The Whimsical Mama

<3 Such is the life of a stay at home mommy and Army wife (:

Top Ten Tuesday #25: Top Ten Characters I’d NEVER Want To Trade Places With January 28, 2014

Each week, the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish think up a fun theme for the week and participating bloggers around the net join in. The theme for this week is:

Top Ten Characters I’d NEVER Want To Trade Places With

Katniss Everdean in Panem, The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Really? Who would actually want to live in this world? And if I did, I’m totally with Katniss on the no having kids thing. I wouldn’t be able to watch my kids go through it. Nope, nope, nope.

 

Aria, Under the Never Sky trilogy by Veronica Rossi. Aether storms? No thanks. A life trapped in Pods? Nah, I’ll pass. I like natural sunlight and being outside too much for that.

 

 

 

Tella, Montana and Brimestone Bleed arenas, Fire & Flood series by Victoria Scott. While having a Pandora would be pretty awesome, I do not envy Tella’s situation in which she gets a Pandora. I would like to see the Amazon one day, I would not like being dropped in the middle of a rain forest/jungle situation. I really want to see the pyramids of Giza, I’m not fond of the idea of being dropped in the middle of a desert and told to get to point B.

 

Voldemort, Europe, Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. Seriously. Who would want to trade places with Voldemort? Incapable of understanding what love is or being able to fall in love. Not me. Besides, the idea of picking on a kid isn’t my cup of tea either. And the Death Eaters? C’mon, I’ll take true friends over those nutcases any day of the week.

 

 

 

Lilac LaRoux, the Icarus and unknown planet, These Broken Stars by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner. While it would be nice to be alone with the delightful Tarver, surviving a space crash and being stranded on an unknown planet to do it doesn’t make it on my must do list. Especially with that certain event near the end happens. I’ll pass, thanks.

 

 

Any character in the world of World War Z by Max Brooks. Zombie outbreak? Nah, I’m good. Even if those interviewed are the survivors, I’ll still pass. Though I highly recommend the full cast audiobook if you haven’t checked it out. (:

 

 

Rhine, USA, The Chemical Garden trilogy by Lauren Destefano. Seeing as if I traded places with Rhine, I’d be dead already, I’m really not enthusiastic about that thought. Also not crazy about the whole getting kidnapped and forced to marry a complete stranger thing either.

 

Nerissa, USA, Waterfell by Amalie Howard. Not only can she not return home because her throne has been stolen, but her father was murdered. While Lo is tasty and I’d love to get to know him better, I would not like to find myself in Nerissa’s shoes! It will be nice to see how things continue on for Lo and Nerissa in Oceanborn though!

 

 

June Iparis, dystopian Los Angeles, Legend trilogy by Marie Lu. It would be awesome to be a kickass heroine, but the world that the United States has become is not a pleasant one and I would not want to live in it. Antarctica, however, would be a pretty badass place to visit, but overall, no thanks. I’m good here.

 

Sookie Stackhouse, Bon Temps, Louisiana, Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris. Yeah, no. I would NOT like to be able to read people’s minds for anything. Yeah, sometimes I do wish I could see what people were really thinking when I know they’re holding something back, but I really do believe that would be a curse and I’m not up for it. Plus the vampires, werewolves, and everything else she encounters is just too much. I love reading about those things, but I’ll keep them in my novels, thanks.

 

*Cover Reveal* The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris January 27, 2014

I am beyond ecstatic to share this pretty new cover with you guys! I absolutely adore Rachel and I can’t wait to read it! I am so over the moon that I get to take part in this reveal.

 

FineArtofPretending_RachelHarris_FINALCOVER_front (2)

Release Date: September 30, 2014

Author: Rachel Harris 

Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary 

 

According to the guys at Fairfield Academy, there are two types of girls: the kind you hook up with, and the kind you’re friends with. Seventeen-year-old Alyssa Reed is the second type. And she hates it. With just one year left to change her rank, she devises a plan to become the first type by homecoming, and she sets her sights on the perfect date—Justin Carter, Fairfield Academy’s biggest hottie and most notorious player.

