Sunday, 20 April 2014

Review: Waiting for You by Heather Huffman

Title: Waiting for You
Author: Heather Huffman
Release date: May 7th 2014
Publisher: Booktrope
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Format: eARC
Pages: 118
Source: Publisher

For years, Karise McAlister has been running: from her family, from herself, and from her dreams. Now she’s made it, with a successful career and a promising engagement. But when she meets the compelling and creative Aidan Donnelly, his down-to-earth charm provides the wakeup call Karise badly needs. Moving across country to start over, Karise devotes herself to her work, convinced she needs to be independent. But with handsome Aidan just down the road and a mischievous group of friends determined to set her up, Karise must face her concerns about life and romance head-on.

Waiting for You is just as beautiful as Heather's previous novels. It's an amazing story with unique characters whom you can't help but fall in love with. This book is slightly different from the previous ones I've read, in that there isn't an element of danger or mystery running throughout. But that didn't matter, because the book is just as compelling.

This book follows Karise McAlister, who is Devon and Alex's half-sister on their mother's side. She's making her way in life as an architect, and she's engaged to a man she loves... or thinks she loves. Meeting Aidan Donnelly at an art exhibition is the catalyst to her realization that the path her life is taking isn't what she really wants. So Karise boldly breaks off the engagement, and is out of a job. She seizes the opportunity when Kate, a woman she met at the exhibition, offers her a job to remodel their house in California. Oh, and Aidan happens to be living down the road - he's good friends with Kate and her husband, Gavin. As Karise spends more time with Aidan and the people around him and reconnects with her family, she discovers who she wants to be.

Karise is certainly a breath of fresh air considering the string of drab protagonists in the recent books I've read. I loved her! She's sweet and really witty, and some of her antics are just adorable. And downright hilarious. Karise is as genuine as it gets. She also blurts out exactly what she thinks, which is something I really like about her, but of course she'd consider it a flaw. Though she doesn't want anything to do with her mother's side of the family, the McAllisters, she makes an effort when she realizes she pushed away an incredible bunch of people. I especially loved her interactions with Aidan and with Devon.

Ahh, Aidan. Such an amazing guy. He's gorgeous, kind, funny, and he can cook! Sorry, I tend to fixate on guys who can cook because I don't see that much and I think it's hot. Aidan has a four-year-old daughter, Zoe (the mother left them years ago). Aidan would do anything for Zoe, and it's so beautiful to see that. Oh, another interesting fact about Aidan? He owns a goat farm! What I love most about Heather's characters is that they're all so different from the norm. In each book, you get to experience something you never would have otherwise. Aidan owns a whole bunch of goats, they're milked regularly and he sells goat cheese. He also has chickens and a couple of really adorable dogs. It was definitely fun seeing how Karise adapts to all of it!

Besides Aidan, Karise spends a lot of time with Kate and Gavin - they're the best couple ever, honestly. They're both incredibly supportive of their friends, and Kate does everything in her power to set Karise up with Aidan. Luckily it doesn't take long! Another thing I loved about this book is that we get to see a lot of Devon. If you've read Roses in Ecuador, you'll remember him as the male protagonist. It was amazing seeing him again, reaching out to his half-sister. Karise and Devon catch up, and she realizes how much her brother cares about her. Devon helps her out a lot, and it's also cute seeing how overprotective he is. I felt sorry for Aidan a couple times!

There's also a point where we get to see all three McAlisters together, along with their families. So we see Jane again as well, and find out how she's doing with Devon in Ecuador. I haven't read Alex's story, Ring of Fire, yet, but I certainly will very soon. I'm intrigued by her and Daniel, and especially by their ward, Lani. Who is a royal! It's fascinating to think about how diverse and experienced the McAlisters are.

Karise and Aidan's story isn't perfect, of course - they have bumps along the way. But nothing they can't get past. And it was sweet seeing Zoe accept Karise into the family so willingly. Though the plot is free from dark turns or twists, I was just as riveted by it as Heather's other books. Waiting for You is soft yet strong, humourous yet incredibly romantic. I loved every part of it.

*Thank you to Sophie Weeks for providing me with an eARC for review*

Rating: 5/5

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Review: The Treatment by Suzanne Young

Title: The Treatment (The Program #2)
Author: Suzanne Young
Release date: April 29th 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Format: eARC
Pages: 354
Source: Edelweiss

How do you stop an epidemic?

