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Monday, January 31, 2011

Review: The Girl in the Green Raincoat by Laura Lippman

The Girl in the Green Raincoat: A Tess Monaghan NovelPublisher: Avon A
ISBN: 006193836X
Pages: 176 pgs
Genre: Mystery
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
 Rating:
 





Summary from Publisher:
In the third trimester of her pregnancy, Baltimore private investigator Tess Monaghan is under doctor's orders to remain immobile. Bored and restless, reduced to watching the world go by outside her window, she takes small comfort in the mundane events she observes . . . like the young woman in a green raincoat who walks her dog at the same time every day. Then one day the dog is running free and its owner is nowhere to be seen. Certain that something is terribly wrong, and incapable of leaving well enough alone, Tess is determined to get to the bottom of the dog walker's abrupt disappearance, even if she must do so from her own bedroom. But her inquisitiveness is about to fling open a dangerous Pandora's box of past crimes and troubling deaths . . . and she's not only putting her own life in jeopardy but also her unborn child's.

Previously serialized in the New York Times, and now published in book form for the very first time, The Girl in the Green Raincoat is a masterful Hitchcockian thriller from one of the very best in the business: multiple award-winner Laura Lippman.

My Review:
Many people don’t know this about me but I love Alfred Hitchcock. Almost to a fangirl type level. Rear Window is my absolute favorite. I have watched that movie innumerable times and it never got boring. I also love books and movies that take the plot and themes from Rear Window and make them new and great. The Girl in the Green Raincoat does exactly that and does it well.

I haven’t read any of the Tess Monaghan books so this was a bit of an introduction to the series for me. I usually avoid mysteries and novellas so I was not sure how much it would appeal to me. I found that there were so many things I loved about this book that it overcame the lack of knowledge and gripes about the genre or length.

I loved Tess. She was the type of heroine that I could read 10 books about her and not get bored at all. I did feel sometimes that I was missing something. I also loved the development of the mystery and the pacing of the plot. There were some points that I found myself kind of lost because I did not know what had happened in previous books. It did not take much away from my enjoyment of the book but it definitely made me want to pick up the previous books to fill myself in on what I had missed.

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.

Review: The Perfect Bride For Mr. Darcy by Mary Lydon Simonsen

The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy
 Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN: 1402240252
Pages: 400 pgs
Genre: Jane Austen Adaptation
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Rating:





Summary from Publisher:
If the two of them weren't so stubborn...

It's obvious to Georgiana Darcy that the lovely Elizabeth Bennet is her brother's perfect match, but Darcy's pigheadedness and Elizabeth's wounded pride are going to keep them both from the loves of their lives.

Georgiana can't let that happen, so she readily agrees to help her accommodating cousin, Anne de Bourgh, do everything within their power to assure her beloved brother's happiness.

But the path of matchmaking never runs smoothly...


My Review:
Mary Lydon Simonsen is one of my favorite Jan Austen adaptation writers. I love Searching For Pemberley and I LOVED (capitals intended) Anne Elliot: A New Beginning. Simonsen always brings a new perspective and humor to the stories we already love.

Lizzy and Darcy were amazing as always but Georgiana and Anne were the stars of the book. I think they are some of the most mysterious in Pride an Prejudice. They never got the air time they deserved and I love seeing how each author interprets them. Simonsen did an amazing job of capturing them and giving them a wit, spunk and intelligence that we all know they have. I especially loved the matchmaking and manipulative Anne. The more adaptations I read, the more I love Anne.

There were so many things that I love about this book and that I love about all of Simonsen's adaptations. She is a master at the subtle shift in plot that change everything. The one thing that I did have a slight issue with is the major plot point of Darcy's previous lovers. I mean, I know he has them and he didn't enter his marriage with Lizzy a virgin but I don't want to read about them and I sure as sugar don't want to know their names. But then again, it's not a gripe at all just a reflection of my idealization of Mr. Darcy.

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Review: Kiss At Your Own Risk by Stephanie Rowe

Kiss at Your Own RiskPublisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 140224195X
Pages: 416 pgs
Genre: Romance/Paranormal
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Rating:





Summary from Publisher:
 
He needed a killer woman...
Blaine Underhill is one lucky man after having recently escaped a century and a half of imprisonment at the hands of an evil witch. Now he's determined to save his still-enslaved friend, but in order to do so, he'll need the help of one of the world's most lethal women.

She was drop dead gorgeous, literally...
Trinity Harpswell is sick and tired of being a Black Widow. Having managed to go three years without accidentally killing anyone she loves, she's one short week away from freeing herself from this killer curse forever.

