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We love to talk all things books, sharing reviews, features, lists, interviews and more, all penned by our team of six writers.

Getting lost in a book is escapism at it's finest and it's what everyone who contributes here thrives on.

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Monday, 29 August 2016

A Modern Way To Cook | Anna Jones | Review

*Review copy c/o Netgalley, image via goodreads.com

A Modern Way To Cook is a brand new book full of tasty vegetarian recipes from Anna Jones, who has previously worked as part of Jamie Oliver's team. The book is designed to inspire healthier eating with a range of simple recipes showcasing vegetables.

The majority of the recipes are sorted into chapters according to the length of time needed to make each dish, from 15 up to 45 minutes. With some 'healthy' cookbooks it can be difficult to source some of the more specialist ingredients however most of the items listed here appear to be easy to get hold of, supermarket staples - a definite bonus!

In terms of design, the recipes are set out nicely and look as though they should be easy to follow, and I thought both the layout and the colour photographs gave the book a sleek finish. Personally I'm not really a fan of cookbooks without images (I need some idea of what the dish should look like!) so I was really pleased to find that most of the recipes shared here are accompanied by full-page photographs.

Although I'm yet to try out any of the recipes, I have definitely bookmarked a good selection for a later date! I loved how the recipes really focused on making the vegetables the real star of each dish - if you're looking for a new healthy veggie cookbook this may be the one for you.
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Dirty Blood | Heather Hildenbrand | Review

Monday, 22 August 2016

Dirty Blood | Heather Hildenbrand | Review

Dirty Blood (Dirty Blood series Book 1) by [Hildenbrand, Heather]
*Image from book's Amazon page.


Summary:

Tara considers herself a normal teenage girl. She attends high school, has a group of friends (and a mortal enemy) and her biggest struggle is convincing her boyfriend, George, that they're just not right as a couple. Then, as these stories go, something strange happens. A violent something strange. She sees a woman turn into a wolf and gets attacked. Tara accidentally kills the wolf and it turns back into a woman. That's when Tara meets others. People who show her that she is actually from a long line of Hunters and she is woefully unprepared for her future as a new target of the Werewolves.


Review:

When I first started reading this book, I was very afraid it was going to be another Twilight (pretty "meh" definitely not my thing). What I got, instead, was much more of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer kind of story. Tara does have some stereotypical weepy teenager moments, but overall, she's pretty strong and relatively smart. 

The best part of this book, for me, was the cast of characters. Every character felt like they had so much of their own story to tell. I especially wanted more pages given to Jack and Fee. Hopefully the next books in the series do give them more time. It was especially fun to see the different personalities and their dynamics as they worked together. My favorite moment was when Tara's grandmother came into the picture. Everyone in this fight is (pardon the language) badass. 

So, despite my general dislike of YA Supernatural Love Stories, I genuinely had a good time with Dirty Blood. While the romance is, sometimes, painfully at the front of the story, the overarcing story of the Hunters vs the Werewolves vs the Council is incredibly interesting. This world is rather engaging and I'm strongly tempted to pick up the next book in the series to see how much of the world gets expanded on. 

If you like YA Supernatural books, this is a good one to pick up. It only has Werewolves and Hunters (so far) but it has a good amount of action and a nice level of intelligence. 

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Group Collaboration | Books We Wish Had Sequels/Prequels!

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Group Collaboration | Books We Wish Had Sequels/Prequels!

We love delving further into unique fictional worlds and the background stories of our favourite characters, so this month we decided to ask our team which books they would love to read a sequel or prequel to! Here's what they came up with.... don't forget to leave us a comment and let us know which book/s you would pick!

cat sequel prequel

ria prequel sequel 1

anastasia sequel prequel

ria sequel prequel 2

ria sequel prequel 3

Thank you to this month's contributors: Ria, Cat, Anastasia

Next month we'll be discussing the books we think should be read in schools. If you'd like to get involved just email bloggersbookshelf@gmail.com or drop us a tweet @blog_bookshelf!
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Friday, 19 August 2016

Features | Books That Have Been On My TBR For Too Long


1. The one I borrowed years ago and have yet to return.

I borrowed my dad's copy of Catch-22 probably about ten years ago now. I've started reading it at least three times since then but for some reason I always seem to pick it up when I'm in the wrong mood for it. I know exactly what to expect and I'm sure that I'll like it but I have just yet to find the perfect time for me to read it. Luckily, I don't think my dad is expecting it back any time soon.

