Thursday, September 30, 2010

Review - Last Night's Scandal



Title: Last Night's Scandal
Author: Loretta Chase
Publishing Date: August 2010
Genre: Historical
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Warm
Book Disclosure: I received a used copy from Paperbackswap.com

Last Night's Scandal is part of Loretta Chase's Carsington series. Looking up information on this series to write this review, I have come to realize I might have missed out. I read the first book Lord Perfect. A lot of people raved about that book. I, on the other hand, wasn't too crazy about the main characters and instead found myself completely wrapped up in the escapades of the two children, Olivia and Peregrine. Then I caught wind that Ms. Chase had plans to write Olivia and Peregrine’s story and my interest was piqued. I put Last Night's Scandal on the wish list. But come to find out, there are more books in the series that span the time between Mr. Perfect and Last Night's Scandal. I might have missed out on other scenes involving Olivia and Peregrine!

Last Night's Scandal is such an enjoyable, fun read. There is nothing overtly heavy emotionally about this book. The characters Olivia and Peregrine are great and in the story they have been long time friends who have corresponded through letters while Peregrine was in Egypt. Olivia writes the Best Letters and has quite an ADVENTUROUS side to her nature. Peregrine on the other hand is logical and steadfast. They both fight their attraction for each other for fear that it will ruin their friendship. They know that their personalities are too different and that they won't be able to provide the other with what they need. It’s wonderful to see them discover just how much they mean to each other.

So, while Peregrine and Olivia are fighting their attraction or maybe I should say discovering it, they are also putting to rights a haunted castle in Scotland. The mystery is not serious at all. I think it was rather hokey and fun. I really don't have any complaints. This book lived up to my expectations. If you are in the mood for something cheerful and light, look no further.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Review - Waking the Witch



Title: Waking the Witch
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publication Date: August 2010
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Rating: C
Sensuality: Subtle
Book Disclosure: I borrowed a copy from my local library.

Waking the Witch is book eleven in Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series. Savannah Levine whom readers of this series first met as an unruly teenager and a very powerful witch in the second book Stolen. Savannah is all grown up now and has the opportunity to be a lead investigator on an important case while her guardians and employers, Lucas and Paige are off on a much needed vacation. Not wanting to bother Lucas and Paige, Savannah heads to the small town of Columbus to investigate the murders of three young women.

It's no secret that I am a huge fan of Kelley Armstrong and really enjoy her Women of the Otherworld series. Unfortunately, Waking the Witch is probably my least favorite book in this series. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that this book seems very transitional. Kelley Armstrong seems to be taking her series in a new direction with Savannah as a lead character. She needed this book to set up new storylines and new characters for future books in the series. Plus, it was a way to show how Savannah is changing and growing into womanhood.

I have trouble with Savannah as a lead heroine. Since Savannah was introduced as a character early on in the series, I never really liked her. Savannah has always come across as selfish and her moral compass is slightly skewed. She is not afraid to use her powers and does not shy away from dark magic. By the end of Waking the Witch I felt much more sympathetic to the choices she makes. In this story she gets a rude awakening and I think it is the beginning of a new Savannah. She has a lot of growth to make and I think the upcoming books will reflect that.

Another reason why Waking the Witch wasn't my favorite is because there is almost no romance. Savannah has had a crush on Adam, a half demon who works for Paige and Lucas, since she was a teenager. Their relationship or the one sided feelings Savannah has for Adam was the extent of the romance. Again, I believe that Adam might have feelings for Savannah but won't act on them because he feels she is too young, as he is eleven years her senior. Plus, the story is told from Savannah's point of view and the reader only gets the romance from Savannah's perspective. But I am definitely intrigued as to how things are going to play out in future books.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Review - Wicked Intentions



Title: Wicked Intentions
Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Publishing Date: August 2010
Genre: Historical
Rating: A-
Sensuality: Hot
Book Disclosure: I received a used copy from Paperbackswap.com

Wicked Intentions is the first book in a new series by Elizabeth Hoyt. Lord Caire, a man who can feel no emotion yet haunted by the brutal death of his paid companion, needs access to the slums of London. He makes a proposition to Temperance Dews whose life's purpose is to clothe and feed the orphans of St. Giles. Temperance is in desperate need of funding for her orphanage. Lord Caire can introduce her to high society where she has the opportunity to snag a rich benefactor.

