Aug 292014

Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf
Published by Harlequin MIRA
Publication Date: June 24, 2014
ISBN-10: 0778316335
ISBN-13: 978-0778316336
Pages: 320
Review copy from: Harlequin
Edition: TPB
My Rating: 5

Synopsis (via GR):
Veteran social worker Ellen Moore has seen the worst side of humanity; the vilest acts one person can commit against another. She is a fiercely dedicated children’s advocate and a devoted mother and wife. But one blistering summer day, a simple moment of distraction will have repercussions that Ellen could never have imagined, threatening to shatter everything she holds dear, and trapping her between the gears of the system she works for.

Meanwhile, ten-year-old Jenny Briard has been living with her well-meaning but irresponsible father since her mother left them, sleeping on friends’ couches and moving in and out of cheap motels. When Jenny suddenly finds herself on her own, she is forced to survive with nothing but a few dollars and her street smarts. The last thing she wants is a social worker, but when Ellen’s and Jenny’s lives collide, little do they know just how much they can help one another.

A powerful and emotionally charged tale about motherhood and justice, Little Mercies is a searing portrait of the tenuous grasp we have on the things we love the most, and of the ties that unexpectedly bring us together.


My Thoughts and Opinion:


This was an emotional page turner!!!  And I couldn’t have read it at the most perfect time of the year.  I may have to include a hint of a spoiler so you may not want to read the entire review except to know it is a poignant story.


The four children in this book stole my heart from the first page to the last.  And I felt compassion and empathy for the adults that cared and loved them to the best of their ability (vague to avoid spoilers)


(spoiler) I now have a whole new perspective of reality.  We have all heard on the news of a child , or even an animal, left in a car, during the summer months and I’m sure, and I will admit I’m guilty of it, said or thought, how or what was the adult thinking?  But after reading this book, I’m not so sure that I will be so quick to judge.  Yes, it is wrong, it is a crime, we all need to be vigilant,and should wait for all details before making comments and/or judgments.


I have had Ms. Gudenkauf’s books on my wishlist for a while but after reading Little Mercies, she was just moved to my “authors to read” list.  Excellent Ms. Gudenkauf, Excellent!!


I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
Aug 282014

WELCOME William Leibowitz

William Leibowitz

William R. Leibowitz has been practicing entertainment law in New York City for a number of years. He has represented numerous renowned recording artists, songwriters, producers and many of the leading record companies, talent managers, merchandisers and other notable entertainment businesses. At one point, he was the Chief Operating Officer/General Counsel for the Sanctuary Group of Companies, a U.K. public company that was the largest ‘indie’ music company in the world (prior to its acquisition by the Universal Music Group). William has a Bachelor of Science Degree from New York University (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and a law degree from Columbia University. He lives in the village of Quogue, New York with his wife, Alexandria, and dog, George.

Miracle Man was named the winner of “Best Thriller – 2014” at the National Pacific Book Awards. William wrote Miracle Man because of its humanistic and spiritual messages and because he feels that in our current times– when meritless celebrity has eclipsed accomplishment and the only heroes are those based on comic books, the world needs a real hero—and that, of course, is Robert James Austin.

Connect with William at these sites:


Q&A with William Leibowitz

Writing and Reading:
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
While “miracle man” is fictional, the conflict between the protagonist, Robert James Austin, and ‘big pharma’ was inspired by the continual bad behavior of the large pharmaceutical companies that is constantly in the news. Similarly, the political intrigue and shenanigans in the book are based on current events.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
Before I start writing, I do extensive outlining of the plot—starting from the beginning and moving forward chronologically. Once I have the story line I then give thought to how I might create flash-backs and flash-forwards to keep the story moving and to create/maintain reader interest.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
Much of my first draft is done in long-hand, pen on paper. There’s something about that which makes me feel like I’m following an ageless tradition.

Is writing your full time job? If not, may I ask what you do by day?
I wish writing was my full time job, but it’s not. My ‘day gig’ is being a lawyer in the entertainment business.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
James Hilton, Oscar wilder, Daniel da Silva, Toni Morrison

What are you reading now?
Goodbye Mr. Chips by James Hilton, and the collected quotations of Albert Einstein.

Are you working on your next novel?  Can you tell us a little about it?
Many readers have emailed me asking for a sequel to “miracle man.” In fact, the ending of “miracle man” hints at more to come. I’m currently sketching out the plot lines—and all I can say is that readers have some very big surprises in store.

