3 star review

Unlikeable Demon Humter

Bridesmaids meets Buffy with a dash of the seven deadly sins.

The age-old story of what happens when a foul-mouthed, romance impaired heroine with no edit button and a predilection for hot sex is faced with her worst nightmare–a purpose.

Ari Katz is intelligent, driven, and will make an excellent demon hunter once initiated into the Brotherhood of David. However, this book is about his twin Nava: a smart-ass, self-cultivated hot mess, who is thrilled her brother is stuck with all the chosen one crap.

When Nava half-drunkenly interrupts Ari’s induction ceremony, she expects to be chastised. What she doesn’t expect is to take her brother’s place among the–until now–all-male demon hunters. Even worse? Her infuriating leader is former rock star Rohan Mitra.

Too bad Rohan’s exactly what Nava’s always wanted: the perfect bad boy fling with no strings attached, because he may also be the one to bring down her carefully erected emotional shields. That’s as dangerous as all the evil fiends vying for the bragging rights of killing the only female ever chosen for Demon Club.

Odds of survival: eh.

Odds of having a very good time with Rohan before she bites it: much better.

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.

I would call this a Kate Daniels Buffy mashup with a train wreck and a side of new adult stupidity. So maybe more like Buffy than I would like to admit, the only thing is I was at A VERY different life phase when I was so enthralled with Buffy, and even then I sometimes got irked with the BS.

But this? This is a hot mess on so many levels, just like the dislikeable heroine. The premise was excellent; a secret society of Jewish demon slayers so blinded by their misogyny they missed their chosen one was the female twin? Sheer catnip. The writer’s voice which was clear and full of snark (excepting the sex scenes both solo and two player which were both just not great to me-particularly Nava’s name fer her vagina, bleck). Perfect.

The characters and what they do though? Stupid, and not often in a fun-loving way. You know how they say of young soldiers that they have to be young, dumb, and full of… to throw their lives away like that? Yeah, these kids (even though ones who are ostensibly full adults) struck me that way. Which just screwed with the plot for me, since I couldn’t get behind their motivations so much of it didn’t make sense. Don’t get me wrong there was some deep stuff going on, but for me it was overshadowed by exclamations of “damn it, are these @ssholes 20 or 12 for crying out loud.”

I don’t know though. It was like a freaking train-wreck that I COULD NOT look away from. I read it in one sitting, just devoured it, I had to know what would happen next. So that has to be worth something. And I remind myself the Kate Daniels series didn’t exactly set my world on fire that first book either. So I am going to give this a cautious 3 stars, see what happens next, and maybe suggest that this might be more of a hit among firm lovers of the New Adult paranormal genre.

The Unlikeable Demon Hunter (Nava Katz, #1)
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5 star review

Review – Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs

Silence Fallen

In the #1 New York Times bestselling Mercy Thompson novels, the coyote shapeshifter has found her voice in the werewolf pack. But when Mercy’s bond with the pack—and her mate—is broken, she’ll learn what it truly means to be alone…

Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes—only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe…

Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise…

Glorious! I devoured this book in record time. How a series that I initially gave no chance to, could so quickly become one of my absolute favorite series is a bafflement to me. But it is true. Patricia Briggs has a gift for writing strong, ferocious heroines that still engender empathy in her readers.

This is book 10 in the series, and these are NOT, I repeat NOT standalones. So, unfortunately, spoilers for the previous books may occur. But let me tell you, if you have any interest at all in urban fantasy/paranormal romance, this is a series that will suck you in. We have a Volkswagon mechanic named Mercedes, a daughter of chaos who plays merry hell on the stoic werewolves around her. A coyote shifter is so very different than the other big bads in this fantasy setting. It is completely worth the read, and I highly recommend the series as whole.

This book in specific though plays a nice symmetry with the beginning of the series, Mercedes alone and ostensibly friendless. Of course Mercy has always had a knack for managing the chaos in her life. But it was interesting to see how different of a person she is by this point in time, even when she is on her own.