With 57 days until the dance, Aly launches Operation Sex Appeal and sheds her tomboy image. The only thing left is for Justin actually to notice her. Enter best friend Brandon Taylor, the school’s second biggest hottie, and now Aly’s pretend boyfriend. With his help, elevating from “funny friend” to “tempting vixen” is only a matter of time.

But when everything goes according to plan, the inevitable “break up” leaves their friendship in shambles, and Aly and Brandon with feelings they can’t explain. And the fake couple discovers pretending can sometimes cost you the one thing you never expected to want.

Isn’t it awesome?! Sounds great, right?! Leave Rachel some love here or give her a yell on Twitter!

Rachel Harris 022 - compressed for web

Isn’t she beautiful? (: She’s the best. You should get to know her! (: Love her so much!

Find Rachel Harris Online: 

 

Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook / Tumblr

 

 

*ARC Review* Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd January 26, 2014

***I was granted permission to read Her Dark Curiosity by the publisher (Harper Teen, Balzer + Bray) in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Harper Teen and Balzer + Bray! Spoilers may be revealed in the review.***

Rating: 5 stars
Pub date:28 January 2014
Publisher: Harper Teen, Balzer + Bray
Genre:Young Adult Fiction
Format:eARC via publisher
Status:Book two of The Madman’s Daughter trilogy

Summary:

To defeat the darkness, she must first embrace it.

Months have passed since Juliet Moreau returned to civilization after escaping her father’s island—and the secrets she left behind. Now, back in London once more, she is rebuilding the life she once knew and trying to forget Dr. Moreau’s horrific legacy—though someone, or something, hasn’t forgotten her.

As people close to Juliet fall victim one by one to a murderer who leaves a macabre calling card of three clawlike slashes, Juliet fears one of her father’s creations may have also escaped the island. She is determined to find the killer before Scotland Yard does, though it means awakening sides of herself she had thought long banished, and facing loves from her past she never expected to see again

As Juliet strives to stop a killer while searching for a serum to cure her own worsening illness, she finds herself once more in the midst of a world of scandal and danger. Her heart torn in two, past bubbling to the surface, life threatened by an obsessive killer—Juliet will be lucky to escape alive.

With inspiration from Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, this is a tantalizing mystery about the hidden natures of those we love and how far we’ll go to save them from themselves.

My thoughts:

Her Dark Curiosity picks up shortly after The Madman’s Daughter ends. Years ago, back when I was a wee high school freshman, we read The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. I was very excited to see where Megan was going to take this retelling.

Victorian London once again comes vividly to life when Juliet returns and tries to rebuild her life. She’s taken in by the professor who turned her father in to the police for his experimentation. He never intended for Juliet and her mother to suffer as they did and wants to help Juliet in any way he can to make up for what happened. However, time is running out for the recently returned to high society Juliet. The serum her father created is starting to fail. As each day passes, her illness continues to worsen while she secretly works to create a cure. On top of the race to find a cure for herself, there is a serial killer on the loose.

All around town, people are being murdered and the murderer is leaving a calling card – a flower. The murder aspects, I felt, as well as being the distinct differences alluded between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, gave off a Jack the Ripper vibe. I’m not sure if Megan intended that or if it was just me. Either way, the macabre nature of the murders was very well done.

Juliet learns that she is connected to the victims and becomes increasingly concerned. A certain detail on the victims’ bodies brings back things from the island Juliet had hoped were gone forever. Combining the mutilation of the victims’ bodies and consumed with guilt for events that transpired on the island, Juliet is uncertain what is happening and why she is involved.

Juliet, again, is an incredible heroine who shows true strength and determination in order to help herself and others. Despite being extremely clever, she can also be too trusting and quick to jump to action. This almost gets her into all sorts of terrible trouble more than once. On that note, Juliet’s ability to cling to hope even when things are incredibly bleak is very inspiring. She rises to each challenge and refuses to give up.

