A Tale of Plagiarism Continued: Clarification of The Story Siren’s Clarification

plagiarism and copyright infringement controversy blog improvement blog  A Tale of Plagiarism Continued: Clarification of The Story Sirens Clarification

via SSS Library Research Guide

I wish I could start this post by saying that I am sorry that the truth behind The Story Siren has come out but I would be lying.  I see how devastating this news has been for the YA Book Blogging community but, in hindsight, they deserved to know the whole truth.

So I’m not sorry.

I don’t know how it happened, but I am glad that somehow, someway, members of the Book Blogging community ended up reading our posts and identifying Kristi as the person who had plagiarized our content. I’m not sorry that the truth was exposed, but I am sorry that some people have used this as an opportunity to bully. Bullying is not OK no matter how you look at it.

Bullying Kristi won’t fix anything.

Bullying ME also won’t  fix anything (I’m talking to you, you hate e-mailers).

The only thing bullying has done in the last 24 hours is make Kristi out to be the victim here.

Let’s make one thing clear.

Kristi is NOT a victim.

We are the victims.

Please don’t forget that.

She is the one who committed the crime and now that it is public knowledge, she has to deal with the consequences.  Those include owning up to what she did and admitting that she is guilty of knowingly plagiarizing our work.

Well, guess what?

Even in her latest “Clarification” apology she doesn’t quite manage to do that and instead invokes more doublespeak.

In her apology, Kristi says:

Let’s try this again. I owe all of you, the blogging community and my readers a much better explanation and apology. My first apology was written out of emotion. I should have given myself the time to reflect before responding. I didn’t do that and I tend to let my emotions rule.

… When I first received the allegations of plagiarism, I was presented with the information and could not deny the facts. While the content was not identical the subject matter was. It was a confusion of inspiration and plagiarism on my part. I am not denying my actions. I was in the wrong.

… Was I feeling pressure to do something new and engaging? Something helpful and interesting? I was. Had I only paid more attention to where my inspiration was coming at the time, I should have handled the situation much differently. A simple email asking for permission or a link back should have happened. And I didn’t do it. I’ve preached that thousands of times. I lacked in taking my own advice…”

UPDATE 4/26/2012: Kristi has now edited part of her original “clarification” apology to read:

“When I first received the allegations of plagiarism, I was presented with the information and could not deny the facts. While the content was not identical the subject matter was. I thought only content could be plagiarized. Changing a few a words around with a thesaurus, or simple copying and pasting content. It seems as though taking a general topic and rewriting it is plagiarism. That is simply my own ignorance on the matter, and I should have known better. It was a confusion of inspiration and plagiarism on my part. I am not denying my actions. I was in the wrong. I read a post, I thought it was interesting and wanted to make it into something that would be relevant for book blogging.”

Now, let me refer you to Kristi’s now-deleted post on plagiarism which she originally published on April 16, 2010:

“Plagiarism isn’t just copying and pasting word for word and passing it off as your own. It can be taking someones work and changing around the sentence structure, getting out your thesaurus and changing a few words here and there… basically taking the central idea tweaking it and passing it off as your own work.”

That post was in response to a plagiarism scandal and Kristi was one of the bloggers who weighed in at the time (read this post for the details).  What did they all agree on? Paraphrasing work and passing it off as your own is a form plagiarism.  

 

Please note the parts in BOLD in both versions of the apology above.

Now, some clarification from ME:

Kristi knew full well where the “inspiration” was coming from because she consistently visited our original posts the SAME DAY that the plagiarized posts were published on her own site.  She knew exactly what she was doing.

It wasn’t case of confusion, it wasn’t a case of “inspiration” gone wrong. 

It was a case of pure laziness and she got caught.

Need more proof?  Here you go (click on each title to see the images – they are quite sizable.):

Exhibit A Shows:

  1. Kristi visited my site, Beautifully Invisible, 29 times between September 23, 2011 and January 20, 2012;
  2. A quick glance at the length of each session since September 23rd indicates that she spent over 4 hours on my site. That isn’t just a few minutes… that is HOURS.
  1. She visited my “10 Popular Blogging Myths Debunked” post (published by me on October 5, 2011), on both October 27th and October 28th, 2011
  2. These dates correlate with the date the plagiarized post, ”10 Book Blogging Myths Debunked”, was published on The Story Siren (October 28th, 2011)

Exhibit C Shows:

  1. She visited my “10 Things About Your Blog That Drive me Crazy” post (published by me on April 8, 2011), on both November 12th and November 11th, 2011
  2. These dates correlate with the date the plagiarized post, ”10 Things I Dislike About Your Blog Post”, was published on The Story Siren (November 12, 2011)

Exhibit D Shows:

  1. She visited my “Guest Post: How to Not be a Savage Blogger” post (published by me on June 8, 2011), on both October 5th and October 6th, 2011
  2. These dates correlate with the date the plagiarized post, ”Getting Followers without being SPAM”, was published on The Story Siren (October 8, 2011)

Exhibit E Shows:

  1. She visited my “Introduction: So You Want to Leave Blogger for WordPress” post (published by me on November 8, 2010), on December 9th and December 10th, 2011
  2. These dates correlate with the date the plagiarized post, ”Why I Left Blogger”, was published on The Story Siren (December 10, 2011)

If anyone can enlighten me as to how someone who is not only an established Book Blogger, but someone who is apparently one of the TOP YA Book Bloggers in the blogosphere can not be aware where her inspiration is from given those facts, please do?  I think the evidence speaks for itself.  Kristi came to my blog on the days listed above with every intent to plagiarise my content.  

It wasn’t a mistake. 

It wasn’t an accident.

It was deliberate.

It was pre-calculated.

In her latest apology, Kristi asks myself and Grit and Glamour to not judge the YA Blogging Community by her actions and I am certain that I speak for both of us when I say that we won’t.  We’ve met some great bloggers as a result of this nastiness, and that at least is something good that came of this situation.

I speak only for myself, however, when I say that I won’t accept Kristi’s apology until she admits that she knowingly and with intent committed this plagiarism

UPDATE 4/25/2012: Grit and Glamour has now published her own post which addresses this unfortunate situation and also speaks to the people who have decided that skewering us, the real victims, somehow absolves Kristi of any wrong-doing.  Even though I didn’t write-it, I co-sign every. word. she. wrote: Now its’s MY turn for a “clarification”…

Am I being harsh?  Perhaps, but I think I have a right to be harsh in these circumstances.  Apparently, Kristi is viewed as a role model by other YA bloggers out there which is something I was not aware of when we published our original posts in January.  Knowing that, the fact that she is still making excuses is simply is NOT acceptable to me.

