Saturday, December 31, 2011

In My Mailbok 79

I got a lot of good books to start in 2012. Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Delirium review

Description: Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

My thoughts: This book, along with Divergent were the two books I’d been scared to read. They both just sounded to good to be true. But I was wrong about Divergent, and I was (definitely) wrong about Delirium. I was sick this past weekend, and oddly enough, Delirium was the only book I could reach from my bookshelf. I never want to be that sick again, but I’m glad it led my to this book.
I went from the first page to the last page in a matter of hours because it was so good. And the thing is, any good author could write a dystopian. Or a love story, or write good. But what stood out was that I couldn’t say Lauren Oliver’s writing was deeply elegant or sweet and simple. It was somewhere in the middle. She was poetic when she needed to be, and straight to the point at other times. I still can’t really explain it.
And on top of the writing, having a world where love was a disease really struck me. I know love is important, but seeing the lack of it in Delirium had me really assessing how vital it is in our lives. It was sad because those who’d been cured didn’t just not fall in love anymore, they treated their family differently. They didn’t even see their friends the way they used to. I just couldn’t imagine not remembering my first love, even with all the pain the love came with. And I couldn’t bear feeling indifferent about all the special moments I had with my friends in the past. So for me, the description of this kind of world just tugged at my heartstrings.
On top of that, the main characters are just so adorable. I don’t know why but Lena getting to know Alex was just so cute, and simple and right. And the love between Lena and her best friend was good to. Because I like that it proves that love isn’t just for the guy or girl you’re in love with, it’s for everyone you care about. And I actually really liked the awkwardness that happened in the story with their relationship. Because even when Lena and her best friend were fighting it reminded me that I’d rather be awkward and fight with someone I loved than to forget I even cared about them.
And as far as the ending, I just need to know what happened! I had some guesses about what would be in Pandemonium, then I read the description for Pandemonium, and now I don’t know what the hec to think. But it doesn’t matter. I just want to know what else happens in this world Lauren Oliver has seen fit to create.
Additional notes: I’d say that this book was broken up in to three parts. 1. Lena is like all the other people who don’t question what’s happening to her society but then she meets Alex. 2. Then there’s growth and acceptance that love is good. 3. And then there’s the fight to escape from those who want to take love from them. I two thirds of this book better than the remaining one third, but when I read the last two pages of this book, none of that mattered. If Lauren Oliver had written Delirium and it had only consisted of the last chapter (with those last two pages) I STILL would have loved this book (well novella if it was only a couple of pages).

Monday, December 19, 2011

Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings

- The first eight books are just books I've wanted for a while but never got.

- This is Shyness which I found through The Crooked Shelf's Aussie month is nowhere to be found.
.. Well I think I found the ebook but I'm not paying almost $30 for one book.

And I've listed Pandemonium because I'm hoping for a Christmas miracle (because that's the only way I could get an arc lol)

What are you reading on Mondays?

Book(s) read last week:
A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies
Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Currently reading:
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Upcoming read(s):
IDK. It's the holidays so maybe I'll read a non-review book.

Under the Never Sky review

Description: Aria is a teenager in the enclosed city of Reverie. Like all Dwellers, she spends her time with friends in virtual environments, called Realms, accessed through an eyepiece called a Smarteye. Aria enjoys the Realms and the easy life in Reverie. When she is forced out of the pod for a crime she did not commit, she believes her death is imminent. The outside world is known as The Death Shop, with danger in every direction.

As an Outsider, Perry has always known hunger, vicious predators, and violent energy storms from the swirling electrified atmosphere called the Aether. A bit of an outcast even among his hunting tribe, Perry withstands these daily tests with his exceptional abilities, as he is gifted with powerful senses that enable him to scent danger, food and even human emotions.

They come together reluctantly, for Aria must depend on Perry, whom she considers a barbarian, to help her get back to Reverie, while Perry needs Aria to help unravel the mystery of his beloved nephew’s abduction by the Dwellers. Together they embark on a journey challenged as much by their prejudices as by encounters with cannibals and wolves. But to their surprise, Aria and Perry forge an unlikely love - one that will forever change the fate of all who live UNDER THE NEVER SKY

The first book in a captivating trilogy, Veronica Rossi’s enthralling debut sweeps you into an unforgettable adventure

My thoughts: This book is another reason why I’ve stopped claiming to know what my favorite book of the year is (at least until the last possible moment). Its perfect books like this that surprise me with good dialogue, great characters, and a magnificent plot! I can’t even count how many times I put the book down for a few seconds just because I needed to take a moment to smile and appreciate the awesomeness (yes awesomeness) of it all. I needed to smile at something brilliant, or catchy, or funny. It’s still hard for me to even stop my fan girl instincts from kicking in right now!
In Under the Never Sky, you have a controlled environment and an uncontrolled one. And two characters from both sides that eventually cross paths and have to work together to meet their own needs. But of course as they go on, the other person’s problem becomes their own. 

