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Saturday, July 21, 2018

BLOG TOUR and REVIEW: Do No Harm by L V Hay @orendabooks @lucyvhayauthor

Do No Harm
by L V Hay

Thanks so much to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for this stop on the Blog Tour!

Publisher:  Orenda Books
Publish Date:  June 30, 2018 (ebook) July 20, 2018 (UK Paperback)
Kindle Edition
300 Pages
Genres:  Domestic Thriller, Psychological Suspense

After leaving her marriage to jealous, possessive oncologist Maxwell, Lily and her six-year-old son have a second chance at happiness with teacher Sebastian. Kind but vulnerable, Sebastian is the polar opposite of Maxwell, and the perfect match for Lily. After a whirlwind romance, they marry, and that's when things start to go wrong. Maxwell returns to the scene, determined to win back his family, and events soon spiral out of control. Lily and Sebastian find themselves not only fighting for their relationship, but also their lives.

Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. She is the associate producer of Brit Thrillers Deviation (2012) and Assassin (2015), both starring Danny Dyer. Lucy is also head reader for the London Screenwriters' Festival and has written two non-fiction books, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays, plus its follow-up Drama Screenplays. Her critically acclaimed debut thriller The Other Twin was published in 2017. She lives in Devon with her husband, three children, six cats and five African Land Snails.

My Review:

Ex-husbands, new husbands, mother-in-laws, sons and possessiveness.  Lily is happy to be marrying Sebastian - the complete opposite of her controlling and possessive ex-husband, Maxwell.  But once a control freak, always a control freak and Maxwell will do whatever it takes to get Lily back.  Sebastian doesn't like confrontation but how much will it take to get him to fight back for his new family?

No one ever wants to think the worst of their ex.  After all, there was love there once, something there that drew you to them.  You had a child with him and at the VERY least, you know he wouldn't want to him his only child... right?  

Alternating back and forth between Sebastian and Lily, and peppered with an unreliable narrator's thoughts, Hay has us questioning just how bad it's going to get. Now I'll admit I did get frustrated during this read.  WHY CAN'T THEY JUST SEE WHAT'S HAPPENING!  And my oh my how quickly trust is broken when the tiniest seed of doubt gets planted.  I felt the most for Denny, the poor kid stuck in the middle - a pawn in a deadly game between the two most important people in his world. 

I did figure things out fairly quickly - well I had my suspicions and proved myself right.  Honestly, I find this fun to do in certain stories.  What is captivating about this story is that while a little off the rails (because hello, drama! looooove it), it is also really realistic.  I've certainly had my fair share of run ins with men who are irrationally possessive and jealous.  Praise be to Lily for getting out of that - at least once. 😉

A proper read for domestic thriller lovers.


Friday, July 20, 2018

#allthebookreviews: What Happened That Night by Sandra Block @sbkslandmark @block_sandra

What Happened That Night
by Sandra Block

Thanks so much to Sourcebooks Landmark for these copies!
A full five stars from both Jess and I - continue below to see why....

Publisher:  Sourcebooks Landmark
Publish Date:  June 5, 2018
352 Pages
Genres:  Thriller, Mystery, Suspense

One moment Dahlia is a successful Harvard student. The next, she wakes up from a party, the victim of a brutal assault. Her life veers into a tailspin, and what’s worse, her memory of the attack has been ripped away, leaving a cold rage in its wake.

Now, years later, Dahlia is a tattooed paralegal suffering from PTSD, still haunted by that night. Until one day, a video surfaces online, and Dahlia sees her attack for the first time. Now she knows what happened to her. And she knows who to blame. Her rage is no longer cold, but burning, red hot.

And she is about to make everyone pay.

My Review:

I could not, in a million years, imagine what it's like to go through the trauma that Dahlia did, have PTSD of the event (that she cannot remember) and then see the attack come online years later.  UFF.  What I LOVE about this book is that the revenge factor is clear - but it's executed with the code of not killing anyone.  

