Month: September 2019

Blog Tour Book Review: Ring Fenced – Zach Abrams

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Ring Fenced everyone! I hope you are as excited as I am for this post. I have not long finished reading this book, and I completed it from start to finish in less than two days. Does that give you an idea of what kind of review this is going to be? It should!

As always, let’s begin by saying a huge thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour. Also, thank you to Zach Abrams for a copy of Ring Fenced as well!

 

Ring Fenced

Goodreads – Ring Fenced

Sex. Money. Power. Control. Benjamin wants it all.

He is Bennie, a loving husband and father; Benjie, a beloved son. He climbs the ladder as Ben, a corporate banker, and rakes in money as a bestselling author. And when he wants to escape it all, Benjamin styles himself as Jamie — the lover of a beautiful musician.

His life, in a word, is perfect. But after years of keeping his separate personae a secret, cracks begin to appear in the façade.

When an unexpected series of events topples Benjamin’s carefully crafted world, his separate lives collide with dire consequences.

 

Purchase Links – Amazon      Next Chapter     Amazon US     Amazon UK

Ring Fenced is on an Amazon Countdown Promotion – selling at 99c /99p from 11-15 Sept 2019

 

My Thoughts…

I started reading Ring Fenced on Saturday and was sucked into the story right away. Benjamin / Ben / Bennie / Benjie / Jamie are all aliases for one man living very different lives simultaneously. He has a penchant for control and has successfully managed to keep each of his lives apart – until now. Extraneous events in each life drag him out of his safely established routine… and that’s where it all starts to go wrong.

Benjamin is not a likeable character. He’s competitive, manipulative and sordid in equal measure. When he is not Benjie, (oppressed by his parents, siblings and the expectations of their religion) or family-man Bennie, a darker side emerges. By night, Benjamin is an erotic writer for a website he helped to build in his early adult years. When the stories aren’t enough he takes on the persona of Jamie to live out his fantasies with other women.

He is a character you love to dislike. I looked forward to watching his life fall apart. It is no less than he deserves.

The writing style and pace of the novel are very easy to slip into. Ring Fenced is really easy to read as a result; it’s one of those books you can either pick up and put down at leisure or lose a lot of time in. At 228 pages, it’s also comparatively shorter than other books I have read recently. That works in its favour though. There is sufficient detail to invest in Ben’s various aliases and lives and explain his choices, without extraneous, irrelevant information that could drag the narrative down.

Ring Fenced is Zach Abrams debut novel, which amazes me! The novel demonstrates all the skill and prowess of a well-crafted, established author. He balances character development and execution of the plot in a way that complements each other brilliantly. After reading Ring Fenced, I would definitely pick up any of a number of novels Zach Abrams has published since.

 

Author Bio –

Having the background of a successful career in commerce and finance, Zach Abrams has spent many years writing reports, letters and presentations and it’s only fairly recently he started writing novels. “It’s a more honourable type of fiction,” he declares.

Writer of the Alex Warren Murder Mystery series, set in Scotland, Zach has also written the psychological thriller ‘Ring Fenced’ and the financial thriller ‘Source’, as well as collaborating with Elly Grant on a book of short stories.

Zach is currently producing a non-fiction series to help small businesses -using the collective title ‘Mind Your Own Business’. The first, ‘So, You Think You Want to be a Landlord’ is already available.

Social Media Links –

Website : http://zachabrams.wix.com/zach-abrams
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Zach-Abrams-author-463346010364540/
Twitter: @authorway

 

Sunday Summary – 8th September 2019

We’re at the end of another week already – so it’s time for my weekly Sunday Summary wrap up! The week was dragging… up until the weekend that is. Isn’t that always the way?

I began the week by sharing my Reading List for the month! With a book untouched from last month’s TBR and no less than three books still to be read for upcoming blog tours… it’s a busy one! In between all that, I am very excited about reading The Testaments, which is being published next week!

