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Book Review: The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Bérubé

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The Dark Beneath the Ice will be available for purchase on August 7, 2018

Pre-order a copy through the links below:

Amazon.com – The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Bérubé

Barnesandnoble.com – The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Bérubé

Goodreads.com – The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Bérubé

Bookdepository.com – The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Bérubé

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Sourcebooks Fire, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Teen/Paranormal

Plot: Something is wrong with Marianne.

It’s not just that her parents have finally split up. Or that life hasn’t been the same since she quit dancing. Or even that her mother has checked herself into the hospital.

She’s losing time. Doing things she would never do. And objects around her seem to break whenever she comes close. Something is after her. And the only one who seems to believe her is the daughter of a local psychic.

But their first attempt at an exorcism calls down the full force of the thing’s rage. It demands Marianne give back what she stole. Whatever is haunting her, it wants everything she has—everything it’s convinced she stole. Marianne must uncover the truth that lies beneath it all before the nightmare can take what it thinks it’s owed, leaving Marianne trapped in the darkness of the other side.

Opinion:

Black Swan meets Paranormal Activity in this compelling ghost story about a former dancer whose grip on reality slips when she begins to think a dark entity is stalking her”

So this was…interesting.

Marianne’s life has never been more out of control. With her parents announcing their divorce despite seeming to be so in love, her mother’s recent hospitalization, and the drama surrounding Marianne’s decision to quit dance; it feels like Marianne is drowning.  As she is sent to live with her aunt, strange things begin to happen in Marianne’s quiet world. Losing time, objects being moved without her moving them, strange knocking and banging on the walls, and the never-ending feeling of being watched. After a loss of time happens in one of Marianne’s classes, she attempts to reach out to the goth girl named Ron in hopes that her psychic mother may help her. But when communicating with whatever haunts Marianne only strengthens it, everyone close to Marianne is in danger. Something is coming for Marianne, and its angry at her for being shoved down and drowned. But in the end, Marianne may be the one being dragged beneath the ice.

Intriguing concept and idea, but a bit of a miss for me.

Don’t get me wrong, there were definitely some positives! The story started out great in regards to the writing style. It was so descriptive and beautiful, I felt as if I was reading a more relaxed form of poetry. The writing feels like a well-choreographed dance, and I found myself having to read between the lines to figure out what these characters were hiding. It was constructed well, had an even tone throughout, and was a very quick and easy read. The theme that the author kept with through this story (as you can tell from the title) is a theme of being drowned or shoved down beneath ice. Marianne uses her memories of the river near her aunt’s house as a meditative tool when she begins to feel overwhelmed or scared. She pictures the calming feeling of her being submerged in the water, and the silence and security that comes with hiding under the surface.  The water is her safe place, and the ice on top of the water becomes her shield against anything negative. This theme is carried throughout the entire book, but becomes less of a symbolism and more of a….sighit honestly just becomes ridiculous.

As I started this read, I was really into it and devouring the words in order to find out WHAT exactly was going on. Is this a ghost story, is it a story of delusions and misconceptions, or is it a fantastical read about demons?! Halfway through the story I had decided that this was a ghost haunting/exorcism story that was about to be twisted and wild, and it was proving to be just that. Marianne would wake up at the piano in her aunt’s house banging on the keys in the middle of the night, or she would find herself up in front of her class at school being scolded by her teacher but having no recollection of what had happened. Things got worse after Ron, the goth/emo girl from school, tries to give Marianne a tame version of an exorcism. But even after enlisting the help of Ron’s mother, the physic, things turn dangerous. Knives floating in the air and being aimed at herself, bruises on her body, and a distinct pulling feeling that tries to drag her into the river and drown her.

However, how this turns out just DOES NOT ADD UP.

*Watch out, there’s a puddle of SPOILERS down there*

Nearing the end of this story I had a thought that MAYBE this was all just a symbolism for Marianne figuratively drowning herself in her hardships and woes and BLAH BLAH BLAH. MAYBE there isn’t actually a ghost or anything haunting her, MAYBE it’s just her.

Well, guess what?

It was literally both of those things.

It was her own “shadow self” trying to drown her because Marianne had pushed her “shadow self” beneath the figurative surface, and the “shadow self” wanted out because the “shadow self” was actually the original Marianne, and the Marianne that is now Marianne isn’t actually the original Marianne. The “shadow self” is actually the first Marianne, but in the end they are actually both Marianne.

Makes total sense right?