My message to Kristi is this:

Take full responsibility for your actions  and admit that you knowingly and deliberately plagiarized our work. Until you do, I won’t believe nor will I accept any apology that you offer.  

Please stop making excuses. Please stop making this out to have been some sort of accident. You knew full well that what you were doing was plagiarism – you wrote about this very type in 2010. Was it was a mistake? Yes, a big one. But nothing is unforgivable if you own up to it.  

UPDATE 5/24/2012:  Kristi recently reawakened this whole debate again by launching a week-long series about plagiarism on her blog.  Read my response to her non-apologies to date here and Grit and Glamour’s related post on Damage Control 101 here.

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              • Breyana Irvinia Brown November 4, 2013, 9:51 AM

                i think plagiarism is a big crime because you stealing somebody work. they worked on that for god knows how long people dont got time for it. stealing somebody else work is like cheating. people write to express the way they feel about there selves or the world and other people. so dont commit crime if you dont want to do the time just be yourself no matter if you good at it or not. or lets scratch that out everybodys good at writing if its drama, friendly or what ever else. just think about the stuff on facebook, myspace, twitter, or instagram you put up. IT EXPRESSES YOU!!!!

                Reply
              • caroline @ c.w.frosting September 10, 2012, 11:01 PM

                Found you via Grit & Glamour & her related post. Plagarism is disgusting and inexcusable, and to host an entire series on the topic after the fact without even an apology?! I’m so sorry this happened to you.

                Reply
              • Amanda May 30, 2012, 10:43 PM

                I have to say I didn’t fully understand what was going on until last night. I must have been living under a rock or something but I’m not a book blogger or a book tuber. I’m a book lurker, I enjoy watching other people’s youtube book videos and reading their blogs. I love seeing what other people are reading and buying and that included TSS blog and youtube channel. I loved her videos and reviews and I’m devastated to find out that she did this and to not even own up to it which makes it all the more insulting. I cannot condone this nor will I follow her anymore not until she makes amends to you and Vahni personally. I have read her apology or should I say her non-apology extensively and she’s not sorry to you (her victims), no she’s just sorry she got caught. She knew what she was doing and that’s what makes this so disgusting. For all those haters who sent email to these two lovely ladies who have been very gracious in the face of this. Shame on you. Kristi is not the victim in this but the perpetrator and you should remember that. I support you 100% and will continue to do so.

                Reply
              • Tammy Cordeiro May 24, 2012, 12:20 PM

                I am so glad that I finally got to the bottom of this story! Like many others, I read the “apology” post that TSS first put up and was very confused by it. Even this week, when she is doing her special expose on plagiarism, I found myself thoroughly confused. But now that I know the facts, I find myself thoroughly disgusted!

                I just finished a 2 1/2 year Master’s degree program in Library Science where we spent a lot of time talking about this issue. People need to realize that plagiarism and copyright violation IS A BIG DEAL!!! It is theft. It will get you kicked out of universities and it will land you in court if you plagiarize the wrong people. Not to mention that it is ethically and morally abhorrent. I am so disappointed in TSS. She should be ashamed.

                I am so sorry that your work got plagiarized, but I am glad that at least the whole mess led me to your blog, where I plan to read all of the original advice posts to help with my own blog! Keep your head high and be proud that you have stood your ground!

                Reply
              • Nicole May 21, 2012, 11:25 AM

                I agree with you and I feel that people should take responsibility when they do something wrong. An apology is due. I just don’t understand why it is so difficult to admit wrongdoing, take responsibility and apologize!

                Reply
              • Pearl May 19, 2012, 2:03 PM

                This is very sad, I am glad you managed to get to the truth but agree you deserve a real apology and it is shameful you have been attacked over it!

                Reply
              • Hamir Dassle May 9, 2012, 4:51 AM

                Plagiarism is a big crime because you are stealing someone’s information, which they took a lot of time to compile and easily using it for your own benefit. Nowadays there are many applications that you can get online for free which are meant to help in re-writing the articles and therefore I still do not understand why some people have to use plagiarized articles.

                Reply
              • Jo @ Once Upon a Bookcase May 6, 2012, 6:12 PM

                Wow. So taking part in In My Mailbox – a meme hosted by The Story Siren – and reading other posts for the meme, I saw there was some drama, but unclear on what it was. Research and a lot of reading of your posts, and… wow.

                Not only do I feel bad for you and the other bloggers Kristi has plagiarised, I feel betrayed. As you have stated, Kristi is pretty big in the YA book blogging community. People look up to her. I have personally gone to her for advice. I have been book blogging for three years now, but when I started, it was with the help of her blogging tips posts that I learned how to be a better blogger. She may have plagiarised your posts last year, but I don’t know whether or not those other posts that helped me were plagiarised as well. And can’t count the number of times I myself have advised new bloggers to check out her posts for advice. I am just so angry! Reviewing is all about honesty, and something our community swears by – that SHE swears by. I just feel really let down.

                I’m so sorry that Kristi did what she did. It’s inexcusable, but so much worse that she isn’t apologising as she should or owning up to it. I am so, so glad I did my research, because from reading Kristi’s posts alone, I wasn’t sure exactly what she was talking about, but felt it was obviously just a mistake, something unintentional, something to be forgiven. I’m just appalled, by what she’s done and how she’s dealt with it.

                I thank you not only for pointing out what Kristi has down, but also on how to find out if you’ve been plagiarised and how to deal with it. I’ve really learnt something today. Thanks.
                Jo @ Once Upon a Bookcase latest blog post: In My Mailbox (93)

                Reply
              • Kaethe April 30, 2012, 9:11 AM

                I’m so sorry you’ve been plagiarized and attacked for it. I don’t imagine I’ll ever be in the same position (of course, who does?), but I hope I handle it as well ifaI am.
                Kaethe latest blog post: Reading Intersects with Life Sometimes

                Reply
              • Nazish @ Nazish Reads April 30, 2012, 3:27 AM

                Thank you for clarifying the situation on your other post and on Grit and Glamour’s site (first time I visited these sites). I first heard about this yesterday on a book bloggers site that said in one of her posts, something about a scandal and that she’s not participating in IMM anymore, I was so shocked, so I got curious about what happened (I visited TSS only once a week, only for IMM, I was never really interested in her site, there were other sites who were and still are my role models in the book blogging community) and I searched on google and then I found a list of blogs, so I clicked on one and went to the links, I read your posts and some others too, and now I think I fully understand what’s going on.