On Wednesday I set aside some of the older outstanding reviews and instead reviewed a recent read. After reading a previous book co-authored by him, Seeker, I gladly accepted a copy of Kau D’Varza from David Noë. I really enjoyed delving into the ChaosNova universe again.

On Friday I took a break from the usual Shelf Control post to take part in a book birthday blitz tour of The Fourth Victim by John Mead. As part of the tour, I reviewed the crime fiction novel. In order to make my life a little easier, I thought on and read this last month. What sets The Fourth Victim is its unusual main character Jenny – a sufferer of Dissociative Identity Disorder.

 

Books Read

I have spent the majority of the week reading The Beltane Choice by Nancy Jardine. As of last week’s Sunday Summary post I was 22% through the book. Midweek I felt pretty confident with how I was doing, but it ended up taking me a little longer to read than I wanted. I enjoyed the book overall, but I had a few moments with it. There are elements within that are necessary to the story, but I didn’t love it 100%. I persevered and I’m glad I did because I liked the wider historical fiction setting and novel. I finished reading The Beltane Choice yesterday morning.

As I have a blog tour post scheduled before that of The Beltane Choice, my next priority is to read Ring Fenced by Zach Abrams. I’ve fared a lot better with this book; the urgency of having the blog tour post due next week has spurred me along all the more I think. I started reading this yesterday afternoon and as of right now, I am 70% through the book already. If I push myself, I think I can have this read by the end of the night and be ready to move on to my next blog tour read. Thankfully I have a bit more breathing room before that post is due.

I am back to car-sharing in the mornings now, so progress on Six of Crows has slowed. That said, I have just less than five hours left of the book. If I listen to it in the car on the way home every day, I could have this finished in a couple of weeks. I have the scope to listen to them a little more at home (i.e. in the morning getting ready), so maybe I’ll give that a try again and see how I get on. Maybe this time next week I’ll be telling you I’ve finished it…

 

Books Discovered

I have a confession to make. I’ve added quite a few books to the TBR this week.

I’ve gotten involved with a bookish group of people that work at different offices of my company through our equivalent of a social media platform. In addition to discovering my interest in reading this month’s ‘Book of the Month’, When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen. It’s an office-based thriller and I think it has the potential to be a great read. I am going to see how my reading goes over the next few days to see if adding this to the TBR is feasible or not so I can take part in the conversation this month. It’s not the end of the world if I can’t… I can always read it later. I’d like to try though.

Last week I put out a poll so we could all get to know each other’s reading habits and preferences. We ended up talking about our bias towards fiction novels and our knowledge of history. A colleague mentioned that she keeps meaning to pick up her copy of 50 Things You Need to Know About British History by Hugh Williams. I decided that I want to as well, as my lack of knowledge of British History is pretty embarrassing.

Outside of the book club, my colleague Claire recommended a book she read on holiday to me. The Island by Victoria Hislop is a historical fiction novel about a woman discovering her family history and her ties to Spinalonga – a former leper colony.

This is a real historical fiction week, as my last addition to the TBR is Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris. The book is due to be published on the 1st October and having loved The Tattooist of Auschwitz, adding her new book to the TBR is a no-brainer!

 

Coming Up…

Next week is the busiest of this month, with no less than three blog tour posts coming your way.

In order to get myself organised with everything, I’ll forego my usual Monday/Tuesday post. Instead, my first post of the week will be shared on Wednesday. That post will be my review of my current read, Ring Fenced by Zach Abrams.

I’ll be skipping my fortnightly Shelf Control post again this week as I am due to take part in the blog tour for The Beltane Choice on Friday.

It’s not typical for me to post on a Saturday either, but I really wanted to take part in the blog tour for Faeries of Saizia by Tonya Chaves. If I didn’t have two blog tours already then I would have signed up to review this book. However, it is what it is, so I’m publishing a promo post to tell you all about it instead.

