Tag: Casee Says

Bookish Thoughts: Casee’s Ultimate Christmas Wishlist

Posted December 5, 2018 by Casee in Features | 6 Comments

Every month, Holly, Rowena and I tackle a different bookish and sometimes non-bookish topic together. This month, we’re sharing our Christmas wishlists with you lovely readers.

Christmas is the season of giving. I love buying gifts for my family and friends. I often get so excited that I want to tell everyone what I got them. I’m quite impatient. I start my Christmas shopping in November, so the time between the buying and opening of the gift seems even longer. I usually don’t think about what I want. When I do, it’s actually difficult. I’m pretty lucky in life insofar as I don’t have to wait until Christmas to get the things I want (within reason of course). Making a list like this really reminds me how fortunate I truly am. With all that said, there are a few things I really, honestly need. Number one on my list is an absolute necessity. Absolute.

A Money Tree

This is my number one. Número uno. Numéro un. I always knew that putting a kid through college would be pricey. But the thought was always in the abstract. Like seriously, it was forever away. Forever and ever. Now my oldest is living in the dorm and going to school full-time about four hours away from home. Not only that, but my youngest is a junior in high school. While the thought of “when did I get so old?” has run through my head, the more important question of “which body part should I sell to pay for this?” is on a loop. Thus the money tree. It doesn’t even have to be a large one. Just a small one. Like six feet tall would be nice. With as many leaves as the trees in my backyard drop. Yep, lets get it done. It would also help me buy all the books I ever wanted. That would just be a huge bonus.

iPad Mini

Because I’m such a nice wife, I gave my husband my iPad when his died. Which obviously equals me needing a new one! When you add the fact that my Kindle is start to fail, well, it all makes perfect sense.

A kitten

On August 7, 2018 I had to put my sweet Molly to sleep. She was sixteen. She was nine months old when we got her. My daughter was also nine months old when we got Molly so they grew up together. We’re a cat family (cats aren’t evil!) and we are ready to rescue a kitten and/or cat. We aren’t picky, we just want to rescue rather than buy. I have to admit that I did see some really cute kittens, but they were actually asking $600/ea. For real. So yes, I’ll take a kitten for Christmas please. It would also be nice to have a kitten to snuggle with while I’m reading. I miss that.

New Kindle Paperwhite (without ads)

Like I mentioned above, my current Kindle is starting to fail. It’s freezing, restarting, all the normal things that tell you that Amazon has started to send updates out to the old Kindles to slow them down so you’ll buy the new Kindle. No, I’m kidding. I don’t know if they do that. We all know that it’s Apple that does that. Ha.


This bookshelf

I first saw this bookshelf on Pinterest about two years ago. I literally begged my husband to build it for me. I don’t know where he would have put it, but I wanted it anyway. He looked at me and laughed in my face. Laughed. In my face. My husband is a handy guy. He builds things. He likes DIY things. He does stuff like that. But he laughed at me when I showed him this. Since it is that time of year, perhaps it’s time to show it to him again. Again, I would have to find somewhere to put it, but details right?


What’s on your wishlist list this year? Anything outrageous or are you pretty reasonable?

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Auto-Buy Authors Casee Never Thought She’d Stop Reading…And Did

Posted November 29, 2018 by Casee in Features | 0 Comments

If you’ve been paying attention in the last couple of months, you will have noticed that Holly, Rowena, and myself have each taken to writing our thoughts on a shared topic and then posting them throughout the month. This month’s topic is about auto-buy authors that we never thought we’d stop reading until we did.

It makes me sad that this wasn’t at all a difficult list to make. A few of these authors were some of the first I ever read. Linda Howard was my go-to. I would have Judith McNaught on this list. As she hasn’t released anything in a bazillion years, I didn’t really think she applied. I also didn’t include Julie Garwood because I would most likely buy a historical if she ever decided to write one again.