                So sorry that this has happened to you, I can see that you guys are the victims and I still don’t understand either about why you agreed to keep her identity private. I admire you guys for your maturity for dealing with this and knowing what to do, I don’t think I would have been able to be as professional about it if something like this happened to me, I have a short temper, so I probably would have dealt with it poorly, unless I wait until I calm down a bit (which takes a while), and I wouldn’t know exactly what to do except to take screen caps.
                Nazish @ Nazish Reads latest blog post: Under the Never Sky: Book 1 by Veronica Rossi

                Reply
              • azteclady April 29, 2012, 9:19 PM

                I confess that I still don’t understand why you agreed to keep the identity of the plagiarist secret back in January when you first discovered the theft, but I commend both you and Grit and Glamour for having a helluva lot of class and maturity.

                Take care of yourselves and keep yourselves safe (retaliation harassment is a horrible thing), but know that there are many, many people who do know that you are the victims here.
                azteclady latest blog post: Handknit Long Sleeve Sweater – Cloudy Skies (Vintage Yarn) – 1 to 2 Years by HerHandsMyHands

                Reply
              • Marleigh Fiacco April 29, 2012, 9:18 PM

                Thank you for shining some light on this subject. The first time I heard about this was when Kristi sent out an apology and I was utterly confused. I thought no more of it until so many book bloggers were denouncing her In My Mailboxes and her Debut challenge. However, I was still confused and had no idea what was happening. I started the IMM and my own blog because of Kristi and I feel disgusting that this happened. Your post makes it perfectly clear that she plagiarized your work and I am sorry that you had to go through that.

                Thank you for making things clear on what happened because I was still confused when I visited book bloggers and their thoughts and feelings on this situation. They didn’t help me and didn’t explain what happened and I wanted proof and you sure gave that to me.

                I am still shocked to hear what just happened, but I just can’t support someone who has deliberately done this.
                Marleigh Fiacco latest blog post: Random News

                Reply
              • Angie @ Pinkindle R&R April 27, 2012, 4:36 PM

                I’ve been following these posts all week, and I think it’s about time for me to say what I think.

                When I read Kristi’s first apology, I was SOOO confused. I had no idea what she was talking about. I was curious, but I didn’t really care what she had done. I figured it was one of those cases where she did something minor, but it was getting blown out of proportion just because she’s a big name in the YA Book Blogging community. I also thought that whoever she was talking to would know, and it was none of my business. But then links to all of your explanation posts started popping up, and I was really shocked. I think most of the shock came from the fact that those very posts on her blog were what helped me get started on my own blog just 6 months ago! Now that I know the real help came from you, I’d like to thank you for helping me get started! The posts were very helpful and encouraging. :)

                I do think this whole situation is getting out of hand though. You all should not be getting attacked, since you are the victims here. But I also don’t think Kristi should be attacked in the way she is. Yes, what she did is wrong, and I do think there need to be consequences. But the name calling and bashing is just unnecessary, and as you said, it’s bullying!

                I think that’s all I wanted to say, but I’ll just thank you again for your helpful posts!
                Angie @ Pinkindle R&R latest blog post: Freebie Friday [2]

                Reply
              • Beautifully Invisible April 28, 2012, 12:55 PM

                Hi Angie,

                Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and you are VERY welcome for the blogging tips posts :) I am glad that they proved to be helpful for you!

                I agree with your comment wholeheartedly. I do think the situation has gotten out of hand in many ways but I can understand it to some extent. When you have a blogger as loved and respected as she is/was to so many and something like this happens passions certainly run high! As we agree, that doesn’t make bullying OK in any respect, but at least a lot of healthy conversation around plagiarism in the blogosphere has also resulted from this.

                I love the fact that you mention you didn’t know what she was apologizing for when you read her posts. That is another part of the reason I won’t accept her apology. First and foremost, she has yet to admit that what she did was completely and undeniably intentional. Secondly, she doesn’t appear to respect her readers or fellow bloggers enough to put the truth out there and instead forces people to google exactly what she is accused of. Can you be any more vague? The amount of misinformation in the comments on her clarification post just boggles my mind. That hurts all the parties involved and just exacerbates the bullying.

                Thanks again for stopping by!

                Reply
              • Laura April 27, 2012, 10:41 AM

                I like these post you were clarifying the issues about Plagiarism hope no one will be a victim of it.
                Laura latest blog post: Experiences in London

                Reply
              • bambu April 26, 2012, 9:30 PM

                I’m pretty disheartened that so many people are willing to forgive and forget that what she did was wrong and if it was done in a job where she got paid, she would most likely be sacked.

                Reply
              • Aanchal @ Book Flame April 26, 2012, 9:02 PM

                I am so disgusted with the treatment you the real victims have been receiving by fans of Kristi’s blog. I’m so sorry you guys even had to go through something like this and when I heard about the hate emails you were receiving I was just baffled it makes no sense. You have cold hard proof on what she did and yet I go to her blog and I see comments from fans such as “it was mistake” “it’s okay” …makes no sense. Just know there are several of us in the book blogging community who support you and know what she did was very wrong.
                Aanchal @ Book Flame latest blog post: Early Review: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

                Reply
              • Beautifully Invisible April 28, 2012, 1:14 PM

                Thanks for the words of support, Aanchal! I think in a situation like this passions run extremely high so sometimes people act before they think. I may be wrong, but I honestly feel that the people who are skewering us for what happened don’t actually have all the details. TSS talks around the issue in her “apologies” so people must actually research what she is accused of on their own. It’s much easier to just shift the blame onto us than actually take the time to make an informed decision.

                Again, thanks for the support. The kindness most of the book blogging community has shown myself and g&g has been overwhelming!

                Reply
              • Isalys April 26, 2012, 3:36 PM

                I know I’m just one of many book bloggers who’ve apologized for this train-wreck, but please know that I am sorry for the way some members of our community have handled this situation. Most of us have enough sense in our heads to know that what Kristi did was wrong and that she needs to be held accountable (ESPECIALLY as a “leader” in this community).

