Friday, November 21, 2014

Review: Grim



Grim 




Author: Anthology
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: Kindle Edition, 480 pages
Genre: February 25th 2014
Release Date: Young Adult



Summary:

Inspired by classic fairy tales, but with a dark and sinister twist, Grim contains short stories from some of the best voices in young adult literature today:

Ellen Hopkins
Amanda Hocking
Julie Kagawa
Claudia Gray
Rachel Hawkins
Kimberly Derting
Myra McEntire
Malinda Lo
Sarah Rees-Brennan
Jackson Pearce
Christine Johnson
Jeri Smith Ready
Shaun David Hutchinson
Saundra Mitchell
Sonia Gensler
Tessa Gratton
Jon Skrovon



Review:

This took me only 10months to read... well, I read at first one story a week... wrote reviews for each.. then I kinda put it aside and never got back into it. Till one day - well today actually - I decided that this was ridiculous and I read the entire thing in one go.

So why did it take me this long?!

I love anthologies. I have a fondness for short stories. They like the little treat in-between, the unexpected surprise in the middle of a work day.
Still I found this difficult to get through.
I think part of the problem was that I did this the wrong way and the other I have this in the wrong format.
I strongly recommend others to get a hardcopy of this. Because in my opinion this should be a coffee table book. It does look pretty enough for starters. But also as I said, when you relaxing and feel like a tidbit of reading this might be your mini-fix. If this would be the case my other advise flip the book open and read the stories randomly at your on pleasure.
So since I don't have an hardcopy and I got the ARC of this, I found myself never doing said procedure, which is a huge part why this took me so long.
The other reason was simply I set myself a too high goal writing a review for each and every short story- meant I didn't pick this up because I had no time to review it straight after... simply to ambitious of me

Now the book itself has some seriously good stories in them and some that I didn't like.
Since this is written by different authors this was to be expected.
I actually should confess that I am always always really skeptical when there is a fairytale retelling involved. Because frankly when Disney went a called a movie Rapunzel that had absolutely nothing AT ALL to do with the original fairytale - which happened to be on of my favorites when I was a child, by the way- I was beyond disappointed. I could simply not like the film. So now I am always always wary.
And while Grim is really fabulously done, I am still not convinced it is my favorite genre. I think I prefer new stories... or maybe I just grew out of fairytales? Who knows?
Still this a great gift for lovers of anthologies, the genre and books.
And in fact I shall procure a hardcopy for those cold days in front of the fire when I feel like a little treat

Rating: 




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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Blog Tour: No Weddings by Kat Bastion with Stone Bastion



NO WEDDINGS


Authors : Kat and Stone Bastion
Genre: Contemporary Romance





No Weddings

Summary:
Award-winning author Kat Bastion teams with her husband, Stone Bastion, in this first book in the No Weddings Series about Cade Michaelson, a successful man with his sights set on a new venture in business, and Hannah Martin, the woman who makes it personal.

I think I have my act together as a successful bar owner, my master’s degree within reach, and a list of no-strings-attached women warming my bed. Turns out, I don’t.

Hannah believes she has safeguarded her wounded heart by shunning men and focusing on her new baking business. The thing is, she hasn’t.

When my three sisters and I form an event-planning business with Hannah as our baker, I have no idea how my life is about to change. As Hannah and I work closely together, the attraction between us becomes irresistible. And complicated. I’ve promised my sisters I wouldn’t mix business with pleasure. But I’ve never been one to follow the rules.

Rating: 





One Funeral

Chosen by FreshFiction.com as their Fresh Pick for October 7, 2014
Summary:

The stakes climb higher in this second book in the No Weddings Series for Hannah Martin, a woman restrained by her past, and Cade Michaelson, the man who could help set her free.

I’m drawn to Cade as he charms his way into more of my life and offers me something I truly haven’t ever had: a friend. Yet his humor, patience, and drop-dead sexiness take my breath away, and I know my heart is at risk. I want to move forward but am terrified I can’t.

Cade seems to have it together from his own devastating heartache. His subtle actions, however, suggest a different story. And even though he says he wants more, I wonder if he’s able to trust in our developing relationship.

