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Friday, May 18, 2018

#Audiobook #Review: 4 out of 5 stars for When Dimple Met Rishi @smenonbooks @Dreamscapeaudio

AUTHOR: Sandhya Menon
NARRATORS: Sneha Mathan and Vikas Adam
PUBLISHER: Dreamscape Media, LLC
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 10 hrs and 45 mins
GENRE: Young Adult, Romance/Contemporary
ISBN: 9781520075686
Now that Dimple Shah has graduated, she's ready for a break from her family—especially from Mamma's inexplicable obsession with her finding the Ideal Indian Husband. Ugh. But Dimple knows that her mother must respect that she isn't interested in doing that right now—otherwise she wouldn't have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers, right? Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic, so when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—during which he'll have to woo her—he's totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself. Although their parents hadn't planned suggesting the arrangement so soon, when their kids signed up for the same summer program, they figured Why not?

I don't typically like contemporary romances, but the cultural aspect of this novel appealed to me with the topic of arranged marriages.

Dimple is a nerdy girl whose priorities aren't straight, according to her mom. She is frequently unkempt, not taking time to tame her wild hair or to wear some makeup. Dimple only cares about going to Stanford to study web development. Her mom hopes that she will find an "I.I.H." (Ideal Indian Husband), but that is the furthest thing from Dimple's mind. 

When Dimple finds out about a six-week summer program in web development at San Francisco State University, she is itching to go because she thinks that it will give her an advantage over the other students at Stanford in the Fall. She doesn't think her parents will allow her to go because the program costs $1,000 so she is shocked at how easily they agree! Little does she know that they have an ulterior motive. Her parents have actually been in touch with old friends of theirs, who have a son named Rishi and sent a picture of Dimple to him. He is interested in meeting her. Rishi will be going to the SFSU summer program, and Dimple's parents hope that Dimple will hit things off with Rishi and that they can seal the deal on the arranged marriage. The problem is that Dimple is completely in the dark about the arrangement! 

When Dimple first meets Rishi, things get off on the wrong foot. When Rishi spills the beans about how their parents set up this meeting, Dimple fumes and can't believe her parents would do such a thing. Rishi offers to leave the program, but Dimple realizes that would be silly and they agree to hang out "as friends." However, Dimple finds herself liking Rishi more and more and he likes her just as she is...even without the kaajal (eyeliner) that her mom wishes that she would wear.

This was such a cute romance that had me giggling at times. I get why Dimple would push back against what her parents want for her, but Rishi is hard to resist! He's sweet, responsible, and good husband material! Definitely an I.I.H. I was a little surprised at how quickly their whirlwind romance progressed, and I would have preferred things to move a bit more slowly. However, I do think they complemented each other nicely. I enjoyed how they both did things to advance each other's dreams.

I really enjoyed this debut, and I'd definitely read something by this author again! I loved the dual narration from the points of view of both Dimple and Rishi, which I feel really added dimension to the characters.

Narrators Sneha Mathan and Vikas Adam are both new to me, but they both were fabulous! I definitely recommend listening to the audiobook because they give the characters such an authentic feel. Here is a sample of the narration:


4 stars!! It was really good, and you should put it on your TBR if you enjoy YA contemporary romances.

This book qualifies as:

Thursday, May 17, 2018

#Book #Review: 5 out of 5 stars for Rising Storm by Erin Hunter #ErinHunter @avonbooks

TITLE: Rising Storm
SERIES: Warriors, Book #4
AUTHOR: Erin Hunter
PUBLICATION DATE: February 15, 2005
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 336 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy
ISBN: 0060525630
Fireheart's traitorous enemy Tigerclaw has been vanquished and exiled from Thunder Clan -- but Fireheart can't shake the feeling that he's lurking in the forest, waiting for his chance to strike.

That's not the only problem facing the young warrior in these blazing summer months, as he struggles to handle sinister omens, an apprentice with a shocking secret, and a devastated Clan leader who is a shell of her former self.

Meanwhile the forest gets hotter and hotter ... and everyone braces for the coming storm... Ages 10+.


What I love about this series is that the next in the series always immediately follows what transpired in the last one. It's almost like reading one big LONG book instead of a series, because there's no break in time between books.

Fireheart is a quick learner and soon becomes very efficient at doling out the duties in his new capacity as Deputy of the clan. I love Whitestorm, and he is an excellent mentor and aids Fireheart in his new role.

I miss Bluestar! She's not the same. I get that she's heartbroken because of Tigerclaw and is now wary of everyone and their allegience to the clan, but ThunderClan needs her! It's so frustrating to see her indifference and to give up on StarClan.

