Book Tour & Review: Of Myth and Shadow by Matthew S. Cox

Before I begin, I just want to thank Blackthorn Book Tours and Matthew S. Cox for giving me a copy of this book to give an honest review for.

If you like this review, please follow me on social media for more. I post bookish content and I will be coming out with some marketing focused material starting this week.
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Title: Of Myth and Shadow
Author: Matthew S. Cox
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Page Count: 1,482
Rating: ★★★★☆

Aegaan is a vast and righteous kingdom, yet darkness gathers in the distant corners of the realm. Elven raids on small towns have inflamed racial tensions with humans, pushing distrust to hatred and the brink of war.

Anrael wanders the woods alone until a chance meeting tempts him to set aside his contempt for those who scorn his half-elven blood.

When Kylie, a naive elf terrified of humans, is thrust among them against her will, she begins to question her mother’s tales of dread.

Having lost everything dear to him, the bandit king Jhelan lives only to seek challenge in battle… until he finds himself willing to die protecting that which he hates the most.

The diabolical mystique of the dark elves cloaks L’an Thal’Sara in protection, but the cruelest lie she tells is to herself.

Thaelwyn, a virtuous knight, sets out to discover the source of the Elves’ aggression, but faces a much greater test within his mind.

Beneath the chaos, minions of the Destroyer search for their promised leader, a child possessing power beyond their years. If the innocent falls to darkness, a kingdom rife with hatred will surely crumble.

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World Building to the Extreme

In my opinion, creating a world so well-written that even just scratching the surface of it can help you explore every inch of it is one of the tests of a great author.

It would be easy for a lot of authors to create a contained world and have the characters’ interactions as the main story driven device.

There’s nothing wrong with that, and there’s nothing wrong with authors who pursue that route. They are still brilliant and I love their works, but my favorite thing about books is the world I can immerse myself in.

Cox creates a beautiful world full of magical creatures. I wouldn’t say it is as well defined as Game of Thrones or similar works, but it doesn’t need to be. In Of Myth and Shadow we only scrape the surface of the realm. We know there are peoples, creatures, and places we have yet to explore, but their effects change the course of the story even when they aren’t present.

Cox has a great ability to write fantastical worlds within the first few pages of his stories, and his characters feel natural. They’re not forced or overly dramatic for the sake of the story.


A Story of Current Events

Telling a fantasy story that touches on current political and social events isn’t easy. The difference in worlds can make it difficult to properly portray the issues we see in our world.

Though it isn’t perfect, I think Cox does a good job about touching on racial issues we are seeing in our world today.

Again it’s not perfect, and you have to make some assumptions to translate it into more “modern” terms, but the fantasy world’s version can teach you some lessons if you are willing to educate yourself.


A Good End

It’s not often that I enjoy the ending of a book. I am too often disappointed or unfulfilled, that I think I have become calloused to the idea of a good ending.

Though it’s not perfect, I think Cox’s ending was just about where I wanted it to be. It wasn’t perfect, but it felt natural. None of the character storylines felt forced, out of place, or unrealistic.

Each ending felt like it was something that would have happened to them, and that is too often missed.

I am glad Cox took the time to know where his character’s stories were going, and giving them the endings that they deserved.


Final Thoughts

I’ve only recently discovered Cox, from a previous review of his book; The Girl Who Found the Sun. I’ve come to like his style of writing and his quick paced storytelling.

Of Myth and Shadow is a great Epic Fantasy novel with a lot of fun characters.

Cox does a great job of writing smart, funny characters, and I really like the young children he writes because they are often too smart for their own good, but at the same time very believable.


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Book Tour and Review: Come Join the Murder by Holly Rae Garcia

Hello dear readers, it feels like it has been a while since we have been in a book tour with Blackthorn Book Tours. I want to thank them for giving me a copy of Come Join the Murder in return for an honest review.

I had to refresh my memory of this book a bit because it has been quite a while since I read it; over two months I think, but once I read a few pages it all came back to me.

