy. But somewhere in the middle of the ocean, Marin must decide if her heart can handle handing over the only person who has ever seen her as more than a pirate.

Praise for PACIFICA

“A harrowing world where overpopulation is rampant and pollution stifling. The characters creep into your heart with raw, familiar issues of love, friendship, and family ties, careening you on a plot fraught with just as many twists as there are pieces of trash in the ocean. Pacifica will have you breathlessly fearing our own future.” ―New York Times bestselling author Sara Raasch

Praise for KRISTEN SIMMONS

“Like The Handmaid’s Tale, Simmons’s book serves as essential commentary on women’s rights.” ―Cosmopolitan.com on The Glass Arrow

“I’m clutching my mangled heart and smiling madly, so it’s that kind of book. Such gorgeous heartbreak! Smart, absorbing, and deeply human.” ―New York Times bestselling author Laini Taylor on Metaltown

“A compelling, inspiring read. The characters had me rooting for rebels, fights worth fighting, and girls with gumption. By the time it was over, I had my fist in the air.” ―New York Times bestselling author Kendare Blake on Metaltown


25Pacifica is the first book I have read by Kristen Simmons and I highly enjoyed it. Set in the future, in a dystopian world, this novel had everything from modern-day pirates, historical reflections, mystery, adventure, and a splash of romance.  The main characters, Marin and Ross, come from opposites sides of the social ladder, but their world reflects the same view: garbage has taken over the ocean, whales are a rare sight to see, glaciers and icecaps no longer exist, natural resources are low, and everyone is doing everything they can to try and survive, even the government. 

In this novel, I found Kristen Simmons’s writing so engaging. I read the first 200 pages in less than a few hours. Just in one sitting, I was engrossed by her storytelling, steady pacing, great world-building, and well-developed characters. Honestly, reading Pacifica felt like I was watching a movie–each scene steadily strung together with hope, anxiety, intensity, and sometimes swoons. What I loved most about this book is that there is honestly so much passion and heart in Simmons’s story and her characters. It was so hard for me to close the book and pursue any everyday type of tasks without this novel sitting in the back of my mind.
I was really impressed that in less than 400 pages, Simmons’s Pacifica thoroughly covers historical topics that impact the now and the future. These topics range from climate change and political corruption, which included forced relocation and internment camps.  Pacifica is a firm foundation story that vividly portrays distressing topics that people often want to throw under the rug because they refuse to see the fire that humanity has started. And as the fire burns, Pacifica adds a perfect amount of comedy and romance to help relieve some of the horrors that mankind inflicts in Marin and Ross’s world.

Overall, Pacifica is a gut-wrenching novel that will pull at your heartstrings. It’s a book about sacrifice, friendship, consequences, and morality. I liked that the story is not overly jammed packed with action; instead, it flows at the steady pace of a water current. Although important and shocking themes are explored in this novel, and with the meshing of hope and romance, this thought-provoking novel will have you at the edge of your seat to the very end. 
star rating

5 out of 5 Stars!

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 2 Winners will receive two sets of Kristen’s books
(Article 5, The Glass Arrow and Metaltown) in a TOR Teen Tote
Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter
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WEEK ONE
MARCH 5th MONDAY Wishful Endings REVIEW
MARCH 5th MONDAY Reading for the Stars and Moon REVIEW
MARCH 6th TUESDAY JeanBookNerd REVIEW 
MARCH 7th WEDNESDAY Fiction Fare REVIEW 
MARCH 7th WEDNESDAY Sabrina’s Paranormal Palace REVIEW 
MARCH 8th THURSDAY Literary Meanderings EXCERPT 
MARCH 8th THURSDAY Rants and Raves of a Bibliophile REVIEW 
MARCH 9th FRIDAY The Avid Reader REVIEW 
MARCH 9th FRIDAY Teachers of YA’s Book Blog REVIEW

WEEK TWO
MARCH 12th MONDAY A Dream Within a Dream REVIEW
MARCH 13th TUESDAY Undeniably Book Nerdy REVIEW
MARCH 13th TUESDAY TFAULC Book Reviews EXCERPT
MARCH 14th WEDNESDAY Book Lady’s Reviews REVIEW
MARCH 14th WEDNESDAY Blushing Bibliophile REVIEW
MARCH 15th THURSDAY Chapter by Chapter REVIEW 
MARCH 15th THURSDAY Insane About Books REVIEW 
MARCH 16th FRIDAY BookHounds YA REVIEW 

MARCH 16th FRIDAY Book Briefs REVIEW

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Kristen Simmons


KRISTEN SIMMONS is the author of the ARTICLE 5 series, THE GLASS ARROW, and METALTOWN. She has worked with survivors of abuse and trauma as a mental health therapist, taught Jazzercise in five states, and is forever in search of the next best cupcake. Currently she lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband, where she spends her days supporting the caffeine industry and chasing her delightfully rambunctious son.

