Tag Archives: Gold Star Award

The book review cafe book of the month **July 2018**

WOW what a scorcher July turned out to be, it’s very strange but I’ve been struggling to read in this hot weather, I only managed to read one book last week, and I feel I can no longer call myself a book blogger😢. Hopefully things will improve this month.

As it’s the first of August it’s time to choose my book books of the month I really should rename this feature. I read so many fabulous books in July it’s impossible to choose just ONE book yet again so I’m sharing my TWO books of the month, good job “it’s my blog my rules” 😂 so without further ado here are the books I found to be outstanding reads last month in no particular order………

 

In The Dark by Cara Hunter

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Definitely one of the best crime thrillers I’ve read this year, with a compelling narrative, twists galore and oodles of deceit, I have a feeling In The Dark is going to be a HUGE success and one of this summers MUST reads. Highly recommended. You can read my full review here….. In The Dark by Cara Hunter #MustReads @CaraHunterBooks @penguinrandom @PenguinUKBooks

The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech

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Sometimes as a reader a book comes along that blows me away, it doesn’t happen very often I must say. There are books I love and books I will treasure forever and The Lion Tamer Who Lost by the superbly talented Louise Beech falls into the latter.  As far as I’m concerned Louise Beech is the “queen” of story telling, this novel was such a compelling and emotive read, and so beautifully written I’m not convinced anything I write will convey how truly wonderful this book was. Full review here…..The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech #SummerMustReads @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks

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You can read my reviews for my highly recommended reads here…

Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager #BookReview @penguinrandom @riley_sager #SummerReads

**Blog blitz** #BeforeIMetHim by John Nicholl @Nicholl06 @Bloodhoundbook

**Blog tour** #NowYouSeeHer by Heidi Perks @HeidiPerksBooks @arrowpublishing #SummerReads

Her Name Was Rose By Claire Allan #SummerReads @AvonBooksUK

**Blog blitz** Portraits Of The Dead by John Nicholl @nicholl06 @BloodhoundBook

Into The Darkness by Sibel Hodge @sibelhodge #BookReview

Books I’m hoping to read this month

I’m being optimistic here and hoping to read more books this month, well I can live in hope 😂🙈

 

 

 

 

In The Dark by Cara Hunter #MustReads @CaraHunterBooks @penguinrandom @PenguinUKBooks

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Today I’m sharing my review for In The Dark by Cara Hunter and what a gripping crime thriller it turned out to be, read on for my thoughts, but first the book description

DO YOU KNOW WHAT THEY’RE HIDING IN THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR?

From the author of the massive bestseller CLOSE TO HOME, comes the second pulse-pounding DI Fawley crime thriller.

A woman and child are found locked in a basement room, barely alive.

No one knows who they are – the woman can’t speak, and there are no missing persons reports that match their profile. The elderly man who owns the house claims he has never seen them before.

The inhabitants of the quiet Oxford street are in shock. How could this happen right under their noses? But DI Adam Fawley knows that nothing is impossible.

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Last year I read Close To Home the debut novel from Cara Hunter which I thought was a pretty amazing crime thriller.  In The Dark the second book in the DI Fawley series has made this an unmissable series. Yes it can easily be read as a standalone but because this is shaping up to be a such a gripping series it’s definitely worth starting at the beginning.  In The Dark opens with a belter of chapter, A young woman and a child are found locked in a cellar, William Harper the owner is an elderly man who  appears to be confused, and is unable to remember how they got there. Neither of the victims can speak due to trauma they suffered. Which means DI Fawley and his team start an investigation where they find themselves literally working “In The Dark” who is the woman?  how did she end up in the cellar of a quiet Oxford street? These are just some of the questions that are at the forefront of this gripping and compelling crime procedure thriller. 

Cara Hunter has a gift for writing crime books centred around police procedures, she not only tells a story in the conventional way, but adds police interviews, forensic reports, social media post and newspaper articles to make the reader feel they are right there amid the investigation sifting through the clues. This way of sharing the information gives the plot a present day feel but it also makes the whole investigation feel very credible. It’s very cleverly done in my opinion as it adds a sense of urgency to the plot, the need for answers to the why and how,  keep the reader fixated.

