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ralexist

ralexist

Joined May 2016

My TBR pile, like my life, is a work in progress.
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The Girl in building C by Mary Krugerud
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Mary Coin: A Novel | Marisa Silver
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The photo entitled Migrant Mother is an iconic part of American history. Silver has taken that image and it's history and crafted them into a multi-generational story. Jumping between timelines and viewpoints this weaves a stark but wonderful fictional story of the people behind one of our most famous images. It's definitely an interesting prompt for writing a new story or rather re-writing an old one. Highly recommended!

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All Systems Red | Martha Wells
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Tasked w/protecting scientists, a droid has hacked their governor control becoming self-aware, christening themself Murderbot. A tragedy strikes revealing Murderbot's secret & now the dilemma is to reboot or trust the bot. The first novella in the Murderbot Diaries series begins to tackle the question of just where humanity begins. Is humanity born in the organic machine that we inhabit or can it be found in the mechanical machine we invent?

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Pickpick

In book 2 of The Lady Astronaut series Elma York, our MC, finds herself on the inaugural launch team after a last-minute switch in personnel. The book spends about half the time leading up to the launch deciding who goes and who stays, all while dealing with race relations and gender roles applicative to the 1960s. The other half is spent on the actual launch and travel to Mars. Lots of delving into character relationships. Highly recommended!

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Pickpick

Reading this helped me to realize that maybe being a singular expert on one thing isn't always necessary. That a wide range of skills and interests helps you to make connections across disciplines and topics which helps to creatively solve problems. Lots of great info in here (parents with young children may also benefit from reading this) and it helped to restore a bit of faith in myself which has been sorely lacking as of late.

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The Wolf and the Watchman | Niklas Natt och Dag
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Mehso-so

A dark and grim murder mystery set in 1793 Stockholm. A mutilated corpse brings together Cardell (the muscle) and Winge (the brains) as they attempt to discover the killer. Told in four parts, the reader is given multiple character perspectives which eventually all point to how and why the victim was murdered. Fair warning, if you do pick this up, I would maybe avoid eating during part two.

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Hope for the Best | Jodi Taylor
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I love this series! ♥️ Eccentric time-traveling historians who research & verify historical events. This time Max is spending her days in the future avoiding her mortal enemy & in the past figuring out how Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Days' Tudor Queen, has managed to sit on the English throne for decades. Throw in some dinosaurs, some dodos, & a time machine that resembles a teapot & you have another crazy adventure with the crew from St. Mary's.

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The Wolf and the Watchman | Niklas Natt och Dag
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There's a great eerieness to this book.

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Dracul | Dacre Stoker
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Were you aware that there are 102 pages missing from the beginning of the original draft of Dracula? These missing pages are what inspired this book. Written by the great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker, this novel serves as a precursor to Dracula. It gives us a eerie rendering of Stoker's early life & what could've driven him to write the story we do know. Facts wrapped in fiction, this was a slow but good read in that great Gothic Horror style.

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The concept of workplace culture is something that I've heard bandied about in recent years, and I've done a little reading on it but most books seem to over-complicate things with lots of charts and steps. This doesn't do that. It provides a few simple rules to follow and gives you a ton of great examples of how successful leaders and groups embody those rules. Read as an audiobook - this was engaging and a good listen.

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The Satapur Moonstone | Sujata Massey
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In book 2 we follow Perveen as she's called to act on behalf two widowed maharanis to decide the educational fate of the young crown prince in the SE kingdom of Satapur. Strange things have befallen the previous two rulers and the safety of the whole family dynasty is at stake. I love the era and I love learning about the various aspects of law that have to be applied and once again I'm saddened that I have to wait another year for the next one.

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The Soul Keepers | Devon Taylor
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A ship called the Harbinger ferries the souls of the dead and Rhett finds himself its newest crew member helping to bring new souls safely on board. But something out in the darkness isn't quite so keen on that happening and is set on taking Rhett down and everyone aboard the Harbinger with him. This YA novel might appeal to those who liked the Magnus Chase and Arc of a Scythe series.