The characters - how do you NOT fall in love with James?!  Absolutely LOVE his character.  The build up of friendship with Dahlia to something more was so much better than any instalove I've had to endure through.  This felt so real and sincere between two people who have dealt with tragedy and can understand and accept the other's quirks.  What's not to love?!  Dahlia is also such a strong character.  The ups and downs she goes through, the backlash after the attack of blaming the victim (her) from even her own family and how she deals with the consequences of her emotional roller coaster - really heart wrenching and I felt so MUCH for her throughout this read.  My favorite secondary character? Has to be Natasha - I think if you read this book you'll totally understand why. 

Told from the point of view of Dahlia and James with a few chat room chats between the demons of the story, the short chapters keep your attention from page one to the very end.  I felt my eyes drooping at one point but could NOT stop so fought my way through, stayed awake and finished the book.  The author does a great job in putting you right inside the mind of and portraying Dahlia's heartache, James's Asberger Syndrome and even the pathetic and entitled minds of the Hawk Club.  
There are some graphic parts regarding the attack that may be hard for some readers.  I think the author did it tastefully though and it was necessary to really get you inside Dahlia's head.

If I had to be picky in any way about this, the ending did feel a teeny bit rushed after all the detail given throughout the rest of the book.  I was so engaged in the characters that I didn't quite see the little twist!  I knew there was one heading in that direction but my mind, weirdly, wasn't trying to figure it out and was enjoying the read outside of the twisty part.  I am completely satisfied and could NOT put this book down.  It gave me a little bit of "The Accused" movie with Jody Foster throughout.  

Oh sweet, sweet revenge - sometimes it is just SO satisfying.


Jessica's Review:

This was my introduction to Sandra Block, and I can't believe I haven't picked up more from her in the past! WHAT HAPPENED THAT NIGHT is, at it's core, a great thriller about revenge. As a warning, it does deal with an assault that the main character endures at the beginning of the book.

Dahlia is attending Harvard and excelling in her classes, but one day she wakes up after a party and discovers that she is a victim of a horrific assault. The part that haunts her the most is that she has absolutely no memory of the event, which leaves her in a deep-seeded rage. Years later, Dahlia suffers from PTSD but is making it day by day as a paralegal. A video surfaces online and for the first time, Dahlia gets to witness her own attack as well as who is to blame.

While Dahlia is an incredible character, the real standout is James. Her best friend James is such a lovable character and Block captures him perfectly. I loved hearing her talk about him at the book tour and how he even became a favorite of hers. The readers are sucked into the minds of Dahlia and James and their emotions and struggles are so real. It's so easy to connect with them. 

Who doesn't love a great revenge story? I thought it was cleaver having the strict guidelines set that there would be no killing. This had me wondering how she would exact her revenge for the brutal attack she endured. Well, you'll just have to read to find out. Careful, once you start, you won't want to stop!

i give this 5/5 stars!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

REVIEW: A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay @wmmorrowbooks @linwood_barclay

A Noise Downstairs
by Linwood Barclay

Thanks so much to Edelweiss and William Morrow for this copy!
Stay tuned for an upcoming #allthebookreviews to get Jessica's thoughts too!

Publisher:  William Morrow
Publish Date:  July 24, 2018
Kindle Edition
464 Pages
Genres: Thriller, Suspense

