Fathers, Sons, Murder, and Mystery

The Whisper Man by Alex North was previously released in the UK and will be hitting US bookshelves next week. I’ve been sitting on this book review for a while.  If you follow my Instagram or Twitter, you know that I tend to announce when I get an ARC that catches my attention.IMG_5987My video of opening this card.

I’ve been spending most of this week on the couch or bed due to powerful rainstorms that are a summer staple in the South. It’s not surprising I’m curled up with the cats to read this!

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Zane is my main book-buddy. He loves to curl up with me.

Here is the blurb from the back of the book:

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window…

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Hurricane Enlil as a bookrest.

Okay, mild spoiler, I am female. The Whisper Man has a central spiraling theme of fathers and their sons, but honestly; it can easily be morphed to fathers and their children.  How are we shaped by the men who raise us? What happens when sons who had horrible fathers become fathers themselves? What unintentional lessons do we learn?

The mystery itself, of the disappearances of young boys and their deaths resuming after 20 years is intriguing; especially with the killer still in jail. We follow DI (Detective Inspector) Pete Willis, a recovering alcoholic who is still haunted by the Whisper Man case and the fact another boy has gone missing. We also follow Tom and Jake Kennedy, a father/son duo whose recent loss of Rebecca, Jake’s mother has both of them floundering. Tom had a father that filled him with doubt as to his worth as a human being, and he struggles every day to to relate to Jake, a sensitive, imaginative child. Jake is full of art and stories, and his imaginary friends worry his father. The problem is, Tom is seeing proof that at least one of those imaginary friends isn’t and that Jake is in danger.

While the twists and turns of this story are compelling, and I was thoroughly invested in discovering the identity of the Whisper Man; the most frightening aspect of the book for me was the whispers. Not the whispers of the Whisper Man; but the insidious inner thoughts of Pete as he battles to not drink, the whispers that echo in Tom’s mind that he is worthless and failing Jake, the whispers that any person who fights depression or childhood trauma hears. I have a chronic disease, I hear my own set of whispers often. I found Alex North’s realism in portraying them chilling.

  • Title: The Whisper Man
  • Author: Alex North
  • Publisher: Celadon Books
  • Released: August 20th, 2019
  • Language: English
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Pages: 368 pages
About the Author:

Alex North was born in Leeds, England, where he now lives with his wife and son. The Whisper Man was inspired by North’s own little boy, who mentioned one day that he was playing with “the boy in the floor.” Alex North is a British crime writer who has previously published under another name.

About the Publisher:

Founded by publishing industry veterans Jamie Raab and Deb Futter, Celadon Books, a division of Macmillan Publishing, selects each title with thoughtful consideration in an effort to create a list that is at once classic, uncommon, and fosters discoverability of new voices.

Our list includes a wide-ranging selection of fiction and non-fiction, from page-turning thrillers and literary novels to memoirs, works of history and psychology, narrative nonfiction and memoirs. The common denominator is that we aim to publish books of quality with commercial appeal.

Celadon Books : Website / FaceBook

Where to buy:
The Whisper Man is available for preorder on Amazon in Hardcover, Kindle and Audiobook. The hardcover will retail for $26.99 USD, but is currently on sale for $13.99 USD. The Whisper Man will be in bookstores on August 20th, 2019.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary book from the publisher in exchange for review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

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Dog Days of Summer

I don’t know about you guys, but I both love and hate the Dog Days of summer. It’s too hot for me to spend much time outside, and some of my meds don’t react well to direct sunlight. So I spend a lot of time working on my hobbies. Of course, that means puzzles! I’m PuzzlePaws, aren’t I??

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Re-marks was awesome when I asked them to surprise me with a small piece count puzzle to review. I knew I had to wait until I was back home from a convention to give it a proper review.  As most of my puzzles are cat-themed, it was a delight to switch things up and work on a dog puzzle. IMG_6144My sister Little-Big helped me assemble this puzzle. I focused on the grass and doghouses, while she worked on the sky and words. I honestly cannot read this Charles Schulz quote without smiling. Add in the puppies, and this is a winner of a puzzle!

IMG_6147For all that this is a 200 Large Piece puzzle, it had some pieces that were unexpectedly challenging! For some reason, my eyes had a hard time differentiating between the sky and the mint doghouse.

