Monday, October 20, 2014

HFVBT: Kari Edgren's Goddess Born - Review

My thoughts
If you are a fan of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, then you will like this book. Don't get me wrong though. There isn't any time travel and it's not set in England nor Scotland. However, as I was reading, I was struck by how much Selah Kilbrid was like Claire from that series. Selah, like Claire, is a healer and is also thrown into a precarious situation that she is highly unsure of how she will extricate herself. And there is where the similarities end. For Selah has a secret. She is Goddess born, a woman with the power to heal with her touch. And given the time she is living, it is indeed a dangerous power to possess. The threat of being accused a witch is around every corner.

What I really liked about Goddess Born was the story and how it built to an exciting climax. I enjoyed the developing love between Selah and Henry and the element of mystery that surrounded the story. The book definitely kept me reading, as I wanted to know who was plotting against Selah, would she be accused a witch, would she and Henry really get together in the end.

This is a fantastic debut novel and I was pleased to discover that Selah's story will continue in the next book, A Grave Inheritance. I really looking forward to reading it!

About the book
Publication Date: May 29, 2014
Carina Press
eBook; ISBN: 9781426898365
Genre: Historical/Fantasy/Paranormal/New Adult/Romance

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2013 RWA Golden Heart© Finalist
2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist

The power to heal is her divine gift, the fear of discovery, her mortal curse.

Selah Kilbrid is caught between two worlds. A direct descendant of the Celtic goddess Brigid, she is bound by Tuatha Dé law to help those in need. Yet as a human, she must keep her unique abilities hidden or risk being charged for a witch. In 1730 Pennsylvania, the Quaker community of Hopewell has become a haven for religious freedom—and fanaticism—and there are those who would see her hanged if the truth were revealed.

For eighteen years, Selah safely navigates the narrow gap between duty and self-preservation, until the day a prominent minister uncovers her secret. Obsessed with her power, Nathan Crowley disregards her betrothal to a distant cousin from Ireland and demands marriage in exchange for his silence. Selah stalls for time, but when news reaches the Colonies of her cousin’s death, time has run out.

Rather than submit to Nathan, Selah coerces a stranger to pose as her husband. It’s a good plan—her only plan—even though Henry Alan harbors his own dark secrets. But when she returns to Hopewell a married woman, the real fight has just begun. As unseen forces move against her, Selah doesn’t know which poses the greater danger—a malignant shadow closing in from outside or the internal fire that threatens to consume her heart.

Book Two in the Goddess Born series will be published in November 2014 and Book Three in June 2015.

Buy the eBook
Barnes & Noble
Carina Press

About the Author
Kari Edgren did not dream of becoming a writer. Instead, she dreamed of everything else and was often made to stay inside during kindergarten recess to practice her letters. Despite doting parents and a decent school system, Ms. Edgren managed to make it through elementary school having completed only one book cover to cover – The Box Car Children, which she read approximately forty-seven times. Things improved during high school, but not until she read Gabrielle Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude in college, did she truly understand the power of a book.

Ms. Edgren aspires to be a Vulcan, a world-acclaimed opera singer, and two inches taller. She resides in the Pacific NW where she spends a great deal of time torturing her husband and children with strange food and random historical facts. Ms. Edgren hasn’t stopped dreaming, but has finally mastered her letters enough to put the stories on paper.

For more information please visit Kari Edgren’s website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

Sign Up for Kari Edgren’s Newsletter.

Visit other blogs on the tour--Tour Schedule
Twitter Hashtag: #GoddessBornBlogTour #Historical #Paranormal #Romance #NewAdult
Twitter Tags: @hfvbt @KariEdgren

A copy of this book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for providing it.


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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon - Fall 2014 Edition #readathon

I will be reading. Not sure how much time I will put in and how much I will get read, but I will be participating a bit. I just can't resist! I will be celebrating my second birthday weekend, as my birthday was Wednesday, smack dab in the midst of two weekends. Yes, I'm indulging myself. I'm 46...I deserve it. *wink* My sons are with me this weekend so we will be going out to eat and to a movie and then my older son has a football game tomorrow evening. So most of my reading will be done late at night and the wee hours, although I may be able to snatch some pages while waiting for the football game to start.

What am I planning to read?

I will dabble in...

77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz
The Vampire Armand by Anne Rice
The Stuart Vampire by Andrea Zuvich

Yes, very seasonal reading indeed!

I'm not sure where I'll be updating...perhaps Twitter, Facebook or Instagram...or maybe here. I'm very indecisive lately.

Hope to see you around!