2. The one I was required to read but never did.

In Cold Blood was one of the assigned books for a module on biography and crime writing that I did at university but I didn't give myself enough time to read it properly before the seminar. I skim read it and really liked the parts that I did read so I've been meaning to actually read it ever since but with the immediate deadline of having to discuss it in a seminar gone it has been sat on my bookshelf half forgotten since I finished that module.

3. The one that is just too intimidating.

The Mists of Avalon has so many pages. I'm really interested in Arthurian literature and as this is a really popular Arthurian book and one of the only books I know of that focuses on the women in those legends, I know I'm going to find it really interesting. But it just has so many pages.

4. The one I'm most ashamed about.

Everyone has read To Kill a Mockingbird. Even people who don't read a lot of books have read To Kill a Mockingbird. But I haven't. In fact, I didn't even own it until last year. We never studied it at school, which I know is how a lot of people come to it, and although I have wanted to read it for a long time, I guess there have just always been other books I wanted to read more. I am going to read it though. Soon!

5. The one that has been there the longest.

I think I was about seven or eight when my mum bought Northern Lights for me. I was deep into Harry Potter and so a lot of fantasy books were bought at around that time, although if I'm being honest not a lot were read, but Northern Lights is the one that I most feel like I should have read by now. These books are a huge part of so many people's childhoods, and yet my only experience with it is that I read the first few pages, decided it wasn't enough like Harry Potter, and then it sat on my bookshelf for seventeen years and now I feel a little pang of guilt every time I look at it.

What are the books that have been on your TBR for too long?
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Green Girl | Kate Zambreno | Review

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Green Girl | Kate Zambreno | Review

*image via GoodReads

‘The green girl necessarily pines for the past, because the present is too uncomfortable to be presents in and the future, unimaginable."

Zambreno's heroine, Ruth, is a young American in London, kin to Jean Seberg gamines and contemporary celebutantes, by day spritzing perfume at the department store she calls Horrids, by night trying desperately to navigate a world colored by the unwanted gaze of others and the uncertainty of her own self-regard. Ruth, the green girl, joins the canon of young people existing in that important, frightening, and exhilarating period of drift and anxiety between youth and adulthood, and her story is told through the eyes of one of the most surprising and unforgettable narrators in recent fiction—a voice at once distanced and maternal, indulgent yet blackly funny.

— — —

I’m putting out a bold statement that Green Girl is probably one of my favourite books of the year so far. Seemingly apathetic, lost and undeniably broken, Ruth is a protagonist who is drifting. She’s a shell of a woman who’s run away from past demons, with hopeful dreams that she could rebuild her life somewhere else. Ruth for the most part is a tragic figure, a lost heroine in the malaise of London she perfectly encapsulates the essence of what it means to be a young women in the modern world where you’re expected to be living your best life when in reality you may be falling apart on the inside.

As a writer myself Zambreno’s writing is utterly delicious and I found myself wanting to highlight entire passages for future reference. Poetic and utterly heartbreaking, the narrative is fleeting, wistful and nostalgic as she presents Ruth’s life in snippets and vignettes. By the end of the book you never feel as if you get a full picture of who Ruth is. You know she’s fragile and perhaps incredibly unlikeable, but her flaws feel human. She’s a walking contradiction of beauty on the outside, utter conceited arrogance, depression and anxiety on the inside, both loves and hates herself, yearns for attention, yet wants to shrink and forget the past.