Fun questions:
Your novel will be a movie.  Who would you cast?
That’s a tough question because I’m not familiar enough with the current crop of actors/actresses to answer that. I think that’s a great question for me to pose to readers of “miracle man” –who would they cast for each of the key roles?

Manuscript/Notes: hand written or keyboard?
Once my first draft is done I move to the keyboard. I find that’s the easiest way to not only ‘fine-tune’ the writing, but also to move passages from one place to another to see if restructuring would be helpful.

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
Gardening and watching my koi swim around in their small pond.

Favorite meal?
TA charcuterie platter—selection of cheeses, Italian meats, olives, crackers, pate and condiments. That coupled with a very dry Bombay gin martini.

ABOUT Miracle Man

If you had encountered the most intelligent individual in human history, how would you want them to use their gift? The possibilities would be endless, and the reach of this power could potentially save millions of human lives. In Miracle Man, William R. Leibowitz presents the story of Dr. Robert James Austin, an anti-hero genius with an IQ higher than Einstein and a tragic background, who has the mental capacity to find cures for diseases – making him the perfect enemy for big pharma.

Leibowitz recounts Big Pharma’s efforts to sabotage and destroy Dr. Austin, who has devoted his extraordinary intellect to finding cures for human ailments, which is costing the pharmaceutical companies a fortune as his discoveries eliminate the need for “cash-cow” drugs that treat, rather than cure.

Although the story could have become an obvious morality tale, it instead explores the depths of darkness that can accompany the gift of genius, and readers will enjoy the philosophical debate about what the true nature of disease truly is: disease itself, or the men who look to benefit from it. Leibowitz does this within the context of fast-paced action involving world-altering scientific breakthroughs, industrial espionage and political intrigue, mixed in with an extraordinary romance.

In the book, Leibowitz gives insight into:
• The depths of darkness that can accompany the gift of genius
• What cures for diseases means for the pharmaceutical industry
• How scientific breakthroughs are affected by political influence
• The corruption behind un-regulated industries that profit from man’s destruction

As Dr. Austin says, “No major disease has been cured in decades. The thrust is not to find a cure, but to create a treatment – a product that can be sold, again and again; ongoing treatments with drugs rather than cures. Keep selling those pills day after day rather than eradicate the need for them.”


Number of Pages: 430 pages
Publisher: manifesto media group
Publication Date: January 24th 2014
ISBN-10: 0989866211
ISBN-13: 9780989866217





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I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
I do not have any affiliation with or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.


Aug 262014


WELCOME Cate Beauman


Cate Beauman

Cate currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, their two boys, and St. Bernards, Bear and Jack. She is the author of the best selling romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County. Before her career as an author, Cate worked in special education for 12 years.

“I’m a pretty lucky girl; one day I woke up and my entire life changed. I saw the light, so to speak, and decided I was going to be a writer. Now, four years later, I’m currently working on my eighth novel, Reagan’s Redemption, which I plan to release in early spring of 2015. I’m very grateful for the support and success I’ve had.” – Cate


Writing and Reading:
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?

I don’t typically write from by own experiences. I’m just not as exciting as the men and women of Ethan Cooke Security. I usually get ideas from crime documentaries or articles I read. Whenever I watch television or read magazines, I keep a pen and pad of paper handy. Inspiration comes in the strangest forms. Once I saw a femur bone on a TV show and it sparked an idea for a novel I want to write in the future.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?

I typically have a general idea of where I want to take each story. I use a very vague outline that I build on as I get to know my characters better and come across plot holes.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?

My workday starts after the hubster and kiddos head off to work and school. I write until they come home then usually some more after everyone goes to bed.

I guess one might say I have a few idiosyncrasies. I’m kind of a neat freak, so I can’t write until my house is clean! And I always have to have a glass of water close by. It’s a little weird but that’s me!

Is writing your full time job? If not, may I ask what you do by day?

I’m lucky to say writing is my full-time job! I stay home and play in my imagination all day, so most of the time it doesn’t feel like a job at all.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

My all-time favorite is Nora Roberts. I love her work and her work ethic.

What are you reading now?

I would have to say I’ve mostly been reading over my youngest son’s homework! Life is pretty busy. I haven’t had the opportunity to read for fun since last winter!

Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?

Absolutely! By the time I’m ready to release a novel, I’m typically preparing to start the second draft on the next manuscript! Reagan’s Redemption, book eight in The Bodyguards of L.A. County Series, will chronicle Shane Harper and Doctor Reagan Rosner while they travel deep into the hills of Western Kentucky. Shane and Reagan encounter more than they expect while they both serve on The Appalachia Project, a humanitarian effort that will bring medical aide to a reluctant community.

