Thursday, February 28, 2019

Review: Blood Echo by Christopher Rice (audio)

Title: Blood Echo
Author: Christopher Rice
Series: Burning Girl, #2
Narrator: Lauren Ezzo
Published: February 2019, Brilliance Audio / Thomas & Mercer
Length: 10 hours 53 minutes  / 355 pages
Source: Audio - Publisher / Print - Netgalley via Little Bird Publicity

A conspiracy that promises bloodshed and the only woman who can stop it collide in the page-turning thriller by Christopher Rice, Amazon Charts bestselling author of Bone Music.
Kidnapped and raised by serial killers, Charlotte Rowe suffered an ordeal that made her infamous. Everyone in the world knew who she was. But no one in the world has any idea what she’s become…

Charlotte is an experiment. And a weapon. Enabled by a superpower drug, she’s partnered with a shadowy pharmaceutical company to hunt down and eliminate society’s most depraved human predators. But her latest mission goes off the rails in a horrifying way. Unsettled by her own capacity for violence, Charlotte wants some time to retreat so she can work on her new relationship with Luke, a sheriff’s deputy in the isolated Central California town she now calls home.

If only the threats hadn’t followed Charlotte there.

Something sinister is evolving in Altamira, California—a massive network of domestic terrorists with ties to Charlotte’s influential and corrupt employers. As a vast and explosive criminal conspiracy grows, the fate of Charlotte’s hometown hangs in the balance. With everyone she cares about in danger, Charlotte has no choice but to bring her powers home.

Charlotte Rowe has been triggered, and now she’ll have to take matters into her own powerful hands.

My thoughts: Last year I read the first book in this series, which happened to be the first book I've ever read by Christopher Rice. I don't tend to read much science fiction and even though this series delves a little bit into it, I can handle it. And let me just tell you, going out of your comfort zone every once in a while is good...and I'm so glad I gave this series a chance, because I really like it!

I just want to start off by saying I really think you need to read this series in order. Too much of what happens in this book builds on what happened in the previous book. I don't think you could read book 2 and then go back and enjoy book 1, Bone Music, without having it all spoiled. It's not just a case of character development here. There is a lot of plot development going on as well. Trust me when I say it really behooves you to start at book 1 and read it in order!

That being said, this book picks up shortly after the previous book leaves off. Yes, we do get some backstory here and there, which is good because if you are like me, it's been a while since I've read Bone Music and I liked the "refresher" but it was just enough to remind me of what happened - it did not go into verbose details of the story. 

I loved the way this book was an equal mix of action and character development. At times it moves fast and then it slows down to help us understand the characters involved. The beginning and the ending are action-packed and move at lightning speed, and then the middle is much more slower, giving you time to digest what you are reading. This is where we learn more about some of the secondary characters that are quite integral to the story - Cole Graydon, Dylan, and Bailey to name a few. 

I loved the introspection we get from the characters, particularly from Charlotte. Yes, she is given a drug that allows her to have superman-like powers and she only uses those powers to go after bad guys, but when she is under the influence of this drug, she can literally rip a person from limb to limb. Her issue is that when she is going after the bad guys and exerts her superhuman power on them to capture them, and potentially hurts or possibly kills them, is she any better than they are? This is what she mulls over in her head. We also see a few other characters mull over some of their actions and this is not something we typically see in thrillers...and I love this!

This book is not your typical thriller series and I think that is why I am enjoying it so much. It does have that supernatural/science-fiction slant to it, but I think the way technology and science are moving forward it is possible that one day...we just might get there, however scary that thought is and that is why I can wrap my head around this book and series. Do I want this to come to fruition - oh my goodness, no way! But, I can see it maybe happening one day in the future. I am definitely looking forward to seeing where this series heads next!!!

Audio thoughts:  Once again, Lauren Ezzo did a fantastic job with the audio. I listened to the previous book and found that the consistency of the voices was amazing. It was like coming back to visit old friends. The pacing and intonation was great and Lauren was able to build suspense and tension in her voice as needed. I hope Lauren continues to narrate this series for as long as the series goes on.