Not everyone will get on with this book (and not every has if you look at the GoodReads reviews, yikes!), but even if you find Ruth utterly deplorable I’d definitely at least recommend reading it for Zambreno’s command over her writing.
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Monday, 15 August 2016

Being A Book Blogger | Interview with Kate aka Parchment Girl


Welcome to another edition of Being A Book blogger! Today I'm chatting to the lovely Kate who blogs over at Parchment Girl! Here's what she had to say about book blogging, personality typing & Harry Potter meets Lord Of The Rings...

cropped-2016-Parchment-Girl-Header-copy


BB: For those who aren't already followers of Parchment Girl could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Thanks inviting me over, Erin! I’ve been blogging about books at Parchment Girl for six years now. I’m also a Book Riot contributor. I’ve been doing that for about 3½ years. I have a particular interest in medical and environmental science, and I devote a lot of time to reading books on those two topics.

BB: What made you decide to start a book blog? And what has been your favourite part of blogging so far?

I love reading (duh) and before I started blogging I didn’t really have an outlet to discuss that. I was drawn to the idea of having a community of book lovers with which to share my literary passion and I was also interested in the technical side of blogging, which didn’t hurt. It’s hard to pick just one thing I love about blogging because I love [almost] all of it! The community is definitely at the core of why I love blogging, but I also get a rush when I see a post go viral or I receive a comment that one of my posts influenced someone’s reading choices in some way. That’s always exciting. I love seeing my blog grow and evolve over time and I love that the Internet is a constantly changing landscape that continues to challenge me!

9RparU8L


BB: We love a good recommendation, if you had to pick your top reads of the year so far which books would make the cut?

I really love The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (out in September), which is a reimagining of the Underground Railroad as a literal railroad running through tunnels all over the country. I just finished Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner, which was a Book of the Month July selection. It’s a mystery set in Oxford (holding me over until the new season of Inspector Lewis airs!). Another recent favorite is Women in Science by Rachel Ignotofsky, a gorgeous illustrated compendium of short biographies of brilliant women in the STEM field. Along those same lines, Lab Girl by Hope Jahren was amazing. Last one (promise!): If you’re into hard-hitting nonfiction, Frackopoly by environmental activist Wenonah Hauter is probably the single most important book I’ve read this year. If you’re not already spitting mad about the oil and gas industry’s destructive extraction practices, you will be after reading this book.

BB: As well as books, you're a fan of personality typing. Who are your favourite fictional characters that share your personality type?

Oh, great question! Now, I know the typing of a couple of these characters is controversial, but I would have to say my top three are Gandalf, Sherlock (the BBC incarnation), and Severus Snape. I type these guys as INTJs (from the Myers-Briggs system). Gandalf is definitely my #1.

BB: For our next group post we're discussing which books we wish had a sequel or prequel. Are there any favourite worlds you wish you could delve further into? Or any characters you'd love to follow into the future (or past!)?

It’s funny because I was just thinking about this very topic a couple of weeks ago. Middle-earth and Hogwarts are my two favorite fictional worlds, but I’ve never been the sort of person to delve too deeply into fanfiction or even J.K. Rowling’s recent additions to the world of Harry Potter. I tend to go all in for the core canon and then jump ship. If I’m not completely crazy about a series, I might even abandon it before reading all of the core books. So, if I were the type of person that really enjoyed prequels and sequels, I would definitely want more Rowling and Tolkien, but as it is, I’m pretty satisfied with the canon we have.

KATE INTERVIEW


BB: Just for fun, which two fictional characters from different books/series would you like to see appear together in a new story and why?

Definitely Harry Potter and LOTR! There's a hilarious video called “Lord of the Potter” which highlights all of the parallels between the two stories (maybe that’s why I love them so much!). I think it would be amazing if Gandalf met Dumbledore and Harry met Frodo. I can just picture Gimli at Hogwarts swatting away ghosts. Priceless.

BB: Finally, which booktubers/bloggers (other than yourself of course!) would you recommend our readers go and subscribe to?

I will try to keep this list contained…here we go:
That’s just a sampling of my favorites.

