Lets Talk

Let’s Talk | My First Month Using Scribd

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So, I finally decided to give the service Scribd another try. I think back in the day when it first started I did a free trial and canceled it within a day. At the time they did not have the books I was trying or enjoying so at the time it was not worth paying for. As of late I have been seeing more and more of it and I thought a great deal of time has passed it might be worth giving it another try. On top of seeing it talked about a lot I also was motived by the NEWTs Readathon taking place and I was going out of town for a few weeks. Traveling with huge books is not really fun or easy to do so I thought that giving this digital service a try might help.

I will say I did have reservation mixed with my hope of the improvement of the choices from this service. I continue to hear stories of people being limited without really being told why they were being limited. They make it kinda clear that you can have unlimited listening or reading, but then why are there limits? When do you hit these limits? There is no real answer that anyone has come across. I was just kinda worried I would be on vacation then all of a sudden in the middle of a book, I loose access to it. I was also worried that this service still didn’t really carry the books that I am currently reading and I would not be using it after a month because none of my current TBR are on there or the same availability as my library that I can use for free. Anyway, worries aside I gave it a try and here is my experience after using the service for one month.


-My Experience-

So, during this experiment of sorts I accessed both audiobook and ebooks. I enjoy both of these formats and they are great for traveling and being on the go. I am going to discuss my experience by talking about each format on their own.

First, let’s talk about the audiobooks. I first used Scribd mainly on my desktop computer I wanted to save the app and room on my phone for when I was traveling. Anyway, I really liked the interface for the audiobook on desktop. It was set up pretty cleanly and everything was clear without being walked through it, at least for me. Another major thing I was the look out for was the speed I would be able to access the audiobook at. I tend to listen to audiobooks at 2x or 3x speed, it depends on the narrator and pace of the reading to begin with. I also took advantage of the sleep timer a few times when I was listening at night incase I were to drift to bed.

The only thing I think that could make this interface better would be if there was a preview or label that popped up if you hovered over a control. I learned by playing along with a book I didn’t really care to much about keeping my place, but if I was in the middle of a book and hit the go back to start of chapter button when I really only wanted to go back 15 seconds or 30 seconds. Also, labeling how many seconds it jumps back or forward, it would be wonderful. So, I guess I would say there are two things that can be improved upon.

-The App-

On top of using the desktop interface, I also used the ISO app. I have to say, there were a few things that I liked and some things that I didn’t like.

I will start with the things I liked, first and foremost of which is that I can download an audiobook for on the go and not have to worry about data usage or being in a low service area interrupting my listening.  For me personally, it is a must if I am going to be listening to the book on go. Another notable thing I enjoy is the bookmark aspect, incase I lost my spot by hitting a button on accident. I am notorious for doing this, so whenever I pause or put an audiobook down, I always mark my spot.

When looking at the app as a whole instead of just at the listening screen, it looks like you have access to pretty much everything. You can look at recommended books, explore, and search for your next read. You can easily find your saved list with the bottom navigation and a nifty thing I noticed is that you can hit a button and only see the books on your saved list that you already downloaded to streamline listening.

With all things, there were some negatives with this app. The first and honestly the most annoying was the fact that it randomly paused multiple times. At first I thought it had to do with it being a new chapter and maybe it was a way to make sure the reader didn’t fall asleep or space out while listening. Sadly, this was not the case. It just stoped on me in the middle of  chapters. It was very annoying and I had to keep putting aside what I was doing to get my phone, open the app all the way and hit play again. This happened 3 times within the first chapter of American Gods… a book I had downloaded on my phones. So it was not due to lack of service or anything like that. The second thing that annoyed me was that on the app the max speed you can listen at is 2x speed… on the desktop you can listen at 3x speed, which is a speed I utilize often.  While I can make due with 2x speed, I am just confused as to why on one interface the max speed is different than the other.


-Items “Taken Out”-

Thunderhead ebook

Supermarket Audiobook

American Gods Audiobook

Endless Night Audiobook


-Final Thoughts-

At this point in time, I can easily see the value in a service like this. If someones library is not well stocked with the types of literature someones likes or if their library has a fee that is maybe more than this service it is a wonderful resource. Also, if owning audiobooks is not something you are interested in, this is a very good alternative to other popular audiobook sites, such as audible. The main thing you need to make sure of it that this service has the audiobooks you are interested in. Otherwise it is not worth it in the slightest.

