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Bex (United Kingdom)

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Foretold: 14 Tales of Prophecy and Prediction
Foretold: 14 Tales of Prophecy and Prediction
by Carrie Ryan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Some Of YA's Hottest Writers!, 8 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Like many other readers, I wanted to read this purely for some of my favourite authors - it's great to have a collection with so many novellas (14 is pretty good going for a collection like this), from so many great writers. If you're wanting to know if some of the popular series in YA at the moment are for you then this is the perfect teaser. If you're already a fan, you'll also love the extra additions to some new and pre-existing storylines. I also loved the creepy introduction from Carrie Ryan!

1. Gentlemen Send Phantoms by Laini Taylor:- This was a great start to the collection. I've only recently discovered this author and I love how she writes. This story tells the tale of a supposed myth that happens once a year - the ghost/phantom since they're not dead, of your true love appears in front of you on this day so you can find out who you're supposed to be with. I usually hate this kind of thing, but the story is woven wonderfully and I really loved the sweet-natured relationships within. 4/5.

2. Burned Bright by Diana Peterfreund:- This is a unusual story. I've wanted to read a book by this author - For Darkness Shows The Stars - for ages so I thought this would be a nice taster of her work. It was. I enjoyed the writing style immensely; she sucked me right in. This story features Bright, a daughter of a preacher. Now, I'm not religious, but I was desperate to find out what they were talking about - how were they going to get into Heaven? Why were they leaving? Why did Bright's father lie? There's definitely some unusual twists going on here. I definitely will read her other work now. 4/5.

3.The Angriest Man by Lisa McMann:- This is ostensibly a werewolf story. But it has a pretty deep message. I loved the way McMann portrayed the inner workings of quite a turmoil-ridden young person. Unfortunately it isn't especially exciting, or gripping, so it didn't grab me as much as the previous stories. 3/5.

4. Out Of The Blue by Meg Cabot:- An interesting alien story told in interview format; two siblings have unusual blue "moles" on their skin they claim was placed on them by a man in a spaceship. Initially this reads as quite a young, young adult tale but it does mature as the story progresses and each of the narrators has a unique, interesting voice. An interesting concept but not much fun to read. 3/5.

5. One True Love by Malinda Lo:- A unique, slightly medieval, tale of prophecies and curses. I liked the story of the child who was deemed deadly because she "killed" her mother in child birth. This sort of story opens up so many questions, moral and ethically, and I liked that the author made me think - even amongst all the talk of prophecy. She did this more so with the concept of forced marriage - I thought she explored this nicely. Not a brilliantly strong narrative though, I did struggle to connect with the characters. 3/5.

6. This Is A Mortal Wound by Michael Grant:- The narrator for this novella has a fantastically witty voice laced with just the right amount of sarcasm. I loved him. I didn't so much like the story - it's a bit of a slow burner and centres mostly around a school teacher. Nevertheless, it's a fun read and I think I'll have a read of Grant's other books.

7. Misery by Heather Brewer:- A story of a town called Misery, which is anything but miserable, and the antics of the strangely colourful characters within it. I didn't like this one. I found that I couldn't connect with the characters, despite their weirdly wonderful eyes, and the general moral of the story fell a bit flat for me. 2/5.

8. The Mind Is A Powerful Thing by Matt De La Pena:- This was a creepy, eerie short story. I was on the edge of my seat looking for a murderer the whole time. A great read. 4/5.

9. The Chosen One by Shaundra Mitchell:- A mysterious romp through the life of a royal family, namely the unimportant prince and his perfectly princess-y sister. Some elements of prophecy, and more importantly magic, were exciting, but the story was incredibly slow. Despite this, I love the narrative voice and I kept reading; I wish it had been longer! 4/5.

10. Improbable Futures by Kami Garcia:- Tales of fortune telling but from a really witty perspective. I love to see stories of gawky little guys and girls becoming something bigger and defying expectations; the fortune telling was a nice twist. I've recently read another novella by this author and was really impressed; I'll definitely check out her bigger series now. 5/5.

