Sunday, 29 March 2015

HELLBOY: The Midnight Circus by Mike Mignola, Duncan Fegredo & Dave Stewart


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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My hubby borrowed this little comic book from the library, and because I love Hellboy I decided to read it after him. :)

This story takes place when Hellboy is still a kid. A kid who pretty much gets left out of everything and sneaks away to do something he's not supposed to do. And that's when he discovers a bizarre circus. A dangerous place filled with demons who want to use him. When Hellboy gets away, he finds himself in even more trouble.

I really enjoyed this tale. It was dark and fantastical and once again showcases the relationship between Hellboy and the Professor. I was also excited to see several demons that I myself happened to use in a book I recently wrote. Very cool when that happens.

Anyway, this was a great and fast read with lovely art and parallels to some well-known stories.

View all my reviews

THE LITTLE ANDROID by Marissa Meyer


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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one amazing novella! Not just because it's set in the world of The Lunar Chronicles and Cinder makes an appearance, but because it's a beautiful story of one-sided love.

Mech6.0 is an android, and for some reason she's got a crush on Dataran. He's a young engineer who seems to be falling in love with someone else. Miko is the daughter of the man who owns the ship the crew is working on.

The day Dataran falls into a deadly oil pool, Mech6.0 risks her own existence to save his life. As a result her android body malfunctions. Still, thanks to a young (and awesome mechanic) she gets herself a temporary new body. One that enables her to pretend she's human and get a job beside Dataran.

However, as her love deepens, so does the mutual feelings between Dataran and Miko. Until Star--she's given herself a human name--realises the truth, and makes the ultimate sacrifice.

I LOVED this novella. It's so sad and wonderful, heartbreaking but inspiring.

I'm just a sucker for stories about robots/androids/AI that develop human emotions. :)

I'm loving this series!

Saturday, 28 March 2015

THE UNIT by Ninni Holmqvist


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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a very powerful story set in a dystopian world where older people without children are forced out of society and into the Second Reserve Bank Unit. Women over the age of fifty and men over sixty who don't have families or jobs that aid the community are locked away and exposed to psychological testing as well as organ donors.

Dorrit Weger loses her house and her beloved dog when she's taken to the Unit. A facility that offers a fully furnished apartment, free meals, free clothes, the use of many recreational facilities, and even a new social life. She quickly makes friends, but is soon introduced to the seriousness of her new existence when she loses a friend pretty early on.

Still, she lives a peaceful life with her friends and doesn't mind taking part in tests that reveal just how healthy she is. It's amazing how quietly these poor people accept that their lives are eventually going to end so they can serve other younger, more needed people.

Wow. This book was really moving. It was disturbing, shocking and so well written that I was hooked. Dorrit's story is a very sad one, and the world she lives in is even sadder. Still, I loved this book!

I felt so bad for all of them. :(

You know, the biggest tragedy of this story is that Dorrit finds love and a real relationship for the first time in her life. But it's just too late.

The ending was heartbreaking, btw.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

TORN FROM THE SHADOWS!


I'm not sure if you've marked your calendars yet, but the TORN FROM THE SHADOWS paperback will be released on April 7! ;)
 
In case you haven't read it yet, it's the fourth book in my Sierra Fox series. It's the penultimate instalment and a lot of bad things happen in this one. Sure, it's peppered with some good stuff too, but because the series is on the brink of being over... You know how it goes.
 
Over the weekend, Samhain Publishing tweeted about this review:
Wow. That review is from RT Magazine, who have reviewed a few of the other Sierra titles but didn't seem to be huge fans of the series. So reading this review made me smile. It actually made my day since the day before I received this mysterious box:   

 
 And this is what I found when I looked inside:
 

 
OMG. The photos turned out nice, but they really don't do the book justice. The cover looks amazing, it's just such a gorgeous book! I'm SO proud of this series, and receiving the paperbacks only makes me realise that one of my writing dreams has come true.
 
I've actually had an entire urban fantasy series published.
 
And in October, I will have the whole series on paperback.
 
Yay!
 