College professor Paul Davis is a normal guy with a normal life. Until, driving along a deserted road late one night, he surprises a murderer disposing of a couple of bodies. That’s when Paul’s "normal" existence is turned upside down. After nearly losing his own life in that encounter, he finds himself battling PTSD, depression, and severe problems at work. His wife, Charlotte, desperate to cheer him up, brings home a vintage typewriter—complete with ink ribbons and heavy round keys—to encourage him to get started on that novel he’s always intended to write.
However, the typewriter itself is a problem. Paul swears it’s possessed and types by itself at night. But only Paul can hear the noise coming from downstairs; Charlotte doesn’t hear a thing. And she worries he’s going off the rails.
Paul believes the typewriter is somehow connected to the murderer he discovered nearly a year ago. The killer had made his victims type apologies to him before ending their lives. Has another sick twist of fate entwined his life with the killer—could this be the same machine? Increasingly tormented but determined to discover the truth and confront his nightmare, Paul begins investigating the deaths himself.
But that may not be the best thing to do. Maybe Paul should just take the typewriter back to where his wife found it. Maybe he should stop asking questions and simply walk away while he can. . . .
My Review:
Chit chit.  Chit.  Chit chit chit.
I'm fairly certain whenever I hear real typewrite clickety clack noises now, I'll be thinking back on this book. OMG, readers!  This is a book you will eat right up in one fast sitting.  The prologue BOOMS and pulls you right into this big bear of a thriller that is fast paced and perfect for what is now a category amongst itself - popcorn thrillers! POP POP POP! And I can see why.  After the prologue, all I wanted to do was grab a bowl of popcorn and BE ENTERTAINED!
Told through various points of view, we see Paul, the man who barely survived almost being murdered by a fellow colleague - someone he considered a friend.  We also see through his wife, Charlotte's, eyes and how she is trying to help with his PTSD.  Barclay also gives us a glimpse into the life of Paul's therapist, Anna - who is dealing with issues of her own.  All play a big role in everything that happens in this book, as you would assume, duh. Haha. 
I tell you what, I was mostly fascinated with Anna's other patient and his sociopathic ways. I  almost wish I could get a book just based on Gavin's brain.  WOW.  If you've read the book, tell me if you feel the same!  I loved little moments of levity - especially in Paul's trying to explain to his young son, Josh, about what a typewriter is.  It's fascinating to see how kids view this world filled with technology - especially as a person who grew up going into the technology age but certainly was a big part of the days that were pre-cell phone and computers in the classroom. I used to LOVE typing on a typewriter!
There were lots of twisty turns in this novel - and I didn't see any of them coming. I LOVE IT WHEN THIS HAPPENS!  It may have gotten a little too convoluted at the end with too many things going on... however, I thoroughly enjoyed the entire ride!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

#allthebookreviews: All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth @wmmorrowbooks @lizklehfoth

All These Beautiful Strangers
by Elizabeth Klehfoth

Thanks so much to William Morrow for these gifted copies!
Another #allthebookreviews recommendation for you!

Publisher:  William Morrow
Publish Date:  July 10, 2018
448 Pages
Genres:  YA, Mystery

In the last day of summer, Grace Fairchild, the beautiful young wife of real estate mogul Allister Calloway, vanished from the family’s lake house without a trace, leaving behind her seven-year old daughter, Charlie, and a slew of unanswered questions.

Years later, seventeen-year-old Charlie still struggles with the dark legacy of her family name and the mystery surrounding her mother. Determined to finally let go of the past, she throws herself into life at Knollwood, the prestigious New Englandschool she attends. Charlie quickly becomes friends with Knollwood’s “it” crowd.

Charlie has also been tapped by the A’s—the school’s elite secret society well known for terrorizing the faculty, administration, and their enemies. To become a member of the A’s, Charlie must play The Game, a semester-long, diabolical high-stakes scavenger hunt that will jeopardize her friendships, her reputation, even her place at Knollwood.

As the dark events of past and present converge, Charlie begins to fear that she may not survive the terrible truth about her family, her school, and her own life. 

My Review:

I love it when a debut novel, especially one in the YA thriller category (which is starting to boom these days), really sucks me in.  Admittedly, this did run a little slow at the beginning, but then around 100 pages or so in, I didn't want to put this one down.

Like most YA thrillers I've read, this is just fun and entertaining.  As discussed with my fellow Bookstagrammer, Amy, it definitely has Gossip Girl/Skulls vibe and these are guilty pleasures for me, so how could I NOT like this?!