As we navigate through our tangled feelings, we vow to take it slow. Yet no matter how careful we try to be, things between us intensify—and there’s nothing we can do, or want to do, to stop it.

But the biggest question remains: Is chemistry enough to move beyond the past and toward a future together?


Review
Rating: 





Two Bar Mitzvahs

Summary:

Summer heats up in this third book in the No Weddings Series, where Cade Michaelson strives to balance his and Hannah Martin’s new relationship with the growing demands of his financial success.

Waiting for Hannah has been the best and worst kind of torture. Now I can claim her as mine. We believe we’re done with the past and can move forward together.

Hannah grows stronger than ever as she trusts in me—trusts in us. And when obstacles appear, she shows a surprising fierceness that rivals my own.

However, all is not perfect in paradise. Things get chaotic while I try to juggle multiple businesses, an ex from hell, and a girlfriend I’d do anything to keep. And in the middle of the whirlwind, I recklessly think I can handle everything.

But when all the madness is over, will I have everything I want—will I still have Hannah?


Review 
Rating: 






Three Christmases

Summary:

As the holiday season approaches in this fourth book in the No Weddings Series, Cade Michaelson strives to be better at balancing work and love, and Hannah Martin’s growing ability to trust is put to the test.



Lust and friendship brought us together, but with the increasing demands of my two businesses, Hannah’s thriving bakery, and our successful event-planning company, stability becomes my focus.

Then a once-in-a-lifetime career opportunity takes me to the West Coast, and everything goes into a tailspin.

Laughter, love, and excitement fill our lives, but Cade refuses to settle into the wonderful bliss we’ve found—he wants spectacular fireworks and an unshakable foundation. Driven like no one I’ve ever met, Cade insists a dream job across the country will be better for our future together, but I worry about whether we can survive the present apart.

When intimate time diminishes…and lives get more hectic…

Will a little bit of faith be all that it takes? Or will the sacrifice to get there be too great?
 Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | Goodreads

Review
Rating: 


Review:

I was pondering which ones of the books to review today and as I was pondering about it I came to the conclusion that I will review the series as a whole. If you want to read the reviews I've written to a specific book you can click at the respective link and find it on Goodreads.

Before you read on: *warning there are some mild spoilers*

The writing style of this, is clearly up my alley. I would have never read four books if it wasn't. But the prose is really beautiful at times and really witty.  And let me tell,  while you gotta wait two full books to get to the smut. It is well worth it. The smutt throughout is seriously hot. And we not talking about the same thing over and over, nope the Bastion's managed to keep it interesting and surprising- and sizzling over the series.

The character building of the two MCs is fantastic. I mean FANTASTIC. I feel like I know Cade and Hannah, understand them and most importantly I totally can related to them.
See I'm one of those No-Wedding-Commitophobes, who ended up married to a guy, who like me, works a lot, running his own business, we also both do help with charity events... and we both travel a lot for work- the best part, I wore green to my non-wedding. So somehow this clicked with me on a personal level, but the characters became real because the character building was done precise and thought through. We talking down to minimal details. I know these two, I feel like I spent a year with them, seen them grow and change.

The story line is the biggest surprise in some ways. At times a wee bit too cliche and fantastical for me, at others too long wound and slow paced, it did keep my attention and more importantly this is not the story of the everlasting one and only that was discovered by one glance - insta-lust and love are nowhere to be seen. THANK FUCK! To quote Cade. No this is a story of two people who after first attraction become friends and then more and more. It is beautiful. And looking back, it's one hell of a satisfying journey.

The best and my favorite part is definitely: CADE. *sigh*
And then there are the little details that the Bastions added to Cade and Hannah's relations ship. The three dots, utility closets, smocking marsh mallows, burlap sack and many many more.
This is what makes this a really unique series- a great series for lovers of the genre. If you are however looking for insta-fix you might wanna move on, or which is what I would suggest, reconsider. The long wait to the fluffy happiness that the end provides is well worth it in my opinion.

I still wanna ask the Bastion's  questions... I got a few that were unanswered, since book one.  Like; how does one co-author a novel but also; how much of this is autobiographical? And; How did they meet?
Well just to mention a few...

There are a couple of things I need to discus as well.