Fireheart finds two ShadowClan warriors, who are not more than kits, in their territory but they have come to ask for help because they are sick. Cinderpelt cannot turn her back on them and gives them some healing herbs, and Fireheart agrees to let them stay until they are stronger but Bluestar insists they must leave. Cinderpelt teaches the kits how to make the mixture so that they can help the rest of their clan, but ShadowClan still suffers many losses and there are big changes in their clan's leadership.

Cloudpaw has been getting fed at Twolegplace, and he doesn't see anything wrong with it because he still returns to ThunderClan but Fireheart tells him that he cannot live with a paw in both worlds. When Cloudpaw doesn't return, Fireheart thinks that he's left the clan to return to his kittypet ways but an old friend returns to tell Fireheart that he saw Cloudpaw being taken away by Twolegs.

The biggest threat to ThunderClan occurs towards the end of the book, and I had to read the last 70 pages in one sitting because I could not stop reading! My heart broke, and I shed tears. I immediately reached for the next book in the series, A Dangerous Path.


5 stars!! I loved it and will likely re-read it. Highly recommended if you enjoy MG/YA fantasy.

This book qualifies as:

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

#Audiobook #Review: 5 out of 5 stars for White Fang by Jack London #JackLondon @BlackstoneAudio

TITLE: White Fang
AUTHOR: Jack London
PUBLISHER: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
PUBLICATION DATE: October 24, 2007 (first published 1906)
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 7 hrs and 53 mins
GENRE: Classic, Historical Fiction
White Fang is part dog and part wolf, and the lone survivor of his family. In his lonely world, he soon learns to follow the harsh law of the North--kill or be killed. But nothing in White Fang's life can prepare him for the cruel owner who turns him into a vicious killer. Will White Fang ever know the kindness of a gentle master?

Wow, this book!! I'm can't believe that it's taken me so long to read this classic, and I'm very surprised that I never read it in school. It's fantastic!!

The majority of the story is set in the Yukon Territory during the time of the Klondike Gold Rush. The main figure in the story is White Fang, whose momma is Kiche (half dog and half wolf) and One Eye (full wolf). White Fang is the only survivor to Kiche's litter. She returns with her pup to her master, who lives in a native village. Gray Beaver is a cruel man, who beats the pup whom he names White Fang into submission and obedience. Because of how he is raised, White Fang becomes vicious but ever loyal to Gray Beaver (oh, how that irks me!). White Fang is constantly attacked by other wolves in the village, especially one named Lip-lip. Later in the fall, the camp packs up and moves onward in search of more food. White Fang hides in the bushes, and the tribe moves on without him. Ironically, White Fang is so bereft at being left behind that he follows their scent and catches back up with them. He actually returns to his cruel master, which I found so incredibly sad. 

Another man, Beauty Smith, has his eye on White Fang and wants him for himself. He introduces whiskey to Gray Beaver, and soon he becomes addicted to the alcohol and is willing to trade White Fang for more booze. 

Things go from bad to worse for poor White Fang, who doesn't recognize Beauty Smith as his new master. He keeps running away from Beauty Smith and returning to Gray Beaver, and Beauty Smith keeps beating White Fang more and more violently until he finally gives up and stops trying to run away. Then, Beauty Smith puts White Fang into fights with other wolves, dogs, and even a lynx. These death-matches would have finished him off, if not for the kindness of a man named Weedon Scott, who intervened in one of the matches and tells Beauty Smith that he will buy White Fang from him. He offers him a decent sum of money, and his demand is not negotiable. He rescues White Fang, and he tries to gain his trust and tame him. Eventually, White Fang lets Weedon Scott pet him which is something that he's never experienced. Gray Beaver and Beauty Smith used their hands to harm and hurt White Fang. He's never known kindness and gentleness, and White Fang grows to love Weedon Scott.

When Weedon Scott goes on a trip, he leaves White Fang in the care of his friend and dog musher, Matt. However, White Fang only wants what he refers to as his love-master. He stops eating and starts moping. If Scott didn't return, White Fang would have surely died. This brings about another dilemma, because Scott's time in the Yukon is finished. He is going to return to California, and he intended to leave White Fang behind but the wolf would not hear of it. He actually escaped from the locked cabin by jumping through the window and runs to the steamboat to find his master, and then Scott realizes that he cannot leave White Fang behind. He takes him home, and Scott's family is worried about how this wolf is going to adapt to city life. The ending is a happy one, which White Fang so richly deserved!

