Saturday 29 February 2020

Book Review - Death on the Danube by Jennifer S Alderson

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Amazon UK
Title: Death on the Danube
Author: Jennifer S Alderson
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Travelling Life Press
Publication Date: 15th November 2019
Rating: 4 Stars

Who knew a New Year’s trip to Budapest could be so deadly? The tour must go on – even with a killer in their midst…

Recent divorcee Lana Hansen needs a break. Her luck has run sour for going on a decade, ever since she got fired from her favorite job as an investigative reporter. When her fresh start in Seattle doesn’t work out as planned, Lana ends up unemployed and penniless on Christmas Eve.

Dotty Thompson, her landlord and the owner of Wanderlust Tours, is also in a tight spot after one of her tour guides ends up in the hospital, leaving her a guide short on Christmas Day.

When Dotty offers her a job leading the tour group through Budapest, Hungary, Lana jumps at the chance. It’s the perfect way to ring in the new year and pay her rent!

What starts off as the adventure of a lifetime quickly turns into a nightmare when Carl, her fellow tour guide, is found floating in the Danube River. Was it murder or accidental death? Suspects abound when Lana discovers almost everyone on the tour had a bone to pick with Carl.

But Dotty insists the tour must go on, so Lana finds herself trapped with nine murder suspects. When another guest turns up dead, Lana has to figure out who the killer is before she too ends up floating in the Danube…

Introducing Lana Hansen, tour guide, reluctant amateur sleuth, and star of the Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery Series. Join Lana as she leads tourists and readers to fascinating cities around the globe on intriguing adventures that, unfortunately for Lana, often turn deadly.

The Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mysteries are heartwarming stories about making friends, traveling, and celebrating new experiences. Also available: Book Two, Death by Baguette: A Valentine's Day Murder in Paris, and Book Three, Death By Windmill: A Mother's Day Murder in Amsterdam.

Interesting cosy mystery set to the background of a foreign country, or fabulous travel fiction which just happens to have some death and a mystery in it?  That is the question I can't quite decide on the answer to, but either way the fact remains its a really enjoyable book. 

Lana is a bit down on her luck, so when she is offered a chance to be a guide  for a 6 day Budapest, she jumps at it, even though she has never left America before.  She seems to take to this new role rather well, and had I been on that trip I'd have quite enjoyed getting to know her. 

Through Lana's eyes, we are treated to the sights and sounds of Budapest, which is a city I've never really thought about visiting, so was eager to take in all the details from the comfort of my armchair.  And from my experience visiting other Eastern European cities, I'd say the feel for the place was pretty spot on and if I was one for a city break, I would consider Budapest now, especially during Christmas market season! 

We are introduced to the various members of the tour group, as well as Carl, the other guide.  And what a mixed group of people they are, including some that are downright unpleasant, and that is before we come across people dying. 

I was a bit surprised how far into the book the death came, and then how the amateur sleuthing took place, as it felt a bit quick, which is why I'm not sure how exactly I'd describe the book other than incredibly enjoyable and kept me on my toes. However equally it meant you already had a grip on all the other key people, so could start guessing instantly as you already have a good idea about the various suspects characteristics. 

I honestly wasn't sure who the murder would turn out to be,  although given how it was all set up, I'm not entirely surprised, just kicking myself for not having come up with my own theory!! 

This was the first book I'd read by Jennifer S Alderson, and I can say with utmost certainty that I definitely want to read more, especially more of this series, as I do love a different location especially when they are described so well, and I'm curious to see how Lana's sleuthing and tour guiding skills improve. 

Thank you to the author for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Friday 28 February 2020

Book Review - The Birthday Party by Rosin Meaney

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Amazon UK
Title: The Birthday Party
Author: Roisin Meaney
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Hachette Books Ireland
Publication Date: 27th June 2019
Rating: 4 Stars

Another summer is in full swing on Roone, an island off the west coast of Ireland, and preparations are underway for a big birthday party at the local hotel. But before then, love and friendship will be tested ...