Wicked Intentions is a strong start to Hoyt's new series. Temperance and Caire are fascinating characters whose uniqueness will compel readers to immerse themselves in this rich story. Temperance is haunted by her own sexuality, in which she views her desires as unclean or those of a loose woman. Lord Caire is a man who is unable to withstand the touch of others without it physically causing him pain. He also is emotionally numb, using Temperance as a way to channel emotions foreign to him through her. Temperance is very expressive and that fascinates Caire, drawing him in and he is powerless to resist her.

Besides the explosive chemistry between Caire and Temperance, there is a secondary storyline involving Temperance's sister, Silence. The storyline doesn't take up much page time, but the small amount that is there makes a big impact. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that Silence is in the next book. As it stands now, I am not sure when or if at all Silence will get her own book. I am going to email Ms. Hoyt and see if she can let us know what is in store for the Maiden Lane series. I’ll keep you posted.

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Review - This Heart of Mine



Title: This Heart of Mine
Author: Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Publishing Date: 2001
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: B-
Sensuality: Warm
Book Disclosure: I purchased a used copy at a book store specializing in trades.

This Heart of Mine is part of Susan Elizabeth Phillip's Chicago Stars series. Molly Somerville is the younger half sister to Phoebe Calebow the owner of the Chicago Stars football team. Molly has had a long time crush on the quarterback Kevin Tucker, yet he has no idea she exists. To most people Molly outwardly seems like a woman who is sensible and kind and conservative. But actually Molly has these periods when a little chaos and impulsive behavior leads her into trouble. One such period occurs when Molly finds Kevin Tucker at the Calebow’s vacation home unexpectedly. Molly's behavior leads to some very dire consequences which eventually lead Molly and Kevin unning a camp for vacationers, which is where Kev and Molly learn about each other and fall in love.

This Heart of Mine out of the books I have read by SEP has to be my least favorite. It's a testament to SEP's writing that I gave this book a B- rating as the writing is really good, but Molly was a really hard character to like. I was absolutely appalled at her behavior towards Kevin at the beginning of the book. For those of you who have already read this book know what I am referring too, for those of you who haven't I will be vague because I don't want any spoilers in this review. (You can always email me if you want details. I'll be happy to divulge those to you personally.)

Despite Molly's despicable behavior, if you can move past it the rest of the book is actually quite entertaining and a love story finally unfolds. I liked that Kevin eventually unwraps this quirky spontaneous side to Molly and loves her that much more for it. There is also a secondary romance between Kev's Mom and a reclusive artist at the camp. SEP just makes all these quirky characters come to life and they are a treat to read about. If you can get past Molly's cringe-worthy behavior in the beginning then you'll probably be able to enjoy the book.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

October Releases



Looking at my list for October, I can see I just might be able to catch up with the TBR pile. I only am wanting five new releases this month. It's slim pickin's for me.

And these are the books in no particular order:

Hellions of Halstead Hall - Book 2
Historical
9/21/2010


The Rarest Blooms - Book 3
Historical
9/28/2010


Victorian Series (Fraternitas Aureae Crucis) - Book 1
Historical
9/28/2010


The Justine Jones: Disillusionist Trilogy - Book 2
Urban Fantasy
9/28/2010


The Iron Seas - Book 1
Steampunk
10/5/2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

Review - Inside Out



Title: Inside Out
Author: Barry Eisler
Publishing Date: July 2010
Genre: Thriller
Rating: B-
Sensuality: Hot
Book Disclosure: I borrowed a copy from the library.

Inside Out is the second book in Barry Eisler's Ben Treven series. Ben Treven is a black ops soldier who recent had everything he believes in turned upside down in the previous novel Fault Line. This time Ben has been asked to track down a rogue operator who is threatening the US government with revealing tapes of American soldiers torturing prisoners all in the name of war. Ben, with the help of FBI agent Paula Lanier, must stop Larison before these tapes are revealed to the American people.

