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Friday, 22 February 2019

#BookReview One Minute Later by Susan Lewis


About the book


The new novel from Sunday Times bestselling author, Susan Lewis.


It’s takes one minute to change everything…


Vivienne Shager has it all. A highflying job. A beautiful apartment. Friends whose lives are as perfect as her own. But on the afternoon of her 27th birthday, Vivi has a heart attack.


Now Vivi’s life shrinks back to how it begun, as she moves back to the small seaside town she grew up in. With her time running out, there is one thing she wants to know the truth about.


Some secrets are best left in the past…


Thirty years earlier, Shelley’s family home, Deerwood farm, bursts full of love and happiness. But one family member has hidden a secret for all these years. Until Vivi comes home demanding answers, and it takes just a moment to unravel the lie at their heart of their lives…

Published by HarperCollins

PURCHASE LINKS




MY REVIEW

I read this via The Pigeonhole app.

This was an engaging and thought provoking read as it looks at the question of organ donation, and how the wait can affect the patients and those around them, alongside a story of family drama and what happens when the truth comes out after years of feeling aggrieved at not knowing the full story.

Vivienne is a high flying lawyer with the whole world at her feet - until she collapses on her 27th birthday and her life then flips 180 and she is left to ponder what is really important to her, while trying to stay positive in the hope of receiving a heart transplant.

Alongside the story of Vivi, we also go back in time to the story of Jack and Shelley who lived on a farm and had the perfect family life - or so it seemed. Trouble with the neighbours sparks off a number of disputes and when tragedy strikes it rocks the family to their core.

The paths of the stories soon cross and it all becomes clearer as to why the stories are being told in the way that they are. I did feel at times it took a little too long to get to the point and often got too bogged down in trivial little things when there were bigger issues to be dealt with.

The last third of the book was where the point of the story got going and it is obvious how passionate the author feels about the importance of Organ Donor registration as this came through very clearly in the story and how it affected Vivi and her family. An enjoyable read


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#BookReview The Long Spring by Laurence Rose


About the book


Exploring the wildlife, places, traditions, culture, and personalities associated with spring throughout Europe, and introducing readers to cultural, scientific, and historical research and his recollections of 30 years of continental travel, Laurence Rose paints a vivid picture of one of the world's most significant and beautiful natural phenomena: spring.

Laurence begins his journey in the first week of February, arriving in southern Spain with the storks that herald the beginning of Europe's spring on San Blas Day. Swallows, cranes and, later on, wild swans are his constant companions as he journeys his way north through Spain, France, and the UK, eventually crossing over to Sweden, Finland, and Norway before finally reaching the Arctic Circle four months later.

While on the road, Laurence follows live data from satellites tracking birds as well as other indicators of spring. Throughout his travels, he meets people living closely with nature. He also encounters new behaviours, such as cranes wintering in France, and explores how they link to climate change.

The further north he travels, the more unpredictable the events of spring become. At the end of his journey, Laurence reflects on what he has learned, as the long Arctic days stretch out into 24 hours of daylight.
 

Published by Bloomsbury Natural History



Purchase Links

hive.co.uk  £12.99

waterstones  £16.99

Bloomsbury  £15.29




MY REVIEW

All the I's for this one - Informative, Interesting and Insightful! - and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time immersed in this book as the Author followed the journey of many birds from Africa to Europe, sharing his thoughts on what he sees and what he learns along the way, and really gives you a greater understanding of the amazing journey these birds endure each year as they work their way through Africa, Spain, France, UK, Sweden, Finland and Norway.

With the Author visiting each country along the way you get a real sense of the conditions they face through each leg and also how the landscapes have changed over the years as he has visited many of the countries over a number of years through his own interest and work he has been involved with for the RSPB. He gives a great background to the history of places he visits, along with damaging accounts of how enviromental disasters over the years have afffected different species and their habitats, and it is abundantly clear just how passionate he is about birds, wildlife and the planet in general.

I loved hearing mentions of the birds that I'm lucky to get to see when they pass through the UK, such as the Egrets and Geese in Leigh On Sea, and Blackcaps in my back garden and that really helped me connect more with this book. He also says how important that ringing and satellite tracking has been in helping over the years in plotting the birds and their journeys and how that never used to happen.