Sloane and James are on the run after barely surviving the suicide epidemic and The Program. But they’re not out of danger. Huge pieces of their memories are still missing, and although Sloane and James have found their way back to each other, The Program isn’t ready to let them go.

Escaping with a group of troubled rebels, Sloane and James will have to figure out who they can trust, and how to take down The Program. But for as far as they’ve come, there’s still a lot Sloane and James can’t remember. The key to unlocking their past lies with the Treatment—a pill that can bring back forgotten memories, but at a high cost. And there’s only one dose.

Ultimately when the stakes are at their highest, can Sloane and James survive the many lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end?

“Human beings are cruel creatures. And what we don’t understand, we tamper with until we destroy it.”
 The Treatment is an amazing follow-up to The Program and a satisfying conclusion to this gripping and high-stakes duology. So much happens in this novel, and I'm not going to lie, a lot of it is heartbreaking. But there's hope too, and I think that's what would keep readers going, just like it's what kept Sloane and James going.

Sloane and James have met up with the rebels, Dallas and Cas. It's just the four of them in the beginning, and they're doing everything they can to stay hidden from The Program. Sloane doesn't know who to trust, and when Realm returns, she's even more confused. Neither Sloane nor James have their memories back, yet Sloane's begun remembering things. In a situation where trusting the right people is vital, betrayal can ruin everything in an instant.

At times I really feel for Sloane, but I just can't understand her and the way she thinks. I don't understand why she wouldn't take the orange pill that Realm gave her, and she doesn't seem to want her memories back, using the excuse that they'd hurt. Well, I really doubt they'd hurt more than everything she's been through in The Program. Anyway, though Sloane is a little infuriating sometimes, I really admire her will to survive and her inner strength. She's one of those people who have that innate determination that just grows when faced with adversity.

I'm not a fan of the love triangle in this duology, because I love both James and Realm, and the triangle situation really brings out the worst in them. I adore them on their own, though. James is still cocky and amusing, even though he's been through so much. I didn't like his jealous side when Realm turns up, but it's obvious James and Sloane are always meant to be.

I kind of have mixed feelings about Realm, like Sloane does. I like how he's always looking out for her, but I just wish he wasn't in love with her. Things would be so much simpler. We get to find out more about Realm's past, and though it definitely doesn't make me like him more, I can't help having this soft spot for him. I guess because I can't forget how much he helped Sloane out and protected her when she was in The Program.

One thing I found really interesting is that in this book, we get to know more about the people working for The Program, and how they think. It's fascinating to see how they truly believe in their cause, that they really believe they're helping teens by putting them in The Program. There's no reasoning with people like that. When someone can't see their own evil, it's pretty hopeless. And the rebels realize that. It's basically kill or be killed.

The ending is both hopeful and bittersweet. Things are wrapped up, but there are memories that people never get back, and I hate that. It's a great ending, though. We get an epilogue six months later, and we get to see Dallas's ending as well as Sloane and James. I have to say both were intensely sweet in a way. There's a lot in this book that will make you feel sorrow or anguish along with the characters, but I think it's worth it. This is such a great concept and Suzanne Young has carried it out so well. It'll be a while before the after-effects of The Treatment wear off (pun intended).

*Thank you to Simon Pulse for providing me with an eARC for review*

Rating: 4/5

Friday, 18 April 2014

Review: Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Don't Look Back
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Release date: April 15th 2014
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Genre: Young Adult Thriller
Format: eBook
Pages: 374

Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all-popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend.

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it's one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took "mean girl" to a whole new level, and it's clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She's getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she's falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her-even if the old Sam treated him like trash.

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn't just buried deep inside of Sam's memory-someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?

Don't Look Back is so different from any JLA book I've read before! I love mystery/thriller novels, and I was so stoked when I found out Jennifer was writing one. And now I can say that JLA can write literally anything. This was an awesome novel with great characters, and I was quite satisfied with the tension and creepiness I was expecting.

Sam stumbles back into her life with no memories of herself at all. Weird, right? She's diagnosed with amnesia, since she can't remember anything personal about her life at all. She slowly begins to try and piece everything back together, but when cryptic notes start popping up, it's clear someone doesn't want her to remember. But she knows she needs to find out what happened the night she disappeared and what happened to her supposed best friend, Cassie. Though Sam doesn't realize how dangerous digging into her past could be.

Sam is very different from Jennifer's previous protagonists. The signature snark is missing, and the badass attitude as well. But I thought that was a nice change. I found myself really liking Sam. The girl she used to be was a total bitch, and Sam's realizing that as she talks to her family and her 'friends'. But the new Sam is sweet and kind, and impossible to dislike. She also has this stubbornness and raw honesty to her that I really liked.

