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Archive for August, 2016

Cost of Survival

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Cost of Survival (Worth of Souls – 1) by Bonnie R. Paulson

My dad predicted World War III would happen in our lifetime. He was right.

Mom’s bleeding in my arms right now. She could die any moment, but not before she’s made me promise three things:

Pray.

Don’t trust anyone.

Stay alive.

I promised, but I don’t know if I can keep them. Not surviving World War III doesn’t scare me, it’s surviving it that does.

If you’re looking for a great dystopia romance, this book is for you

From the bestselling dystopian fiction author with over 2000 reviews and ratings of her dystopic books across Goodreads, Amazon and other retailers.

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My Review

5 stars

Kelly’s father knew that World War 3 was going to happen and prepared his family. But he dies before WW3 hits. One day at school, bombs are dropped and Kelly rushes home to her mother to find her calmly drinking tea. Kelly and her mother gather their things and head to the co-op that they are part of but upon arrival they learn there is a new leader and new rules. It’s not so safe at the co-op and they have to go on the run again. Kelly does meet up with a kid from school, Bodey and his father. Together they are going to try and survive.

I love apocalyptic stories and this is one of my new favorites. There is lots of action and great characters. Kelly questions her strength and faith as she tries to survive the attack and the evil of people and as she was thinking of all of these things it made me wonder if I am strong enough to be in her place, what I would do and such. I love her relationship with Bodey. You can tell they are getting close through survival but that a true relationship is forming.

It was easy to get sucked into this story. I planned on reading a couple chapters and ended up reading until the early hours of the morning to find out what was going to happen next. I loved how this story ended and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book, Exchange Rate. If you like apocalyptic stories look no further, you will NOT be disappointed in this one.

To purchase Cost of Survival make sure to visit Amazon (which is free for Kindle at the time of this review), Goodreads and Bonnie R. Paulson’s website.

I received Cost of Survival from Amazon Kindle for free and am reviewing it for Candid Book Reviews.

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Haven

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Haven (Chronicles of Warshard – 1) by Katherine Bogle

Princess Haven was never meant to be Queen.

Her immortality has saved her time and time again, but when the last of her royal family dies at her feet, she is next in line to rule a nation on the brink of war. With no formal training on how to be Queen, Haven must rise to the occasion with the help of her best friends, and personal guard, or risk losing everyone she has ever loved.

With war to the West, and no escape to the East, the evil tyrant Kadia sets her sights on the six kingdoms. Haven’s neighbors are quick to fall under the swords of Kadia’s shadow soldiers, leaving a sea of bodies and a clear path to Haven’s only home.

As Kadia’s obsession with Haven mounts, little time remains, and Haven must make a choice; join together with her fellow Royals, and test her immortality in a final stand against the evil Queen, or flee across the sea to a foreign republic in hopes of salvation. Both choices have a cost. Both plans could go awry. Haven must decide quickly, or she might be the only one left.

Katherine Bogle

Katherine Bogle’s debut young adult novel, Haven, came second in the World’s Best Story contest 2015. She currently resides in Saint John, New Brunswick with her partner in crime, and plethora of cats.

Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

Guest Post

Why including strong women in fiction is important

Not long ago, having a strong female protagonist in fiction was not as common as you may think. Though women have been prominent in the literary world for a long time, many were docile, seen as weak or insecure. But with a new generation, comes new wants and needs.

Cast aside your Mary Sues and Bella Swans – this generation wants Katniss, Safiya, Tris, Hermione and Mare. Though each faces their own demons, they do so with strength and a can-do attitude. They may not start out strong, but they get there, and that is what’s important. Being broken, or down on your luck is okay. Everyone struggles. But getting back up is what matters.

Strong women in fiction shows the next generation how women can be perceived or what women wanted at the time. Having badass ladies, who can do pretty much anything shows our daughters they can be strong too. They can lead. They can win. They don’t need to hold back. It shows our sons that they should respect women, love them and always be kind.