It was just this big journey that resulted in vivid descriptions and aspects that left me captivated. For one, the plot is unpredictable. In this way it reminded me of Girl of Fire and Thorns the way the main character’s journeys’ actually resulted in character development (which should normally happen but unfortunately doesn’t sometimes) because of all the things the characters had to deal with. The alternating chapters between Aria and Perry also showed this development. Because as they went on, they seemed to take on a little bit of the other person's attributes, which tends to happen if you’re around anybody long enough.
That’s why the plot itself would have won me over. First I thought they’d be going one place but then something happened and they changed routes. Or I thought they were going down a certain path until they met up with another character. And then the unthinkable happened and I’m like: “What in the world is happening?!” (but in a good way). And unlike some books I’ve loved in the past, this book leaves me pleased in a way that I can’t wait for the next book, but not in the sense that it ended with a cliffhanger that made me want to slam books and look crazy by mumbling to myself.
Veronica Rossi has created a world full of lovable characters, beautiful writing, and enough action, romance and suspense to have me counting down the days for the next book (I want it NOW)!
Additional notes:  
- Can I just say that Roar was amazing! I mean Perry is cool and everything, but I’ll take Roar over him any day.
- Most of the time I end up liking a side character more than the female main character, but I was really impressed by Aria. She initially had personal issues and prejudices, but she also changed in major ways that had me saying "go girl!" throughout the book.

[insert contented sigh]

Friday, December 16, 2011

In the Forrest of the Night contest winners

The winner: Jessy

I randomly selected the winner with Random Line Picker, putting each name in as many times as the number of points they got. As an automatic, winners of my contest have 48 hrs. from the time I send them an email to reply. Congrats to the winner!

The Scorpio Races review

Description: It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

My thoughts: I have to stop saying I’ve found my favorite book of 2011 before I actually finish my last book of the year, because it keeps changing. Daughter of Smoke and Bone was amazing. Then I read Divergent. And now it’s Scorpio Races. So I’m just keeping the poker face until the last week of December.
I have to admit something. I don’t remember what I said in my reviews of Lament or Shiver, but those books were just ok. They weren’t horrible but I felt indifferent about both of them, like I could take them or leave them. But there was just something about Maggie Stiefvater (other than our birthdays being on the same day) that makes me want to read what she writes. She’s such a talent in general and her writing is so lyrical that she’s one of those authors I just want to read no matter what. For me, Ballad was great, and it gave me the encouragement to read any upcoming books from her. Which is funny because I needed no encouragement to read Scorpio Races. It just sounded like my kind of book from the very beginning. It sounded like an adventure, and it was, though it was like nothing I’d ever imagined. It was better.
There’s the setting, which you can feel, as if you were there among the racers, on the beach avoiding the capaill uisce’s teeth. And regardless of all the things that should have made me leery of this place, every new description just made me want to be there in person.
Then there’s the story. Two actually, emerging throughout the book until they become one. That’s also the way Id like to think of Sean and Puck personally. Something was pulling them towards each other, but there was no supernatural aspects making them want to be together after 48 hours of being near each other (or whatever). Their feelings grew, and it was fantastic. Just having their personal stories in the mist of the bigger story made everything better. Because Puck needs to win this race, but Sean also needs to win this race (I can feel the fangirl in me coming out already). And that’s obviously going to cause a little bit of difficulty.
And last but not least, there’s Cor, who you don’t need to physically see to know how beautiful and majestic he really is. Or see him in person to know how fast he could run.  But I still just wanted to sit on the beach as the Scorpio Races took place, and capture one of the most basic aspects of Thisby (the island).
Additional note: No book is for everyone, but just go read it. PLEASE. Because I want this to be the book that everyone likes (I know I just contradicted myself. Whatever.).