While this service can make some improvements, some of which I stated in this post, for me at this point in time it is worth continuing to give it a go, but I still have questions/concerns. Mainly with what the true limits are on the accounts that some people run into. I have done some research and I have found that users can run into problems if they are signed into too many browsers or devices. I was kind of concerned to be signed into the app and desktop, but I have not run into any problems at this time.

I also don’t have a firm understanding of what saved is. Does that mean I “checked them out” or just for future reference? Does that mean I have access and it is reserved in a way? I have heard stories of other users saving ebooks or audiobooks, then go to listen to them and are told they are not available. So, it is kind of confusing.

Long post short, I am going to continue to give this service a try and see if it is a good alternative for me and my reading habits when supplementing my all of a sudden limited library digital resources.


Do you use Scribd? What do you love about it? Have you run into any problems using this service?

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Reviews

REVIEW | The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

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* I received this book from publisher via netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review.*  

The Turn of the Key
Description:

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is. –goodreads


What I Liked

Ruth Ware for me has been one of my favorite thriller writers. She has mastered the art of building a world and atmosphere that the reader is just pulled into. In fact, I was so enthralled with this novel, I read it in a single day. It kept me from the first page till the last.

The main part that pulled me in, apart from the atmosphere, was the characters she created. I really was interested in the people she wrote into being.  I always felt like they were hiding something, there was just something I couldn’t understand, even though their character was very distinct and in a lot of cases had a lot of interaction with one another so you have a good handle on their voices. Especially for the main character, I had to say I really loved how Ware decided to tell this story. I don’t want to spoil it, but I think the method really added to it. Not only did I feel like these flushed out characters feel like there was something just under the surface, the way they interacted with one another was interesting.

On top of the development of the characters and the great atmosphere, I have to say the location of the novel I thought was just a wonderful choice, I don’t want to say more because I think others will really enjoy it coming to life as you read.

As for the plot there were a few things I saw coming and a few things I did not see coming. For me that is a true sign of a good thriller. While, I read a lot of thrillers I can say with some confidence that I have gotten quite good at being able to predict what is going to happen. So, if it can surprise me not once, but multiple times, the author has done a very good job.

Also, I must add, this is one of the best unreliable narrators I have seen in some time.


What I Didn’t Like

Uh, nothing. I honestly loved it from front cover to back cover. Ruth Ware truly has a talent and I feel like with every one of her book she continue to get better and better.


Overall Thoughts

Overall, I think this is a fantastic thriller. It has the atmosphere, the setting, an unreliable narrator, and wonderful characters in addition to a wonderful plot. If you enjoy thrillers or any of the things I mentioned in this post, I really think you should give it a try. I will also add, that I liked it so much I bought a final copy of this book so I can tell more people about it.

5stars


Author Links

Ruth Ware

Website: ruthware.com
Facebook: @ruthwarewriter
Instagram: @ruthwarewriter

Book Information

Publication Date: August 6th 2019

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

List Price: $27.99

ISBN: 9781501188770

Pages: 337 pages

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TBR

TBR | September 2019

 

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After all the reading and planning of the NEWTs Readathon last month, I honestly wanted nothing to do with picking my TBR so I decided I was going to let a few twitter polls and you lovely individuals pick my TBR this month. I did add the books I am most excited to get to, so I was excited with whatever the outcome may be. Without more rambiling, here are the books you decided I should read this month!



-The Books-

The Tin Man has been on and off my radar for some time. I actually unhauled it a while back because I didn’t feel like I was ever going to read it. Now months and months later I came across it in a independent bookstore and I reread the description and I felt like I needed to read it. That was last month, so I am so happy I am reading it this month and not putting it off again.

The Salt Path is brand new to me, I have heard nothing about it before picking it up while on vacation this year. I found a really adorable independent bookstore and was browsing the shelves and came across this one. It looks like it is going to be a heart felt story that will make me cry. This nonfiction novel follows a Husband and Wife who drop everything and go hiking across the US when her husband is told he is terminally ill. I feel like I am going to cry, but also feel warm because I feel like these two are very much in love and it will be touching.

Miracle Creek was my BOTM pick from April, I am really interested in this magical realism/ thriller. I have a feeling it is going to be one I am going to fall in love with because the idea of it is so out there and unique to me.

I will also make it a goal of mine this month to finally finish my serialized editions of The Green Mile. I have parts 3-6 to still get to and I am reading them with a lovely group of individuals over on instagram. I am really excited about it!