First: washing chicken? REALLY?! I am sorry but this is just a no-no... at least where I trained it was. And I did actually ask AJ if maybe I got old fashioned views on the chicken thing--- he trained in the Bristol, Paris and worked for Ebulli, Barcelone, he also trained me and is still working as a chef--- he was very quite for a minute. Then he said: "Please tell me, you're not consider doing it? I would have to disassociate myself from you professionally and possibly privately as well..."
I guess there is my answer.

Second: Wasn't bad, although nothing beat a cup of reliable Starbucks in the company of Hanna

I don't know what to say.... does Cade mean any coffee with Hanna beats the italian blend he was drinking? OR shock-and-horror that Starbucks coffee beats the italian? Well, since I haven't had the italian, I couldn't really comment on it, except there is the word RELIABLE..
So let me just say the worst coffee I ever had in my entire life was at BEA'14- it was from Starbucks.
And that is quite a feat. I drink a lot of coffee, I mean A LOT. At least 2 cups a day, but more like 5 a day. AND if we wanna talk good coffee? NOT Starbucks. It should be a micro roaster to start with...
but I shall shut up before I go on a coffee tangine, not only do I adore coffee and drink buckets of it, Mr. O has a micro-roastery... so yeah. *zips her mouth*

Despite my two rants, I did love the food writing. I am kinda passionate about it- you might have noticed. ;)


So: a must read for lovers of the genre!
And I for one hope that there will be more in the future from the fabulous Stones.





Rating: 




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About the Authors:

Shoe and Boot PhotoAward-winning and bestselling romance author Kat Bastion has teamed up with her husband Stone Bastion to create the new contemporary romance series No Weddings.

A few factoids about the writing team…

Kat enjoys her chocolate rich and dark, her music edgy and soul-filling, and her vacations exotic with toes dug into the sand. And she’s wildly, madly, deeply in love with Stone.

Stone likes pounding the trails on a mountain bike, vibrating the sound system with rock music, and down time spent on a stand up paddleboard. And he loves Kat wildly, madly, deeply…and then some.

Together, they’re having a blast bringing fun-filled romantic stories to life and hope you’ll join them in the exciting adventure.

Kat’s first published work, Utterly Loved, was a twentieth anniversary gift of love poems to Stone that they decided to share with the world to benefit charity. Net proceeds from Utterly Loved, and a portion of net proceeds from all their books, go toward charities involved in the fight against human trafficking.

Kat and Stone live amid the beautiful Sonoran Desert of Arizona. Visit their blog at www.talktotheshoe.com, website at www.katbastion.com, and their Twitter accounts at https://twitter.com/KatBastion and https://twitter.com/StoneBastion for more information.

Keep informed about new releases by joining their Email Subscription list.

Enter Kat and Stone's Giveaway!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Quotes



A connection flared stronger there. Some unnamable bond, fragile new, had begun to form between us, and it had flickered to life long before she'd created a mural of every tattered heart's emotions exploded in a million pieces. Only now, I realized something very important- she knew devastating heartache too.
No Weddings

Love is a complete and utter disaster. But even with all the heartache, we have to believe there is joy.
No Weddings

Real love is messy. It's fights, but more about making up. It's pulling apart to find our own paths, but running together and holding on tight, refusing to let go. Love is the calm in the middle of the storm.
No Weddings

Why was I so black and white when it came to my heart? As I sat there, held by someone who had been there and survived, I remembered why. And accepted it. I'd buried my emotions behind a wall of steel because I hadn't been ready. I didn't want to trust that it would never happen again. And... it had hurt like a motherfucking bitch.
No Weddings

Well, that made two of us, because in the next breath after saying how noncommittal I was, I felt drawn toward her in a way I hadn't with anyone in a long time. And it scared the shit out of me.
No Weddings

In the history of dating, I'd be willing to bet no man has ever made an appointment for sex and a musical on the third date.
No Weddings

We've come a long way in a couple of months after burning bad memories of our past, in this very backyard, to give us a chance at a future together. And now here we are.
Two Bar Mitzvahs

I'm shocked at you, Maestro. Who are you, and what have you done with Hannah?
She's gone camping!
Two Bar Mitzvahs