While Inside Out had many of the things I enjoyed about Fault Line, the first Ben Treven novel, it also didn't quite live up to my expectations. I think Inside Out was much more focused on the external conflict Ben was facing in hunting down Larison and was much less focused on Ben's relationships with those around him. Inside Out also seemed transitional in the fact that Ben is being groomed to take on more a leadership role and active participant in his division than just being a mindless drone that just takes orders and executes them.

There is no doubt that Barry Eisler writes a compelling, well researched and believable story. He is extremely knowledgeable in the nuances of the United States government and how it would manage a crisis it didn't want the American public getting wind of. It actually makes a person wonder at just what kinds of things are being kept hidden from us. Barry also can write compelling characters and gives the reader insight into how a soldier, especially a fierce, loyal and aggressive soldier views the world. I found it very interesting how Paula would psychoanalyze Ben and hit the nail right on the head. I do wish that there would have been more romance between these two, although the one sex scene in the book was smoking hot! Also, I felt like certain issues were wrapped up rather quickly at the end. But, I am definitely going to be reading the next Ben Treven novel.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Guess the Book #6



It's time once again to play "Guess the book". I give you a passage out of a book and you try to guess which book it came out of. The names have been omitted to make it harder. Good Luck!

K--- nodded, looking up at him. His eyes were black in the torchlight, his cheekbones drawn, and his wet hair slicked straight back from his head. He looked like a Cossack warrior, the kind who pillaged villages and stole maidens.

Maidens like her, milkmaids and poor relations and women with few relatives.

She cleared her throat and quickly shifted off his lap to the seat next to him. "Thank you for warming me," she said, starting to shiver immediately.

An odd look passed through his eyes and she followed his gaze downward. Her gown was utterly soaked, of course, and unfortunately her wax breasts had not survived their bath unscathed. One was still in place, perkily holding up K---'s meager offering. But the one on the right, where G---'s arm had towed her through the water, had been squished. The misshapen remains had migrated down and were positioned just above her waistline.

She looked down, thinnking desperately what to say. "H--- calls them her 'bosom friends,'" she blurted out, saying the first thing that came to her head. "If you would please close your eyes..."

He did. "A gentleman would not be grinning like that," she scolded, plucking the freezing ball of wax from her ruined gown. The crushed one was a bit trickier, but she was able to pull her destroyed bodice down enough to pull it out through her stays.

The boat was close to shore by the time she had restored her bosom to its natural state. Luckily they were obscured from view by the fact that their torch had at last spluttered out, though she could make out curious faces lining the marble basin.

"All right," she said, hauling her bodice into a reasonable approximation of its former self.

He opened his eyes.

"Take that expression off your face!" she said crossly.

"It's this or look at you in such a way that everyone would know exactly what I'm thinking about," he said softly.

She glanced down and saw her nipples poking straight through the wet silk. Heat rose in her face. "You'd better give the discards to me," he said. "If the servants find them, they'd never be able to keep it to themselves."

She had them hidden at her side, but she reluctantly handed them over. G--- turned over the blobs of wax. "You don't need these," he said. "But they're fascinating, all the same."

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Review - Love in the Afternoon



Title: Love in the Afternoon
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Publishing Date: July 2010
Genre: Historical
Rating: B
Sensuality: Warm
Book Disclosure: I received a used copy from paperbackswap.com.

Love in the Afternoon is the fifth and final book in Lisa Kleypas's Hathaway series. Beatrix, the youngest Hathaway sibling, finally gets her story. It all began innocently enough when Beatrix's friend Prudence reads her a letter from Captain Christopher Phelan. Beatrix never could resist a wounded soul and insists on writing Christopher after Pru callously disregards his letter. Over the course of the next few months Bea becomes Christopher's shining light amid the dark war. After the war ends he plans to come home and clam Pru as his own. Only he doesn't realize it's not Prudence he's in love with, it’s Beatrix.