WEBSITE   /   TWITTER  /   GOODREADS   /
FACEBOOK   /   INSTAGRAM

 

 
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Note: Thank you to Jean BookNerd for having me on this blog tour. And a huge thank you to Tor Teen for providing me a hardcover copy of
Pacifica to read for free in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.

If It’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave: Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller

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Title: 
 Daughter of the Siren Queen
Author: Tricia Levenseller
Publication date: February 27, 2018
Publisher:  Feiwel & Friends
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure, Romance

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Synopsis:

Alosa’s mission is finally complete. Not only has she recovered all three pieces of the map to a legendary hidden treasure, but the pirates who originally took her captive are now prisoners on her ship. Still unfairly attractive and unexpectedly loyal, first mate Riden is a constant distraction, but now he’s under her orders. And she takes great comfort in knowing that the villainous Vordan will soon be facing her father’s justice.

When Vordan exposes a secret her father has kept for years, Alosa and her crew find themselves in a deadly race with the feared Pirate King. Despite the danger, Alosa knows they will recover the treasure first . . . after all, she is the daughter of the Siren Queen.


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Sequels are always “iffy” for me, but wow, The Daughter of the Siren Queen blew me out of the water. The story starts off right where the last book ended. From the very beginning, this novel is off with a bang and the action doesn’t stop there. It felt great to be back in Alosa’s world filled with brave and fierce comrades, female pirates with spunk, courage, and a fondness for sisterhood.

The Daughter of the Siren Queen is Alosa’s life story of betrayal, sacrifice, and my favorite, a swoony romance. I really like that Alosa is a self-rescuing heroine. She is a badass, female pirate (captain) with so much wit, fierecness, and fight in her soul. Like in the previous book, Alosa highly values and praises her crew and her friends. She’s an exceptional leader and the perfect character to help you survive any enemy attack. 

Also, I continued to love Tricia’s writing style in this second book, because she makes her characters seem so lifelike; their stories are so engaging and worth following. The storyline flows so well with the perfect amount of action and pacing. The Daughter of the Siren Queen is such an enthralling story that I didn’t realize I was almost done with it until I sadly found myself with only 10 pages left to read. I love the adventure and pirate lore that is littered in the pages. And you all, I didn’t want this story to end. I know this series is just a duology, but I am so greedy for another book or a spinoff series. 

star rating

 
Note: Thank you Macmillan for providing me an arc/galley of this book to read and review for free in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.

If It’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave: The Princess Saves Herself in this One by Amanda Lovelace

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Title: The Princess Saves Herself in this One
Author: Amanda Lovelace
Publication date: April 23, 2016, March 23, 2017
Publisher:  Andrews McMeel Publishing
Genres: Poetry, Feminism, Non-Fiction
Format: e-ARC/Netgalley and purchased a print copy

 

About the Book:

the princess saves herself in this one is a collection of poetry about resilience. It is about writing your own ending.

A poetry collection divided into four different parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, & you. the princess, the damsel, & the queen piece together the life of the author in three stages, while you serves as a note to the reader & all of humankind. Explores life & all of its love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, & inspirations.

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N |  The Book Depository


I have been holding out on reviewing this book for the longest time, because I don’t know where to start. The Princess Saves Herself In This One is empowering and emotional and breathtaking. Amanda Lovelace’s words are raw, gritty, realistic, and brutally honest. I loved how one poem that portrays vulnerability can shatter you into a million pieces but then another poem could make you feel loved and whole again.

Lovelace’s words strike a definitive aurora of emotions. Her words are passionate and striking and grows stronger with each word you read. While reading this collection of poetry, I was constantly marking up pages of favorite lines and favorite poems–I could not just pick one.

Overall, I found The Princess Saves Herself In This One to be beautiful and emotional. Lovelace has a special craft for poetry and I cannot wait to read more of her work in the future. I felt like I was back in college and falling in love with my all favorite female poets, like Anne Sexton, Louise Glück, and Sylvia Plath, all over again.

star rating

 

NOTE: Thank you to Netgalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for providing me an e-galley/e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.

 

If It’s Not A Rant, It’s A Rave: Review of The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

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Title: 
The Cruel Prince
Author: Holly Black
Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date: January 2, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy 

Synopsis:

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble  /  Book Depository


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You guys this book broke me in the best ways possible. At first, The Cruel Prince shocked me with its grim and gruesome first chapter. But then I was slowly dangled into the cruel politics of the fairy world. At first, I liked the story, but I felt like something was missing. My stubborn self craved so much more than family history and fae politics. Plus I was not a big fan of the sister dynamics that were wearing down on my last nerve.

BUT…BAM!