Literature teaches all of us from a young age – whether we remember it all or not. Growing up with Katniss from the Hunger Games, or Tris from Divergent, shows young girls that standing up for yourself isn’t a bad thing. It shows them they don’t need to be small, delicate and timid. It shows them they can lead a rebellion, topple a tyrannical ruler, or you know, be respected and appreciated. We should all strive to teach children they can be anything, and having strong women in fiction will do just that.

Book

My Review

4 Stars

After the death of her family, Haven has no choice but to be coronated as queen. It doesn’t help that she has the ability to regenerate which keeps her from being killed. Her people want to make sure that they will have a queen for quite a while, especially when Queen Kadia of Dagen has decided to go to war with everyone. Kadia has created an army of shadows to destroy everything in her path to ruling everything. And with the other rulers either having to fight, flee or die it is up to Haven to step up as queen and decide how to rule her kingdom best, even if it is against everything that is recommended to her.

I really like Haven. She was never meant to be queen, never been taught or trained, and very unsure of herself. At first she relies heavily on those around her and is very unsure of how to proceed. But the more she goes through the tougher she becomes and rises to the role of queen.

This is a great story and one that has the feel of an epic fantasy. There are some rough spots but that is expected from a first in a series. I would have liked to learn more about the other kingdoms but I have a feeling they will be explored more in future books. I will definitely be adding this series to my list.

To purchase Haven make sure to visit Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads and Katherine Bogle’s website.

iRead Website new logo

I received Haven for free from iRead Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

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There Once Were Stars by Melanie McFarlane

Peace. Love. Order. Dome. That’s the motto that the Order has given the residents of Dome 1618 to live by. Natalia Greyes is a resident of Dome 1618, a covered city protected from the deadly radiation that has poisoned the world outside for four generations. Nat never questioned the Order, until one day she sees a stranger on the outside of her dome. Now Nat wants answers. What else might her government be hiding from the good and loyal people of Dome 1618?

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My Review

5 Stars

Many years ago, during the Cleansing War, radiation was released. Domes were build so the survivors could be protected from the radiation and infected. Fast forward several years and you meet Natalie, Nat, at the age of nine. Her parents were scientists that would explore outside the dome to see if the conditions were safe. But one day Nat’s parents don’t come back from an exploration and Nat is told that the infected killed them.

Nat is now 18 years old and at the age where she will be given a job. But Nat is rebellious and finds herself sleeping in a clearing by the edge of the dome. When she wakes she finds two men standing outside the dome. One is captured and tells her that he was sent to save her from the dome. It seems that the residents of dome 1618 have not been told the complete truth and someone is going to do everything they can to keep up the façade that the dome is providing.

Since I am a huge fan of dystopian stories I couldn’t sign up fast enough to be part of the tour for There Once Were Stars. I love the setting and the premise to the story. I felt sorry for Nat. She is stuck living with her grandmother and is given a job as a director like her parents. Although she is nice and polite she does question what is happening around her and finds out there is more going on that just radiation outside the dome. I loved this story and can’t wait to read other books from Melanie McFarlane.

To purchase There Once Were Stars make sure to visit Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads and Melanie McFarlane’s website.

I received There Once Were Star for free from eBooks for Review in exchange for an honest review.

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The Boy with the Hawk-Like Eyes (The Sprite Sisters – 6) by Sheridan Winn

THE SPRITE SISTERS
Four sisters
Four elements
Four powers

‘The Boy With Hawk-like Eyes’ is the sixth title in Sheridan Winn’s Sprite Sister series.

Aimed at ‘tween’ readers, the magical adventures of Flame, Marina, Ash and Ariel – who each have a power related to one of the elements, Fire, Water, Earth and Air – have been bestsellers for Fischer Verlag, with over 500,000 copies sold in Germany. Piccadilly Press published the first five titles in the UK, where the books have a keen fan base. Sheridan Winn bought back the rights in 2012 and now publishes the Sprite series herself.