And so, safe in our campsite in the middle of the Pocono Mountains, beside the only person in the world I wanted to be with, we watched our poor innocent marshmallows give up tendrils of smoke in surrender right before they burst into flames
Two Bar Mitzvahs

I'm a guy; we go there. Not gonna feel guilty about it. 
Two Bar Mitzvahs

Little sandwiches - food no grown man would touch unless nothing else existed - were arranged on a tower of connected silver platters
Two Bar Mitzvahs

...beer, of the all-is-right-in-the-world variety
Two Bar Mitzvahs

I leaned over to my comrade in normalcy. "Wanna see if they have a supply closet?"
Two Bar Mitzvahs

Kikki grabbed another miniature sandwich. It was her fourth; I'd been counting. 
And still, when you added hem all together, it didn't equal a whole sandwich
Two Bar Mitzvahs

Shaking my head, I set my nearly empty bottle down. "Captive audience, outrages rates, and low nutrition.  Keep the members brain-dead, and they'll keep spending money.
Two Bar Mitzvahs

"Are you two coming?"Kendal popped her head around the corner. No. But we'd like to be.
Two Bar Mitzvahs

I needed what she provided: grounding, understanding, comfort. To be lost and found - with her. 
Two Bar Mitzvahs

There aren't enough words to describe what you do to me, for me. Every day, I wake thinking about how I can make you smile, cause your laugh. I know I love you because of the things I want to learn about you, endless ways I want to touch your body, your heart. There are so many adventures I want to take you one, experiences I want to have with you- just to live in that moment with you.
Two Bar Mitzvahs

Where did those annoyed looks originate, anyway? Women must've patented the damned thing and gifted the ability to each other when men weren't paying attention.
Two Bar Mitzvahs

Wasn't bad, although nothing beat a cup of reliable Starbucks in the company of Hanna
Two Bar Mitzvahs

I gripped my coffee mug like an anti-puke lifeline and raised it up in front of my face in self-defense. 
Two Bar Mitzvahs

Fuck. Do all women have an ingrained ability to remember old resolved screw-up to recycle at a later date?
Two Bar Mitzvahs

Intimacy doesn't take a lot of time, but you have to make the time. You can't work long hours, days at the time, only keeping the prize at the end. A healthy relationship meeds constant attention, daily, even if just a few moments to connect. Like a pot on the stove - you want to keep it on simmer so it doesn't boil over.
Two Bar Mitzvahs

"The next time I run. And there will be a next time; I am going to run- this we've established." She paused, and the corners of my lips twitched as I fought a smile. Her hand squeezed my knee. 
"You have to chase me. I'm so fucked up when I'm lost in the middle of a panic attack, I don't think. You have to think for me. Chase after me. Always fight for us, even when I can't" Her voice fell to a pleading whisper, her tears spilling over onto her cheeks. "Promise me."
Two Bar Mitzvahs

"That's why I came back."Laughing, she tilted her head."My soaking wet kiss?" I tapped her nose. "Nope."I arched a brow. "Although I do like you wet..."She shoved at my chest with little force. "Neanderthal."
Two Bar Mitzvahs

I could've done a meadow of cupcakes and run naked through them. But I bake for shit, and arrested for streaking seemed like the wrong message
Two Bar Mitzvahs

"Did you just smell me?""Mmm-hmm. You smell amazing, spicy male."Glad you like my sweat."
Three Christmases

But I held back, dimply aware the authorities frowned upon standing sex in the middle of an airport terminal. 
Three Christmases

I flipped him off. Hey, I missed the crazy fucker. Had to show him some reunion love.
Three Christmases

"Damn, I missed the fuck out of you"
"Any other swear words you'd like to fit into that sentence?"
"No"
Three Christmases

A lazy smile curved his lips in concert with mine. Words weren't necessary. He knew. After all we'd been through, he spoke my language.
Three Christmases

"Perfection."I grinned. "And the chicken's damn good too.""