Following the events of the previous books, the consequences of the Columbia Basin’s power plays in making their territory neutral for both humans and the supernatural alike have shown up in an interesting way. And while our main protagonists, and us readers, have had a view from the inside, it was very interesting to see how those on the OUTSIDE have interpreted the events that unfolded. Needless to say they got it all wrong. Which opened up all sorts of doors to conflict.

Enter stage left- The Master of Milan, Iacapo Bonaparte. He is the biggest, baddest vampire in Europe. And ever if there was a canny, crafty, bastard of a villain, this jerk is it. I never thought I could sympathize with some of the vampires who have been making Mercy’s life hell in the previous books, but Briggs managed it. Surprising revelations changed the entire COMPLEXION of events that I thought I understood before, and in such a way that it seemed completely natural to me. The landscape back home is going to end up very different once our stalwart heroes make it back.

Of course, despite Bonaparte’s machinations, things are very much not what they seemed, and forces were at work that even he couldn’t comprehend. Turns out there is even more to Mercy than we had already realized….I think she finally discovered her “42”.

Adam and Mercy though, at this point are just rock solid, but it was nice to see how even apart they are still each the others touchstone. But it was also nice to see a few secondary characters shine, and get to understand them better. I think going back and rereading with some of this new information is going to give me a deeper appreciation of some of the other characters. And I know that events from this book are going to perceptively color future events.

And of course the reunion between Mercy and Adam was sweet, and sexy, and full of the turmoil only these two characters can bring to one another. Briggs had a description in the spinoff series that everything here made me think of, about how opening up was like opening an umbrella that had been shut a very long time and how parts creak and groan and threaten to break…only in this case it was like someone then oiled all the moving parts so that everything will now function like it should. That is what this book felt like. It may hurt to open things up that have been closed a very long time, but sometimes you have to so you can use it the way it need to be used.

Another note though, this book is somewhat nonlinear, so I think I will need to read it at least one more time to truly get it all together in my head. But it was excellent enough that I would have wanted to regardless. This was one of those books that was absolutely worth the wait and more than exceeded my expectations even though it was nothing like I was expecting, if you see what I mean.

Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson, #10)

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5 star review

Review + Giveaway – One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews

one-fell-sweep

Dina DeMille may run the nicest Bed and Breakfast in Red Deer, Texas, but she caters to a very particular kind of guest… the kind that no one on Earth is supposed to know about. Guests like a former intergalactic tyrant with an impressive bounty on her head, the Lord Marshal of a powerful vampire clan, and a displaced-and-superhot werewolf; so don’t stand too close, or you may be collateral damage.

But what passes for Dina’s normal life is about to be thrown into chaos. First, she must rescue her long-distant older sister, Maud, who’s been exiled with her family to a planet that functions as the most lawless penal colony since Botany Bay. Then she agrees to help a guest whose last chance at saving his civilization could bring death and disaster to all Dina holds dear. Now Gertrude Hunt is under siege by a clan of assassins. To keep her guests safe and to find her missing parents, Dina will risk everything, even if she has to pay the ultimate price. Though Sean may have something to say about that!

I received an ARC of this book from the author, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the contents of my review…obviously, since I bought it anyway. And I’ll buy a copy for one lucky winner of my Giveaway too, as has become my tradition (and despite the fact that it is getting released on a Tuesday)! a Rafflecopter giveaway

So on to the story. This is the first one of this series of serials where I actually read the serial instead of waiting for the project to be finalized, though I did wait for all parts to be written…because I am not that much of a masochist. So I found it really interesting to try to see where and how it changed. Of course, the difficulty with trying that is that I once again got sucked into the story, hard. It is difficult to play the difference game when you feel like you are in something instead of outside it.

This is the third book in their urban fantasy series, where the earth in question is one out of a multiverse, one that connects to the wider multiverse through key points in the form of Inns. Inns are magical places that are hidden from the earthlings at large, and that function as neutral points on earth for the protection of both earth and the special visitors that come here. They also are symbiotic, Inns need guests. And Dina is the Innkeepeer of the Gertrude Hunt, the setting of our story.