The Boy With Hawk-like Eyes moves the story along and the sisters are now:- Flame, 15, Marina 15, Ash 123 and Ariel, 11 years.

‘Have you ever thought about flying?’ said Zak.
Ariel blinked. ‘In an aeroplane?’
‘No. Lifting your arms and soaring into the air.’
Ariel stared at Zak. She could feel his eyes boring into her and the colour rising in her cheeks. She had been flying over Sprite Towers last night! What should she say?
‘No, ‘ she said, with a shake of her head. ‘Why, have you?’
Zak grinned. ‘Yes – flying is cool. You should try it.’

It is a year and a half since the Sprite Sisters used their magic powers of Fire, Water, Earth and Air. Amidst much bickering, Flame and Marina are busy with their teenage social lives and even Ash seems to have forgotten about magic. As Ariel harnesses her power of Air to learn to fly, a strange boy comes to Sprite Towers and the family is threatened by the invasion of terrifying, insect-like creatures. With dark magic unleashed in the old house and the air turning poisonous, the Sprite Sisters must quickly find a way to remember their powers.

Sheridan Winn

The idea for a series of books about four sisters with magical powers aligned to the four elements popped out at 1.30am on 22nd January 2007, as Sheridan was writing her diary. She noted down the one-sentence idea, and when she woke next morning had the certain feeling that this was the idea she had been waiting for.

She approached Piccadilly Press, which commissioned the first Sprite Sister novel, The Circle of Power. She has since published eight Sprite Sister titles, with another five to come (two main and three prequel stories). In Germany, Fischer Verlag’s sales of Sprite titles have surpassed 500,000.

Sheridan was born in Norfolk, England, and grew up in a big, rambling house in the country that became the inspiration for Sprite Towers.

The eldest of four sisters, she drew on many childhood experiences as inspiration for the stories.

After boarding school she gained a degree in graphic design, followed by a postgraduate teaching certificate. For 25 years she worked with her illustrator husband as his business and creative manager. Together they produced a number of children’s picture books, along with the ‘Mad Gadget’ cartoon, which was the most popular strip in Daily Telegraph’s ‘Young Telegraph’ newspaper for over seven years.

In 2001, Sheridan changed career and became a freelance journalist specialising in lifestyle features and profiles of international business leaders. Today she spends the greater part of her time writing fiction.

In 2014, Sheridan wrote Boudica’s Daughters, a YA novel about two pairs of sisters living two thousand years apart. Essentially, a modern-day tale about coming to terms with a terrible violation, the story of the daughters of Queen Boudica of the Iceni tribe echoes that of today.

A lively and engaging speaker, Sheridan enjoys the chance to interact with her readers and other writers. She lives in Norwich and has two grown-up children and a granddaughter. She has a keen interest in the Arts and finds walking a good way to think up ideas. She always carries a notebook.

Website     Goodreads     Facebook     Twitter

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My Review

5 stars

Flame and Marina are busy with their phones and boyfriends. Ariel is feeling left out but when Zak, Marina’s boyfriend asks Ariel if she has flown, Ariel decides to use her magic to fly. But one night she sees strange yellow eyes. It seems some screeglings have found their way to Sprite Towers. They are attracted to magic so Ariel thinks that she drew them initially. But when she is warned about the Boy with the Hawk-Like Eyes, she thinks that Zak has something to do with this. It’s up to the sisters to get close again to fight the screeglings and the Boy with the Hawk-Like Eyes.

I loved this story. You can’t help but feel bad for Ariel with her sisters growing up. But I really liked how the sisters put aside their differences to stop the screeglings and to figure out if Zak was really causing all the problems. And Zak, you could understand his feelings.

Although this is part of a series I can easily be read as a stand-alone story. There are pervious adventures mentioned but it doesn’t slow or stop the story not really knowing about them. The Boy with the Hawk Eyes is a great story for Mid-Graders and adults alike.

I have been lucky enough to receive the next two books in this series, Magic at Drysdale’s School and The Mystery of the Locked Room. Unfortunately I ran out of time to read and review them before posting about this book. But be sure to keep your eyes open. I should have their reviews posted shortly.