His journey allows him to meet numerous 'birdy' folk along the way and it's inspiring to know that there are so many people out there who are doing all they can to help protect many species, especially in a world nowadays where a lot of young people spend less time outdoors and don't seem able to connect to the world of nature as maybe we did in the past. 

It's written in a very relentless fashion, in diary form, sharing details from each stop along the way of birds he sees and other forms of wildlife too. I would have loved to see photos or more illustrations but am thankful for internet searches to illustrate for me certain bird species so I could get to enjoy some bird watching of my own, and it has definitely made me aware of different species that I can now hopefully look out for. A really enlightening read for all nature lovers.


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Wednesday, 20 February 2019

#BlogTour Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce #BookReview #RandomThingsTours



Huge delight to be the latest stop on the Blog Tour for BLOOD ORANGE by HARRIET TYCE.  My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for letting me be part of it all!

Today I'll be sharing my thoughts about the book and it's one of those books that I found myself unable to put down once I'd started reading it!! Always a good sign with a book!!

ABOUT THE BOOK

21st February 2019
Published in hardback by Wildfire, £12.99
Ebook and Audiobook also available

An utterly addictive, spectacularly dark psychological thriller that explores the power of desire, jealousy and betrayal.

Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise – she’s just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems . . .
Just one more night. Then I’ll end it.
Alison drinks too much. She’s neglecting her family. And she’s having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries may be more than she can handle.
I did it. I killed him. I should be locked up.
Alison’s client doesn’t deny that she stabbed her husband – she wants to plead guilty. And yet something about her story is deeply amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself. I’m watching you. I know what you’re doing.
But someone knows Alison’s secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she’s done, and who won’t stop until she’s lost everything . . .

A disturbing, toxic and compelling novel that explores the power of fear and desire, jealousy and betrayal, love and hate, BLOOD ORANGE introduces a stunning new voice in psychological suspense. 

Praise for Blood Orange

‘A Classy thriller with complex and compelling characters’ CLARE MACKINTOSH, author of I SEE YOU

‘Blood Orange is destined to be the debut that everyone is talking about in 2019. Dark, original and utterly compelling, I could not put it down. And what a twist at the end!’ LISA JEWELL, author of I FOUND YOU

‘A dark and disturbing domestic noir’
LOUISE JENSEN, author of THE SURROGATE

‘Blood Orange kept me frantically turning the pages, desperate to know what would happen next. A superb, compulsive read!’

TESS GERRITSEN, author of RIZZOLI ISLES SERIES
‘Wonderful and deeply satisfying, devour-in-one-sitting stuff!’

LUCY MANGAN
‘A dark and disturbing domestic noir’

LOUISE JENSEN, author of THE SISTER

‘Combines sharp spare prose with a gloriously twisted plot – I read this in one heart-pounding, furiously angry sitting’ EMMA FLINT, author of LITTLE DEATHS

‘This brilliant debut from Harriet Tyce has it all’
RACHEL ABBOTT, 3 million copy eBook bestselling author of ONLY THE INNOCENT

‘The debut novel of the year. Harriet Tyce is now on my ‘must read’ list’
JEFF ABBOTT, New York Times bestselling author of THE SAM CAPRA SERIES

‘Gritty and compelling, Blood Orange drags you right into the hearts of the flawed characters and their stories from the get go. A book that will keep you up all night.’ KATE HAMER, author of THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT


PURCHASE LINKS

Goldsboro Books - signed first edition £12.99

www.hive.co.uk  £10.69

waterstones  £10.99


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Harriet Tyce grew up in Edinburgh and studied English at Oxford University before doing a law conversion course at City University. She practised as a criminal barrister in London for nearly a decade. She is currently doing a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.
She lives in north London. Blood Orange is her debut novel
. Find Harriet on Twitter on @harriet_tyce


MY REVIEW

I found this to be a book that stays with you for days after you finish reading it! The main character - Alison - is one of those women who on paper has it all! Highly intelligent and working as a lawyer and married with a young daughter BUT still seemingly on a mission to self destruct as she lives life on the edge with a drinking problem and an addiction to affairs.