Books in this series:
  1. Bone Music
  2. Blood Echo

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Review: What Doesn't Kill Her by Christina Dodd

Title: What Doesn't Kill Her
Author: Christina Dodd
Series: Cape Charade, #2
Published: January 2019, HQN
Format: ARC Paperback, 400 pages
Source: Publisher

One secret, one nightmare, one lie. You guess which is which.

1. I have the scar of a gunshot on my forehead.
2. I have willfully misrepresented my identity to the US military.
3. I'm the new mother of a seven-year-old girl.

Kellen Adams suffers from a yearlong gap in her memory. A bullet to the brain will cause that. But she's discovering the truth, and what she learns changes her life, her confidence, her very self. She finds herself in the wilderness, on the run, unprepared, her enemies unknown--and she is carrying a priceless burden she must protect at all costs. The consequences of failure would break her. And Kellen Adams does not break.

What doesn't kill her...had better start running.

My thoughts: This is the second book in Christina Dodd's Cape Charade series and the second book I've read by Christina Dodd. As you know if you've been following me for any amount of time, I'm a big fan of series and I love when I come across a series that's just beginning, which is what happened with this one. 

This second book starts off much like the first book does - it pulls you right into the story and never really lets up. It was intense and the suspense builds at a pretty steady pace. I found myself glued to the pages, desperate to figure out just what was going on - thinking I had it figured out, only to be thwarted as something new would be discovered. This one really kept me on my toes, and when you add a child in the adorable, yet precocious seven-year-old, it adds a totally new dynamic to the story.

I will say, as I usually do when it comes to reading series...I highly recommend reading the first book, Dead Girl Running, before picking this book up. This book contains just enough threads that would be considered spoilers to the previous book that it might ruin it if you read it after. So, proceed as you see fit.

I continue to love the character development we get with Kellen. She is one complicated character. And a lot is thrown at her in this book. We do get a bit more of her backstory - the book goes into her past, which I loved! It gives us some much needed answers that if you read book one, you are desperate to know. One of the things I loved about the first book, and which continues here, is that answers aren't given to us about all the characters right away. They are slowly fed to us, bit by bit...and we still don't have the full story. I think there is still more to Kellen, in particular, and perhaps on some of the other characters, as well, and I'm looking forward to exploring them all further in future books!

The mystery really keeps you guessing in this book...who is behind it all? There are twists and turns and it becomes quite tense at times, and then it is just plain hilarious at other times...but the balance is so thought-out and well-played that it strikes an even-keel. 

I am definitely looking forward to the next book in this series - more for the continued character development than the mystery, if I'm being completely honest. I will say Kellen is a fun protagonist and it is always an adventure whatever it is she gets involved in! Have you started this series yet?

Books in this series: 
  1. Dead Girl Running
  2. What Doesn't Kill Her
  3. Strangers She Knows - due out October 2019


Monday, February 25, 2019

Blog Tour & Review: The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin

Title: The Last Romantics
Author: Tara Conklin
Published: February 2019, William Morrow
Format: ARC Paperback, 368 pages
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

The New York Times bestselling author of The House Girl explores the lives of four siblings in this ambitious and absorbing novel in the vein of Commonwealth and The Interestings.

“The greatest works of poetry, what makes each of us a poet, are the stories we tell about ourselves. We create them out of family and blood and friends and love and hate and what we’ve read and watched and witnessed. Longing and regret, illness, broken bones, broken hearts, achievements, money won and lost, palm readings and visions. We tell these stories until we believe them.”

When the renowned poet Fiona Skinner is asked about the inspiration behind her iconic work, The Love Poem, she tells her audience a story about her family and a betrayal that reverberates through time.

It begins in a big yellow house with a funeral, an iron poker, and a brief variation forever known as the Pause: a free and feral summer in a middle-class Connecticut town. Caught between the predictable life they once led and an uncertain future that stretches before them, the Skinner siblings—fierce Renee, sensitive Caroline, golden boy Joe and watchful Fiona—emerge from the Pause staunchly loyal and deeply connected.  Two decades later, the siblings find themselves once again confronted with a family crisis that tests the strength of these bonds and forces them to question the life choices they’ve made and ask what, exactly, they will do for love.

