ARC REVIEW: The Perfect Friend – by Barbara Copperthwaite @bookouture @BCopperthwait

Title: The Perfect Friend
Author: Barbara Copperthwaite
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: July 5th 2018
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: June 23rd 2018
Pages: 295

“I am a Russian doll of secrets, so many cradled one inside the other, all looking like me but diminishing until what is left is so tiny I fear I’m disappearing.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Bookouture in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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!! Happy publication day !!

I have consistantly enjoyed Barbara Copperthwaite‘s psychological thrillers in the past, so of course I couldn’t resist trying out her newest title The Perfect Friend. And now I’ve finished it, and I can’t believe what I’ve just read. Oh yes, don’t let the bright and cheery yellow cover deceive you… This one will mess with your mind. When I think of Barbara Copperthwaite‘s books, I think of well written, intricately developed plots full of twists, secrets and lies to fool us readers. The Perfect Friend is no exception to this rule. I’m normally not a big fan of unreliable characters in psychological thrillers, but somehow this technique works really well in this story. Nothing is as it seems and between the intricate web of lies and secrets and the mystery around the past and background of both characters you will be drawn right in as you try to figure out what is really going on. What is a lie, what is the truth and how does it all fit together? Your brain will have a field day with this one, and I’m promising you the final reveals will leave you flabbergasted. Oh yes, The Perfect Friend has quite a few shocking surprises for us in store, as nothing is as it seems and it’s impossible to guess the full truth. The main characters are actually quite easy to like for unreliable characters, making it easier to connect to the story from the start. I did start wondering about the credibility of it all, but I was too distracted by all the plot twist reveals to be really bothered by that. Definitely read The Perfect Friend if you enjoy reading well written psychological thrillers full of surprises!

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Alex her life has fallen apart ever since her husband had left her and her children won’t speak to her. She has been struggling with an eating disorder ever since, anorexia almost meaning her death sentence. But somehow Alex managed to come back from that experience, and has been trying to recover ever since. Her life changes when she meets Carrie during a group meeting, and despite the age difference the two become fast friends. And when Alex discovers Carrie’s cancer is back and this time it’s terminal, she decides she would do anything to help her friend. But is Alex truly the only one hiding secrets connected to her past?

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If you are looking for a well written, engaging, twisty and surprising psychological thriller, The Perfect Friend is just the book for you. Trigger warnings are in place for abuse, (mental) illness, eating disorder and some sensitive scenes, but overall nothing too shocking to handle. This is not the easiest read and there is no doubt you will find yourself tangled in a web of lies and secrets along with the main character. I always love it when a story manages to mislead me! I also really liked the relationship between Alex and Carrie and how the story unfolded. All in all a very solid read.


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WWW Wednesdays #176 – June 27th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m finally reading Saigon Dark by Elka Ray, an ARC I’ve had pending for way too long now. It’s still early days, so I can’t say much about it yet. I also started with Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios, the last pending book on my June TBR. I loved her other book and I’m really excited to finally read this one! Although I’ve heard it’s a pretty tough read.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Upside Of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli (3/5 stars) REVIEW 06/07
Oh hello unpopular opinion review! I guess we meet once again… I truly wish we wouldn’t have crossed paths this time around though. Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda has to be one of my all time favorite YA books, so of course I was fully expecting to love this story as well. I’m still kind of shocked I ended up having this reaction, but I guess it is what it is. More about the why in my shorties review.

2. The Perfect Friend by Barbara Copperthwaite (4/5 stars) REVIEW 05/07
If you are looking for a well written, engaging, twisty and surprising psychological thriller, The Perfect Friend is just the book for you. Trigger warnings are in place for abuse, (mental) illness, eating disorder and some sensitive scenes, but overall nothing too shocking to handle. This is not the easiest read and there is no doubt you will find yourself tangled in a web of lies and secrets along with the main character. I always love it when a story manages to mislead me! I also really liked the relationship between Alex and Carrie and how the story unfolded. All in all a very solid read.

3. The Border by Steven Schafer (5/5 stars) REVIEW 06/07
The writing style managed to put me under its spell and I couldn’t let this story go until the very end. Ever feel like putting everything on hold until you reach the final page? That is what happened while I was reading The Border. This is not a happy story and the characters truly struggle; some parts are truly heartbreaking and make sure you have some tissues at hand just in case. But this realistic rendering of the four Mexican teens trying to cross the desert to reach the safety of US territory is simply sublime.

