THE WINDOW by Amelia Brunskill Blog Tour Review

I am so thrilled to be a part of the tour for Amelia Brunskill’s debut, THE WINDOW, which releases next week. This is such an incredible book and so, so, so much more than a mystery.

If you’d like to know a bit more about what I thought, my review follows further below. If you’d like to know more about THE WINDOW or Author Amelia Brunskill, keep scrolling for details about them both and links to find them online.


About THE WINDOW

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Title: THE WINDOW
Author: Amelia Brunskill
Release date: April 3, 2018
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 352
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

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Description…

Secrets have a way of getting out. . . .

Anna is everything her identical twin is not. Outgoing and athletic, she is the opposite of quiet introvert Jess. The same on the outside, yet so completely different inside–it’s hard to believe the girls are sisters, let alone twins. But they are. And they tell each other everything.

Or so Jess thought.

After Anna falls to her death while sneaking out her bedroom window, Jess’s life begins to unravel. Everyone says it was an accident, but to Jess, that doesn’t add up. Where was Anna going? Who was she meeting? And how long had Anna been lying to her?

Jess is compelled to learn everything she can about the sister she thought she knew. At first it’s a way to stay busy and find closure . . . but Jess soon discovers that her twin kept a lot of secrets. And as she digs deeper, she learns that the answers she’s looking for may be truths that no one wants her to uncover.

Because Anna wasn’t the only one with secrets.

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NOTE: This review is based on an ARC received from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book. A Kindle eCopy was purchased for my collection.


The Review

THE WINDOW is so much more than a mystery, though it is is quite the intriguing one. It’s a compelling and moving story about identity, about relationships, about sisters, about friendship, and about secrets and the dangers in keeping them. It is a highly addictive, perfectly paced read that will keep you captivated, with a main character who is different and interesting and determined and instantly likable.

Jess Cutter thought she knew everything about her identical twin sister Anna. But she didn’t know her sister was sneaking out at night. She didn’t know who her sister was dressing up for. She didn’t know exactly when Anna started keeping secrets.

But she did know her sister’s death wasn’t an accident. She did know that people weren’t telling her everything about what happened that night or what they knew about Anna. She did know enough about her sister to know that something else was going on.

And whatever it took, she was going to find out the truth.

With a diverse pool of potential suspects, several clues for Jess to find or miss, revealing teases from Anna herself, a number of people who appear to know more than they are letting on, and quite a few possibilities as to what, how, and why, Author Amelia Brunskill has made her story suspenseful and riveting. But she didn’t stop there.

She created a character in Jess who isn’t your typical sleuth. She isn’t curious or nosy. Her aversion toward connecting or interacting with people makes her an unlikely detective/heroine. It is her desire to problem-solve, to make things make sense, and her need to understand her sister that drive her and ultimately solve the puzzle.

THE WINDOW is as much a drama as it is a mystery. It is tragic and sad and heartbreaking. It has moments that are uplifting and empowering and hopeful. It is a story that’s just so easy to fall into, get hooked, get lost in, and fall in love with. It’s a phenomenal debut and a read that will not easily be forgotten.

The Rating

Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.


About the Author

Amelia Brunskill was born in Melbourne, Australia, but she grew up mostly in Washington state where she picked a lot of blackberries, read a lot of books and failed to properly appreciate the epic beauty of the mountains and the Pacific ocean. She earned her bachelor’s degrees in psychology and art from the University of Washington and her master’s in information studies from the University of Texas at Austin. She now lives in Chicago, where she eats as much Thai food as possible and works as a librarian.The Window is her debut novel.

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NOW I RISE Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the NOW I RISE Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. I am super excited to be a part of the tour and to share my thoughts about this second book in Kiersten White’s The Conqueror’s Saga.

I love, love, loved the first book in the series, and NOW I RISE has been one of my most anticipated reads of the year. And let me tell you it is even more awesome than I ever could have hoped it would be.

If you’d like to know what I thought, my unspoiler-y as possible review is below. If you’d like to check out the other stops on the tour, the schedule follows at the bottom of this post. And if you’d like to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of this incredibly epic sequel, enter in the Rafflecopter.