                I applaud you and G&G for the way you, the *real* victims handled this and thank you for providing more than enough evidence to prove that.
                Isalys latest blog post: Letter to Jenny

                Reply
              • Beautifully Invisible April 28, 2012, 1:35 PM

                Thank you so much, but please know that we aren’t holding your blogging community accountable for any of the negativity that has occurred. We understand that passions are running high, and certainly there are some apologies that should be made, but I hate that so many of you feel that you need to be apologizing on behalf of the book blogging community. We don’t hold any of you accountable for the actions of others and I know I speak for all of us when I say that we respect you and the community as a whole. At least now our blogging communities have crossed paths, so maybe we can strengthen the relationship between one another!

                Reply
              • Sabrina @ about happy books April 26, 2012, 11:52 AM

                I think both you and Grit and Glamour handled this whole situation in a great way and it’s ridiculous (but not very surprising) that you are being attacked by some crazy fangirls even though you are the victims.
                I’m a book blogger and one of my reviews was just a few weeks ago plagiarised by another blogger and that made me so angry. There’s IMO no excuse for stealing the words of another person. It’s sad that so far you haven’t gotten a real apology by The Story Siren and I fear that this will not change, the updates she added to her “clarification” do not speak well for her.
                Sabrina @ about happy books latest blog post: Book Impressions: Grave Mercy – Robin LaFevers

                Reply
              • lara April 26, 2012, 11:20 AM

                Plagiarism should be discouraged because it is not helping… I once got into trouble because of this
                lara latest blog post: Indoor chaise lounge chairs

                Reply
              • Meg @ A Bookish Affair April 26, 2012, 10:16 AM

                Obviously from my name, you can probably tell that I’m a book blogger. I feel so bad that this happened to you guys and that on top of everything, you are getting hate mail from other members of the book blogging community. It makes all book bloggers look really bad. Being a blogger myself, I can definitely find some common ground with being upset when the things that you spend a lot of time and effort on get stolen. Hang in there!
                Meg @ A Bookish Affair latest blog post: Booking Through Thursday: Changes

                Reply
              • Laura Benson April 25, 2012, 11:19 PM

                I am so sorry to hear that you have been getting nasty e-mails from people of the YA book blogging community. I posted on my blog how very upset I am that you have had to deal with this. You are not in the wrong. You posted back in Jan about this, but other bloggers caught on and decided that it was necessary to bring this to light. Unfortunately for us in the book blogging world, we’ll have to deal with the aftermath of this for a while. I’m pretty disheartened that so many people are willing to forgive and forget that what she did was wrong and if it was done in a job where she got paid, she would most likely be sacked.

                I love your style of writing and think your blog and Grit and Glamour’s blogs are very well written and interesting.
                Laura Benson latest blog post: Sigh

                Reply
              • Shannon (aka Readergirl) April 25, 2012, 9:59 PM

                I guess I’ve had my head under a rock in the last few days but I just now found out was going on. Let me say a couple things about this situation: 1. I have always followed Kristi’s blog and probably will continue to do so due to her IMM and New Release posts being such a big resource for me personally, BUT… 2. I do not condone what she has done and I am in full support of you and the other site in this situation. The evidence seems pretty clear to me. The fact that people are skewering you and the other blog about this is outrageous and stupid. I guess they are such huge fans of TSS that they’re unable to accept the truth and are making excuses.

                I will say this though… I’m a new follower of your blog and I found out about you BECAUSE of this situation. Other readers may do the same… So hopefully that means that something good will come out of this.
                Shannon (aka Readergirl) latest blog post: Waiting On Wednesday

                Reply
              • Crystal @ Redheads Review It Better April 25, 2012, 9:58 PM

                I can’t believe this woman thought she could get away with that. Like everyone else’s comments, I am with you 100%. What Kristi did was unforgivable. I think it’s funny because I saw someone on Twitter today state that she thought it was wrong to make Kristi completely shut down her blog. It made me shake my head. When I think I can stop being surprised by all the stupid crap people pull, they always cease to amaze me once again. *smh*
                Crystal @ Redheads Review It Better latest blog post: Review: Taking a Shot by Jaci Burton

                Reply
              • Laura April 25, 2012, 7:45 PM

                I posted on G&G’s blog, and came to yours. I want to say you have my support, and the support of my friends in the book blogging community. What happened to you both was horrible, and she should apologize. and ask her followers to stop with the hate mail … seriously that is appalling. People can support her (even though she was clearly in the wrong, it is their choice) without attacking the VICTIMS. There have been several posts written about this in the book blogging world, and many that I have seen are either neutral or support you. Here is the link to my own post, which links back to Parajunkee because she said it better than I could. http://wp.me/p2jyKt-1H

                If there is anything we can do, please ask.

                Reply
              • Kate C. April 25, 2012, 7:29 PM

                Holy COW! I never would have thought after reading the entries linked to me by Cuddlebuggery, that YOU would get blamed. As you said, the evidence is clear. I hope you get your honest apology and I’m sorry about the hate mail. That sucks.
                Kate C. latest blog post: Artsy Fartsy

                Reply
              • Amy @ Turn the Page April 25, 2012, 6:06 PM

                Like many others, I found out about this when it exploded all over Twitter. I have chosen to stay out of it, so haven’t posted anything on my blog or commented on Twitter. However I did want to come here and say that I was shocked and upset to hear you have been receiving hate mail over this, from, I presume, loyal fans of The Story Siren. After reading one or two comments here from posters who I guessed are your friends, I am even more angry and upset that you received these, and had to deal with all this, during a difficult time.

                Please know that there are a lot of people who are a part of the book blogging community (as it likes to call itself) who have been appalled not only to hear about this but to hear about the backlash you have received.

                Reply
              • A Brit Greek April 25, 2012, 5:42 PM

                Darling B! Soooo sorry to hear you ladies are having to deal with this and also getting nasty hate mail – totally uncalled for and very wrong. It makes me so angry when people it’s ok to bully someone! It’s not! So Stop it!

                I know you’ve had a very rough time lately and are having to deal with other real life drama’s… sending you big squeezy hugs and a large dirty martini. I’d send you Ryan Gosling or even Gerard if I could, really!