XRXD1162As you can see, the pieces are definitely large! I found them to be lightweight but sturdy, and easy to handle on a day my hands were stiff and swollen.

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Isn’t this cute?? I may have to add more puppies to my puzzle images! This puzzle really brightened my summer day! I may have to stay inside, but at least I have puppies!

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: Re-marks
  • Title: Doghouse
  • Artist: Unknown, Quote by Charles Schulz
  • Year released: Unknown
  • Pieces: 200
  • Cut-Style: Grid
  • Finished size: 13 x 19 inches
  • Bonus poster: No
  • Made from Recycled Material
  • Made in USA

QUALITY: 

  • Box: Compact and lightweight, 8 x 4 x 2 inches,
  • Board: Blue chipboard
  • Cut: Cut with a steel-cut die
  • Image Quality: Good,
  • Finish: Semi-gloss
  • Puzzle Dust: Minimal
  • Piece shapes: 4 different shapes that repeat, Large size for easy handling
  • Piece Fit: Good! Most pieces could be moved in small groups.

Disability Notes: The large size of these puzzle pieces are great for a person with hand issues, or a short attention span. If you have eyes issues, like not being able to tell the difference between similar pastel colors, you may want to choose a different design. Thankfully, Re-marks has bunches!  The pieces are sturdy and well made.

Where to buy: Doghouse 200 Large Pieces Puzzle is available on Amazon website for $9.99 USD. Unlike most of the other puzzle companies I have reviewed, the Re-marks website is only for wholesalers. However, there are tons of retailers who carry Re-marks puzzles. I usually buy from either Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Re-marks Puzzles: Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I received a complimentary puzzle from the manufacturer in exchange for review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Tiny But Mighty – and Hurricane Enlil

Almost 2 years ago in late September, I got a call from one of my Besties. “My husband found some abandoned kittens, I’m working two jobs, and can you foster this set? ”

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2 Small, scared, over-heated kittens

I’m the one in my friend-group that is the go-to cat person. I’d never fostered kittens quite this young before, but I figured I knew enough of the basics to manage.  Warmth, food, and patience, lots of it.

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Kittens hiding in my hair.

I named the black & white girl Morrigan and the orange male Enlil. I relied heavily on the Kitten Lady’s website to age my kittens(3 weeks), to properly feed them with a syringe, and to properly socialize them with my other cats.

Back then, I would have killed to have today’s book.

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Tiny But Mighty: Kitten Lady’s Guide to Saving the Most Vulnerable Felines

Here is the blurb from the back of the book:

From Kitten Lady, the professional kitten rescuer, humane educator, animal advocate, and owner of the popular Instagram @kittenxlady comes the definitive book on saving the most vulnerable—and adorable—feline population: newborn kittens.

Hannah Shaw, better known as Kitten Lady, has dedicated her life to saving the tiniest felines, but one doesn’t have to be a professional kitten rescuer to change—and save—lives. In Tiny but Mighty, Hannah not only outlines the dangers newborn kittens face and how she combats them, but how you can help every step of the way, from fighting feline overpopulation on the streets to fostering unweaned kittens, from combating illness to combating compassion fatigue, from finding a vet to finding the purrfect forever home. Filled with information on animal welfare, instructional guides, and personal rescue stories of kittens like Chloe, Tidbit, Hank, and Badger—not to mention hundreds of adorable kitten photos—Tiny but Mighty is the must-have kitten book for cat lovers, current-and-future rescuers, foster parents, activists, and advocates.

I managed to raise Morrigan and Enlil to adoption age, and adopted out Morrigan to an excellent home. I ended up adopting Enlil after she (stealthy girl) bonded to my ancient therapy cat, Pandemonium.

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Tiny But Mighty is the closest thing to a textbook for anyone involved in Kitten Rescue. Hannah Shaw uses her years of experience and hard-won knowledge to lay out a comprehensive how-to guide.

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This book covers literally everything. There are chapters explaining the correlation between Colony cats(AKA feral cats) and the high kitten shelter mortality rate, on what it takes to foster(surprisingly little!), on sicknesses and what to do, and how those who take on the monumental task of fostering should make a point to care for themselves. This is a definite must-read for anyone involved with cat care, especially kitten care.

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I found Tiny But Mighty to be laid out in a similar format to a user-friendly textbook, filled with charts, graphs, pictures and punctuated with stories from Hannah’s own experiences in the field. Not all stories are happy, but all serve a purpose, illustrating the points in that particular chapter. The amazing pictures that fill the book do the same, uplifting and educating.