Carson was Sam's best childhood friend, but in the past couple of years she's been a real bitch to him and they obviously aren't close anymore. But the Sam that returns isn't the Sam that left, and she begins growing close to Carson again. I adore that guy - he's not rich and privileged like Sam and her friends, but he's got a strong and kind heart, and he's always cared for her despite her less-than-pleasant attitude towards him. He's really protective of her, and it's really sweet seeing him show that in the book.

Another character I loved is Scott, Sam's twin brother. They weren't too close before she disappeared, again on account of her being the queen of mean. But he's a great pillar for her to lean on when she comes back. He's not pretentious in any way even though their family's old money could rival that of Tom Buchanan from The Great Gatsby. Scott's also really protective of his sister, and his actions really had me wishing for a brother like him.

The mystery aspect was done really well throughout. Nothing really makes sense until the end, where a lot of things are revealed. I loved that several plot threads of this are unpredictable, including the biggest one, the whodunit. There's a sense of danger infused throughout the book, and that made it all the more riveting.

I felt the ending was a bit rushed - I would have liked a bit more closure with everything, and I still have a couple of unanswered questions. But overall I loved this book, especially Sam and Carson. And I would love to see more YA thriller from Jennifer! Don't Look Back is a can't-miss for all you JLA fans, and also anyone who loves this genre.

Rating: 4/5

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Review: Rebel by Amy Tintera

Title: Rebel (Reboot #2)
Author: Amy Tintera
Release date: May 13th 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Format: eARC
Pages: 227
Source: Edelweiss

After coming back from death as Reboots and being trained by HARC as soldiers, Wren and Callum have finally escaped north, where they hope to find a life of freedom. But when they arrive at the Reboot Reservation, it isn't what they expected. Under the rule of a bloodthirsty leader, Micah, the Reboots are about to wage an all-out war on the humans. Although Wren's instincts are telling her to set off into the wilderness on their own and leave the battle far behind, Callum is unwilling to let his human family be murdered. When Micah commits the ultimate betrayal, the choice is made for them. But Micah has also made a fatal mistake . . . he's underestimated Wren and Callum.

The explosive finale to the Reboot duology is full of riveting action and steamy love scenes as Wren and Callum become rebels against their own kind.

I devoured this one immediately after reading Reboot, since I just couldn't help myself. And I'm glad I did! This one is filled with action and battle scenes and just all-round awesomeness. It's a great ending to the Reboot duology.

Wren, Callum and the hundred Reboots from the Austin facility have finally arrived at the reservation. The so-called safe place for all Reboots, where they can live in peace. Supposedly. But their leader, Micah, isn't what they expected. He's bent on revenge on HARC, and will risk anything to bring them down. Wren and Callum's difference in opinions begin to affect their relationship and everything they've fought for. But will they make the right choice in the end?

Rebel is told in alternating dual POV of Wren and Callum! I was surprised to see that and oh so happy, since I'd wanted to get inside Callum's head after loving his character in Reboot. Plus, it's a great strategy in this book because of their differences, and the fact that they do spend a lot of time apart. Don't worry though, there are plenty of romantic scenes between them!

I loved Wren's cold, badass attitude in the beginning of Reboot, and was disappointed when her character changed towards the end of the book. Well, in this one we get to see badass Wren again! But definitely more emotion, too. We actually get to see some conscientious decisions from her. Wren is still the best Reboot there is, but in this book we get to see that numbers don't matter much anymore.

Callum's as adorable as ever, though he smiles and laughs a lot less. And for good reason. Micah is planning to eliminate the human race, and Callum won't allow that, despite the fact that most humans hate Reboots. And he can't understand why Wren doesn't agree with him, which leads to obstacles in their relationship. Callum's definitely a lot stronger now, both mentally and physically. He's learned what it's like to be a Reboot, and what's expected of him. I loved seeing him fight, though. Those were the best! Because you won't imagine that the goofy kid in the previous book would end up being such a great fighter.

There's a lot of death in Rebel, so brace yourselves. The stakes are way higher, since the lives of both humans and Reboots are hanging in the balance. And they'll need to work together if they want to bring down HARC as well as Micah and his supporters. The one thing I'd have liked to see more of is world-building. We don't get much background on why the living conditions of the humans and how Reboots are even made. That would have made an awesome story, I'm sure. But I'm definitely satisfied with all the action in this book!