He knew. I knew. And we both knew the other knew. The impasse between us was like a drug.
Three Christmases

"Yeah,"he murmured against my skin. "Do I love having sex with you? Fuck yeah, I do. Making you laugh or throw cupcakes at my head? Yes. And yes. But the quiet after, when all we need is to lie together, touch. Absolute favorite time."
Three Christmases

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Review: Locked by Eva Morgan


Locked


Author: Eva Morgan
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Series: Locked #1
Pages: Kindle Edition, 219 pages
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: February 10th 2014



Summary:

When eighteen-year-old Irene Adler meets her new neighbor, the gorgeous, brilliant, and arrogant Sherlock Holmes, she never expects him to be the one to make her feel like life is worth living again. Ever since her sister's death, she's been addicted to risk-taking as a way to deal with her depression, and Sherlock quickly becomes the biggest risk she's ever taken.

Locked is the story of a broken girl and the genius who gives her life back to her. It's the story of a witty asshole who's never known love, and the girl who shows him what love means. It's the story of an unexpected connection, two people who save each other, and the importance of seeing the goodness underneath.

*Based on the Sherlock Holmes series by Arthur Conan Doyle.

**Book 1 in the Locked series.





Review:

I didn’t know I was in a mood for a book like this till I read it. Locked is everything I like in a book wrapped in a pretty cover. It is short, like finish it in a single sitting short (which I did, lying on bed till morning 6 am btw), humorous (I cracked up a number of times. I haven’t in ages, reading all these depressing fantasy rebellion series), with a captivating writing style (as I said, finished it in a single sitting), and lovely if a little over-the-top-but-believable storyline. And then there are the characters. Characters that I can relate to. Characters that make me want to hit them in the head and then apologise for being aggressive. Characters that make me cry till I feel like I’m definitely dying because I can’t breathe (or maybe not enough sleep just makes me emotional. I never know the difference). Characters that make this book hard to put down.

Locked is a story about a young Sherlock Holmes meeting Irene, a depressed girl who piques his interest by proving his deductions wrong in their first meeting (He believes he’s never wrong and likes to prove it). Think of him as a Sheldon Cooper who smokes and annoys people by unraveling their secrets in seconds (but he does it with a sexy British accent). He is constantly moving to new places with his brother (whom I like to call “My-crotch” instead of Mycroft) because of his “unconventional” personality. It is a story about two people who don’t fit in with the rest of the world but with each other alone. It is a story with whimsical quips and adorable bantering that you’ll love till it becomes really sad and shocking. It is a story that when it ends, leaves you bereft of all happiness you felt, astounds you with the turn of events and overwhelms you with the roller coaster of emotions you’re put in. It is a story you don’t know you need to read till you read it.

Believe me; I’m still reeling with the whiplash the last few chapters gave me. I can keep ranting for hours discussing the last few chapters. Hell, I can make this whole review about the last few chapters and tell you what’s wrong and clichéd about it but at the same time give you reasons for why I love it while still debating if I’m furious, pissed, elated, unsurprised, shocked or just damn sleepy.

Okay, here come the spoilers. Do not read ahead or you’ll be mad at yourself for reading it. Even hate yourself a little. Not even kidding.

First off, I still am a little mad at Irene for doing what Mycrotch Mycroft asked her to do. I mean, I get it. I really do. She was scared and she had a right to be scared of getting too attached to Sherlock because he is dangerous and unpredictable. Also she was masochistic, so I get why she would punish herself by pushing him away, but I still don’t like it. She didn’t go back to him on her own terms. She started talking to him again only when Mycrotch Mycroft asked her to, and it gets me all riled up again.

Anyway, the other thing nagging me like an annoying fly circling around my head is the role Ethan played here. I’ve read and seen enough on obsession to know that Ethan’s fixation with Carol and then Irene is nothing but an expected mania. His infatuation leading to delusion and murder should make sense to me but I don’t understand why it doesn’t. I want it to not shadow everything I liked about the book but his actions and what they led to make me feel like the author just wanted to rip off a too drastic ending to continue the series. On one hand, I’m happy that there is going to be more of Sherlock and Irene but on the other hand, I’m too bloody pissed off to appreciate it. (Well, the unrevealed release date for the sequel isn’t comforting either.)

Lastly, I just want to shake and scream at Sherlock while bitch-slapping him for being so stubborn and daft and ridiculous and moronic and lovable and adorable and cocky and brilliant and UGH! You stupid piece of shit, why would you do that to ME?! And to Irene too!?