11. Death For The Deathless by Margaret Stohl:- I LOVE prophecies about the end of the world. In book form anyway. It's a can of worms and Margaret Stohl teases the reader into wanting to discover every single worm and choose their favourite one. I don't always like the outcome of her writing, but the build up is always exciting. A good read about predictions and the effects they have on people. 4/5.

12. Fate by Simone Elkeles:- Typical new kid on the block story. Everyone loves a mysterious new neighbour right? I do too, but it has been a little bit done to death. Effectively this is a slightly twisty love story. I think YA romance readers will love this. But it doesn't break the mould or offer anything especially exciting compared to some of the bestsellers. 2/5.

13. The Killing Garden by Carrie Ryan:- This is the best book of this collection. Easily a 5/5. It tells the tale of the Gardener to the Emperor, well his daughter, and how she will take over her fathers role as the Gardener one day. If she can run fast enough, It's a story of earning parental approval, striving for your best, upholding traditions and being ruthless. I LOVE it. If you only read one story from here, read this one! 5/5.

14. Homecoming by Richelle Mead:- Do you love the vampire academy? Yes? Oh, so you love Dimitri and Rose then? You'll read this regardless of what I say if you answered yes to those questions. This is a nice little insight aimed at fans of the pre-existing series into the vulnerability of Dimitri and some cute Rose/Dimitri exchanges. I don't think it will resonate particularly with readers unfamiliar with the series unfortunately.

Overall, a much better collection of original stories than I anticipated. Fans of these authors will love these extra pieces, mostly set in brand new worlds. However I hadn't read anything by a majority of these authors and I loved it all the same - it was great to find some new favourites amongst some older ones.

Beautiful Dangerous Love- Teen Sampler
Beautiful Dangerous Love- Teen Sampler

2.0 out of 5 stars Misses The Mark., 7 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This collection features six extracts from YA fiction. Some of which were actually decent finds that I'd like to read in the future, but for the most part I didn't find this to be the strongest collection of samplers - most weren't books I'd be investing in in the future. What I did really like though was that before each sample we are given the blurb; sometimes with samplers you have to go searching to find out what you're dealing with.

1. Daemons In The Mist - This extract comes from a paranormal love story. Patrick is obsessing over a girl called Nualla who doesn't seem to notice him. It follows a typical YA format and doesn't have much more to offer than a slightly paranormal romance. In fact, although this was wonderfully written, I didn't enjoy the implausibility of it. 3/5.

2. Destined - Psyche receives a prophecy. But not one you'd like the sound of. Psyche is beautiful. And boy does the author let you know it. I couldn't read even the whole extract of this. I don't want to read about a pretty girl being pretty and desirable. I want something exciting, with grit and beyond ordinary. I don't recommend this entirely vapid book. 1/5.

3. The Pack - Shamira is being threatened. And a feisty girl like her just won't stand for that. But in order to protect herself and the people she cares about, she may have to sacrifice the person she loves. Again this book is just another ordinary YA, and that doesn't make it bad, particularly as the main character is interesting and witty. But I think the author needed to do something more than follow the typical format to keep me interested. So, then she threw the plot into Mars and I was hooked. 4/5.

4. The Magic Crystal - This is such a terrible title isn't it? I know you shouldn't judge a book and all that, but I would never have picked this up ordinarily. This book is about wishes. Wishes that go wrong and a dreadful curse. I loved it. I love the world building, the interesting characters with silly antics and funny personalities. This was great and I think lots of people like me will have missed it because of the title/cover. Serves us right for judging - give this one a read. 5/5.

5. Ride Of Your Life - Tracey was in love. Is in love. Finally! But she also died 30 years ago. After saving the life of an 11 year old 30 years ago, Tracey tragically died in the incident, but two new ghosts have recently joined her in the afterlife but Tracey is so hell-bent on not forgetting the past that she can't start her future. I liked this book. It had a cute message and was written nicely; a good extract but I'm not sure I was excited enough to read the whole thing. 4/5.

6. Whisper - This is written beautifully, the voice of the main character is really emotive and grabbed me instantly. I love stories with a good leading voice, and a little bit of communication with the dead is an interesting twist, although perhaps over-done. A solid story about justice and suspense. 3/5.