The overall series arc revolves around the search for Dina’s parents who disappeared with their Inn some years ago. While her brother actively searches, Dina’s plan was to draw guests to her Inn in the hopes of encountering someone who could help. Considering the caliber of guests she has attracted, and the courageous way she has addressed problems along the way, it is no surprise that this plan is bearing fruit. Dina rocks.

Other notable points in this story are getting to meet more of Dina’s family and the resolution of the love triangle that was noted in the first book. I was never in doubt about which way that was going to go, personally. But if you were hesitant to pick up this series because of that triangle, you can rest assured it is safe to pick it up now.

But the most important things are the way our kick-ass homemaker grows into her role and owns up to making life and death situations. She  also learns to be part of a team. This book wasn’t as “fun” as the first one, nor was it quite the sucker punch to the guts that then second one was (in my opinion), but it was just as good only in a broader way. I guess what I am trying to say is that there was a lot more going on in this one. Heartwarming moments, humor, joy, despair, and hope. This one has it all, and so did Dina.

As for changes from the original serial format? The only thing I actually noticed was the little bit of a twist at the end. It really cleared up one confusing (to me) plot point from the last book, and left us with a hell of a question to ponder while waiting for the next one.

But you’ll have to read it to see what shook out. And I highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a little paranormal/urban fantasy.

One Fell Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles #3)

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5 star review

Review – Dragon Spawn by Eileen Wilks

dragon-spawn

The New York Times bestselling author of Mind Magic returns as FBI agent Lily Yu gets some very bad news…

Lily learns she was right. Tom Weng—a powerful sorcerer allied with the Old One who keeps trying to take over the world—is still alive. But that’s not the worst. Weng is a dragon spawn, the product of a botched hatching given a human form in an attempt to keep him from going mad. A failed attempt.

Meanwhile, Lily’s husband Rule is facing a Challenge to the death. Then there’s the possible reappearance of another sorcerer. But none of that matters when their enemy strikes out of nowhere in the worst way possible. Lily must face a nightmare and return to a place she never wanted to see again. The place where she died…

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.

This is a series that has me in my feelings every single time. And this last one, while I really enjoyed it, left me a trifle confused about where the overall story arc was going. And so, while I was nervous to start it, I recognized the last time that I always am with this series, and since I have never had a significant disappointment, when the opportunity to snatch it up occurred, I did so gleefully and put my trepidation aside to start almost immediately.

Since this is book 13 in the series, DO NOT start here. Eileen Wilks’ World of the Lupi series is sort of an alternate history, slightly post-apocalyptic, urban fantasy romance series. In this world, we have Lupi (sort of like hereditary werewolves who until recently were only male and have a deeply religious bent), Sidhe, humans with Gifts, witches, dragons, demons and various other mythological creatures all rolled up into a complicated tapestry. It rocks, seriously rocks.

The series follows the events that occur after the return of magic in large quantities to this world, with the overall arc following those who are opposing a deity like creature who is out to cause genocide against the Lupi. The bridge between the Lupi and the humans comes in the form of Lily Yu-Turner, a human FBI agent who is the heroine of most of the stories. She is a very by the book FBI agent, so her involvement in events that are often outside of her control makes for entertaining reading.

This particular book however doesn’t intersect with her job or even much with the human world. There are actually a couple of different story threads going on. There’s the Lupi’s violent form of politics which Rule Turner has managed to step in. There’s the deepening relationship between Rule and Lily (so nice to see an author who acknowledges a relationship still needs to grow, even after marriage), and some hammering out of the Lily’s relationship with Rule’s son. There’s the Great Bitch’s shenanigans. There’s the trip itself and Gan the former demon’s continued growth of soul and her heroics. And naturally enough there’s the titular dragons. The last book certainly makes sense now.

Things are serious, and seriously busy. And I’ll admit that it kept me gripped in the story until right up at the end, when Eileen Wilks punched me right in the guts with the mother of all cliffhangers. One thing I can state unequivocally, I will not be the least reticent in picking up the next book. In fact, I think it si fair to say I am feeling slightly violent about getting the next installment of the story.