                Anyhow, I think you & V are freaking awesome for the way you guys have handled this situation.
                Much love to you.

                x.o.x.o

                Reply
              • Mary @ Book Swarm April 25, 2012, 4:43 PM

                I’m so sorry that book bloggers felt it was okay to bully you. You are, indeed, the victim here. Plagiarism is WRONG. There’s no excuse. It’s horrible that someone who is supposed to be an example in the YA book blogging community would plagiarize at all, and everything that happened afterwords…I don’t even know what to say about that half-assedness on her part. I hate that, because of how many hits she gets and who she is, there won’t be much of a repercussion for her actions. I hate that she’s tainted our entire community with her actions and inactions. And I hate that it happened to you. Like the majority of our community, I’m sick that this happened–both the plagiarism and the bullying. It’s unforgivable.

                Reply
              • Jennifer @ The Bawdy Book Blog April 25, 2012, 4:19 PM

                Kristi has publicly admitted in the past to “buying” her viewers with book giveaways. It’s unfortunate that some of these viewers are so incredibly loyal to her (for whatever reason – free stuff?) that they can’t see past the sparkly facade to a person who would purposefully steal another individual’s ideas/content for herself, especially after preaching against such incredibly unethical practices in the past.

                Thanks for not judging the rest of the book blogging community by her actions. She does need to be held accountable and I am glad you stood up to her. She probably thought she was done and good to go for the last 3 months until this came out publicly. Which means she would have done it again.

                Anyway, let them send hate mail. They’re just worried there won’t be anymore free books. *insert eyeroll here*
                Jennifer @ The Bawdy Book Blog latest blog post: [Review] Bumped by Megan McCafferty

                Reply
              • Lalaine April 29, 2012, 12:45 AM

                haha this comment is classic! loved it! :)
                Lalaine latest blog post: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

                Reply
              • MJ April 25, 2012, 4:08 PM

                You and Vahni handled this crazy situation so professionally, tactifully, and with plenty of hard facts to back up your position. I remember when you first blogged about this and I was floored then that somone would pull this off. Then to find out it was a big time YA blogger, I’m even more dumbfounded. If anyone should know better it should be someone of that caliber and standing in the community. She should have humbled herself, admit to her wrongdoing, and accept the consequences.

                Times like this reminds bloggers on any level that having integrity and humility are important characteristics to have not just as bloggers but as human beings. We all would like the fame, popularity, and the perks that go with having a big name blog. But with all that comes a greater responsibility to yourself and the people you write for.
                MJ latest blog post: Beauty Look of the Day: Can’t Fight the Frizz

                Reply
              • Bella Q April 25, 2012, 3:43 PM

                You didn’t ask to be part of this mess. And yet you stood up for yourself, your content and defended with FACTS. Not emotion, but facts. The guilty party, The Story Siren has not facts to defend with and apparently can not even own up with honesty to her readers, to herself or to you and V. Pity. Make HER look bad, because her actions on all counts is indefensible. Which shocks me that her actions are actually being defended.

                I’m so sorry that this came to you at a time when your attentions are elsewhere, dealing with real life events. I am so proud of you, of knowing you, of reading you because you have done actions that are so well thought out, with such grace and knowledge that you inspire me- I didn’t know about IP addresses, but better still thanks to you, I know what its like to see someone defend their work and their reputation by being stellar in not just their content but in their actions.

                Hugs to you, B. Big hugs.
                Bella Q latest blog post: Boyfriend Sweater, Joan Jett Tee + Me

                Reply
              • Katiebabs April 25, 2012, 1:50 PM

                I’m appalled you would receive hate mails since you are the victims of this crime. You have shown hard facts and proof. Please know the majority of the bloggers I’ve been in contact about this are disgusted, sickened and disturbed. The blogging community at large that I know of and interact finds Kristi’s behavior deplorable.

                The one positive thing I can hope for out of all of this has opened the lines of discussion about this travesty and is making people aware, both seasoned bloggers and new bloggers that stealing, copying or what have you from another blogger is unacceptable and there should be consequences for one’s actions. As for those consequences, it remains to be seen.
                Katiebabs latest blog post: Book Spotlight Series: The Brothers Sinister by Courtney Milan

                Reply
              • Kate- Midnight Book Girl April 25, 2012, 11:56 AM

                As a member of the book blogging community I just want to apologize for any negative emails you’ve received. It’s disgusting to launch personal attacks against you. It’s wrong when people personally attack Kristi too, but you’re right, she’s not the victim in this. I am so sorry for what the Story Siren did, I can’t imagine the the feeling of having your blog posts stolen. I think you’ve handled the issue very gracefully.
                Kate- Midnight Book Girl latest blog post: Spring Into Horror Readathon has Sprung!

                Reply
              • Pocketful of Books April 25, 2012, 11:55 AM

                Great post- very clear. I have been fascinated reading all about this scandal today. I am a book blogger and although I am not a fan of The Story Siren’s I obviously did know of her and did participate in her weekly ‘In My Mailbox’ meme. She is not a victim at all; in my opinion she deserves everything that has been said to her as she would have the person’s head on a stick if it was another book blogger that had plagiarized. She has always adopted this holier-than-thou righteous attitude towards plagiarizing, so she clearly knew everything there was to know about it and STILL did it- in no way an ‘accident’ or ‘mistake’. She’ll probably never admit that she did it intentionally but let me just say…we other book bloggers know what she’s done and she will be losing a lot of readership over this. It will change the face of YA Book Blogging….but it’s a good thing. No one wants a hypocrite as their role model. Thank you for bringing this issue to light and for being so honest. x
                Pocketful of Books latest blog post: ‘Waiting On’ Wednesday!

                Reply
              • Lisa @Read.Breathe.Relax. April 25, 2012, 10:40 AM

                Thanks for sharing all this information. A lot of different sides are involved in this story, and it’s good to see a clear breakdown of which posts were taken and on what dates.

                I do think that accidental plagiarism can definitely happen – especially with so much information out there – but sadly it seems that was not the case in this situation.

                Reply
              • Vanessa April 25, 2012, 10:32 AM

                I am so sorry that you are experiencing this. This is unfair and unjust. Even if I had been following her, I would have stopped my support of her after I heard the news. Keep your head up high! Many fellow book bloggers are supporting you 100%.

                Reply
              • SueCCCP April 25, 2012, 10:27 AM

                I find it hard to believe that you are being bullied about this shameful affair. Until the Twitter explosion, I confess that I had never heard of either the plagiarized sites or that of The Story Siren, so I am not biased by prior familiarity.