Fair warning, if this book does sound like something you are interested in, just be aware that there is an excessive amount of violence and possibly sexual assault, but I can’t remember a specific instance of that. Either way, it is a bit gratuitous.

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Title: Come Join the Murder
Author: Holly Rae Garcia
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Buy it here

Rebecca Crow’s four-year-old son is dead and her husband is missing.

Divers find her husband’s car at the bottom of a canal with their son’s small, lifeless body, inside. The police have no suspects and nothing to go on but a passing mention of a man driving a van. Guilt and grief cloud Rebecca’s thoughts as she stumbles toward her only mission: Revenge.

James Porter knows exactly what happened to them, but he’ll do anything to keep it a secret.

James didn’t plan to kill Rebecca’s son, but he’s not too broken up about it, either. There are more important things for him to worry about. He needs money, and his increasing appetite for murder is catching the attention of a nosy detective.


Repetitive Cycle

This book involves murder, obviously. It is in the title after all. Its the murder that we aren’t expecting that ends up being the best part of this book.

We get to see a murder repeated over and over throughout the book, with different variations each time. We don’t know which one is quite the truth, but they all are to some degree.

I think Garcia does a great job of using the cyclical style storytelling to create a great character development and show their slow descent into madness.


Vigilante Justice

Though Vigilantes are often seen as the bad guy, many people see their actions as a good thing. I am not sure if the protagonist in this book is technically a vigilante, I enjoyed that she wasn’t predictable. She could have fallen into one of many stereotypical female character tropes, but Garcia went with a different route and gave us a strong female character that took actions into her own hands.

The short, quick read is a nice touch to this character development because it makes it seem like we are in the protagonist’s mind. Her life is flashing before her eyes, likely happening so fast she can’t sit and think things through.

She quickly devolves and she becomes an entire new person, and the fast-paced story really accentuates that storytelling.


Surface Level Characters

Other than the protagonist, the characters really didn’t have much depth to them.

There are a few small characters we get for a few scenes, and they are more than forgettable. They add so little to the story that I honestly can’t remember anything about them.

The side characters that we get a bit more of are also forgettable. They are fairly bland, stereotypical, and seemed unnatural. It’s hard to call them that because they likely were suffering from some mental health issues, so they wouldn’t be acting normally, but the characters didn’t feel real to me.


Final Thoughts

Come Join the Murder isn’t a bad book. It’s rather interesting because we get nice character development from the protagonist as they fall from grace into an evil person. It is a trope I don’t come across often enough but it is enjoyable.

The book was just a bit bland, which is why I have it three stars. It’s worth the read, but it’s nothing overly special.


What’s your favourite book that has a protagonist go from good to bad? I like the trope and I am looking for more, so share them in the comments!
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Book Tour and Review: Knightmare Arcanist by Shami Stovall

My dear readers, this is probably the most excited I’ve been about a book in a long time.

I feel like a lot of books I read leave me feeling okay. I’m usually not too upset by them but I’m usually not jumping off the walls in excitement.

Knightmare Arcanist is the exception to that.

It took me no time at all to get through it, and I almost immediately bought the rest of the series, but managed to control myself…for now!.

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Title: Knightmare Archanist
Author: Shami Stovall
Rating: ★★★★.5☆
Buy it here

Magic. Sailing. A murderer among heroes.

Gravedigger Volke Savan wants nothing more than to be like his hero, the legendary magical swashbuckler, Gregory Ruma. First he needs to become an arcanist, someone capable of wielding magic, which requires bonding with a mythical creature. And he’ll take anything—a pegasus, a griffin, a ravenous hydra—maybe even a leviathan, like Ruma. 

So when Volke stumbles across a knightmare, a creature made of shadow and terror, he has no reservations. But the knightmare knows a terrible secret: Ruma is a murderer out to spread corrupted magic throughout their island nation. He’s already killed a population of phoenixes and he intends to kill even more. 