Who is the stranger who arrives at Imelda's door, just weeks after her world falls to pieces?

How long can Eve hide her secret from Andy?

And will Nell and Laura's friendship survive the storm that's about to hit the island?

The Birthday Party is the spellbinding new novel from the queen of summer reading

It has been far too long since I last read a Roisin Meaney book, especially one set on Roone.  And as much as I recall loving these Roone books,  the specifics weren't coming to mind and as a result it took me a long while to completely get into the swing of things. 

There were hints which helped give me some reminders, but I do feel that this book could have done with a cast list at the front, explaining how everyone was related or connected which would he helped people like me that read large numbers of books a year, to get back into the swing of things, or give new readers a reference  if things were confusing. 

But once past that I was very much interested in the various story lines in this story. There are secrets which some people know but other's don't which came out in the most fabulous way! 

There are other secrets hinted at throughout the book that only get revealed towards the end, without a major fan-fair but with enough oomph that I suspect this won't be the last book set on the island. 

In fact I think this (and the other Roone books) would make a wonderful soap opera, with all the various drama, friendships, families and step families, or at least a few series of a great TV drama. 

I really enjoyed the writing, and there was plenty of story to sink your teeth into.  Within moments of picking up the book I had the image of Roone back in my mind, and I did feel at home amongst the pages. 

I just really hope there won't be such a long gap before the next book set on this fabulous little Irish Island, with the quirky community. 

Thank you to Hachette Ireland and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Thursday 27 February 2020

Book Review - My Great Ex-Scape by Portia MacIntosh

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Amazon UK
Title: My Great Ex-Scape
Author: Portia MacIntosh
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Publication Date: 16th January 2020
Rating: 5 Stars

What if your future was somewhere in your past?

Rosie Jones has been dumped by every boyfriend she’s ever had - most recently by Dinosaur Dave, live on TV, during the ‘phone-a-friend’ segment of a quiz show. After the footage goes viral Rosie receives a bunch of flowers with a message:
I love you, I should have never let you go, I want you back x

But who sent them?

At a loose end and with £50,000 prize money in her back pocket, Rosie decides to take a trip down memory lane, visiting each of her ex-boyfriends to see not just if they are the one who sent the flowers but if they are the one.

Her journey takes her back to the house she grew up in and on a transatlantic cruise to New York, but can Rosie figure out which ex-boyfriend is the love of her life, or should the past stay in the past?

A laugh-out-loud romantic comedy from bestseller, Portia MacIntosh. Perfect for fans of Holly Martin, Sophie Ranald and Zara Stoneley.

The second I saw that cover I knew I had to read this book, after all I do love a good cruise. And when a first chapter involves Rosie getting dumped on live TV where all she was trying to do was call him  as a "phone a friend" style life line,  well the clip goes viral.  She does win the money, but needs to escape her life at the same time. 

She ends up on a journey to revisit all her ex-boyfriends as she is convinced one of them sent her flowers in the aftermath.  

This is one hilarious book, I loved every second of it, especially the cruise, her travelling companions, the fact it was a over 55s cruise line (and she is considerably younger), some of her ex-es are wonderfully entertaining,  its just all around one addictively feel good book. 

I just couldn't get enough of this story, I even very almost missed my stop on the tube while reading, I didn't even realise I'd left the starting station and suddenly twigged I needed to get off!!  Portia MacIntosh has a way with words that really works for me. 

I love her storytelling abilities and this is one that felt really fresh to me.  The descriptions of the cruise ship all rang true to me, and I would imagine it was possibly based on a Cunard transatlantic sailing, given the way the ship was described and my impressions of Cunard!    A magnificent ship, full of activities, formal dining and just keep your eye out for the Michael Buble tribute - he is gorgeous and rather key! 

Another simply wonderful book from one of my favourite authors. 