-__-

Apart from that complete mess, the character of Marianne that the reader follows during this read proves to be another negative in my eyes. Marianne is, simply put, annoying as all hell. She felt a bit dull, emotionally confusing, and extremely desperate and needy in a way that made me scrunch my face up in a “WTF” sort of way. She has this fabricated idea of friendships in her head that I just didn’t follow. She was so worried about looking needy all the time, but it just made her look doubly needy and a little stalkerish. She just wasn’t my cup of tea. Ron on the other hand, was a more agreeable character for me. This could be because of my tendency to favor the weird gothy kids though. But Ron proves to be a strong character, she is willful and a “take no s**t” kind of gal, and I love her for it.

Also as a heads up, there is a bit of LGBT moments that happen in this story. They are very tame and mild, so if this is your thing or isn’t, just a warning in advance.

All in all, that ending really ruined the story for me. It started out promising, I loved the writing style, but the main character and the conclusion just didn’t hit the mark for me. I appreciate where the author was trying to take this story, but I don’t think she was able to take this book to the place it needed to go. The ending just didn’t feel completely thought through, and the delivery was a bit lacking. Of course, this is just my own opinion, and not all readers share my thoughts. If you think this might be a story that interests you, then I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

2-stars

 

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Book Review: Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

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Blood Rose Rebellion is available for Pre-order, and will be available on March 28, 2017. Please see the links below:

Amazon.com – Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

Goodreads.com – Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

Barnesandnoble.com – Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

Bookdepository.com – Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

Disclaimer: This ARC copy was sent to me by the publisher, Random House Children’s, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Plot: Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden is barred from society by a defect of blood. Though her family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic, she is Barren, unable to perform the simplest spells. Anna would do anything to belong. But her fate takes another course when, after inadvertently breaking her sister’s debutante spell—an important chance for a highborn young woman to show her prowess with magic—Anna finds herself exiled to her family’s once powerful but now crumbling native Hungary.

Her life might well be over.

In Hungary, Anna discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Not the people around her, from her aloof cousin Noémi to the fierce and handsome Romani Gábor. Not the society she’s known all her life, for discontent with the Luminate is sweeping the land. And not her lack of magic. Isolated from the only world she cares about, Anna still can’t seem to stop herself from breaking spells.

As rebellion spreads across the region, Anna’s unique ability becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romani, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she’s always wanted, or embrace her ability and change that world forever.

Opinion: As soon as I requested this book on Netgalley.com, I had my fingers crossed for DAYS in the hopes that I would be accepted to read and review it. After seeing quite a bit of hype about the release of this book on Goodreads and Bookstagram, I read the description and immediately felt the gut-wrenching yearning to get my hands on an ARC copy! Not only did I get that ARC copy, but I became absolutely enthralled as soon as I started reading.

In Anna Arden’s world, the high society figures referred to as Luminate wield magic and power.  Anna, even though her family is of high society and nobility, was pronounced barren at her Confirmation at the age of eight. But one thing Anna can do is unintentionally break the spells that others cast, which is exactly what she does on the most important night for her sister. Without knowing what to do with her, Anna’s family sends her off to Hungary with her grandmother. In the hopes that Anna will return a proper and civilized lady, Anna sets off to a new life. But things in Hungary turn from bad to worse as a rebel tracks Anna down, begging her to use her ability to break spells to destroy the binding – which restricts the use of magic to only Luminate. Soon Anna finds herself stuck in the middle of a rebellion, unsure which side to stand with and against.

Sometimes with such a hyped up book, I worry that once I start reading I will lose interest or it won’t be as amazing as everyone claims. I can happily admit that this story turned out to be WONDERFUL! I loved the imagery that the author used, especially how she turned our world into a place with magic and strange creatures. The idea that Anna is barren and cannot wield magic like the rest of her family and fellow Luminate jump-starts the quest for Anna to find out who or WHAT she is. The reader follows Anna through different countries where she meets people of different walks of life, and becomes entangled in wanting to assist the rebels in Hungary. Anna finds herself in a compromising position: help break the binding and let magic be free to anyone that possesses the ability, or to side with her fellow Luminate and let magic be “given” to nobility and those “deserving”.

I personally liked the character of Anna, but I felt that she lacked a bit of substance. I didn’t quite make a connection to her and to the emotions that the author was trying to portray…as a matter of fact, I don’t really recall making a strong connection with any of the characters. I felt curious about what might happen to them and hoped that they wouldn’t die, but I wasn’t too chocked up about it when some of them actually did die. The relationship between Anna and Gábor starts out cold and prickly but soon turns into the romance of this book. Because Anna is Luminate and Gábor is Romani (gypsy), their love is forbidden and would be frowned upon. I found it interesting that at the end of the story, their relationship suddenly doesn’t seem to be THAT forbidden. This felt rushed and thrown together to me. What will her parents say?? Where were they?