I think that this collection is probably past it's sell by date. When it was released I imagine readers found these stories to be enjoyable and unique. Now though, this genre is so heavily saturated with wonderful writing and magical plot lines that it is just impossible to compete. I can't recommend this collection because I simply don't know that anyone familiar with this genre will enjoy these stories more than they already have done with better, newer, ones.

Pitch Dark: Dark Days of Fall Sampler: Supernaturally; Fateful; Cold Kiss; A Beautiful Dark; and Eve
Pitch Dark: Dark Days of Fall Sampler: Supernaturally; Fateful; Cold Kiss; A Beautiful Dark; and Eve
Price: £2.99

3.0 out of 5 stars A Solid Sampler., 7 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This sampler is great because some of the included extracts are popular books so it was great to see if they were for me. Equally, I saved a bunch of money because the ones I thought I'd love I actually didn't even like.

Supernaturally - This was a great first book. Imagine you could destroy paranormal bad guys by sucking the life out of them? It was such a brilliant concept but I didn't really enjoy the authors writing style. The world building was brilliant and I completely understood where the author was going with this series; I think some people will really love this. The writing style was just a bit too basic and obvious for me. 3/5.

Fateful - It's 1910 and a young girl is saved by a handsome, and mysterious, stranger as she is about to be mauled by wolves. This book is shrouded in mystery, hidden meanings and teasers of what is to come. I really enjoyed this book, it quickly pulls you in. An enjoyable read. 4/5.

Cold Kiss - Wren tragically lost her boyfriend in a car accident. And she could bring him back. She's that kind of cool. But the consequences could be dire. I loved the temptation with this extract. I found myself wondering what I would do in Wrens situation; I love books that make me question myself and the ethics of a situation. A strong book that I'll definitely have to read now! 4/5.

A Beautiful Dark - This is a pretty typical girl meets boy at her birthday kind of story. I didn't find it exciting to find out who the mystery man was. It was frankly a bit creepy and just too typical of this genre. Not for me; it definitely needed some originality and the writing style just wasn't exciting enough to keep me interested. 2/5.

Eve - This story was highly anticipated for me; I've wanted to see what it's like for a long time. I'm glad I read it because now I know I wouldn't have enjoyed the full story. Eve is in a girls school in a country suffering from a deadly plague. There's a lot of mystery surrounding the school fence and what's really behind it; I also really wanted to know what happened to the girls when they graduated. But unfortunately, I've read so many brilliant books like this and I can tell this won't be as gripping - it took a long time for me to get excited by the writing or the world building. 3/5.

This is a good collection; I've definitely found a few new reads. I think there will be something for everyone in here - at the very least you can rule out the ones you don't like and save yourself some time.

Teen Summer Reading Sampler 2012
Teen Summer Reading Sampler 2012
Price: £0.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Something For Everyone., 7 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This collection includes the first three chapters from six books aimed at the YA audience. Usually I don't really like samplers like this, I prefer to read novellas from the series and see if I like the writing style that way, and this wasn't as good as doing that, but because you get three chapters you actually get a much better idea about whether you'd be wasting your money buying the full book.

Halflings - This was my favourite of the six. It pulled me straight in with the car chase scenes, wolf attacks and mysterious angel boys. I added this straight to my to-be-read list. 4/5.
Reckless Heart - A young, Amish girl has a mysterious sick sister. This book seemed good, although it wasn't for me so I won't be buying it - the perfect example of why these samplers are great; this just saved me money! 2/5.
The Merchant's Daughter - A young girl, trapped in servitude, seems to be falling for her captor. I think this book had lots of potential and I can imagine the full book will raise lots of interesting questions. 3/5.
Interrupted - This book is ostensibly a love story and explores if love can actually heal. It wasn't really my type of book, but I think that the fact this collection features a different genre book to perhaps suit the needs of everyone is really helpful for people looking for a new favourite. 2/5.
Finally and Forever - A spontaneous young girl bites the bullet and flies to Africa. This book is full of culture, exciting ideas and a potential love interest. I liked the way the three chapters developed and that the love story wasn't heavy, but rather a subtle idea to pull you in. 3/5.
Replication - This is for readings who love Dystopian. Boys, all named Jason, have been created to save humanity. They have expiry dates, they are all contained in a human farming facility and there are some really exciting ideas with this one. I can't believe this has so quietly slipped under the dystopian radar. 5/5.