Creating a character whose confused to say the least, who also happens to be the main suspect was sheer genius on the author’s part. Although there is some character development of Fawley and his team, the investigation is definitely at the forefront of this book, so no time is wasted on unnecessary chapter filling, which made this book even more enjoyable to read. There is nothing more satisfying than being surprised by a book, and boy did Cara Hunter surprise me! At one point I thought the author was rehashing a well used plot in crime thrillers but when I least expected it she threw in the mother of all curve balls, it truly was a “OMFG I never seen that coming” type of moment.  Definitely one of the best crime thrillers I’ve read this year, with a compelling narrative, twists galore and oodles of deceit, I have a feeling In The Dark is going to be a HUGE success and one of this summers MUST reads. Highly recommended.

This is going to come as no surprise but I’m giving  the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reached the very last page.

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  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Viking (12 July 2018)

Buying links:     Amazon UK 🇬🇧           Amazon US 🇺🇸

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The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech #SummerMustReads @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks

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I’m thrilled to be sharing my review of The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech. I’m not normally one of those readers who takes much notice of the cover of a book, but I love this cover. Read on for my thoughts about this fabulous book, but first the book description……

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Long ago, Andrew made a childhood wish, and kept it in a silver box. When it finally comes true, he wishes it hadn’t…

Long ago, Ben made a promise and he had a dream: to travel to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally makes it, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…

Ben and Andrew keep meeting in unexpected places, and the intense relationship that develops seems to be guided by fate. Or is it? 

What if the very thing that draws them together is tainted by past secrets that threaten everything?

A dark, consuming drama that shifts from Zimbabwe to England, and then back into the past, The Lion Tamer Who Lost is also a devastatingly beautiful love story … with a tragic heart. 

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Sometimes as a reader a book comes along that blows me away, it doesn’t happen very often I must say. There are books I love and books I will treasure forever and The Lion Tamer Who Lost by the superbly talented Louise Beech falls into the latter.  As far as I’m concerned Louise Beech is the “queen” of story telling, this novel was such a compelling and emotive read, and so beautifully written I’m not convinced anything I write will convey how truly wonderful this book was. When Andrew and Ben meet by chance little do they realise their meeting will irrevocably change their destinies forever.

Louise Beech has written one of the most powerful love stories I have read in a very long time, The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a story of love, secrets and coincidences, but at the same time it’s also an emotive and beautifully told love story, that will break the most hardened heart into a million pieces. I’m not going to waste words on regurgitating the plot, read the book description if you want, but this is a novel that no book description can do justice to the captivating and bittersweet story that lies within its pages. 

The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a story that is superbly told, interspersed with extracts from Andrew’s book, and chapters set in the UK and on a Zimbabwe lion reserve. The author writes in such a descriptive way I could feel the heat, the smells, and the sounds of the Lion reserve, bringing scenes I could only dream about to life. For me personally it was the characters that made this such a fabulous read I’m sure Andrew and Ben will be in my thoughts for a long time to come, never have characters had such a profound effect on me, I laughed, I cried and then cried some more. Even Ben’s dad grew on me as the novel progressed despite his bigotry comments and his constant womanising. 

This is a modern day tale that tackles subjects that  many may consider to be taboo, but the author has an incredible way of writing, one that includes sensitivity and beautiful poetic prose that even the most narrow minded readers will find it difficult not to fall in love with this book and it’s characters. The Lion Tamer Who Lost made for an intense, all consuming read, and one I simply adored. 

This is going to come as no surprise but I’m giving The Lion Tamer Who Lost the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reached the very last page.

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  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS (15 July 2018)

Pre-Buying Links :   Amazon UK 🇬🇧         Amazon US 🇺🇸

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The book review café book of the month **June 2018**

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Hope you’ve all been enjoying this mini heatwave, I love this weather, or rather I would if I wasn’t working, and could sit in the garden all day drinking coffee and reading a book or three. Never mind I’m digressing here it’s officially the first day of the month, which means it’s time for me to choose my book of the month for June 2018. Anyone who follows my blog by now will know I normally struggle to narrow it down to just one book, so I’m sure it won’t come as a suprise when I say I actually choose two books AGAIN! So without further ado here they are in no particular order.

Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh

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Although a legal thriller it has so many elements that make this book special, with more than an hint of crime and suspense mixed in, Steve Cavanagh has written one of the most original and exciting books I’ve read this year.  It’s not something I say very often but “If Thirteen doesn’t make it to the top sellers list I will be very surprised, in fact I would be astounded, it really is fabulously brilliant. You can read my full review here….Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh 

The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven

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There is nothing more satisfying than coming across a new crime series that sets the pulse racing. I read so many crime thrillers that I find it’s getting more difficult to find one that really excites me, but hells bells The Puppet Show by the very talented M.W. Craven blew my socks off! What a fabulous start to a “must read series”. Read on for my review…….The Puppet Show by M.W.Craven

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Books I’m hoping to read in July

 

What books are you hoping to read in July? What was the best book you read in June? I would love to know so please feel free to leave a comment below.

The Old You by Louise Voss #BookReview #MustReads @LouiseVoss1 @OrendaBooks

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Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for The Old You by Louise Voss, part psychological and part domestic noir, this book was so different to anything I’ve read lately. Read on for my thoughts, but first the book description 

Nail-bitingly modern domestic noir

A tense, Hitchcockian psychological thriller

Louise Voss returns with her darkest, most chilling, novel yet…

Lynn Naismith gave up the job she loved when she married Ed, the love of her life, but it was worth it for the happy years they enjoyed together. Now, ten years on, Ed has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, and things start to happen; things more sinister than missing keys and lost words. As some memories are forgotten, others, long buried, begin to surface … and Lynn’s perfect world begins to crumble.

But is it Ed’s mind playing tricks, or hers…?

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Most of the books I read are psychological thrillers, and just lately I have been struggling to find one that stands out in this genre and then along came a rare jewel The Old You by Louise Voss, what a fabulous, twisted read this turned out to be. At first I thought The Old You was going to be a heartbreaking portrayal of a couple living in the shadows of dementia, but as the old saying goes “never judge a book by its cover”, yes this terrible and heartbreaking disease does have a part to play, but there are so many elements that make this such an extraordinary and exciting book to read. 

The driving force behind The Old You lies in the secrets and tension between Lyn and Ed, a couple whose marriage is in crisis, on the surface conflict seems to arise from Ed’s early-onset dementia, and the problems that it brings, but like any good psychological thriller the author slowly reveals a tangled and very deceitful web. I found my emotions constantly shifting,  to begin with I was sympathetic to the couples plight, this was followed by empathy, and ending in outrage. Due to Ed’s conditions you can’t but help question his part in the story, an ingenious ploy on the author’s part. I worked with people with dementia for many years, so feel I’m able to say the author’s portrayal of someone with dementia was very authentic, she captured their emotions, behaviour and thoughts perfectly. 

A niggling unease settled over me which only grew stronger as Louise Voss describes the couples relationship and the changes that begin to occur through Ed’s diagnoses. Just as I thought the book was taking one direction Louise Voss threw a magnificent spanner in the works and the plot took a very sinister and disturbing turn. Superbly executed I literally sat their in stunned silence, as the author revealed twist after devious twist. Part domestic noir Louise Voss has proven it’s possible to write a unique story which still manages to maintain both the suspense and tension of a psychological thriller. The Old You will most definitely be on my top reads of 2018, it’s original, compelling with shocks galore, definitely my kind of book. Highly recommended. 

Yes I will giving The Old You the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page.

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Print Length: 300 pages

Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS (28 Feb. 2018)

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US 🇺🇸

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#ThisLittlePiggy by Rob Ashman #BlogBlitz @RobAshmanAuthor @Bloodhoundbook #MustReads

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Today I’m ecstatic to be finally sharing my review for This Little Piggy by Rob Ashman. What a cracking crime series this is turning out to be, but before I share my rather enthusiastic review, here’s the book description……

Kevin Palmer is a regular sort of guy, or he was until his life fell apart. His wife, his money, his business and his reputation are all taken away from him. He tries to fight back and ends up in prison.

 There he concocts elaborate fantasies to wreak vengeance. He is sent to work in an abattoir and the final piece of the jigsaw falls into place with chilling consequences. Then a cruel twist of fate changes everything.