Anyway, if you'd like to know more about this book, here's the blurb:
 
All it takes is one goddess-affiliated demon to seal the deal.

Sierra Fox, Book 4
 
Sierra Fox knows better than to believe the demon-obsessed freakshow has given up on her. She’s settled into a nice routine of living with her sister, enjoying her relationship with a sexy werewolf, and staying on top of work—and always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Predictably, things start falling apart as she’s suddenly swamped with surprise visits and unwanted advances, and someone she despises wants her help.

When a spook-catching training session goes horribly wrong, she encounters a man who’s not quite as dead as she’d hoped. Mace is now more than human and still determined to get his hands on her. But not if Sierra accepts the strengthening gifts her grandmother bestowed at her birth.

Having the good guys put a price on her head is enough to ruin anyone’s day, but Sierra refuses to give up or give in. Even if it means exercising the last option on earth she wants. But claiming the ultimate power may not be enough to save the man she loves before his werewolf past destroys him.

Warning: Phantasms, pookas, werewolves, and demons, oh yes! And a spook-catching heroine who must choose to take what’s rightfully hers—even if it means walking the shadows with a demon.


 

SERVANTS OF THE STORM by Delilah S. Dawson


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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. I read this book in a whirlwind of Must Get To The End Because I Need To Know What Happens. Seriously, I started reading this because I wanted to see what it was like and before I realised it, I was so hooked that I just kept reading.

Dovey lives in Savannah, Georgia and when Hurricane Josephine hits she loses her best friend to the savage storm. She becomes so traumatised that the beginning of this book is her going from one time to another, obviously grieving so much that she can barely function. And that's why she's been on antipsychotic medication for the past year, watching the world go by in a haze that she mostly can't remember. But that all changes when she actually sees her friend, Carly. That's when she decides to stop taking the pills and goes to great lengths to keep up the pretence with her parents.

Getting off the medication opens her eyes to just how badly Savannah was damaged by Josephine, but a chance encounter with a mysterious bartender called Isaac really affects her. Suddenly she can see some really awful and dark things around the place she's grown up, and slowly starts to realise that Josephine might not just be the name of a storm, but the name of something a lot more dangerous. Something that dwells in the dark and has brought a lot of monstrous things to Savannah.

Still, all she cares about is finding her friend, which soon becomes a mission to save the very souls of everyone Dovey cares about.

I seriously LOVED this book. It's one of those really creepy stories that drags you in and takes you for one hell of a ride. This book is just like that spooky roller coaster Dovey rides with her friend. :/

Half the time you're left wondering if everything that Dovey is uncovering is due to her mental anguish/illness, or because she's discovered an unimaginable evil. The pendulum swings from real to delusional many times, but I'm pretty sure I know which is true after that ending. Yikes!

I loved this very intriguing, interesting, creepy YA horror story with a freaky cover. Not just because of the creepy factor, but because of how well it's written. And because of the super spooky setting. I was also captivated by the large cast of characters and really hope to visit this shadowy world again.

Please tell me there's a sequel!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

LOOT CRATE


 Hey!
 
LOOT CRATE arrived the other day:
 
 
This month's box is a little slimmer than the ones before it.
 
The March theme is COVERT.
 
We already knew what was in it because we cheated by watching other people unbox theirs on YouTube. LMAO.
 
Anyway, there were some pretty cool goodies packed inside:

 
And here they are after we opened and checked everything out:


This time, the inside of the box becomes a cute cardboard laptop.
Probably with a bunch of secret passcodes and missions from many a covert operation. :P
 
I actually like this one more than last month's.
There are some pretty cool things inside. My daughter ended up getting most of the stuff, but that's cool because I got these:
 
 
Aren't they cute?
Two adorable notebooks.
I haven't cracked them open yet, but I heard one is grid and the other is lined. Very cool!
 
Looks like next month's theme is ADVENTURE.
Wonder what they'll pack into that one...
 
Here are the other boxes we've received so far:
 
 http://www.yolandasfetsos.com/2015/01/lootcrate.html http://www.yolandasfetsos.com/2015/03/loot-crate.html

 


Tuesday, 24 March 2015

CINDER by Marissa Meyer


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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My daughter pretty much devoured this series. She loved it so much that I ended up giving her the first two paperbacks, and bought the Kindle versions for myself.