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Slayer (Slayer, #1) | Kiersten White
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I loved watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This picks up not long after the final episode, following Nina, daughter of Buffy's original Watcher Merrick, as she and the rest of the Watchers Council learn to live in a world without magic and battle the demons left behind, both real and within, since Buffy permanently closed the Hellmouth. Lots of fun Easter eggs for fans of the show are scattered throughout! 🧛‍♀️🧛‍♂️

wanderinglynn 👍🏻 This is on my TBR. And now I‘m bumping it up to the top of the pile. 😉 4w
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Gods of Jade and Shadow | Silvia Moreno-Garcia
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This. So much this! I loved this book. Set in the 1920s, and delving into Mexican folklore, history, and culture, this follows Casiopea as she helps Hun-kame, the Mayan god of death reclaim his throne. And even though the story follows death there's so much humanity and hope underlying everything. That coupled with a bittersweet ending and I was just happy reading this start to finish.

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Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde | Robert Louis Stevenson
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I was scrolling through my ridonculously long TBR list to find a few things to request from the library. In doing so I realized I had a few titles which dealt with the characters from this book but that I couldn't recall ever having read the original. It wasn't on a required reading list nor did I ever take a class on Victorian-era Gothic Horror novels, so I decided to rectify this gap in my classics. One more checked of the last.

4thhouseontheleft I love gothic novels, and this is a good one! My favorite is Dracula. Have you ever watched Penny Dreadful? It is set during the time period and features a few gothic novel characters. 1mo
ralexist @4thhouseontheleft - I love Penny Dreadful! Eva Green should have received some award or acclaim for her role. So so good 🙂 1mo
batsy Before I read this for a class in college years ago I thought it was going to be quite silly, but it's a pretty brilliant book 👍🏽 1mo
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Blue | M
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I've been sad for awhile now due to some personal circumstances and so picked myself up some flowers to try and bring a smile to my face. It's working a little. It's not a big smile yet, but it's a start. 💐🌹🌷🌺🌸🌼🌻

cobwebmoth Pretty! *hugs* 1mo
rather_be_reading 👏 👏 1mo
TrishB As long as they help 😁 1mo
SamanthaMarie Beautiful choice!!! 1mo
31 likes4 comments
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In 1952 a meteor hits DC and starts an extinction event reaction. This accelerates our space exploration program as we need to find a new planet to inhabit within 50 years. I was introduced to the author through her Glamourist Histories series (think Austen w/the addition of magic) & she's brilliant at alternative history because she doesn't change everything but merely alters enough so that everything changes. I highly recommend this & her too.

Chrissyreadit @Avanders @hermyknee this looked like a book that might be of interest to both of you. 1mo
hermyknee Thanks for the tag @Chrissyreadit ! Added to my TBR!‘ (edited) 1mo
Avanders @Chrissyreadit what @hermyknee said! 👆🏽 Thanks! 😘♥️ 1mo
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Gods of Jade and Shadow | Silvia Moreno-Garcia
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What have you left unnamed?

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It's definitely an interesting world concept...a post-apocalyptic planet created when the continents shifted, it's devoid of digital tech & most of our historical records; entire cities wheel themselves across the globe gobbling up smaller cities for parts. The human element is a familiar story - men in power grasping for tech that will provide them global domination stomps on the little guy once too often & unwittingly unleashes a revolution.

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Bull | David Elliott
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A YA retelling of the tale of the Minotaur. Told in a variety of poetic forms the verbiage has been updated to be more relatable and the cadence has a slight hip-hop feel to it. Bouncing between character viewpoints, the story truly shows off the fact that sometimes the greatest monsters are those who don't look it.

