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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Spotlight Tour Excerpt & Giveaway: Night of the Highland Dragon by Isabel Cooper!


Title: Night of the Highland Dragon

Series: Highland Dragons, #3

Author: Isabel Cooper

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Release Date: June 2 2015

ISBN: 9781402284731



About the Book:


“They say,” said the girl, “that people disappear up there. And I heard that the lady doesna’ ever grow any older.”

“The lady?” William asked.

“Lady MacAlasdair. She lives in the castle, and she’s been there years, but she stays young and beautiful forever.”


In the Scottish Highlands, legend is as powerful as the sword—and nowhere is that more true than in the remote village of Loch Aranoch. Its mysterious ruler, Judith MacAlasdair, is fiercely protective of her land—and her secrets. If anyone were to find out what she really was, she and her entire clan would be hunted down as monsters.

William Arundell is on the trail of a killer. Special agent for an arcane branch of the English government, his latest assignment has led him to a remote Highland castle and the undeniably magnetic lady who rules there. Yet as lies begin to unravel and a dark threat gathers, William finds himself drawn deeper and deeper into the mystery of the Highlands…and the woman he can neither trust nor deny.

He prays she isn’t the murderer; he never dreamed she was a dragon.

Author Fun:


This June marks the release of The Night of the Highland Dragon, the third in Isabel Cooper’s fantastic paranormal Highland Dragon series. To celebrate the release, Isabel is giving us an exclusive peek into some of the MacAlasdair’s more interesting ancestors – some of them may even appear in future books of the series!

The Ancient One, The Ancestor, “Raven”, Ravi (dates unknown)

Ancestor at least to the MacAlasdair line, and possibly to other families of shapeshifting dragons, this…being…had a friendly relationship with the servant of a Roman merchant travelling through Persia around 300 BC. Her account and that of her master, such as they are, suggest that he at least looked Indian, that he was more considerate than the average man in his situation, and also that he seemed both amused and occasionally startled by most facets of human life. Both Indian and Chinese mythology speak of dragons or snakes that can take human form; both mythologies suggest that these beings are close to divine in nature.


Excerpt:



From the soot-stained sides of the alley, shadows emerged and became men. Judith counted five: big fellows, all of them, and at least two openly carried long knives. She let out all her breath, hissing it through her teeth, and took a step back.

“It’s all right,” William said, putting a hand on her arm. Oh, good: he was going to try and be protective. This day was going wonderfully. He turned to the men. “Very sorry to disturb you. We’ll just be on our way.”

Protective and diplomatic. Even better.

“Don’t move,” growled one of the larger men. “Don’t run. Don’t scream. You’d better not scream. Nobody’d hear you. Nobody’d come anyway.”

Even from a distance, he reeked of drink. His eyes were glassy, and he grinned when he spoke in a way that Judith didn’t like at all. Neither did she like the way the others were looking at him, taking their cues. On their own, sober, any of them might have been reasonable. Right now she could feel the avalanche building.

Judith took more quick inventory. The men would probably catch up quickly if they tried to run. The alley was dark, and the leader was probably right: she’d never known most people in cities to intervene, and the local constabulary didn’t take much interest in a neighborhood like this one. She wasn’t armed. She didn’t know if William had brought whatever weapon he’d been reaching for out at Finlay’s, or how skilled he was with it if he had. And she was wearing skirts.

She sighed, held still, and decided to try a little diplomacy of her own. “I’m sure we can settle this peaceably. Just leave us enough money for tickets home, aye? We’ll hand over the rest.”

The leader shook his head. “Won’t need money when we’re done with you. Won’t need to go home, either,” he said. Judith didn’t recognize what cue he gave, and he didn’t speak, but she heard footsteps behind her.
Fine, then. Fine.

She whirled, caught the man’s outstretched hand as he tried to grab her arm—they always tried for the bicep if you were a woman, devil only knew why—and used his body as a pivot for her own. Her elbow smashed into his jaw with all her weight behind it. His head snapped sideways with a cracking sound: his jaw, not his neck, for he yelled in agony and staggered back, clutching the side of his face.