She also kept telling me that I had to read the series. Soooo, I finally read the first book. And it's amazing! She was right. :)

Cinder is an insanely clever and unique retelling of Cinderella. It's a futuristic story with some awesome worldbuilding. I really got a kick out of the Sci-Fi elements. And because I'm a sucker for robots of any kind, of course I was hooked!

The clash of cultures was so interesting. Loved that this was set in New Beijing! The descriptions were so vivid that I felt like I was there.

Cinder is a mechanic. She's also a cyborg. And she lives with her (bitch of a) stepmother and two stepsisters. I really liked Peony, but the other two made me super angry.

Anyway, she's happy fixing and building stuff in her market stall, with her friend Iko. She was a lovely android, btw. But all that changes the day Prince Kai visits her stall. It's also the day that the plague hits the square. Oh, and the day Cinder's life takes a turn that will lead her to loss, pain, and a bunch of intense revelations.

Wow. This book was addictive. Once I got started I didn't want to put it down.

I also loved that even though this is an awesome spin on a well-known classic story, Marissa Meyer still managed to keep the heart of the story. Cinder was kind and thoughtful, loyal and caring... a good person even after the cruel way she's been treated.

Prince Kai was cool, Iko was awesome, and Dr. Erland was very interesting. Plus I totally know who he is. ;)

Also, the Lunar angle is so intriguing...

Looking forward to the rest of the series!

Reading Break


Hi there!

How's everyone today? Great, I hope.

Well, it's been a while between posts. A little longer than I thought, to be honest. But I've been taking a break from stuff. I'm trying to keep my anxious nature to a minimum, and it seems to be working.
 
During the last few weeks we've been doing a bunch of spring cleaning in autumn. We've rearranged our storage in the living room, which involved several trips to IKEA. And then got stuck into the bedroom. I overhauled my wall of bookshelves, went through everything and moved a bunch of things around. My cute toys/collectibles now have a new and awesome home, my bookshelves have a little more wiggle room, and we've introduced a new piece into the room. We even reorganised our built-in wardrobe, which really needed a revamp.
 
Everything looks a LOT better and like I said, we've made some room for growth. The downside was that it consumed my mind. Organising and reorganising was the only thing I could think of. It's pretty much what I did all the way until the beginning of last week. It was extremely rewarding, but also very exhausting. I was pretty much collapsing into bed at the end of each day and just falling right into sleep. LOL.
 
Then midweek I went in to get that Barium Swallow I mentioned recently. It was a strange experience, but I was very glad to have it done because it helped clear up any problems I might be suffering. Yesterday morning, I spoke to the ENT and he gave me the results. Everything is normal, I'm fine. There are no probs with my throat, esophagus, or stomach. So that's awesome news!
 
Looks like I did have some sort of esophagus spasm sometime last month, which brought on a whole bunch of anxiety on my part. The main thing is that the problem was temporary and it corrected itself.
 
Very happy with those results.
 
I'm now eating properly again. I think my stomach shrunk a bit during that troublesome time so I find myself getting full sooner than before, but that's okay. If eating smaller portions is the only thing left from the awful experience, that's cool. I was never a huge portion eater anyway. :)
 
So, there you have it. The health issue that's been bugging me is resolved. I'm glad I got those tests done. Not just because the results were favourable, but because it's proven that there's nothing serious going on. Which does a lot to ease my mind and nerves.
 
After the test, I decided to get stuck into some serious reading. Yep. As you can tell from the reviews I've posted, I've been enjoying a bit of a reading binge. It's fun! I love to read, and because of all that de-cluttering business, I'd been pushing it aside.
 
Now, I'm getting stuck into it again.
 