Looking back, I can see where I made some mistakes in my fostering. But, some things can only be learned through experience or education. I’m incredibly grateful to Hannah for sharing this incredible resource to the cat community.

That being said, Hannah’s work as the Kitten Lady has saved hundreds of lives, both directly and peripherally. If not for her website and YouTube channel, I would not have my delightful therapy-cat-in-training, Hurricane Enlil! IMG_6248

  • Title: Tiny But Mighty: Kitten Lady’s Guide to Saving the Most Vulnerable Felines
  • Author: Hannah Shaw
  • Publisher: Plume/ Penguin Random House
  • Released: August 6th, 2019
  • Language: English
  • Format: Trade Hardcover
  • Pages: 336 pages
About the Author:
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Hannah Shaw is a kitten rescuer, humane educator, author, and unwavering animal advocate who has dedicated her life to finding innovative ways to protect animals. Her project, Kitten Lady, strives to create global change in the way we perceive and treat the tiniest and most vulnerable felines: orphan kittens.

Kitten Lady provides educational media, training resources, and instructional workshops and consulting services that help individuals and animal shelters learn how to save the lives of kittens–in a fun and engaging format.

Shaw, along with her partner Andrew Marttila, also operate Orphan Kitten Club, a 501(c)3 charitable organization which provides rescue and adoption services to orphaned kittens in the San Diego area.
For more information on Hannah and her adventures with kittens, visit her website or follow her on Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Where to buy:
Tiny But Mighty is available on Amazon in Hardcover, Kindle and Audiobook. The hardcover will retail for $25.00 USD, but is currently on sale for $13.24 USD.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary book from the publisher in exchange for review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Shark Week Blogiversary – Sunday

I have to be honest, folks. I didn’t enjoy either of these episodes for different reasons. But then, I’m a science nerd, not an entertainment junkie.

Sharks Gone Wild 2 –

This sort of episode is great for people who don’t know much about sharks or like jump scares. While the scripting did point out that messing around with sharks was dangerous, the film clips were deliberately sensationalist.

Shark Week Immersion –

I had never seen Rooster Teeth’s Immersion series before this, I tend to equate them with Red vs. Blue and RWBY. I found it to be an odd mix of MythBusters and internet trolling. It was interesting to see how sharks are portrayed in video games, though.

Shark Week 2019 Summary –

Overall, I really enjoyed this year. While there were some shows I disliked, most were both entertaining and informative. I am well aware that I am biased when dealing with documentaries and science shows, and that my opinion is no better or worse than anyone else’s. I woul dearly love for Discovery channel to kill Shark After Dark, as I find it a waste of a perfectly good time slot, and that all it does is recap the episodes of the day. Also, I want more diverse sharks! There are hundreds of different shark species, not just the popular Great White, Tiger, Mako, Bull and Hammerhead.

Shark Week Blogiversary Winners!

Please congratulate the winners of my first ever giveaway, Cassandra D. and Jenny H!!

Todays review is a little different, a friend of mine convinced me to pick up a paper craft kit from the local discount store. To my shock, I really enjoyed assembling it!

This is ArtZone Paper Sculpt Shark by Trends International. It is a preformed kit of heavy paper that is scored for folding with a tab system that is meant to be glued into place.

This kit includes 2 sheets of heavy paper printed on one side with numbers for assembly, and on the other side with shark coloration. There is a tube of craft glue, a paintbrush and some basic instructions. IMG_6230

I started out by folding each piece along the marked lines, then started to glue the end pieces to each other.

The assembly of this craft is a little tricky. Any time I work with glue, I get it all over my hands. The procedure is simple, you match the numbered tabs to the corresponding numbered space and glue. IMG_6231Slowly, my shark started to take shape!

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Look at that smile!!

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While the midsection is a little mangled, I’m rather proud of this! I haven’t done any sort of paper models quite like this!

Disability Notes: I can definitely recommend this craft for people with good hand/eye coordination. The numbers are clearly printed, but some of the tabs are very small and you need good focus. I did this on a good hand day, and Hime showed a lot of interest, so I’d rate the age range from 10+.