Where To Find Kate Online: Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Goodreads

I'd like to say a huge thank you from all of us here at BB to Kate for taking part in this interview. If you are a booktuber or book blogger and would like to be featured in a similar post we'd love to hear from you - just email us at bloggersbookshelf@gmail.com for information!
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What's A Girl Gotta Do? | Holly Bourne | Review

Sunday, 14 August 2016

What's A Girl Gotta Do? | Holly Bourne | Review

The finale to Holly Bourne's Spinster Club trilogy has arrived, (aside from the novella 'And A Happy New Year...?' due out later this year), and this time it's Lottie's turn to tell a story. I read the vast majority of this book on London Underground trains to and from YALC, and I make a point of this for a reason which I'll outline below.

In this book, Lottie decides to start a project, the Vagilante Project, where she must call out every instance of sexism that she sees. Her project gains traction, gathering attention from the press, but also gains trolls and hate towards Lottie as well. With concerns from her parents and teachers that the project may be affecting her future plus with growing hate from trolls, can Lottie keep it up?

Holly's a fantastic writer. The Spinster Club trilogy features three main characters; Evie, Amber and Lottie. Each book in the trilogy focuses on the story of one of them. Am I Normal Yet? for example focuses on Evie's story and Evie's experiences with OCD and mental illness. However, all three stories are weaved in with one another. I really like this.

All three of the Spinster Club books have a focus on feminism, and just like she's done with the last two books, Holly has presented the theme in a unique way. It's feminism, but the book shows you just how out of place things some people may do every day can seem. For example, one of the examples of sexism you read about Lottie calling out is when a waiter or waitress in a restaurant hands the bill to the man instead of the woman, just assuming that the man is the one who will be paying.

But it's a funny book too. There are lines and jokes and phrases used in this book that really will make you laugh, and I think it's a great combination of both taking these very important topics like sexism and feminism, but also combining it with friendship and humour.

Whilst there is still a novella to come, I was gripped by this book. I usually never read books on trains because I can't focus on them, but I really was gripped by this book, which is why I made a point of saying I read most of this on the way to and from YALC on Tube trains. Plus Holly was there and signed my copy, which was great too!

I would recommend that anyone who wants to read this book also reads the other two Spinster Club novels, but they all work by themselves so if you just read this one or any of the other two you may find references that you would get if you did read the previous novel, but you should be able to read them all independently. And I definitely think you should be reading this book.
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Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Bookish Links #21


Welcome to another Bookish Links roundup post where we share some of the articles, videos and blog posts we've enjoyed lately!

1. Bookseller For A Day! - ever wondered what it would be like to run a bookshop? This article from Buzzfeed is all about an Airbnb bookshop in Scotland!

2. Looking For A Summer Read? - why not try picking up a non-fiction title? Check out these awesome ideas from Brit + Co that are anything but boring!

3. Author Recommendations - we always love discovering authors we haven't read before and enjoyed Samantha's recent post on three of her favourite Filipino writers. Have you read any of their novels?

4. Page Marker - so many books, so little time means the need for multiple bookmarks and we love these cute magnetic designs from Happy Hello Co.

5. Nerdy Bookworm Box - how awesome does this UK-based monthly subscription box look?! Have you tried out the Nerdy Bookworm Box or any other bookish subscription services?

6. Genre Swaps - if you've ever wondered what your favourite novels would be like if they were written in a different genre you'll love this post from Emily over at Loony Literate.

7. #OwnVoices - in this post Nuzaifa takes a closer look at the important issue of diversity in the stories we read and shares her thoughts. What are your thoughts on this issue?

8. Writing Recipe - in this post Lucy shares her top writing tips that helped her break the 2,000 word road block on her own project. Definitely one to check out if you're working on your own novel or short story!

9. Vacation Dreams - who doesn't love a good road trip? We really enjoyed Hannah's guest post on which characters she'd love to road trip with. Who would make your list?

10. 19 Years Of Harry Potter - our final post of this roundup comes from BB blogger Anjali, who recently shared a post on Harry Potter a whole nineteen years after the release date of The Philosopher's Stone. What does the Harry Potter universe mean to you? Let us know in the comments!