I'm reading this book at the moment, and I'm loving it so far! It's a series that my daughter has already read and keeps raving on about. She absolutely loves it and kept telling me to check it out. So, here I am... checking it out. ;)
 
I have to admit that it feels good to just sit back and get stuck into reading. It's relaxing and fun. It's also cool because it means I'm not putting pressure on myself. I tend to do that a lot. I'm the kind of person who pre-plans projects and sets rigid deadlines for myself. Sometimes that's awesome because it keeps me motivated and disciplined, but other times it freaks me out. And I think that this health issue I've had has made me realise how important it is to try and stay as calm as possible.
 
Don't get me wrong, I'll be getting stuck into my own revision and writing very soon. I already know what I'll be working on next--finishing up Willow's spin-off novel--but I'm not rushing into it. I refuse to work myself into a frenzy. Especially since school holidays are around the corner.
 
Well, that's it for now.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

WEIGHTLESS by Sarah Bannan

Weightless
Adamsville wasn't a place that people came to. It was a place you were from, where you were born, where you were raised, where you stayed…
 
    Before Carolyn Lessing arrived, nothing much had ever happened in Adamsville, Alabama. Each week, at dinner tables and in the high school assembly, everyone would pray for the football team to win. Each year, the Adams High hotlist would be updated, and girls would rise and fall within its ranks. Each day, everyone lived by the unwritten rules that cheerleaders did not hang out with the swim team, seniors did not date freshmen and the blistering heat was something that should never be remarked upon. But then the new girl came.
 
     All Carolyn's social media could reveal was that she had moved from New Jersey, she had 1075 friends – and she didn't have a relationship status. In beach photos with boys who looked like Abercrombie models she seemed beautiful, but in real life she was so much more. She was perfect.
 
This was all before the camera crews arrived, before it became impossible to see where rumour ended and truth began, and before the Annual Adamsville Balloon Festival, when someone swore they saw the captain of the football team with his arm around Carolyn, and cracks began to appear in the dry earth.


I received Weightless last week from Bloomsbury Australia and found the premise to be very interesting. I also really liked the cover. So, I picked it up last night and before I realised it, I'd read the first 40-something pages.

This book is written in first-person plural, a style I don't read often. The whole story is told as 'we', and seen through the collective eyes of a group of junior girls who watch the devastating events that unfold before them. We never find out the narrator's actual name, but it doesn't matter. It doesn't interfere with what's going on because the focus is always Carolyn Lessing. It almost feels like a fly on the wall is relaying what happened, except that a fly on the wall can't affect/change events. But these girls can, and instead choose not to.

Okay, let me summarise what this book is about...

Adamsville is a small religious town where all the kids have known each other since kindergarten. There are cliques, and certain ways of behaving at school. The cheerleaders and football players are the popular ones. They're the girls and guys everyone admires and fantasizes about.

There are also certain couples that everyone knows go together. Like Brooke and Shane, or Gemma and Andrew. No one would dare come between them, or throw out the social balance.

Well, until the new girl comes to town. Carolyn is from New Jersey. She's beautiful, smart, funny, nice, and has a certain style about her. She also becomes the token obsession for just about everyone in Adams High. The boys think she's hot and the girls admire her. She's different, and doesn't care about social rules. She's an honour student, likes to swim and speaks to just about everyone.

But when she starts dating Shane, she tips the pre-set scales. Before anyone realises what's happening, she goes from popular to enemy. Suddenly, people are making up stories about her. They're filming things they shouldn't. And her friendly nature is held against her.

And so begins an awful chain of events that leads to some of the most cruel and aggressive bullying imaginable. These kids use phones and computers as tools, taking cyberbulling to the extreme. And manage to turn a nice, smart girl who looks at life differently into an outsider. They label Carolyn with vicious names that lead to tragic results.

Wow. This was one amazing book! Not only was it well written, but deals with some harsh truths about the social structure in this small town high school. It's also full of hypocrisy and cowards. The detached way in which the narrator relates everything and is so quick to judge and clean her hands of any wrongdoing is truly shocking.

Standing by and letting cruelty be dished out so they don't rock the boat is never okay. I also found the religious aspects of this community laughable. Parents are so fixated in getting their kids involved in prayer and church that they turn a blind eye to every single rule these teenagers break on a daily basis. It's useless to preach stuff to kids who pretend they agree and then partake in everything they convinced adults they would never do.