Overall, Rebel is a totally captivating conclusion to the duology. I loved every second of it, and I'm sad to say goodbye to Wren and Callum. The ending is filled with hope, which I loved. And the final scene? Perfection. No kidding. You'll understand when you read the book. I think it was a fitting end to the book and the series as a whole. The amazing thing about duologies is that nothing drags on, and the pacing is very smooth. That's exactly what I saw in this book, and I'd certainly pick up these books again sometime in the future.

*Thank you to HarperCollins for providing me with an eARC for review*

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #67: Stone Cold Touch

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick for this week's WoW is...

Stone Cold Touch by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Stone Cold Touch (The Dark Elements #2)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Release date: October 28th 2014
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal

Every touch has its price.

Layla Shaw is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life—no easy task for a seventeen-year-old who’s pretty sure things can’t get worse. Her impossibly gorgeous best friend, Zayne, is forever off-limits thanks to the mysterious powers of her soul-stealing kiss. The Warden clan that has always protected her is suddenly keeping dangerous secrets. And she can barely think about Roth, the wickedly hot demon prince who understood her in ways no one else could.

But sometimes rock bottom is only the beginning. Because suddenly Layla’s powers begin to evolve, and she’s offered a tantalizing taste of what has always been forbidden. Then, when she least expects it, Roth returns, bringing news that could change her world forever. She’s finally getting what she always wanted, but with hell literally breaking loose and the body count adding up, the price may be higher than Layla is willing to pay…

OMG GUYS. Flailing over here! You guys probably know how much I adored White Hot Kiss. And I love this cover even more than the first. I can't wait to find out what's in store for Layla next, and of course more Roth and Zayne ;)

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Release Day Launch: Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Don't Look Back RDL Banner

We are extremely excited that Jennifer L. Armentrout's DON'T LOOK BACK releases today! DON’T LOOK BACK is a young adult suspense being published by Disney Hyperion.

don't look back

Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all-popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend.

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it's one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took "mean girl" to a whole new level, and it's clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She's getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she's falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her-even if the old Sam treated him like trash.

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn't just buried deep inside of Sam's memory-someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if 
not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?

Release date: April 15th 2014
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Purchase links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iTunes

Praise for Don't Look Back

“This engrossing thriller packs a heady atmospheric punch with plenty of theatrical scares,” Kirkus Reviews

“Armentrout has written another winner. From the first page to the last, she builds both terror and confusion to the point where readers will be hooked and on the edge of their seat. This standalone contains all of Armentrout’s usual trademarks– a strong and determined heroine, witty comments and hot guys–but she adds in an extra layer by ratcheting up the suspense to the highest degree and follows it up with an ending no one will see coming.” RT BOOK REVIEWS 4 1/2 Stars TOP PICK