A sweeping yet intimate epic about one American family, The Last Romantics is an unforgettable exploration of the ties that bind us together, the responsibilities we embrace and the duties we resent, and how we can lose—and sometimes rescue—the ones we love. A novel that pierces the heart and lingers in the mind, it is also a beautiful meditation on the power of stories—how they navigate us through difficult times, help us understand the past, and point the way toward our future.

My thoughts: I read Tara Conlin's debut novel, The House Girl, back in 2013 and have been waiting for her next novel, knowing that I would read it, no matter what the subject. Well, let me tell you, the wait has certainly been worth it - this second novel was absolutely as stunning and amazing as her first.

I am such a fan of family sagas - probably because I come from such a large family myself and can so appreciate all the drama and messiness that comes with siblings. It's inevitable and I just cannot get enough of it, and when it's done really well, you can tell - it's real, it's relatable and it's full-on messy and that is what we have here! 

This book is about the bonds between the Skinner children and we get a look into each of their lives throughout the book. In some cases, it reminded me a bit of Chloe Benjamin's The Immortalists, which I also loved! I felt we got an intimate portrait of each of the four siblings, even though the story was mainly told from Fiona's point of view. These siblings did not have the easiest of upbringings yet, they were there for each other and that came across the pages loud and clear. This story highlights the deep, unconditional love that is found in a family,  and that even though you might fight and scream at each other, that love never goes away. 

This is the type of book that I love recommending to people - I love reading family sagas and I know I will be telling everyone I know about this book. It's also the type of book I know I will be rereading at some point in the future - not only for the story, but for the beautiful prose that Tara Conklin uses to tell her story. This is fiction at its best!

About the Author: Tara Conklin has worked as a litigator in the New York and London offices of a corporate law firm but now devotes her time to writing fiction. She received a BA in history from Yale University, a JD from New York University School of Law, and a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University. Born in St. Croix, she grew up in Massachusetts and now lives with her family in Seattle, Washington.

Authors Links:  Website   |   Twitter   |   Facebook    |   Instagram

Purchase Links:   HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Be sure to check out all the other stops on the blog tour and follow the tour on Twitter (hashtags:  #TLCBookTours & #thelastromantics).


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Book Spotlight: Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce -- With Giveaway!!!

Yesterday, Harriet Tyce's debut novel, Blood Orange,was published in the United States. To help the publisher get the word out, I am hosting a giveaway for two lucky giveaway is being hosted here & one is being hosted on my Instagram page. 

I just finished reading this book and posted my review earlier today - you can find my review here.  

Read on to see what others have to say and then you can find out where to enter the giveaway below!!! 

Title: Blood Orange
Author: Harriet Tyce
Published: February 2019, Grand Central Publishing
Format: Hardcover, 352 pages

A young lawyer's outwardly perfect life spirals out of control as she takes on her first murder case in this dark and twisty debut thriller for readers of Paula Hawkins, A.J. Finn, or Shari Lapena.

Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise--she's just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems...

Just one more night. Then I'll end it.
Alison drinks too much. She's neglecting her family. And she's having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries may be more than she can handle.

I did it. I killed him. I should be locked up.
Alison's client doesn't deny that she stabbed her husband - she wants to plead guilty. And yet something about her story is deeply amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself.

I'm watching you. I know what you're doing.
But someone knows Alison's secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she's done, and who won't stop until she's lost everything....

What readers are saying:

"Intriguing....A surefire bestseller!"Iris Johansen, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Shattered Mirror

"BLOOD ORANGE kept me frantically turning the pages, desperate to know what would happen next. A superb, compulsive read!"Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestselling author
"BLOOD ORANGE is destined to be a debut that everyone is talking about in 2019. Dark, original and utterly compelling, I could not put it down. And what a twist at the end!"Lisa Jewell, New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone
"In BLOOD ORANGE, Harriet Tyce brings a new layer of visceral, addictive dark to domestic noir. Obsession, revenge, lust and murder play out on the pages as a female barrister tries to hold her life together while her personality tries to tear it apart. At once shocking and riveting, I simply couldn't stop reading. Bravo!"Sarah Pinborough, New York Times bestselling author