Thank you to Boldwood and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Wednesday 26 February 2020

Book Review - Little White Lies by Philippa East

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Amazon UK
Title: Little White Lies
Author: Philippa East
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: HQ New Voices Showcase
Publisher: HQ
Publication Date: 6th February 2020
Rating: 5 Stars

She only looked away for a second…

Anne White only looked away for a second, but that’s all it took to lose sight of her young daughter.

But seven years later, Abigail is found.

And as Anne struggles to connect with her teenage daughter, she begins to question how much Abigail remembers about the day she disappeared…

Even when I wasn't reading this, the story was on my mind, which to me is the sign of a very good book. 

You've most likely, like me read books featuring missing children, what is much rarer is a book focusing on the child's return, and how they would fit back into the family. 

And that is exactly what Little White Lies is about, Abigail shows up aged 15, having left the man the took her aged 8, and no one is quite sure how to treat her. 

Her cousin Jess who she was always very close to seems to think that Abigail will barely have suffered, or changed, but Jess feels like a very naive and immature 15 year old generally, as though her emotional growth stopped at the point Abigail went missing. 

So we get chapters from Jess's point of view and also from Anne, Abigail's mum.  What is obvious from the start is something just isn't quite right with any of the family dynamics,   There are things being hidden, and no one is quite sure if Abigail remembers the truth of the day she was taken. 

It's an unnerving look at family dynamics,  I'm not completely sure I liked that many of the characters, but I didn't hate them either, but I was very curious about them all, and I did care for them. 

I'm so impressed that this is a debut novel, I loved how it was written, I kept wanting to pick the book back up when I had to part with it for real life, and there really are a  great variety of little white lies, in the book. 

I'm so glad I had a chance to read this book, and I will certainly be keeping an eye out for future releases from the author. 

Thank you to HQ for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Tuesday 25 February 2020

Book Review - Twisted Revenge by M. A. Comley

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Amazon UK
Title: Twisted Revenge
Author: M. A. Comley
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Jeamel Publishing Limited
Publication Date: 17th February 2020
Rating: 5 Stars

Did Alistair really deserve to die such a heinous death?

A man with no known enemies, so why did someone want him dead?

DI Sara Ramsey is about to tackle one of her worst cases to date.

The more she digs, the more secrets she uncovers within a seemingly loving family.

Can Sara sift through the lies to reveal the murderer and their warped motive?

Hopefully my heart may stop racing in a moment, after reading the conclusion of Twisted Revenge.   M. A. Comley you have done it again, this was unputdownable, fast paced and fabulous. 

But equally this book needs to come with a warning :

Do not read this book, or at least the details of the murders while you are eating!  They are so horrific and gruesome, that they will put you off your food, as I discovered the hard way.  M. A. Comley, I wouldn't want to be in your mind, as you are coming up with these cruel and horrible ways for people to die.  And remind me never to upset you... as your methods for revenge are insane!! 

Sara Ramsey is almost, so almost my favourite of this author's DI's, but Lorne from the Justice series still has my heart.   

The writing is superb in this latest book, it was heart in the mouth, end to end action, and I almost felt sorry for one of the bad guys. 

It's a really tricky case as the initial victim comes across as the perfect man, making his gruesome death all the more surprising and a lot trickier than you may imagine to investigate. 

I can't get over how fabulously talented my favourite thriller writer is.  There is even a very small aside to a sub plot of something that was in the news last year, which I was interested to see.   

We also get to see just how much Sara cares when she is working on a case,  some of her actions may be questionable but at the same time completely understandable. 

Utterly fabulous book, and I can't wait for more from this series. 

Thank you to the author for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

And thank you to M. A. Comley for this wonderful book post that arrived over the weekend. 

