Monday, February 12, 2018

DNF&Y #1

It doesn't happen often, but there are times when I just cannot finish a book. As a reviewer, what are you supposed to do? Do you review the part you read? Do you completely remove the book from Goodreads like it never happened? Do you acknowledge it with a label and then forget about it?

I feel bad when I can't finish a book, especially when it's for a blog tour, or an author personally asked me to read and review it. However, I refuse to continue reading something that I'm not enjoying. Life is just too short, my friends.

I want to use this post, DNF&Y, to explain why I gave up on certain books, and what about them just didn't work for me. After talking with Karen from For What It's Worth, I decided to list my reasons for not finishing a book, but also include links to reviews by people that may have had a more positive experience. I feel like that lessens the negativity surrounding this type of post, and allows it to end on a positive note. To quote Karen, "Personally, I find those reviews more helpful. What you don't like might be what I love."

We're all different people. We have different likes and dislikes, and that's why I love books. There is literally something for everyone, and we're not limited to just one person's ideas. We are able to pick and choose books that make us happy, read stories that change our lives, and we get to share our thoughts with the world. Occasionally, those feelings are bad, but I don't think they need to be ignored.


King (King, #1) by T.M. Frazier
Homeless. Hungry. Desperate.

Doe has no memories of who she is or where she comes from.

A notorious career criminal just released from prison, King is someone you don’t want to cross unless you’re prepared to pay him back in blood, sweat, pussy or a combination of all three.

King’s future hangs in the balance. Doe’s is written in her past. When they come crashing together, they will have to learn that sometimes in order to hold on, you have to first let go.

Warning: This book contains graphic violence, consensual and nonconsensual sex, drug use, abuse, and other taboo subjects and adult subject matter. Although originally slated to be a standalone, KING is now a two part series. (add on Goodreads)


DNF&Y:

This DNF is mostly my fault. I didn't read the synopsis or the warning at the end until after I had started the book. I saw all the raving reviews, and a few of my friends suggested it to me, so I just started reading it without giving it a second thought.

DNF after the prologue and first chapter. *possible spoilers

I am disgusted with this book. Rape is not a topic I want to causally read about. It's not okay. Yes, it is rape (she's drunk/drugged and he thinks her vagina is payment for a tattoo he did), because he didn't ask her if she wanted to have sex. He flips her over and does what he wants when she clearly cannot coherently say anything. Then he almost kills her! He gets so caught up in his own orgasm, he nearly chokes her to death. He actually has to check to make sure she's still breathing.

It gets worse. He then calls his friend into the room and tells him to "take care of it." After a brief conversation, the friend asks if he's "done with it," referring to the still unconscious girl, and leaves with her slung over his shoulder. The asshat implies that his friend doesn't mind his "seconds," so she's likely going to be raped again.

I could not continue to read this book. The language was overdone in the beginning, and I can't keep reading something that casually throws rape into the story like it's not a big deal.

If you want to read a more positive review, check out Jessica's thoughts from Peace Love Books. She didn't post the review on her blog, but it can be found on Goodreads.


The Dating Debate (Dating Dilemmas, #1)
by Chris Cannon
Nina Barnes thinks Valentine’s Day should be optional. That way single people like her wouldn’t be subjected to kissy Cupids all over the place. That is, until her mom moves them next door to the brooding hottie of Greenbrier High, West Smith. He’s funny, looks amazing in a black leather jacket, and he’s fluent in Harry Potter, but she’s not sure he’s boyfriend material.

West isn’t sure what to make of Nina. She’s cute and loves to read as much as he does, but she seems to need to debate everything and she has a pathological insistence on telling the truth. And West doesn’t exactly know how to handle that, since his entire life is a carefully constructed secret. Dating the girl next door could be a ton of fun, but only if Nina never finds out the truth about his home life. It’s one secret that could bring them together or rip them apart.


Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book is not for anyone who has to get in the last word, but it is for all book nerds, especially those who live next door to so called unapproachable gorgeous guys. There’s no debating the chemistry. (add on Goodreads)


DNF&Y:

I received an e-arc from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

DNF at 35%

Bookish girl, Harry Potter references, and a neighborly romance--all things I thought I would love about this book. However, everything felt forced. The quips and snarky comments, the conversations between Nina and West, and even the Harry Potter references themselves. At one point West compares Nina to Luna Lovegood, but it just doesn't make sense.