Megan does a fantastic job of weaving new and old characters together in this incredible sequel. I was VERY excited to see a certain character return. *swoon* I won’t say which character, cause it’s something that concerns Juliet for a while and that she thinks of often. Megan also does a great job at making you continuously guess at who the villain is. Every time a clue pops up and you’re convinced you know who it is, Megan throws in another twist.

Her Dark Curiosity does NOT suffer from the dreaded sophomore slump. As dark and mysterious as The Madman’s Daughter was, Megan manages to take Her Dark Curiosity on to a whole new level with each twist and turn. Even though it should’ve been glaringly obvious, I completely failed to pick up on the clues for the key book for the trilogy ender. I had a suspicion, but I brushed it off. Sadly, if I had kept with it, I would’ve been right! I am so excited about it though. Part of me wants an ARC and for it to be out now and part of me wants a single release and for it to be savored.

Her Dark Curiosity was absolutely spectacular and I think it will be one of 2014’s best. This gothic thriller is definitely one you don’t want to miss! Darkness, mystery, intrigue, romance, excitement, the works are packed in on every single page. Many thanks to Megan for writing this great book and to HarperCollins and Balzer+Bray for granting me permission to read the ARC.I highly recommend this series and hope you check it out!

 

Please Be Kind, Rewind: 12-25 January 2014 January 25, 2014

After a crazy month (holidays, sickness, life, etc) I am getting back on track! Yay! I’m fulling planning on relaunching everything starting today. I have several signing events coming up in the next few months so keep an eye out for potential giveaways! (: I am ready to get back in the swing of things. I’ve gotten quite a bit accomplished this week during naptime. My dad kept Punk for two nights, so only having one kiddo helped a lot too.

Completed:

Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd. (eARC) 5 stars

Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott. (ARC) 4 stars 

These Broken Stars by Aime Kaufman & Megan Spooner. (ARC & audiobook) 4 stars.

Evertrue by Brodi Ashton. 5 stars.

Currently Reading:

The Everything Mother Goose Book by June Rifkin (with the kiddos)

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare (audiobook)

Defiance by CJ Redwine

 

Read to the Kiddos:

Little Sisters Are by Beth Norling

Touch and Feel ABC & 123 by DK Publishing

Spot Goes to the Library by Eric Hill (Bug’s Imagination Library)

Baby Sounds by Joy Allen (Bug’s Imagination Library)

Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert

New to my shelf:

From the library:

Origin by Jessica Khoury 

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick 

Prodigy by Marie Lu (audiobook) 

Champion by Marie Lu (audiobook) 

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi  (audiobook)

 Purchased: 

Defiance by CJ Redwine 

Everbound by Brodi Ashton 

Evertrue by Brodi Ashton

Unremembered Ch 1-5 sampler by Jessica Brody (ebook)

Annie and Fia: A Mind Games Short Story by Kiersten White (ebook)

HarperCollins: (Thanks so much!)

Frozen by Erin Bowman (ARC)

Perfect Lies by Kiersten White (ARC)

Won:

A Tale of Two Centuries by Rachel Harris (ebook)

Unhinged (Splintered #2) by AG Howard (ebook)

 

Please Be Kind, Rewind 5 – 12 January 2014 January 12, 2014

Filed under: Books,Weekly Reading Review — Maura @ 2:45 pm

 

Late again this week. Things have just been crazy around the house! Sickness, teething, weather, it’s just been everything lately. I’m taking January day by day. I will be up and ready to go full speed in February again though!

 

 

Completed:

 

Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi. 3 ½ – 4 stars. I’m undecided on it

 

Vampires, Scones, and Edmund Herondale by Cassandra Clare.

 

The Everything Mother Goose Book by June Rifkin (with the kiddos)

 

 

Currently Reading:

 

Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd

 

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare (audiobook)

 

 

Read to the Kiddos:

 

Superman The Last Son of Krypton from Dollar Tree

 

 

New to my shelf:

 

From the library:

 

Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi (audiobook)

 

 

From HarperCollins

 

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy (DRC)

 

a few others but I can’t find my list.