                I come from an academic background, so I know how important intellectual property rights are and I also understand how frustrating it is when your writing or work is stolen by someone else. What I fail to understand is why she didn’t just post a link to your post? Did she seriously think that nobody would notice? It calls into question why she is even blogging at all. Surely blogging is about making a connection with like-minded people: certainly that is what I find so thrilling about the experience. I can understand why she might have seen your post and thought “That is a great idea: I want to write a post like that!”

                As for the backlash against you personally for exposing this behavior: that is totally intolerable and I am appalled that you have to endure it. I hope that everything will resolve itself soon and you return to peaceful blogging.

                Stay strong!
                SueCCCP latest blog post: Confessions of a Read Along Addict

                Reply
              • janicu April 25, 2012, 9:41 AM

                Your link to “Introduction: So You Want to Leave Blogger for WordPress” is pointing at the “10 Things About Your Blog That Drive me Crazy” under the Exhibit E part.

                Honestly I was good after The Story Siren’s second apology, because to me, I thought she admitted being in the wrong and to plagiarizing. Then I read the comments where a lot of people (some who are clearly bloggers!! which disturbs me) still think she was merely influenced by your posts and that this accusation of plagiarism is over-the-top. There’s a lot of downplaying of what she stole (“these posts aren’t very ‘original’ to begin with”). But she DID steal! I felt that she admits it, but her wording could be interpreted differently by others who want to read something else. I think you are right in wanting her to be even more clear.

                And I don’t think that saying she did plagiarize is bullying. Personal attacks are unnecessary and I do feel sad about her reputation because of what she did. But I’m sorry – she did come here, looked at your posts, and used them as an outline for her own. She copied titles, some phrases and subheadings, moved around the content and reworded it, and on SIX separate occasions, which can be verified by both HER admission and her IP address on five of them. I don’t understand why people are deluding themselves otherwise.

                Reply
              • Donna @ Bites April 25, 2012, 9:28 AM

                OMFG you are seriously getting hate mail from Kristi supporters? Srsly? I want to beat my head against a brick wall right now. This event has drawn a line right down the middle of book blogging between those that believe it’s okay to plagiarize as long as you’re big and popular and awesome (Story Siren supporters) and those of us that are ready to rip our skin off our faces at the raging hypocrisy and believe Kristi should be treated like every other plagiarist and NOT turned into the Michael Jackson of the book blogging world.

                I’m throwing up a post about this later today more so because I’m so disgusted at how all of this is panning out. Why are people supporting a plagiarist??? Have they no integrity at all? My little book blogging corner came crashing down with this news but after reading everything, going through all the evidence, it’s pretty irrefutable what she did. And then she kept lying about it, kept being evasive and TRIED TO COVER IT UP. If she had admitted it in the beginning that would have been one thing but quite frankly she only apologized, “apologized,” when she was backed into a corner and caught out in the open. That’s not commendable. People need to see it for what it is. It hurts me to do that. I did like Kristi but all of this just sours that beyond repair and I’m so sorry that you guys are actually being made to look like the evil ones while Kristi is victimized. It’s horrifying and I can’t imagine what you’re going through. I’ve been plagiarized myself and that’s bad enough but this? To be made to look like a dick because you had the audacity to call out someone (and not even by name, that was someone else) for ripping off your hard-worked content? Ugh.
                Donna @ Bites latest blog post: Not In My School (1)

                Reply
              • Jessica April 25, 2012, 8:51 AM

                I appreciate this post. I agree with everything you write here.

                That said, there is the power issue: if a blogger has enough influence and friends, she can exert that power to deflect criticism.
                Jessica latest blog post: 15 Surprising Things About Pretty in Pink

                Reply
              • Nikki Brandyberry April 25, 2012, 8:04 AM

                Well it’s pretty obvious to me what was done and really if anyone says otherwise they are spouting a losing argument. I stopped following this particular blogger last year because I thought she was highly over rated. I wish you good luck and just wanted to say I support you. It shouldn’t matter how popular a particular blogger is. Wrong is WRONG.
                Nikki Brandyberry latest blog post: Dreams by Jacqueline Page

                Reply
              • Melissa Simmons April 25, 2012, 6:41 AM

                So sorry you ladies are going through this. It makes me sad to think that someone would just literally COPY your work instead of coming up with something of her own to share. I love this blog & I want you girls to know you have our full support.
                Melissa Simmons latest blog post: Teaser Tuesday: Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood

                Reply
              • Rie @ Mission to Read April 25, 2012, 6:02 AM

                As a book blogger, I would like to offer you my apologies for the plagiarism done with full intent by one of the most respected bloggers in the community. As book bloggers we have great respect for the written word and when it is intellectual property is stolen by another person it affects not only the ones involved but every single person who has read or interacted with it. I, for one, feel shamed by her actions and it has made me rethink plagiarism in a larger picture.

                I’m also sorry that some supporters of The Story Siren have taken it upon themselves to insult you even further with e-mails and twitter uproar. Many book bloggers are disappointed in this and some have taken it too far on both sides.

                Let’s hope for some semblance of resolution and I completely agree that she has yet to offer an acceptable apology and hope she will offer one in the future.
                Rie @ Mission to Read latest blog post: Book Covers and Feminism

                Reply
              • angel April 25, 2012, 4:00 AM

                Just wanted to offer my support to you. I wish the plagiarism would stop. Just a few months ago, a former friend plagiarized a number of people. It hurts. It hurts you, the people you blog to and for. It hurts the friends of the one who did the plagiarizing. It hurts the plagiarizer also, but THEY brought it on themselves. The bulling part, no…and I don’t condone that. But the person who plagiarizes almost always knows what they are doing. It’s a thing that is done with forethought. Maybe not much, but it was thought about.
                angel latest blog post: Promo: The Cancun Dancer and the Duke by Dara Young

                Reply
              • Alba @BookPics April 25, 2012, 3:47 AM

                I feel I’ve been lied to, I commented on her ‘apology’ T_T but well…I DO have a good thing that came out of all this, and it’s finding your blog ;) looking forward to it :)
                Alba @BookPics latest blog post: -review- The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

                Reply
              • Tyler-Rose Neath April 25, 2012, 3:10 AM

                I’m so sorry that you had to go through that! That was unfair, and you shouldn’t have to deal with it. You’re right, the evidence is there and you have every right to be annoyed. I never did follow her blog, and now I’m glad I didn’t. Again, I’m sorry for what you had to go through.