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

 

Duffy the Writer – Tidelands: Latest book by Philippa Gregory

The Lone Read Blog – Favorite Books of 2019

Bibliophagist Reviews – Weekly Update

 

 

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Book Birthday Blitz Review: The Fourth Victim – John Mead

Today’s review of The Fourth Victim makes my second review post of the week! I have set aside my usual fortnightly Friday posts to take part in the birthday blitz tour. Before I begin in earnest, I’d like to say a massive thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour!

 

The Fourth Victim

Goodreads – The Fourth Victim

Whitechapel is being gentrified. The many green spaces of the area, which typify London as a capital city, give the illusion of tranquility and clean air but are also places to find drug dealers, sexual encounters and murder…

Detective Sergeant Julie Lukula doesn’t dislike Inspector Matthew Merry but he has hardly set the world of the Murder Investigation Team East alight. And, it looks as if the inspector is already putting the death of the young female jogger, found in the park with fatal head injuries, down to a mugging gone wrong. The victim deserves more. However, the inspector isn’t ruling anything out – the evidence will, eventually, lead him to an answer.

Purchase Links – Amazon UK      Waterstones      Wordery      Blackwells

My Thoughts…

The Fourth Victim is a compelling crime thriller set in Whitechapel, London. A murder occurs in broad daylight and as the body count rises, the media coins the unidentified murderer as the Ripper come again. Matthew Merry is tasked with apprehending the killer and preventing another death. Under pressure from increasing police cuts, it’s a race against time before they strike again.

For me, the most interesting character of the book has to be Jenny. A traumatic childhood is attributed to her development of a mental illness called Dissociative Identity Disorder ‘DID’. Her experiences often influence which of her volatile personalities comes to the fore. Her unpredictable nature and her affiliation to the victims make her the lead suspect. As a former psychology student, I really enjoyed the depth of detail about the disorder and the dynamic of the narrative influenced by it.

Jenny is not the only flawed character in the book – even police are not immune to poor judgment. Their imperfections remind you that they are people too; instead of purely fulfilling the role of crime-solvers, their mistakes are a stark reminder that they are people too. They are integral to the story and their respective character arcs give them a real depth of character.

The Fourth Victim is well-paced without compromising on descriptive detail and character development. The number of leads for investigation drives the plot forwards and encourages you to draw your own conclusions – right or wrong. Discovering whether you get it right is all part of the enjoyment!

 

Author Bio

John was born in the mid-fifties in East London, on part of the largest council estate ever built, and was the first pupil from his local secondary modern school to attend university. He has now taken early retirement to write, having spent the first part of his life working in education and the public sector. He was the director of a college, a senior school inspector for a local authority, and was head of a unit for young people with physical and mental health needs.

He has travelled extensively, from America to Tibet, and he enjoys visiting the theatre, reading and going to the pub. It is, perhaps, no surprise that he is an avid ‘people watcher’ and loves to find out about people, their lives, culture and history. When he is not travelling, going to the theatre or the pub; he writes.

Many of the occurrences recounted and the characters found in his novels are based on real incidents and people he has come across. Although he has allowed himself a wide degree of poetic licence in writing about the main characters, their motivations and the killings that are depicted.

John is currently working on a series of novels set in modern day London. These police procedurals examine the darker side of modern life in the East End of the city.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JohnMeadAuthor

Amazon author profile: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B07B8SQ2ZH

Goodreads profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17891273.John_Mead

Book Review: Kau D’varza – David Noë

Hello fellow readers! I hope you are having a good week?

Today I am taking a brief respite from the older reviews in the pipeline. Instead, I am reviewing a book I have read more recently. I am always trying to read more in the way of science fiction, so when I was approached to read and review Kau D’varza I jumped at the chance. If you have been following my blog since the early days then you may recall I read and reviewed Seeker. Seeker is written by David Noë and Laura Loolaid and set in the same universe.