This story follows her as she negotiates her first big murder case, while trying to work her way through her own problems and dealing with a boss who is in full control of their affair and uses her but she just can't seem to stay away from him.

The murder case is one that strikes a chord with her - a woman who is happily married and does charity work, finds herself accused of murdering her husband in cold blood.  The more Alison looks into the case you sense there is more to this than meets the eye, it's just whether Alison has enough focus to figure it out.

And when Alison starts receiving sinister text messages saying 'they know what she's doing' it just ramps up the tension and intrigue into this clever story full of very flawed characters.

I really loved the pace and flow of this story - it's a very dark story and some of the twists were so well crafted that I found myself gasping with each reveal! It showed just how destructive a person can be to themselves, be it through drink or sex, when they should really be enjoying their lives and being happy with what they have.  At a time when she should be celebrating her success and rise in the legal world, she finds her life spiralling out of control and dealing with the consequences of her actions

An astonishing debut that was a stunningly shocking read, and Harriet is an author I will definitely be reading more of in the future!

















Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Top Ten Tuesday - Books I loved with fewer than 2,000 ratings on GoodReads


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

It's just a good excuse for us to combine our love of books and lists and share them with the topics chosen for each week! This week the topic is Books I LOVED with Fewer than 2,000 Ratings on Goodreads so a perfect one for me as I do love a quirky book that often isn't read by lots of people!  So here's my list after a good look through my GoodReads shelves!  I rated all these books with 5 stars and it's actually shocked me to see how low some of the ratings figures are for some of these books! What is wrong with some people?! haha!!






























★★★★★

#BookReview Spring at Taigh Fallon by Kirsty Ferry #PublicationDay


About the book

From old secrets come new beginnings … 
When Angel Tempest finds out that her best friend Zac has inherited a Scottish mansion, Taigh Fallon, from his great aunt, she immediately offers to go and visit it with him. It will mean closing up her jet jewellery shop in Whitby for a few days but the prospect of a spring trip to the Scottish Highlands is too tempting. 

Then Kyle, Zac’s estranged and slightly grumpy Canadian cousin, unexpectedly turns up at Taigh Fallon, and events take a strange turn as the long-kept secrets of the old house begin to reveal themselves … 

Part of a series, Tempest Sisters, which can be read in any order.

Published by Choc Lit

PURCHASE LINKS








MY REVIEW

This is Book 2 in the Tempest Sisters series, BUT can be easily read as a standalone, although I can highly recommend Book 1 - Summer At Carrick Park if you'd like to read that first! And in Taigh Fallon we follow the story of Angel Tempest who is a jewellery maker in Whitby, and who loves all things gothic! She is no shrinking violet in her choice of clothes or sharing her opinion and she does a lot of that in this book!

When her best friend Zac learns that he has inherited his the mansion in the Scottish Highlands that used to belong to his Great Aunt, he needs a friend to go with him and who better than Angel! She immediately falls in love with the history and setting of the house, and feels a real connection to the place - more so than Zac! Taigh Fallon has also been left to his Canadian cousin, Kyle, who used to bully Zac when they'd both be in Scotland visiting, but times have moved on and they're both different people now so it's interesting to see how that dynamic works - Zac seems much more forgiving than Angel who had heard from Zac about how he'd been treated in the past!  

While they are all there a few strange sights and sounds begin to fill the halls and Angel is both fascinated and a little freaked about the feelings she has. It's as if Taigh Fallon is trying to share the past with her and I loved the atmospheric setting and flashes back.

The storyline set in 1897 featuring Annis was a fascinating mix and added so much with an intriguing romance and seances and the link to the family history is always a favourite part  of mine in any story.

I loved the whole feeling of this book!  The friendship between Zac and Angel was really touching and her passion in sticking up for her friend against Kyle was admirable, if a little over the top at times! She's not one who quickly forgives and forgets!! I absolutely raced through this book and really hope there'll be more in this series as I love the time-slip elements!!