In order to protect his home, his adopted sister, and the girl he admires from afar, Volke will need to confront his hero, the Master Arcanist Gregory Ruma. 


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A Nice Take on Magic

Magic systems are an important part to telling a story. There are ways to explore a magic system while exploring the world at the same time, but too often an author does it wrong.

They rush in their storytelling and they get caught in one aspect or the other, forgetting to properly develop them at the same time.

Stovall finds a great balance for Knightmare Arcanist. We follow a young character just as they are exploring magic for the first times. As the story develops, so too does our character’s understanding of how magic works.

Stovall’s magic system is a nice change to the normal magic systems I read about. Usually the magic system is along the lines of controlling an element or using their willpower to do something amazing.

We see that in Knightmare Arcanist, but we get a new way of exploring that world.

Instead of just being automatically able to control your genre of magic, it is completely reliant on the type of magical creature you bond with.

It puts a limiter on each character, but allows them to explore themselves on a deeper level.

It adds some well-written character development as the story goes on, which was a lot more than I was expecting for a fast-paced YA novel.


Fun and Fast

I often find myself disappointed with YA novels. They’re too carefree and things happen too quickly.

Characters are too quick to trust, too quick to act, too quick to do. There is never any pause to the story. There’s never any time for the characters to have a moment of doubt.

This is why I can’t give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Though I loved so many aspects of it, it was too fast paced in a few aspects. Some characters were too quick to trust someone, and immediately my mind wandered to imagining what would happen to them if they trusted blindly.

This wasn’t the case for every character, but some key moments were built on an absolute trust that could very easily have caused them to be betrayed.


A Movie Series in the Making?

This might be me being too much of a fan of this book, but I could honestly see this series as a book series or TV show.

I think Stovall does a great job of not only keeping the story focused on one central plot, but also keeping the world open and vague enough that we know we are only scratching the surface.

I haven’t read the rest of the series yet, but trust me I will soon. Thinking back on all the other YA series I have read, this one has been the most enjoyable. It has great character development, which is too often a rare feature in YA, a great magic system, and a cast of characters that remind me of being a kid again.


Final Thoughts

Knightmare Arcanist is an absolute blast to read. It’s short, fast-paced, and is a fantastic pre-cursor to a world I can’t wait to explore more.

I’m not a big YA reader, but I enjoy it now and then. Sometimes it is just a nice break from reading heavy fantasy books all the time.

Knightmare Arcanist is just scratching the surface of Stovall’s world, and I think that the more you continue with this series, the more engrossed in the world you will become.

It is definitely worth the read, and honestly I would be disappointed if you didn’t want to read it.


Book Tour + Review: Crossing in Time by D.L Orton

Hello dear readers, I hope you are doing well on this fine day. Have you ever been so in love, that the love transcends time itself?

Maybe you have, but likely you haven’t time travelled yet which is too bad.

Today’s book was given to me by The Write Reads and D.L Orton in exchange for an honest review.

I’m sure you’ve seen this book floating around a bit lately, and its deserved because this book is a quick and fun read.

If you enjoy this review, make sure to follow my blog and social media so you can get more!
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Title: Crossing in Time
Author: D.L Orton
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Buy it here

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Is This What Romance is Like?

Romance is not my forte. I don’t often read books with romance in them, and when I do they are often the side stories. I find that romance in any storytelling is often forced or the effects of traumatic experiences together, and that’s not real romance in my opinion.

I found that Crossing in Time‘s romance was definitely rushed. The two love interests had some chemistry it seemed, but we only got pieces of it. Days, weeks, or even months would pass by and we just had to assume that a the relationship has no issues.

I don’t like that concept, but it is the way it is written. It seems sloppy to me, but my bigger issue is with the romance when we do get to see it.

It’s forced and seems more lustful than romantic. It just does not come off as a relationship that would actually work in the long run.


The Time Travel Paradox

I hate time travel as a story telling device, but I figured I would give this book a shot anyways. I find it is lazy, there are too many “rules” that people follow, and they almost always break those rules whenever they claim what they are.