So, a full disclaimer – I have received a copy of Kau D’varza for the purpose of offering an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Now we’ve gotten the boring bit out of the way, shall we get to the important bit?

 

Kau D’varza

Goodreads – Kau D’varza

Even in the vastness of space, trouble finds a way.

When Elise Rivera arrived on Kau D’varza, a distant station near an anomaly known as the Void Cloud, she’d hoped to escape the troubles of her homeworld. Now, the appearance of a mysterious freighter places her new home under threat; a threat that Elise – along with station commissioner Gierre Nevos, his aide Specialist Kaska Stone, and a team led by Commander-Captain Joseph Raffa – must race against time to avert.

 

My Thoughts…

Our adventures in Kau D’varza begin with Elise being arrested for hacking into the Kau D’varza network. Passionate about keeping civilians in the know about current affairs of the station, she quickly finds herself in hot water. Despite her infringements, officials of the station see potential in Elise. She is given a job at the station that challenges her to prove her intellect and resourcefulness – skills needed to save the station from an outside threat.

Kau D’varza expands on the already established realms of the ChaosNova Universe. As a much longer novel there is greater opportunity to explore the inner workings of the system. Where Seeker follows the adventures of Jewel, Kau D’varza’s narrative has more extensively developed world history and complex political relations. Together, these make ChaosNova a detailed, comprehensive universe. I really enjoyed the elements of travel throughout, as enough action and dialogue keep the narrative flowing nicely.

With new worlds and advanced technology comes a whole host of new language. It is rare that novels ‘work’ when this element is hurried and/or underdeveloped; it can be intimidating or make the reader lose interest. Kau D’varza even has its own terminology for its technology and the passage of time (although not dissimilar to those we are used to). Despite not being a huge reader of science-fiction I didn’t find myself overwhelmed.

A lot of the novel is written in the form of dialogue, but I didn’t find it lacking in action as a result of that. The dialogue allows us as the reader to get a real feel for the dynamics and relationships between all the characters. As you might expect from a space station on the outskirts of an extensive universe, there is a real sense of community between the residents of Kau D’varza. Elise begins the novel as the outsider; however, she quickly becomes part of the community despite her reservations on the matter.

Kau D’varza is a really enjoyable jaunt into the realms of science fiction. That I don’t read as much of the genre as I do others makes the experience more exciting when I do. It was great to take another trip into the ChaosNova universe and learn more about it. I’d like to say a huge thank you to the author David Noë for inviting me to read and review the book- it was a pleasure to read!

 

 

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Reading List: September 2019

At the beginning of September, a lot of people will be celebrating the return of the school year. The summer holidays are over and parents everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief. It’s been many years since I’ve been in that routine, but I’m looking forward to the new month for entirely different reasons. A new month means a new reading list and I have a busy one ahead of me!

I have a number of blog tours coming up this month… the first of which is just a few days away. Thankfully I have already prepared and read up for that, but there is no rest for the wicked! Shall we take a look at which books I’ll be burying my nose in this month?

 

The Beltane Choice – Nancy Jardine

Goodreads – The Beltane Choice

The Beltane Choice “…combines a very human and personal story with a very believable vision of Late Iron Age society in Northern Britain.”

AD 71 Northern Roman Britain
Lorcan of the Brigantes knows that unity of the northern tribes is essential when the Ancient Roman legions advance northwards to Brigantia. Yet, everything comes at a price. Using his captive, Nara, as a political bargain with the Selgovae comes with impossible stipulations. Battle at Whorl – Iron Age tribes against the Romans – is inevitable.

Will Nara have her Beltane choice?

The adventures of the Garrigill Clan begin…

 

This is the first book I’ve picked this month, although strictly speaking it’s my third blog tour of the month. Tours two and three are so close together that it’s pretty inconsequential which order I read them in. Given my head start, I should have these both read in good time!

I signed onto the tours for this series as I wanted to broaden my horizons on British history. I haven’t read anything dating back even close to this period, so I’m interested to see how I’ll enjoy this book and the rest of the series!