Highly recommended!!

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Saturday, 16 February 2019

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up - 16th February 2019


Hello! Happy Saturday!! The sunshine returned during the week, but the cloud has moved in again today - typical!  But it's still milder and the garden is beginning to fill up with Spring flowers so good times are on the way!

And there has been good times on the reading front this week - i did a lot of reading last weekend, but didn't manage much during the week for one reason or another.  But overall I managed to finish 4 books this week! I'm still being very good on the buying front and just one pre-order arrived this week BUT I have to admit to being led astray badly this week by Netgalley!  All their fault and definitely not mine that I have had 7 new arrivals to my NG bookshelves...... time to avoid the site again for a while and get my butt in gear to start reading them all!

So here's a look back at all I've read, hauled and am currently reading!! Click on the book  title for a link to their GoodReads pages!

BOOKS FINISHED

An emotional read about how an invisible illness affects the sufferer and those around them.


This months' pick for the Elizabeth Taylor Reading Project and I really enjoyed this one!


Enjoyable but a bit more serious than her normal books!


Publication Date - 29th March 2019
Adored this!! Thor has a special place in my heart now!! 😍 Review to follow soon!



BOOK HAUL

Kill by Anthony Good  copy for review from Readers First

Michael lost his wife in a terrorist attack on a London train. Since then, he has been seeing a therapist to help him come to terms with his grief - and his anger. He can't get over the fact that the man he holds responsible has seemingly got away scot-free. He doesn't blame the bombers, who he considers only as the logical conclusion to a long chain of events. No, to Michael's mind, the ultimate cause is the politician whose cynical policies have had such deadly impact abroad. His therapist suggests that he write his feelings down to help him forgive and move on, but as a retired headteacher, Michael believes that for every crime there should be a fitting punishment - and so in the pages of his diary he begins to set out the case for, and set about committing, murder.
Waltzing through the darkling journal of a brilliant mind put to serious misuse, Kill [redacted] is a powerful and provocative exploration of the contours of grief and the limits of moral justice, and a blazing condemnation of all those who hold, and abuse, power.
THE RUIN OF KINGS by JENN LYONS signed edition from Goldsboro Books



What if you weren't the hero?

Kihrin grew up on tales of long-lost princes and grand quests - despite being raised in a brothel, making money as a musician and street thief. One day he overreaches by targeting an absent noble's mansion, hunting for jewels. There he witnesses a prince performing a terrifying dark-magic ritual. Kihrin flees but he's marked by a demon and his life will never be the same again.

That night also leads to him being claimed as a lost son of that prince's royal house. But far from living the dream, Kihrin finds himself practically a prisoner, at the mercy of his new family's power plays and ambitions. He must also discover why his murderous father finds Kihrin more valuable alive than dead. Soon Kihrin attempts to escape his relative's dangerous schemes, but finds himself in far deeper waters.

He becomes tangled in a plot to kill the Emperor, rob the Imperial Vaults, claim a god-slaying sword and free bound demons to wreak havoc across the land. Kihrin also discovers the old tales lied about many things: dragons, demons, gods, prophecies, true love - and the hero always winning. But maybe Kihrin isn't fated to save the empire. He's destined to destroy it.

The Ruin of Kings is the first book in Jenn Lyons's epic new series.


NETGALLEY

Hope you are sitting comfortably for this bit!!

THE NEIGHBOUR by FIONA CUMMIN
Out 4th April 2019

The gripping crime thriller of the year with a twist you’ll never see coming . . .

FOR SALEA lovely family home with good-sized garden and treehouse occupying a plot close to woodland. Perfect for kids, fitness enthusiasts, dog walkers . . .
And, it seems, the perfect hunting ground for a serial killer.
On a hot July day, Garrick and Olivia Lockwood and their two children move into 25 The Avenue looking for a fresh start. They arrive in the midst of a media frenzy: they’d heard about the local murders in the press, but Garrick was certain the killer would be caught and it would all be over in no time. Besides, they’d got the house at a steal and he was convinced he could flip it for a fortune.
The neighbours seemed to be the very picture of community spirit. But everyone has secrets, and the residents in The Avenue are no exception.
After six months on the case with no real leads, the most recent murder has turned DC Wildeve Stanton’s life upside down, and now she has her own motive for hunting down the killer – quickly.

