Book Review Challenge Series – A Woman’s Wisdom

Day 2

Today as part of our book review challenge series we will hear from book reviewer and good friend, Bodicia about how she writes a book review. Plus there are tips on downloading a PDF file of a book to your Kindle and my thoughts on writing non-fiction book reviews.

A Woman's Wisdom

Take it away Bodicia.

Where can readers and writers find your blog?


Where do you post your book reviews as well as your blog?

I post my reviews on Amazon UK, Amazon US and Goodreads.


What type of books will you consider for review?

I will consider most books for review except erotica, those which are overtly religious and those filled with too much gore and violence.


What format do you like books to be in for review?

As a rule I normally only accept mobi and PDF formats.


What’s the first thing you do when beginning a book review?

First of all I make a cup of tea!


How do you proceed after that?

I then sit down, refer to any notes I have made on the book itself and then I start to draft out the review.


Is there an average time you spend reading a book?

This will depend on the length of the book! I try to read a book every day depending on how long it is. I make a point of finishing every book I get sent for review whether or not I end up reviewing that book. Although I’ve heard this is fairly unusual I think that if the author has taken the time to send me the book for review the least I can do is finish it. Whether that is to the bitter end or the triumphant conclusion is always luck of the draw 😉


When you’ve finished a book do you write the review immediately? Or wait a while?

I always try to write a review as soon as possible after I have finished the book. This means that the plot and characters are fresh in my mind but more importantly my emotional response to the book is still tangible and real. There have been a couple of books which I have thought longer about before I have written a review. I am known for my instant decision making (!) but there has been the odd book which has demanded greater absorption before a review can be drafted up. I won’t name names as discretion is everything when book blogging 😉


Do you start a new book before writing up a review? Or do you ever read more than one book at a time?

I don’t start a new book for the blog before writing up a review but I often have more than one book on the go at a time because I read a lot of science related books, literature and papers. The books I read for my book review blog are read singularly off the list in date submission order and if I intend to review I nearly always write that review before I go onto the next one.


What points would you try to write in a review?

What I am looking for are excellent storytellers. I love to be moved by a story and to be entertained. I like to be surprised by an ending, to be made to care about the characters and to feel the emotions which the author is trying to convey. My reviews tend to be centred on how the book made me feel and how much I enjoyed the story itself. I don’t give ratings on the blog itself but when I post a review up on Amazon and Goodreads I will give it a four or five star rating. I don’t write reviews for books which are three stars or less as at that level there is more negativity to be written about the book than I feel is necessary.


What would you try to avoid putting in any review?

I don’t write reviews for books I have read that I didn’t like. So I never write reviews which point out negative aspects because for me it’s all about the story, how well it was told and my reaction to it. The one thing I do avoid putting in a review is any falseness. Although I am friendly with many writers I don’t review a book just because I know the person who has written it. If I don’t like it then it means I have to write an uncomfortable email telling my friend that but at least it means the blog stays objective and for me it is very important it does. I always say that at the onset though and so far nobody has stopped speaking to me or sent me anything nasty in the post 😉


If you find you really dislike a book, would you write a negative review?

I don’t write negative reviews because I don’t feel it is necessary. Reading is subjective; what I may have really disliked in a book somebody else may find really appealing. Negative reviews have their place, the ying and yang of the book world, but for me personally I am just happy to promote those books on my blog which have been a pleasure to read. I read many more books than I actually post reviews for on the blog. I probably read about six books a week on average and I may only review one or two of those.


Do you work with any publishers or groups who regularly ask you to review books?

I don’t at the moment. I prefer to communicate directly with the authors themselves. I have such a long list of books which I have accepted for review that, for now, I don’t have to go outside of that list. I really like to champion the self-published author and find those books which are currently lost in the deluge but which deserve more recognition.

Tell us about any book which you’ve recently read and reviewed which really impressed you.

It’s really difficult to pick just one book as there are five which, for me, really stand out as brilliantly written novels – you can click on the links below to see my reviews.


1. The Calling of the Raven by Jenny Lloyd.

2. A Woman’s Choice by Annie Thomas.

3. Sari Caste by Catherine Kirby.

4. Aunt Coco And the Marionette Man by Lynn G Moorhouse.

5. The Black Hours by Alison Williams. The Black Hours is one of the books available to readers for the review challenge.