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Faerie Ring review

Description: Debut novelist Kiki Hamilton takes readers from the gritty slums and glittering ballrooms of Victorian London to the beguiling but menacing Otherworld of the Fey in this spellbinding tale of romance, suspense, and danger. 
The year is 1871, and Tiki has been making a home for herself and her family of orphans in a deserted hideaway adjoining Charing Cross Station in central London. Their only means of survival is by picking pockets. One December night, Tiki steals a ring, and sets off a chain of events that could lead to all-out war with the Fey. For the ring belongs to Queen Victoria, and it binds the rulers of England and the realm of Faerie to peace. With the ring missing, a rebel group of faeries hopes to break the treaty with dark magic and blood—Tiki’s blood.
Unbeknownst to Tiki, she is being watched—and protected—by Rieker, a fellow thief who suspects she is involved in the disappearance of the ring. Rieker has secrets of his own, and Tiki is not all that she appears to be. Her very existence haunts Prince Leopold, the Queen’s son, who is driven to know more about the mysterious mark that encircles her wrist.
Prince, pauper, and thief—all must work together to secure the treaty…


My thoughts: If it is revealed that a story takes place in the 1800s, while a lot of girls run towards that book, I just try to avoid the stampede and run the other way. It’s just not my thing. Even when I like a book that takes place during that time, it’s because I didn’t have to deal with an overbearing setting where everyone wears a suit or a dress, and everyone talks like they’re speaking sonnets to everyone. Thankfully, I did actually like this book despite it’s setting.
Tiki is of course one of those characters who doesn't know who or what she is. So in comes the love interest that just so happens to know a little more about her than he should. Pretty standard. But adding a Faerie ring that two different worlds are after and a group of adorable orphans, and you’ve got yourself an interesting story!
First you think the ring is the only problem the characters have to deal with, but then another problem steps up, and then another one, etc.  But even at the end of the book you know the main problem isn’t over (which is actually exciting). Because there are still faeries out there who don’t want peace. And something about Tiki is revealed in the end that I as well as some of the characters were never expecting, that should (or will) make for an interesting sequel. This book was good but the series could be great if the author does what I hope she’s going to do with Tiki’s character in the next book!
Additional note: And how cute was Clara?! Don't answer that, because she was extremely cute. I just wanted to get that girl cough syrup and some soup (because she was sick...not because I normally like to give children cough syrup...).

Monday, December 12, 2011

Don't Breathe a Word review

Joy Delamere is suffocating...

Description: From asthma, which has nearly claimed her life. From her parents, who will do anything to keep that from happening. From delectably dangerous Asher, who is smothering her from the inside out.

Joy can take his words - tender words, cruel words - until the night they go too far.

Now, Joy will leave everything behind to find the one who has offered his help, a homeless boy called Creed. She will become someone else. She will learn to survive. She will breathe... if only she can get to Creed before it’s too late.

Set against the gritty backdrop of Seattle’s streets and a cast of characters with secrets of their own, Holly Cupala’s powerful new novel explores the subtleties of abuse, the meaning of love, and how far a girl will go to discover her own strength.

My thoughts: This is the type of book that you can tell is going to be good just because of the writing, even before anything has really happened. In fact, at the beginning I had no idea what was happening. It was peculiar. And even though this book is considered contemporary, it almost seemed otherworldy even though there was no kind of magic or faeries or vampires, etc. That’s what initially captured my attention, and then Joy and her new family’s story was what kept it.
Joy has a difficult problem to deal with, one that is in my opinion very relatable whether or not readers are going through the same problem. The relatable factor is that it’s easier to see a problem if it seems definite, like abuse is easy to assess when it’s physical instead of verbal. Things become blurry when we try to assess verbal abuse. Does it count if it’s not connected with the physical aspect? Is it really abuse if they don’t do it too often? Confusion like this encourages people to subject themselves to troubles they shouldn’t have to deal with, and this is what Joy and her newfound family have to face.
That’s another thing that sets this book apart, because it’s also about the people who take Joy in. They’ve got problems of their own, and their story is just as important as the Joy’s is. In many other books, the friends of the main character are mostly there to help support the main character, and not because they also have a problem that needs to be dealt with.
In Don’t Breathe a Word, these problems are rough. They’re all going through so much. And just like in my recent review of Desert Angel, it’s hard to take, because things like this really do happen. And after all that happened, it was easier for me to accept the ending, which otherwise would have seemed too sweet or unrealistic. But all the characters had gone through so much that there was no other to end the story.
Additional note: This is a powerful novel that wouldn’t have been even half as good without Holly Cupala’s wonderful writing. I hadn’t read anything by Cupala until Don’t Breathe a Word so I definitely have to check out Tell Me a Secret and Dear Bully.

What are you reading on Mondays?

Book(s) read last week:
Desert Angel by Charlie Price
Don't Breathe A Word by Holly Cupala
Shut Out by Kody Keplinger

Currently reading:
A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies 

Upcoming read(s):
Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey

Saturday, December 10, 2011

In My Mailbok 78

Description: As the last heiress of the House of North, Alissa knows that striking up a secret friendship with a half-vampire enforcer is dangerous, but Merrick is a temptation she can't resist. But when Alissa is kidnapped, Merrick proves that he will do anything to protect the woman who tempts him with her very existence.