Weightless is a very powerful book that explores the horrifying effects of bullying, and just how far people are willing to go to control the social status. It's also an uncomfortable book at times because the girls watching on made me so angry. Which also means the author did a great job at conveying the message.

This is an important story that carries a disturbing message and a tragic outcome that impacts everyone involved. It's also a strong reminder about how important it is to pay attention to bullying. Ignoring the obvious is never the answer. Silence can make a person as guilty as the ones doing the bullying. Unfortunately, we've seen the outcome too many times on the nightly news.

I loved this book because this is a conversation we need to keep active.

Weightless, April 2015, ISBN 9781408856437, Bloomsbury Circus

Saturday, 21 March 2015

SOULPRINT by Megan Miranda

Soulprint
Alina Chase has spent her entire life in confinement. With the science of soul-printing now a reality, she is 'protected' for her own safety – and the safety of others – because her soul has done terrible things ... or so she's told. When Alina finally breaks out of prison, helped by a group of people with unclear motives, she begins to uncover clues left by her past life that only she can decipher. And she may not be as innocent as she once believed. Can Alina change her future, or is she fated to repeat her past and face the consequences?
 
 
Megan Miranda writes great YA thrillers, so I was excited when I received this book from Bloomsbury Australia. Thanks Bloomsbury! :)
 
Alina Chase is seventeen and has spent most of her life hidden away from the world. She lives on an island, separated from the rest of the population for her own safety. Every facet of her life is controlled and she's constantly watched. See, she lives in a world where the soul is reborn after death. And she happens to have the soul of a criminal.

June Calahan was a young revolutionary who eventually became a despised criminal. The fact Alina was tested and confirmed to have her soul spooked everyone enough to imprison her. Everyone is afraid that June's plight and criminal ways will surface in Alina, which justifies the imprisonment. And no one lets her forget it.
 
The day Alina escapes, she realises she might never find real freedom, because the man who orchestrated her release and helped get her off the island happens to be someone she's met before. He's also obsessed with June and wants Alina to lead him to all of June's secrets so he can continue her work.

But there are two other people along for the ride. And although Casey and Cameron obviously have their own reasons for busting her out, she might just be able to find allies in them.

Together, this small group is forced to run and hide because Alina is bound to be hunted down and thrown back on the island if anyone recognises her.

The concept of this book was intriguing. It questions the ethics of what can happen in a world where the soul becomes a weapon, used against the person who is unlucky enough to inherit one which used to belong to someone with criminal tendencies. Does evil echo into the new person? Are they bound to be corrupt, or continue what the previous soul began even if the soul is proven not to have a memory? These are all questions without definite answers, but still manage to keep an innocent girl imprisoned.

Soulprint is an entertaining story with a unique Sci-Fi take on reincarnation. It's a personal look at the unfortunate shadow cast on one girl's life because of something she had no control over. I enjoyed the pace and how Alina grows from a captive, sheltered teenager and into someone who might just be able to deal with the shocking truth.

Another great book by this talented author. :)

 
Soulprint, February 2015, ISBN 9781408855409, Bloomsbury Childrens

Thursday, 19 March 2015

THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT by Melissa Grey


Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she's ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she's fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it's time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, but if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it's how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it.

But some jobs aren't as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.
 
 
As soon as I read the blurb for this book, I was intrigued. So when I was lucky enough to receive an ARC last week, I couldn't wait to get started.
 
Echo is a runaway, is very clever and has a sharp tongue. She's also a thief. Stealing and selling on the black market is how she survives. A lot of the things she owns are stolen, but they make up her personal and hidden home within the library. She does have another home beneath the city streets of New York. It's where Ala lives. The Avicen who took her in as a child and helped Echo grow into the person she's become.
 
Even if Echo never really belonged amongst this race--because so many resent a human knowing their secrets--they still became her family. Her best friend is Avicen, and so is her boyfriend.
 
The Avicen are a race of feathered beings with magic at their disposal and the advantage of being able to slip through the in-between to go all over the world. But they have been at war for a long time. Their enemies are called Drakharin, who instead of feathers have scales.
 