I'm always fascinated with boarding schools - I went to a community college and commuted so I never really got that dorm room life and feel like I missed out on something at some point.  However, in reading about them, they're almost full of drama and cliquish mannerisms as this book also relays - so maybe I didn't really miss out on much!

I did like Charlie's character.  We've all done some sketchy things as teenagers - especially when wanting to be a part of the IN crowd (which almost always is indulgent in egotism, bullying and atrocious behavior - at least in books, right?).  It's how we come out of these incidents and what we learn from them that make our character at the end. (No pun intended).

I will say that I was more fascinated with Grace's storyline and wanted a LOT more of that.  As Klehfoth brings everything together, I wasn't necessarily surprised with the outcome but I was impressed with how cleanly she pulled it all together.  It didn't feel rushed or mashed up like I've found a few books as of late.  I especially find this so impressive with debut novels.

I will definitely be looking for more from this author.  This is a genre I'm falling in love with quickly.


Jessica's Review:

When I had read the synopsis for this one, it definitely piqued my interest. I have seen it compared to PRETTY LITTLE LIARS and GOSSIP GIRL (both of which I haven’t read or seen…I know, I know I definitely need to remedy that). I have seen this one being categorized as a Young Adult novel, but to me it didn’t read like one. This is a solid debut and I’m excited to see what she comes out with next!
The prologue definitely caught my attention and then I found myself getting sucked into the characters. Years ago, the young wife of a successful real estate mogul, Allister Calloway, disappeared from the family’s home without a trace. Her daughter, Charlie, was a child at the time and was left with so many unanswered questions.
A decade later, Charlie is determined to move on from her complicated past and focuses on school. She is quickly recruited by the elite school’s secret society, the A’s. What they refer to as The Game added a level of drama to the story and I really enjoyed seeing where that would go.
There are so many secrets that were so expertly woven together throughout the story! We go from different perspectives and timelines without getting lost. Present day with Charlie, in the past with Grace (her mother) and another mystery surrounding a classmate’s apparent suicide.
There is plenty to go around in ALL THESE BEAUTIFUL STRANGERS to keep you flipping those pages!
4/5 stars!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

REVIEW: Saving Beck by Courtney Cole @gallerybooks @court_writes

Saving Beck
by Courtney Cole

Thanks so much to Gallery Books for this surprise gifted copy.
A gorgeous story about addiction and hope.


Publisher:  Gallery Books
Publish Date:  July 17, 2018
304 Pages
Genre:  Fiction

There comes a time when offering your life for your child’s doesn’t work, when you realize that it’ll never be enough. 

The cold needle in his warm vein was a welcome comfort to my son at first. But then it became the monster that kept us apart. 

Heroin lied, and my son believed. It took him to a world where the last year didn’t happen, to a place where his father was still alive. What Beck didn’t understand was that it couldn’t bring his father back from the dead. It couldn’t take away his pain, not permanently. 

You think it can’t happen to you, that your kids, your family, will never be in this situation. 
I thought that too. But you’re wrong. 

Step into our world, and see for yourself. 
Watch my golden boy become a slave to this raging epidemic. Watch me try and save him. 

Drug addiction comes with a price. 
Trust me, you’re not equipped to pay it. 

My Review:

I started this book last night and after a few chapters had to put it down because my mind wasn't set for such a heavy read. So I started another book and a few chapters into that one, felt myself drawn back to picking this one back up. I probably would've stayed up late to finish it had I had some decent sleep the night before. I did have time this morning to finish it and I was right, this IS a heavy, heavy read.

People have the tendency to think "This won't happen, can't happen to me or anyone I know." However, it's all too common that there is some type of addiction happening within a family. Whether it's nicotine, alcohol, pills, food or heroin. It can also happen to the least likely person you think it WOULD happen to.. such as Beck, an intelligent young man on his way to college when one devastating accident sends him in a downward spiral.

This isn't just about Beck and his addiction though. This is also about grief, how everyone deals with this differently. We not only see what Beck is going through but how everyone around him is also dealing with their own feelings. Cole really brings you into this realistic, devastating and harrowing tale. However, this isn't just about the drug addiction and Beck's fight for his life. It's also about hope... hope... a feeling humans are lucky to feel.