About NOW I RISE

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Title & Series: NOW I RISE (The Conqueror’s Saga #2)
Author: Kiersten White
Release date: June 27, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 480
Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

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Description…

Lada Dracul has no allies. No throne. All she has is what she’s always had: herself. After failing to secure the Wallachian throne, Lada is out to punish anyone who dares to cross her blood-strewn path. Filled with a white-hot rage, she storms the countryside with her men, accompanied by her childhood friend Bogdan, terrorizing the land. But brute force isn’t getting Lada what she wants. And thinking of Mehmed brings little comfort to her thorny heart. There’s no time to wonder whether he still thinks about her, even loves her. She left him before he could leave her.

What Lada needs is her younger brother Radu’s subtlety and skill. But Mehmed has sent him to Constantinople—and it’s no diplomatic mission. Mehmed wants control of the city, and Radu has earned an unwanted place as a double-crossing spy behind enemy lines Radu longs for his sister’s fierce confidence—but for the first time in his life, he rejects her unexpected plea for help. Torn between loyalties to faith, to the Ottomans, and to Mehmed, he knows he owes Lada nothing. If she dies, he could never forgive himself—but if he fails in Constantinople, will Mehmed ever forgive him?

As nations fall around them, the Dracul siblings must decide: what will they sacrifice to fulfill their destinies? Empires will topple, thrones will be won . . . and souls will be lost.

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Note: This review is based on an eARC received by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book. A Kindle eCopy was purchased for my collection.


The Review

NOW I RISE is the epic and gripping and action-packed sequel in this already amazing series that reimagines the history of Vlad the Impaler in a most original way. Filled to the brim with bloody battles, political maneuvering, difficult choices, devastating losses, and crushing betrayal, it is an enthralling and intense and unputdownable read.

It is not a story for the faint of heart. It blurs the lines between good and evil, right and wrong, heroes and villains. It confronts head-on a number of tough subjects – religion, equality, sexual orientation, assault. It shows that sometimes the only way to a better future is through violence, manipulation, sacrifice. But it also shows what choosing this path costs.

Lada did not regret her choice to leave Mehmed in order to attempt to take back her Wallachia. Being a part of the sultan’s harem was not an option. Constantinople was not her dream. She had to pursue her own goals, even if it meant doing so without him by her side and without her brother Radu, whose skills would have been an asset in her quest to become prince.

However much she missed them both, she would not be distracted from what she desired most. And even without Radu’s gift for diplomacy, she was determined to reclaim her land, by whatever violent means necessary.

With Lada out of the way, Radu hoped that Mehmed would finally see how he felt and would return his affections. But his use as a spy meant first distancing himself from his sultan and then leaving for Constantinople.

The danger would be great, but his loyalty to and love for Mehmed made it worth the risk. Though with every day that passed, he was less certain of the righteousness, effectiveness, and goodness of his own actions. He was less clear about his relationship with Mehmed. He was less confident about who his enemies really were.

Kiersten White did a masterful job with this second book in the series. It does not suffer from middle book syndrome in the least. It is even more riveting than its predecessor, even more thought-provoking, even more exciting.

Alternating between Lada and Radu’s points of view allows for even more action, suspense, tension. It emphasizes the differences between Lada’s ruthless and almost remorseless approach to achieving her objectives and Radu’s more balanced but conflicted approach toward reaching his.

There is no shortage of bloodshed, pride, or greed. There is no room for weakness. There are no simple solutions. There is heartbreak, defeat, devotion, faith, and undying love. All of which make NOW I RISE a significant and extraordinary and incredibly memorable must-read.

The Rating

Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.


About Kiersten White

Kiersten White is the NYT bestselling author of And I Darken, the Paranormalcy trilogy, the Mind Games series, Illusions of FateThe Chaos of Stars, and In the Shadows with artist Jim Di Bartolo. She has one tall husband and three small children and lives near the ocean, where her life is perfectly normal. Visit her at www.kierstenwhite.com.

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Other Books in the Series

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Title & Series: AND I DARKEN (The Conqueror’s Saga #1)
Author: Kiersten White
Release date: June 28, 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 496
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, audio, eBook

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Description…

NO ONE EXPECTS A PRINCESS TO BE BRUTAL. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, who’s expected to rule a nation, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

From New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White comes the first book in a dark, sweeping new series in which heads will roll, bodies will be impaled . . . and hearts will be broken.