Don’t get me wrong, while I am irked as hell at this cliffhanger BS, I still really enjoyed the story. And I sincerely recommend the series as a whole, it is well written and despite the length it is a cohesive whole that as I have said several times before forms a rich tapestry of a story. You might not always get what’s going on while in the midst of it, but once the next piece is finished and you step back and look at the whole it all makes sense. What was accomplished in the book makes sense in the wider story arc, so while not everything is completed in this book, I have faith that the author knows where she is going and how to get us there.

Dragon Spawn (World of the Lupi, #13)

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5 star review

Review -Archangel’s Heart by Nalini Singh

archangels-heart

One of the most vicious archangels in the world has disappeared. No one knows if Lijuan is dead or has chosen to Sleep the long sleep of an immortal. But with her lands falling into chaos under a rising tide of vampiric bloodlust, a mysterious and ancient order of angels known as the Luminata calls the entire Cadre together to discuss the fate of her territory.

Accompanying her archangelic lover Raphael to the Luminata compound, guild hunter-turned-angel Elena senses that all is not as it seems. Secrets echo from within the stone walls of the compound, and the deeper Elena goes, the uglier the darkness. But neither Raphael nor Elena is ready for the brutal truths hidden within—truths that will change everything Elena thinks she knows about who she is…

Nothing will ever be the same again.

I am going to admit, I was a bit leery with this one, it sounded ominous and I have not been in a particularly good place of late. But Singh has had me captivated, so I had to read it anyway, and I was so glad I did. I absolutely devoured it.

This is book 9 in a series that really should be read in order. Spoilers for the previous books in the series are likely to occur. So the series teaser (as interpreted by me to see if you are interested): an urban fantasy world filled with non-judeo/christian angel’s, Archangels, vampires with a hell of a twist, and the human vampire hunters who work the fringes of this mad world have hellacious adventures, live, and love and all that jazz. So seriously, read all the books. But stop reading this review if you haven’t already read in the series.

Things have gotten super weird in the world. It has been two years since the events of the last book, and the staggering power of the cascade has been on pause and the big bad no where in sight. So needless to say that emotions are running high. This isn’t always a good thing, but based on how we have slowly been exploring Aodhan and his relationship with Illium it seems it might just be the perfect thing to break open the cracks in the remnants of our dear Sparkle’s solitude. I completely ‘ship SparkleBell. And things aren’t just in turmoil on the personal fronts, the power vacuum of a territory not under command of an Archangel is an issue that must be dealt with.

Enter stage left: the Luminia, an eons old sect but a complete mystery to us and to the relatively new minted angel Elena. And this group has the power and authority to call a meeting of the Cadre of Archangells…duh, duh, DUHHH. Things get dark pretty damned quick.  Power corrupts and rots in secret.

I think it is fair to say that I was completely surprised by where this book went. In a good way, but still, very surprised. And I think it is excellent that Singh has the power to surprise me, because I was starting to wonder.

I will admit, that I initially started this series under duress and desperation (I had nothing to read and had completely demolished-as in reread until the pages fell out waiting for the next Psy-Changeling book came out), and was prepared to dislike it for a variety of reasons…and the first book didn’t exactly endear itself to me. But now that I am into it, I think what I enjoy about it is how the power differentials are dealt with. Here a mortal heart in the face of such age and immorality is powerful and can change the course of the future, here there is power in being a scholar, here women can be and are expected to be powers in the own rights. It all just tickles my fancy. Plus, I really enjoy the twist with the vampires and the world building that goes along with this mythology.