This sampler has something for everyone. Each book has the fundamentals of a different genre and for that reason it's easy to find at least one book to fall in love with. It's clear these aren't bestsellers, they are mostly middle of the road in their genre so I don't think these are the strongest teasers of each genre, there are better samplers on the market, but there are a few great books here - have a read and see if you can find a new favourite.

New Teen Voices: Free eSampler
New Teen Voices: Free eSampler
Price: £0.00

1.0 out of 5 stars I Know It's Free But...., 5 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This collection will take you less than an hour to read, and unless you're dying to know if one of the contained books is for you, then that's one hour of your life wasted.

Contained within are the smallest samples imaginable. I assumed this would be six fairly short extracts from six potential YA reads, but what I actually got were 6 extracts which in some cases consisted of literally 1 page. I have to ask, what's the point? How can anyone tell if they like a book from less than a page and a blurb? You might as well just read the blurb.

In fairness, one or two of these chapter insights are slightly longer. And it is useful to have a quick look at the books to see if you like the way an author writes or the general concept. For me, I think the "Look Inside" feature Amazon offers is just as useful, if not better.

I can tell you from actually reading these books in full at some point or other that "Dark Inside" is the most promising of the six, and has only half a page to entice you to read it within this sampler - poor representation of a great series. I really wouldn't waste your time with this collection.

Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions
Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions
by Melissa Marr
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Find A New Favourite., 2 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This anthology features a number of short stories by popular YA authors, and most of these are set in pre-existing worlds. For some readers this serves well as an introduction to various authors writing styles and to the worlds each author has built to see if you'd like to invest your time in the remainder of the stories. For fans of each author, these stories are a fantastic way to see more of their work and get a closer look at some of your favourite characters. For other readers the novellas might throw you into the deep end a bit with a level of expected knowledge of these pre-existing worlds (which I didn't always have) and this made it a little confusing. I'll break it down a little.