Where to buy: Trends International Shark Paper Sculpt Model is available on Amazon for $5.99 USD. Unfortunately, Trends International no longer carries this product, so Amazon or your local discount store may be the only place to find these.

Trends International: Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I bought this craft kit specifically for review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Shark Week Blogiversary – Saturday

Isle of Jaws: Blood Brothers –

This is an interesting episode in terms of shark behavior. Great Whites give birth to live young, and so it is entirely possible that they may choose to spend their lives with their siblings. I felt a bit cheated by the discovery that both sharks had already been tagged and had their DNA sampled, but the results not stated in the show.

Andrew Mayne: Ghost Diver –

While interesting, I didn’t really enjoy this episode. I found the premise intriguing. My issue was the main focus of the show, Andrew Mayne. He struck me as someone more interested in the gimmick of an electric suit, not the actual sharks. Still, the episode was great about showing the trial and error process of experimentation and invention.

I Was Prey: Shark Week –

This was the most emotional of all the Shark Week episodes, following two shark attack survivors as they recount their experiences. I was impressed by both survivors’ attitudes. They don’t blame the sharks for doing what they naturally do, and still make a point of going back to the ocean. I was impressed by the warnings at the beginning of the episode, letting people know the graphic nature of the images shown. Even then, the photos of the actual injuries were blurred.

Today’s review is a little bit different. It is a self-review, or an explanation of why I am such a shark nut.

I’ve always been a water-child. I am the daughter of a Navy man, and so most of my early memories involve being around the ocean. I remember hunting sand dollars and playing in tide pools, and visiting aquariums.

I loved dolphins and whales, but the movie Free Willy cemented my love of Orcas. I was obsessed. I wanted to study Marine Biology as an adult. I wanted to work with Orcas. When I was 10, my parents gave me the National Audubon Society Pocket Guide to Familiar Marine Mammals.

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I still have this!!

I focused all my studies to this goal, and while I did well in High School, College Maths and I did not agree. Between my math struggles and the fact that I had some family members disparaging my passion because “It wasn’t a money-making career.”, I floundered a while. I ended up not finishing college for other reasons and moved on with my life.

I still loved marine animals, but the increasing presence of the internet made clear that Orcas in captivity was not humane. I found the yearly ritual of watching Shark Week and visiting my local aquariums fed my interests. When the New England Aquarium (NEAQ) installed a Shark Touch Tank , I was hooked! I held my hand in the water and was brushed by a Cownose ray and a Cat shark(I honestly can’t call it petting….). The passion was back!

I read tons of nonfiction on Marine life in general and sharks in particular. I follow sharks tagged by Ocearch on Facebook and Twitter, and a ton of shark scientists. I advocate as much as I can for all marine life (except the invasive species), because my dream was deferred, and now I’m living with a disability that makes achieving it nigh impossible.

So I make new dreams, achievable ones. I dream of being able to rent a wheelchair and spend a day at the Georgia Aquarium(Atlanta, Georgia) so I can see a whale shark with my own eyes.  I dream of being well on the days NOAA and Ocearch scientists are giving lectures in my town so I can go see them. I dream of being well enough to volunteer doing data entry on sharks. I dream of being such a weird and wonderful shark fan that I can convince plush makers to design me a Wobbegong plushie (okay..I know this one is really left field, but I still want it to happen.)

Want a chance to win your own Shark puzzle? Giveaway Link: Here!

Disclosure:  The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them. Photo By Warren Tyrer via StockPholio.net

 

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

 

Shark Week Blogiversary – Friday

Return to Shark Island

This episode was both interesting and problematic for me. I understand that reunion Island is having a higher than normal spike of fatal shark encounters; but at the same time, humans are in the water, which is where sharks live. The CRA Shark Protection Program is a great idea, as previously the government had sanctioned shark culling. CRA and Dr. Craig O’Connell implemented a new shark deterrent system, so we will most likely have another Shark island episode in next year’s Shark Week. This episode highlights the fact that it takes TIME to find solutions to problems.

Great White Kill Zone: Guadalupe –

I won’t lie, I’ve been a huge fan of Melissa Marquez’s ever since last year’s Shark Week. Lady got bitten by a crocodile doing shark research and kept going! This episode shows the fact that Great Whites can and do adapt their hunting strategies to their environment. While the title of the show is sensationalist, it is interesting that due to the unique geography of Guadalupe Island the sharks have to change their usual behavior in order to be successful. Dr. Yannis Papastamatiou has a wonderful way of explaining things to the layman shark enthusiast.