Crossing in Time is mostly about building up to time travel and the scientific discovery of how to do that.

I am mostly fine with that, but unfortunately we do get a bit of time travel itself and I didn’t like it. It opens up doors for terrible storytelling that makes little sense and yet things always work out well.

The parts that were before the time travel were good. They were pretty fast paced, and at times graphic, but overall they were good.


Audiobook or eBook?

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I was about a third of the way through Crossing in Time when I got an audiobook version of it, and it was a life saver.

Listening to it was a lot more fun and interesting than I was expecting, and I think that is why I enjoyed this book more than a 1 or 2 star review.

I will give credit to the narrators, they did a good job of really showing the emotions that the characters were feeling. Their voices seemed to perfectly match the idea I had for each of their characters, which I find is hard for audiobooks to do for me. Too often their voices don’t match my idea of them and it takes me some getting used to in the story.


Final Thoughts

Crossing in Time is a fun listen, and an okay read. It is relatively short read, so even if you don’t like parts of it, you can get through it pretty quickly.

I would recommend it if you are a Romance reader. It seems like it might be a good romantic book, with two lovers unable to see each other and tell each other how in love they are, but that isn’t the aspect for me.

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Book Tour Review: Slow Down by Lee Matthew Goldberg

Hello dear readers, I want to let you know that this week’s book was given to me as part of a book tour with Blackthorn Book Tours in return for an honest review.

If you enjoyed Slow Down, or like my reviews, make sure to follow me here, or on social media.
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Title: Slow Down
Author: Lee Matthew Goldberg
Rating: ★★★.5☆☆

How far would you go to make your dreams come true? For budding writer and filmmaker Noah Spaeth, being a Production Assistant in director Dominick’s Bambach’s new avant-garde film isn’t enough. Neither is watching Dominick have an affair with the lead actress, the gorgeous but troubled Nevie Wyeth.

For Noah’s dream is to get both the film and Nevie in the end, whatever the cost. And this obsession may soon become a reality once Dominick’s spurned wife Isadora reveals her femme fatale nature with a seductive plot to get rid of her husband for good. Slow Down, a cross between the noir styling of James M. Cain and the dark satire of Bret Easton Ellis, is a thrilling page-turner that holds a mirror up to a media-saturated society that is constantly searching for the fastest way to get ahead, regardless of consequences.


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A Drug Induced Story

I had an idea of what I was getting in to when I started Slow Down, but I don’t think it’s possible to entirely understand a book until you start reading it.

Slow Down reminded me of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; both drug filled adventures that keep you on the edge of your seat.

I’m not always the biggest fan of these stories. Often the characters are out of their minds the entire time and they try to sound like the smartest man in the world; having reasoned out why humans suck, and it gets annoying.

Slow Down had this aspect to it, and at times it was too much, but it wasn’t intolerable.

For the most part, the characters are just high on drugs and partying, which I would usually find annoying, but Goldberg is able to tame it down and give us more of a mystery in the background of it all.


Blunt and Vulgar

With an entire story focused on being high on drugs, you can expect some vulgarness. Swearing, disrespecting women, death and more are all commonplace in Slow Down.

It makes sense in some parts of the story, but others it just felt like the character choice, and that made the story contradictory in a sense.

They were supposed to be enlightened and brilliant, yet they are disrespectful towards women and were prone to violence.

It’s a subtle touch by Goldberg, to show readers that the character’s are just as ignorant as they claim they aren’t, and that was a part of why I gave it a slightly higher rating than I normally would have.


Fast-Paced Read

Another aspect of this story that made me appreciate it more than I normally would for this type of story, is that the story was written around the drugs involved in the story.

If your story is just one drug-induced trip pretty much, then let the story be written that way. Don’t give me some slow burning story about drugs and their effects on people and the protagonist’s slow demise down the drug-filled rabbit hole.