When Blaine tracks her down and convinces her to help him, little does Trinity know that the next seven days are going to be murder!

My Review:
 
I have no idea what I was expecting when I picked up this book but I know that I was not expecting what I got. This looked like one of those thriller/paranormal romances that I have read on many occasions but this was so different that it’s kind of hard to quantify.

I loved the humor in this book. However unexpectedly, this was a book that made me laugh out loud many a time. The idea of womanly pursuits (which in any other non-funny circumstance, I would find mildly offensive) being a punishment and conditioning exercise for alpha males was hilarious. Just the image of the big and burly man on the cover doing a flower emblazoned cross-stitch is enough to put me in hysterics. It did border on the ridiculous at times but what humor doesn’t.

I also liked that the romance played a huge role in Kiss At Your Own Risk in spite of the humor. Blaine and Trinity had great chemistry and they had some really sweet parts together. I love how Rowe balanced the romance and the humor. This book always had me on the edge of laughter which was really pleasant when I was sick.

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bloggiesta Update

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I did okay this Bloggiesta. I got some major stuff done and I am planning on doing more this week.

  • organize posts into better categories and tags –not yet but I’ll get to it---someday
  • set up post template
  • write reviews for books read and schedule them
  • figure out a name for cupcake blog –I have a list from lovely friends on Twitter but I haven’t been able to log into the site today as Twitter only prolongs writer’s block for me.
  • draft out structure of the new blog and figure out a name
  • start the meme-this week 
  • reply to errant emails- I fail at this. I will and I will even empty out the Spam folder.
  • do as many mini-challenges as possible
  • does buying books with gift cards count as blog improvement?-my list is as of yet incomplete but growing steadily.
  • Friday, January 21, 2011

    Review: Sins of a Highland Devil by Sue Ellen Welfonder

    Sins of a Highland Devil (Highland Warriors)Publisher: Forever
    ISBN: 0446561789
    Pages: 400 pgs
    Genre: Romance/Historical/Scotland
    Challenges- The Highlander Reading Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge, Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2011, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
     Rating:




    Summary from Publisher:
    The first book in the Highland Warriors trilogy, in which three heroes make a pact to insure that a rival clan does not take over their Glen of Many Legends. At the same time, three women plot to marry these heroes to insure peace.


    In SINS OF A HIGHLAND DEVIL, James Cameron is concerned when the King's decree states all three neighboring clans must have a battle to the death in order to lay official claim to the scared Glen of Many Legends. James attempts to make a pact with the heads of the other clans to fight this decree. But he ends up fighting his own fierce desire when coming head-to-head with Lady Catriona of the opposing MacDonald clan, who has her own plan for peace.

    My Review:
    I’ve been sick lately. Reviews have been few and far between but I have been reading more than normal because being stuck in bed is boring. I find Highlander romances to be one of the best distractions when ill and this one definitely fit.

    I loved Catriona. She was headstrong and intelligent. Perhaps most importantly she never became annoying at all which is something I find in some heroines in this genre. I also thought the scene after the battle was beautifully written. I liked James as well but I had trouble separating him from his name. Every time I saw his full name, I thought of the Titanic guy and it just didn’t work. I did think that he had some amazing chemistry with Catriona.

    I really liked this book quite a bit. I loved the time period. It’s a Highlander novel but in a new time period for me.  It also has a historic richness to it that I really loved. I could tell that Welfonder knew her stuff. Perhaps my most favorite part was the animals. Both James and Alasdair’s aged dogs were so sweet and reminded me of my own aged dog who passed away a couple of years ago. I also have never shed tears over a book dedication but I did over Welfonder’s dedication to Big Boy.

    *A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.

    Bloggiesta: My Late Sign Up Post

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    Yep, I’m late signing up. I’ve been sick twice since Christmas with brief respite between both bouts of viral plague. I’m better now and I have many goals for bloggy improvement.
    Goals:
    • organize posts into better categories and tags
    • set up post template
    • write reviews for books read and schedule them
    • figure out a name for cupcake blog
    • draft out structure of the new blog and figure out a name
    • start the meme
    • reply to errant emails
    • do as many mini-challenges as possible
    • does buying books with gift cards count as blog improvement?

    Monday, January 17, 2011

    Review: The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

    The Winter SeaPublisher: Sourcebooks
    ISBN: 1402241372
    Pages: 480 pgs
    Genre: Historical Fiction
    Challenges-Historical Fiction Reading Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
    Rating:




    Summary from Publisher:
    In the spring of 1708, an invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown.

    Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn that story into her next bestselling novel. Settling herself in the shadow of Slains Castle, she creates a heroine named for one of her own ancestors and starts to write.

    But when she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction, Carrie wonders if she might be dealing with ancestral memory, making her the only living person who knows the truth-the ultimate betrayal-that happened all those years ago, and that knowledge comes very close to destroying her...

    My Review:
    I have had some trouble getting this review out. I have no idea why. I have written it and scrapped it multiple times since Christmas. Call it writer’s block or whatever, I just could not get my thoughts about this book to come out right.

    I absolutely fell in love with this book and with Carrie. I love books about writers and historical research. It may seem completely geektastic but most of my love for Carrie comes from how much she delves into her research for her books. I only wish I could find something that I want to research that deeply. I also loved the touch of romance—of course. I did not know who I wanted Carrie to end up with of Jimmy Keith’s sons. I liked them both. Graham was sweet and with Stuie, it’s always nice to reform the rake. I was happy with the way the romance was resolved and who Carrie ended up with.

    I loved the way this novel flowed between past and present. I don’t think I have ever seen an author pull it off quite as well as this. I never felt that either time period was more interesting than the other. It’s actually quite amazing because I always prefer one over the other. I think I can credit that to amazing writing, good characterization and in-depth historical research. I am most definitely looking forward to read more books by Susanna Kearsley.

    *A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog. 

    Friday, January 7, 2011

    Review: Goodnight Tweetheart by Teresa Medeiros

    Goodnight TweetheartPublisher: Gallery
    ISBN:1439188157
    Pages:  240 pgs
    Genre: Romance/Contemporary
    Challenges-Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
    Rating:




    Summary from Publisher:
    Taken under the wing of one of her Twitter followers, “MarkBaynard"—a quick witted, quick-typing professor on sabbatical—Abby finds it easy to put words out into the world 140 characters at a time. And once she gets a handle on tweets, retweets, direct messages, hashtags, and trends, she starts to feel unblocked in writing and in life. After all, why should she be spending hours in her apartment staring at her TweetDeck and fretting about her stalled career when Mark is out there traveling the world and living?

    Or is he?

    Told almost entirely in tweets and DMs, Goodnight Tweetheart is a truly modern take on a classic tale of love and loss—a Griffin and Sabine for the Twitter generation.

    My Review:
    So, the last two months have not worked for the reviews. The holidays have really kicked my butt. I will be better this coming year.

    I have been looking forward to Goodnight Tweetheart since I read the preview in Teresa Medeiros’ last book. The premise seemed so charming and, as a Twitter addict, it was perfect.

    I loved the whole format of this book. Twitter is not usually the best place to communicate with any form of substance. Brevity does not usually lend itself to understanding. I thought initially that Goodnight Tweetheart would be difficult to follow because Twitter is usually hard to follow. But it was much easier to follow the progression of both the story and the relationship than I thought it would be. I did love the pop culture references and the snappy dialogue.

    I loved Abby and Mark. Their interactions were the perfect mix of humor, sincerity and wit. I did wish that there had been some progression beyond Twitter. Twitter is so limited in and of itself. Can you really express anything in 140 characters or more. Maybe emails or telephone calls. I felt that we were a bit limited with only one point of view and only one means of communication at times. But those limitations did play a very important role later in the book and it was kind of necessary. It made the surprise at the end just that much more surprising.

    I had been looking forward to this book for a very long time. It was different from what I had expected but good. I loved almost everything about it.

    *A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.