I feel these historical books are really important reads because they are all beautifully researched novels which highlight the plight, hardship and courage of women throughout the world and through time. Personally I think every woman should read them, if only to be reminded how lucky we are and how far we’ve come.

Thank you Bodicia.

Did you know that you can download a PDF file of a book to your kindle?

1) Every Kindle has it’s own e-mail address which is different to your personal e-mail.

2) Find yours easily. Go to Manage my Kindle on your Amazon account.

3) From the side bar choose Personal document settings

4) The name of your kindle and it’s own e-mail address will appear. You can edit this address if you want.

5) Add the kindle e-mail  address to your contacts in your own personal e-mail.

6) If someone then sends you a book in PDF, save it. Then compose a new Mail to your kindle’s address, Type “Convert” into the subject line. Attach the PDF document and send.

7) In just a few moments the book should appear on your device. Be patient!

Book Review Challenge

Book reviews for a Non-Fiction Book by Rosie Amber.

So could you write a review for a non-fiction book? Answer YES YOU CAN. Ok, Hands up who’s ever read a non-fiction book cover to cover? Hmm not so many of you.

Non-fiction needs a slightly different approach.

1) You still need to be armed with a paper and pen to jot down the book title, author, notes, characters and observations.

2) What’s really important is that you get the gist or the substance of the book. Many non-fiction books start out by telling you that you might want to dip in and out of chapters. Good News for a reviewer they give you permission to skip bits that are of no interest.

3) To help me explain, I’ve just grabbed a copy of “Farm Office Handbook” from my shelves it’s written by The Institute of Agricultural Secretaries and Administrators. (I’m a part-time farm secretary here in the UK in case you’re wondering) So I’d jot down book title and who created/ wrote the book.

4 Next look for a  forward or dedication and read it, it often gives you good clues about the book and may sum the whole book up in a few good words which you might be able to use to guide you when you write your own review. BUT never just copy passages from the forward, write your review and never open the book again, that would be plain rude and disrespectful.

5) Next check out the contents page. Here you’ll find out more about the book. The one I’m using today has a list of 15 chapters ranging from The Farm office, accounting, balance sheets, statutory farm record keeping, staffing and payroll and the Professional Farm administrator (That’s a posh name for my job) At the end of the book are a list of appendix with more details. Many non-fiction books have appendix covering books they’ve quoted from, relevant scientific data, studies, further reading etc. It’s always good to add to your book review that these appendix exist saying a bit about what they are.

6) So back to the non-fiction review. If the subject of the book really interests you, you will most likely read a good 80/100%. make notes on each chapter about what they contain and perhaps write no more than a sentence or two on 5-6 chapters from the book. If you get bogged down in academic details or the subject is written about very deeply and you get lost don’t panic. If you can read at least 50% of a non-fiction book, I believe you can still write a review.  Most chapters will either start with an overview of the subject to be discussed or end with a summary. Use these to find positive points to write about. You can also say; “This book dealt with “X” really deeply” or “There was a great in-depth discussion about….”

7) For a non-fiction review the challenge is to learn something new, discover new people, places and information. You might find a useful website that was mentioned, or a holiday destination, or a museum that would interest you. “I didn’t know that…” It’s those moments of discovery that you are looking for and can add to your review. Or did the book inspire you do something? I’m reading  In Praise Of Lilith, Eve And The Serpent In The Garden Of Eden And Other Stories by Susan Scott. It’s a series of essays. After the first essay I was inspired to go and clean my house and tidy up my garden. I shall say that in my review. I felt so proud of my house after I’d given it some loving attention and it lifted my spirits. It’s little personal details like this that will make a review really genuine.

8) So don’t be frightened of writing a non-fiction review. Approach it slightly differently, with a very open mind. Don’t panic about having to read every single word. Authors of non-fiction may well have an even harder time selling their books that fiction authors. Often their potential customers may come from a very narrow niche, so your review will be valued just as much as a review for a fiction book.

 Tomorrow we’ll be speaking to author Terry Tyler on how important book reviews are to authors. The Goodreads community and Bad Book reviews.