I want something fast-paced, non stop, keeping me excited and waiting to see what happens next.

Goldberg does that well with Slow Down. Thing start a bit slow, but they ramp up at a nice pace and eventually things are happening left and right, you can’t help but keep reading.


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Final Thoughts

Slow Down isn’t my go-to choice of book to read. I usually prefer something with a bit more subtlety to it and not as in your face as drug focused stories often are, but Slow Down had a lot going on in the background which I appreciated.

I enjoyed reading it, and it is a short read, so you can definitely get through it quickly.

What did you think about Slow Down? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

Book Tour: The Girl Who Found The Sun by Matthew S. Cox

Before we begin, dear readers, I want to let you know that I received this book as part of a Book Tour with Blackthorn Book Tours in exchange for an honest review, which I am happy to give.

I had a lot of fun reading this book, and I want to thank Blackthorn Book Tours for the opportunity!

If you’ve read this book, or are interested in it, let’s talk about it in the comments, or send me a message on social media!
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Make sure to check out the other Blackthorn Book Tours Reviews for The Girl Who Found the Sun

Title: The Girl Who Found the Sun
Author: Matthew S. Cox
Rating: ★★★★☆

It started with the insects. 

The mass die-offs had been a warning unheeded. Before society realized the danger, the Earth had inexorably begun a transformation into a place where life could not survive. A small group found shelter in the Arc, an underground refuge safe from the toxins ravaging the surface. 

After centuries of darkness, humanity’s second chance is running out—and Raven Wilder knows it. 

Her job fixing the machinery in the Arc makes her aware of how close everything is to breaking down. When the systems fail, the last survivors of the human race will suffocate in the tunnels meant to protect them from the deadly air outside—starting with the most vulnerable. Unfortunately, in an example of history repeating itself, those in charge dismiss her concerns. 

When her six-year-old begins showing signs of oxygen deprivation, Raven refuses to go quietly into oblivion. 

She will break every rule to keep her daughter alive.


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I Like When the World Ends

No, I am not actively trying to pursue the end of the world, but I don’t mind when others do it. I am a sucker for an apocalyptic or dystopian novel because authors are so creative when it comes to telling those stories.

There’s always new takes on the same stories, and I like exploring the author’s mind with the decisions they make.

In this case, I think Cox had a very real idea of underground government bunkers and used it as the main storytelling piece.

Doomsday Preppers during the doomsday is what this book is. We see the results of earth’s decision to hide from their own mistakes and a very real reality that could come of it.

I think Cox’s take on the apocalypse is a lot more real than other authors. He doesn’t take some idea of zombies being real, meteors hitting earth, or some AI robot rising up. Instead it’s something simple and very possible, but it’s also a book that makes you look at some of your own life choices.


Is Too Fast A Bad Thing in Books?

I’ve come to realize that I have a bit of a problem when it comes to reading books. I always want more.

When it comes to a short story, I realize that the point is to give you just enough to get you hooked and you fill in the rest.

But when it comes to a full book, there should be more than just the story.

Or at least that’s how I feel.

I’m always wanting the characters to be explored more in-depth. Always wanting more reactions, more supporting information, more slow burning enjoyment.

I found that The Girl Who Found the Sun was missing in this department, and that is its one flaw to me. It seemed like everything was in the book entirely to be a part of the story. There were basically no moments of supporting information to help immerse you in the world more.

I still think Cox did a great job of giving us the information on his world, telling us the history and the mystery. I only think that there could have been more to make the story more immersive.


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The Mind of a Child

There is a lot that I could say about Cox’s skills. He is a great writer, and he got me hooked on this story in the first few chapters.

One thing I think he did that was exceptionally beautifully though, is give us the mind of a child.

The protagonist’s daughter is one of the characters we get to see the most, and though she is a bit too smart for a regular 6 year-old, she is one of the best parts of the entire book.