    Thursday, January 6, 2011

    Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

    Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

    I read 123 last year so my goal is 139 (the "I'm on Fire Level").
    1. Goodnight Tweetheart by Teresa Medeiros
    2. The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
    3. Sins of a Highland Devil by Sue Ellen Welfonder
    4. Kiss At Your Own Risk by Stephanie Rowe 
    5. The Perfect Bride For Mr. Darcy by Mary Lydon Simonsen 
    6. The Girl in the Green Raincoat by Laura Lippman
    7. Moonface by Angela Balcita
    8. Yours For the Taking by Robin Kaye
    9. How Sweet It Is by Sophie Gunn
    10. Darcy and Fitzwilliam: A tale of a gentleman and an officer by Karen Wasylowski
    11. Born Under a Lucky Moon by Dana Precious
    12. This Book is Overdue by Marilyn Johnson
    13. The Bird House by Kelly Simmons 
    14. To Tempt A Rake by Cara Elliott 
    15. Triumph of the City by Edward Glaeser
    16. Everyone Loves A Hero by Marie Force 
    17. Afterlives of the Rich and Famous by Sylvia Browne  
    18. Moonstruck Madness by Laurie McBain
    19. The Mistress' House by Leigh Michaels
    20. Walking With Elephants by Karen S. Bell 
    21. Fierce Eden by Jennifer Blake 
    22. The Betrayal by Sheila Hendrix 
    23. The Queen’s Lover by Vanora Bennett 
    24. Mr. Darcy’s Secret by Jane Odiwe 
    25. The Raising by Laura Kasischke 
    26. Welcome to Last Chance by Hope Ramsay 
    27. 31 Bond Street by Ellen Horan 
    28. Tyler by C.H. Admirand 
    29. My Jane Austen Summer: A Season in Mansfield Park by Cindy Jones 
    30. It Happened One Bite by Lydia Dare 
    31. Highland Heat by Mary Wine  
    32. Only Mr. Darcy Will Do by Kara Louise 
    33. The Four Ms. Bradwells by Meg Waite Clayton 
    34. Legacy by Jeanette Baker 
    35. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen  
    36. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
    37. Uncertain Magic by Laura Kinsale  
    38. The Sweetest Thing by Jill Shalvis 
    39. A Fierce Radiance by Lauren Belfer 
    40. Beside Still Waters by Tricia Goyer 
    41. Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay 
    42. The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry 
    43. The Queen of New Beginnings by Erica James
    44. Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende 
    45. The Confession of Katherine Howard by Suzannah Dunn 
    46. Husband and Wife by Leah Stewart 
    47. Wickham’s Diary by Amanda Grange 
    48. The Midwife’s Confession by Diane Chamberlain    
    49. Insight by Jamie Magee 
    50. What Would Mr. Darcy Do? by Abigail Reynolds 
    51. Portrait in Sepia by Isabel Allende 
    52. The Landlord’s Black-Eyed Daughter by Mary Ellen Dennis 
    53. The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus by Sonya Sones  
    54. Far To Go by Alison Pick 
    55. Old Wounds by N. K. Smith 
    56. Inés of My Soul by Isabel Allende 
    57. Rock Hard by Olivia Cunning 
    58. The Return of the Black Douglas by Elaine Coffman
    59. The Rebellion of Jane Clarke by Sally Gunning 
    60. Stilettos & Scoundrels by Laina Turner-Molaski 
    61. The Lost Girls by Jennifer Baggett, Holly C. Corbett and Amanda Pressner 
    62. When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman 
    63. Little Battles by N.K. Smith 
    64. A Jane Austen Education by William Deresiewicz 
    65. The Beach Trees by Karen White 
    66. The Truth About Mr. Darcy by Susan Adriani  
    67. A Game of Character by Craig Robinson 
    68. The Ninth Wife by Amy Stolls 
    69. Mr. Darcy and the Secret of Becoming a Gentleman by Maria Hamilton 
    70. Love Drunk Cowboy by Carolyn Brown 
    71. Mocked By Destiny by Michele Richard  
    72. The London Train by Tessa Hadley 
    73. Wickedly Charming by Kristine Grayson 
    74. Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende 
    75. Scandal in Scotland by Karen Hawkins

      2011 E-Book Reading Challenge


      I have 2 Sony Readers (one is a paperweight) and an iPad so ebooks are going to be a huge part of my reading list.

      1. The Betrayal by Sheila Hendrix
      2. Old Wounds by N. K. Smith 

      Wish I'd Read That Challenge

      My Love Affair With Books

      We all have those lists...the one's we want to read but never do. My list is nearly 400 books long so I am aiming for the Obsessed level of 20 books.
      1. Moonstruck Madness by Laurie McBain
      2. Uncertain Magic by Laura Kinsale    
      3. The Return of the Black Douglas by Elaine Coffman

      Georgette Heyer 2011 Reading Challenge

      I have been meaning to read all of Georgette Heyer and it was one of my resolutions for the New Year. I am going to attempt to read all of the romances. We'll see how that goes.
      1.  