Narrator John Lee is amazing! I love the timbre of his voice, and I could not stop listening!! This classic is a wonderful story in and of itself, but Lee took it to the next level like any great narrator will do and made it unputdownable! I just loved this audiobook, and I rarely re-read books but this one will be one of the select few that is going to be a long-time favourite that I will read again and again. Here is a sample of the narration:


5 stars!! I loved it, and I will likely re-read it! You should definitely put it on your TBR if you are a fan of animal stories!

This book qualifies as:

Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Opposite of Here by Tara Altebrando @TaraAltebrando @bloomsburykids

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tessa @ Wishful Endings to spotlight and talk about the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released as well. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine. Find out more here.

Here is this week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection:

AUTHOR: Tara Altebrando
PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 304 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Thriller
ISBN: 9781681197067
Natalie's parents are taking her and three best friends on a week-long cruise for her birthday—a sail-a-bration! Sigh. It’s also only been months since her boyfriend died in a tragic accident, and she wants to be anywhere but here. So she’s surprised when she meets a guy on the first night and feels a connection she’s never felt before. After a late-night talk on a secluded part of the ship, Natalie runs to her cabin for a change of clothes. But when she returns, he’s gone without a trace. And something he said makes her think he may have jumped. . . . What pulled her to him, and what pulled him away? Was he ever even there?

This one sounds interesting. I like vacation murder/mystery stories!

What are you waiting on? Please leave a comment in the section below. If you participate in this meme, please leave a link so I can visit your blog!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Books I Disliked But Am Really Glad I Read #TopTenTuesday

This is a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week, they post a new Top Ten list that one of their bloggers will answer. Everyone is welcome to join!

Today's topic is:

Books I Disliked/Hated But Am Really Glad I Read (maybe just for bragging rights)

There are few books that would qualify for me under this topic. I really had to wrack my brain to come up with at least one. In eight years of blogging, I have only 5 one-star books and 22 two-star books, but I can't exactly say for the majority of those that I am glad that I read them. These are the only ones, and I guess it's because they are all classics (you can click on the link to my review to see why I didn't like them):

A Clockwork Orange
by Anthony Burgess

by J. Sheridan Le Fanu

Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus
by Mary Shelley

And I had to add this one to the list, because -- hey, it's King! -- I normally really enjoy his writing but I wasn't so crazy about this one and I still haven't continued on in the series:

The Gunslinger
by Stephen King
(The Dark Tower, Book #1)

So, what books did you dislike but are glad that you read? Please let me know in the comments, or leave me a link to your blog post if you are also participating in the meme!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Bout of Books 22 Read-a-Thon: Starting Line #boutofbooks

The Bout of Books 22 Read-a-Thon has begun!

I'm Reading:

The Deep
by Nick Cutter

Wherever I Find Myself: Stories by Canadian Immigrant Women
editd by Miriam Matejova

Boundaries Updated and Expanded Edition: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life
by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

Blessed in the Darkness: How All Things Are Working For Your Good
by Joel Osteen

A Dangerous Path
by Erin Hunter
(Warriors, Book #5)
[read-aloud to my daughter]

The Journey
by Kathryn Lasky
(Guardians of Ga'Hoole, Book #2)
[read-aloud to my daughter]

I'm Listening To:

by Shari Lapena
[on my iPod]

I will post my updates on Twitter using the #boutofbooks hashtag, and then do a wrap-up post at the end of the read-a-thon on my blog.

Thanks again to Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal for hosting!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This weekly meme is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.

I'm reading: 

Something from my dusty bookshelf. Bonus that he's a Canadian author. I enjoyed Cutter's The Troop, and I hope I enjoy this one just as much!

TITLE: The Deep
AUTHOR: Nick Cutter
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Canada
PUBLICATION DATE: January 13, 2015
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 400 pages
GENRE: Horror, Science Fiction
ISBN: 9781501101519
From the acclaimed author of The Troop—which Stephen King raved “scared the hell out of me and I couldn’t put it down.…old-school horror at its best”—comes this utterly terrifying novel where The Abyss meets The Shining.

A strange plague called the ’Gets is decimating humanity on a global scale. It causes people to forget—small things at first, like where they left their keys…then the not-so-small things like how to drive, or the letters of the alphabet. Then their bodies forget how to function involuntarily…and there is no cure. But now, far below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, deep in the Marianas Trench, an heretofore unknown substance hailed as “ambrosia” has been discovered—a universal healer, from initial reports. It may just be the key to a universal cure. In order to study this phenomenon, a special research lab, the Trieste, has been built eight miles under the sea’s surface. But now the station is incommunicado, and it’s up to a brave few to descend through the lightless fathoms in hopes of unraveling the mysteries lurking at those crushing depths…and perhaps to encounter an evil blacker than anything one could possibly imagine.