A BOY AND HIS DOG AT THE END OF THE WORLD by C.A. FLETCHER 
Out April 23rd 2019
When a beloved family dog is stolen, her owner sets out on a life-changing journey through the ruins of our world to bring her back in this fiercely compelling tale of survival, courage, and hope. Perfect for readers of Station Eleven and The Girl With All the Gifts.

My name's Griz. My childhood wasn't like yours. I've never had friends, and in my whole life I've not met enough people to play a game of football.

My parents told me how crowded the world used to be, but we were never lonely on our remote island. We had each other, and our dogs.

Then the thief came.

There may be no law left except what you make of it. But if you steal my dog, you can at least expect me to come after you.

Because if we aren't loyal to the things we love, what's the point?
A WEDDING AT THE COMFORT FOOD CAFE by DEBBIE JOHNSON
Out March 21st 2019
Wedding bells ring out in Budbury as the Comfort Food Café and its cosy community of regulars are gearing up for a big celebration… 

But Auburn Longville doesn’t have time for that! Between caring for her poorly mum, moving in with her sister and running the local pharmacy, life is busy enough – and it’s about to get busier. Chaos arrives in the form of a figure from her past putting her quaint village life and new relationship with gorgeous Finn Jensen in jeopardy. It’s time for Auburn to face up to some life changing decisions.
Settle in for a slice of wedding cake at the Comfort Food Caf̩ Рa place where friendships are made for life and nobody ever wants to leave.
THE PORPOISE by MARK HADDON
Out May 9th 2019
‘I really am so very, very sorry about this,’ he says, in an oddly formal voice… They strike the side of a grain silo. They are travelling at seventy miles per hour.A newborn baby is the sole survivor of a terrifying plane crash.She is raised in wealthy isolation by an overprotective father. She knows nothing of the rumours about a beautiful young woman, hidden from the world.
When a suitor visits, he understands far more than he should. Forced to run for his life, he escapes aboard The Porpoise, an assassin on his tail…So begins a wild adventure of a novel, damp with salt spray, blood and tears. A novel that leaps from the modern era to ancient times; a novel that soars, and sails, and burns long and bright; a novel that almost drowns in grief yet swims ashore; in which pirates rampage, a princess wins a wrestler’s hand, and ghost women with lampreys’ teeth drag a man to hell – and in which the members of a shattered family, adrift in a violent world, journey towards a place called home.
POPPY'S RECIPE FOR LIFE by HEIDI SWAIN
Out 30th May 2019

Treat yourself to a glorious novel full of food, sunshine, friendship and love!
Things haven’t always been straightforward in Poppy’s life but her dreams are finally within her reach.
She's moving into a cottage in beautiful Nightingale Square, close to the local community garden, where she can indulge her passion for making preserves and pickles. She may not have the best relationship with her family but she is surrounded by loving friends, and feels sure that even her grumpy new neighbour, Jacob, has more to him than his steely exterior belies.
But the unexpected arrival of Poppy's troubled younger brother soon threatens her new-found happiness and as the garden team works together to win community space of the year, Poppy must decide where her priorities lie and what she is prepared to fight for … 

FINDING DOROTHY by ELIZABETH LETTS
Out 4th April 2019

A richly imagined novel that tells the story behind The Wonderful Wizard of Oz , the book that inspired the iconic film, through the eyes of author L. Frank Baum's intrepid wife, Maud--from the family's hardscrabble days in South Dakota to the Hollywood film set where she first meets Judy Garland. 

Maud Gage Baum, widow of the author of the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, met Judy Garland, the young actress playing the role of Dorothy on the set of The Wizard of Oz in 1939. At the time, Maud was seventy-eight and Judy was sixteen. In spite of their age difference, Maud immediately connected to Judy--especially when Maud heard her sing "Over the Rainbow," a song whose yearning brought to mind the tough years in South Dakota when Maud and her husband struggled to make a living--until Frank Baum's book became a national sensation.