Friday 27th June – The Importance of book reviews by author Terry Tyler + a look at Goodreads + A bad or negative review, should you write it?

Saturday 28th June – Book Reviewing by Diane Coto from Fictionzeal + Shelfari + Going in deep, talking more about reviews.

Sunday 29th June – Book reviewing by Ionia Martin from Readfulthings + The importance of book reviews by author Adrienne Vaughan +Reviewing to Amazon + Gearing up to write that review.

Monday 30th June – The Importance of book reviews by Lizzie Lamb + Authors should walk to the book reviewers side of the fence.

All books have now been sent out and book requests are now closed.

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scrolls fFINAL 3 TJ Therien has his fantasy book for FREE on Smashwords and Barnes and Noble (Nook), so no limit on the number of copies but he’d still like reviews. (Fantasy) Only

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Personal Alchemy : The Missing Ingredient For The Law Of Attraction Success by Michelle Dobbins

Personal Alchemy: The Missing Ingredient For Law Of Attraction SuccessPersonal Alchemy: The Missing Ingredient For Law Of Attraction Success by Michelle Martin Dobbins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was scrolling through the list of books that were free on Kindle and this book popped up. I’m really glad it did because I do have an interest in making things balance. I read all sorts of self help books, gathering inspiration and support for my life.

This was a simple easy read, full of good advice, web sites to follow up research with and positive ways to improve the feel of your life. Everyone has times in their life when they feel really good, I’m happiest with my books. Other times are harder, dealing with any form of salesman makes me shudder. In both of these situations we have our own vibrations, which vary with our feelings.

The idea behind the book is to recognise the feelings when we are happy and raise feelings of the harder moments in our lives to match, to have a positive effect on out lives. Reading this book left me all happy, warm and fuzzy.

Find a copy here from or

View all my reviews on Goodreads

What about you? Have you ever stopped to consider how you feel in any situation and consciously made an effort to change that feeling?

Letter Y on The A to Z April Challenge 2014

Today is letter Y on the April A to Z blog Tour. My book today comes from Tony Carnival and is the first book in his Over Odyssey Series called Yellow. Genre – Fantasy Fiction

Carnival Front CVR Final

As if being a teenager wasn’t tough enough, Exodus Magaba (Ex) must come to terms with the loss of his beloved older sister, the sudden disappearance of his father, and a move to another town in another state.  On the night of his thirteenth birthday, Ex has an unexpected meeting with a mysterious man.  This encounter reveals Ex’s supernatural destiny as an “Era Key,” the only one of his generation, who can move freely and mysteriously through time. Now, with help from his mother’s chronodelias—mystical flowers that let you watch memories as though watching tv—and his new group of zany but street-tough friends, Ex must piece together the truth of the mysterious man, the forgotten magical world of Odyssia wherein lie his roots, and the connection with a new and lavish videogame…and his future.

Amazon Links
Barnes& Noble Links
People - Tony Sucking His Thumb
Tony Carnival is that rare author who comes along once in a generation.  Born with a penchant for storytelling and an uncanny ability to weave innovative ideas into cogent prose, he has developed from the nine-year-old short-story writer to the current epic fiction talent.  Over Odyssey: Yellow is the first novel in a sextet of epic fantasy, which has already been heralded as “lavish and captivating,” and as “an amazing roller coaster ride of excitement and thrills.”  A New Jersey native, he now lives in New York with his beloved family and is busy writing the second book in the sextet, Over Odyssey: Blue – a sequel that is already greatly anticipated by his fans.
Other Links
Twitter Handle: @Over_Odyssey

Here are some randomly selected links to other bloggers who are taking up the challenge, please find time to visit them too.

During the challenge we are asking people to leave comments on as many blogs as possible, all supportive comments are very much appreciated, thank you.

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Letter T on The A to Z April Challenge 2014

Today it’s letter T on the A to Z Challenge. My book is “The 20’s Girl, The Ghost and All That Jazz” by June Kearns. Genre: Romance

20s Girl Cover MEDIUM

Book Title: The 20’s Girl, the ghost, and all that jazz

Book Description:

1924. The English Shires after the Great War – all crumbling country houses and no men.

When her jazzing flapper of an aunt dies, Gerardina Mary Chiledexter inherits some silver-topped scent bottles, a wardrobe of love-affair clothes, and astonishingly, a half-share in a million-acre cattle ranch in south-west Texas.