Monster Mako: Perfect Predator –

Another slightly problematic episode for me. I dislike the use of the term of “grander” Mako to describe the larger end of the Mako shark size spectrum. No other shark species has this designation. Some of the behavior of the crew is incredibly dangerous and immature when filming the Mako’s behavior. I honestly can’t tell what is natural behavior and what is baited behavior. I did like seeing Spinner Sharks and the cinematography was excellent. Focusing on a species other than Great Whites and Bull Sharks was gratifying.

Want a chance to win your own Shark puzzle? Giveaway Link: Here!

Today’s review is MindWare’s Color by Number Color Counts: Glitter Under the Sea. IMG_6197This is the other side to MindWare’s Mystery Mosaic Series of color by number books. Color Counts are done in a stained glass style, with larger coloring areas and an easy to see design. Like the Mystery Mosaics, Color counts features both 22 8×11 pictures as well as 8 double-fold 15×11 pages.

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Double-fold page, uncolored.

All of the pages are perforated, which makes removal easy. But, the best part, in my mind, is the fact that unlike Mystery Mosaics, Color Counts has duplicate images without the numbers! It is absolutely possible to color the same image twice, once using the numbers, and once by using your imagination!

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Numbered page colored by me, Unnumbered page colored by Hime, age 10. Both images colored by using MindWare’s Colored Pencils Set.

While you will get excellent results using MindWare’s Colored Pencil Set, if you like Markers or crayons, it is totally possible to make great art! Every colorist has their preferences, and all are good, so long as you enjoy what you are doing!

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Colored by Little-Big, using colored pencils
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Colored by me using Staedtler Triplus Fineliners.

You did see that the title of the book is Glitter Under the Sea? The other nifty thing about this coloring book is that it comes with a tube of sparkle glitter glue. You can choose to use it or not on your images, but all of the numbered pages have sections where the number is followed by an asterisk(*). These let you know where to add sparkle!IMG_6204IMG_6206

I really think adding the glue made my pictures pop! IMG_6203

Disability Notes: Color Counts is a fantastic coloring book series to add to any colorist’s collection. The thick lines of the stained glass styling are forgiving of erroneous lines due to hand or eye issues. The larger coloring areas are just the right size for comfortable coloring, without over-stressing my hands. I find coloring CBN reduces my anxiety and relaxes me.

Where to buy: Color by Number Color Counts: Glitter Under the Sea and the 36 Colored Pencils Tin are available on the MindWare website. The book is $8.95 USD and the pencils are $19.99 USD. MindWare has tons of other Color Counts books are well as other coloring and activity books, so you’re sure to find something for nearly every taste!

MindWare : Website / FaceBook 

Disclosure: I received this coloring book for free in exchange for a review. The opinions are my own. All art shown on this post is Copyright ©2019 MindWare Corporation. The coloring is mine. All links are direct; I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Shark Week Blogiversary – Thursday

Hey guys, no review today as I’m out testing a sunscreen for a later review. It gives me a chance to take Hime and Bug to the pool and let them play “Baby Shark”. I’d take them to the beach, because Shark Week is all about not being afraid of sharks and water, but our area has a flesh-eating bacteria warning and that is a hard NO in my mind.

Extinct or Alive: The Lost Shark

This is amazing! The fact that the Pondicherry Shark hadn’t been seen since the 1970s, and yet sightings have been reported is intriguing. The methodology and science is valid, and well explained. The fact that Pondicherry Sharks can be mistaken for juvenile Bull Sharks and have the same fresh water tolerances means that they have been hiding under the radar all this time. While I’m disappointed that the team could not catch a live Pondicherry Shark, the fresh carcass from the fish market at least provides scientists a specimen to study. I for one, am thrilled to add the Pondicherry Shark to the list of Lazarus Species.

Capsized: Blood in the Water 

This was Discovery Channel’s first Feature-length film for Shark Week and based on a true story. While mildly exaggerated(Hollywood, ya know?), the main plot points are all there. I’m not going to spoil the movie, as I rather liked it. My only real complaint was that because the events took place in 1982, the sharks were very much the villains according to the script. Also, so much over-the-top dramatic music!

Want a chance to win your own Shark puzzle? Giveaway Link: Here!

Disclosure:  The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

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