There was no time to see William’s reaction.

“Are we finished—” she started to ask.

Then the leader roared and rushed forward, and the rest followed his lead. It was an answer, just not the one Judith had wanted. “I did my best,” she muttered, not sure if she was speaking to William or the robbers or her own conscience. Then she gave herself over to the moment.




Get it Here:


Amazon | BAM | BN | Kobo | IndieBound | Indigo


About the Author:


During the day, Isabel Cooper maintains her guise as a mild-mannered project manager in legal publishing. In her spare time, she enjoys video games, ballroom dancing, various geeky hobbies, and figuring out what wine goes best with leftover egg rolls. Cooper lives with two thriving houseplants in Boston, Massachusetts.

Giveaway:


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Review: Seven Spoons by Tara O'Brady



Title: Seven Spoons: My Favorite Recipes for Any and Every Day
Author: Tara O'Brady
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: April 21st 2015
Source: Ten Speed Press


Book Description via Goodreads:



The much-anticipated debut from the author behind the popular food blog Seven Spoons, featuring distinctive, crowd-pleasing recipes; engaging, writerly essays; and the same stunning photography that has earned her website a devoted following.

Roasted Carrots with Harissa A├»oli and Dukkah. Plum Macaroon Cake. Chaat Tostadas. Roasted Peaches with Glazed Sesame Oats. Few food writers have such an insightful, intuitive understanding of flavor—or a more eclectic and inspiring range of culinary influences at work in their kitchen—than Tara O’Brady. Fewer still write with her trademark warmth and thoughtful prose, which Saveur describes as “like pulling up a seat at the table of an old friend.”

Seven Spoons is O’Brady’s remarkable and much-anticipated debut. In it, she shares more than one hundred of her best and most mouthwatering recipes—crowd-pleasing breakfasts like Blackberry Buttermilk Whole Grain Scones, weeknight staples like Everyday Yellow Dal, and terrifically inventive desserts like Roasted Grapes with Sweet Labneh. These elegant, flavorful, and wonderfully creative recipes, plus the show stopping photography, will have you heading straight for the kitchen to get cooking.






Review:


★★★

This cookbook really starts out strong. There is a really big introduction section that introduces what you should have in your pantry, and the gear you might need to use throughout the recipes in the book. There's also a really big ending section, that contains all the recipes that the "main" recipes used- things such as sauces and cheeses. While I love that even these aspects were made for scratch, I didn't really like that they were all scooted together at the end of the book, instead of being on the following page or something.

This book is sorted into chapters according to meal/course: Breads & Breakfast, Lunch, Soups Starters and Snacks, Suppers, Vegetables and Sides, and Sweet Treats & Sips. I liked this way of organizing things, because it makes it easier to find what you need. I also really appreciated that this cookbook included drink recipes. (That's an under-appreciated section in cookbooks, in my humble opinion.)

The book contains nice little notes and tips on techniques or ingredients, which were helpful and a nice touch to the recipes. There's also a fair share of stories that give the book a more personal feel to it. The steps are in small paragraphs as opposed to shorter, numbered steps.

There's a nice variety of cultures present here, ranging everywhere from Greek to Vietnamese to African. This is widely reflected in the dishes themselves, which range from basics like lemon chicken to dishes with bold Indian spices. Some of the dishes in this cookbook are very, very simple. But some of them are pretty complicated and have long ingredient lists. This isn't a bad thing, it's just less likely I'm going to have all of those things on hand to cook on a whim. On the same note, there are some ingredients here that are rather hard to get a hold of, at least near me, such as za'atar and halloumi. I'm sure they're wonderful to cook with, but it's definitely not something I currently can run to the store and fetch. The pictures that are in this book are gorgeous, but there's not really enough of them for my liking. Photos are a key element to whether or not I purchase a cookbook; I like knowing what I'm supposed to aiming for.