                As a book blogger that is disgusting, and I do really hope people don’t judge other bloggers due to what she did.

                Hopefully you all get through it, and she apologises correctly and soon.

                Tyler x
                Tyler-Rose Neath latest blog post: Review: Until I Die by Amy Plum

                Reply
              • Penelope @ The Reading Fever April 25, 2012, 3:09 AM

                I am so, SO sorry that this is something you have to deal with, while already dealing with personal hardships. I am ashamed to be a part of the book blogging community right now; because of the plagiarism, and because of the rude backlash you are receiving because you stepped up, and didn’t turn a blind eye.

                I believe it was handled very well on your part (all that detective work is commendable!), and on those of the other bloggers involved. I agree with this post completely. The evidence is all here, but the apology is not.
                Penelope @ The Reading Fever latest blog post: The Raven Boys | Waiting On Wednesday

                Reply
              • Lily April 25, 2012, 3:00 AM

                I posted this on G and G earlier: (Just copied and Pasted my earlier thoughts.)

                I am so sorry that this happened to you and that people are vilifying you. Keep your head up darling. A lot of us in the book blogging world support you and think what she did is inexcusable and will no longer be going to her blog following her on any of her social media outlets.

                I do need help on my poor fashion sense so I will be following your blog in hopes that it can help me and my out dated closet.

                Lily X

                And because I had more to say:

                Sorry I have more to say. This pisses me off so much that some people are giving her a free pass because of who she is and how big her blog is. She cried so loud when her content (if it truly was hers) was stolen. She was constantly talking about how bad it is to steal and that there is no excuse for plagiarism.

                It makes me sick! The half assed apology seemed to me to be more that she’s sorry she got caught sorry she could loose out on all those ARCs and free sh*t she gets from the publishers.

                I think it was admirable of you to keep on the down low and not blow up Twitter when this all broke in January. I didn’t hear about it until I saw the post on Smart Bitches site yesterday.

                Once again, I as a book blogger will not be following her and I do not support her, I have lost so much respect for her and a lot of people in the book blogging world today and yesterday. For defending her. She was wrong. I also am very sorry this happened to you.

                BTW totally awesome name for your blog!

                Lily XX

                Love the name of your blog as well! and I remembered my site finally.
                Lily latest blog post: Spring Into Horror read a thon

                Reply
              • Kylie1403 April 25, 2012, 2:49 AM

                I am so so sorry you have had to go through all of this. I am a book blogger and I am just disgusted in the horrible treatment you have received. I cannot believe a so called experienced blogger would do something like that. An dyou shouldn’t be treated the way you have been!

                I for one am no longer reading her blog or participating in her MEME’s She is a person I want no association with especially when it come sto my own work and website

                Sorry again for what you are going through and know you have a beautiful blog! keep up yur great work
                Kylie1403 latest blog post: In My Mailbox

                Reply
              • THE-LOUDMOUTH April 25, 2012, 1:28 AM

                I hope that she does apologize rightly, but she may never truly admit to doing anything wrong. Either way, your readers, supporters and friends know the truth. We love you, and we’re on your side.
                THE-LOUDMOUTH latest blog post: Look :: Beach Dress + a giveaway winner!

                Reply
              • Hafsah April 25, 2012, 12:34 AM

                As a YA book blogger who started off little more than a year ago, I know I have people I look up to. I remember reading these posts on Kristi’s blog and thinking to myself, I need to write something like this (as I post a lot of blogging how-to’s on my blog).

                Right now, I have no idea how to sort through my feelings. I know what is wrong, and I know what happened is wrong. But I still don’t know what to do about it. And I hope the majority of book blogging community can come out clean, because I put a lot of time into writing my posts.

                And I’m sorry about the hate-mail you’ve been getting. This drama has to end soon.
                Hafsah latest blog post: How To Add Audio Clips (Audiobook, MP3, and more) to a Blog Post

                Reply
              • Irish April 24, 2012, 11:30 PM

                As a member of the YA blogging community I’m always appalled when a case of plagiarism comes up. I’ve seen many blogs tried, convicted and ostracized on less information than what you and G&G presented. So its all the more appalling when I see comments accepting Kristi’s “mistake” and trying to turn things around to blame you, the victim. I am sorry that this happened to you and I’m sorry that a community that I am part of is so willing to forgive because of someone’s popularity. If it had been anyone else I am sure that there wouldn’t be as much acceptance for what was done.

                Plagiarism should never be accepted. I usually try my best to stay out of drama but I just wanted to comment here and say that I support you and I am glad that word of this finally came out in my community. I hope that its something that we can all learn and grow from and I truly hope that you get the apology you that deserve. There are many who idolized Kristi and its always hard when idols fall and there are those who will try to ‘kill the messenger’ its not right, but we live in a petty world. Stay strong and ignore the hate mail.

                Reply
              • GRIT & GLAMOUR April 24, 2012, 9:23 PM

                Since you wrote this, I don’t have to. I’m so sorry that this exploded when you are already having such a difficult time with your family loss. Just know that as always, I’m here for you, B. Anything you need. You have my info. Call, text, email, any time, day or night.

                xo
                GRIT & GLAMOUR latest blog post: WVW: WTFrock?*

                Reply
              • Heidi April 24, 2012, 8:38 PM

                Just wanted to say thank you for taking a stand and bringing this ugly matter out. I know you tried to handle it quietly but to no avail. It sucks that people think they can get away with plagerizing, You will get caught and Karma is a bitch. I agree with you about the bullying. If I were this blogger I would probably quietly retire my blog rather than face the harsh scrutiny that will forever follow her now. Good luck to you.
                Heidi latest blog post: Winner of the Small Dreams Blog Hop

                Reply
              • Melanie April 24, 2012, 7:58 PM

                Just a few days ago a new blogger asked me for tips, I referred them to The Story Siren’s Blogging Tips and Tricks posts which I have just learned were plagarized from your site. Please accept my apology as I truly did not know this at the time. I am contacting the blogger that asked me for advice to let them know of the situation and I will link them to the ORIGINAL posts by yourself and Grit and Glamour. As a high school English teacher I take plagarism very seriously. As a young adult book review blogger, I looked to Kristi as a leader in the blogging community, as did many others, and I am devastated. I completely understand your need for an ACTUAL apology. You truly deserve one. I hope that you get it.