Haunted by a psychic cat, and the ghost voice of her aunt, Gerry feels driven to go and see this for herself.

Against a backdrop of big sky, cattle barons and oil wells, she is soon engaged in a game of power, pride and attraction with the Texan who owns the other half.

Available from Amazon in both paperback and Kindle

June Kearns

Author Sites: website:

Twitter: @june_kearns


Facebook: June Kearns

I shall be reviewing this book here on the blog in June along with a guest author interview.

Here are some randomly selected links to other bloggers who are taking up the challenge, please find time to visit them too.

During the challenge we are asking people to comment on as many blogs as possible, all supportive comments are much appreciated, thank you.

AtoZ Banner [2014]

A Girl Of The Paper Sky by Randy Mixter

A Girl Of The Paper SkyA Girl Of The Paper Sky by Randy Mixter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Girl of the Paper Sky is a haunting tale. Is it a land of dreams? Is it a parallel Universe? Or is it a soul flying free? Generations of select people have what it takes to visit the land of the Paper Sky. There an evil presence lurks, threatening the town of Clarksdale. Lori enters the land through her dreams, she sees beautiful colours, paper birds and a bad scarecrow. Whilst sharing her experiences she finds that people take on the persona of paper birds in her dreams. Lori is powerful and she can make contact with others while she dreams, saving lives. Years pass, but the haunting memory of the Paper Sky always remain. The vast steel works which dominates the town is a dangerous place where wages are high, but so are accidents. It’s always the steel works pumping out clouds of sooty ash which continue to threaten the town, the people and now Lori and her family. She must put an end to the evil, drawing on her own deep love for those around her. This was a beautiful short story full of vibrant colours, dreams and paper birds.

Find a copy of this book here on and, kindle version available from 10th January 2013

View all my reviews On Goodreads.

24 Sleeps ’til Xmas tour “Skipping Christmas” by John Grisham (Day 9)


Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

Imagine a year without Christmas. No crowded shops, no corny office parties, no fruitcakes, no unwanted presents. That’s just what Luther and Nora Krank have in mind when they decide that, just this once, they’ll skip the holiday altogether. Theirs will be the only house on the street without a rooftop Frosty the snowman; they won’t be hosting their annual Christmas Eve bash; they aren’t even going to have a tree. They won’t need one, because come December 25 they’re setting sail on a Caribbean cruise. But, as this weary couple is about to discover, skipping Christmas brings enormous consequences – and isn’t half as easy as they’d imagined.

Available in Kindle or paperback this book is approximately 242 pages long.

Find a copy here from or

All this month as part of my Good Deeds Challenge, I’m making a daily suggestion for you the reader to join in with. Today’s Good deed to try is to make a cash donation to any charity collection that you can find today.

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

The Jungle BookThe Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I found this book for free as a kindle download I remembered reading it as a child and wanted to read it again. I’m glad I did, it brought back happy memories and I did spend the day humming songs from the Disney film to accompany the book. “The bear-necessities of life” and “I’m the King of the Swingers” rang out around the house. The book has more than just Mowgli’s tale and I’ve always remembered Rikki-Tikki-Tavi from my childhood.

Get a free kindle download here from or

View all my reviews on Goodreads.

Guest Author Pete Denton

We’re back with another guest author interview today. Please welcome Pete Denton to the blog, I met Pete during the April A to Z Challenge 2013 as one of the many great people who were taking part and I began to follow his blog afterwards. Pete kindly agreed to be our guest today and talk about his writing journey.

Pete DentonLet’s find our more about Pete;

1) Where is your home town?

I am from Sheffield, which is the capital city of the People’s Republic of South Yorkshire, once the stainless steel and cutlery capital of the world. Now, littered with Starbucks and Costa Coffees like the rest of the planet.

2) When did you start writing?

I think I’ve always enjoyed writing or at least imagining stories and characters in my head. At school I enjoyed English lessons and have always tinkered with stories. I wrote my first book, a dungeons and dragons style book, when I was thirteen.