This story has a very unique blend of historical and fantastical elements. The characters do a lot of traveling in the world, which obviously brings the use of different languages. After Anna travels to Hungary, the language barriers start to rise. There is A LOT of words that get thrown around that most of us won’t be knowing, so it makes reading a little confusing. I was getting lost at times when Gábor would say “gadzhe” or when the names of a castle or town would be said. Little did I know that there was a glossary of the words and of Luminate orders in the back of the book… *sigh*.

Those tiny things aside, I loved this story and where the author took it. Though the ending felt a little rushed to me, I think that such an extravagant story is always going to be hard to wrap up into one book. I am VERY excited to read book 2 when it is released and to see where the author is going to take Anna. I really recommend this story to anyone that loves a YA story that involves fantasy and adventure!

4-stars

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Book Review: Devil in the Countryside by Cory Barclay

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Devil in the Countryside is available for Pre-order, and will be available on February 15, 2017. Please see the links below:

Amazon.com – Devil in the Countryside (Of Witches and Werewolves) by Cory Barcaly

Goodreads.com – Devil in the Countryside by Cory Barclay

Barnesandnoble.com – Devil in the Countryside by Cory Barclay

Bookdepository.com – Devil in the Countryside by Cory Barclay

Disclaimer: I was sent an ARC copy of this book by the author, Cory Barclay, for an honest review

Genre: Fiction/Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Supernatural

Plot: Devil in the Countryside is a story about the most famous werewolf investigation in history, brimming with intrigue and war, love and betrayal, and long-kept vendettas.

It’s 1588, the height of the Reformation, and a killer is terrorizing the German countryside. There are reports that the legendary Werewolf of Bedburg has returned to a once-peaceful land. Heinrich Franz, a cold and calculating investigator, is tasked with finding whomever — or whatever — the killer might be. He’ll need all the help he can get, including that of a strange hunter who’s recently stumbled into town. Though they’re after the same thing, their reasons are worlds apart. And through it all, a priest tries to keep the peace among his frightened townsfolk, while a young woman threatens his most basic beliefs.

In a time when life is cheap and secrets run rampant, these four divergent souls find themselves entwined in a treacherous mystery, navigating the volatile political and religious landscape of 16th century Germany, fighting to keep their sanity — and their lives.

Opinion: Once again, I am PLEASANTLY surprised with a book that is completely out of the genre that I usually read. This story was AMAZING! I found myself having immense trouble putting it down and doing adult things such as going to work, or sleeping. The writing is perfection. It gives the reader the necessary balance of description and detail, while also eloquently weaving a tale of fantasy and realism.

Based loosely on actual events that took place in Germany over a 20 year span, Devil in the Countryside transports the reader to 1588 as murders in Bedburg start to rise. Fear spreads quickly through the town as gruesome and mangled bodies are found in the countryside, and threats against protestant reform begin to plague the Christian ruled town. As Investigator Heinrich Franz looks into the murders, he enlists the help of a hunter by the name of Georg Stieghart who has a past of being quite vicious. This story also follows Father Nicholas Dieter of the church in Bedburg, and young Sybil Griswold who is the daughter of a wealthy farmer. While the investigator tries to hunt down the Werewolf of Bedburg, the church tries to fight off Protestants from overtaking the town and the minds of their people.

Though I gave you guys a little description up there, I’m going to explain a little bit more about these characters/events so that you really get the idea. Probably the COOLEST thing about this book is the fact that it is based on true events. In 1589 a trial was held for a man that was presumed to be the famous Werewolf of Bedburg, who was accused of murder and cannibalism. Shocked? Me too. The fact that these people actually thought that a man was turning into a werewolf and slashing bodies to pieces is just…beyond me. The again, this was also a time when everyone thought witches were casting spells and dealing in dark magic…and here I thought my generation was cuckoo.

Heinrich Franz is the investigator that is put in charge of finding out who/what the Werewolf of Bedburg is, and he seems to go to any lengths to make someone responsible. I really can’t pinpoint my feelings for this character. He is an evil and emotionally unattached man, but I quite like his ruthlessness and cunning behavior. He is the type of person that will do ANYTHING to close a case, especially if that means framing someone in the process. Georg Stieghart is truly my favorite character in this story. He comes off as a drunken idiot most of the time, but he proves to be a very strong-willed and intelligent person. As Georg seeks revenge for the death of his family, who he assumes is the Werewolf, he assists the investigator and helps him hunt the killer down. The relationship between these two characters is fairly comical. They both act friendly towards one another and share news that they have, but they also don’t trust each other and have their own agendas. I enjoyed how the story turned out for Georg and how his character makes a complete 180. He loses some of his savagery and turns into a truly upstanding person.