 

 

 

Musings & Giveaway: A Roomie story! January 10, 2014

Filed under: Giveaway,Musings — Maura @ 5:31 pm

This book is one I’m excited to get to read! I was given early access to it, but unfortunately I was not one of the quick ones to get it before the cap.

Here are the book deets!

Pub date:24 December 2013
Publisher:Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Status:Standalone

Summary:

It’s time to meet your new roomie.

When East Coast native Elizabeth receives her freshman-year roommate assignment, she shoots off an e-mail to coordinate the basics: television, microwave, mini-fridge. That first note to San Franciscan Lauren sparks a series of e-mails that alters the landscape of each girl’s summer — and raises questions about how two girls who are so different will ever share a dorm room.

As the countdown to college begins, life at home becomes increasingly complex. With family relationships and childhood friendships strained by change, it suddenly seems that the only people Elizabeth and Lauren can rely on are the complicated new boys in their lives . . . and each other. Even though they’ve never met.

National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr and acclaimed author Tara Altebrando join forces for a novel about growing up, leaving home, and getting that one fateful e-mail that assigns your college roommate.

 

My Story:

I did have the “typical” summer before college. One slight difference from my peers. I had the chance to go to Europe for almost a month. I was gone two weeks with a school group and then an additional week visiting my pen pal. I was excited to get out of Tennessee. I always wanted to travel the world and here was another chance. (I went to France with my mom and a school group the summer before and went to visit family friends with my parents in Wales in 99). I was so excited about summer and college. I could tell stories of my freshman year (some great and some not so great), but I want to talk about my sophomore year. Oh, sophomore year. The year of so many things.

I’ll give a small recap of freshman year so you know the story of the BFF and me. I marched in the marching band freshman year and that’s where I met not only Mary of Mary Had A Little Book Blog, but also Andrea. Andrea and I didn’t have the best experience with our freshman year roomies and decided that we wanted to continue our amazing adventures in our own apartment. Originally, we were going to try to live with another of our friends, but my and Andrea’s parents felt that we needed another year on campus. So we applied for one of the on campus apartments. We had grand plans. Grand adventures were to be had!

I decided not to march sophomore year, but Andrea did. She moved in first and I moved in a week later near the end of band camp. We decked out our rooms and living room in movie posters, pictures, and band posters. It was epic! Our kitchen was small and there are numerous stories about us turning on the stove with our butts while trying to open the fridge. Yes, it really was THAT small! We also both couldn’t stand in it at the same time. Definitely made cooking and dishes an adventure!

Now for the ultimate of ultimate reasons why living with Andrea was the best. The couch. Yes. Our couch was AMAZING. If we weren’t in class or with friends, we were hanging out on our couch. Some of our friends moved and they couldn’t get the couch to work in their new place. Our “furnished” apartment came with a dining table and a few wooden chairs. We offered to “store” the couch in our house. Best. Decision. EVER. It was blue and had a pull out (important info for later!). It was the best couch ever. For real. You don’t even understand how awesome this couch was. Six years later, Andrea and I STILL reminisce about this couch. No couch will ever compare.

The memories that we rehash over and over are very similar. We would flip the TV on to Food Network channel and make lists of all these recipes we wanted to try. (No, we never really tried any. I think we did one or two.) As two broke college girls, we lived off of ramen, mac n cheese, Cap’n Crunch, and wheat thins. True story. Freshman 15? Nope. We both lost about that sophomore year lol. As well as constantly watching Food Network while sitting on our couch, we chowed down on wheat thins and extra sharp cheddar or mozzarella. We lived the high life, let me tell you. Some girls go out and party all the time, we stayed home and sat on our couch and watched Food Network. And Disney. And coloured in colouring books. And Cosmo. We read LOTS of Cosmo. Okay, so we giggled about Cosmo too.  

We had epic sleepovers in our living room. Just the two of us, popcorn, colouring books, and our movie collection. My boyfriend (now hubby) teased us about our couch, but he just didn’t understand. This couch was the best ever. I miss that couch! Though, I do have to admit, that couch also made Andrea and I skip class when it was yucky outside. Standing in the rain to catch the bus or walk across campus in the frigid wind just doesn’t look appealing when you’re curled up in blankets on the couch of epicness! If I had this couch now, I would never get anything but reading done!