I was really surprised when I sat down and put this list together. It was so easy. All these authors instantly came to mind with no thought whatsoever. These are authors that I literally stalked (not physically) to find out when a new release would be out. I would be so sad when I found out it would be a whole entire year until a new release. Now that feeling is just…gone.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Oh, SEP. Why did we have to break up? Kiss an Angel is one of my absolute favorite books of all time. Talk about needing the tissues. I have reread that book so many times that I have lost count. I just don’t know what happened to us. We stopped communicating. It was really Call Me Irresistible that wrecked us. A love triangle? I don’t know if that’s where you went with this book, but the summary sure made it seem like it. I am so against love triangles I would rather break up with you then read one.

J.D. Robb

I used to read all In Death as soon as they came out. I was thrilled that there were two books released a year. Soon enough that started being too much. Not to mention that it seemed that there was little character growth due to the fact that the books come out right where the previous one ends on the timeline. I’m not one of those people that want Eve and Roarke to have a baby. That obviously means the end of the series. I would like a little more relationship angst between the two. No marriage is as perfect as this one seems, especially when you have two people as damaged as they are.

Sherrilyn Kenyon

Back in 2000, I had my first child. This is relevant, I’m telling you. At that time, Kenyon told her readers that Acheron was going to be released in 2007. I looked down at the baby in my arms and tried to imagine him at seven years old. As much as I wanted Acheron, I didn’t want my baby to be seven. I think Acheron was finally released in 2008, but that was 10 years ago and my memory isn’t exactly stellar. I remember reading that 700+ page book in a day. I took that day off work. For real. Then something happened. The world got too complex. I could not keep up and I really didn’t even want to.

Linda Howard

I love rereading Linda Howard. I do read her new books, but I don’t rush to get them. I usually wait until they’re available from the library. I know that LH has had some medical issues in the past. I’ve heard rumors that her writing style changed after that, but I have no idea if that’s true. If it is true, I’m not even mad. No, but really, while some of these authors truly hurt, this one just makes me sad. I have met her a few times and she is such a lovely woman.

Lisa Kleypas

Lisa Kleypas was my favorite historical author after Judith McNaught and Julie Garwood. She had something special and I recognized it. Then she put out a contemporary. In first person. It was around the time that authors were doing that. Julie Garwood started writing contemps and a couple of other authors did it too. WHY? Why mess with perfection? Not only did LK put out a contemporary, but she put out one in first person. I admit, I did read Sugar Daddy. It just wasn’t for me. I think I read the Wallflower series after that, then I quit her.

Who are some authors that got bumped off your auto-buy list? Share in the comments!

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Standalone Series Books: Yes, That’s a Thing

Posted November 6, 2018 by Holly in Discussions | 5 Comments

Holly: Lately, Rowena and I have been increasingly frustrated with the number of authors who label their books as standalones when they are, in fact, part of a series.

The Chase by Elle Kennedy is the first book in the Briar U series, which is a spinoff of the Off-Campus series. Yet the description says, “A sexy standalone novel from New York Times and international bestselling author Elle Kennedy!”

The blurb for Part-Time Lover by Lauren Blakely says, “From #1 New York Times bestselling author Lauren Blakely comes a sexy new standalone romance…”, yet it features characters we met in Wanderlust (Part-Time Lovers series).

Rowena: It seems to me that this is a new development, at least in romance because I don’t ever remember going through this before. Books in a series could be read as standalone but they were linked by something. Some of those series were linked together by characters, some were linked by the world that they were set in, and sometimes they had a story arc that went through multiple books, but that last one wasn’t necessary or even the case for every series. I can’t agree with what Holly says above enough. It is possible for a book to read as a standalone but still be part of a series.

She also mentions that there are some readers that prefer to read standalones and that’s fine, you should be able to love and want what you want. We prefer to know that characters we meet and love in one book, also show up in their own books…because then it’s not a standalone, it’s part of a series and should be labeled as such.

I just finished reading Sleepover by Serena Bell and though the book is listed as a standalone, I just know that the hero’s brother Brooks is going to get his own book because the ending led the reader to believe as much. The ending also announces the engagement of a couple from another book that was released back in June of this year. So this book is definitely part of a series and is linked together by the characters but if you were a new reader of this author (like me), you wouldn’t know that. “Sleepover is a standalone novel with no cheating, no cliffhangers, and a satisfying happily ever after. This ebook includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.” Yet, it follows Do Over and Head Over Heels.