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The Giveaway

There is a tour-wide giveaway for…

  • Three (3) winners will receive a finished copy of NOW I RISE – US Only

Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Tour Schedule

Week One

Week Two

Week Three

ANTISOCIAL Blog Tour: Review

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Title: ANTISOCIAL
Author: Jillian Blake
Release date: May 16, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 256
Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

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Description…

What if your greatest secrets became public? For the students at Alexandria Prep, a series of hacks leads to a scandalous firestorm—and the students are left wondering whose private photos and messages will be exposed next. It’s Pretty Little Liars meets WikiLeaks.

Senior spring at Alexandria Prep was supposed to be for sleeping through class and partying with friends. But for Anna Soler, it’s going to be a lonely road. She’s just been dumped by her gorgeous basketball star boyfriend—with no explanation. Anna’s closest friends, the real ones she abandoned while dating him, are ignoring her. The endearing boy she’s always had a complicated friendship with is almost too sympathetic.

But suddenly Anna isn’t the only one whose life has been upended. Someone is determined to knock the kings and queens of the school off their thrones: one by one, their phones get hacked and their personal messages and photos are leaked. At first it’s funny—people love watching the dirty private lives of those they envy become all too public.

Then the hacks escalate. Dark secrets are exposed, and lives are shattered. Chaos erupts at school. As Anna tries to save those she cares about most and to protect her own secrets, she begins to understand the reality of our always-connected lives:

Sometimes we share too much. 

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Note: This review is based on an ARC received from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book. A Kindle eCopy was purchased for my collection.


The Review

ANTISOCIAL is a fascinating and compelling and unputdownable read that sheds light on what can happen to friendships and to lives when “private” data becomes public. It shows just how hungry for gossip everyone is, how quick to spread the word, how riveted to the scandal, how hasty to point fingers, and how vicious we can become. But it also reminds us that not everyone is all good or all bad, that we are more than the negative things we say or that are said about us, and that for most of us the positive outweighs the negative. It is a riveting, addictive, at times chilling, a little bit heartbreaking, and absolutely thrilling debut.

The unraveling of Alexandria Prep is shown from Anna Soler’s point of view. Her world had already come undone when her boyfriend dumped her and she lost her connection to the elite in his world. Having ditched her friends for him and his during the three months they’d gone out, she didn’t think things could get much worse for her.

But when a vulnerability in a school scheduling app causes search data to be leaked, the information goes viral and soon hackers are accessing and revealing more personal and harmful information. Chaos ensues. Friendships are destroyed. Futures are ruined.

And through it all, Anna can’t help but watch, read, listen, and wait. Because while she might not  be one of Prep’s most envied or be the most social online, it’s only a matter of time before her secrets are exposed – the things she’s done that she can’t take back and the things she’s said that can’t remotely be called nice.

Jillian Blake did a fantastic job at showing the many facets of this complicated issue. She gave readers a lot to think about and a different way of looking at a situation that might appear to be only negative. She alerts people to the danger of saying and sharing too much, she points out that it’s a problem that doesn’t just affect those who overshare, and she reminds us that no one is perfect, that everyone is flawed.

ANTISOCIAL is more than just a wickedly scandalous story, though the dirt that is revealed about the many students at Alexandria Prep will make readers feel as voyeuristic as the characters as they devour each shocking piece of news. It has substance. It has a bit of a mystery. It has a fast-pace, entertaining if not entirely likable characters, and a positive message. It is an exciting story that is not to be missed.

The Rating


About the Author

JILLIAN BLAKE grew up in New England, where she kept her deepest, darkest secrets password-protected. Antisocial is her first novel.

WINDFALL Blog Tour Review

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Title: WINDFALL
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Release date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 432
Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

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Description…

Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for the last few years, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. She and he are alike: both are outsiders, both know tragedy. She lost both her parents when she was nine and now lives with her cousin. Teddy’s mother is barely able to hold it all together, forced to grapple with the weight of gambling debts incurred by his father, who abandoned them years ago.

Then, on Teddy’s eighteenth birthday, Alice buys him a lottery ticket, and to their astonishment, he wins $145 million. In an instant, their lives are completely upended. But what at first seems to be a blessing soon starts to feel like a curse. As Alice and Teddy deal with the ripple effects caused by that one little ticket, they learn more about themselves than they ever could have imagined, and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect. Now if only Teddy can see through his windfall and back to the ones who love him.