My thoughts: I haven't heard much about it but it sounds really cool!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dark Eden review

Description: Fifteen-year-old Will Besting is sent by his doctor to Fort Eden, an institution meant to help patients suffering from crippling phobias. Once there, Will and six other teenagers take turns in mysterious fear chambers and confront their worst nightmares—with the help of the group facilitator, Rainsford, an enigmatic guide. When the patients emerge from the chamber, they feel emboldened by the previous night's experiences. But each person soon discovers strange, unexplained aches and pains. . . . What is really happening to the seven teens trapped in this dark Eden?
Patrick Carman's Dark Eden is a provocative exploration of fear, betrayal, memory, and— ultimately—immortality.

My thoughts: The mystery aspect of the story was what made me hold my opinion until the end. There was something very wrong going on at the Dark Eden institution, and all but fifteen-year-old Will Besting knew about it (excluding the creepy people who where in on it). This Rainsford guy was finding a way to take away people’s fears, but it was replaced with something worse. And what it was replaced with was actually kind of scary, but when it was revealed what Rainsford could do and why he could do it, nothing made sense. It was just really random. It was random enough that the last few chapters messed up the whole story for me. I just don’t like stories that have parts that don’t make sense to me, and that’s how Dark Eden made me feel, unfortunately.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Reading Angel review

Description: Fourteen-year-old Angel wakes up one morning at her desert trailer home to discover her mother has been murdered by a lowlife named Scotty, who has vanished. Angel has no water, no weapon, but she knows that Scotty, an expert tracker and hunter, will surface soon in order to eliminate her as a witness. She has to run, to disappear, if she is to survive and tell the world what happened. Her flight takes her through a harsh landscape to places she never expected to be, forcing her to trust others for the first time and strengthening her in ways she doesn’t even anticipate . . . until it’s time to take a stand.

My thoughts: Throughout this book I was reminded of those kinds of stories that are usually in movies where a guy acts like he’s nice and then once he gets the girl he changes. Then the girl has to learn how to stand up for herself because for some reason the police can’t help. She ends up beating him to death so then it’s like: woo hoo for feminism or whatever. Despite this story being repetitive, I actually like these kinds of movies (particularly J. Lo’s Enough), so it was interesting to see a book that seemed similar to these movies.
Of course it isn’t exactly the same. This guy never acted like he was nice, and he went after the main character only after he killed her mother. But she does have to run, because this guy is literally hunting her down. Fortunately, since she’s only fourteen, she is helped out by a couple of families who can see that something is wrong. Unfortunately, this guy goes after these families too in anyway possible without causing enough problems to give the police enough evidence to arrest him (or at least keep him in jail).
Her interaction with these people who want to help her as she tries to end this “hunt” evokes situations that cause Angel to have to deal with issues she’s been running away from her whole life. She has to learn that she isn’t her mother just because she does things that remind her of her mom. And she simultaneously has to learn to trust herself while also learning to let people help her, which is something she’s definitely not accustomed to.
This book is a quick read but packed a lot of emotion. Although the ending seemed a little tame and quick for everything that had led up to it, the book was still OK over all. And what made up for it just being OK was that it made me think. There were a lot of things in this book that made me feel so much sympathy for Angel. She’s only fourteen! And the sad thing is that people younger than that are getting abused, and that’s just a sad thing to admit.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Top Ten Childhood Favorites

Tuck Everlasting: This had such a profound message that it's still one of my favorite books of all time
The BFG: It just makes me smile... :)
Bud, Not Buddy: This was the first "full book" I read when I was younger, so it's pretty special to me
The Phantom Tollbooth: Favorite book of all time
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: Duh
Where the Sidewalk Ends: It's weird and quirky and funny and genius, etc.
Bad Boy, The Beast, and Slam: Walter Dean Myers was my favorite author all the way up to high school, so these are some of my favorite books from him
A Wrinkle in Time: One of my favorite fantasy books from my childhood

Book Teaser: The Scorpio Races

The red stallion circles, halfway to a hungry creature of the sea, but he does as I asked: He does not eat the thing that was my father. Instead, the stallion climbs back into the water. Nothing is as red as the sea that day. 
I don't think often on my father's body strung through the reddening surf. Instead, I remember him as he was before the race: afraid. 
      I won't make the same mistake.

Monday, December 5, 2011

In the Forrest of the Night tour: Teenage Garage Sale + Giveaway

Today I have the privilege of having Kersten Hamilton on my blog today! She will be giving insight on what she would have had at a garage sale during her teenage years.