I love that Nina was confident and always wanted to tell the truth regardless of the consequences, but she was also incredibly pushy. She threw her thoughts and opinions around like no one could possibly feel differently. It was like she was too perfect at times. She never argued with her family, always did her chores without complaint, constantly thought of others, and even played matchmaker.

I'm not sure I've noticed this with other books, but the author never actually explains what the characters look like (at least not during the 35% I read). This doesn't necessarily bother me, it's just something I noticed. I know some people enjoy thorough descriptions.

In the end, I didn't feel like there was a natural flow to the story. It seemed to jump around, and at times was even hard to follow the thoughts of one person. It also felt like they tried too hard to be "bookish". If Nina and West are supposed to be crazy book people, I'm sure they could have found other books (not just HP) to talk about.

If you would like a different opinion, try Angelica's review from The Book Cover Girl, or Michelle's from Book Briefs.

HeartShip (Full Hearts, #1)
by Amy Jo Cousins
Some mistakes are worth making.

Benji never meant to catfish a hot, college football player in Minnesota when he met a fellow anime fan online. But when @joshfortytwo announces he’s coming to Miami for a spontaneous visit, Benji is pretty sure the left tackle (whatever that is) expects to meet a cute girl in a bikini, not an aging twink hoping to finally get his life together when he finishes massage therapy school.

Josh doesn't let himself wonder about questions like:

• why don't you want to ask @princessglitter if she's a girl?
• why don't you tell your friends that you can't hang on Sunday nights because you've got a date to watch anime with your new BFF?
• why do you call it a date?

He just knows he needs to escape from the stress of having been injured just before the bowl game, and @princessglitter has somehow become his best friend.

But when Josh's secrets and Benji's sex appeal smash together for forty-eight scorching hours, they're going to feel the heat from Miami to Minnesota. (add on Goodreads)


DNF&Y:

I received an e-book from the author in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

DNF at 16%

I tried reading this last night but gave up after a couple of chapters. I thought maybe I was too tired to enjoy the story, so I tried it again today. Unfortunately, this book just wasn't a good fit for me. I had trouble following their Twitter conversations, and kept getting the two of them mixed up. There were also a lot of terms that went right over my head. Like the characters, I watch anime, but I was still slightly lost. Jack seemed to pick up the terminology pretty quickly, but that meant I lost the explanations from Benji.

I don't know if it was the writing, the characters, the story, or a combination of all three, but I couldn't get very far into this book. HeartShip may not have worked for me, but I plan on reading another book by Amy Jo Cousins in the future. I've heard wonderful things about her written romances!

If you'd like to see a different opinion, read Catherine's review on Goodreads


What do you do when you cannot finish a book? Let me know in the comments! Also, if you have you a few books you were unable to finish, and you want to participate in this post, just leave a link below so I can check it out!

37 comments:

  1. I see some blogs do what you did have one post with dnf. I am going to try and do my at end of month for any dnf for that month. I do not review arc books so I feel I am no rush to post anything. I do have many unfinished in my kindle I will try again and if do not work then mark it officially dnf.

    I was so excited for King but it did not work for me. I do not remember the rape scene.

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    1. I'm rarely unable to finish a book, so I don't think this post will make an appearance very often. It's just nice having them all in one place. Even though I didn't like something, I want to be able to tell you why.

      The rape scene happens in the first chapter after he tattoos a cat on her vagina.

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  2. Oh my I still do not remember this scene. Wow how bad am I. I was not fond of the hero in the beginning but started having a connection with him through out. Then one scene I lost that connection again. Most of my goodreads friends and bloggers loved this book. I was so bummed it did not work for me. I believe I gave it 2 stars. I think it is still good to give opinions on dnf books or low ratings. I read on Amazon low ratings before I read higher ratings. I have still bought and loved books based off low ratings. We all have different opinions. So many people will give a higher rating to their favorite author or just do not believe in low ratings.
    I remember reading a series with the same couple the 1st two books and loved them but the 3rd book I gave it a 3 stars liked it. A blogger I used to like to visit was shocked that the author I liked and books before loved would give a lower rating than the others. It was not I gave this book a bad review or a one or two star rating. I still gave it a good review and the rating I thought was for the book. I stopped following this blogger as I felt she would only give her favorite authors no matter how dislike a book a still high rating.