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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cat Thursday: Halloween - Yes, I said you're wearing a costume...and I don't care if I'm not your real mom!

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

I never get tired of kitties in costumes! This first one is a riot!

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Monday, October 13, 2014

HFVBT: Bob Van Laerhoven's Baudelaire’s Revenge - Guest Post


When first the original Dutch edition, followed by the French translation, of Baudelaire’s Revenge – De wraak van Baudelaire - La Vengeance de Baudelaire –– appeared in Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Canada, many readers were speculating on the novel’s surprising end: Is it “esoteric” or not?

The same goes for the English translation – Baudelaire’s Revenge – published this year in the US by Pegasus Books.

Without giving away the answer – that would be foolish of me after all my hard work, now, wouldn’t it? – I advise readers to take a short moment to ponder the title of the book. “Baudelaire’s Revenge” was not chosen because the title makes you think it’s a crime novel, but because of its subtle meaning.

How can the world famous French poet Charles Baudelaire who has been dead for three years at the start of the novel, take revenge? The answer lurks in the “AIDS of the 19th century”: syphilis, also known as French pox, the clap, tropical bubo, morbus Gallicus (“the French disease”), hard chancre... etc..

In the 19th century syphilis was considered a scourge of the mighty, the rich... and the artists. Many novels and plays presented the disease as an essential plot point. There was a wealth of famous names linked to the topic that could be of literary use: Cesare Borgia, Henry VIII, Ivan the Terrible, John Keats, even Napoleon Bonaparte, were known to have suffered from syphilis.

Anthony Burgess and other present-day authors have noted Shakespeare’s obsession with syphilis: the Divine Bard possessed clinically exact knowledge of its manifestations, which surfaced in many of his sonnets. Guy de Maupassant, “the inspired madman,” complained to his colleague Flaubert about his “darkest depressions and infinite disease.” De Maupassant’s syphilis led him to write horror stories like The Horla, in which the last stage of neurosyphilis was symbolized in the form of a Demon invading the protagonist’s brain. In everyday life, de Maupassant became obsessed with the idea that flies were eating his brain and he suffered “hellish” hallucinations. The brilliant short-story writer died in an asylum, his mind destroyed by the venereal disease.

As recently as the beginning of the 20th century, syphilis was considered to be inherited rather than contagious. Many physicians were convinced that it was transmitted by “women of the working class” as well as by prostitutes, because syphilis was thought to be hereditary in those humble social classes. The “clap” thus became a tool in a conflict of classes: women of the poor quartiers and cocottes were blamed with undermining the social order by “degenerating” families of the higher classes - whose men they seduced - through the disease.

Between 1870 and 1900, French women who were suspected of having syphilis were therefore arrested and imprisoned in dreadful circumstances. As a result, many prostitutes tried to hide their genital lesions with special ointments and skin-colored creams, as described in Baudelaire’s Revenge.

There was not much that medicine could do for sufferers but administering mercury, which was horribly toxic and of doubtful efficiency. Despite the relentless spreading of the disease through direct contact with the genital sores, most physicians considered condom use futile and even a possible source of “mental decay” in women who enjoyed “useless orgasms” because they knew that the condom would prevent pregnancy. So “the Great Pretender”, as the “morbus Gallicus” was sometimes called due to the efforts of the sufferers to hide it, could go on wreaking havoc.
Syphilis is caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum, first discovered in 1905, that can be transmitted to unborn children in the womb. In the 19th the newborns infected with this congenital form died. If they survived, they bore a terrible burden, manifested by blindness, nose deformations, notched teeth, and mental retardation.

In adults, the disease revealed itself in three stages: primary syphilis was no more than a painless initial sore, the secondary stage threw in a rash and fever. The third stage could follow after many years of latency and took on different forms. Gummatous syphilis is characterized by granulomatous lesions. These “gummas,” as they are called, have a rubbery texture and invade skin and organs. Most sufferers of this form lost their noses. Cardiovascular syphilis began as an inflammation of the arteries and could be life-threatening by damaging the heart valves or rupturing blood vessels. Neurosyphilis, the syphilitic infection of the nervous system, is the most chronic and insidious inflammatory process known. Psychosis, delirium, and dementia were the result. In the late stage of this form of syphilis, sufferers very often experienced brusque and absurd delusions, included century, around 70% of sensations of immortality, supernatural powers, apocalyptic visions, or being harassed by “entities,” demons or devils.