Once I got to the 150ish page mark, I could not put this book down. I was engrossed with the storyline’s darkness, the espionage, the secrets, the twists, and OHMYGOD that ending! 

The Cruel Prince is a gorgeous and gritty read. It’s simply a stunner from the beautiful cover to the unique characters and all the unexpected plot twists. This book has everything from mouth-dropping scenes,  several punch in the gut romances, and the most unforeseen betrayal that had me gasping for more pages.

I am floored that this book did a 180 on me and I cannot wait for book two. If there is one book that I highly recommend that you TREAT YO SHELF to at the beginning of 2018, please for the love of all fairies pick up The Cruel Prince. You will not regret it. 

star rating

NOTE:  I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in an exchange for a review. I received an advance reader’s copy through a blogger book trade and reviewed it at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

Blog Tour: Raves & Craves of Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills

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Welcome fellow book-ravers, and thank you for joining me today for my stop on Fierce Reads’ Foolish Hearts Blog Tour. Today I will be raving about my love for Emma Mills’ Foolish Hearts and pairing it with a snack recommendation. Enjoy!

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Title: Foolish Hearts
Author: Emma Mills 

Publication Date: December 5, 2017
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co./Macmillan
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary 

Synopsis:

A contemporary novel about a girl whose high school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream leads her to new friends—and maybe even new love.

The day of the last party of the summer, Claudia overhears a conversation she wasn’t supposed to. Now on the wrong side of one of the meanest girls in school, Claudia doesn’t know what to expect when the two are paired up to write a paper—let alone when they’re both forced to try out for the school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

But mandatory participation has its upsides—namely, an unexpected friendship, a boy band obsession, and a guy with the best dimpled smile Claudia’s ever seen. As Claudia’s world starts to expand, she finds that maybe there are some things worth sticking her neck out for.

LINKS:   Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |  The Book Depository


raves for foolish hearts

Oh, Foolish Hearts, how do I love you? Let me count the ways. First, this book has everything from great family dynamics, amazing friendships, and a sprinkle of quirky characters. I am a sucker for sarcastic characters–the wittier, the better–and of course, Emma Mills does not disappoint with her main character Claudia.

I adored Claudia throughout the story. She’s smart, creative, snarky, and gives herself room to mope but also grow. And when it comes to friendships in Foolish Hearts, I love that it is Claudia’s truthful and witty personality that attracts Gideon to befriend her. Gideon and Claudia belong on two different sides of the introvert v. extrovert spectrum, but I love that they are always on the same wavelength. Their chemistry and banter are perfect, which allows this book to be the epitome of constant smile with the cutest dimples that will make you swoon. 

I adored this book, the characters, and all the crazy shenanigans that come with it. Add in video game quests, boy band obsession, amazing friendships, broken hearts, mending hearts, and a Shakespeare comedy, and you get one of the swooniest, funniest, and heartwarming stories called Foolish Hearts

craves for foolish hearts

In Foolish Hearts, Claudia is introduced to Gideon’s random quirks and “strange things Gideon says or does,” which are documented by his friends on an online account: JustGideonPrewittThings. One of Gideon’s strange preferences is that he likes to eat his cereal soggy. So today, I thought I would “taste test” Gideon’s soggy cereal preference with Froot Loops.

ingredients
Ingredients:
Cereal of your choice and milk. Don’t forget a bowl and a spoon.

Swirl break

CONTROL GROUP

control cereal
Eat the cereal with no added milk.

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SOGGY CEREAL

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For “Soggy” Cereal, Gideon pours milk into a bowl of cereal and lets the concoction “marinate” for about ten minutes.

Swirl break

CRUNCHY CEREAL

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Pour cereal and milk into a bowl, and start eating it for that perfect crunch.

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THE WINNER!

I am a texture eater, so soggy cereal is out for me. CRUNCHY CEREAL WITH MILK, ALL THE WAY! Sorry not sorry, Gideon. 

Which way do you prefer eating a bowl of cereal? Comment below, if you like crunchy or soggy, or no milk at all. I would love to hear your thoughts and how you compare to Gideon. 

about emma mills

Emma   Mills

Emma Mills is an author better known to her subscribers as vlogger Elmify. She is also cocreator and cohost of the “life skills” channel How to Adult, which ended in 2016.

Website • Twitter • Goodreads

tour schedule foolish hearts

December 5
Fire and Ice Reads – Author Guest Post

December 6
Rants and Raves of a Bibliophile – Raves & Craves

December 7
Ex Libris – Playlist

December 8
Fiction Fares – Mood Board

December 9
Mary Had a Little Book Blog – Shakespeare Theme

December 10
Brittany’s Book Rambles – Author Interview

December 11
The Fox’s Hideaway – Shakespeare Theme

December 12
Alexa Loves Books – Gift Guides for Gideon and Claudia

December 13
Lisa Lost In Lit – Bookish Inspiration Post