This wonderfully evocative two-stranded story recreates Maud's youth as the rebellious daughter of a leading suffragette, and the prairie years of Maud and Frank's early days when they lived among the people--especially young Dorothy--who would inspire Frank's masterpiece. Woven into this past story is one set in 1939, describing the high-pressured days on The Wizard of Oz film set where Judy is being badgered by the director, producer, and her ambitious stage mother to lose weight, bind her breasts, and laugh, cry, and act terrified on command. As Maud had promised to protect the original Dorothy back in Aberdeen, she now takes on the job of protecting young Judy.


THE TRUE QUEEN by ZEN CHO
Out March 21st 2019
Fairyland’s future lies in doubt
The enchanted island of Janda Baik, in the Malay Archipelago, has long been home to witches. And Muna and her sister Sakti wake on its shores under a curse, which has quite stolen away their memories. Their only hope of salvation lies in distant Britain, where the Sorceress Royal runs a controversial academy for female magicians. But the pair travel via the formidable Fairy Queen’s realm, where Sakti simply disappears.
To save her sister, Muna must learn to navigate Regency London’s high society and trick the English into believing she’s a magical prodigy. But when the Sorceress Royal’s friends become accidentally embroiled in a plot – involving the Fairy Queen’s contentious succession – Muna is drawn right in. She must also find Sakti, break their curse and somehow stay out of trouble. But if fairyland’s true queen does finally return, trouble may find her first . . .
The True Queen is Zen Cho's spelling binding second book, following her award-winning The Sorcerer to the Crown. This standalone is set in that same wonderful Regency world with a fairy tale twist.

CURRENTLY READING





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So that has been my week! Quiet eh!! Hope your bookish week has been as entertaining!!  Would love to hear if you've read any good books or been adding to your TBR shelves!!

HAPPY READING!!








Tuesday, 12 February 2019

#BookReview The Potter's Daughter by Jackie Ladbury


About the book

When Daniel Davenport saves Maddie Lockett and her young brother Tom from drowning, an immediate bond is forged between them. 

But Daniel is an aspiring doctor and son of a wealthy manufacturer, whilst Maddie is a potter’s daughter from a poverty-stricken area of the Potteries. Even a friendship between the two could be frowned upon, let alone anything more …

But Maddie and Daniel want more, and as they grow closer gossip and prejudice look set to spoil their blossoming romance. Do the young couple stand a chance when there are those who would stop at nothing to keep them apart?

Published by Ruby Fiction

Purchase Links






MY REVIEW

I thought this was a really refreshing and engaging historical romance that did a brilliant job in transporting me back in time to the Potteries in 1902, where the difference between the lifestyles of the haves and have nots were clear for all to see.  Those working in the shadow of the potteries were living in awful poverty and surrounded by the huge chimneys that caused pollution and very poor health, and this is where Madeline lives with her father and brother.  She'd lost her mother 2 years ago so had to had to grow up fast and take on a lot of  responsibility especially for her younger brother as her father was out working very long hours.

When her brother, and her, are saved from drowning by a dashing young stranger, her life starts to change as Daniel is all she can think of!  He is from a wealthy family and dreams of being a Doctor, so she often finds herself ashamed of the state of her clothes and her home around him, but there's a really sweet connection between them despite the differences in their upbringing, and Madeline soon becomes great friends with his sister too.

She is an ambitious young girl too and dreams of being a dressmaker and the opportunity arises for her to follow her dreams and she takes it and moves to London.  And this is why I liked Madeline as a character so much - she doesn't wait around and pout! Obstacles are placed in her way but she gets on with life and  isn't afraid to stand up for herself when she needs too, especially when others are telling her that she's not good enough.  If only Daniel would take a leaf out of her book and be a bit more vocal around people who seem to delight in looking down their noses at Madeline.

There's plenty going on in this story and I loved the different look at life and attitudes of the different classes of the time. And in Madeline, this book features a young woman who is a real hard worker but has a real caring side and it's nice to find a character who gets rewarded for doing what is right for her. 

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