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Little: A Novel | Edward Carey
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Madame Tussaud. A name that is not unfamiliar but most only know her legacy and not her beginning. "Little" focuses on that beginning, and takes you through the many years and people that influenced Marie's life and helped make her who she became. Told through her eyes, the writing can be dark and is unsentimental in its treatment. There's a lack of judgement of the characters which adds to a stark reality throughout.

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Someone has stolen Cupid's bow and arrow and is using it to create the heartless - an army of zombie-like creatures. The gods think Aru is to blame and to prove herself innocent she is set onto another quest to return the stolen items. Even more action-packed than the last, there are new allies to befriend and enemies to thwart. Lots of actual LOL moments in here to keep the mood light even through the intensity of it all. Delightful read!

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Most apocalyptic tales tend to delve into the worst side of humanity where survival of the fittest means the destruction of another. In this novel the focus is on the determined search for loved ones, the community bonding together towards a goal, the rediscovery of our resilience - where survival of the fittest means survival of the whole. The darkness does exist but it does not drive this book. A heartfelt take on a somewhat overdone trope.

chaoticgoodhufflepuff I‘m sold! I‘m always on the lookout for books where the end of the world doesn‘t completely turn humanity into the absolute worst. Thanks for the review! 1mo
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Provenance | Ann Leckie
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A young woman seeking to secure her place in her family's dynasty takes a huge risk to one-up her brother. That risk ends up changing her life but not in a way she ever envisioned. A part of the Imperial Radch universe, this stand-alone focuses on family, politics, culture, and statesmanship all set within an alien universe. Leckie is a force to be reckoned with in the SciFi world and now I know why I need to move Ancillary Justice up my TBR list.

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Confession: I am horrible at persuasion. I have never figured out the best way to pitch an idea that makes it seem credible & memorable. This was hands down awesome Easily digestible & practical information along with great examples. I could see them practicing what they preach in the actual text itself. If you need help with fundraising, advocacy, speaking, or just convincing someone that Taco Tuesday should be every day...pick this up!

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Mehso-so

This has been making the rounds so I figured I'd pick it up to see what the fuss was about. Read as an audiobook, I guess it's alright. For me, there wasn't anything in here that I hadn't heard before in a variety of other books but if you're someone who needs a kick in the pants to remind you that you are awesome and can achieve what you desire without some of the froofiness found in some self-help books, this would be a great place to start.

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This series has some great actual LOL moments in it but also some great moments of wisdom.

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The Big Kahuna | Janet Evanovich, Peter Evanovich
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Mehso-so

Oh...Janet. I feel like you're slipping into old writing behavior patterns. No. 6 in the Fox & O'Hare series, this lighter adventure thriller doesn't do too much of the thrilling nor does it advance the characters either. I enjoyed the Hawaiian setting but it was a bit predictable. If you enjoyed the TV show White Collar then you may enjoy this series as too. Good enough to continue on but here's hoping Evanovich picks up her game next time.

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Minnesota on My Mind | Collective, Paul Gruchow
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For any one who thinks that Minnesota is all snow and ice, we've literally had a 170° temp swing in 2019. Makes me so glad that electricity was invented so I can have heat and AC ?


#minnesotalife

Bette What I love is when patrons come into the library in the winter and long for summer...now they are all like: I can't wait til winter! 🤣 2mo
ralexist @Bette - So true! 2mo
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Playing James | Sarah Mason
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This tells of a somewhat awkward young journalist who finds herself with a weekly column for the crime beat. Embedded with the police department she's partnered with a detective who's less than enthused with the arrangement. Set in Bristol, this has shades of Bridget Jones to it and the opening scene is...well...unique to say the least. Fun and light, it was just what I needed.

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The stupid heat has been plaguing MN this summer & a cooler read sounded inviting, so when I saw this title come across my feed I ordered it from the library immediately. A travelogue, this tells of a British woman who moves her family to Iceland to teach. She chronicles the difference in culture of course but it's heightened by the fact that she's there during Iceland's financial crisis & the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull, an active volcano.