 DI Rosalind Kray is battling her own demons having returned to work following a brutal attack. She finds herself on the trail of a sick and twisted killer and cracks the macabre pattern of murders. But her boss is unconvinced.

 Kray has Palmer squarely in her sights. But he has other ideas 

Can Kray break him in time to save the final victim?

 Time is running out.

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Ever since I read  Faceless the first book in the DCI Roz Kray crime series, I’ve been waiting with baited breath for the second book in this fabulous series. When ever Rob Ashman releases a new book I don’t even bother to read the book description any more because as far as I’m concerned I will read anything the author writes.  The authors books are gritty, dark, with elements of horror thrown in, there the kind of books if it were possible you would read hiding behind a cushion (it’s impossible I’ve tried) Although This Little Piggy can easily be read  as a stand-alone I would urge you to start at the beginning just because I would hate you to miss out on one of the best crime thriller series to be released this year. 

One thing I will say for Rob Ashman OMG he certainly knows how to catch the reader’s attention, with a opening chapter that’s guaranteed to make you squirm you find yourself eagerly devouring chapter after thrilling chapter.  All you need to know about this book lies in the book description, I’m not entering spoiler territory when I mention the author has taken a bold step by revealing the killer very early on in the book. Normally this would bother me,  as surely the reveal of the killer should be left to the last possible moment to build on the tension? Wrong! Robert Ashman doesn’t follow the rules where crime writing is concerned, he pushes the boundaries so you are never quite sure where he’s heading and for me it’s what make his books such an exciting and thrilling read.

In many ways Roz Kray is as damaged as the serial killer she is chasing, but she’s also a good detective, determined, driven and committed, but she’s also vulnerable and for me that makes her a compelling character. As usual the author has created a serial killer that will chill you to the bone, the chapters told from his POV make you feel you’re inside his head, not a good place to be let me tell you, it’s the stuff of nightmares.  Rob Ashman has created a serial killer who despite carrying out the most horrendous acts of violence towards his victims, you just can’t help being intrigued by him, I was desperate to find what events had motivated the killer. 

This Little Piggy is Compelling and suffused with menace,   spine chilling, stomach churning, it contains all the elements that personally make an outstanding read for me. A word of warning you will need a strong stomach to read This Little Piggy as it contains some very gruesome and lurid scenes, if your not adverse to some fairly grim scenes it’s one I  would definitely recommend. I actually loved this book in case you haven’t already guessed, god knows where Rob Ashman’s vivid imagination will take him for the next book, but one thing for sure I will definitely be reading it.  

This is going to come as no suprise but I’m giving This Little Piggy the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reached the very last page.

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Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon US 🇺🇸

Who is Rob Ashman?

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Rob is married to Karen with two grown up daughters. He is originally from South Wales and after moving around with work settled in North Lincolnshire where he’s spent the last twenty-two years.

Like all good welsh valley boys Rob worked for the National Coal Board after leaving school at sixteen and went to University at the tender age of twenty-three when the pit closures began to bite. Since then he’s worked in a variety of manufacturing and consulting roles both in the UK and abroad.

It took Rob twenty-four years to write his first book. He only became serious about writing it when his dad got cancer. It was an aggressive illness and Rob gave up work for three months to look after him and his mum. Writing Those That Remain became his coping mechanism. After he wrote the book his family encouraged him to continue, so not being one for half measures, Rob got himself made redundant, went self-employed so he could devote more time to writing and four years later the Mechanic Trilogy is the result.

When he is not writing, Rob is a frustrated chef with a liking for beer and prosecco, and is known for occasional outbreaks of dancing.

Rob published the Mechanic Trilogy with Bloodhound Books in 2017 and will be releasing three new books during 2018. These are titled: Faceless, This Little Piggy and Suspended Retribution.

Links:

Twitter: @RobAshmanAuthor

Facebook: https://www. facebook.com/Rob-Ashman- Author-1428800800468097/

Website: http://robashman.com/

Follow the rest of the blog tour……..