"A classic thriller with complex and compelling characters."Clare Mackintosh, nationally bestselling author of I See You
"A fantastic debut. Dark. Twisted. I read it in one heart-stopping sitting!"Robert Bryndza, #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Girl in the Ice

"A dark and disturbing domestic noir."Louise Jensen, USA Today bestselling author
"Combines sharp spare prose with a gloriously twisted plot--I read this in one heart-pounding, furiously angry sitting."Emma Flint, nationally bestselling author of Little Deaths

"BLOOD ORANGE is a brilliant marriage between psychological suspense and legal thriller. The debut novel of the year. It's a stunning portrayal of both one woman's fight for justice for an accused murderer-and of a life spinning out of control. Harriet Tyce is now on my 'must read' list."Jeff Abbott, New York Times bestselling author
"Gritty and compelling, BLOOD ORANGE drags you right into the hearts of the flawed characters and their stories from the get go. A book that will keep you up all night."Kate Hamer, bestselling author


Giveaway Details -- (US or Canada Only) 
Thanks to the publisher, two readers will win a finished copy of Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce. 

There are 2 options to enter: by the rafflecopter here on this page and by heading over to my Instagram page to this post. You can enter on both if you so choose. Both giveaways will end on Wednesday, February 27th, and are not affiliated with or sponsored by Instagram or Blogger. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Review: Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

Title: Blood Orange
Author: Harriet Tyce
Published: February 2019, Grand Central Publishing
Format: ARC Paperback, 352 pages
Source: Publisher

A young lawyer's outwardly perfect life spirals out of control as she takes on her first murder case in this dark and twisty debut thriller for readers of Paula Hawkins, A.J. Finn, or Shari Lapena.
Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise--she's just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems...

Just one more night. Then I'll end it.
Alison drinks too much. She's neglecting her family. And she's having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries may be more than she can handle.

I did it. I killed him. I should be locked up.
Alison's client doesn't deny that she stabbed her husband - she wants to plead guilty. And yet something about her story is deeply amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself.

I'm watching you. I know what you're doing.
But someone knows Alison's secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she's done, and who won't stop until she's lost everything....

My thoughts: I was so excited to have this book in my is definitely going down as one of my favorites of the year, no question about it! I am in disbelief that this is a debut novel - this psychological thriller is smart, obsessive and voyeuristic in nature and will have you frantically flipping those pages trying to put everything together before the shocking ending!

I think what I loved most about this book is that none of the characters are particularly likeable, yet you just cannot seem to walk away once you start reading this book. It is utterly compelling and Alison, our main protagonist, is deeply flawed and I think that is what makes her so attractive. You just need to see where this book takes her. Is she a reliable narrator or not? I constantly asked myself this question over and over again throughout the book. There are things going on in her life that will make you wonder. Her personal life might be in a bit of a mess, but professionally, things couldn't be going better.  

She is given her first murder case and while that is certainly a case that is intriguing in and of itself , I was more interested with what was going on with Alison herself. And I loved the way the book was set up - we would be just getting into the murder case and finally making headway with that and then the focus would switch to Alison and her issues, and then it would switch again. It would be so frustrating, because as much as I wanted to know how the murder case ended up...I really wanted closure on Alison and her issues more. 

This book is the type that gets under your skin. So many things happen that you just can't walk away from it until you get that final resolution and yet...AND YET...let me just tell you, I was completely dumbfounded when I got to the end. I had my theories on where things where heading. I was making notes to myself along the way about what I thought was going to happen and I couldn't have been further from the truth. This one is good! It's dark and twisted and I loved it! I have definitely found a new author to stalk...Harriet Tyce, you have a new fan for sure and I hope your next book will be out soon!!!


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Review: Never Tell by Lisa Gardner

Title: Never Tell
Author: Lisa Gardner
Series: Detective D.D. Warren, #10
Published: February 2019, Dutton Books
Format: ARC Paperback, 416 pages
Source: Publisher

#1 New York Times bestseller Lisa Gardner returns with an unpredictable thriller that puts fan favorites D. D. Warren and Flora Dane on a shocking new case that begins with a vicious murder and gets darker from there. 