What are you reading this month?

Are they on your TBR?

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Hauls

Read 5, Buy 1 | July 2019

Read 5 Buy 1

Welcome to the second month of my Read 5, Buy 1! I have to say I am very proud of the progress I have made over the past month and a half of doing this. My TBR is down to ___ amount of books and I have been really selective with the books I have been adding to my TBR. Anyway, here are the books I read and here are the books that I bought!

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Read 2


Books Added 2

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Have you ever done a book buying ban?

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Hauls

Read 5, Buy 1 | June 2019

Read 5 Buy 1.jpg

Hello and welcome to another kind of blog post series I am adding to my blog. Nearly a year ago I shared by Read 5, Buy 1 Challenge, you can find that here: Lets Talk | My Read 5, Buy 1 Challenge. In this post I explain how I challenge myself when I feel that my Owned TBR has gotten a bit out of hand. Well, This past month with Book Con I decided that having nearly 50 books at one point was way to high for me to be comfortable with. So, I decided to reinstate the Read 5, Buy 1 Challenge. In the linked post it goes into detail of what it is and what it entails, but I will give you a little summary.

Pretty much for every 5 books you read, you get to buy 1 book. No book buying bans needed with this, but it does help you cull your TBR and get it under control. I have used it quite a few times over the year. My last run of it I got my TBR down to the high teens, which is within my happy place of owned TBR. Anyway, each month I am going to give a little summary of how it is going and share the books I read and the book I bought.


Read

Buy


Since I started this in the middle of the month I only have one book hauled through this challenge. Now, I need to get reading so I can get my TBR down and buy some books! Any questions about this challenge I am happy to answer.

Divider 2What does your TBR look like?

Have you ever done a book buying ban?

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Hauls

Unboxing | Coffee and a Classic June 2019

Unboxing

This month I decided I would give a new book box a try. I have tried many in the past and only one to this point has been one I have kept for over a year. The others were wonderful, but I no longer read a lot of YA so I was on the hunt for a book box that fits my current reading habits. With my youtube and blog searches I came across this lovely box called Coffee and a Classic.

If you know me I love classic literature, I find it a wonderful way to look into the past without reading non-ficiton, which I also love. On top of that, you get some delicious coffee to sip while you read. An entire experience!

Now, this box has a few customizable things going for it as well. You can pick coffee or tea, and the type of classic you would want to read. They have children’s classic, classic literature, and then a non-fiction classic. Which, I love that they give the subscribers so much choice in the box. On top of that you can can pick from starter ($29.99)  or standard (40.99). Which, if you want to know more please check out their website. www.coffeeandaclassic.com.

Anyway, I picked the classic literature starter box here is what I got this month!


Can I just say I am a sucker for cute simplistic packaging? This logo is just so cute and I love it. I also loved how everything was packaged in a box that was appropriate in size. Everything fit safely and snuggly inside nothing was shifting all over and there was unneeded stuff.

I am so excited to try this coffee, I am also so happy that it happens to be themes as a Grand Adventure because I am currently rereading The Fellowship of the Ring and I feel like it would fit in perfectly. On top of that it smells heavily.

Here are the two bookish goodies I got this month. The first are two absorbent car coasters. I feel like these people are spying on me because I said a few weeks ago I needed some of these and I was on the look out for them. Looks like I don’t need to keep searching. The second is a beautiful lined notebook, which is in a beautiful blue color. I love that both of these have artwork that actual applies to the book that is in this book instead of just something generic. You can see the thought that goes into this.

Last, but certainly not least we have the bookmark and the book. Can I just say I love that they send  a bookmark with a book. I never understood when book boxes never came with a bookmark. Anyway, this bookmark is made of Sassafras and features art pertaining to the book. I have never had a wooden bookmark that I can remember, but I love the feel of this. Then, we have the classic! I am happy to say I have not read this classic, but I have heard quote a lot about it. I am excited to dive into this, sip my coffee, and maybe take some notes.

I have to say I am really happy with this book box. The items inside are usable and not just knickknacks and all have to do with the book that was sent not just a generic theme. I can see the hard work that was put into this and I want to say well done. I am going to continue on with this box!


What did you think of this book box?

Do you subscribe to any bookish boxes?