Some of the dishes I'd most like to prepare from this cookbook include Dipper Eggs with Cheese-Fried Toast Soldiers, Hard Cider Gougeres, Walnut Cherry Oat Butter Tart Pie, and Roasted Grapes with Sweet Labneh.

Overall, this is a pretty good cookbook. I think both beginners and more experienced cooks can benefit from it, but be prepared for ingredient lists that you might not necessarily be used to.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: Such a Secret Place by Cortney Pearson



Title: Such a Secret Place

Series: Stolen Tears #1

Author: Cortney Pearson

Purchase: Amazon | BN

Release Date: April 1st, 2015



About the Book:


Raids splatter across the news--Arcaian soldiers are stealing magic left and right, using it against the people they steal it from.

When sixteen-year-old Ambry Csille's brother gets taken in one of these raids, her utter fear and panic should be enough to invoke tears in any normal world. But for Ambry, tears are a thing of the past.

Because of a spell, people can no longer feel emotion; not enough to cry, and definitely not enough to defend themselves against the tyrannical soldiers stealing her people’s magic. A rare vial of enchanted tears chooses Ambry to reverse the spell, and soon she finds herself the target not only of the Arcaians, but of battle-scarred Talon Haraway, who wants the tears for his own reasons.

All Ambry wants is to rescue her brother, but when her tears get stolen, Ambry determines to work with Talon to get them back. Any day the Arcaians could drink her tears. Any day they’ll succeed at draining her people's magic completely, and all hope will be gone—not only for her brother, but for her world.

About the Author:


Cortney Pearson is a book nerd who studied literature at BYU-Idaho, a music nerd who plays clarinet in her local community orchestra, and a writing nerd who creates stories for young adults. Cortney lives with her husband and three sons in a small Idaho farm town.

Purchase: Amazon | Facebook | Twitter


Review:


★★★


Cortney Pearson is one of those authors whose name I see all over the blogosphere, but whose books I had never read. I was excited to get a chance to read Such a Secret Place for the review tour. I'm a big fan of both fantasy and young adult literature, so I thought this would be up my alley. All in all, this was a decent read.

I wasn't really a big fan of the main character throughout the novel, but I didn't hate her either- I still was rooting for her throughout the book. It just got to some points where she really, really annoyed me. It was kind of like that one friend that we all have that you love dearly but just want to shoosh them sometimes. Most of the time, I was able to push this aside to focus on other aspects of the book, such as the awesome world building. I really liked the way that magic was integrated throughout both the world that Pearson created as well as the plot of the story. I liked that there wasn't really instalove, though there is a romantic kindling. I adore Talon, and I can't wait to read more of him in the next book in the series.

This book is rather complicated at times, but that's part of why I liked it. I think that's part of what I like about fantasy in general- the intricacies of a new world, and of the new creations or races or what have you that take up that world. The writing got a bit flowery for my liking in some parts, but overall I thought Pearson was really well detailed. It was easy to get lost in the story and swept up in Ambry's adventures.

Unrelated to the content of the book, I also really like the cover design. I think it's a fair reflection of the story within, and it'd catch my eye on a display.

I'd recommend this to fans of YA fantasy, especially ones that feature magic as a key part of the plot. While this wasn't a perfect read for me, I enjoyed it well enough and I would definitely consider picking up the next book to read more about Talon and Ambry. The strongest element to this story is the world building, which I absolutely loved.

I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

Giveaway:


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Mini Review: The Ungifted Elf by AJ Martinez



Title: The Ungifted Elf
Author: AJ Martinez
Format: Paperback, 70 pages
Pub. Date: May 20th 2014
Source: Goodreads Firstreads


Book Description via Goodreads:



Eckxio, an exiled elf journeys to a mountain in hopes of gaining an ability that all elves are born with. Since his childhood, Eckxio was unable to cast magic and relies on his magic sword and shield to survive. He hopes to find the legendary fairy king in the mountain and believes the holy entity will grant him incredible magical powers. Eckxio desperately fights obstacles that cross his path as his faith fades away.