She adds a sense of fear, wonder, and she slows down the main protagonist. Without her, Raven’s story would be a lot more fast-paced. She would have no sense of fear to hold her back. She wouldn’t have to worry about abandoning her kid if she didn’t have one.

Exploring a six-year-olds mind watching her shape the story was something I haven’t really enjoyed in movies or books, but in this case I think it was a brilliant way to keep the story in line and not have it go off the rails.


Final Thoughts

The Girl Who Found the Sun was a lot of fun to read. There was never a time where I was bored or uninterested, and there were plenty of moments where I had to keep reading to know what was going to happen next.

It’s a fast-paced adventure that has mystery an drama, and you’ll be happy you decided to read it!


If you’ve read or want to read The Girl Who Found the Sun, let me know in the comments, or send me a message on social media!
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Ultimate Blog Tour: The Die of Death

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Title: The Die of Death (The Great Devil War II)
Author: Kenneth B. Andersen
Rating: ★★★★☆

Philip’s adventures as the Devil’s apprentice have changed him—in a good way. Although he misses his friends in Hell, he has made new friends in life.
But when the future of the underworld is threatened once again, Philip’s help is needed. Death’s Die has been stolen and immortality is spreading across the globe.
Philip throws himself into the search—and discovers a horrible truth about his own life along the way.

The Die of Death is volume 2 in The Great Devil War-series and winner of the ORLA-Award.

The Great Devil War-series is a humorous and gripping tale about good and evil, filled with biblical and historical characters, such as Judas, Goliath, and Pontius Pilate, as well as modern figures such as Elvis Presley, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, and many more.

Hello my dear readers, it is finally my stop on The Ultimate Blog Tour! For this tour, a bunch of us bloggers took a look at Book 2 in The Great Devil War series by Kenneth B. Andersen.

I was pleasantly surprised by the first book, and immediately jumped at the opportunity to read the second book.

Before I begin, I just want to let you know that I received this book for free in return for an honest review.

Shall we get going?


The Character of Phillip

Phillip comes off a bit juvenile in this book, maybe even a little more so than he did in the first one. I’m hit and miss on this aspect.

On one hand, it’s nice seeing a kid be a kid and have an innocent point of view. On the other hand, it almost seems fake, because that’s now what kids are like any more.

Though he seemed a bit predictable at times, I didn’t think any of his actions were too obvious that it ruined the book for me

I think Phillip knocked Satina out of the spotlight a bit, which isn’t necessarily bad, but she was one of the things I enjoyed about the series so far, and I wanted to see her a bit more this book.


The Worldbuilding

Worldbuilding is something that I look for in books. It is one of the things that can easily turn me on or off to a book.

Andersen does a good job at worldbuilding, in my opinion. I think he did a great job in the first book, and kept that going in this book.

Though we are already somewhat familiar with Phillip’s world, we got a bit of a peak behind the curtains to Purgatory and Heaven in this book.


YA Category

Though I would consider this book Young Adult, it definitely is nearer middle years. Yes, it is a bit dark, but it comes off very child-like to me. If the dark aspect of the book wasn’t present, I think this book would definitely be middle years.

I don’t read a lot of YA these days, but I pick one up now and then, and it’s refreshing. They’re usually simple reads with interesting premises, so I enjoy exploring their pages.

This was definitely true for The Die of Death. It was a lot of fun diving deeper into the world that I enjoyed so much in the first book.


Slow and Steady Doesn’t Win the Race

Anderson’s pacing is one of his strengths when it comes to his writing. He seems to have mastered the pacing of the books in the series, knowing exactly when to press on the gas, and when to ease up just a little bit.

He makes it feel a bit stressful. Like there’s always something happening, and that the stakes are high.

This helps add to the connections you feel with the characters. You feel like they’ve achieved something, like they’ve failed or succeeded in their goals.


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If you do a little digging, it won’t be hard to find a bunch of other bloggers with reviews out there of this book. It was a lot of fun to read, and I can’t wait till I can get to book 3!

Let’s talk about The Die of Death in the comments, or on the social media!
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