Monday 24 February 2020

Book Review - #No Filter by Maxine Morrey - #HolidayReading Mexico

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Amazon UK
Title: #No Filter
Author: Maxine Morrey
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Publication Date: 7th November 2019
Rating: 4 Stars

In an Instagram world, can you find love just by being yourself…

Popular lifestyle blogger, Libby Cartwright, is being boggled by business when help shows up in the shape of gorgeous but shy, Charlie Richmond. Libby’s determined to keep it at ‘just good friends’ – she’s dated someone from ‘Corporate Land’ before and it didn’t end well. As she and Charlie begin spending more time together, Libby is starting to waver  – until she discovers something which makes her question if she’s ready for love.

Still reeling, she suffers another blow as her blog is attacked in a national newspaper, for promoting unachievable perfection. Libby knows it’s not true – but the only way to prove that is to strip off the armour she’s been wearing for years.

Is she brave enough to show the world she’s far from perfect? And will Charlie be by her side if she does…

I do love a book featuring a blogger, and I really enjoyed getting to know Libby and her lifestyle blog. 

She is a bubbly person, whose mouth often lands her in trouble, not to mention she is just slightly clumsy!

It is clear though instantly that to my eyes that there should be something going on between her and Charlie.  

Alas being fictional characters it meant a large amount of wanting to knock some sense into them from this reader, before either of them may see the light. 

My one bugbear with this book though is actually the blurb, I kept waiting for things to happen thinking that the bits mentioned in the blurb are huge plot points... and well it was all things happening towards the end. 

So my advice to you, is don't even read the blurb, go in completely blind and fresh and you will have a much more enjoyable reading experience. 

Libby, Tilly, Amy, Marcus, Charlie and Alex are the main characters in this, and I loved the way they all interacted.   

It's an entertaining story and I'm glad I finally sat down and read it. 

Thank you to Boldwood Books and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Saturday 22 February 2020

Book Review - Scenes from a Country Bookshop by Victoria Connelly

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Amazon UK
Title: Scenes From A Country Bookshop
Author: Victoria Connelly
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author Supplied Copy
Publisher: Notting Hill Press
Publication Date: 6th November 2019
Rating: 5 Stars

Josh Nightingale has always been married to his books. Happy to run his bookshop in the small town of Castle Clare, he’s never really had time for romance and truly believes that he’s never going to fall in love. But, when April Channing opens a new shop opposite his, everything changes.

Sweet and attentive one moment, abrupt and aloof the next, Josh really can’t understand April at all. What exactly is going on? Josh is pretty sure that the answer can’t be found in a book.

Join the Nightingale family once again for this deliciously heartwarming novel, the forth in The Book Lovers series, by the bestselling author of The Rose Girls and A Weekend with Mr Darcy.

I was so delighted when this landed on my kindle, that I pretty much had to start it instantly.  It was a joy to be back in Castle Clare, amongst the Nightingale family. 

Josh is the quietest member of his family, he's a bit of an introvert and loves his books and his bookshop and doesn't really do much else.   However when he meets April who takes on the shop opposite his bookshop, his life suddenly exists in technicolor. 

Yet nothing with April is quite as  it seems, I twigged one of her secrets quite early on, but the rest I was on the same journey of discovery as Josh with.  

She is s complex woman, and I loved her outlook on life, and also her unconventional family set up.  

It was great seeing all of Josh's family again, and catching up with people that we have met in the previous books.  This though easily stands alone, and the main focus is on Josh and April. 

I also enjoyed one of the book club members opening up to Josh about his own first love, and his sibling relationship.  It was good to for Josh to get an outsiders perspective on his own love life. 

I would love to tell you more about this fledgling potential relationship, but I don't want to risk spoiling the bigger story lines, that are really interesting. 

I also learnt a lot about the Bloomsbury Group from this book, not being someone who particularly reads classical literature I had no idea about the group that involved Virginia Woolf.  At times I wasn't really sure about the references but I got the gist, and I suspect if you have heard of them and their philosophies those bits would make even more sense to you. 

I couldn't get enough of this book, I found like I always tend to with Victoria Connelly books that it was an incredibly fast and enjoyable reading experience. 