 

Ring Fenced – Zach Abrams

Goodreads – Ring Fenced

Sex. Money. Power. Control. Benjamin has it all.

He is Bennie, a loving husband and father; Benjie, a beloved son. He climbs the ladder as Ben, a corporate banker, and rakes in money as a bestselling author. And when he wants to escape it all, Benjamin styles himself as Jamie — the lover of a beautiful musician. His life, in a word, is perfect.

But after years of keeping his separate personae a secret, cracks begin to appear in the façade. When an unexpected series of events topples Benjamin’s carefully crafted world, his separate lives collide with dire consequences.

 

After The Beltane Choice, I’ll promptly be picking up Ring Fenced by Zach Abrams. This is my second blog tour of the month, so no hanging around when it comes to getting this read! I was drawn to this novel because a mean part of me cannot wait to see how his life and multiple personas come together disastrously.

 

The Testaments – Margaret Atwood

Goodreads – The Testaments

In this brilliant sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, acclaimed author Margaret Atwood answers the questions that have tantalized readers for decades.

When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her—freedom, prison or death.

With The Testaments, the wait is over.

Margaret Atwood’s sequel picks up the story fifteen years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.

“Dear Readers: Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.” —Margaret Atwood

 

The Testaments will be published on the 10th September and it is the newest book on myTBR. As soon as my copy is in my local Waterstones, you had best get out of my way! I have fallen in love with The Handmaid’s Tale (book and TV series) despite not getting on with it at all years ago and I cannot tell you how excited I am for the sequel! I’ll be reading it as soon as I can squeeze it between my blog tour reads.

 

Simon Says – Jo Wesley

Goodreads – Simon Says

Her new life may not be perfect but she’s happy. Until she makes a terrible decision – and learns the hard way that home is not a place of refuge.

Not while Simon lurks in every shadow.

He groomed her as a teen: terrorised her into fleeing and leaving her baby behind. Now the man who destroyed her childhood has become the perfect father to her teenage daughter. And her return threatens his future.

A desperate man is a dangerous one.

Simon says she must leave or suffer the consequences. She refuses.

Now it’s his move. Because it’s not enough to face your demons.

Sometimes, you must destroy them.

 

Simon Says is my last blog tour of the month and thankfully I have a little breathing room after the above tours to read and review this book. I’m a huge fan of psychological thrillers and the premise of this one sounds so good! It has such potential for an explosive plotline and a dose of karma for those that deserve it! It has very good ratings to far too, so I have very high hopes for this!

 

Elantris – Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads – Elantris

Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.

Arelon’s new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping — based on their correspondence — to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.

But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.

A rare epic fantasy that doesn’t recycle the classics and that is a complete and satisfying story in one volume, Elantris is fleet and fun, full of surprises and characters to care about. It’s also the wonderful debut of a welcome new star in the constellation of fantasy.

 

Since I didn’t get around to reading this last month it’s hardly shocking that it’s on the list again. It may be last on the list but reading this is a priority too. I will not be postponing it another month because I fancied reading something else. I’m self-imposing a ban on starting any non-TBR books unless at the end of the month I have finished y TBR and have time to spare.

That’s everything for this month! Are there any other Margaret Atwood fans looking forward to the Testaments as much as I am? Otherwise, what are you reading this month?

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 1st September 2019

It’s time to write a Sunday Summary post again. AGAIN! The weeks and the weekends are just flying at the moment. This time last week I was looking forward to enjoying a bank holiday Monday off – and now that’s the last of them until… you know. The C-word. I’ve not had my summer holiday yet so we aren’t allowed to talk about that…

On to more current affairs – what has been keeping me busy this week? On slightly non-blog related events, I unveiled my new hair colour on Instagram and Facebook. You may have noticed some slightly different blog artwork reflecting the change. Let’s just say there’s no chance of losing me in a crowd anytime soon!