We could’ve kept the couch longer if we were going to live together our junior year, but we parted ways as roomies. I was going to live with my boyfriend for the summer and fall semester before he deployed and I moved home. I didn’t want to leave Andrea hanging so we decided to not sign a lease anywhere so I wouldn’t bail on her between fall and spring semesters. Our friends that let us borrow the couch took it back off our hands because they were moving again and could take the couch.

Now. What’s hysterical about the story of Andrea and Maura is that we went to rival high schools growing up. Didn’t meet until we moved 5 hours away. We’re both back in our home areas. Hubby and I have a house in a neighbouring town from where I grew up and Andrea is back home going to grad school. We don’t get to see each other as much as we’d like. Mama life keeps me busy and an internship, grad school, and work keeps her busy. We’re still best friends though and that whole saying of if you’re friends for seven years, it’ll last a life time is coming true for us. We met in fall of 2007. Six and a half years later we’re still going strong! (: Are there things I wish had happened differently in my college experience? Sure. I would’ve loved to have been roomies with Andrea far longer than we were. Am I happy with the way things are? Of course. We’re still best friends! She still owes my kiddos a sleep over. (: Must continue the epic Disney movie marathons going with the next generation!

 

Tour Info: (I posted a pic with the tour dates above, but here are some links to the venues)

  • January 12, 2014 – New York, NY: McNally Jackson [venue link]
  • January 15, 2014 – Salt Lake City, UT: The King’s English [venue link]
  • January 16, 2014 – Provo, UT: Provo Library [venue link]
  • February 4, 2014 – San Francisco, CA: Books Inc, Opera Plaza [venue link]
  • February 5, 2015 – Petaluma, CA: Copperfield’s Books [venue link]

I wish they were coming closer to me, but alas, it’s not very often authors come anywhere close to me. Nashville/Ashville are about as close as it gets most of the time. Maybe next time!

 

*******GIVEAWAY LINK*******

You have a chance of winning your very own copy of Roomies! (US only, sorry Int’l!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

*Cover Reveal* As You Turn Away by Molli Moran

Filed under: Books,Cover reveal,Giveaway — Maura @ 11:40 am
Tags: , , , , ,

I have the incredible privilege of revealing a cover to you today! It’s for the amazing Molli Moran’s debut novel, As You Turn Away! Without further ado…

 

As-You-Turn-Away-Molli-Moran-med 

Book Information

Title: AS YOU TURN AWAY (The Walker Boys #1)
Tentative release date: March 1, 2014

Goodreads link: Here

Cover designer: Marie.

Synopsis:


When Quinnlan Reynolds left home at 18, she escaped her small, Georgia town and her suffocating upbringing. She started a new life as a ballerina, and tasted freedom for the first time. But four years later, her first visit home turns tragic. Reeling, Quinn tries to piece her life back together again. But doing so is easier said than done when sexy Jonah Walker saunters back into her life.

Quinn shattered Jonah’s heart once, so getting involved with her isn’t something he’s sure he’s ready to do again. He became someone he didn’t recognize when he left home. He’s spent the last years burying his pain by keeping everyone in his life at arm’s length. Now he needs to get to know his family again, and finally become who he wants to be.

But neither Quinn or Jonah can stay away from each other, especially when old feelings resurface. Something is pulling them back together, and they can’t deny their chemistry for long. One Georgia summer could change both their lives forever, if they can work through their past to have a future together.

 

Molli has graciously allowed those on her reveal tour to share an excerpt with you! As if the cover isn’t enough of a temptation to add this to your TBR! (: Now, I have to confess. Contemporary is not my preferred genre.  That being said, I am always open to giving a book a try to see if I can venture further into a particular genre. Ladies and gents, I do believe this will be one of those hook, line, and sinker books! (:  Now! The excerpt! (It’s a flashback)

Excerpt #1: Flashback | Jonah and Quinn meeting

I was thinking about your eyes.” Quinn clapped her free hand over her mouth, but not fast enough to muffle the squeak she made. “I mean, I wasn’t. I mean, I was, but not like – “ She fumbled, and finally shut her mouth, since Mystery Guy wasn’t going to offer her a graceful way out of the mess she’d made.