The birds and the dragons have fought many a bloody war, but the one they're heading into will turn everything upside down.
 
When Ala tells Echo that the only way to stop the war is to find the mythical firebird, she accepts the challenge and finds herself on a treasure hunt. Following an enigmatic map leads her from one clue to another, and she somehow seems to be connected to each item she finds. But this quest also leads her to the Dragon Prince.
 
Cauis might be the Dragon Prince, but he's sick of the fighting. While trying to also get his hands on the firebird, he ends up losing everything he's established, and gains a new ally in Echo.
 
Together, an unlikely group of Avicen and Dhrakarin hold the key to end the ongoing war. But for Echo and Cauis, this adventure is very personal and will change both of their lives forever...
 
Wow. It's very hard to summarise the awesome plot of this novel without giving too much away. I absolutely loved every single minute of this story. The hidden world of the Avicen and Drhakarin is amazing and magical, but it's also a dangerous and ruthless place.
 
The story is told in multiple POVs, which really helped move the story along and made me fall in love with these characters and their impossible plight. Echo's voice is the strongest. She's snarky and funny. She loves words and books, and shiny things. She was a great main character, and her POV was enhanced by Cauis. Not to mention that I'm a sucker for heart-wrenching love stories.
 
The Girl At Midnight is an amazing book! I absolutely loved this beautifully written story set in an intriguing, vivid world that exists beside ours, and is filled with memorable characters. The mystery contained within these otherworldly pages blows your mind once it's revealed, but at the same time makes perfect sense of everything. I didn't know what to expect with this book, but boy... I was blown away.
 
I can't wait to read more books by this author. And really want to know what happens to Echo and Cauis next.
 
Also, this was one of the prettiest ARCs I've ever received. 
 
You have to read this book. It's awesome! :)

The Girl at Midnight, April 2015, ISBN 9780349002132, Atom

Friday, 13 March 2015

Display Cabinets, Cute Stuff & TGIF!


Hey! How's everyone? Today I want to chat about cute stuff.
 
If you follow me on Twitter, then you know that I collect Funko Pop! figures. Actually, I collect a lot of things, but I have a LOT of Pops. They're all very cute, and used to sit on my bookshelves. Although I have a wall of bookshelves, it was getting to be a bit too much.
 
Between the toys, collectibles and books I was totally running out of room.
 
Well, that's no longer the case. Hubby and I went to the IKEA website a few weeks ago and found this beauty. It looked good onscreen, but we wanted to see it for ourselves before making a decision. Last week we walked down to our local store so we could take a closer look.

You know, sometimes things look good in pictures but suck when you actually see them in person...
 
Luckily, that was not the case with the REGISSÖR. It was just what we were looking for: a sturdy display cabinet big enough to house a bunch of adorable collectibles. Hubby picked one up a few days later, and by the end of the weekend we had this:

 
I LOVE the way it turned out. Sure, it might be a little crowded in there, but hey, I'm super excited about their new home. And it might not look like it, but there's definitely room for other additions in the future. We put the cabinet in the living room near the desk, so it might even be a source of inspiration.
 
The other really cool thing is that I finally got a chance to unbox and display my Movie Maniacs:
 
I've had them filed away for about 15 years! We didn't have anywhere to display them before. But more importantly, we didn't want to freak our daughter out when she was younger. Now she's old enough to not be scared. Plus she now knows that her mother's a horror freak. :P
 
Don't they look really cool? Love them!
 
I'm very happy with how it's shaping up.
 
We live in an apartment so this isn't the only thing we're doing to maximise our space. Every couple of years we try to re-evaluate what we've got and try to figure out the best way to make the most out of our living area.
 
Well, that's about it for today. After I finished sorting out this cabinet, I got stuck into the bookshelves so I've spent the latter part of this week working on that. I'm soooo tired. But that's not the end of it, we've got more planned for the weekend.
 
But that's probably something to chat about another day.
 
Oh, and BTW...



Also, have an awesome weekend!

 
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