Love in the Afternoon while not my favorite in the Hathaway series is still a pleasant read. Beatrix who has always marched to the beat of her own drum prefers the company of animals to that of most people. She is known for her ability to tame almost any wild creature, which is exactly what she does with Christopher once he leaves the war and has to integrate back into society. His gruff and rude behavior is no match for Beatrix's stubborn patience.

For some reason I am having a difficult time pin pointing why exactly I didn't like Love in the Afternoon as much as I did the other books in this series. It could be little things, like the fact that Bea and Christopher are apart in the beginning of the book. They exchange a series of letters which establishes their relationship. Then I think that coupled with the fact that it takes Christopher a while to realize that it was Beatrix who wrote the letters and not Pru. Pru is a selfish twit of a girl and Beatrix is obviously a much, much better person and the fact Christopher doesn't see it right away is a big mark against him. Overall it is a cute story. I mean it’s Lisa Kleypas. It’s still an enjoyable read, just not my favorite.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Review - Twelve Sharp



Title: Twelve Sharp
Author: Janet Evanovich
Publishing Date: 2006
Genre: Mystery
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Subtle
Book Disclosure: I recieved a free copy from a friend.

Twelve Sharp is part of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum mystery series. For those of you who are not familiar with this series, Stephanie is a bounty hunter who doesn't go looking for trouble but trouble always seems to find her. Somehow through dumb luck and zany hilarity Stephanie always manages to get the bad guy. In Twelve Sharp Stephanie gets quite a shock when Ranger's wife shows up on her doorstep. Ranger is a man of mystery. He is a bounty hunter and owns his own security business. Stephanie is quite shocked to learn that Ranger has a wife. The situation escalates when Ranger's daughter is kidnapped and Stephanie teams up with Ranger to get her back.

Twelve Sharp is another fun ride with Stephanie and her gang of crazy sidekicks. More is at stake in this book when Ranger's daughter is kidnapped. The tension is ratcheted up a notch from previous books. It's still funny and the characters are still doing crazy things, but more is at stake. As for the romance, I think things get a little bit clearer as for which man is right for Stephanie. Stephanie will eventually have to make a decision but she clearly isn't ready. I think the choice is obvious, but I know there is plenty of debate over Joe vs. Ranger.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

This is just awful...



I seem to have lost my blogging mojo. I am halfway through the month of September and I have only posted 5 times, 6 if you count this one. And the last time I posted was four days ago. I have never gone this long between posts. This is just not like me.

Interestingly enough, I have been reading the same as usual. This past Sunday I read Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt in one day. I can’t remember the last time I read a book in a day. Ahhh the start of football season does have its advantages. Since my husband doesn't want to do anything but watch football all weekend, I can curl up with a book almost uninterrupted.

I just hope I can get my blogging mojo back. For over 2 1/2 years I have been a very steady blogger and have reviewed every single book I read in that time. I really want to continue to do that. It's a point of pride for me to be able to say that but recently I feel myself slipping.

I need some encouragement!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Review - Ruthless



Title: Ruthless
Author: Anne Stuart
Publishing Date: August 2010
Genre: Historical
Rating: B
Sensuality: Hot
Book Disclosure: I received a copy from Paperbackswap.com

Ruthless is the first in a new series by Anne Stuart, The House of Rohan. Viscount Rohan, Francis Alistair has been the leader of the Heavenly Host which is a society dedicated to the deviant pleasures, the vices of life. He is bored and jaded until Elinor Harriman walks into his life. Elinor Hartman is a lady by birth, but her circumstances have left her and her sister in dire straits. She comes to his chateau looking for her mother before she gambles the last of their money away. Rohan toys with her and finds her quite the thing to eliminate his boredom. He is intrigued by her situation and he can't seem to keep her out of his mind. Somehow he finds himself being her protector.