 

“Well, I like them too, but this is the first time they’ve had this effect.”

 

By some miracle, he was still talking to her. Quinn dropped her hand to her side, and then yanked the other one away from his when she realized she was still touching him. His skin was warmer than hers, the sort of heat that zinged through her. “What effect?”

 

“Rendering a pretty girl speechless.” He grinned at her, and opened the door to the restaurant. “After you…”

 

“Quinn.” She reached for the door handle again; her hand closed around metal this time. “Quinn Reynolds.” Oh, his voice. He should be announcing radio. Or saying her name, over and over again.

 

“Jonah Walker. Nice to meet you, Quinn.” Another smile, this one heart-stopping in its glory.

 

Walker? As in Walker Farms? As in Reece Walker? Reece was something of a legend; even Quinn knew who he was. Reece was one of the best baseball players to come out of their town’s program in the last five years. But he was also known for being a heart-breaker, a hard partier, and the ultimate bad boy. Quinn honestly lost count of the number of lectures she’d set through from her mother about how Quinn was not to socialize with any of the Walker boys.

 

“You too.” Quinn barely let herself return his smile before she darted into the diner and to her booth. She didn’t trust herself to look back at Jonah, because she already knew no matter what, staying away from him would be impossible.

 

For those of you who don’t know the super awesome Molli, here’s a bit about her!

shorthairselfie

Author Information

Author bio: Molli is a Southern writer who doesn’t consider her day complete if she hasn’t written. She loves coffee and talking fast, things she attributes to being raised by Gilmore Girls. She’s a romantic at heart, and brings that to her books. When not reading or blogging, she can be found obsessing over Doctor Who, cuddling her various pets, or spending time with friends, family, or her girlfriend.

Social Media links: Author Site | Twitter | Facebook page | Book Blog | Email |

*****GIVEAWAY LINK*****

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Please Be Kind, Rewind! 22 December 2013 – 4 January 2014 January 4, 2014

Hope you all have had a great holiday season! (: Our Christmas was nice. Stress free for the most part. New Year’s Eve was quiet. Punk spent the night with my mom so it was just me, Bug, and hubby to ring in the new year. Got a big slobbery kiss from Bug after the ball dropped. (: I didn’t get as much reading done as I would’ve liked. We all got sick just before Christmas and then my aunt and uncle came in from New Mexico for the first time in 2 ½ years so we spent much needed quality time with them. I’ll take a poor read tally for that! I’m sick again, so I’m really playing catch up! I had hoped to finish Into the Still Blue yesterday, but a fever prevented that. /: I’m really looking forward to 2014! Three reading challenges are sure to make it an interesting year! Keep an eye out for giveaways. I’m hoping I can start having more for your guys soon! I do have a few planned, but I’m hoping this will play out to where I can do even more!

Completed:

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi. 4 stars

Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi. 5 stars.

Brooke by Veronica Rossi. 4 stars

Currently Reading:

Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

Read to the Kiddos:

We did a lot of reading, but I didn’t keep track of it. /:

New to my shelf:

From the library:

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows (audiobook)

Cinder by Marissa Meyer (audiobook)

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (audiobook)

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (audiobook)

Until I Die by Amy Plum (audiobook)

Die for Me by Amy Plum (audiobook)

If I Should Die by Amy Plum (audiobook)

These Broken Stars by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner (audiobook)

Everneath by Brodi Ashton (audiobook)

The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd (audiobook)

The Selection by Kiera Cass (audiobook)

Eragon series by Christopher Paolini (audiobooks)

From my Gran (she was clearing off her shelves and I was like OMG! Can I have THESE?!)

Left Behind series (1-13) by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B Jenkins

Lost and Found by Jacqueline Sheehan

Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

 

 
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