I also really enjoy the balance. While I do enjoy following an established couple through a series, they can get stale and one-dimensional since we almost never seem them grow through the growth of integral friends. And while I also enjoy series that use each new couple’s book to advanced the overall story arc, sometimes it is exhausting meeting new people, plus the time giving more people back stories can make the overall arc disjointed. I find the method in this book about perfect. We do have out main characters who keep things moving along, but then other people close to the main characters have their own books too, which livens the series up. The first three books focus on Raphael and Elena, then we get Dmitri and Honor’s book, then Jason and Honor’s book, then back to Raphael and Elena, then back to their friends Janvier and Ashwini and then Nassir and Andi, and now we are back with Raphael and Elena, so I think we can expect more from Raphael’s Seven now. With Galen having found his heart long ago, that just leaves us with Venom, Sparkle, and BlueBell. And since I ‘ship the Sparklebell, you’ve got a good guess of whose story I want to see next. 😀

I am hoping for Sparklebell, then Venom…maybe with Sorrow…not at all sure about that. And then the big showdown with the big bad.

Meantime, our new guests to New York are I am sure going to shake things up, and I can’t WAIT for two of them to meet Elena’s father and her two half sisters. I am going to bet it is going to be love at first sight with those little girls, much to Jeffrey’s great discomfort.

And as it goes along I am going to wallow in how this mortal heart changes such ancient beings, breaking them out of their hidebound ways. It is purely delightful. Fair warning though, there is some darkness. But overall a happy book, that made my afternoon a little brighter. Singh always makes me glad I have read.

I am not certain any of this rambling makes a bit of sense, but I was trying not to squee and cooo, and Bieber it all over the place. Happy reading!

Archangel's Heart (Guild Hunter, #9)

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4 star review

October TBR Challenge 2016 – Undead and Done by MaryJanice Davidson

TBR Challenge 2016

Topic: Paranormal or Romantic Suspense

undead-and-done

This month’s review is of a book that JUST came out. But, it has been on my TBR ever since I read the first book in the series, if you know what I mean. I got into MaryJanice Davidson a bit late, but by 2008-2009 I was hooked and was raring for more. Betsy, and the Wyndhams, and Fred the Mermaid had my heart and I simply couldn’t wait to see how their stories would play out. It was a long and maddening time coming. This review is going to be ridiculous, and I can’t promised there won’t be series spoilers.

Vampire Queen Betsy Taylor continues her rule in Hell in the scorchingly funny finale to the Undead series from New York Times bestselling author MaryJanice Davidson.

It had been a well-kept secret for centuries, but now the existence of vampires is all over the news, thanks to Betsy Taylor’s half sister (and frustrated former Antichrist), Laura. Life for the undead will never be the same, and it’s up to Betsy to do some damage control. But her interview on the local news doesn’t exactly put out the fire. It more or less pours kerosene on it.

With all the added attention on supernatural beings, the werewolves are more than a little agitated (never a good thing) and demand that Betsy gets her interview skills, and her family, in order. And while things go from bad to worse in the world, Hell continues to be hell—especially when Betsy’s new parole program gets about as complicated as you’d expect.

With a PR team launching a vampire-friendly campaign, the Devil at large and out to make trouble, and mermaids on hand to see who falls—and how hard—the end isn’t just near. It’s here. And if anyone knows how to go out with a bang, it’s the Queen of Hell.

Book 15, oh parting is such sweet sorrow! MJ and Betsy, we’ve been through it, huh? A) I didn’t know a series this ridiculous could actually jump the shark. And B) I didn’t know how we were ever going to come back from the events of Unfinished and Undermined. The time traveling and the loved ones made into a creepy skin book with an Evil Betsy Taylor was just too much for me and many other readers. I am not ashamed to admit, I kind of quit this series. It has been 15 books and 8 years or so, and while it hasn’t always been great, it has been, something…

When I heard that she was wrapping up though, I caught back up and gave her another chance. And I am glad I did. I rarely quit series, and don’t do it lightly, and this is the only one I have ever come back to. I had missed the lightheartedness, the ridiculous humor, and the antics of friends I would never, ever want to hang out with. Seriously, it was like a train wreck.

What we have is my favorite designer shoe loving, airhead almost heroine vampire. She…kind of…grows up. Resolves some stuff, messes some more stuff up, and in general just takes us on a ride. Par for the course and almost like old times. A number of mysteries were solved/resolved, the vampire nation AND Hell are humming along on a fairly even keel, and the gang all comes out on top. There was one death, which was something of a deus ex machina, but honestly I can’t say I could see another way out either, so it is getting a pass from me.