I was fascinated about how well Cole brings us into this type of story so I went to her website hoping to find out more and found that she has dealt with her son's addiction and has video's discussing this with him. I highly recommend you go and watch this as it really just makes you feel all that more for this story. Thank you, Courtney, for your experiences and bringing this to the public.


#allthebookreviews: Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott @littlebrown @meganeabbott

Give Me Your Hand
by Megan Abbott

Thanks so much to Little, Brown and Company for these copies!
Another July read for #allthebookreviews.  

Publisher:  Little, Brown and Company
Publish Date:  July 17, 2018
352 Pages
Genre: Psychological Thriller

Kit Owens harbored only modest ambitions for herself when the mysterious Diane Fleming appeared in her high school chemistry class. But Diane's academic brilliance lit a fire in Kit, and the two developed an unlikely friendship. Until Diane shared a secret that changed everything between them.

More than a decade later, Kit thinks she's put Diane behind her forever and she's begun to fulfill the scientific dreams Diane awakened in her. But the past comes roaring back when she discovers that Diane is her competition for a position both women covet, taking part in groundbreaking new research led by their idol. Soon enough, the two former friends find themselves locked in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse that threatens to destroy them both.

My Review:

If I'm being honest, I'm not completely quite sure what to think of this book.  It started off a bit slow with the Then and Now format we are all used to reading by now.  We get a bit of history of Diane and Kit and the tumultuous secret that ended their friendship.  How Kit thought she could just move on and never have to deal with it again.  Then Diane shows up at her lab and becomes competition now for the coveted spots with the very formidable Dr. Severin.

This is where things start to get interesting.  We find out about this big secret, new secrets become born and it's a tangled weave that begins to unravel.  A knot constructed in ways Kit didn't even imagine.  Now what? 

Honestly, at first I was baffled about the continuing talk to PMDD research and how women become violent due to their periods... yes, I realize it's more convoluted than that but let's strip it down to this for the moment.  I was a little irritated with this concept - though I do give big ups for research into something that paralyzes some women on a monthly basis since a lot of research goes into male impotence but not much in this faction - so bravo.  I guess I didn't quite like this as a running theme though it did become so much more than that when it came down to the primal ending. Hell, maybe I'm on MY period and am just irritable by nature. HA

I will say that I enjoyed the last quarter much better than the rest of the book.  Abbott did a keen job bringing everything together and tying in SO many things.  This is where I believe she shines. 

It's dangerous when someone knows your biggest secret.  They say that people always carry something with them that no one else will ever know about.  Personally, after this story, I hope more people keep their biggest secrets to themselves!  Only two can keep a secret, if one of them is dead.


Jessica's Review:

This as my introduction to Megan Abbott and I was not disappointed! I've heard great things about her other books and I'll definitely be picking those up. GIVE ME YOUR HAND has a slower start and dives into the characters, but the pacing picks up as the story and secrets progress. 
Kit and Diane met and become fast friends in high school. Both girls have a mutual love for chemistry and a natural rivalry begins to spark between them. One night, Diane decides to share her horrible secret with Kit. This has plagued Kit for years and continues to haunt her. Now, a decade later, Kit is working in a research lab under her idol, Dr. Severin. They are studying PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) and has her sights set on a coveted position within the research team. One day everything turns upside down for her when Diane walks into her lab. As her past comes crashing back into her life she must now try to cope with having to work side by side with the friend she so desperately tried to forget. 
We go back between the past and the present, a thriller theme we see a lot and one that I rather enjoy. We get glimpses into the past and are slowly revealed, piece by piece, what Diane's dark secret is. While I would categorize this as more of a slow-burn thriller, it does pick up the pacing as we get closer to the big reveal. 
Abbott does a great job creating these characters and really dives into the minds of these women, both as teenagers and as adults. I really enjoyed the women in science element. This is something you don't frequently see in books lately, at least not in the genres that I frequent! It's refreshing to get a different perspective.
Overall, this is all about the power of secrets and the hold they can have on our lives. When does a friendship become a rivalry? When did these two friends begin to turn against each other and why? What do you do when the past comes back to haunt you?
I give this 3.5/5 stars!