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**Blog tour** #TH1RT3EN by Steve Cavanagh @SSCav @orion_crime @Lauren_BooksPR @Tr4cyF3nt0n #thatbookthathook

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Today I’m thrilled to be one of the stops on the blog tour for TH1RT3EN by Steve Cavanagh, which means I can finally share my review for this fabulous book.

Anyone who follows my blog may have noticed I have never read or reviewed  a book by Steve Cavanagh, it’s not because I haven’t  wanted to, in fact I have the first in the series sat on my TBR shelf, I’ve just never got around to reading them. So why jump in at the fourth book in a series? I’m hearing, in all honesty it was the tag line? THE SERIAL KILLER ISN’T ON TRIAL. HE’S ON THE JURY... I’m a sucker for a plot line with a serial killer, and going back a few years ago (pre-blogging) I used to read nothing BUT legal thrillers, could Steve Cavanagh make me fall in love with this genre once again? Read on for my thoughts……

Book description 

THE SERIAL KILLER ISN’T ON TRIAL.

HE’S ON THE JURY…

To your knowledge, is there anything that would preclude you from serving on this jury?’

Murder wasn’t the hard part. It was just the start of the game.

Joshua Kane has been preparing for this moment his whole life. He’s done it before. But this is the big one.

This is the murder trial of the century. And Kane has killed to get the best seat in the house.

But there’s someone on his tail. Someone who suspects that the killer isn’t the man on trial.

Kane knows time is running out – he just needs to get to the conviction without being discovered.

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I loved, loved Thirteen, with an unique plot, fabulous characters and a thrilling storyline I was hooked from the word go. Despite it being the fourth book in the series it can be read as a standalone, but if you choose to read it first then like me I bet you buy the previous books in the series way before you reach the final page.  Although a legal thriller it has so many elements that make this book special, with more than an hint of crime and suspense mixed in, Steve Cavanagh has written one of the most original and exciting books I’ve read this year.  It’s not something I say very often but “If Thirteen doesn’t make it to the top sellers list I will be very surprised, in fact I would be astounded, it really is fabulously brilliant”.

What a fascinating character Eddie Flynn turned out be a conman turned lawyer, there were so many sides to him that made him a very engaging character, funny, charming with the gift of the gab. I’m now desperate to go back to the earlier books in the series to see how his character has evolved. Joshua Kane what an absolutely incredible character, smart, highly intelligent and a master manipulator, he made this book such a page turner. Steve Cavanagh has created characters that are engaging and fascinating, and for me that’s what made Thirteen such a brilliant read.

Thirteen was a page turner, the plot is tense and gripping, the author doesn’t give the reader time to draw breath as Thirteen reaches its thrilling conclusion. I loved every page of this well written legal thriller, no words or scenes are irrelevant, each character has their place. As for the court rooms scenes they were real “nail biters” as you really aren’t sure which way the jury are going to vote, which heightens the tension tenfold. This review maybe vague but I want it to be, Thirteen is a book you definitely need to read for yourself , my advice just BUY It I’m positive it won’t disappoint.

Steve Cavanagh has been compared to John Grisham (who by the way used to be one of my favourite authors) personally I think Steve Cavanagh’s writing is even better, it’s fresh, innovative and with an engaging protagonist I’m sure this series will go far. Would I recommend this book? You bet I would in fact if like me you’ve haven’t read any books in the series  just buy  the whole damn series as your in for a real treat.

This is going to come as no suprise but I’m giving Thirteen  the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reached the very last page.

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Buying links:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Thirteen-serial-killer-isnt-trial-ebook/dp/B076PKVQJV

https://www.amazon.com/Thirteen-Steve-Cavanagh/dp/1409170667

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Books in the series

1. The Defence

2. The Plea

3. The Liar

4. Thirteen

The Cross an Eddie Flynn novella 

*Each Eddie Flynn thriller can be read as a standalone or in series order*

To learn more about Steve Cavanagh or buy books in the series click here

Click here for author info and to buy books in the series

Who is Steve Cavanagh?

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Steve Cavanagh is a critically acclaimed, award-winning author and lawyer. He is also one half of the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast. His latest novel, Thirteen, is out in ebook now and paperback in June.

Find out more at www.stevecavanagh.com or follow Steve on Twitter @SSCav

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