Now imagine this: in Baudelaire’s Revenge, in 1870, commissioner Paul Lefèvre is prowling the Parisian streets in uproar. His mind is in turmoil. He has just killed the woman he loved. He feels a dreadful fever invading his body. The Communards, members of the workers’ association that instigated the uprising, are being slaughtered by the National Guard. France is no longer at war with the Prussians but with itself.

As is Paul Lefèvre. Beads of sweat roll down his heavy jowls. He wonders: Is the world a stage, an illusion?

Am I one?

Penicillin, the antibiotic that cures syphilis, was discovered in 1928. It would take until 1943 until it was first used in this indication.

About the book
Publication Date: April 15, 2014
Pegasus Books
Formats: eBook, Hardcover
Genre: Historical Mystery/Thriller

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It is 1870, and Paris is in turmoil.

As the social and political turbulence of the Franco-Prussian War roils the city, workers starve to death while aristocrats seek refuge in orgies and seances. The Parisians are trapped like rats in their beautiful city but a series of gruesome murders captures their fascination and distracts them from the realities of war. The killer leaves lines from the recently deceased Charles Baudelaire’s controversial anthology Les Fleurs du Mal on each corpse, written in the poet’s exact handwriting. Commissioner Lefevre, a lover of poetry and a veteran of the Algerian war, is on the case, and his investigation is a thrilling, intoxicating journey into the sinister side of human nature, bringing to mind the brooding and tense atmosphere of Patrick Susskind’s Perfume. Did Baudelaire rise from the grave? Did he truly die in the first place? The plot dramatically appears to extend as far as the court of the Emperor Napoleon III.

A vivid, intelligent, and intense historical crime novel that offers up some shocking revelations about sexual mores in 19th century France, this superb mystery illuminates the shadow life of one of the greatest names in poetry.

Praise for Baudelaire’s Revenge
“[An] intense historical crime thriller. The intricate plot, menacing atmosphere, and rich evocations of period Paris have undeniable power.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Vigorous. A finely-tuned balancing act between style and content. Add to all this the extremely convincingly painted tragic characters and the multitude of mysterious figures, and what you get is a winner who gives added luster to this jubilee edition of the Hercule Poirot Prize.” (The jury of the Hercule Poirot Prize)

“Van Laerhoven packs much complexity into 256 pages, giving this historical mystery the heft of a far longer work ( …) The book’s main preoccupation is the conclusive demonstration that everyone is guilty of something—the only mystery is, to what degree? The flowers of evil, sketched in lurid botanical detail…” (Kirkus Reviews)

“(A) decadent tale….Commissioner Lefèvre’s philosophical discussions with artists and poets and a creepy Belgian dwarf are fascinating….” (NY Times Book Review)

“Published for the first time in English, this roman policier isn’t so much a straight detective story (although there are two detectives in it) as an evocation of a mind-set that now seems extravagant: the 19th-century poet’s fascination with sex and death. It’s no wonder this title won the Hercule Poirot Prize: the author is Belgian, as is the prize, and the twisted plot is as complicated as Agatha Christie’s most convoluted mystery. Mystery aficionados will love this pastiche of Wilkie Collins and Edgar Allan Poe.” (Library Journal)

“(A) gritty, detail-rich historical mystery novel involves the reader in a subtle narrative web. This complex mystery from an award-winning Belgian author joins history and literary history to create a sly, smart revenge tale.” (Shelf Awareness Pro)

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About the Author
Bob Van Laerhoven became a full-time author in 1991 and has written more than thirty books in Holland and Belgium. The context of his stories isn’t invented behind his desk, rather it is rooted in personal experience. As a freelance travel writer, for example, he explored conflicts and trouble-spots across the globe from the early 1990s to 2005. Echoes of his experiences on the road also trickle through in his novels. Somalia, Liberia, Sudan, Gaza, Iran, Iraq, Myanmar… to name but a few.

During the Bosnian war, Van Laerhoven spent part of 1992 in the besieged city of Sarajevo. Three years later he was working for MSF – Doctors without frontiers – in the Bosnian city of Tuzla during the NATO bombings. At that moment the refugees arrived from the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica. Van Laerhoven was the first writer from the Low Countries to be given the chance to speak to the refugees. His conversations resulted in a travel book: Srebrenica. Getuigen van massamoord – Srebrenica. Testimony to a Mass Murder. The book denounces the rape and torture of the Muslim population of this Bosnian-Serbian enclave and is based on first-hand testimonies. He also concludes that mass murders took place, an idea that was questioned at the time but later proven accurate.