I have everything crossed that this won't be the last book in the series, I really do need more from this family of bookworms, book sellers, book addicts and all around book lovers!! 

Thank you to the author for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily,  

Friday 21 February 2020

Book Review - Look At Me Now by Simone Goodman - #HolidayReading Mexico

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Amazon UK
Title:  Look At Me Now
Author: Simone Goodman
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Publication Date: 5th November 2019
Rating: 4 Stars

Gracie Porter’s life is in a tangle. Her television cookery show
is flailing and her boyfriend’s affections are waning. It's time for a change…

Best friend Faith rescues her place on the small screen when she unwittingly lands them both starring roles in a steamy spin-off that becomes an instant hit. The new show is more about relationships, sex and stonking big vegetables than cooking.

Throw in a fluctuating crush on her surprisingly irresistible agent, Harry Hipgrave, an unlikely friendship with a pair of D-list models and a gossip journalist intent on making her life miserable, Grace wonders if becoming famous is all it’s cracked up to be?

Romantic, utterly uplifting and poignant, perfect for the fans of Sophie Kinsella and Lucy Diamond.

How I loved the idea of Gracie and Frankie's new TV Show. Even the sauciness as it was being pitched to the executives had me chuckling. 

Seeing each episode take place was just pure gold me, and I also enjoyed seeing how the characters developed away from the TV show. 

Gracie... oh Gracie, you did get yourself into more than your fair share of scrapes, awkward situations, bad decisions and generally funny moments. 

I loved her but at times, I just wished she could see the blindingly obvious. 

From the first few chapters I was hooked, after all I am rather keen on books featuring food, or TV, so a TV chef who isn't a superstar is always going to interest me. 

This is a very funny and really entertaining debut novel, which I greatly enjoyed reading.  

Thank you to Boldwood Books and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.

Thursday 20 February 2020

Romantic Fiction Book Club Facebook Group - Massive #Giveaway

Being a massive fan of romantic fiction, as I think you may be able to tell if you have visited this blog before, I'm incredibly excited to be able to share the details of new giveaway and Facebook group  - all as part of the RNA's 60th Birthday celebrations, and their February romance reading month.

Calling all fans of Romantic Fiction! This year marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and, to celebrate this momentous occasion, the RNA are launching a new Facebook group, the Romantic Fiction Book Club, which aims to be a warm and cosy place for lovers of romantic fiction to engage with other readers, bloggers and authors of romantic fiction. The group is open to anyone who loves to read any type of romance, bloggers, and all authors of novels with a romantic element, not just those who are members of the RNA.

To launch the new group with a bang, we have an amazing competition for you. In conjunction with publisher One More Chapter, members of the new Romantic Fiction Book Club Facebook group have the chance to win an amazing bundle of 60 romantic novels, donated by One More Chapter. There are also 60 runner up prizes of a single, signed romance novel, so there are a total of 61 prizes up for grabs. What amazing odds of winning something! The competition is running from 14th February (of course!) to 29th February. Take a look at some of the fabulous titles up for grabs.   

All you have to do to enter the competition is join the new Romantic Fiction Book Club here and then follow the link below to the competition:

There is detailed information about how to enter on the new Facebook page, including how to increase your chances of winning by subscribing to the RNA and One More Chapter’s social media links, plus, there is lots of fun interaction going on in the group. UK entries only I’m afraid. What are you waiting for, go and sign up now!
It's a fabulous group that I love being a part of already, so hope you will come alone and join in the fun too. 
And can I just say - wow what a prize!! So many of those wonderful books have already been featured on here, 

Book Review - Poison by Jacqui Rose - #HolidayReading Mexico - Blog Tour

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Amazon UK
Title: Poison
Author: Jacqui Rose
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: 20th February 2020
Rating: 5 Stars


In a life of crime, loyalty means everything – even if you don’t always see eye to eye. But when Vaughn Sadler speaks up to get Franny Doyle sent down, he’s broken every rule in the book to win checkmate.