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NOTE: This review is based on an ARC received from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book. A Kindle eCopy was purchased/pre-ordered for my collection.


The Review

Inspiring, heartwarming, and incredibly moving, WINDFALL is a story about love and loss, and about good luck, bad luck, and no luck. It’s about being true to oneself, about taking chances, about moving forward, and about making a difference. It’s an utterly enchanting and totally addictive read that is sure to make every reader smile and make them wonder how their lives might change with a windfall.

Alice never imagined that the lottery ticket she bought for Teddy, her best friend and secret love, on his birthday would change everything. It was supposed to be a gag gift from one very unlucky person to another. But when it turns out to be one of three winning tickets for over 140 million, it’s not only Teddy’s circumstances that will be radically altered, her entire world is at risk of being turned upside down.

As much as she wishes he had never won, she is just as thrilled that he had. But it complicates things. For him. For her. For them. And with just how difficult her life has been already, she’s not really sure she can roll with the changes or deal with the fallout that comes along with such a big payout. Especially when it seems like her relationship with Teddy is what’s on the line.

Jennifer E. Smith didn’t write a simple good luck, happily-ever-after love story – WINDFALL was so much more. The money didn’t magically erase all of Alice and Teddy’s problems. It didn’t rewrite their pasts. It provided opportunities, but it also created problems where none had existed before. And it forced them both to confront things they’d managed to avoid for a long while.

What she did write is a story that has depth and emotion and complexity. A story that is uplifting, that provokes thought, that is achingly sad and beautiful and is also heartfelt and hopeful. She introduces two characters who are connected because of the tragedies in their pasts, but whose current good fortune could tear them apart. She writes about family, and friendship, and generosity, and second chances, and difficult choices, and possibility, and unrequited love.

And she puts it all together in a story that is meaningful and romantic and endlessly readable.

WINDFALL is an absolute must for those who believe in luck over fate, who are curious to meet someone who would contemplate turning down millions to avoid upsetting the status quo, who love stories that offer ideas for consideration, and who prefer a story they can devour in one sitting.

The Rating


About Jennifer E. Smith

JENNIFER E. SMITH (@JenESmith) is the author of seven novels for young adults, including The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. She earned a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and spent years working as an editor on a number of bestselling books, including Ballantine’s New York Times bestseller Tell the Wolves I’m Home. Her work has been translated into thirty-three languages, and four of her novels are currently in development for film. She lives in New York City.

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THE FLAME NEVER DIES Pre-release Blitz: Interview with Rachel Vincent

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Just one more day until THE FLAME NEVER DIES releases and I can’t wait! If you haven’t yet ordered your copy you may still have time to grab it online and get it on release day if you live in an area with same day delivery. Or you can grab an eCopy and it will download at Midnight tonight!

Anyway… today is the FINAL day of the blitz, so I’m sharing the last post – a Q&A between Rachel Vincent and her daughter “Melody.” Scroll down to check it out below!

I am super excited to be a part of this pre-release blitz to help spread the word that THE FLAME NEVER DIES, the second book in Rachel Vincent’s The Stars Never Rise series, is releasing on August 16th!

For those that are already caught up on this series, the wait is (almost) finally over! For those that haven’t yet met Nina Kane or discovered the dark and dangerous world she lives in, there’s still time to catch up – and a really sweet deal (details below) that will make you want to move this series to the top of your reading pile!

Scroll down to learn more about THE FLAME NEVER DIES and THE STARS NEVER RISE and the author, Rachel Vincent!

And for even more peeks at the fab content being shared throughout the blitz – excerpts and quote graphics – look for other blogger participants through today on social media #TheFlameNeverDies.

AND…


THE STARS NEVER RISE goes on sale!

In anticipation of the upcoming release of THE FLAME NEVER DIES, the publisher is dropping the price for the eBook version of the first book in the series – THE STARS NEVER RISE! So if you haven’t yet discovered this series, now is the perfect time!

Just head over to your favorite online e-tailer to look for THE STARS NEVER RISE with its newly lowered price or visit one of these online stores – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | GOOGLE PLAY | KOBO.