3) I’m very impressed that you went “Back to school” and took a creative writing diploma, tell us why?

I’d written many first drafts, but lacked the confidence and skills to taken them to the next stage. My wife sent me an email from our union that they were paying for members to do a writing course with the Open University. I jumped at the chance and enjoyed it so much I decided to enrol for the Diploma in Creative Writing. I learnt about editing and re-drafting so I could understand what I needed to do next with my work. Having tutors and fellow students read and critique my work helped me improve my writing and it brought me into a writing group. Without doubt, the best decision of my life!

4) You have written short stories, flash fiction and scripts, tell us about some of your work.

My preference is for the longer writing. I wrote the script for my final assignment on the OU course about a teenage girl who returns home to questions from the police after being missing for three days. I keep meaning to tinker with it and send it off to the BBC as a one-off drama, but never seem to get around to it.

Short stories for the course have been enjoyable and I love writing flash fiction to help hone my skills, but I never seem to write enough of them as I’m always working on novels.

5) You’ve just completed the July Camp NaNoWriMo, what is it? how did you get on and what did you write about?

The original National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo is in November and encourages you to write a 50k novel in a calendar month. Seems crazy, but it seems to work. It’s free to take part (though they encourage donations) and you find good support from fellow participants.

They also run two Camp NaNo during the year where you can set your own word count. I have to say, July seems so long ago already! I managed to hit the 50k word count, but haven’t written anything since. The novel is the second in what I hope will be my British Crime series. I need to finishing mapping out the rest of the book and just need to get my finger out and write the damned thing!

6) We met (virtually) during the April A to Z Challenge, was that your first year of taking part?

It was. I’d intended on taking part last year, but in the end didn’t have the time to dedicate myself to it properly so decided to wait until this year.

7) Would you recommend the A to Z Challenge to others? Why?

Now, there is a question! And, I’m not sure how to answer. During April, I had a blast. I had a vague plan for about a third of the posts when April hit. Looking back, I don’t think that was enough. I found it hard going trying to visit and support fellow bloggers (like yourself) taking part and keep writing the posts each evening. A title alone does not mean a post is written and ready to post!

May was a tough month as a result and my blogging seems to have suffered each month since as I seem to have had a bit of a burn-out. More planning and writing 90% of the posts ahead of time would have made all the difference so I won’t be taking part again in 2014, but might the following year. Just the reading next time.

If you post a lot anyway and have time I definitely recommend it. If in doubt maybe better to read other posts instead.

8) I loved your post “Twitter made me buy a Kindle” can you quickly tell the readers why Twitter did this?

Thanks 🙂

When I started blogging I was firmly in the NO TO E-READERS camp. Then I joined Twitter and met a whole host of writers who had self-published their work and I wanted to read them. My writing group decided to self-publish a collection of short stories from our course and I decided to take the plunge into self-publishing and e-books. The next step was to buy a Kindle.

I suffer a bit from arthritis in my hands and holding a thick book like a 600+ page David Baldacci curtails my reading time sometimes and the Kindle has solved that. Every book now weighs the same. I’ve downloaded loads of e-book that are not available in print. I’m so glad Twitter forced me to make the purchase.

9) Do you go down the e-book route for all of your own work?

So far, my only published work is in the anthology. I do plan on self-publishing when the time is right and I finish my latest draft.

10) Where can readers find your blog? What are your writing plans for the rest of 2013?

 You can find me at http://petedenton/ and I do plan on stepping up my blogging again as it’s a great way to get back into a regular writing routine.

Plans for 2013 are to finish the latest draft of my crime novel. Once that is done it will be off to my beta readers and I’ll take it from there. I hope to finish the first draft of the follow-up by the end of the year and try and self-publish and see what happens.

Thank you Pete and Good Luck with the writing, is anyone going to be taking on the NaNoWriMo this November?

October Competition

During the month of October I shall be running a competition to win a third Kindle Cover from

Using an original hand-drawn floral design from Joules, it is a very tactile soft faux-leather. Inside is a dark blue and white striped design with a blue side pocket. There are 4 pink elastic corners to hold down your kindle and the clasp is magnetic. Suitable for Kindle 4, Kindle Touch, Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Paperwhite 3G.