I didn’t recognize the name on the street sign. Nothing about the rural road looked familiar or friendly. Tall, imposing trees and overgrown weeds choked the front of the dilapidated home. Windows were boarded up. There was a gaping hole where the front door had been. I shivered, wanting to be far away from here…wherever here was.
Walking felt harder than it should be, and I stumbled off the chilly asphalt, wincing as sharp gravel dug into my feet.
My bare feet?
I stopped and looked down. Chipped pink nail polish peeked through the dirt…and blood. Mud caked the legs of my pants, leaving the hems stiff. It made sense, seeing as how I wasn’t wearing any shoes, but the blood…I didn’t understand why there was blood staining the knees of my jeans.
My vision clouded and dulled, as if a gray film had been dropped over my eyes. As I stared at the weathered asphalt under my feet, large and smooth rocks replaced the tiny stones. Something dark and oily seeped over the rocks, slipping through the cracks.
Sucking in a sharp gasp, I blinked and the image was gone.
Hands trembling, I raised them. They were also covered with dirt and scratches. My nails were broken, bloodied. A silver ring wrapped, encased in soil, around my thumb. Air froze in my chest as my gaze crawled over my arms. The sleeves of my sweater were torn, revealing pale flesh covered in bruises and gashes. My legs started to shake as I swayed forward. I tried to remember how this had happened, but my head was empty—a black void where nothing existed.
A car drove by, coasting to a stop a few feet in front of me. Somewhere in the trenches of my subconscious, I recognized the flashing red and blue lights as a source of safety. Elegantly scrawled along the black-and-gray side of the cruiser were the words ADAMS COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT.
Adams County? A flash of familiarity came and went.
The driver’s door opened, and a deputy stepped out. He said something into the radio on his shoulder before he looked at me.
“Miss?” He started around the cruiser, taking tentative steps. He looked young for a deputy. Barely out of high school and able to carry a gun seemed wrong somehow. Was I in high school? I didn’t know. “We’ve received some calls into dispatch concerning you,” he said gently. “Are you okay?”
I tried to respond, but only a hoarse squeak came out. Clearing my throat, I winced as the motion scratched and pulled. “I…I don’t know.”
“Okay.” The deputy held up his hands as he approached me, as if I were a skittish deer about to bolt. “My name is Deputy Rhode. I’m here to help you. Do you know what you’re doing out here?”
“No.” Knots formed in my belly. I didn’t even know where here was.
His smile strained. “What’s your name?”
My name? Everyone knew their name, but as I stared at the deputy, I couldn’t answer his question. The knots started twisting more. “I don’t…I don’t know what my name is.”
He blinked, and the smile was completely gone. “You don’t remember anything?”
I tried again, concentrating on the empty space between my ears. That was how it felt.
And I knew that wasn’t good. My eyes started to tear up.
“Miss, it’s okay. We’ll get you taken care of.” He reached out, lightly taking hold of my arm. “We’ll get this sorted.”
Deputy Rhode led me around the back of his cruiser. I didn’t want to sit behind the Plexiglas, because I knew that wasn’t good. Only bad people sat behind the glass in police cruisers. I wanted to object, but before I could say anything, he settled me into the seat and wrapped a coarse blanket around my shoulders.
Before he locked me in the bad part of the car, he knelt and smiled reassuringly. “Everything’s going to be okay.”
But I knew he was lying, trying to make me feel better. It didn’t work. How could everything be okay when I didn’t know my own name?

About the author:

Author Photo
#1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV.

She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

Find Jennifer on: 

Cover Reveal: Mortal Enchantment by Stacey O'Neale + Giveaway

Today is the day you guys get to see the cover of Mortal Enchantment (Mortal Enchantment #1) by Stacey O'Neale! I enjoyed the prequel novella, The Shadow Prince, so I'm really looking forward to this.

“Mortal Enchantment spins a unique twist on elemental mythology. This series is not to be missed.”
Jennifer L. Armentrout, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

In Kalin Matthew's world, elementals control the forces of nature. They are divided into four courts: air, woodland, fire, and water. At sixteen she will leave the life she's built with her mortal mother. Kalin will move to Avalon to rule with her father—the elemental king of the air court. Along the way, she's attacked by a fire court assassin and saved by Rowan, a swoon-worthy elemental with a questionable past.

Worst of all, she learns her father is missing.

To rescue him, Kalin will have to work with a judgmental council and a system of courts too busy accusing each other of deceit to actually be able to help her. But, they aren’t her biggest challenge. With the Midwinter’s Ball only five days away, Kalin must take over her father’s duties, which includes shifting control of the elements—power Kalin has yet to realize.

As Rowan attempts to train her, a war looms between the four courts. If Kalin fails, her father will die and the courts will fall, but the betrayal she’s about to uncover may cost her even more...

Release date: May 20th 2014
Publisher: Phoenix Reign Publishing

If you haven't read The Shadow Prince yet, you can download it for FREE on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

Every sacrifice has consequences.

Sixteen-year-old Rowan has spent most of his life living among the mortals—learning to control the element of fire, impatiently awaiting the day his vengeful mother, Queen Prisma, will abdicate her throne. When he finally returns to Avalon for his coronation, his mother insists he must first prove his loyalty to the court by completing a secret mission:

Kill Kalin, the half-human, half-elemental daughter of the air court king.

Willing to do anything to remove his mother from power, he agrees to sacrifice the halfling. He returns to the mortal world with his best friend, Marcus, determined to kill the princess. But as he devises a plan, he starts to question whether or not he's capable of completing such a heinous task. And what price he will pay if he refuses?

Release date: March 25th 2014
Publisher: Phoenix Reign Publishing
Free download links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the author:

Stacey O'Neale lives in Annapolis, Maryland. When she's not writing, she spends her time fangirling over books, blogging, watching fantasy television shows, cheering for the Baltimore Ravens, and hanging out with her husband and daughter.
Her career in publishing started as a blogger-turned-publicist for two successful small publishers. Stacey writes young adult paranormal romance and adult science fiction romance. Her books always include swoon-worthy heroes, snarky heroines, and lots of kissing.

Find Stacey on:


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