Holed up in prison, Franny has more than one score to settle – but she’s starting with Vaughn. Because you don’t grass on your own, no matter what. And though she may be behind bars, she will get revenge – whatever the cost.

Before, there was just bad blood running through her veins. But now, there is poison…

Once again I was drawn straight back into the lives of Franny, Vaughn and Alfie, and I just couldn't get enough of them.  I'm already keen to read the next book!

Completely addictive I could barely put the book down, as I tried to second guess what may happen or not. 

With new equally despicable characters introduced there is a lot to take in,  but once you have the basics sorted in your mind,  it's a real fast paced page turner. 

Set in London's seedy underbelly, there is plenty touched on that would make your stomach curl.  At times disgusting, at others graphic I can't seem to get enough of these characters and of Jacqui Rose's writing.

I'm never entirely positive that I enjoy the content of these books but there is just something about them which means they can't be unread on my kindle for long.  I'm definitely hooked on these rather criminal and dodgy people,  even if I can't really understand why.

Although this could be read as a standalone, you potentially would gain more from reading some of the authors previous books as they all appear to be connected.

What a fabulous book to have whiled away the first couple of hours of a long haul flight with.

Thank you to Avon on Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Please do follow along with the other blogs on the tour for this great book

Wednesday 19 February 2020

Book Review - A Million Dreams by Dani Atkins - Blog Tour

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Amazon UK | Amazon US
Title: A Million Dreams
Author: Dani Atkins
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Head of Zeus (UK) / Bookouture (US)
Publication Date: 14th November 2019 (UK) / 19th February 2020 (US)
Rating: 5 Stars

Beth Brandon always dreamed of owning a florist, but today the bouquets of peonies and bright spring flowers are failing to calm her nerves. Because today, Beth has a life-changing decision to share with her husband.

Izzy Vaughan thought she and her husband would stay together forever, but sometime last year, their love began to fade. They both find such joy in their young son Noah – but is he enough to keep them together?

Eight years ago, something happened to these two women. Something that is about to bring them together in a way no-one thought possible...

Thought-provoking, emotional and uplifting, this is a gripping love story for fans of Jojo Moyes and Amanda Prowse.

I've spent the past 24 hours extremely resentful of real life separating my from reading at times,  regretful that I didn't read this while I was on holiday and would have been able to read it in one sitting,  and regularly on the verge of tears, due to the sheer emotion and power behind the words of this book. 

It has really got to me, and is easily one of the best books of the year so far for me.   

A lot of the power and emotion I feel has come because I had no idea what to expect. The blurb gives very little away, and even the first thing to be revealed, not too far into the story, I think I appreciated all the more because I had no idea it was coming.  (OK, I had an inkling perhaps a chapter before but wasn't convinced, and I had the same realisations at couple of times in the book, but never more than a chapter before it happened).  And even if I did think i knew what was about to happen, nothing could have prepared me for the way it was written and the impact it had on me. 

I was completely immersed in this powerful story, and its one that will hopefully stay with me for a long time.  It covers something that would be completely and utter worst nightmare scenarios for the two families involved,  and really does take you on a roller coaster of emotions. 

I suspect I would have been crying for most of the book if I had my own children, instead I just had a massive feeling of empathy regardless and really did love all the main characters. 

For this is an epic love story - but not romantic love, but of a mother's love for their child.   It is written from two perspectives and  from that you great insight into how both Beth and Izzy cope with a situation that I've never read about before anywhere. 

A uniquely wonderful story from an author who always writes powerful stories that grab your heart and don't let go.  

Or in short, it left me speechless, I have no idea how anything else I read for a few days will compare to this and just wow!!!  If you are a fan of anything with an emotional kick to it, you need to read this book. 

Thank you to Head of Zeus and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Please do take a look at the rest of the stops on this blog tour. 

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