Joules Kindle CoverImage courtesy of

I tried my own kindle for size to make sure it felt secure and that all the parts were easily accessible, I was impressed with the colours and believe it would appeal to the female Kindle owner. I loved the feel of the cover and found myself stroking it! Here are my own photos of the product.


To be in with a chance of winning a brand new Kindle Cover during the month of October you will need to do both of the following;

1) Sign up for my blog


2) This month, suggest an e-book which you think I might like to cosy up with by the fire as the nights draw in.

Entry is restricted to the UK only because I need to post them to you myself! (Automated /bulk entries from third parties are NOT permitted)

Closing Date: 31st October 2013. Each month’s competition will be run separately and entries will not roll over to the next draw.

The winner will be chosen for providing the most original, relevant and entertaining entry and will be decided by an independent Judge. The Judge’s decision is final and cannot be disputed. I’m giving away 1 Kindle cover for August, September, October and November.

Winners will be announced here on the blog and will be notified by e-mail, then will be asked to send their address details. In the event of any unclaimed prizes I shall re-draw the prize after 2 weeks of each closing date.

‘Joules online’ available here:

Romancing September author Marina de Nadous (Day 17)

Welcome to Day 17 of Romancing September Across the World. Today’s author is Marina de Nadous and her book “The Celestial Sea”. Cross over to Georgia USA in a few hours and read what Marina has to say about writing romance in today’s society with Stephanie.

Marina de Nadous author

Marina has chosen not to reveal her full picture for privacy reasons.

Let’s find out more about Marina;

1) Where is your hometown?

My hometown is Frome in Somerset, UK

2) How long have you been writing?

I began writing 7 years ago

3) Have you always written romance?

No—I never set out to be a writer. I am a novice author launching a series I have been working on since 2006. I consider myself a scribe, recording a story that arrived unexpectedly in my lap. 

4) Your book is written in diary format, why did you choose this?

My above answer goes some way to explain my reason for the diary format. Written as a diary narrative, the story includes the beginnings of my writer’s career and the conception of the series. In a way, the story turns itself inside out as my writer’s journey becomes embroiled in the script.

 5) There is a chalk model of a ship on your book cover. What is the role of the ship in the book?

I shall leave that as a mystery—for now. I don’t want to expose too much of the magic interwoven through the pages of The Celestial Sea Voyages. ‘Lovers’ Metaphor’ is a clue.

6) Much romance is written with characters in the 20-30 year old age bracket, do your characters fit this model?

Move it on ten years—my story will probably resonate more strongly with adults in their 40/50’s. I presumed I had written a romance for women in this age bracket but I have been enormously surprised to find that the men are appreciating the story just as much, if not more, than my female readers!

7) You chose New Zealand as the setting for your book, why?

For one reason only—I just happened to be there when the story appeared. Others would say it was destiny that took me there. My story certainly points to the ‘destiny’ theory.

8) Do the New Zealand Maori traditions play a part in some of the spiritual areas of the book?

Many aspects of Kiwi life are represented throughout the story—seen through the eyes of a domestic housewife and mother new to the Southern hemisphere. I hope I have represented lots of interest in this realm and yes, Maori heritage, culture and spirituality provide evocative elements throughout the tale.

9) Fans have described this as one of the ‘Great Love Stories’, why do you think that is?

This is a hard one to answer because I am both the writer and the protagonist. All I can say is that the romance is totally unique. I have never read anything that compares. Each person takes from it what they will. Readers with a spiritual leaning will gain most from the series. Mix a cocktail of ‘Shakespeare in Love,’ ‘Bridget Jones Diary’, add a nautical, sacred ingredient that can’t be put into words and perhaps—perhaps that might just define the story—sort of!

10) Will any of your work be available to buy on Kindle?

Yes—the series is available in both paperback and Kindle.

11) You’ve just published book 2 in the series, what is it called? How many more books are you planning for fans? Any planned publication dates?

The first book; ‘The Celestial Sea’, was published last August. The second book is called ‘Dry Dock’ and came out at the beginning of this month. There are several volumes planned, but as yet I have no fixed publication dates. It rather depends on the public’s appreciation. Over to you, readers—how much can you take?


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A Big Thank you to Marina for being our guest today, Good Luck with the series.