She’s not the only author that is guilty of this. She’s just the latest one that I’ve read and my frustration continues to grow and grow and grow. Holly hears about this frustration every time so we figured it was time to write this post.

Here are some examples of series with books that can be read as standalones but are linked together under the series umbrella.

The 21 Wall Street Series by Lauren Layne

This series follows three friends who work together on Wall Street. You don’t have to read the first book to get the second book, or the third book. The only thing that links these books together are the heroes in each book are friends. That’s it.

FBI/US Attorney Series by Julie James

Here’s another series that doesn’t need to be read in order. Each book can be read as a standalone and the series follows a different couple in the same world.

Colorado Mountain Series by Kristen Ashley

The same deal applies here with this series. They don’t really need to be read in order but there are recurring characters in each of these books. Some characters show up in all of the books, some show up in only a few but the common link in these books are the characters. The point is, the books can be read as standalones, but they’re connected in some way.

I’m not sure if this is a publisher thing or an author thing but whoever is in charge of making these decisions, please change this back. If books are linked in any way, readers should know that. I’m not sure when books being part of a series became a bad thing but I promise, I don’t see it as such.

The more you know and all of that…

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Books Casee Would Hate If She Read Them Now

Posted October 3, 2018 by Casee in Discussions | 8 Comments

My reading tastes have changed drastically, yet really haven’t changed at all in some ways. Still, there are some books that really make me wonder wtf I was thinking. These are some of those books.

Shades of Twilight by Linda Howard
Release Date: July 1996
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 384

Roanna Davenport was raised a wealthy orphan on her grandmother’s magnificent Alabama estate, Davencourt, where she had a passion for horses, a genius for trouble, and a deep love for her cousin, Webb. But everyone expected Webb to marry their ravishing cousin, Jessie. When he did, Roanna’s desire became no more than the stuff of dreams — until the night Jessie was found bludgeoned to death.

After the shocking murder of his wife, Webb left for Arizona, abandoning the legacy that he had once believed was all he wanted. But then an all-grown-up Roanna walked into a dingy bar in Nogales to bring him home; the mischievous sprite he had known ten years earlier was no more. Gone, too, was her fire. In its place was ice that melted at his touch. Webb is drawn back to Davencourt, to Roanna, and to the killer that once destroyed his life and waits only for the chance to finish the job….

Roanna and Webb are COUSINS. Cou-sins. Cousins. Blech. Not to mention Webb is a total asshole. I don’t know what I was thinking to like this book in any way, shape or form.

A Kingdom of Dreams (Westmoreland #1) by Judith McNaught
Release Date: May 31, 1991
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 438

Abducted from her convent school, headstrong Scottish beauty Jennifer Merrick does not easily surrender to Royce Westmoreland, Duke of Claymore. Known as “The Wolf”; his very name strikes terror in the hearts of his enemies. But proud Jennifer will have nothing to do with the fierce English warrior who holds her captive, this handsome rogue who taunts her with his blazing arrogance. Boldly she challenges his will… until the night he takes her in his powerful embrace, awakening in her an irresistible hunger. And suddenly Jennifer finds herself ensnared in a bewildering web… a seductive, dangerous trap of pride, passion, loyalty, and overwhelming love.

Jenny was a total bitch. Honestly, the woman undermined Royce time after time, plotted against him and didn’t care if he died. Then a switched flipped and she loved him. WTF.

Gone Too Far (Troubleshooters #6) by Suzanne Brockmann
Release Date: July 1, 2003
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Romantic Suspense, Military
Pages: 536

In her sizzling, award-winning novels of suspense, bestselling author Suzanne Brockmann delves into the adrenaline-rushed world of counter terrorism–and taps into the real passions of its brave men and women. Now in her widely anticipated hardcover debut, she spins a story of action, intrigue, and romance, as a U.S. Navy SEAL and an FBI agent race to unravel a mystery–while confronting their own unresolved feelings for each other.