A man is dead, shot three times in his home office. But his computer has been shot twelve times, and when the cops arrive, his pregnant wife is holding the gun.

D. D. Warren arrives on the scene and recognizes the woman—Evie Carter—from a case many years back. Evie's father was killed in a shooting that was ruled an accident. But for D.D., two coincidental murders is too many.

Flora Dane sees the murder of Conrad Carter on the TV news and immediately knows his face. She remembers a night when she was still a victim—a hostage—and her captor knew this man. Overcome with guilt that she never tracked him down, Flora is now determined to learn the truth of Conrad's murder.

But D.D. and Flora are about to discover that in this case the truth is a devilishly elusive thing. As layer by layer they peel away the half-truths and outright lies, they wonder: How many secrets can one family have?

My thoughts: This is the 10th book in the Detective D.D. Warren series and I am such a huge fan of not only this series, but of Lisa Gardner's books in general. They are such addicting thrillers that just pull you in, and when you put a tough detective together with a victim-turned-vigilante it just makes for a great team! 

I loved the way this story was told, alternating between three view points - Evie, who was found holding a smoking gun over her dead husband, Detective D.D. Warren, and Flora, who realizes she has seen Evie's husband before, when she was held kidnapped all those years ago by Jacob Ness. Getting into each of these three women's heads really gave a different perspective into what was going on as the story builds and let me tell you, it really keeps you guessing as to where things are going to end up.

Each of these three women are strong, fierce women in their own right. You might not always see it, but trust me when I say when it comes down to it, they can hold their own. These women are tough and willing to get the answers they need to figure out what the heck is going on. There are quite a few twists thrown in here and there that might just leave your head spinning, but it also keeps you flipping the pages to see where it ultimately all ends up. 

Each of these characters are fully developed and I loved that while I thought I knew where things were going, I couldn't have been further from the truth. This is one of those cases where things are definitely not what they appear to be. This book is dark and intense and is filled with lies upon lies. And the part about the dark web was utterly fascinating...disturbing, but fascinating nonetheless.

With each installment in this series, I find myself more and more invested in these characters and I find the character development to be top notch. This is definitely a case where the books can be read as stand-alones, though I do feel that you would be missing out on so much if you haven't read the previous books. They really do build on what has happened before - especially this book.

I cannot wait to see what happens next...I think Detective D.D. Warren and Flora Dane make a great team and I love that we have started to see some cracks in the armor that Flora has held around herself. I can't wait to see that developed further in the next book(s).

Books in this series: 

     1.  Alone                              
     2.  Hide                       
     3.  The Neighbor         
     4.  Live to Tell                               
     5.  Love You More
     5.5  The 7th Month
     6.  Catch Me
     7. Fear Nothing
     7.5  3 Truths & a Lie
     8.  Find Her
     9.  Look for Me   

     9.5  The Guy Who Died Twice
     10.  Never Tell


Monday, February 18, 2019

Blog Tour & Review: The Moon Sister by Lucinda Riley (audio)

Title: The Moon Sister
Author: Lucinda Riley
Series: The Seven Sisters, #5
Narrator: Imogen Wilde
Published: January 2018, Whole Story Audiobooks / February 2019, Atria Books
Length: 19 hours 53 minutes / 544 pages
Source: Audio - Personal copy via Audible / Print - ARC E-copy via Netgalley via Publisher

From New York Times bestselling author Lucinda Riley, The Moon Sister transports you to the grandeur of the remote Scottish Highlands and the gypsy caves of Granada, just as Spain descends into civil war, interweaving the stories of two women searching for their destinies, at the risk of potentially losing their chance at love.
Tiggy D’Aplièse spends her days experiencing the raw beauty of the Scottish Highlands doing a job she loves at a deer sanctuary. But when the sanctuary is forced to close, she is offered a job as a wildlife consultant on the vast and isolated estate of the elusive and troubled laird, Charlie Kinnaird. She has no idea that the move will not only irrevocably alter her future, but also bring her face-to-face with her past.