4. The Year Of The Snake by M.J. Trow (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 01/07
This was actually a buddy read with the wonderful Nicki @ Secret Library Book Blog… I was really looking forward to this one since I can’t seem to find that much historical fiction reads with an ancient Rome setting, but sadly this one didn’t hit the mark for me. While the general idea behind The Year Of The Snake sounds promising and has a lot of potential, I ended up struggling considerably with the story itself. Thanks again Nicki for making this ride more bearable! The story wasn’t all bad and has it’s positive points, especially in the second half when things become more intense. But between the chaotic feel, lack of proper plot, too many POV switches, crude language and lack of connection to both the writing style AND characters, it definitely wasn’t an easy read for me.

5. Her Mother’s Grave by Lisa Regan (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 19/07
I really enjoyed the first two books of the series, so deciding whether to read book number three was an easy one. And I have to say Her Mother’s Grave is the strongest book yet of this series! Lightning speed pace, excellent writing, dark, twisted, disturbing, suspenseful… Oh yes there is a lot to love here. I loved how big a role the personal life of Josie Quinn plays in this book and you will be in for a whole lot of shocking plot twist bomb surprises along the way!

6. When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore (3/5 stars) REVIEW 08/07
I really thought I was going to love this story, and in a way there are a lot of things to love here. This is just another case of the magical realism and me not being able to connect rather than a story not well written. The writing style is beautiful, lyrical and something to fall in love with on its own. The main characters are both so unique, mysterious and fascinating that you cannot help but feel for them. I LOVED the Spanish elements included as well as the queer references and Sam and his ‘bacha posh’ life. This is an ode to unique and quirky characters. But. I really struggled with the magical realism in this one and I wasn’t a fan of the Bonner girls at all.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m reading One To Watch by Rachel Amphlett next, both because I need to catch up with the series ASAP and I want to find out what happens next. I also want to read The Library At Mount Char by Scott Hawkins soon; I’ve had that title on my TBR for way too long now. And I haven’t read a Stephen King in ages, so of course I have to remedy this and I’m picking up Misery soon. My new TBR jar pick is Thin Wire by Christine Lewry, a memoir about a woman addicted to heroin and her mother. I’m having a feeling it’s going to be a tough read, but the blurb sounds pretty good.


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WWW Wednesdays #175 – June 20th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m so excited to be currently reading The Upside Of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli! Besides the fact that I was in need of a change of genre after so many (psychological) thrillers, I have been wanting to read this title for ages now and it fits the Pride month theme as well. I’m also about to start another Bookouture ARC: The Perfect Friend by Barbara Copperthwaite. I’ve been looking forward to pick up another of her psychological thrillers!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW
I’m aware of the fact that Bring Me Back has been receiving a lot of mixed reviews, and I can understand why. If you read a lot of psychological thrillers and go in with high expectations, you will probably be disappointed by the rather predictable plot and completely implausible ending and final twist. But if you instead take it slow and don’t focus too much on those points, you will be able to enjoy the solid writing and an otherwise slower paced but enjoyable story. And trust me, you won’t be looking at Russian dolls in the same way after finishing Bring Me Back.

2. The Map Of Us by Jules Preston (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 23/06
The Map Of Us has a lot of potential, both because of the general idea behind it and the two most important characters Tilly and Violet. I honestly feel that with more development and focus on those two characters, a more fluent writing style and less jumping between different characters would have made The Map Of Us into another fantastic read similar to the likes of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. As it is, I don’t think that comparison would do The Map Of Us a favor, since unfortunately they are not on the same level. But I do want to stress that especially Tilly has the same potential and quirkiness in her personality that made Eleanor Oliphant into such a success for me. So again, with more focus and development of that character (and Violet as well), I would probably have enjoyed The Map Of Us considerably better.

3. The Fifth To Die by J.D. Barker (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 28/06
I’m a sucker for a good serial killer thriller and this series is quickly turning into one of my new favorites. If you like your thrillers dark, gritty, disturbing and don’t mind graphic scenes, you will be in for a treat with this series. Trust me, reading these two thrillers in order will be worth your time! You will find yourself staring at the last pages wanting for more though, because the cliffhanger ending is pretty brutal. What a way to reveal something like that and leave us staring open mouthed knowing we won’t find out more until the next book comes out! It’s been a while since an ending hit me that hard.