I had my first post of the week drafted even before last week’s Sunday Summary post. I am pleased to have hosted a book review for K J McGillick’s latest book in the Lies and Misdirection series, Duality. I’ve really enjoyed the series so far and Duality’s more personal touch was a definite hit with me!

Midweek, I shared a second review – I cannot believe it has taken me four months to get around to reviewing Maskerade by Terry Pratchett. It did though. Slightly shameful I admit, but better late than never, right?

On Friday I really enjoyed sharing a First Lines Friday post with you again. I’m really enjoying these regular Friday features so I’ll definitely be keeping up with them where I can. This week’s featured book is a book talked about a lot in the community and one I will particularly enjoy reading (when I finally get around to it!).

 

Books Read

I feel good about this week’s progress, even though overall I didn’t get to touch one of the books on August’s TBR at all. Since I have a blog tour coming up really soon (more on that below), my focus of the week was finishing The Fourth Victim by John Mead. As of last week’s Sunday Summary post, I was 23% through the book; I finished it on Thursday. I really got into the unusual case and I can’t wait to tell you more about it… but no spoilers, obviously!

Me Before You. Oh, I have so much to say about this book. Thank goodness I had the foresight not to try to finish reading this at work. On Friday night I was an absolute mess. It has been a long time since a book made me cry like that. That said I am glad I took the recommendation of a colleague and read it. I wouldn’t describe it as my usual read but I enjoyed it… every tear-wrenching moment.

After I had slept on the ending of Me Before You (I wasn’t fit to start anything else, to be honest), I picked up one of my first reads of September a day early. I have signed up for a lot of blog tours this month. A lot. Maybe too many, but I’m excited about them all! Since I had no chance of reading an epic 655-page fantasy novel in one day, I was as well getting ahead of the game for September’s TBR. As of right now, I am 22% through The Beltane Choice by Nancy Jardine.

As usual, I’ll wrap this section up with my audiobook progress of the week. I’m coming to the end of my opportunity to listen to my audiobooks in the car on the way to work as well as back, but that’s no problem! I also have the bonus of not needing to listen to the radio some nights due to local events and road closures. I’ve listened to several more hours of Six of Crows this week. I feel like the setup and the plot is finally building up to the main event. I was a little unsure of this title when I started but I’m glad I persevered!

 

Books Discovered

After reading a great excerpt and review shared by Drew over at The Tattooed Book Geek, I have added In the Absence of Miracles by Michael J. Malone to the TBR. If you want to check out the post, I’ve included a link to it in my Top Blog Posts section below!

 

Coming Up…

On account of it being September already (where has that come from?), I’m beginning the week by sharing my reading list for September! As I have mentioned, I have signed up for a number of blog tours this month and three are reviews. In addition to those, I have a couple of reads I am really, really looking forward to. Hint: one of them is being published on the 10th of September.

As you have probably guessed from previous weeks, I am on a mission to work my way through my slight backlog of reviews. I’m going to be putting aside some of the older reviews on my list in favour of sharing my thoughts on a more recent read. Back in my early blogging days, I was approached to review Seeker by David Noe and Laura Loolaid. Well, a few months ago David approached me again with a second science-fiction novel set in the same Universe for review and I gladly accepted. He has been very patient in waiting for a review, so that’s my midweek post.

Normally I’d be sharing a Shelf Control post this Friday, however, I am setting that aside as I am scheduled on the book birthday blitz tour for The Fourth Victim on Friday 6th. I’m looking forward to telling you just why I really enjoyed this unusual police-procedural / crime fiction novel!

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

Bibliophagist Reviews – No Disclaimers Book Tag

In the Absence of Miracles by Michael J. Malone Blog Tour: Book Excerpt and Book Review. #BlogTour #IntheAbsenceofMiracles #BookBloggers @OrendaBooks @annecater @michaelJmalone1

 

So, that’s me finished rambling for today! What have you been reading?

 

 

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