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    1. It's okay that you don't remember! I'm sure you've read a lot of books since then. It's always hard when your friends really like something that doesn't work for you, but I think being honest about your feelings is best. I don't give ratings based on the author, but on the book. For example, I ADORED the first three books in the Stage Dive series by Kylie Scott, but the fourth book just didn't do it for me. That happens.

      Hah! "I read on Amazon low ratings before I read higher ratings." I'm the same way! I like to see why people didn't like a book before I read what they loved about it.

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  3. I need to write some posts like this when I have a stack of dnf books. Not every book is for everyone and more often than not the books I hate are very popular with other people which proves that point. I love that you linked to other people’s opinions. That first book is just a big fat no. It sounds awful!

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    1. I feel like as reviewers we have to review everything we read, even if we didn't finish it. It helps to show people different views and opinions for the same book. Like you said, some books we dislike are very popular with a lot of other people. The linking to other reviews was Karen's idea! I just ran with it. As for King... it has such high ratings everywhere, but I just could not stomach the content.

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  4. I liked the way you shared your why and kept it personal without bashing the author. Different strokes for different folks and all of that. I don't review or rate books I DNF on my blog, its a personal choice. I do list them as a DNF on Goodreads and briefly explain why the book didn't work for me. I usually send author/pub a note if it was an arc. Great post L.

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    1. I hate it when people bash authors in their reviews! It's okay not to like something, but you don't have to be mean about it. "Different strokes for different folks and all of that." Excellently worded!

      Before today, I would remove a book from Goodreads if I didn't finish it, but then I felt like I was hiding something. I wasn't sure weather or not I wanted to give them ratings, since I didn't fully finish the book, but in the end decided to give a DNF two stars. Something horrible has to happen, like the rape in King, for me to give it a single star. It was just this morning that I decided to do some sort of post for DNF books, because for awhile I never mentioned them on my blog. I didn't think to send the author/publisher a note explaining why, so I'll have to do that. Thanks for the idea!

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  5. I've been unable to finish so many books lately too, maybe it's just me or maybe the quality of books hat I've been choosing isn't all that great. I absolutely love this idea though. I usually have no idea what to do once I DNF a review copy. Usually I do nothing but maybe a similar post (if you don't mind me pinching the idea) explaining why I couldn't finish it too. Such a wonderful idea! You should create a meme from it so we can all join in <3

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    1. I'm glad you like the idea! I don't mind if you do your own DNF&Y post! Tweeting you now, lol.

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  6. I feel bad when I DNF books, and it's awkward thinking of what to say to the publisher if its a review book, but I totally agree. Life is too short to waste it reading a book you're not enjoying. I've been back and forth about DNFing two books that have been hanging over my head for the last two weeks and I've finally decided to just give up. I totally understand your reasons with the above books. Here's hoping your next book knocks your socks off! :)

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    1. Same! It's so awkward writing an email that nicely says, "I'm sorry, but this wasn't for me." Like, I REALLY wanted to like it, but couldn't get into it. If you have to go back and forth over a book, I'm going to assume you're not loving it. I understand finally caving and giving up, but I'm sure you have your reasons. I hope your next book is equally awesome! The next time we speak, neither of us should be wearing socks. 😉

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  7. Like you, I rarely DNF books. But I agree in that they still deserve a review... Well maybe not a full review, but a post exactly like what you're doing here.

    I think I would have DNFed all of these for the same reasons you did.

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    1. Thanks! Obviously, I had more to say about some books than others, but it also depends on how far I got into the book before stopping.

      If you want to do your own DNF&Y, which might not happen very often since you also rarely DNF, feel free to participate! I'm thinking about making this an official post at the end of every month, even if I don't have something to post myself. It'll be there for others to link to.

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  8. When I DNF, I just mark it on GR and mostly pretend it didn't happen lol. But anyway, yikes, I dno't think that first book woudl be for me either. I can read rape, but I want to be portrayed as what it is, not some casual thing that's ok. Oh, I'm one of those people who likes descriptions! So it does bother me when character's looks aren't described at all cuz then I feel like I'm hanging in the balance, trying not to commit to anything until I know for sure, but then they're just blobs... I need to know lol. Sorry these books didn't work for you!

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    1. That was me before this, lol. I wouldn't even mark it on Goodreads, just remove it completely like it was never there. I love the "but then they're just blobs," hahaha!