Review:


★★

I received this book through the Goodreads Firstreads program in exchange for my honest review.

I love fantasy books. That being said, I especially love fantasy books that contain elves. They're my favorite race/creature from fantasy, and I'm a sucker for any book that features them. That's why I was so excited to read this book, which is actually more of a short story at 70 pages.

There was definitely potential here. I could see where the author was trying to go, and the plot itself wasn't bad. I liked the ideas in regards to magic and world building that the author gave. It had all the elements that make fantasy great to me: a little companion, magic, a fairy king, elves, and a mountain adventure.

Unfortunately, this book is in need of some serious editing. There were quite a few grammatical mistakes that made it a bit rough to get through. Plus, when the story was technically correct in its writing, the sentences were short and choppy, lacking the long, detailed flow that I look for in a fantasy tale.

Like I said before, I think there is definite potential here. Maybe it just needs editing, or maybe it would be better reworked into a full length novel. I'm not entirely sure. I see good in this story, and I would happily read it again and edit my review if it is ever republished/re-edited.

Thanks to Goodreads for my copy.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Stacking the Shelves 94: The Semester of Missed Mail Edition!



Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to show off the books we've won, bought, or otherwise received in the past week. If a book catches your eye, *click* the picture to go to the Goodreads page of that book.

Good lord y'all. So I came home to a MOUND of books. MOUND. Maybe even a mountain. To the books that accumulated at my home address while I was away at school for the semester. This is


GOING

TO

BE

A

LONG

ONE


Also, I'll be cleaning my shelves this weekend and organizing what I have for trade, so be on the lookout for my tweets in the #booksfortrade hashtag. Shall we?

New from Netgalley:

Batman: Arkham Knight Vol. 1 by Peter J. Tomasi, Viktor Bogdanovic



Fabulous Freebies:

Order Up by Katie Golding
Let Her Go by M.R. Pritchard



In My Email Inbox:

The Violet Hour by Brynn Chapman



THE MOTHERLOAD


And unwrapped.



Demon Child by Kylie Chan
Pearls & Poison by Duffy Brown
Well Read, Then Dead by Terrie Farley Moran
A Roux of Revenge by Connie Archer
Gilt Trip by Laura Childs
Geared for the Grave by Duffy Brown
Nightmares Can Be Murder by Mary Kennedy
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Between the Lines by Claudia Whitsitt *Signed, 4 stars!*
Rutabaga the Adventure Chef by Eric Colossal
Dr. Critchlore's School for Minions by Sheila Grau & Joe Sutphin


Bite at First Sight by Brooklyn Ann
Give It All by Cara McKenna
In Hot Water by JJ Cook
The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas
Immaculate by Katelyn Detweiler
Three Many Cooks by Pam Anderson, Maggy Keet, Sharon Damelio
The Ungifted Elf by AJ Martinez
Throne of Darkness by Douglas Nicholas
Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? by Fujino Omori, Suzuhito Yasuda
The Tragic Age by Stephen Metcalfe
Cut Me Free by J.R. Johansson
The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark
One Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart
Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
Better Sex in No Time by Joesy Vogels


Holding Strong by Lori Foster
Flirting with Fire by Kate Meader
Captain Hawk by SJ Garland
Manhattan Mayhem by Mary Higgins Clark
Pretty Deadly by Kelly Sue DeConnick

SIGNED


The Token 9: Chet Sinclair by Marata Eros
The Italian's Deal for I Do by Jennifer Hayward
Hades Speaks! by Vicky Alvear Shecter
Embers by Karen Ann Hopkins

Other Mail


Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz


Tame Me by J Kenner
Find Me in Darkness by Julie Kenner
Wanted by J Kenner


Thanks so much to Beth over at Printcess for the amazing eye shadows to review!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Blog Tour Spotlight & Giveaway: The Artisans by Julie Reece



Title: The Artisans

Author: Julie Reece

Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.