BLOG TOUR & REVIEW: All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover @atriabooks @colleenhoover

All Your Perfects
by Colleen Hoover

This book took me on a roller coaster of emotions... and I loved the entire ride.
Thanks so much to Atria Books for this stop on the Blog Tour and the gifted copy to review.

Continue for a synopsis, about the author, my review and her tour stops!


Publisher:  Atria Books
Publish Date:  July 17, 2018
320 Pages
Genres: Contemporary, Romance

Colleen Hoover delivers a tour de force novel about a troubled marriage and the one old forgotten promise that might be able to save it.

Quinn and Graham’s perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair.

All Your Perfects is a profound novel about a damaged couple whose potential future hinges on promises made in the past. This is a heartbreaking page-turner that asks: Can a resounding love with a perfect beginning survive a lifetime between two imperfect people?

My Review:

OMG THIS BOOK! I haven't read a lot of Hoover but what I have, I have thoroughly enjoyed. I'm usually not a big romance reader but there's something addicting, compulsive, satisfying and just easy about her writing style that keeps you turning each page through laughter, tears and empathy. UGH, STOP MAKING ME FEEL ALREADY!

I want Graham as a boyfriend, lover and husband. Please, someone create this guy in real life and then send him my way. This is told strictly through Quinn's POV from the past to the present and I just had SO MUCH EMPATHY for her. The struggles she goes through hit all too close to home for me. These kinds of things can make a relationship stronger or can break them apart. Communication is ALWAYS key. There is SO SO much I want to say about this whole book but then I'd be giving the whole thing away and well, that's no fun for you now is it?

Hoover brings these characters to life. I loved seeing how Quinn and Graham's relationship evolved over time. How (mostly) realistic everything was from beginning to end. And to also get a guy's point of view on a very sensitive topic. It's definitely something we don't see the side of a lot and neither side will fully understand the other.... geez, am I being vague enough?

One of my absolute favorite things are Quinn's dreams. I could read a book just about these dreams of hers! The humor, wit and love between these two is beautiful. Category 5s aside, relationship goals are here y'all. 😉

Just such a great book. It made me laugh out loud, cry quietly, sob uncontrollably (maybe a little exaggerating here, but I did hurt myself trying to keep tears in a couple of times) and quite frankly, Colleen - you owe me a box of Kleenex.

COLLEEN HOOVER is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Slammed, Point of Retreat, This Girl, Hopeless, Losing Hope, Finding Cinderella, Maybe Someday, Maybe Not, Ugly Love, Confess, November 9, It Ends with Us, and Without Merit. Colleen has won the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance three times—for Confess in 2015, It Ends with Us in 2016, and Without Merit in 2017. Confess was adapted into a seven-episode online series. In 2015, Colleen and her family founded The Bookworm Box, a bookstore and monthly subscription service offering signed novels donated by authors. All profits are given to various charities each month to help those in need. Colleen lives in Texas with her husband and their three boys. .


07/17: Denver, CO
07:00 PM

07/23: Portland, OR
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Call Store for details: 503-228-4651 or pre-order

07/24: Seattle, WA
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07/25: San Francisco, CA
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07/26: San Diego, CA
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07/27: Phoenix, AZ
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07/28: Los Angeles, CA
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07/29: Dallas, TX
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08/02: Atlanta, GA
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08/03: Asheville, NC
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08/04: Cincinnati, OH
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08/05: Chicago, IL
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08/06: Detroit, MI
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08/07: Minneapolis, MN
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Call for more details: 952-920-2124

08/08: Kansas City, KS
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08/09: Austin, TX
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09/17: New York, NY (just added!)
07:00 PM