4. The Silent Sister by Shalini Boland (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 29/06
I’m a huge fan of her psychological thrillers, so I was actually really surprised by my reaction to this newest story. It took me a long time to warm up to the story, mostly because there just was something about the main characters that irked me. The beginning wasn’t as suspenseful and absorbing as I would have hoped, but I do have to say that things improved a lot as the story continued and the second half definitely has a lot more twists and turns. I had an idea of what was happening, but I wasn’t able to guess the full truth at all.

5. Will To Live by Rachel Amphlett (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 24/06
I’m still kicking myself for not starting this series sooner, but I’m glad to be slowly catching up now! My second experience with Kay Hunter was another good one, and I had a blast spending more time with her. This series is quickly turning into another favorite of mine, and I’m definitely curious about her personal story. The case they had to investigate was another interesting one, although I did guess a few of the twists early on. But I was too busy turning pages and enjoying myself to really let that bother me. I can’t wait for book three!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m reading The Year Of The Snake by M.J. Trow next since the publish date is coming up soon… I can’t wait to dive into the ancient Rome setting! I also need to read the ARC Saigon Dark by Elka Ray soon since it has been on my TBR for too long. The Border by Steve Schafer is also high on my list, both because I’ve been meaning to read it for ages and because it’s on my June monthly TBR. And I’m probably going to try and read my latest TBR jar pick When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore before the end of Pride month.


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WWW Wednesdays #174 – June 13th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m still reading Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris… Although I might have finished it by the time this post goes live (the power of scheduling posts 😉 ). I’m continuing with the 4MK sequel The Fifth To Die by J.D. Barker straight afterwards, because I’m dying to find out what happens next.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Lost For Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland (3/5 stars) REVIEW 18/06
On its own, The Lost For Words Bookshop seems to be having all the right elements. It has a lot of bookish references to fall in love with, complicated and well developed characters, suspense and a mysterious past, drama, a healthy dose of romance for the romance fans… I was expecting to love this one, but somehow I wasn’t completely convinced. Between the lack of connection to the characters, love triangle and past-present storyline switches that didn’t feel natural to me, I ended up taking a lot longer than I thought I would to finish this one. There were elements I loved of course, including the bookish elements and Archie’s character. And I’m positive most of you will enjoy this story a lot more than I did.

2. The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 25/06
What a read! I like my thrillers dark and twisted, and J.D. Barker has definitely created a very disturbing serial killer to follow in this story. We get a glimpse of his childhood through a diary, and hints at his previous ‘work’ as the plot develops. And you will encounter a few plot twist bombs along the way, surprises that will catch you unaware as you are too stunned by just how twisted things were back at the killer’s home or how the case develops in the present. Oh yes, The Fourth Monkey isn’t for those with a weak stomach and if you can’t handle graphic scenes and violence, I advice staying clear. Otherwise, if you have a twisted mind like me, you will have a great time meeting the 4MK Killer and his work.

3. The Unreading Of Mary Reade by Miriam McNamara (2/5 stars) REVIEW 22/06
I still love the idea behind this story and I truly wish I could have enjoyed The Unbinding Of Mary Reade better. Unfortunately, I found the execution lacking in various ways, and I had a hard time finishing this one. Between the chaotic writing style that didn’t flow, a rather dull plot, bland characters, lack of action and a not so credible display of emotions, I can’t say I was impressed. Where were the pirates, were was the action? Why did we have to read so much about Mary’s past in London, if her life on the Caribbean Sea is what really counts for this story? Why wasn’t there more focus on Mary and Anne? Why the excessive amount of sexism, homophobia, transphobia and sexual assault? The tone for this supposedly YA rated story was completely off, especially since Mary felt younger than the age group during most of the story. All in all not the story I was hoping for.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m probably picking up The Upside Of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli next, both because I have been wanting to for ages and because I’ll need a little break from the thriller genre. Afterwards I’m finally picking up the Kay Hunter sequel Will To Live by Rachel Amphlett in the hope to get through all five remaining books in the next month or so. I’m SO excited to be finally doing so! I also have a copy of the new Barbara Copperthwaite ARC waiting for me on my kindle: The Perfect Friend. My newest TBR jar pick is still When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore.