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  9. I am all about DNFing, if I am not enjoying what I am reading. I am picky about tours, and take a hard look at the book before I accept. I know what I generally like, and sometimes I take a chance, but not with tours. At least you can contact the organizer and do a spotlight or drop out of the tour. As for how I deal with the book, I highlight it in red in my spreadsheet and make it disappear from my life. I understand why people want to share their DNFs, but it's not my thing.

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    1. I always thoroughly research a book before participating in a tour, but occasionally the book just doesn't work out. 🤷 Like you said, I'm able to contact the organizer and drop out, but I still feel like I'm letting someone down.

      You have a spreadsheet? For every book you've ever read? How does that work? I just use Goodreads! It's totally okay that you don't want to share your DNF books, because in the end it's personal preference. I never wanted to before, and only recently felt compelled to at least give my reasons why. Like Karen said, what you don't like about a book, I might really love! So it's nice to too see the negatives and the positives so I can compare the two. We're all beautifully different. ❤

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  10. Yes! I totally get this, and I agree, life is too short to waste it on a book that's not working. King sounds awful! And Karen's right, the negative reviews with listing what didn't work for you are helpful. It might actually be something another reader likes, so definitely helpful! These are great honest reviews! :)

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    1. Thank you! I agree that negative reviews can be extremely helpful. For example, I might not enjoy love triangles, but that could be something you love! I'm also not a fan of scary stories (I know, right...), but there are a lot of people that devour them. 😱

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  11. If I got a book for review, I tend to share why I DNF'ed it because it's true, we all like different things and what one person hates in a book might work for someone else. I love this idea for a post - and that you included reviews from others who liked the book more! That's a nice touch. King sounds awful - I would have DNFed that one too!

    I haven't read this one by Amy Jo Cousins, but I DO like her as an author, so I hope you find another book by her to enjoy.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. I'm glad you like it! I love that Karen suggested adding positive reviews to counter the negatives! It offers a different perspective, and shows that not everyone feels the same. It also seems to lessen the bad vibes surrounding that type of post.

      That's encouraging! I do want to read some of her other books. Do you have a suggestion?

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  12. There are very few books that I don't finish once I start them. I always hope that they get better or somehow what I'm not liking will change, plus I want to know what happens. Sometimes it works out really well where a book starts out bad or really slow and it gets better. Sometimes it doesn't but either way I usually review them on my blog.

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    1. You sound like Kristen! I admire your perseverance and determination. 👏 I just cannot do it anymore... I used to ALWAYS finish a book, regardless of how I was feeling, and it really hurt my reading. I stopped enjoying it as much, and I never want to lose the happiness that books bring to my life. So for me, if there is no enjoyment in the beginning, I simply stop and try something else.

      It's great when a book is able to end on a good note! It makes everything else seem worth it.

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  13. Love this feature! Especially since you stress your DNF doesn’t mean others haven’t enjoyed it (and even link to other reviews). Seeing a DNF doesn’t necessarily turn me off of a book. Like you said, different books are for different people. It’s crazy to think everyone is going to love the same things. Thankfully there’s something out there for everyone. I actually have a signed copy of King but have never read it. I met Frazier at a book event (I had attended to meet another author but she was there) and decided to buy the book and get it signed. And there it sits on my shelf. Maybe one of these days I’ll give it a try but it’s not at the top of my list.

    I don’t DNF often but I typically don’t review what I don’t finish. I have a DNF shelf on GoodReads so I shelve it there (without a rating) and I mark it as a DNF on my own spreadsheet (I’ve tracked what I’ve read on my own spreadsheet for years). But they are truly few and far between.

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    1. Thank you! You're the second person to mention having a spreadsheet. How does that work? How do you organize your books? I just use Goodreads! I didn't rate them before, but I've started to now. Like you, it's rare for me to DNF a book, but unfortunately it happens. I never knew what to do with them until now.

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    2. I'm happy to share my spreadsheet with you so you can check out the set-up. I can email it to you or share it with you via Google Docs. Just let me know. :)

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    3. Yes! I'd love to see how everything is organized! I feel like it would be such a daunting task.

      It's doyoudogear(at)gmail(dot)com. Thanks so much!

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  14. Well, we already had this discussion so you know how I feel lol

    In that first book is the guy the eventual hero? I *might* be able to handle it if that doesn't turn out to be her love interest. But honestly, it doesn't sound like a book for me anyway.

    let me know if you read HeartOn and if you feel differently about that one. Her first book that I LOVED is Off Campus and is free now - but a warning - one of the characters suffered sexual trauma - *before* the events of this book but it's handled SO well.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. I think so? I don't know. I didn't get far enough into the book, but I think he was supposed to be the Main Guy for the Main Girl.