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Speculative fiction novella which combines the tragic story of the Radium Girls with the tragedy of Topsy the elephant, in a dark alternative history. Bolander's writing and choice of language and voice are superb and the feel reminded me of MEM, a 5 star pick of mine from last year. Short but impactful, I highly recommend this for something a little different.

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Now You See Me | Sharon Bolton, S. J. Bolton
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1) This was my first five star for 2019
2) Puffy White Cheddar Cheetos
3) Sunrise
4) New dining table, couch, and oven
5) I can't really remember full grades. I loved my English and History classes though 🙂

#friyayintro @howjessreads

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1) For you alone...
2) They want you to do well.
3) Malarkey!
4) The name is Bond, James Bond.
5) ♥️💙💜💚💛

#HelloThursday @wanderinglynn

wanderinglynn Great answers! Especially to Q3! Thanks for playing! 😀 2mo
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Snarky misfit 12 y.o. Aru Shah would never have thought herself a hero. But when a dare from frenemies goes too far, Aru frees an ancient demon called the Sleeper, & not only that, she's the reincarnation of 1 of 5 Pandava who are to work together to save the world. No pressure, huh? A wonderful MG novel that delves into Indian mythology & takes the reader on a quest to not only save the world but to see if Aru can discover who she's meant to be.

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Sometimes you find very poignant lines in quite unexpected places.


#unexpected #poignantwords #bookquotes

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Murder on Trinity Place | Victoria Thompson
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22 books into this series & I still enjoy catching up with the Malloys. They've come a long way from the midwife and copper I met in book 1. This is set in 1899, where a recent connection of the couple is found dead after the New Year's celebration. With the police paid to turn a blind eye, it's up to the Malloys to solve the murder & rescue the man's reputation all while working with acquaintances new & old from the seedier side of ol' New York.

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Who Slays the Wicked | C. S. Harris
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When evil is removed from the earth, are we obliged to figure out why? That's a primary question in the latest book in the Sebastian St. Cyr series. As Sebastian delves further into the salacious murder of his niece's reprehensible husband, Ashworth, he finds it hard to locate anyone who either didn't want the man dead or isn't glad to hear the news is his demise. But his death releases a slew of family secrets, and leaves evil with a new face.

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June Bug | Chris Fabry
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My June Reads. I'm somehow reading at a slower pace this year than years past and am consistently behind by one book to reach my year end goal. Regardless...faves this month were Storm of Locusts (why do I have to wait a year for the next one!), Women & Power, and Saving Bletchley Park.

#JuneReads

StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego You did great! 💖📖💖 2mo
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Springtime: A Ghost Story | Michelle De Kretser
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Completed my Litsy Booked2019 Spring Challenge just under the wire.

1. Night-oriented Title
2. Cli-Fi (Climate Fiction)
3. Indigenous Author
4. Features a Musician
5. Social Media Focus
6. Food or Beverage on the Cover


#Booked2019 #Spring #Nightorientedtitle #CliFi #IndigenousAuthor #featuresamusician #SocialMediaFocus #FoodorBeverageontheCover

BarbaraTheBibliophage Whew! Great job! 2mo
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It surprises me sometimes how few folks know about Bletchley Park, much less the impact it had not only on the Allies success in WWII but also that it's the birthplace of modern computer science. This book tells the story of how a chance visit to Bletchley by Dr. Sue Black, a computer scientist, where she saw the state of disrepair of what should've long ago been a British landmark, caused her to embark on a campaign to save it...using Twitter!

BarbaraTheBibliophage Oh, that's so great! Thanks for the heads up! 3mo
mhillis This looks really interesting! 3mo
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Zoo | James Patterson, Michael Ledwidge
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Panpan

Something is causing the entire animal kingdom to act aggressively, making man no longer the dominant force in nature. In most cases, the book is better than the show. Not in this case. It felt like this was only half a book - that it ended just as it was beginning to get good. The scientists solved the problem too quickly & then when it didn't hold they abandoned their base in the US for a place in the Arctic & that's when the book ends. What? 😕

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The final title in my female voices in power audiobook trifecta is this short one by Mary Beard. She's a highly respected classics scholar and in this she's expanding on 2 lectures she's given. Delving into history & literature she tracks how the silencing of women is not a new phenomenon but one that is so old that it's informed much of the ways that we perceive & accept power as a concept, and what that has meant for women throughout history.