All these experiences contribute to Bob Van Laerhoven’s rich and commendable oeuvre, an oeuvre that typifies him as the versatile author of novels, travel stories, books for young adults, theatre pieces, biographies, poetry, non-fiction, letters, columns, articles… He is also a prize-winning author: in 2007 he won the Hercule Poirot Prize for best thriller of the year with his novel De Wraak van Baudelaire – Baudelaire’s Revenge.

For more information please visit Bob Van Laerhoven’s website. You can also connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

Visit other blogs on the tour--Tour Schedule
Twitter Hashtag: #BaudelairesRevengeBlogTour #HistoricalFiction
Twitter Tags: @hfvbt @BobVanLaerhoven


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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Cat Thursday: Halloween - But Kitty, you must wear a costume!

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

I'm foregoing Authors and Cats Thursday, as this is the first of my month long Halloween themed Cat Thursdays. As and Cs will return in November, never fear! Now, go forth and view kittehs in Halloween costumes. *snicker*

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Friday, October 3, 2014

HFVBT: E. Knight's Prisoner of the Queen - Review

My thoughts
I think what I enjoy most about the Tales from the Tudor Court series is the author's ability in taking the fringe players and showing us how essential they were to what was going on in the Tudor world. She accomplished this in My Lady Viper, with Anne Seymour, and she does it brilliantly once again with this book surrounding Katherine Grey's life.

Katherine was the younger sister to Lady Jane Grey, Queen Jane for those illustrious nine days. She was the middle daughter of Frances Grey, nee Brandon, who was the niece of Henry VIII and daughter to Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon. In this book, Katherine seemed to be a more grounded type of person, who really only wanted the simple things in life. Not the intrigue of court. Although naive at times, she is very kind to the less fortunate, which I thought commendable. But she also has an inner strength that really comes to her aid later on when she finds herself in a precarious situation.

It was difficult for me to read Queen Elizabeth I as being such a mean, spiteful...and paranoid...woman, as I have a spot in my heart for her. However, the author here makes us believe that she could have really been like that. Not by simply writing her character that way, but by portraying the reasons why might have behaved in this way. It doesn't really portray her in a favorable light, but we can accept that, given the times and what she had endured, she could have very well had reasons for her behavior. I say, "Well Done!"

In all, Prisoner of the Queen is an excellent historical novel. It is well-researched and the characters are well-written, interesting and engaging, as is the entire story. If you have not picked this series up as yet, I highly recommend that you do.

About the book
Publication Date: July 2014
Knight Media, LLC
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Series: Tales From the Tudor Court
Genre: Historical Fiction

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I have served three queens in my life. One was my sister, one was my savior, and one my bitterest enemy.

Knowing she was seen as a threat to the Queen she served, Lady Katherine Grey, legitimate heir to the throne, longs only for the comfort of a loving marriage and a quiet life far from the intrigue of the Tudor court. After seeing her sister become the pawn of their parents and others seeking royal power and then lose their lives for it, she is determined to avoid the vicious struggles over power and religion that dominate Queen Elizabeth’s court. Until she finds love—then Kat is willing to risk it all, even life in prison.

Tales From the Tudor Court Series
Book One: My Lady Viper
Book Two: Prisoner of the Queen

About the Author
E. Knight is a member of the Historical Novel Society, Romance Writers of America and several RWA affiliate writing chapters: Hearts Through History, Celtic Hearts, Maryland Romance Writers and Washington Romance Writers. Growing up playing in castle ruins and traipsing the halls of Versailles when visiting her grandparents during the summer, instilled in a love of history and royals at an early age. Feeding her love of history, she created the popular historical blog, History Undressed ( Under the pseudonym Eliza Knight, she is a bestselling, award-winning, multi-published author of historical and erotic romance.

For more information please visit E. Knight’s website and blog. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

Visit other blogs on the tour--Tour Schedule
Twitter Hashtag: #PrisoneroftheQueenBlogTour #HistFic
Twitter Tags: @hfvbt @elizaknight

A copy of this book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for providing it.


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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Cat Thursday - Cats in Art (5)

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

I am hanging my head in shame because I have been a terrible hostess the past two weeks. I have officially renamed September 2014 as The Month from Hell 2014. I'm sure you've seen a dog or cat chasing their tale before. Well, that's what I felt like ALL MONTH LONG! I am so sorry I have not been by to visit. Please do not give up on me and Cat Thursday. I promise I'll get back in the swing this week.

I know it's October 2 and I usually start my Halloween posts in October, but I'm going to wait until next week because I found some wonderful cats in art to share this week. I hope you enjoy them!

 Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale (British painter, 1871-1945) Detail 1901

John White Alexander (American artist, 1856-1915) Black and Red 1896

John White Alexander (American artist, 1856-1915) The Green Dress 1890s

Seymour Joseph Guy (American artist, 1824-1910) One for Mommy, One for Me

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Rebecca Hazell's Consolamentum Rounds Out this Excellent Historical Fiction Trilogy - Excerpt and {Giveaway}

Lady Heloise added, “It is said that Saint Denis rose up after his execution, picked up his head, and walked a thousand feet before falling again. That is where a pilgrimage shrine was later founded, but the abbey that bears his name lies farther to the north. You will soon see that it is quite beautiful and also very special, for it is where all the kings of Francia have been buried since it was built. The king, I hear, intends to commission effigies to lie over each tomb, even of the earliest kings of Francia, like Clovis and Pepin. I find it very moving, and you must as well; it is good politics.

“Oh, look, they are already setting up for the October fair; one farmer always sells the richest cream you ever tasted. Not that I use it for eating: it also works wonders on the skin.”

As we passed, I saw many men and a few women setting up booths and stalls and even a few solid buildings. The aroma of roasting meat drifted across our path.

The fair was not yet open, but she and several other ladies did fall back to buy trinkets and, yes, cream, which the vendors were glad to sell them. I made the mistake of following behind. They were already returning, and I should have gone with them then, but I was drawn by a tent surrounded by colorful banners depicting odd-looking symbols. I thought just to look at them quickly and then to return to ask Heloise what they meant, but a woman dressed in motley came out when I rode up and began urging me inside her tent to have my fortune told. When I refused, a gang of hard-looking men suddenly surrounded me.

They probably had never heard a lady scream, but scream I did, and several knights in our company were soon bearing down on the ruffians, laying about and quickly rescuing me. This was shaming enough, but the king and queen heard the noise and were staring at me as I rode back, red-faced, to join their train. Lord Joscelin rode back to see me, looking stern. At least he began with, “Are you all right?” I nodded, looking down, unable to meet his eye. But then he added, “Don’t do anything foolish like that again. King Louis marked it, and you especially offended him by seeking out a fortune teller!”

About the book
In the finale of Sofia's memoir, Consolamentum, both dramatic and poignant, her dreams of home are shattered when her own family betrays her. Raising her child on her own, mourning the loss of her beloved knight, and building a trading empire, she seeks safe haven for her child and herself. Her quest takes her from Antioch to Constantinople to Venice. A surprise reunion in Venice leads her to France where she runs afoul of the newly established Holy Inquisition, possibly the greatest challenge she has yet faced. Can a woman so marked by oppression, betrayal, and danger ever find her safe haven, much less genuine happiness?

The novel is available both in paperback and Kindle versions and through your local bookstore by special order.

About the author
Rebecca Hazell is a an award winning artist, author and educator. She has written, illustrated and published four non-fiction children’s books, created best selling educational filmstrips, designed educational craft kits for children and even created award winning needlepoint canvases. She is a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage, and she holds an honours BA from the University of California at Santa Cruz in Russian and Chinese history.

Rebecca lived for many years in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1988 she and her family moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and in 2006 she and her husband moved to Vancouver Island. They live near their two adult children in the beautiful Cowichan Valley.

Visit Rebecca:
Website | Goodreads | Facebook

Previous stop on the tour (9/29): Oh, For The Hook of A book - Excerpt and Giveaway
Next stop on the tour (10/3): Must Read Faster - Guest Post

Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter to enter to win the entire trilogy, The Grip of God, Solomon's Bride and Consolamentum, Kindle editions - open internationally! Good luck!
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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

#FrightFall Read-a-Thon - My reading plans, almost two days late, of course...

I just wouldn't be me if I wasn't late for something...and that even includes my own events. LOL So yeah, unless you live under a rock, you've probably heard that I'm hosting my annual FrightFall Read-a-Thon this week. It's the official season for scary reading (although I read scary year round *wink*)!

Here is what I'm reading this week:

  • Trying to finish The House of Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorne. I'm supposed to be hosting a read-a-long over at Castle Macabre and the 30th (today) is the last day. I have failed miserably at it. To be honest, the book is just not capturing my interest as I thought it would. I had the same reaction when reading The Scarlet Letter. Maybe Hawthorne is just not for me.
  • My non-scary book that I must read for a review on Friday, Prisoner of the King, E. Knight.
  • Will try to listen to some Edgar Allan Poe on audio this week.
  • Start reading 77 Shadow Street, Dean Koontz, our scary read for TuesBookTalk
You can still join us for the read-a-thon. It runs for a week (last day is Sunday night). Sign ups are open until Friday night (late). Join us here.


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