*tries to calm down*

So..the second book better be interesting. I’m nervous and giddy about it at the same time. I hope it doesn’t succumb to the second book syndrome and doesn’t become a drag. I hope I still love the characters as fiercely as I do right now. I hope Mycrotch Mycroft is able to persuade Sherlock or offer him a proposition or whatever. *sigh* I’m hoping I didn’t hope for too much.


Rating: 







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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Review: Dark Skye by Kresley Cole


Dark Skye


Author: Kresley Cole
Publisher: Gallery Books
Series: Immortals After Dark #14
Pages: Hardcover, 1st Edition, 432 pages
Genre: PNR
Release Date: August 5th 2014



Summary:

In this highly anticipated fifteenth novel in the Immortals After Dark series, #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole spins a sultry tale of a mighty warrior scarred inside and out and the beguiling sorceress with the power to heal him—or vanquish him forever.

ETERNAL OBSESSION

As a boy, Thronos, prince of Skye Hall, loved Lanthe, a mischievous Sorceri girl who made him question everything about his Vrekener clan. But when the two got caught in the middle of their families’ war, tragedy struck, leaving Thronos and Lanthe bitter enemies. Though centuries have passed, nothing can cool his seething need for the beautiful enchantress who scarred his body—and left an even deeper impression on his soul.

ENDLESS YEARNING

Lanthe, a once-formidable sorceress struggling to reclaim her gifts, searches for love and acceptance with all the wrong immortal suitors. But she’s never forgotten Thronos, the magnificent silver-eyed boy who protected her until she was ripped from the shelter of his arms. One harrowing night changed everything between them. Now he’s a notorious warlord with a blood vendetta against Lanthe, hunting her relentlessly.

CAN THE HEAT OF DESIRE BURN BRIGHTER THAN VENGEANCE?

With their families locked in conflict and battles raging all around them, will Thronos and Lanthe succumb to the brutal chaos that threatens everything they cherish? Or will the fragile bond they formed so long ago spark a passion strong enough to withstand even the darkest doubts?




Review:

I'm a huge fan of the first 12 books of the IAD series. For me, things started to go sour with the first Dacians book and continued to go downhill with MacRieve (that promised so much). With this one I think that I'm definitely out of love with this series.

Before I start, I would like to say that after the epilogue in MacRieve, I didn't understand why the next one was about Lanthe and Thronos and not about MacRieve's twin since that's what the epilogue is about.

If I had to resume my review in one word, it would be B O R I N G

Why boring?

- Because of the too many mulling over thoughts/talks/resentments about the same themes. Damn but if it's something they are expert at it certainly is moving in circles. This alone suffices to bore me to tears.

- Then nothing much happens and the little that does happens are bad recycling of things already done and re-done or roll eyes festivals. The landing in the belly of a beast was done in Star Wars, to name the most obvious reference. Han Solo landed the Millennium Falcon and here they teleported themselves but it's the same thing, different mean. Same with the beast feeding them hallucinogens while digesting them alive. That one is an X-Files stuff. In the X-Files Mulder and Scully are the victims of a huge mushroom organism, but again, same thing, different mean. Dragons sitting on huge piles of gold... Rings a bell anyone? And so on...

I'm not against the recycling of used ideas or even clichés, but at least do it well and cleverly.

- The "blindness" of Thronos toward his brother's wrongdoings for centuries... I mean, really? He wasn't a recluse, they are neighbors on a tiny island and for most of these centuries they were close, and he never got the smallest hint that things weren't as they should have been? Is he dumb or dumber?

- If that wasn't enough, I couldn't care less for the heroes, and at time it was so sweet my teeth hurt. So yeah, boring.

- The end was a WTF festival. I mean, really?????

The saddest thing is that even Nïx didn't manage to make things more interesting and with the little tidbits KC gave us, I'm more and more convinced that the following books are not going to get better.

This series is based on enemies become lovers with lots of adventure, and while it worked it was great but Kresley Cole obviously ran out of juices.

You can have the most beautiful pieces of fabric (which was definitely not the case here), without the thread to bind them, you'll never be able to have a patchwork quilt. Same goes with stories telling...



Rating: 






(click on the name for reviews of this geek)

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