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ARC REVIEW: Her Last Secret – by Barbara Copperthwaite @bookouture

Title: Her Last Secret
Author: Barbara Copperthwaite

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: October 13th 2017
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: September 24th 2017
Pages: ?

“Life was sweet. Until it turned sour.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Bookouture in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I really enjoyed reading The Darkest Lies earlier this year, so I was really looking forward to Barbara Copperthwaite‘s newest psychological thriller. And as the title might already suggest, this one is yet another story packed until its limits with lies and secrets. Her Last Secret is mostly a character-driven psychological thriller and focuses on the many different characters that play a role in the event of that damned Christmas day. I do have to admit the pace was initially a lot slower than expected and I found myself struggling a little in the beginning. This was due both to the slower pace and my lack of connection to the characters. Somehow was never able to warm up to any of the main characters (except mayby for Mouse) and some of their actions and opinions actually started to frustrate me (the father is despicable!). I can’t deny their development feels realistic and rounded though; each of them having a different web of lies and secrets and adding a different level to the story. This complexity of characters and different subplots is what saved this story for me. Once you get used to the different characters, start learning about the events leading up to Christmas day and start guessing what really happened, you will find yourself hooked. The second half of the story definitely made up for the slow start for me. I loved the whole countdown idea and how slowly more of the present day event is revealed… Leaving you in the dark and guessing what could have happened and who is to blame as you learn more about the characters. And the final part is more than shocking! Basically, Her Last Secret will make you think a lot of things and suspect a lot of people, but I can garantuee you won’t guess the final truth about what really happened. I could also really appreciate the role (cyber)bullying played in this story. All in all, if you enjoy reading character-driven psychological thrillers, you will have a great time with this one.

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On the outside, they seemed like a perfect family. Ben Thomas is a successful business and lives with his wife Dominique in a beautiful house along with their two daughters Ruby and Mouse. But this perfect image is just a mirage, as they seem to be hiding a lot of secrets… And then on Christmas day the police is called to their home, only to find a horrific scene. What happened in their home? What secrets were they hiding? And did those secrets have anything to do with what happened on Christmas day?

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Her Last Secret turned out to be a slowburner for me. While I initially struggled with the slower pace and my lack of connection to the characters, I was seriously hooked by the time I reached the second half. This character-driven psychological thriller has more layers than an onion and a huge dose of secrets to go with it. The complexity of the plot and how the different storylines slowly merge is what makes this story so intriguing; the countdown chapters mixed with the slow Christmas day revelations only add to the suspense.


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WWW Wednesdays #156 – September 27th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently close to finishing Bentwhistle The Dragon: A Threat From The Past by Paul Cude, a YA fantasy read with dragons. The pace is quite slow, but there is no doubt that the worldbuilding is extensive with a lot of attention to details and descriptions. I’m also about to start Heartless by Marissa Meyer, a story I’ve been wanting to read for months… I’m really looking forward to that one. IT by Stephen King I decided to put temporarily on hold until October so I can finish some other books first… Plus, it’s probably the perfect Halloween read for next month in the first place right? 😉

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 28/09
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up my copy of Flowers For Algernon, but I’m more than happy with what I found. The writing is simply brilliant, as both the progress reports and the prose itself give the perfect insight of what happens to Charlie during the experiment. The way others react to Charlie during different stages of the experiment is both intriguing and unfortunately very accurate as well. Hopefully an eye opener! Flowers For Algernon is able to provoke strong emotions and is utterly heartbreaking in the end.

2. Snuggle And Play Crochet by Carolina Guzman Benitez (4,5/5 stars) NO REVIEW
These patterns are absolutely adorable! I will be looking forward creating at least a few of these as gifts for a few of my friends who have either young children or are about to be parents… I’m having a feeling the loveys will be a huge success, although the plush animals are adorable as well. I’m still a crochet newbie, so I could really appreciate the helpful explanations of the different stitches and how to put the different parts together!

3. Her Last Secret by Barbara Copperthwaite (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 29/09
This psychological thriller is mostly a character-driven story and the pace was a lot slower than expected. I struggled a little in the beginning, both because of the pace and my lack of connection to the characters, but the second half of the story more than made up for it. I loved the countdown idea and how slowly more of the present day event is revealed… And the final part is more than shocking! The story will make you think a lot of things and suspect a lot of people, but I can garantuee you won’t guess the final truth about what really happened.