Part horror, part psychological nightmare, The Deep is a novel that fans of Stephen King and Clive Barker won’t want to miss—especially if you’re afraid of the dark.

Not only am I a first generation Canadian, but immigration is my profession. 

PUBLISHER: Caitlin Press
PUBLICATION DATE: February 7, 2017
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 216 pages
GENRE: Nonfiction
ISBN: 9781987915341
Edited by Miriam Matejova, Wherever I Find Myself is a diverse collection of stories about the joys and struggles of immigrant women living in Canada. Often bringing with them the shadow of war and the guilt of leaving, the women in this new anthology expose their emotional pain but also their gratitude for being able to call Canada home. Their stories paint touching and charming portraits of cultural and linguistic misunderstandings, bureaucratic hurdles, attempts to navigate unfamiliar landscapes, and a desire to be accepted despite differences in accent, skin colour, or taste in food. Together they form a mosaic of emotions and world-views that underline the immigrant condition for women.

A yellow dress with ruffles, a kind Grade 1 teacher with a surname that’s difficult to spell, cockroaches in the bathroom, the contempt of strangers, and Whitney Houston on the radio–a Filipino woman recalls her experience as a six-year-old immigrant in a ghetto in Mississauga in the 80s. Browsing through a Polish fashion magazine at a European deli, a woman sees herself in an alternative universe of what her life might have been had she never immigrated to Canada. A same-sex couple moves from Minnesota to Ontario to find refuge for their love, but first they must drive a seventeen-foot truck through a blizzard and make it through the frustrating net of Canadian bureaucracy. In search of her origins, a Jewish woman travels to her birthplace in Passau, Germany. There, among rows of European picturesque houses and foreign tombstones of a Jewish cemetery, she finds no memories, only the shadow of Hitler and the ghosts of her parents.

Through these stories of courage, aloneness, and hope, new and established writers reach out to both immigrants and those whose families long ago ceased to identify with the immigrant label. Through their struggles and, at times, endearingly critical looks at Canada, they remind us that many of our perceived divisions are nothing but artificial creations of mind and that all of us are past, current, or potential immigrants.

I completed a nine-week course with a group of people, which featured DVD Study sessions and a Participant Guide with study questions (homework!) for discussion each week. The book is a lot to digest, and I'm still reading it in chunks.

TITLE: Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life
PUBLISHER: Zondervan
PUBLICATION DATE: November 2, 1992
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 314 pages
GENRE: Nonfiction, Psychology, Self-Help
ISBN: 9780310585909
Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not. Boundaries impact all areas of our lives: Physical boundaries help us determine who may touch us and under what circumstances -- Mental boundaries give us the freedom to have our own thoughts and opinions -- Emotional boundaries help us to deal with our own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative emotions of others -- Spiritual boundaries help us to distinguish God's will from our own and give us renewed awe for our Creator -- Often, Christians focus so much on being loving and unselfish that they forget their own limits and limitations. When confronted with their lack of boundaries, they ask: - Can I set limits and still be a loving person? - What are legitimate boundaries? - What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries? - How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy, or money? - Aren't boundaries selfish? - Why do I feel guilty or afraid when I consider setting boundaries? Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend offer biblically-based answers to these and other tough questions, showing us how to set healthy boundaries with our parents, spouses, children, friends, co-workers, and even ourselves.

Something from the library. I really enjoy this author, and I find him to be very inspirational!

AUTHOR: Joel Osteen
PUBLICATION DATE: October 24, 2017
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 304 pages
GENRE: Nonfiction
ISBN: 9781455534326
The same God that leads you through green pastures guides you through the valleys. #1 New York Times bestselling author Joel Osteen shares how God uses the darkness in life for good.

All of us at some time encounter dark places that we don't understand: a loss, a sickness, a divorce, a child who breaks our heart. It's easy to get discouraged, give up on our dreams, and just settle there. We may not realize it, but when we feel buried in dark places, we are being blessed. God is using those experiences to help us grow, because we cannot reach our highest potential if we're standing in the light all the time. With Blessed in the Darkness, you will learn how to draw closer to God and trust Him when life doesn't make sense.

If we will go through the valley trusting, believing, and knowing that God is still in control, then we will come to the table that is already prepared for us, where our cup runs over.

Another one from my dusty bookshelf, which I am reading aloud to my younger daughter. We are loving this series! It just gets better and better!