      The Highlander Reading Challenge

      Escape Between The Pages

      I love Highlander romances so this is a no-brainer. 20 or more will be easy...hopefully.
      1.   Sins of a Highland Devil by Sue Ellen Welfonder
      2. Moonstruck Madness by Laurie McBain  
      3. Highland Heat by Mary Wine
      4. Legacy by Jeanette Baker  
      5. The Return of the Black Douglas by Elaine Coffman
      6. Scandal in Scotland by Karen Hawkins 

      100+ Reading Challenge

      I aced this one last year at 123 so why not try again?
      1. Goodnight Tweetheart by Teresa Medeiros
      2. The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
      3. Sins of a Highland Devil by Sue Ellen Welfonder  
      4. Kiss At Your Own Risk by Stephanie Rowe 
      5. The Perfect Bride For Mr. Darcy by Mary Lydon Simonsen
      6. The Girl in the Green Raincoat by Laura Lippman
      7. Moonface by Angela Balcita
      8. Yours For the Taking by Robin Kaye
      9. How Sweet It Is by Sophie Gunn 
      10. Darcy and Fitzwilliam: A tale of a gentleman and an officer by Karen Wasylowski
      11. Born Under a Lucky Moon by Dana Precious 
      12. This Book is Overdue by Marilyn Johnson 
      13. The Bird House by Kelly Simmons 
      14. To Tempt A Rake by Cara Elliott 
      15. Triumph of the City by Edward Glaeser 
      16. Everyone Loves A Hero by Marie Force 
      17. Afterlives of the Rich and Famous by Sylvia Browne  
      18. Moonstruck Madness by Laurie McBain 
      19. The Mistress' House by Leigh Michaels
      20. Walking With Elephants by Karen S. Bell 
      21. Fierce Eden by Jennifer Blake 
      22. The Betrayal by Sheila Hendrix 
      23. The Queen’s Lover by Vanora Bennett 
      24. Mr. Darcy’s Secret by Jane Odiwe 
      25. The Raising by Laura Kasischke 
      26. Welcome to Last Chance by Hope Ramsay  
      27. 31 Bond Street by Ellen Horan 
      28. Tyler by C.H. Admirand 
      29. My Jane Austen Summer: A Season in Mansfield Park by Cindy Jones
      30. It Happened One Bite by Lydia Dare 
      31. Highland Heat by Mary Wine  
      32. Only Mr. Darcy Will Do by Kara Louise 
      33. The Four Ms. Bradwells by Meg Waite Clayton
      34. Legacy by Jeanette Baker 
      35. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen  
      36. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
      37. Uncertain Magic by Laura Kinsale  
      38. The Sweetest Thing by Jill Shalvis 
      39. A Fierce Radiance by Lauren Belfer 
      40. Beside Still Waters by Tricia Goyer 
      41. Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay 
      42. The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry 
      43. The Queen of New Beginnings by Erica James
      44. Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende 
      45. The Confession of Katherine Howard by Suzannah Dunn 
      46. Husband and Wife by Leah Stewart 
      47. Wickham’s Diary by Amanda Grange 
      48. The Midwife’s Confession by Diane Chamberlain  
      49. Insight by Jamie Magee 
      50. What Would Mr. Darcy Do? by Abigail Reynolds
      51. Portrait in Sepia by Isabel Allende 
      52. The Landlord’s Black-Eyed Daughter by Mary Ellen Dennis 
      53. The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus by Sonya Sones 
      54. Far To Go by Alison Pick 
      55. Old Wounds by N. K. Smith 
      56. Inés of My Soul by Isabel Allende 
      57. Rock Hard by Olivia Cunning 
      58. The Return of the Black Douglas by Elaine Coffman
      59. The Rebellion of Jane Clarke by Sally Gunning
      60. Stilettos & Scoundrels by Laina Turner-Molaski 
      61. The Lost Girls by Jennifer Baggett, Holly C. Corbett and Amanda Pressner 
      62. When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman 
      63. Little Battles by N.K. Smith 
      64. A Jane Austen Education by William Deresiewicz 
      65. The Beach Trees by Karen White 
      66. The Truth About Mr. Darcy by Susan Adriani  
      67. A Game of Character by Craig Robinson 
      68. The Ninth Wife by Amy Stolls 
      69. Mr. Darcy and the Secret of Becoming a Gentleman by Maria Hamilton 
      70. Love Drunk Cowboy by Carolyn Brown 
      71. Mocked By Destiny by Michele Richard
      72. The London Train by Tessa Hadley 
      73. Wickedly Charming by Kristine Grayson 
      74. Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende 
      75. Scandal in Scotland by Karen Hawkins

      2011 Young Adult Reading Challenge

      I LOVE YA so yeah, I am going for the Mega YA level of 50 or more.
      1. The Betrayal by Sheila Hendrix
      2. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery  
      3. Insight by Jamie Magee 
      4. Old Wounds by N. K. Smith
      5. Little Battles by N.K. Smith 
      6. Mocked By Destiny by Michele Richard

      2011 Support Your Local Library Challenge

      I failed at this challenge last year, so, I figured I should try it again. I am aiming for the Mega Size level but I have a feeling that I will be lucky if I hit the Mini level.

       

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