In his career as one of America’s elite warriors, Lt. Sam Starrett can do no wrong. In his private life, Sam–the king of one night stands–has done little right. Now, he’s waiting for a divorce and determined to stay active in his young daughter’s life. But when Sam shows up at the door of his ex-wife’s home in Sarasota, Florida, he makes a grisly discovery. His daughter is gone and the body of a woman lies brutally murdered on the floor.

FBI agent Alyssa Locke’s relationship with Sam has been overwhelmingly intense and nearly catastrophic, yet it refuses to end. The last time she saw Sam was six months earlier, when they worked together to stop terrorists from assassinating the U.S. President. Much to her dismay, Alyssa is assigned to lead the murder investigation and once again the two are face to face. When explosive information surfaces linking Sam to the still unsolved assassination plot, the stakes are raised. With her reputation hanging in the balance, and her loyalties in question, Alyssa is faced with an impossible dilemma:arrest a man she believes to be innocent, or risk her career.

While Alyssa tries to fight their intense attraction, Sam is determined to heat things up between them once again. And the complex case pushes them both to the wrong side of the law–and on the run to discover the truth. As more agents step into the chase, and with Sam’s daughter still unaccounted for, neither Alyssa nor Sam can predict just how deadly hot this situation is about to become. . . .

A thrilling novel that ranges back into the days of World War II, into friendships, families, liaisons, betrayals, and the code of honor that binds the U.S. Navy SEALs, Gone Too Far is an electrifying experience in suspense–and a brilliant tale of lives lived on the edge.

Oh Lord. Sam Starrett. AKA Crybaby. I don’t think I could read this book without rolling my eyes. I understand that he was supposed to be a hero that was super in touch with his emotions, but really?

Heaven, Texas (Chicago Stars #2) by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Release Date: April 1, 1995
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 384

Come heck or high water, Gracie Snow is determined to drag the legendary ex-jock Bobby Tom Denton back home to Heaven, Texas, to begin shooting his first motion picture. Despite his dazzling good looks and killer charm, Bobby Tom has reservations about being a movie star — and no plans to cooperate with a prim and bossy Ohio wallflower whom he can’t get off his mind or out of his life. Instead, the hell-raising playboy decides to make her over from plain Jane to Texas wildcat.

But nothing’s more dangerous than a wildcat with an angel’s heart in a town too small for a bad boy to hide. And all hell breaks loose when two unforgettable people discover love, laughter, passion — and a match that can only be made in Heaven.

I don’t hate this book per se, but if I reread it I think I would almost hate Bobby Tom Denton. He was a total ass to Gracie although it was under layers of charm and humor. Still, an ass is an ass.

Lover Unbound (Black Dagger Brotherhood #5) by J.R. Ward
Release Date: October 1, 2007
Publisher: Signet
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 502

The ruthless and brilliant brother Vishous possesses a destructive curse and a frightening ability to see the future. As a member of the Brotherhood, he has no interest in love or emotion, only the battle with the Lessening Society. But when a mortal injury puts him in the care of a human surgeon, Dr. Jane Whitcomb compels him to reveal his inner pain and taste true pleasure for the first time-until a destiny he didn’t choose takes him into a future that does not include her…

I didn’t particularly like this book after I was done reading it, but I know I would hate it if I re-read it. Jane literally dies and comes back as a ghost. Seriously, JRW? Where do you get this stuff?

Dark Prince (Dark #1) by Christine Feehan
Release Date: April 5, 2005
Publisher: Leisure Books
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 447

Carpathians are an immortal race of beings with animal instincts. Every Carpathian male is drawn to his life mate: a Carpathian or human female able to provide the light to his darkness. Without her, the beast within slowly consumes the man until turning vampire is the only option.

Raven Whitney is a psychic who has used her gift to help the police track down a serial killer. Now she is determined to escape the glare of recent publicity for the peace and quiet of the Carpathian Mountains.

Prince Mikhail Dubrinsky is the leader of his people but, as his ancient Carpathian race grows ever closer to extinction, he is close to giving in to the heavy weight of loneliness and despair.

From the moment their minds touch, Raven and Mikhail form a connection. But there are those who incorrectly view all Carpathians as vampires, and are determined to give their extinction a helping hand.