Sybil Griswold is the daughter of wealthy farmer Peter Griswold. Sybil goes through a lot of dark events in this story, and I commend her character for taking everything in stride. Not only does a dear friend of hers come up dead, but her father begins to force her into a marriage with a nobleman’s son who proves to be vile and pretentious. Sybil finds solace in her time spent with Father Nicholas Dieter, who is a priest at the church in Bedburg. Father Dieter seems to be the most developed character, and for me, the most interesting. He starts out being a very faithful and dutiful servant to the religion that he preaches for, but soon starts to open his eyes to what is going on in the world around him. The relationship between these two characters brings the romance factor into this story, and gives the reader a little light in this otherwise dark and gritty tale.

This story overall was fantastic! The events that took place were gruesome and unnerving, and I kept picturing a less theatrical Tim Burton setting of gray buildings and woeful expressions. Though I am not a big fan of reading a story with religion being such a central theme, it was obviously necessary to this story but it didn’t overtake the actual plot and events that the author was focusing on. I highly recommend this story to any reader that likes thriller/mystery, or to anyone who wants to dabble in a different type of story. I am REALLY looking forward to see what happens in book 2, hopefully it will come out soon!

5-stars

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January 2017 Book Wrap-up

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Here we are my darlings, my January 2017 Book Wrap-up!

I have given myself a goal of 100 books to read for 2017 (via my Goodreads challenge). If I keep this pace up then I will have no problem completing this. I have been devouring every book I have been getting my hands on, and reading everything so much quicker than I normally do. Though this means that I am reading more, it also means that I don’t get to enjoy and savor some of these stories as much as I would like. Oh…the curses of being a fast reader.

Throne of Glass

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The Throne of Glass series…*sigh*. I demolished all five of the books in a week, and let me tell you…I WISH I would have slowed down.  This series is INSANELY amazing! Our main character is a lethal and sharp-edged female assassin, and we follow her as she is hired by her kingdoms enemy to slaughter her own people. As the books go on, the story only gets better and the reader becomes overly invested in the lives of each of these badass characters. I am patiently waiting for the next book in the series, and you can be sure that I will be reading this series over at least once this year.  

Flicker and Mist

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Flicker and Mist involves invisibility and a large amount of segregation between different races. Myra is half Plat and half Leftie and has the ability to flicker, or become invisible. As flickering is outlawed in New Heart City, which predominantly consists of Plats, this story follows Myra and other Flickerkin as they fight against being killed for their abilities.  Though I wish this story dove deeper into the creative writing and the story was more drawn out, I found it to be very entertaining and a unique story.

Otherworld

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I just LOVED this book…talk about nostalgia overload! Otherworld plays with the idea of turning our imaginations and daydreams into worlds that we can actually walk through and experience. The author did a wonderful job of combining something from everyone’s childhood into this story. Though it follows a very young main character, this highly imaginative story can target every audience. I can’t recommend this story enough! It is a heart-string puller.

Lodging

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Lodging is a short story that is sure to make you really REALLY sad. This story takes the reader back to WWII and gives them a taste of some very real experiences that young adults faced during the war. This story touches on the young men that went away to war, as well as the effects that it had on many young women in that time. Call me crazy, but I have been trying my hardest lately to find a book that will bring me to tears and crush my soul a little. This story is probably what kick started it.

The Other Inheritance

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…*sigh*…this book.

If you guys read my review for this story, you already know my feelings. I might have completely ripped this book apart, but trust me it was necessary. I tried my hardest to stay optimistic while reading this fantasy story, but it was just flat and executed poorly. The characters made me cringe and the descriptions of the worlds and magic didn’t feel at all complete. Not my cup of tea AT ALL.

Butterfly Bones

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Butterfly Bones is yet another fantasy book that I was gifted from Netgalley. Once again for this month, I came across another book that is truly unique and veering off the yellow brick road to take their own path. Our main character Bethany suffers from a rare bone disease that makes her look like a child, when she is in fact fifteen. As Bethany struggles with her vicious high school peers, she also deal with being injected daily with butterfly hormones from her father…in the hopes that he can find a cure for her. This is a very bitter-sweet coming-of-age story that falls into the science-fiction/fantasy realm as the story progresses. I thought this book was GREAT and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Chat Love

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Last but not least, Chat Love. This is a quirky story that touches on the struggles of finding love and the awkwardness of online dating. We follow a young woman as she goes on dates that range from unmemorable to completely insane. This book was packed with comedy and snarky comments, and I loved the main characters. If you guys are looking for a relatable story, look no further. You are sure to find a moment in this story that resembles an embarrassing experience in your life. You’re welcome.