Release Date: May 12, 2015




About the Book:


They say death can be beautiful. But after the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old Raven Weathersby gives up her dream of becoming a fashion designer, barely surviving life in the South Carolina lowlands.

To make ends meet, Raven works after school as a seamstress creating stunning works of fashion that often rival the great names of the day.

Instead of making things easier on the high school senior, her stepdad's drinking leads to a run in with the highly reclusive heir to the Maddox family fortune, Gideon Maddox.

But Raven's stepdad's drying out and in no condition to attend the meeting with Maddox. So Raven volunteers to take his place and offers to repay the debt in order to keep the only father she's ever known out of jail, or worse.

Gideon Maddox agrees, outlining an outrageous demand: Raven must live in his home for a year while she designs for Maddox Industries' clothing line, signing over her creative rights.

Her handsome young captor is arrogant and infuriating to the nth degree, and Raven can't imagine working for him, let alone sharing the same space for more than five minutes.

But nothing is ever as it seems. Is Gideon Maddox the monster the world believes him to be? And can he stand to let the young seamstress see him as he really is?


Buy it Here:


Amazon | TBD| BN | Kobo

About the Author:


Born in Ohio, I lived next to my grandfather’s horse farm until the fourth grade. Summers were about riding, fishing and make-believe, while winter brought sledding and ice-skating on frozen ponds. Most of life was magical, but not all.
I struggled with multiple learning disabilities, did not excel in school. I spent much of my time looking out windows and daydreaming. In the fourth grade (with the help of one very nice teacher) I fought dyslexia for my right to read, like a prince fights a dragon in order to free the princess locked in a tower, and I won.
Afterwards, I read like a fiend. I invented stories where I could be the princess… or a gifted heroine from another world who kicked bad guy butt to win the heart of a charismatic hero. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? Later, I moved to Florida where I continued to fantasize about superpowers and monsters, fabricating stories (my mother called it lying) and sharing them with my friends.
Then I thought I’d write one down…
Hooked, I’ve been writing ever since. I write historical, contemporary, urban fantasy, adventure, and young adult romances. I love strong heroines, sweeping tales of mystery and epic adventure… which must include a really hot guy. My writing is proof you can work hard to overcome any obstacle. Don’t give up. I say, if you write, write on!


Facebook | Website | Goodreads | Twitter


Follow the rest of the tour by clicking here!

Giveaway:


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Friday, May 22, 2015

Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: Between the Lines by Claudia Whitsitt!


Mother Daughter Book Reviews is pleased to be coordinating a Blog Tour for the middle grade book, "Between the Lines" by Claudia Whitsitt from May 18 to 31, 2015.

Between the Lines - Blog Tour Button

 

About the Book

Between the Lines by Claudia Whitsitt

Title:
Between the Lines | Author: Claudia Whitsitt | Publication Date: March, 2015 | Publisher: Independent | Pages: 318 | Recommended Ages: 9+


Summary: Between the Lines tells the story of three girls who become friends during the racially-charged aftermath of the 1967 Detroit Riots.

Hattie Percha is crushed when the riots start on her tenth birthday, and when she must move away from her treasured childhood home and friends, attending public school for the first time, she’s afraid her life is over. Then, she meets Beverly Jo Nichols, her first black friend, and Crackers, a fearless tomboy. Despite opposition from Hattie’s mother and a racist teacher, the unlikely friends join forces. As the self-proclaimed Dream Girls, they challenge bigotry and intolerance, willing to do whatever it takes to hold onto what’s most precious to them all, their friendship.

 

Amazon (US) * Amazon (UK) * Amazon (CA)

B&N * iTunes * Kobo * Smashwords * Goodreads

 

Review


I wasn't too sure what to expect going into Between the Lines. But I have got to say that this is a perfect book for young teen girls.