I will never, ever re-read this book because it holds a special place in my heart. It’s the first paranormal that I ever read. I know I wouldn’t like it now because of how Mikhail virtually forced Raven into his world. Not cool.

So looking at this list has me like WTF.

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2018 Releases Casee Should Have Read by Now

Posted September 12, 2018 by Casee in Discussions | 4 Comments

This is my list of books that I’m surprised I haven’t read. Since this list, I have read Order of Protection by Lexi Blake and started listening to No Woman Left Behind by Linda Howard. That’s how annoyed with myself I was for not reading these books. Unfortunately no wine was involved in the reading/listening to of these books.

Order of Protection by Lexi Blake
Released on June 5, 2018
Publisher: Berkley
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 368

To high-end defense attorney Henry Garrison, Win Hughes is a woman he met during one of the most trying times of his life. She’s soft and warm, and he finds solace in their brief relationship. But Win has a secret. She’s actually Taylor Winston-Hughes—born to one of the wealthiest families in the country, orphaned as a child by a tragic accident. Win moves in the wealthiest circles, but her lavish lifestyle hides her pain.

When her best friend is murdered in the midst of a glittering New York gala, Win’s charged with the crime, and the only person in the world she wants to see is Henry.

Henry is shocked at the true identity of his lover, but he can’t reject the case. This trial could take his new firm into the stratosphere. Still, he’s not getting burned by Win again. And yet every turn brings them closer together.

As the case takes a wild turn and Win’s entire life is upended, she must look to the people she’s closest to in order to find a killer. And Henry must decide between making his case and saving the woman he loves…

I am honestly shocked with myself. The fact that I haven’t read this book is unbelievable to me. I have a handful of authors who could write a grocery list and I would read it. Lexi Blake is one of those authors. See? Shocked.

The Woman Left Behind by Linda Howard
Released on March 6, 2018
Publisher: William Morrow
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 368

Jina Modell works in Communications for a paramilitary organization, and she really likes it. She likes the money, she likes the coolness factor—and it was very cool, even for Washington, DC. She liked being able to kick terrorist butts without ever leaving the climate-controlled comfort of the control room.

But when Jina displays a really high aptitude for spatial awareness and action, she’s reassigned to work as an on-site drone operator in the field with one of the GO-teams, an elite paramilitary unit. The only problem is she isn’t particularly athletic, to put it mildly, and in order to be fit for the field, she has to learn how to run and swim for miles, jump out of a plane, shoot a gun…or else be out of a job.

Team leader Levi, call sign Ace, doesn’t have much confidence in Jina—who he dubbed Babe as soon as he heard her raspy, sexy voice—making it through the rigors of training. The last thing he needs is some tech geek holding them back from completing a dangerous, covert operation. In the following months, however, no one is more surprised than he when Babe, who hates to sweat, begins to thrive in her new environment, displaying a grit and courage that wins her the admiration of her hardened, battle-worn teammates. What’s even more surprising is that the usually very disciplined GO-team leader can’t stop thinking about kissing her smart, stubborn mouth…or the building chemistry and tension between them.

Meanwhile, a powerful Congresswoman is working behind the scenes to destroy the GO-teams, and a trap is set to ambush Levi’s squad in Syria. While the rest of the operatives set off on their mission, Jina remains at the base to control the surveillance drone, when the base is suddenly attacked with explosives. Thought dead by her comrades, Jina escapes to the desert where, brutally tested beyond measure, she has to figure out how to stay undetected by the enemy and make it to her crew in time before they’re exfiltrated out of the country.

But Levi never leaves a soldier behind, especially the brave woman he’s fallen for. He’s bringing back the woman they left behind, dead or alive.

The last book of Linda Howard’s that I really loved was Cry No More. I’m so sad that her writing has becoming so much different. I find that I’m excited when she releases a new book, then I’m disappointed when I read it. It may be time for some LH re-reads.

Edge of Darkness by Karen Rose
Released on February 6, 2018
Publisher: Berkley
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 640

A Cincinnati detective questions everything he knows–and everyone he trusts–in the new novel of romantic suspense from New York Times bestseller Karen Rose.