1. Giovanni's Farewell by Claudia Gray. Twin brother and sister have some interesting paranormal abilities - seeing the dead and hearing peoples thoughts. This is a really enjoyable story, set apart from any pre-exisiting story, and worked well as a standalone. I really enjoyed it and think I'll be giving this authors further work a read. 4/5.
2. Scenic Route by Carrie Ryan. This was my favourite of the bunch. Two young sisters must survive in a zombie apocalypse. Some really unexpected twists and a really fast paced novella - I couldn't put it down. This does tie in to this authors larger series (Forest of Hands and Teeth), but it doesn't matter if you're not familiar with it; it stands alone well and is a good taster. 5/5.
3. Red Run by Kami Garcia. Another standalone novella essentially telling a ghost story - a sister tries to kill the ghost that murdered her brother. The truth is, I didn't like some of this authors work previously, but this has made me rethink that and start her books again. It was clever, brilliantly written and had some interesting characters. The plot was a little predictable though. 4/5.
4. Things about Love by Jackson Pearce. This is a love story. It explores the nature of love and how people want to understand it. The twist is that the author tries to highlight the difference between paranormal love and human love. A pretty good story, which I think I might have enjoyed more if I'd read the larger series, "As you wish", as it features key characters and some back story I didn't follow. 3/5.
5. Niederwald by Rachel Vincent. Set in a pre-existing story, "My Soul to Take" series, this features some key characters and a little bit of drama surrounding their friendship group. It really is necessary to have an understanding of this world before reading this, there are quite a few spoilers and a lot of significant back story is obviously missed from the novella so I don't think it would make much sense to readers new to the characters. Perfect for fans wanting an insight into Sabine and Emma's characters. 4/5.
6. Merely Mortal by Melissa Marr. It is absolutely integral readers are familiar with the world of "Wicked Lovely" before reading this short story.There are some enormous spoilers! This is a really lovely insight into Keenan and Donia. I loved it, and fans of Donia will definitely want to read this romantic scene. 5/5.
7. Facing Facts by Kelley Armstrong. Set in the "Darkest Forces" series, this novella features popular characters from the series. Chloe gets up to her usual adventures in this short extract from the series, so fans will adore this. For those new to the series, again there are tons of spoilers and missing plot lines that you really need to enjoy the novella. 3/5.
8. Let's Get This Undead Show On The Road by Sarah Rees Brennan. I hadn't read anything from this author before, but this funny extract into the vampiric characters was fabulous. I absolutely recommend this to people wanting to see if this author is for them. I hope this becomes a new series - the world building was unique and interesting, although slightly slow moving. 4/5.
9. Bridge by Jeri Smith-Ready. This didn't work for me. This is a lyrical, sad story told in verse. The style was too unique for me to get on with it, it felt disjointed and messy. However, it really seems to have resonated with other readers so it's worth a read to see if you like it. The story itself is powerful though, with some interesting messages tackled in a intelligent way. 3/5.
10. Skin Contact by Kimberley Derting. I loved this novella. It is related to Dertings larger series, which I was familiar with, but it works so well as a standalone. This features a boy called Rafe who has dreams which tell him where murders have happened and where the killer and victim currently are. This was so gripping, I could have read much more. 5/5.
11. Leaving by Ally Condie. I really enjoy Condie's work. The "Matched" series is one of my favourites. This isn't from that world, in fact it is entirely standalone. It's difficult to explain what it's about, because it's mostly little snapshots into some unique ideas like multiple universes for example. I felt so teased by this snippet of new characters and some exciting concepts - I really hope this becomes a series although it was slightly hard to follow. 4/5.
12. At The Late Night, Double Feature, Picture Show. Creature hunters. I mean, that's just awesome. You've got to read this - it starts off with cannibal girl scouts; how could you miss it. 5/5.
13.IV League by Margaret Stohl. This is a slow moving paranormal story. It's impossible to say anything without spoiling the twist because the whole story is one big twist and one big reveal. I liked the suspense, the characters and the world but I thought the ending was a bit of a flop. See what you think. 3/5.
14. Gargouille by Mary E Pearson. I'd never read a book of this nature before. It's a really new concept; I love that Gargouille's have come to life and the ideas this author had surrounding these creatures was fun to read. I'll definitely be checking out her other work and hope this takes off to become a bigger series. 5/5.
15. The Third Kind by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. This is an angelic story detailing the different types of angels. I really enjoyed this and it reminded me of a similar story by Cynthia Hand called "Unearthly". Fans of that series will love this. It is a little pointless though - there's very little story to follow; it's more descriptive. 4/5.
16. Automatic by Rachel Caine. This was a solid story set in the "Morganville Vampires" series. It is a little insight for fans into Eve and Michael, some of the supporting characters from the series. You don't need to have read these books to enjoy this story - this is the perfect introduction to this world and I think readers will love Michael's narrative. A really distinct, witty voice and a quick look into the bloodlust of vampires. 4/5.

I do recommend this for fans of YA. I think you will definitely find a new author to fall in love with. However, it is a bit hard going at times when you stumble across a storyline you're unfamiliar with and have to try and figure out the relationships with no prior understanding. Largely, a solid introduction for potential readers and some nice extracts from fans of the featured series. Definitely useful and worth a read.

Bridge: A Shade short story
Bridge: A Shade short story
Price: £0.99

3.0 out of 5 stars A Lyrical Novella For Fans., 31 Jan. 2016
This wasn't what I was expecting - a short story told in verse. For me, it didn't work in this style although it's a bold move and ties in well with the lyrical themes of this series as a whole.

This short story will hold weight for fans of the Shade series, and should be read as book 2.5, as it captures a part of some of the key characters lives which we miss out on with the main series. The author tackles some sensitive topics wonderfully and I was so impressed with the way the story turned out, I expected it to go a different route. Fans are likely to find some parts quite emotional!!

A tale of love and loss, with a cute whilst sad storyline with a musical twist. A good investment for fans, but this probably won't resonate with readers new to the Shade trilogy and the writing style does take a bit of getting used to.

Also available as part of the Enthralled:Paranormal Diversions anthology so be sure not to double up.