To purchase The Boy with the Hawk-Like Eyes make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Goodreads.

I received The Boy with the Hawk-Like Eyes for free from Sage’s Blog Tours in exchange for an honest review.

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Title: Good Girl, Bad Girl

Author: Ann Girdharry

Social Media: @GirdharryAnn

Author Website: http://www.girdharry.com

Publication date: 23rd August

Synopsis:

Mother missing, the discovery of a powerful and corrupt syndicate and dark secrets about her father revealed leaves 28-year old Kal determined to pursue her own investigations, no matter what sinister truths she uncovers, in this intense psychological thriller.

Kal is convinced her investigative journalist mother must have been working on a controversial, and top level, news story, it is the only explanation for her sudden and suspicious disappearance. Although mistrustful of the police, Kal allows Detective Inspector Spinks, the officer assigned to her mother’s case, to accompany her when she visits her grandmother to break the news. What they don’t expect is to uncover a file of shocking research cataloguing the deviant activities of seven members of London’s political and business elite. Back on the streets of London, the survival instincts and specialist expertise she learned from her late father, kick into overdrive, as Kal resolves to not only find her mother but continue her work and unveil the conspiracy hidden amongst those in power.

Ann Girdharry

About the author: Born and educated in the UK, Ann Girdharry is a trained psychotherapist and has worked as a manager in the not-for-profit sector for many years for agencies working with: carers, vulnerable older people and those with dementia, survivors of abuse, and victims of racism and racial attacks. Today she lives in Montpellier, France with her husband and two children. As well as her passion for writing, Ann enjoys gardening and is a member of her local roller blading club. Ann has previously published a series of short stories called Tales of the Unexpected (2015-2016). Her debut novel, and the first in the Kal Medi series, Good Girl Bad Girl by Ann Girdharry (published by CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing 23rd August 2016 RRP £8.99 paperback, £3.99 ebook) is available to purchase from online retailers including amazon.co.uk and to order from all good bookstores.

 

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Sacred America, Sacred World by Stephen Dinan

Infused with visionary power, “Sacred America, Sacred World” is a manifesto for our country s evolution that is both political and deeply spiritual. It offers profound hope that America can grow beyond our current challenges and manifest our noblest destiny, which the book shows is rooted in sacred principles that transcend left or right political views. Filled with practical ideas and innovative strategies honed from the author s work with over 1000 luminaries via his company, The Shift Network, “Sacred America, Sacred World” rings with a can-do entrepreneurial spirit and explains how America can lead the world toward peace, sustainability, health, and prosperity. This vision of the future weaves the best of today s emergent spirituality with seasoned political wisdom, demonstrating ways America can grow beyond its current stagnation and political gridlock to become a world leader in peace and progress. Published to coincide with the party conventions and presidential debates, this book will promote a return to the sacred principles cherished by America’s forefathers in order to create a transpartisan, non-ideological, pragmatic approach to social reform. This uplifting discussion explores evolutions in political leadership, environmental concerns, and economic reformation. It is time to forge a bold new image of America s future. Here is a road map for getting there.”

Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan is the founder and CEO of The Shift Network and a member of the Transformational Leadership Council and Evolutionary Leaders. The Shift Network was founded in 2010 and has served over 700,000 people worldwide, with customers in 150 countries. It delivers virtual summits, courses, and trainings featuring over 50 core faculty and 1,000 thought leaders in domains as diverse as spirituality, peace, holistic health, psychology, parenting, enlightened business, shamanism, indigenous wisdom, and sustainability.

Stephen is a graduate of Stanford University (Human Biology) and the California Institute of Integral Studies (East-West Psychology). He helped create and directed the Esalen Institute’s Center for Theory & Research, a think tank for leading scholars, researchers, and teachers to explore human potential frontiers. As the former director of membership and marketing at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, he was the driving force behind the Shift in Action program and the One Minute Shift media series.