Homicide detective Adam Kimble is no stranger to battling demons. But Meredith Fallon is a different kind of weakness: one that could actually be good for him, if only he would let himself depend on her. Meredith has loved Adam for a year, and seeing how hard he’s worked to deal with his PTSD makes her feelings only stronger, but she respects his needs. Her work keeps her busy anyway: she counsels sexually abused women like Mallory Martin to help them reintegrate into the world.

But someone doesn’t want Meredith helping women like Mallory, and Meredith finds herself in the crosshairs of a very determined killer. Adam would risk anything for her, but they’ll soon find out she isn’t the only target…

This woman is the queen of RS. The number of pages in this book is daunting, but I always finish quickly because I have to see what happens next.

Nobody Does it Better by Lexi Blake
Released on February 20, 2018
Publisher: DLZ Entertainment LLC
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 394

A spy who specializes in seduction

Kayla Summers was an elite CIA double agent, working inside China’s deadly MSS. Now, she works for McKay-Taggart London, but the Agency isn’t quite done with her. Spy master Ezra Fain needs her help on a mission that would send her into Hollywood’s glamorous and dangerous party scene. Intrigued by the mission and the movie star hunk she will be shadowing, she eagerly agrees. When she finds herself in his bed, she realizes she’s not only risking her life, but her heart.

A leading man who doesn’t do romance

Joshua Hunt is a legend of the silver screen. As Hollywood’s highest paid actor, he’s the man everyone wants to be, or be with, but something is missing. After being betrayed more than once, the only romance Josh believes in anymore is on the pages of his scripts. He keeps his relationships transactional, and that’s how he likes it, until he meets his new bodyguard. She was supposed to keep him safe, and satisfied when necessary, but now he’s realizing he may never be able to get enough of her.

An ending neither could have expected

Protecting Joshua started off as a mission, until it suddenly felt like her calling. When the true reason the CIA wanted her for this assignment is revealed, Kayla will have to choose between serving her country or saving the love of her life.

Kayla!! I’ve looked forward to her book, but for some silly reason I haven’t read it yet.

Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts
Released on May 29, 2018
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 448

It was a typical evening at a mall outside Portland, Maine. Three teenage friends waited for the movie to start. A boy flirted with the girl selling sunglasses. Mothers and children shopped together, and the manager at the video-game store tending to customers. Then the shooters arrived.

The chaos and carnage lasted only eight minutes before the killers were taken down. But for those who lived through it, the effects would last forever. In the years that followed, one would dedicate himself to a law enforcement career. Another would close herself off, trying to bury the memory of huddling in a ladies’ room, hopelessly clutching her cell phone–until she finally found a way to pour her emotions into her art.

But one person wasn’t satisfied with the shockingly high death toll at the DownEast Mall. And as the survivors slowly heal, find shelter, and rebuild, they will discover that another conspirator is lying in wait–and this time, there might be nowhere safe to hide.

NR is my go-to when I can’t get into a book. I’m going to try it on audio because it seems like I never have enough reading time.

Face Off by Brenda Novak
Released on August 28, 2018
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 416


Tortured and left for dead at sixteen, Evelyn Talbot turned her personal nightmare into her life’s work―studying the disturbing psychopathy of some of the world’s most vicious serial killers. Now a leading psychiatrist at Hanover House in a small Alaskan town, she tries to believe the past will never come back to haunt her―until a woman goes missing from a cabin nearby, and every clue points to the man who once brutalized her…

As her boyfriend, who is the area’s only police, begins to investigate―and finds not one but two bodies―Evelyn can’t forget that her would-be killer, Jasper Moore, was never caught. But there are no new faces in tiny Hilltop, no one who seems suspicious or potentially violent. In this twisted game of cat and mouse, Evelyn is certain of only one thing―Jasper must be hiding in plain sight. And if she can’t find him before he comes for her, she won’t be lucky enough to survive twice…

I’m super surprised I haven’t read this book. It’s the third book in the Evelyn Talbot Chronicles. The second book was a cliffhanger, so I should be dying to read this book.

In closing, I’ve realized that I have a serious problem. I’m not reading enough. I’m going to change that. Or try to change that. If I could add more hours to the day, I would.

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