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Mehso-so

The 2nd of my trifecta of audiobooks on the female voice in power was touted as a letter to the future female president. It is an interesting memoir from the Communications director of Hillary's campaign. She talks about what she and the campaign went through during those weeks pre- and post-election day in 2016. There were some good insights about how a female leader will differ but it didn't quite track as well as I thought it could've.

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I had a chance to get through a few audiobooks - a kind of trifecta of the female voice in power. First up was finishing this delightful biography of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Her "notoriety" had exploded over the past several years but she's been a firebrand for equality for forever. I loved learning more about who she is and how she's impacted the world. The story of her relationship with her partner Marty it's a sweet touch throughout as well.

Blaire Yes! I loved their partnership so much. 3mo
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Early Riser | Jasper Fforde
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Mehso-so

This one is set in a world of extreme winters, during which some humans go into a dreamless hibernation. But our MC who's tasked in guarding the sleepers discovers that not all are dreamless, and those who do dream are sharing the same one. And this dream? It's out to kill the dreamers. The premise was good but I felt it dragged a bit in places. Not his best but still happy to see any new book produced by Fforde. #Booked2019 #ClimateFiction

Cinfhen Sounds interesting!! 3mo
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Storm of Locusts | Rebecca Roanhorse
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Finally got my hands on the sequel in this post apocalyptic series enriched with Navajo folklore. This time, Maggie, a Diné monster hunter, comes up against an evil that takes her beyond the Wall, where she walks with gods and legends and tries to save her home from a catastrophic flood. I have an abiding affection for well written anti-heroines, so not only did this check that but it worked for
#LitsyAtoZ #LetterS & #Booked2019 #IndigenousAuthor

BarbaraTheBibliophage Great review. I need to read the first book! 👊🏻📚♥️ 3mo
Cinfhen I‘ve heard this author is wonderful ❣️❣️❣️great review 3mo
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While not exactly comprehensive, Asner does walk through some interesting points. It helped to remind me that as long as laws and government are created by people there will always be flaws, and there will always be people who will twist those flaws to their purpose. Our moving forward as a nation doesn't actually have an end point, we will always be striving to be better - and that definition of better will always be defined by who sits in power.

LauraJ Good review! 3mo
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So Far from the Bamboo Grove | Yoko Kawashima Watkins
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1) So Far from the Bamboo Grove
2) Grey
3) Line of Duty
4) Dragons 🐉🐲❤️

#friyayintro

KarenUK Line of Duty is sooooo good! 3mo
ralexist @KarenUK - I'm really enjoying it. I'm starting to run out of British detective shows to watch. I wish there were more episodes for each year 🙂 3mo
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The War: An Intimate History, 1941-1945 | Geoffrey C. Ward, Ken Burns
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75th anniversary of D-Day. I've been fortunate enough that French trip as a kid allowed me to see Omaha Beach, Point-du-Hoc, the Longue-sur-Mer batteries, the Normandy American Cemetery, La Cambe German war cemetery, and the Caen Memorial Museum which focuses itself on peace. While I know I didn't grasp the enormity of it at the time, it did fuel my lifelong interest in WWII history.

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Jam | Yahtzee Croshaw
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One day, folks in Brisbane wake up to find their world is covered in three feet of strawberry man-eating jam. In the course of the story you come across a few highly odd surviving factions, a sailboat, a government conspiracy, and a giant spider called Mary. A twist on the grey-goo apocalyptic theory, fans of Douglas Adams may get a kick out of this. Plus, who doesn't want to read a book written by someone with the first name of Yahtzee?

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