What If
What If
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars What If Your Soulmate Was Already Someone Else's?, 31 Jan. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: What If (Amazon Video)
This was surprisingly good. I say that because, it's not that I don't rate Daniel Radcliffe as an actor - who doesn't love Harry Potter? But I just couldn't imagine him to be convincing in any other role. In "What if" he does a spectacular job of convincing the viewer that there's more to him, and his talent, than wands and chocolate frogs.

Wallace, the son of surgeons, is a medical school drop-out living at home with his parents. He is single. Very, very single. But everyone around him is not. Which is how he meets Chantry, his best friends cousin, at a house party. There is instant chemistry, but Chantry has a boyfriend, and so after a few awkward exchanges they become great friends instead.

I thought the storyline was convincing and pretty fast paced which kept me interested. Zoe Kazan, who plays Chantry, was fantastic and I hope we'll see more of her in future roles. Her character faces a number of dilemmas throughout the movie as we begin to see the friendship between these two characters blossom. I really liked watching their friendship and some of the typical interactions you see between friends. The romance is really very limited for a Rom Com, but this works well and portrays the bond between people really wonderfully rather than being overly mushy!

It's interesting to see this sort of take on romance. It's not often we see the female love interest with a boyfriend the whole way through the film - we usually know their boyfriend is going to be collateral damage. This isn't the case with this movie and it's interesting to see how things play out. I also liked that the producers explored how people react when they realise the person they want is off limits - it was nice to see a more realistic take on this rather than a guy immediately getting the girl.

I think it's important to know you're not signing up for a typical Rom-Com here, so if that's what you're looking for you probably won't get the standard Rom-Com format. However, this is a sweet-natured, funny film with some really great ideas throughout. I really enjoyed this, and it's not really something that would usually be up my street, so I think that speaks volumes for its delivery. Definitely worth a watch.

Things About Love
Things About Love
Price: £0.99

3.0 out of 5 stars A Little Love Story., 31 Jan. 2016
This review is from: Things About Love (Kindle Edition)
Set in the "As You Wish" universe, although it's not important that you're familiar with this if you want to read as a standalone, this novella features Lawrence - a boy hoping to find love. Lawrence was a great character from the main series, but he's portrayed really well in this short story so this will be a good teaser for people wondering if this author is for them.

Lawrence has fallen in love with a boy. A boy who has fallen in love with his female friend. This novella swiftly tackles some of the interesting issues surrounding finding love, destiny and same-sex relationships. I really enjoyed Jackson Pearce's take on this. It is ostensibly a romantic piece, focusing on the meaning of love but has a mythological element - Jinns. And one particular Jinn, who watches over Lawrence, is closely studying the relationships between humans and how these differ with otherworld creatures like Jinns.

I think this is quite a detailed, layered novella which squeezes a lot in to very few pages. I do think it was enjoyable, but it was predictable and never really took off from the initial romantic thread that was woven. I think this is suited to those people who especially enjoyed the "As you wish" world as the recurring characters are favourites of most readers, but it would most benefit those wanting to find out if the world of genies is for them!

Also available in the "Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions" Anthology.

Red Run: A Short Story
Red Run: A Short Story
Price: £0.99

3.0 out of 5 stars A Tame Ghost Story., 30 Jan. 2016
This novella really is short. I know it's a short story, but I've read quite a few novellas and this really is very little and seems more like half a chapter!

Equally the story really never gets exciting. I love novellas which have a twist, or an interesting character or something that makes me want to read more. This one didn't do those things for me. This is effectively a ghost story, the kind you're told over a campfire to freak you out, but with less of the creepiness of a really good one.

Edie is driving along a road, Red Run, searching for the ghost who killed her brother. And six others. Her interactions with the ghost are fairly exciting. I wanted to know why the ghost was killing, how the ghost himself was killed and how she planned to kill a dead guy! So that was a great hook. Unfortunately the ending was a little flat and, had this been a full length story, I'd have put it down.

Nevertheless, this is a nice teaser for those that like paranormal stories. It works better as part of the anthology it also resides in, Enthralled:Paranormal Diversions. I hope that people will still take a look at this authors other work, as this probably isn't her finest and would most likely have put me off if it had been my first Garcia book.

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