4. The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan (3/5 stars) REVIEW 01/10
I’ve only just finished this one so I need a little time to think… It’s a character-driven story set in 1914 on a lifeboat, where the characters have to survive after their cruiseship sinks on the way to New York. The pace is quite slow and I’m not a fan of the characters, but the historical setting is quite well done and it shows in the way the characters interact as well. Nothing much happens during the story though. I’m still on the fence about this one to be honest.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m picking up Murder Game by Caroline Mitchell next even though the publish date is still relatively far away… I’m dying to find out how the series continues.  Another ARC I need to pick up soon is Halfway by Lokesh/Anubhav Sharma. I also want to read I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh; I’ve had that one on my TBR for way too long now. My newest TBR jar pick is still Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, a historical fiction read which I have been wanting to read for ages so I’m really happy this title popped up.


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WWW Wednesdays #155 – September 20th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading both my latest TBR jar pick Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes and my 800+ pages book for this year It by Stephen King. I’m only a few pages into both so I don’t have anything substantial to say yet… Other than that I’ll probably end up finishing It next month since I want to read a few other titles first.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Dollmaker Of Krakow by R.M. Romero (4/5 stars) REVIEW
I was sold as soon as I saw the cover and blurb, and there is no doubt that the writing is just as beautiful as the stunning cover. The Dollmaker Of Krakow is a truly unique story that mixes historical events with a fairytale-like fantasy world and sometimes feels a lot like magical realism. This innocent way of approaching the holocaust is a truly fascinating angle and very well executed; the fantasy elements only add to the overal originality of the story.

2. Beartown by Fredrik Backman (4/5 stars) REVIEW 21/09
It took me a while to warm up to this story and to be honest in the beginning I wasn’t convinced by the multiple POVs and the amount of characters introduced. I’m not a hockey fan and I wasn’t sure if I could handle the prominent role the sport has in the story… But all those worries disappeared as soon as I reached the second half and found myself fully invested. I don’t want to give away too much to avoid spoilers (since the original blurb had a few as well), but some things will happen that will provoke very strong emotions and these feelings won’t let you go until you reach the final page. The fact that there are so many conflicting emotions will leave you wrecked, but fully satisfied. The ending is quite interesting as well, and will make you wonder about how the story started. All in all recommended despite the not that convincing start!

3. A Different Blue by Amy Harmon (4/5 stars) REVIEW 23/09
Even though this wasn’t my favorite story, I still very much enjoyed it and I was surprised there wasn’t as much romance involved as I would have expected. Blue was a great character even though she wasn’t exactly likeable and I love her art and what it symbolizes. I wasn’t a big fan of Darcy though and I could have done without the love triangle… But the writing was excellent as always. Beautiful, raw, strong and emotional story!

4. The Mistake by K.L. Slater (4/5 stars) REVIEW 25/09
I’ve been looking forward to this one… And although it’s not my favorite of the bunch, it is still without doubt a very well written and suspensful psychological thriller. The main problem I had was with the main characters, which I found highly unlikeable… Rose and Garreth made me cringe A LOT. But. The writing is excellent and the situation and consequences of grooming very well and realistically described. I liked the idea of the chapters going back between past and present; showing this way both what happened all those years ago and how this effected Rose’s life even after all those years.

5. Things I’m Seeing Without You by Peter Bognanni (?/5 stars) REVIEW 26/09
I’ve only just finished this one as I’m writing this WWW, and I’m still struggling to decide what to make of this one. The writing style is very engaging and made this story into a very fast read. The whole funeral business definitely gives this story a unique touch and actually adds to the plot as well. I’m still not sure about the characters, but I’m hoping to write something a bit more coherent in the next few days or so.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m pickin up Her Last Secret by Barbara Copperthwaite next even though it’s recently due next month… I’ve been looking forward to this one. I also want to read Heartless by Marissa Meyer; I’ve been posponing this one for way too long now. Another ARC I need to pick up soon is Halfway by Lokesh/Anubhav Sharma… And I have a new TBR jar pick! Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, a historical fiction read which I have been wanting to read for ages so I’m really happy this title popped up. I can’t wait to finally read it!


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