I found Ruthless to be a very entertaining tale albeit a little over the top. It reads very dramatic. The characters swing either very bad or very virtuous. However, you easily know where everyone stands. By far the most interesting character was Lord Rohan. He is definitely the bad boy and jaded hero. He has no qualms looking out for his own interests. Yet after meeting the virtuous Elinor, he finds himself acting completely out of character. Actually what really is happening is that Elinor has brought out a part of himself that he has kept hidden.

What kept Ruthless from getting a higher grade from me (although a B is still quite a good grade) is the abrupt ending. I really felt like thing were wrapped up all too quickly. The romance between Elinor and Rohan for most of the story was divided by the bad boy falling for the good girl. There was not enough focus at the ending to wrap up all the details. All of the sudden Rohan and Elinor come together in this big crashing way yet the major issues holding them back earlier in the story were either not resolved or dealt with in a sentence or two. Everything was resolved much too quickly for my tastes. However, for those fans of Stuart who love her bad boy heroes, they are going to enjoy Rohan's personality. It’s a fun book, but it’s not without slight problems.

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Review - Eternal Kiss of Darkness



Title: Eternal Kiss of Darkness
Author: Jeaniene Frost
Publishing Date: August 2010
Genre: Paranormal
Rating: B-
Sensuality: Hot
Book Disclosure: I purchased a new copy.

Eternal Kiss of Darkness is a standalone spin-off from Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series. Mencheres is a centuries old vampire who is ready for his true death. After passing his power to his second in command, Bones he longs to see the sun. Kira Graceling, a former police officer has always lived by the code that one must try to save a life. She stumbles upon Mencheres being beaten by a group of thugs. Little does Kira know her life is about to change forever. Kira mistakenly discovers the existence of vampires by coming to Mencheres’s rescue. He must take her into custody while she has knowledge of his kind.

I don't know what it is about this spin-off series but I don't like it nearly as much as I do the actual Night Huntress series. Every couple compared to Kat and Bones just pales in comparison. Where is the humor, the sarcasm, the feistiness? It's all just too bland. These other characters just can't compete.

Kira is a decent character. She is brave and smart. She takes in this whole other world of supernatural creatures like a champ. She listens to Mencheres and shows caution when it's needed and initiative when it's needed. Really, she is a gem of a heroine. But damn it all to hell, she is no Cat. I know it really is unfair to judge like this, but when it's all said and done, I can't help but compare.

I am sort of torn in my recommendation. First off, for those of you who haven't tried Jeaniene Frost this book could easily be a standalone and be a good place to start. Unfortunately, I don't like this book nearly as much as I do her other books. But maybe having not read the other books, Eternal Kiss of Darkness might not look so bad in comparison. Fans of Frost are going to pick up this book anyway because if you’re like me you will want to read anything she writes in the hopes of getting your fix. Do what you will, readers. Do what you will.

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Monday, September 6, 2010

Review - The Next Best Thing



Title: The Next Best Thing
Author: Kristan Higgins
Publishing Date: February 2010
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Warm
Book Disclosure: I received a used copy from paperbackswap.com

Lucy Lang was only married for 8 months before she joined her Mother and Aunts as a Black Widow. It has been five years since Jimmy died in a car accident. Lucy finally feels it is time for her to move on with her life and maybe start dating again. Lucy does have a small problem. She has been sleeping with her best friend Ethan who also just happens to be Jimmy's little brother. Lucy and Ethan have kept their physical relationship a secret from their friends and family for some time now. Mostly this is Lucy's idea because she is afraid of how everyone will react to the news. Things get complicated when Lucy tells Ethan that she wants to end their "friends with benefits" back to just "friends".

The Next Best Thing is my second book by Kristan Higgins. I find that I really enjoy her writing style. Lucy narrates the story in first person from her point of view. This gives the book a more Woman's Lit vibe than typical romance novels. Lucy has major issues to work through with the death of her husband, wanting to move on with her life and start dating again. Plus she has this pesky little problem with her best friend Ethan that she doesn't know quite how to deal with. The Next Best Thing is not just Lucy figuring out her relationship with Ethan but she has to figure out her life too.