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Book Review: The other Inheritance by Rebecca Jaycox

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~ Buy through the links below ~

Amazon.com – The Other Inheritance (The Inheritance Series) (Volume 1) by Rebecca Jaycox

Goodreads.com – The Other Inheritance by Rebecca Jaycox

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Aelurus Publishing, Via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Plot: One girl. Two worlds. Hunted in both.

Seventeen-year-old Reggie Lang is used to dealing with her alcoholic mother and fighting school bullies, but fate has thrown her a curve ball.

A biker dude shows up in her dreams, babbling about magic and a world called the Other. As the incidents keep piling up—like bringing a frog back to life in class—Reggie has to confront the mounting evidence that she’s not the normal girl she craves to be.

Reggie’s life is changing, and she has no idea why. Or whether she should believe the man in her dreams, who claims she’s in danger and that only he can keep her safe. But if there’s one thing Reggie will learn, nowhere is safe.

Opinion: I haven’t posted in a review in a little over a week, and this book is purely the cause of why. It takes me a day (sometimes two) to read a book, but this book took me over a week to finish. When I was actually reading it, I was skimming through paragraphs whilst doing my best not to constantly roll my eyes at the unattached characters and over-dramatized dialogue. Usually I can say that the plot is what kept me reading, but I honestly can’t even say that in regards to this book.

I’m not even going to bother writing a proper description for this book like I usually do, that’s how uninterested I am in it. Here’s my brief explanation: this story is basically about a girl named Reggie that has a few incidents at school where she accidentally brings dead creatures back to life. She starts getting pulled into these elaborate dreams where she speaks to a man who knew her father, who eventually explains to her that she has magic and that she needs to be brought back to another world called “the Other” in order to keep her safe. While all this is taking place, a bad guy from “the Other” sends his servant, Asher, to fetch Reggie from “the Real” (which is basically our world) so that he may steal her magical powers. So ensues an adventure in which Reggie falls for some “badass” servant guy while she learns how to use her magic…blah blah blah.

With that said let’s get to the point, this is the first work by the author Rebecca Jaycox. Though I commend her for her efforts, I just didn’t like much of anything in regards to this book. I’m overly curious if I was reading the same book as many other readers on Goodreads and Amazon, because this story has gotten a lot of reviews deeming it to be wonderful. I didn’t find this story to be wonderful at all, I found it to be simplistic and full of holes. I felt like an uncared for reader being drug through the mud and muck of a land that wasn’t even finished being constructed.

This story clips along at a fast pace, but so many things are only touched on and never explained again as the reader tries to catch up to where the author is going. Our main character Reggie suddenly realizes that she can wield magic, which is a pretty incredible concept to grasp if you’re an ordinary person (or Muggle) such as myself. This character is shocked for about three seconds, but then she starts acting as if a man/wolf creature is normal or that her gift to make roots from the earth move towards her is just OH SO CASUAL. Not only does she learn to almost completely control her powers in just one or two dreamscapes with her deceased father (realistic? I think not!), but she starts making out with the indentured named Asher (slave from “the Other”) after only knowing him for a few days! If you guys like a story with a rushed and highly awkward romance, you should definitely read this. I could have went along with this rushed romance that was forcefully shoved upon me, but it was nearly impossible to connect with any of these characters.

The CHARACTERSUGH! They had no depth, no personality! I didn’t connect to one, NOT ONE! The author didn’t put the time in to carefully construct these characters, and it showed immensely. This could have been salvaged through dialogue, but that only made it worse for me. When Reggie and her alcoholic mother conversed, it felt so fluffed up and unrealistic. The conversations between Reggie and Asher literally made me groan in frustration because everything they said felt one-dimensional and were filled with too many exclamations. To me, the repetitiveness of multiple exclamation points looks like the writer took the easy way out when it came to describing a characters emotions in that moment. Asher saying “Reggie!” doesn’t tell me how angry he is, but Reggie! “ he spit through gritted teeth with eyes raging like the depths of Hell itself…that does.

I’m usually not this brutal in a review, and I always try to showcase SOME sort of positivity…but I just can’t when it comes to this book. The plot was lacking and nothing set it apart from any other fantasy story that I have read. The characters were like wallpaper and the entire read was predictable and blasé. I was hoping that this story would improve as I kept reading, because that has happened in so many first-time books by authors that I have read. I kept hoping and hoping for it to get better, but it didn’t. Not even a little bit. I really don’t recommend reading this…

1-star

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