About THE FLAME NEVER DIES

Flame Never Dies Vinc_9780375991547_jkt_all_r1.indd

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Title & Series: THE FLAME NEVER DIES (The Stars Never Rise #2)
Author: Rachel Vincent
Release date: August 16, 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 352
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Description…

For fans of Cassandra Clare and Richelle Mead comes the unputdownable sequel to The Stars Never Rise, a book Rachel Caine, author of the bestselling Morganville Vampires series, called “haunting, unsettling, and eerily beautiful.”

ONE SPARK WILL RISE. Nina Kane was born to be an exorcist. And since uncovering the horrifying truth—that the war against demons is far from over—seventeen-year-old Nina and her pregnant younger sister, Mellie, have been on the run, incinerating the remains of the demon horde as they go.

In the badlands, Nina, Mellie, and Finn, the fugitive and rogue exorcist who saved her life, find allies in a group of freedom fighters. They also face a new threat: Pandemonia, a city full of demons. But this fresh new hell is the least of Nina’s worries. The well of souls ran dry more than a century ago, drained by the demons secretly living among humans, and without a donor soul, Mellie’s child will die within hours of its birth.
Nina isn’t about to let that happen . . . even if it means she has to make the ultimate sacrifice.


Q&A with Author Rachel Vincent

Interview with Rachel by her sixteen-year-old daughter (Codename: Melody), who’s thinking about actually reading her mother’s book.

Melody: So, this is a series is about demons, right?

Rachel: Sort of. Not really. A century ago, Nina’s world was invaded by residents of another reality who can only remain in our world by taking over a human body. People called them demons, because that’s the only association they had for the concept of possession.

Melody: So these “demons” aren’t actually bad?

Rachel: Oh, no, they’re totally bad. They’re entertained by the suffering of humanity. They’re just not the residents of hell most people think of when they hear “demon.” But that’s all I can say without spoiling anything from THE STARS NEVER RISE!

Melody: Okay. But if they’re not religious demons, why is the government in this world run by the Church?

Rachel: Because people assumed that only the Holy could fight the unholy. So a fictional “Church” stepped in to do just that. To fill the power vacuum, when secular government couldn’t protect the people.

Melody: So THE STARS NEVER RISE is a book about faith?

Rachel: No. It’s a book about false faith. About the frailty of untested beliefs. About how accepting everything you hear as the truth can mean living a lie. That’s true with every predatory situation, from abusive relationships to investment scams. I just chose to tell that story on a larger scale, where the entire world has accepted a lie because it was easier to believe a hero has come to save us than to stand up and fight our own battles. Take from that what you will… 😉

Melody: Wow, Mom. That was deep. (Teenage eye roll.)

Rachel: (shrugs) There’s also lots of fighting, kissing, and setting demons on fire.


About Rachel Vincent

Rachel Vincent is a former English teacher and an eager champion of the Oxford comma. She shares her home in Oklahoma with two cats, two teenagers, and her husband, who’s been her # 1 fan from the start. Rachel is older than she looks and younger than she feels, and she remains convinced that writing about the things that scare her is the cheapest form of therapy—but social media is a close second.


About THE STARS NEVER RISE

TheStarsNeverRise

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Title & Series: THE STARS NEVER RISE (The Stars Never Rise #1)
Author: Rachel Vincent
Release date: June 9, 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 368
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook***

***See above for details on the promotional pricing of the eBook

Description…

Sixteen-year-old Nina Kane should be worrying about her immortal soul, but she’s too busy trying to actually survive. Her town’s population has been decimated by soul-consuming demons, and souls are in short supply. Watching over her younger sister, Mellie, and scraping together food and money are all that matters. The two of them are a family. They gave up on their deadbeat mom a long time ago.

When Nina discovers that Mellie is keeping a secret that threatens their very existence, she’ll do anything to protect her. Because in New Temperance, sins are prosecuted as crimes by the brutal Church and its army of black-robed exorcists. And Mellie’s sin has put her in serious trouble.

To keep them both alive, Nina will need to trust Finn, a fugitive with deep green eyes who has already saved her life once and who might just be an exorcist. But what kind of exorcist wears a hoodie?

Wanted by the Church and hunted by dark forces, Nina knows she can’t survive on her own. She needs Finn and his group of rogue friends just as much as they need her.

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