By the time I was a teenager, I didn’t own seven items to sell—not unless I sold the boots off of my feet along with the rest of my possessions. My mother had not been in the picture for years. My dad, who had once been a writer, award winning photographer, and awesome storyteller, was slowly going insane. My brothers, sister, and I didn’t know about the brain tumor that was destroying his mind. We only knew that he gradually became unable to keep a job, pay rent, or feed his children. Then he decided that the world was about to end, and he had to hide us from society. From that time on we lived in houses with no electricity or glass in the windows. So, when I was a teen I couldn’t own anything I couldn’t carry with me.

My worldly possessions were: my desert boots, a dog named Shadrach, a snub–nosed .38, a knife, a wood block carving of a unicorn, and my father’s old portable typewriter—the one he had used before I was born to write articles and novels on. He never touched it anymore.

Boots wear out, dogs can’t stay with us forever, and I pawned the .38 one day when I was hungry. All I have left from those days are the unicorn, my knife, that old typewriter…and all the strange experiences I weave into my novels. J

Thank you for having me on your blog today, Kara!

Thanks for stopping by Kersten!


Fill out this form to try and win a copy of In the Forrest of the Night!
Ends December 15, 2011
US only
Click the banner  above to get details of this tour!

What are you reading on Mondays?

Book(s) read last week:
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Currently reading:
Desert Angel by Charlie Price

Upcoming read(s):
Don't Breathe A Word by Holly Cupala

Saturday, December 3, 2011

In My Mailbok 77

Description: There is not one you. There are many yous. There is not one world. There are many worlds. Ours is one among billions of parallel earths.

When Everett Singh’s scientist father is kidnapped from the streets of London, he leaves young Everett a mysterious app on his computer. Suddenly, this teenager has become the owner of the most valuable object in the multiverse—the Infundibulum—the map of all the parallel earths, and there are dark forces in the Ten Known Worlds who will stop at nothing to get it. They’ve got power, authority, the might of ten planets—some of them more technologically advanced than our Earth—at their fingertips. He’s got wits, intelligence, and a knack for Indian cooking.

To keep the Infundibulum safe, Everett must trick his way through the Heisenberg Gate that his dad helped build and go on the run in a parallel Earth. But to rescue his dad from Charlotte Villiers and the sinister Order, this Planesrunner’s going to need friends. Friends like Captain Anastasia Sixsmyth, her adopted daughter, Sen, and the crew of the airship Everness.

Can they rescue Everett’s father and get the Infundibulum to safety? The game is afoot!

My thoughts: It looks REALLY weird but it sounds interesting. *shrugs* You can't judge a book by its cover. :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Shatter Me review

Description: Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.

My thoughts: There's always something special about books that have multiple aspects I usually don't like but somehow becomes the thing that makes me like it. It’s probably because there are a bunch of contradictions in this book (which is actually a good thing). For one, the main characters have one of those instant loves, but they really don't. Warner is the typical bad guy, but he really isn't. Basically things appear one way on the surface but it's just a cover up. And I'm glad it's a cover up because if the story was about what was just on the surface, I wouldn’t have liked it.

In some YA books where the male character explains why he loves the main character, he always seems to include qualities of the character I haven't seen in action.  Like she's funny, but there weren’t many examples in the book. Or she's really kind, but she only (kinda) helped one person in the whole story. Or she's caring, but the character is standoffish and doesn't like to get attached to anyone. And it’s true that these girls can still be funny and kind and caring, but I can't stand it when there's barely any proof to back it up. With Juliette, when Adam says all the nice things about her, I believe it, because there are examples to back it up. So I really believe she is everything he says he is.  
And speaking of Adam! He’s definitely one of my top YA crushes now. It's not just because he's
fine (which he is), but I love his background story too. But regardless of how much I liked Juliette 
and Adam (and them together); the cherry on top was Warner. No, I didn’t actually like him but
the additional problems he caused for Juliette were so entertaining, especially the window scene 
(my jaw dropped... not really... kind of). Even at the end, Warner creates issues, and I'm not just 
talking about the war with and against the reestablishment (I'm talking personal).
Now, with everything I did like about it, there was one main thing I didn’t like. The writing style 
where one word or statement is repeated three to four times times times. It just got really old really 
fast. I could take Shatter Me’s poetry like quality and Juliette comparing herself to nature and other 
various object objects objects, and even the marked out words. But I couldn't take the words being 
repeated. I'm getting annoyed just giving examples in my review  (review review lol).

Other than that, Shatter Me was great! And the last few chapters revealed something that should
make the next book VERY interesting. 

Top Ten Books on My TBR List for Winter

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