I don’t know. How do you explain the end of a ridiculous series that made you laugh, and cry, and actually hand-to-heart set a book on fire and vow to never read another thing from this author again…but then you do anyway? I guess the best way to explain it is that I enjoyed it but am glad it is over. AND FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS UNHOLY AND DESIGNER SHOE RELATED, MARYJANICE DAVIDSON, you had better not come back here ever againAll that can happen by adding to it is making it worse. The only thing permissible would be short stories to fill in the gaps of things that have already happened (see below). Don’t screw this up like the nameless horrors.

I am not unequivocally satisfied with the series. There is a major series plot hole regarding Boo, Rachel, and Edward from Wolf at the Door that I find maddening. And little inconsistencies and discontinuity that may or may not be explained by the time line shift. And Liam and Sophie were never resolved. And I don’t know if I would necessarily recommend someone who hadn’t read the series to start (too much baggage in the middle). But if you used to love this series and stopped, it might be good to peak out and maybe ease any lingering irritation and finish it on a high note, I know I am glad I did.

Undead and Done (Undead #15)

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3.5 star review, 5 star review

OpenLibrary Review – Dream Man by Linda Howard

Dream man

This 1998 classic one was way overdue for a re-read, and the comments from my review of Troublemaker made it imperative. Dream Man is available from Openlibrary, but the usual disclaimers apply.

Detective Dane Hollister of the Orlando police department has never met anyone quite like Marlie Keen. While he has doubts about her supposed clairvoyant powers, she sees crimes as they’re being committed, there is no doubt about how much he desires her. To Marlie, Dane is all heat and hard muscle, and he makes her body come alive as it never has before. But not even she can foresee that their passion will lead them on a dangerous journey into the twisted mind of a madman who will threaten their happiness and their lives.

So things to note, I adored this book, it got 5 stars from me and I have reread it so very many times. And I still love it, but, just bear in mind these comments are me trying to read this thing with 2016 eyes. If you still love and have fond memories of this book, you just may want to look away. Because as much as I still enjoyed it, I think perhaps it didn’t hold up to time as well as others have. And considering this is such a widely read and reviewed book, well there may almost certainly be spoilers, and my comments are going to be more directed and specific than I would otherwise be. You have been warned.

Holy crap, I DID NOT remember Dane being such a stalkerish pig. I really didn’t. I will grant you that he is no where in the alphahole league as the ones I really trash, but I remember him as being a sweet hero. But really his bowling her over and moving in was slightly creepy to me now. I mean there is some genuinely witty banter, and he is rather sweet at times, but still. On the plus though it was the late 90’s version of this Athur Dayne guy-which is a must read. READ IT!!!!

Other pluses include a psychic heroine, but it somehow doesn’t strike as hardcore paranormal, she is a strong heroine who shows a huge personal growth pattern (some would say too much), the romantic connection, the sex scenes, and Dane’s partner, and the mystery and truly creepy villain. There is a ton of good stuff.

On the side of I don’t know if this is a plus or a minus-the prose is remarkably purple and I enjoyed the hell of it in the way that only a reader of the old skool possibly could, your mileage may vary.

On the negative Marlie kind of gets healed by the magic Peen, there is some acknowledged condomless sex that I had completely forgotten about (and Linda Howard is usually so wonderful with this), the hero flat betrays the heroine (not sexually, but…professionally), and there wasn’t nearly enough groveling… but the make-up sex was hot and sweet.

And back to the pluses, the epilogue, the magical wonderful baby epilogue. I know that epilogues in general get a bad rap, and baby ones even more. But seriously, this one simply must be read, to quote one of the nurses “There may be justice in this world, after all.”

So in the end what was formerly a 5 star book is probably down to a 3.5 star book for me now, still goo, still maybe a re-read, but not the top of the re-read stack. And maybe subconsciously I knew this and it was why I had such a delay in re-reading it. Who knows?

Dream Man

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