This book is very touching and runs the reader through a whole slew of emotions. I laughed. I cried. I was happy for Lucy and Ethan. Yet at other times I was angry at Lucy for her treatment of Ethan and then at Ethan for not communicating better with Lucy. I was definitely emotionally invested in these characters. I thought Lucy's journey was very entertaining, but some readers are going to be frustrated with Lucy. She has a lot of baggage that she has to work through before she can commit to her new life and it takes time. I really liked that Jimmy's image is never vilified to make it easier for Lucy to move on. The author definitely doesn't take any easy paths, but luckily for the reader, humor is always in the forefront. This book parallels real life and that is what makes it a winner in my mind.

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Friday, September 3, 2010

August Wrap Up



Life is treating me good. Reading is treating me good. This is my theme for the month of August. I am on a historcal romance kick. I am feeling the historcal. It seems I can't pick up a bad one. Unfortunately, paranormal romance is on the outs. I am enjoying urban fantasy much more (who would of thought).

On a personal note, I am in the process of fixing the house up to put it on the market to sell. This week alone we have repaired the walls in the den and spare bathroom, painted and installed new carpet. OMG!! It is so nice and cushy. I am loving my new house. I don't know if I want to sell it, it's so nice now, LOL! Just kidding, we have to sell because my daughter and son are sharing a room (we live in a two bedroom and have aspirations to move to a three bedroom.)

What I am trying to say is that once again real life seems to be intruding into my reading time. The catch 22 is that I am wanting to read the wonderful historcals in my TBR, yet can't find the time. It's all a balancing act a this point.

Here is what I managed to read in August, along with the ratings. Links to follow shortly.

1. Seduced into a Paper Marriage, Maureen Child, Contemporary, B
2. The Irish Warrior, Kris Kennedy, Medieval, B+
3. Succubi Like it Hot, Jill Myles, Paranormal, B-
4. His at Night, Sherry Thomas, Historical, A-
5. Crazy for Love, Victoria Dahl, Contemporary, B
6. Nine Rules to Break..., Sarah MacLean, Historical, B+
7. Anywhere She Runs, Debra Webb, Romantic Suspense, C
8. A Kiss at Midnight, Eloisa James, Historical, A
9. The Next Best Thing, Kristan Higgins, Contemporary, B+
10. Eternal Kiss of Darkness, Jeanienne Frost, Paranormal, B-

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Review - A Kiss at Midnight



Title: A Kiss at Midnight
Author: Eloisa James
Publishing Date: August 2010
Genre: Historical
Rating: A
Sensuality: Hot
Book Disclosure: Purchased a new copy.

A Kiss at Midnight is the first book in a new series by Eloisa James. Ever since Kate's father died and left everything to her Stepmother, Kate has been relegated to rooms in the attic. Her status is more representative of a servant than that of the actual Lady she is. Her stepsister Victoria is bitten on the lip by her little dog rendering her usual pretty face less than picturesque. Not wanting anything to impede her matchmaking ambitions, Kate's stepmother insists that Kate take Victoria's place at the ball Prince Gabriel is hosting. This meeting with the Prince will ensure Victoria's marriage to his nephew. Although to Kate's distress, the Prince turns his eye to her.

A Kiss at Midnight parallels the popular fairy tale Cinderella. Kate is the dutiful daughter who is tormented by her vain Stepmother and Stepsister. She attends a ball wearing glass slippers, dances with a prince and has a Godmother to make all her dreams come true. It might seem like this book could be farcical and too over the top, but that is not the case at all. It is a beautiful story with tenderness, heart-break, humor and a touching ending.

Eloisa James' writing is clever and poignant. Her characters are all full of verve. Kate never pities her situation and decides to take matters into her own hands to secure a better future for herself. Marianna the infamous Stepmother, while vain and selfish is not eeevil. Victoria is good natured if simple-minded. Gabriel is strong and willful but needs a kick in the pants when it comes to Kate. His half-brother Wick is just the person to do it. Finally, Kate's Godmother Henry is eccentric but not ridiculous. A Kiss at Midnight is a perfectly balanced and wonderful read. Don't miss this book!

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