What I perhaps liked most about this book is the idea that it's based on a true friendship between two white girls and a black girl. This story takes place during the aftermath of the Detroit Riots in 1967, a time when racial tensions were running high (to say the least). I think it's cool that there's real aspects tied in with the fiction. The author and her friends serve as the real life influences for this story, and like Hattie the riots started on her birthday. I think it's awesome that she was able to translate her story to a book for younger girls.

I also liked that I could tell that this book was written by a teacher. The main character, Hattie, wants to be a writer when she grows up. Because she wants to be a writer, she is always working on her vocabulary and handwriting. I think this was a subtle way to introduce new words to young readers, without making it "too educational" or too much information dumping at once. In fact, this carried over to the historical aspects too. It felt like a story, even though these events happened in real life, at least in some capacity. It's educational without coming off as an essay or textbook, and I think that's a great note.

The characters were distinct and likable. Hattie is the first character we meet, a white ten year old girl who has to move from her home to a new neighborhood, where she will attend a public school (instead of a private Catholic school) for the first time in her life. Beverly Jo is a black girl, the first one that Hattie has ever had. Crackers is an adventurous, gutsy, more tomboyish character. Together they are an awesome trio that stands strong, even in a society that tells them that they shouldn't be friends.

I think this book is a great read for girls in the junior high school age bracket, so about 10-13 years old. It brings up important issues like standing up for what you believe in, fighting for equality, and the importance of friendship. It is reminiscent of the American Girl series books, but a bit thicker in length and a bit more detailed and in depth.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

The Buzz

"Between the Lines is a powerful piece of historical fiction that must be added to the reading list of every middle grade student."~ 5 Stars, Lori L., Goodreads

"Teachers and parents need to purchase this novel... Parents could use this novel to engage their kids in discussions to help develop a sense of social responsibility, friendship, and morality... Ultimately, this story is inspirational." ~ 5 Stars, Amazon Customer

"This book is a must read for everyone, no matter what age ... I would recommend it highly to be in the curriculum of every 5th and 6th grade classroom. " ~ 5 Stars, Sandra W., Amazon

"My daughter and I read this book together and loved it. It is a story that will stay with both of us for many years to come!" ~ 5 Stars, aleblanc, Amazon

"Between the Lines tells a really heartbreaking but uplifting story, about race and loyalty and friends, in a way that any kid will relate to. A perfect gift book for that hard-to-please youngster!" ~ 5 Stars, Jimmy, Amazon

 

About the Author

Claudia Whitsitt, Author

 

Claudia Whitsitt spent a lifetime teaching special education and writing before becoming a full-time author. She believes in the power of friendship, small acts of kindness, and paying it forward. Nothing makes her happier than spending time with her children, which includes not only the five she raised but the countless students who touched her life over the years.

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 

 

Schedule

May 18

Mother Daughter Book Reviews (Launch & Review)

Cherry Mischievous (Author Interview)

May 19

My Love For Reading Keeps Growing (Review)

May 20

Sher A Hart: Written Art (Review)

Coffee Books & Art (Excerpt)

May 21

Books Direct (Author Interview)

My Soul Called Live (Review)

May 22

B's & Prose (Review)

May 23

Icefairy's Treasure Chest (Review)

May 24

LibriAmoriMiei (Guest Post)

May 25

BeachBoundBooks (Review)

May 26

Oh My Bookness (Review)

Bookworm for Kids (Excerpt)

May 27

Doodles, Doodles Everywhere (Author Interview)

Too Clever (Review)

May 28

Kay LaLone ~ I Love Books! (Review)

The BookDragon (Review)

May 29

View From the Birdhouse (Excerpt)

Beauty Brite (Review)

May 30

Rockin' Book Reviews (Review)

May 31

Pragmatic Mom (Guest Post)

Undercover Book Reviews (Review)

 

Giveaway

Prize: One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card or $25 PayPal cash prize, winner's choice

Contest closes: June 7, 11:59 pm, 2015

Open to: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by Claudia Whitsitt and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

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