If you've read or written an interesting bookish article you think our readers would enjoy please let us know - it may be featured in a future post!  
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Fix | Ferret Steinmetz | Review

Monday, 8 August 2016

Fix | Ferret Steinmetz | Review

Fix by Ferrett Steinmetz
*Image provided by publisher.
**Book provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

Continuing the story of bureaucromancer, and wanted man, Paul Tsabo, and his efforts to keep his daughter, the worlds youngest 'mancer, safe from non-magical people and the hive mind Unimancers. Aliyah is no longer the little girl she was. She's thirteen and in desperate need of socialization. When things go wrong, she ends up in the hands of the Unimancers, whom she discovers have some problems of their own. In Paul's search to rescue her, he loses much of himself. 


Review:

This world is completely fascinating to me. I love the idea that our greatest hobbies, the things we can lose ourselves in for hours, can become our form of magic (bibliomancers unite!). Seemingly useless skills like a knack with forms, kite flying and even rock balancing, can have magical traits that allow you to do some really interesting things. Unfortunately, magic comes at a cost, called flux, and it presents itself as serious bad luck. The more magic you use, the stronger the flux is, the more damage it can do. Your worst fears (like the death of a loved one) will come true. This was most evident in this world's history where, during World War II, reckless 'mancers attempted to win the war for Germany by unleashing all their magic, only to create a continental rift in reality that has never been closed.

Of course, for me, a great world alone does not make for a great book. Fortunately Steinmetz complements this world with strong, interesting characters. Aliyah, the worlds youngest 'mancer, has always been strong willed, but in this book she really comes into her own. She finally finds what she needs to help her control her magic and, therefore, her flux. I truly appreciate how much character growth was put into this book, especially for Valentine, my favorite character. 

This book is a wonderful discourse on how both sides of an argument can both completely right and completely wrong at the same time. I kinda wish we had this sort of magic in the real world so both sides of arguments could see their own faults before passing judgement on those they feel have wronged them. Also, having a real-life donut test like Paul got put through would be a real time saver. Turns out the Vanilla Kreme is a sign of reckless rebellion.

If you're interested in stories about magic in the real world, a father who'd give the world to save his daughter, video game magic, and restoring the world, this is a great series to pick up. 


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Friday, 5 August 2016

Features | 5 Books that Should be Movies

Today we're talking movies that are yet to be. I've got five books to share with you that I think would make amazing movies. Five books that, to be honest, I'm kind of annoyed aren't already movies. If they were, I would be the first in line at the box office.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

I know everyone and their mother is hankering after an Eleanor & Park movie and I would definitely love that too but the Rainbow Rowell novel I really want to see given the movie treatment is Attachments. I'm sure a great writer/director could do something really fun with Beth and Jennifer's emails and Lincoln having to read all of them from his lonely little office at the newspaper. The whole novel is just so charming and with its nineties setting I can totally see this as a classic You've Got Mail style movie.

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

I know the movie rights for 13 Little Blue Envelopes have officially been bought so hopefully we will get to see this movie soon! It's one I've wanted to see ever since I first read the book. Ginny's story of rushing all over Europe as per her aunt's posthumous instructions is just such a great basis for a movie and between Ginny's coming-of-age and all the opportunities for beautiful shots of European cities, it could be really special. I can't wait for this movie to get here!

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by David Levithan & Rachel Cohn

I love Christmas movies. I also really like the movie adaptations of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and Naomi & Eli's No Kiss List, both of which are, of course, based on books co-written by David Levithan & Rachel Cohn. So I think it's a pretty safe bet that if Dash and Lily's Book of Dares is ever made into a movie, I am going to be all over it. Of course, New York in the holiday season is always a great draw for a movie but honestly, I think the real draw would be seeing Lily's outfits on the big screen. 

Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender

Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer is kind of a secret favourite of mine. I love the premise of it (the ghost of Marie Antoinette is looking for revenge in modern day Paris) but the execution wasn't always everything I hoped for. That's exactly why I would so love to see it as a movie. I think taking the plot of this novel and turning it into a movie would be a perfect opportunity to iron out a few of the kinks, plus we would get to see ghostly Marie Antoinette exacting her revenge! How great would that be?

Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier

Born Confused is such a rich novel that it might be a little difficult to squeeze it down into two hours but I think it has the potential to be a beautiful movie, both visually and emotionally. Dimple's story of trying to figure out who she is and where she fits in the world is told in such a beautiful way as it is that I could already see parts of what a movie might look like in my head as I read it. Let me tell you, it was good. In the right hands this would be such a great movie and I really hope that happens one day.

What books would you love to see as movies? Let me know in the comments!
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(RE)Sisters | Various Authors | Review

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

(RE)Sisters | Various Authors | Review



Edited by Jane Bradley, Published by For Books Sake

Featuring a diverse range of characters, genres, styles and subject matters, compiled following a global call for submissions, (RE)Sisters explores today's teenage girls' fears, frustrations, strength, stories, potential, and power. A fierce, fearless and topical tribute to girls' rebellion and resistance, (RE)Sisters is defiant, distinctive and unapologetic. Just like its heroines.

--- --- ---

A wonderfully diverse set of stories and wholly distinct voices, (Re)Sisters is a fantastic collection of short stories and pieces of flash fiction that showcases female writers from all backgrounds and writing experiences.

The collection features all sorts of narratives and snippets of life, both very close to reality, some that bend reality and others taking themes from our World and placing them in totally different settings. As the title of the book implies the stories are centred around women and girls of all ages around the theme of rebellion. Many of the girls are rebellious in both big and small ways - some shout their rebellion in the streets, others run away from the status quo, a handful are quiet fighters in the shadows of gritty, oppressed worlds.

The writers selected cover the whole globe within their stories, feature different sexualities and races, and the anthology covers a great range of genres from harrowing contemporary fiction to Atwood-esque Dystopia. Though the stories are wholly varied, the writing quality across the board is fantastic - a testament to Bradley’s eye for talent clearly.

Though it’s tough for me to pick a favourite - I loved them all so much! - you’d be hard pressed to not find a story you either relate to or truly enjoy reading. For me (Re)Sisters is the perfect read for any YA loving feminist (and may be an eye opener for those who aren’t!).

*cover via GoodReads
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Orphan Black Vol. 1 | John Fawcett, Szymon Kudranski, Graeme Manson, Jody Houser & Cat Staggs | Review

Monday, 1 August 2016

Orphan Black Vol. 1 | John Fawcett, Szymon Kudranski, Graeme Manson, Jody Houser & Cat Staggs | Review

orphan black graphic novel

If you caught my recent review of Gregory E. Pence's What We Talk About When We Talk About Clone Club, you'll know it's no secret that I'm an Orphan Black fan. Although I'd heard about the graphic novels a little while back, I only recently discovered that Vol.1 was available at my local library, and that felt like a nudge that it was time to delve into a new version of the Orphan Black universe!

The graphic novel is based on the TV series and features illustrations of all our favourite characters/actors from a selection of artists. Story-wise this volume delves into our introductions to five of the most familiar clones; Sarah, Helena, Alison, Cosima and Rachel, showing how complex and different the clones really are. With that in mind, for those who have watched the show there isn't a whole lot of new information to be found within these pages, although there are a few interesting snippets that weren't featured on screen. For those who haven't seen the show.... well, I can imagine it may be a bit of a confusing read.

Although the storylines closely follow those already explored on the show, I still enjoyed this quick read and would recommend picking it up if you're a fan, in particular to see the variety of artwork included. If you're more interested in exploring parts of the story never before seen on screen, there is also a second Orphan Black graphic novel series focusing on Helsinki. If the description is anything to go by, Vol.2 sounds like a much more interesting exploration of the universe fans have come to love and I'm definitely planning on picking it up soon!
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