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TBR

TBR | July 2019

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We are officially in the second half of the year, I can’t get over it. But, I am excited to share another TBR with you. This month I am reading a few books by adored authors, continuing a reread of a series I love, and then throwing in a few books written by new to me authors. In other words I am reading a little bit of everything. Without a huge introduction, here are the books I am going to do my best to read this upcoming month.


-The Books-

The Bird’s Nest by Shirley Jackson

Each month I have been trying to read the book I have had on my owned TBR the longest. At this point in the that would be The Bird’s Nest. I picked it up in July, so this would be a year so it is time to read it because I don’t really keep books over a year because I have not read it by then I am never going to read it. I do love Jackson’s work, I just know I read a lot of them last year and that is most likely why I have put this one off.

The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien

Last month I started my reread of the LOTR series and this month I wanted to continue along with that. I feel like reading one a month leaves me at a good pace while not neglecting the rest of my TBR.

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

I was lucky enough to get this as an eARC via netgalley. Ruth Ware is one of my top thriller writers so I am very excited to get to this and review it for all of you. Thank-you Gallery Books!


-TBR Jar Pick-

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

This is a fairly recent addition to my TBR I got it as my bonus book of the month book in May since I was gifted a free book from them since I have been a member for so long. I am very interested to see where this novel goes because I opened the inside flap and it says “A Girl…A Prince…A Monster” in large type, how could I not want to know how these three fair together?


What are you reading this month?

Have you read any of these books before or are they on your TBR?

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Reviews

REVIEW | Women Talking by Miriam Toews

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* I received this book from publisher via netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review.*  

Women Talking
Description:

One evening, eight Mennonite women climb into a hay loft to conduct a secret meeting. For the past two years, each of these women, and more than a hundred other girls in their colony, has been repeatedly violated in the night by demons coming to punish them for their sins. Now that the women have learned they were in fact drugged and attacked by a group of men from their own community, they are determined to protect themselves and their daughters from future harm.

While the men of the colony are off in the city, attempting to raise enough money to bail out the rapists and bring them home, these women—all illiterate, without any knowledge of the world outside their community and unable even to speak the language of the country they live in—have very little time to make a choice: Should they stay in the only world they’ve ever known or should they dare to escape?

Based on real events and told through the “minutes” of the women’s all-female symposium, Toews’s masterful novel uses wry, politically engaged humor to relate this tale of women claiming their own power to decide.

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What I Liked

The main reason I wanted to read this book was because it was based upon real events. I enjoy reading non-ficiton and historical fiction and I felt like this book would be enjoyable. This book tackles dark events dealing with an established religious group and how the women must either come to terms with the status quo or make changes. As you can see from the description the status quo is not something I think many of us would want to endure.

I really enjoyed that the author did put this struggle into words and I feel like it could be applied to many other situations. While this story very dark and very extreme in its content, if you are triggered by rape or the discussion of it please do not read it boils down to women in a very bad situation determining if it is worth living with the devil you know, or chancing it with the devil you don’t know in a world you don’t understand. In other words,  you can either endure traumatic treatment and stay with what you know and fear, or go off and try to get away for your hope of a safe situation in a world you have no idea how to navigate. On top of that the fear of what might happen if you are not successful. Obviously, every situation is different and each needs to be thought of on its own merits, but I can appreciate that this author was willing to have a discussion about this.


What I Didn’t Like

I didn’t like how slow paced this book was. I kind of had to push myself through it. I am not sure if this is because I was expecting a lot to happen based upon the description, but I felt that for the size of the book it was a slow mover. At times I felt it was rambling and I would grow bored.


Overall Thoughts

I feel like this was a good topic to discuss and should continue to be discussed. The topic was interesting for sure. I just don’t know if the topic was enough for me to fully enjoy this book. For me personally I do not enjoy slow moving books that are more talk than action. So, I feel like if you enjoy that type of writing style, you would easily like this book more than I did. 3stars

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Author Links

Miriam Toews

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Book Information

Publication Date: April 2nd 2019

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

List Price: $24.99

ISBN: 9781635572582

Pages: 216 pages

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Reviews

REVIEW | Little Guides to Great Lives: Anne Frank by Isabel Thomas

BookReview12:17

* I received this book from publisher via netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review.*  

Little Guides to Great Lives: Anne FrankDescription:

Anne Frank was an ordinary girl living in extraordinary times. Forced to go into hiding to escape the Nazis’ persecution of Jews in World War II, Anne kept a diary that would become one of the most famous books in the world.

Meet one of history’s most inspiring figures in this beautifully-illustrated guide to her amazing life.