                This is not an easy situation and while some people are not handling it very well, I think that the true victims (yourself and G&G) are doing an excellent job of sticking to the facts and being honest. Bloggers have a responsibility to their viewers and while Kristi has let many of hers down (myself included), you have maintained composure and integrity. Hopefully everyone commenting on this situation will take a cue from you and do so as well.

                I agree with Molly, if there is a sliver of silver lining it’s that maybe more of us have been turned on to your blog now!
                Melanie latest blog post: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

                Reply
              • Lucy April 24, 2012, 6:47 PM

                I wanted to stop by and offer you my full support in this horror show that’s going on right now. Her ‘apologies’ are attempts to illicit sympathy and they seem to be working. I do not for a single second believe this was an ‘accident’ and I’m disgusted she’s continuing to play it off as one. If nothing else you guys deserve a full apology, not the half-assed bullshit she’s been dishing out (all while sending legions of her fans to defend her.)

                Please know that a great many people in the YA blogging community support you and feel nothing but sympathy for what you’ve gone through.

                Reply
              • April Books & Wine April 24, 2012, 6:16 PM

                Honestly, I am so sick over this. At first I had no idea what to think, because okay, I know a tiny bit about IPs but am not an expert and I also know that I leave tabs open on my browser overnight to comment on in the morning, plus a lot of people do posts about the how-to’s of blogging. But this post explains it on my level. I am really, really conflicted in my feelings about this right now. I am vehemently against plagiarism. It is not ever okay. But, in the interest of full disclosure, Kristi is also a friend of mine. And this is where the conflict comes in — I think it’s fine to be upset and angry about the plagiarism, but I thought the hashtag was over the line and I know y’all did not start that. I don’t know. It’s hard for me to sort out my feelings right now about this, but I want to say as a mostly YA blogger, I don’t condone this but am mostly keeping quiet until I have my feelings sorted out.

                I hope you get the apology you and the affected parties deserve and desire.

                I also am very sorry to hear that you have been getting hate emails about this, I think that just exacerbates the situation and is uncalled for.

                And also? Sorry about the super long rambling comment.

                Reply
              • April Books & Wine April 25, 2012, 7:19 AM

                I also wanted to clarify that I am also sorry that you are getting hate emails because no one deserves to get hate emails, not just because it exacerbates the situation.
                April Books & Wine latest blog post: The Curse Of The Romanovs Staton Rabin Book Review

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              • Molly April 24, 2012, 5:46 PM

                As a fellow victim of plagiarism, I know where you guys are coming from and agree with your actions wholeheartedly. The situation is just appalling on so many levels. I used the blog advice column that Kristie “borrowed” from you guys for my own blog when I first started off and I was grateful for it. So now I am thanking you since I know where the material actually came from. It was very informative and well written. While I feel that bullying is wrong, I don’t think Kristie has been bullied for the most part. People in general are just calling her out for what has happened and it has gotten such an adverse reaction especially for the naysayer. It’s ridiculous that’s she’s being defended for blatantly taking your stuff and tying to cover it up. I really think the whole situation, on her part, would have been handled better if she put on her big girl panties back in January and admitted what she did was wrong (you guys have definitely proved your case) rather than what she did. Well, if there was one thing positive about this whole mess. I found your blog which I love btw.

                Reply
              • Kelly @ Radiant Shadows April 24, 2012, 5:38 PM

                I think you have every right to demand that she owns up to her intentional theft of your intellectual property. Many of her supporters are claiming that, as she’s only human, she is entitled to make a mistake, which is in effect, erroneously victimizing her. What they all fail to notice is how her actions were not the actions of someone making a mistake. They were the deliberate, conscious, intentional actions of someone who set out to “borrow” content, without a) asking for permission and b) giving credit where it’s due.

                It’s also why I’m taking her “apologies” with a grain of salt – until I see her admit that her actions were intentional and the she is guilty of deliberately plagiarizing someone else’s content, I won’t feel like she has done enough.

                I won’t bully her. I won’t call her mean names. But I will be unable to respect her as a blogger, and she will permanently lose me as a follower.
                Kelly @ Radiant Shadows latest blog post: Plagiarism Has Rocked My World Today

                Reply
              • Anonymous April 24, 2012, 4:12 PM

                Unless you pay for a static IP address, which I had no idea whether Kristi does or not, many different computers can use the same IP address. An example would be a work place. Many computers in the same work network recycle IP addresses. You still have no idea that Kristi, specifically visited your website 29 times. It was simply someone with that IP address. Why do you think IP addresses aren’t admissible in court unless the defendant have a static IP address?

                Reply
              • Beautifully Invisible April 24, 2012, 4:17 PM

                Thanks for your feedback, but I actually do have proof that is Kristi’s exact IP address (at least it was at the time, not sure if she has changed it since). Do I know that she was at the computer that very second typing, and it wasn’t a dog or cat in the house? No, of course not. But I have correspondence from her that acknowledges her visits. Further, if you read the original post, you can see all the proof you need, right down to the posts themselves.

                http://www.beautifully-invisible.com/2012/01/i-think-weve-been-plagiarized-sort-of-the-story-of-the-content-thief.html

                Reply
              • Inkstainedpaws April 24, 2012, 11:52 PM

                I found your blog on Goodreads, through a lovely book blogger/author named Pixie. I’ve been following the thread on Goodreads over this, and just wanted to say that you and Grit & Glamour did the right thing.

                I read a couple of the articles, and they’re awesome! I did want to point out though, that when you click the link for your article on leaving Blogger for Wordpress- it goes to the ’10 things about your blog that drives me crazy’

                And I’ve linked your blog on mine, under the ‘Awesome Links’ page. :) I’ll be sure and drop by every now and then!
                Inkstainedpaws latest blog post: Don’t Make the Tweet…

                Reply
              • Danielle April 25, 2012, 9:25 AM

                Good for you not backing down with people sending hate mail to you. Good for you sticking up for yourself! I hope everything works out for the best, and I’m sorry you or anyone else has had to go through this.

                Reply
              • Jennifer @ The Bawdy Book Blog April 25, 2012, 4:20 PM

                Not to mention, Kristi is a dental tech. She doesn’t sit in front of a computer all day at work.
                Jennifer @ The Bawdy Book Blog latest blog post: [Review] Bumped by Megan McCafferty

                Reply