He has been a featured speaker at the World Cultural Forum in China, the Alliance for a New Humanity in Costa Rica, Renovemos Mexico in Mexico City, and the University of Cuenca in Ecuador, as well as many US conferences, events, radio programs, and online summits. He is also the author of Sacred America, Sacred World: Fulfilling Our Mission in Service to All and Radical Spirit.

Stephen lives in San Rafael, California, with his beloved wife Devaa.

Website     The Shift Network

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What people Are Saying

“A wonderful book for all futurists, evolutionaries, social entrepreneurs, spirit-motivated activists, and pioneering souls everywhere.”

—Barbara Marx Hubbard, President,

Foundation for Conscious Evolution

“Stephen Dinan offers us a highly compelling blueprint to engage in deep and totally achievable global transformation. This is a visionary work of the highest order.”

—James O’Dea,

Author of The Conscious Activist,

Former President of IONS,

Former Director of Amnesty International

“This wise and moving book will help us all in the central task of our time. That of reinventing a way of being and doing that reflects our sacred nature and sacred purpose.”

—Andrew Harvey,

Author of over 30 books,

Founder, Institute for Sacred Activism

A Conversation with Stephen Dinan

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY SACRED AMERICA?

Sacred is a word that binds us together in the mystery of life and links us into a single human family. In a truly sacred world, no one is ultimately our enemy. A scared worldview leads to a life filled with respect and reverence.

We then connect the term “sacred” to America. America means many things to the world, ranging from a shining city on the hill that flied the flag of freedom to a feared military empire. Much can be said about the current state of America’s character, but perhaps the most essential is that America has a pioneering spirit, always experimenting to find something that works better, never resting for long on our past, always seeking the next higher possibility or the newest frontier. We are not a country that stagnates for long; America is a roaring engine for evolution.

It is that spirit of innovation, adventure, and possibility that needs to inform this exploration of what happens when “sacred” and “America” come together. Sacred America is a call for us to reach for our highest destiny as a country. I believe our truest destiny is not built on our desire to be number one, but rather a humbler sense of calling, animated by a spirit of global service. We are called to explore new frontiers politically, economically, and even spiritually, not just in service to our own citizens, but in service to the world.

WHAT ARE WE SHIFTING TOWARDS POLITICALLY?

I believe that we are transitioning to a truly global era in which we will, once and for all, eradicate war and unite as a human family as never before. We see this happening remarkably rapidly in the realms of technology, travel, and business. But it’s also happening with our consciousness and our politics. We’re increasingly becoming global citizens first, national citizens second. I believe America simply must play a leading role in this transition, embracing it as the path beyond the waste and tragedy of war and towards real health, sustainability and prosperity for all. I believe the pathway forward requires the best of both progressive and conservative values and a collaborative style of politics that seeks higher ground. Global accords and councils will replace the endless posturing of the military era.

YOU SAY THAT YOU ARE A PROGRESSIVE WHO HAS LEARNED A LOT FROM CONSERVATIVE VALUES? SAY MORE.

I used to be a more strident progressive who would see conservatives as the problem rather than part of the solution that represents a complementary value system. Conservatives tend to focus on preserving what has worked in the past, which is a useful function.

In the human body, we have strong elements required for health that basically protect our homeostasis. Too much change happening too quickly is dangerous for our body and for life.

Conservatives often play the same role in a society, minimizing the risk of chaotic change and preserving core values, commitments, and culture. Having a strong foundation actually allows us to grow further and so I have evolved to see and honor conservatives for their role in maintaining traditions and American character even while I still focus on the ways we are naturally evolving to another level —a “more perfect” union.

I’ve found conservative values and perspectives a good cross-training in my role as a spiritually-based CEO, where it’s imperative that I not risk everything on each new idea. The Buddha taught the Middle Way as the more enlightened path and that also applies to drawing upon the best of conservative perspectives while opening to new possibilities for innovation and cultural expression, which tends to be the focus of progressives.