From artists to aviators and scientists to revolutionaries, Little Guides to Great Lives is a brand new series of small-format guides introducing children to the most inspirational figures from history in a fun, accessible way.

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What I Liked

First off I have to say that the story of Anne Frank and the holocaust as a whole is not an easy topic no matter how you look at it. But, these are both important stories that need to be shared. I read this book two times before writing this review, for a few reasons.

The firs being that this author did a wonderful job telling this story. It is done in such a way that it does not hide the truth, but gently explains what happened to Anne Frank and others who were victimized during WWII. It explained the steps leading up to the labor and concentration camps in a factual way, but in a very respectful manner. I have to say that this is one of the most gentle, but truthful children’s book I have read on the topic personally.

The second reason I read this multiple times was the art style and illustrations that are present throughout. While I hate to say that this story is beautiful, because it is so heart breaking, this book is beautiful and is a work of art.

Another thing I loved about this book was that it just did not tell the story of Anne Frank, but it was so much more. It talked about the global economy and the rise of the Nazi to give the story context. There was also a lot of helpful information such as key character descriptions, timelines, and a glossary to aid young readers in learning and making sense  of the complex story. But, the best thing they had in there was further reading. You can tell the author cares about the topic and is passionate about learning when they share where readers can learn more.


What I Didn’t Like

Honestly, there is nothing bad I can say about this book. It was well structured, it covered a difficult topic in a very accessible way to children.


Overall Thoughts

Overall I really enjoyed reading this, even though I am not a child I found it to be informative and interested without being overwhelming. This is a great way to expose young children the the holocaust and the story of Anne Frank without being overwhelming in my opinion.  I even bought a copy for a friend of mine for her to read to her children.

5stars

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Author Links

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Book Information

Publication Date: April 23rd 2019

Publisher: Laurence King Publishing

List Price: $11.99

ISBN: 9781786273987

Pages: 64 pages

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Goals

Reading & Blog Goals | 2019 Mid-Year Check In

Reading Goals NEW

It is mind boggling to think that we are already halfway through 2019. It feels like it only just begun if you ask me. I almost totally forgot that I needed to do another check in on my year long goals. I felt like I had all the time in the world. Turns out, I only have another 6 months to meet all of these. If you want to see where I was. 3 months ago, you can see my previous check in here; Reading & Blog Goals | 2019 First Quarter Check In.

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-My Goals-

  1. Read all of the short listed books for the 2018 Man Booker Prize
  2. Read a book set in each of the 7 continents
  3. Read 50 books
  4. Read 30,000 pages
  5. Read at least one book per month from the library
  6. Read 12 non-fiction books
  7. Read a book recommended by someone I look up to
  8. Read my classic of 2019, War and Peace
  9. Take part in 2019 Beat the Backlist
    • My backlisted books are here.

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-My Updates-

  1. I recently did an update post on this goal in particular, Revisiting | Reading a Shortlist. To summarize I have read/DNFed 3 books out of the 6 on the list. If you want to see my reasonings and such, please look at that post I go into a lot of detail.
  2. At this point in the year I have read a books that take place on 4 of the 7 continents. I am still working on South America, Asia (already have a book picked), and Australia. If you have any reconditions from these continents please share!
  3. As of writing this June 10th, I have read a total of 38 books, I am very close to reaching this goal.
  4. At this point in time I have read 16851, so I am once again in pretty good shape and on track to hit my goal!
  5. So far I have read a book from the library for Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, and Jun! So I am sticking to this one for sure!
  6. I am happy to report that I am ahead of schedule on this goal, I have read a total of 11 non-fiction books this year. So, more than 25% of my read books are non-fiction. It is my most read genre.
  7. So, this goal I am a little on the fence about, I tried to read a book reccoemnded by Megan Mullally, Milkman, but I ended up DNFing it. So, I kinda did and kinda didn’t meet this goal? I am going to maybe try one more from this list since I only need to read one.
  8. So, reading War and Peace is progressing slowly, but surly I am currently on Book 7 out of 17 sections. I am a little behind, but I plan on catching up over the summer when I will have more time outside taking care of my plants.
  9. So, beat the backlist I have been keeping track of in my monthly wrap ups, As of writing this I only have 9 books still to read from 2018. I stared with 34, so not to shabby.

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-Bujo Spreads-

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How are your goals progressing so far?

Have you changed any of your goals?

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