      I plan on reading HeartOn eventually! Thank you for telling me about Off Campus! I downloaded it yesterday.

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  15. I love how you included links to other reviews and opinions, L! Awesome new feature.

    I just downloaded The Darting Debate from NG, and now I'm having second thoughts. I definitely understand that some books feel weirdly forced and unnatural, and that's pretty much the #1 thing I can't take in REALISTIC fiction. :(

    I always DNF books because I don't like wasting my time on something I'm sure I won't enjoy, no matter how hard I try. I let myself read AT LEAST until 30% of a book, or 100 pages if it's a physical copy. I'll write a mini-review about what didn't work for me!

    - Aimee @ Aimee, Always

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    1. Thanks! You should try The Dating Debate and let me know what you think! You might have an entirely different reaction. It did seem unfocused and not completely realistic, but that's just my opinion.

      I do something similar! However, I give them less time (25% and 50 pages). Love the idea a mini-review for them, too! If you want to participate in this feature, I'm going to start doing a DNF&Y post at the end of every month. You'll be able to add your url link!

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  16. Since my book budget is limited, I research the books that I mean to buy as thoroughly as I can - that is, I read a ton of 1-2 star reviews on Goodreads. This isn't a guarantee of course - but I usually manage to avoid books that I would hate. This accounts for me only DNF'ing ONE book so far. The author had contacted me (following my policy guidelines, too!), and though the excerpt she had sent wasn't an example of stellar writing, I decided to give it a chance on the strength of the blurb. Well...to say I wasn't impressed would be an understatement. The author meant to address a couple of meaty issues (ecology and the relationship between science and religion), but the result was an amateurishly written love story between two kids with unbelievable names (one of them from the future) who were trying to save the world when not busy pining after each other. Now, I usually cut books A LOT of slack - I'm aware that a reader's trash is another reader's treasure - but that was unsalvageable to me. I had to stop reading, simple as that (and even then, I was past the middle mark). So (after asking Karen @ For What It's Worth for advice on how to write a polite rejection email...yes, we both look up to Karen LOL) I told the author in question that me and her book hadn't clicked, and since my policy didn't say anything about what I'd do in that case back then, I offered her a choice: either I'd write a honest review, or just mark her book as DNF on Goodreads without explaining why, or amicably part ways with her as if she had never sent the book in the first place. Of course, she chose the easy way out. And it still plagues me to this day, because when I started blogging, I swore to always be honest (don't we all?), and in this case I never got to. It goes without saying that, after the incident, I changed my review policy LOL.

    This is a great idea for a feature! Especially since you're incorporating positive reviews as well. I don't think I've seen anything like this before.

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    1. I like to read books from my library before I buy them! Unless it's an author I've always loved. I actually try not to read too many reviews before I've read the book myself. I'll look at a few different reviews, with a few different ratings, but I don't like to have other people's thoughts in my head when I read something for the first time. If I do happen to read a lot of reviews and buy the book, I'll wait a bit before reading it, so the information I read has time to disappear a little.

      That book sounds...odd. Ecology, religion, and then time travel? Ugh, I hate it when there is a poorly written romance. I'd rather it just not be there at all. You CAN have a good story without a romantic element.

      Karen is a great friend to have! She gives wonderful advice (which is why I'm still playing with the graphic for this post, lol).

      I don't think my policy states anything about a DNF (goes to check)... This is what my policy says: The acceptance of a book does not automatically mean it will get a review. "If you don't have something nice to say..." So I think this post still follows that. I'm not really reviewing the books, nor am I bashing them, I'm just simply stating why I didn't finish them. I think that's helpful information for readers, authors and publishers. I don't want this post to be used to bash an author's writing, but it can be used to help others see what bothered you about it.

      I'm glad you like the feature! You can join at the end of the month when I do another one. :)

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  17. OH WOW, that first book. Merely reading the bits you didn't like made me so... ugh. I would be so angry at that book :/ good riddance! Totally should only be a DNF. Ugh.
    Also, this is a genius post title!

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    1. It did make me angry. Rape isn't something to be written about for amusement. I understand some authors write about rape, and then show how their characters learn to live with what happened to them, but to write about it casually is wrong.

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    2. And thank you! I've really enjoyed this first post, so I've decided to do it once a month so others can join in. :)

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