TITLE: A Dangerous Path
SERIES: Warriors, Book #5
AUTHOR: Erin Hunter
PUBLISHER: HarperCollins
PUBLICATION DATE: March 17, 2015 (first published 2004)
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 368 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy
ISBN: 9780062367006
Join the legion of fans who have made Erin Hunter's Warriors series a #1 national bestseller--with new editions featuring a striking new look! More thrilling fantasy, fierce warrior cats, and epic adventures await in Warriors #5: A Dangerous Path.

ShadowClan has chosen Tigerclaw as their new leader, and Fireheart fears that this old enemy still harbors dark plans for vengeance on his former Clan. A mysterious threat has invaded the forest, placing every cat's life in peril. And Fireheart's beloved leader has turned her back on their warrior ancestors. Fireheart can't help but wonder if she's right--has StarClan abandoned them forever?

Another one from my dusty bookshelf, which I am reading aloud to my younger daughter.

TITLE: The Journey
SERIES: Guardians of Ga'Hoole, Book #2
AUTHOR: Kathryn Lasky
PUBLISHER: Scholastic, Inc.
PUBLICATION DATE: September 1, 2003 
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 242 pages
GENRE: Young Adult
ISBN: 9780439405584
It began as a dream. A quest for the Great Ga'Hoole Tree, a mythical place where each night an order of owls rises to perform noble deeds. There Soren, Gylfie, Twilight, and Digger hope to find inspiration to fight the evil that dwells in the owl kingdom.

The journey is long and harrowing. When Soren and his friends finally arrive at the Great Ga'Hoole Tree, they will be tested in ways they never dreamed and face challenges they never imagined. If they can learn from their leaders and from one another, they will soon become true Ga'hoolian owls-honest and brave, wise and true.

I'm listening to:

Something from my review pile. And bonus that she's a new-to-me Canadian author!

AUTHOR: Shari Lapena
NARRATOR: Tavia Gilbert
PUBLISHER: Penguin Random House Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: August 15, 2017
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 8 hrs and 52 mins
GENRE: Mystery
ISBN: 9780525498544
In this neighborhood, danger lies close to home. A domestic thriller packed full of secrets, and a twisty story that never stops--from the bestselling author of The Couple Next Door.

He looks at her, concerned. "How do you feel?" She wants to say, Terrified. Instead, she says, with a faint smile, "Glad to be home."

Karen and Tom Krupp are happy--they've got a lovely home in upstate New York, they're practically newlyweds, and they have no kids to interrupt their comfortable life together. But one day, Tom returns home to find Karen has vanished--her car's gone and it seems she left in a rush. She even left her purse--complete with phone and ID--behind.

There's a knock on the door--the police are there to take Tom to the hospital where his wife has been admitted. She had a car accident, and lost control as she sped through the worst part of town.

The accident has left Karen with a concussion and a few scrapes. Still, she's mostly okay--except that she can't remember what she was doing or where she was when she crashed. The cops think her memory loss is highly convenient, and they suspect she was up to no good.

Karen returns home with Tom, determined to heal and move on with her life. Then she realizes something's been moved. Something's not quite right. Someone's been in her house. And the police won't stop asking questions.

Because in this house, everyone's a stranger. Everyone has something they'd rather keep hidden. Something they might even kill to keep quiet.

I just finished:

TITLE: Stung
AUTHOR: Bethany Wiggins
NARRATOR: Nicole Poole
PUBLISHER: Tantor Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: September 12, 2017 (first published 2013)
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 7 hrs and 30 mins
GENRE: Young Adult, Science Fiction/Dystopia
ISBN: 9781541477414
There is no cure for being stung.

Fiona doesn’t remember going to sleep. But when she opens her eyes, she discovers her entire world has been altered—her house is abandoned and broken, and the entire neighborhood is barren and dead. Even stranger is the tattoo on her right hand—a black oval with five marks on either side—that she doesn’t remember getting but somehow knows she must cover at any cost. She’s right.

Those bearing the tattoo have turned into mindless, violent beasts that roam the streets and sewers, preying upon the unbranded while a select few live protected inside a fortress-like wall, their lives devoted to rebuilding society and killing all who bear the mark.

Now Fiona has awakened branded, alone—and on the wrong side of the wall.

SERIES: The Girl with All the Gifts, Book #1
AUTHOR: M.R. Carey
FORMAT: Kindle Edition
LENGTH: 421 pages
GENRE: Horror, Science Fiction/Post-Apocalyptic
Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her "our little genius."

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

The Girl with All the Gifts is a sensational thriller, perfect for fans of Stephen King, Justin Cronin, and Neil Gaiman.

What are you reading? Have you read any of these books and, if so, what did you think? Please let me know in the comments and, if you are also participating in this meme, leave me a link to your blog post so that I can stop by!
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