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS SOME OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT SHADOW ISSUES THAT AMERICA HASN’T FACED?

There are many interrelated shadow issues that America is often reluctant to face but I think at the root is an unwillingness to see ourselves as the aggressor and victimizer. Ultimately, this stems from never being able to face the Native American genocide and African enslavement that formed the twin sins of our early history.

If we undertake a much deeper healing of these wounds, which will require humble contrition and an inventory of our shadow side, it becomes easier to see the ways that we are still perpetuating injustice and oppression in the world.

We can all do outreach and healing work ourselves and ultimately it’s helpful to have a kind of national healing and reconciliation, with public apologies the way Australia did with their native peoples. If we’re in denial more generally, it’s hard to own the specifics now.

We also have a large shadow issue around unaccountable forces exerting a lot of power domestically and internationally,

HOW DO WE MOVE BEYOND WASHINGTON GRIDLOCK?

I don’t see the answer as simple but it begins with seeing the intrinsic, sacred value in other perspectives, even ones we strongly disagree with. When we start identifying only with one group “against” another, we slowly start turning them into caricatures and demeaning them in various ways. This process of polarization has gone on for a long time with political parties. So I think the ultimate solution is very personal; it’s about building bridges of curiosity, respect, and understanding, and recognizing that true, lasting solutions to extremely complex problems require the best thinking of both parties and ideologies so that some hybridization of solutions is going to be best.

We may not come to consensus on major issues but we can come into deep dialogue and human exchange. Reaching out a hand of friendship across the aisle is ultimately one of the most important things we can do as citizens. The women members of the Senate have been a great example in that regard, often creating breakthroughs through their very personal connections with members of the other major party.

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Charlotte and the Mysterious Vanishing Place (The Kare Kids Adventures – 2)

by Charles A. Salter

Nine-year-old Charlotte loves to explore the woods around her neighborhood in Ellicott City, Maryland. One day she has TWO surprises-she notices a patch of the forest slowly vanishing and discovers a lost puppy caught in a bramble bush. She rescues it and takes it home. Her parents recognize it as a valuable purebred pup and locate the rightful owner. Rather than accept the owner’s reward, Charlotte asks her parents to buy Cocoa the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel as the present for her upcoming birthday. Will she sacrifice her plans for a big party at the Bouncin’ Fun Zone because her parents can’t afford both? Returning to the woods, she notes the sinking area getting wider and deeper and tells her parents and the authorities, who caution her to stay away. The county’s geologist explains the danger of sinkholes, and Charlotte worries it will allow the other puppies to escape and get lost, too. She keeps an eye on the kennel and sees another puppy escape and become trapped in the now enormous sinkhole. Cocoa follows it and gets trapped, too! As a fierce rainstorm arises, and the fallen tree the pups cling to begins to disappear through the opening at the center of the sinkhole, Charlotte can find no one else to help. She leaves messages but realizes it is up to her to save the pups. But it is too steep and slippery for her to crawl down and get back out. Can she rescue the pups and get out herself before the giant sinkhole swallows everything?

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My Review

5 stars

Charlotte loves to explore the woods behind her house. One day while out she finds a strange area that has sunken lower than the rest of the forest. But while out she also finds a puppy that she calls Cocoa. Charlotte learns of sacrifice to keep the puppy. She then finds a sink hole that could cause more problems.

I loved this story. Charlotte is a sweet kid and makes an instant bond with Cocoa but learns that sometimes she might have to give things up to get other things. I loved how she found the sink hole and was determined to keep the other puppies safe. She was also very brave when she took it upon herself to save Cocoa and the other puppy.

I really enjoy the Kare Kids Adventures series and think they are a wonderful series for kids. This is the perfect chapter story that could be read to kids or for a first book. They have a great message and lots of adventure for boys and girls. This series is a must for those with kids.

To purchase Charlotte and the Mysterious Vanishing Place make sure to visit Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Goodreads.

I received Charlotte and the Mysterious Vanishing Place for free from PR by the Book in exchange for an honest review.

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