At the estate, she meets Chilly, a gypsy who fled from Spain seventy years before. He tells her that not only does she possess a sixth sense passed down from her ancestors, but it was foretold long ago that he would be the one to send her back home…

In 1912, in the poor gypsy community outside the city walls of Granada, Lucía Amaya-Albaycin is born. Destined to be the greatest flamenco dancer of her generation—and named La Candela, due to the inner flame that burns through her when she dances— Lucía is whisked away by her ambitious and talented guitarist father at the tender age of ten to dance in the flamenco bars of Barcelona. Her mother is devastated by the loss of her daughter and as civil war threatens in Spain, tragedy strikes the rest of her family. Now in Madrid, Lucía and her troupe of dancers are forced to flee for their lives, their journey taking them far across the water to South America and eventually, to North America and New York—Lucía’s long-held dream. But to pursue it, she must choose between her passion for her career and the man she adores. The Moon Sister follows these two women on their journey to discover their true futures—but at the risk of potentially losing the men they had hoped to build futures with.

My thoughts: Without a doubt, this series is going down as one of my favorites! This is the latest installment, book 5, in Lucinda Riley's The Seven Sisters series and with each subsequent book, I fall more in love not only with the D'Apliese family, but also with Lucinda's writing. It is magical and just pulls you into the story so that you don't want to put the book, or audio, down until you have reached the last page. I keep saying with each new book that it's my favorite, but really - they all have been so good that I don't know if I can just single out one over the overs.

I will say, though, that I did have a harder time getting into this book than I have had with the others. And, I didn't necessarily love all the characters as much as I have with the previous books. That's not to say I didn't love the overall book, because I absolutely did and I think it was a brilliant addition to the series. I just felt that with this one, it took me a little longer to warm up to the story, and Lucia, Tiggy's grandmother, grated on my last nerve. But once you read the story, I think you might agree with me on this...and that's not necessarily a bad thing. I think it's the way she was meant to be - her character was created this way and believe me, it came across loud and clear!

One of my favorite parts of this series is the cultural education I feel I am getting from each and every one of these books. This time around we go from the Scottish Highlands to the gypsy caves of Granada and then even into South America. I loved learning about the culture of the flamenco dancers and even the bit about the gypsy community. The book is set against the Spanish Civil War and WWII, and you feel the persecution that this community has felt and dealt with. It definitely has sparked an interest in me and now I want to read more about this culture...this is why I love reading historical fiction - it leads me to learn something new and wanting to read more about it.

I also love that there are some more clues dropped on us about the mysterious Pa Salt. I am so curious about him and with only two books left in this series, I cannot imagine how this is going to wrap up. Plus...who is the seventh sister? I know the next book is going to be Electra's story and I am quite excited for that. She is the sister we know the least about so I am quite anxious to dig into her life! 

This series is absolutely one of my favorites and I just know that once I have all the books and have read them all, I will certainly be revisiting them to see if I have missed any of the clues along the way. Plus, the stories are just so good that I know I will enjoy them again and again. Do you have a series that you revisit again and again?

Audio thoughts: This was another great audio installment in an overall fantastic series. I've listened to this whole series so far and I've enjoyed each one. And this is a case where it makes sense that there have been different narrators for each book. I think Imogen Wilde did a great job with the voices, giving each character their own unique voice and bringing each character to life. She made this book, which was quite long, a very enjoyable listening experience.

Books in this series:   
  1. The Seven Sisters
  2. The Storm Sister
  3. The Shadow Sister
  4. The Pearl Sister
  5. The Moon Sister 
  6. ??? - due out in UK in fall 2019, not sure when in US

About the Author:  
Lucinda Riley is the #1 internationally bestselling author of over twenty novels, including
The Orchid HouseThe Girl on the Cliff, and the Seven Sisters series. Her books have sold more than fifteen million copies in over thirty languages globally. 

Lucinda was born in Ireland and divides her time between England and West Cork with her husband and four children.   

Authors Links: 

Website   |   Twitter   |   Facebook  |   Goodreads   |   YouTube

The Moon Sister  by Lucinda Riley 
Atria Books
February 19, 2019
Hardcover ISBN: 9781982110611
E-book ISBN: 9781982110635

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