Fun questions:
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?

I’ll never tell (Cue creepy music!). I must admit I never ever share whom I see in the staring roles of my stories. One of my pet peeves is reading stories where I fall in love with the characters then look on the cover of the book and realize the people portrayed are not the ones I’ve imagined in my head. On more than one occasion I’ve frowned and said, “That’s not what they look like.” I want my readers to conjure up their own visions of the men and women of Ethan Cooke Security.

Manuscript/Notes: handwritten or keyboard?

Both! I have notebooks chalked full of notes, but I write each story on my laptop. Before I start a second draft, I add helpful hints for each scene in dark red font.

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?

Kayaking is my favorite outdoor activity. My family and I get out on the water whenever we can! I also like to make jewelry and cook and bake.

Favorite meal?

I LOVE eggplant parmesan. Toss in a piece of garlic bread and a salad and I’m in heaven!

Connect with Cate at these sites:





Jewelry designer Sophie Burke has fled Maine for the anonymity of the big city. She’s starting over with a job she tolerates and a grungy motel room she calls home on the wrong side of town, but anything is better than the nightmare she left behind.

Stone McCabe is Ethan Cooke Security’s brooding bad boy more interested in keeping to himself than anything else—until the gorgeous blond with haunted violet eyes catches his attention late one rainy night.

Stone reluctantly gives Sophie a hand only to quickly realize that the shy beauty with the soft voice and pretty smile has something to hide. Tangled up in her secrets, Stone offers Sophie a solution that has the potential to free her from her problems once and for all—or jeopardize both of their lives.





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I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
I do not have any affiliation with or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.


Aug 252014

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia of A girl and her books and is  now hosted on its own blog.         

According to Marcia, “Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.
Click on title for synopsis via GoodReads
Monday:  The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain (personal purchase)
Monday:  Defending Jacob by William Landay (personal purchase at recommendation of my daughter-in-law)
Aug 212014

Murder Strikes a Pose

by Tracy Weber

on Tour August 2014

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Published by: Midnight Ink
Publication Date: January 8, 2014
Number of Pages: 288
ISBN: 978-0738739687
Purchase Links:


When George and Bella—a homeless alcoholic and his intimidating German shepherd—disturb the peace outside her studio, yoga instructor Kate Davidson’s Zen-like calm is stretched to the breaking point. Kate tries to get rid of them before Bella scares the yoga pants off her students. Instead, the three form an unlikely friendship.

One night Kate finds George’s body behind her studio. The police dismiss his murder as a drug-related street crime, but she knows George wasn’t a dealer. So Kate starts digging into George’s past while also looking for someone to adopt Bella before she’s sent to the big dog park in the sky. With the murderer nipping at her heels, Kate has to work fast or her next Corpse Pose may be for real.

Read an excerpt:

I laid my body on the cool wood floor, covered up with a blanket, and prepared to die.

Metaphorically, that is.

Corpse Pose’s ten-minute rest always soothed my stressed-out nerves, and for once I didn’t feel guilty about the indulgence. My to-do list was blank, Serenity Yoga’s phone was silent, and I had a whole blissful hour between clients to do my favorite activity: practice yoga.

Even my eclectic Greenwood neighborhood seemed uncharacteristically quiet, lulled by Seattle’s rare afternoon sun. The residents of the apartments above the yoga studio were off at their day jobs; the alcohol-addicted patrons of the block’s two dive bars slept off their Jim Beam breakfasts; the soccer moms shopping at next door’s upscale PhinneyWood Market purchased the day’s supplies in unusual silence.

I wiggled my toes under a Mexican blanket, covered my eyes with a blue satin eye pillow, and inhaled deeply. The ooey-gooey smell of Mocha Mia’s chocolate caramel cake wafted from across the street and filled my nostrils with sweet toffee-scented bliss—my all-time favorite aromatherapy.

Paradise. Simply paradise.

I released my weight into the earth and silently coached myself, exactly as I would one of my students. OK, Kate. Feel your body relax. Notice the random fluctuations of your mind and—

A vicious snarl ripped through the silence, startling me out of my catnap. I sat straight up, eye pillow falling to the floor with an undignified thump.

What the heck?

When had a dog fighting ring moved into the neighborhood?

A dog fight was the only plausible explanation for the commotion outside. Bursts of deep, frantic barking were followed by high-pitched yelping, all punctuated by the peace-shattering sounds of angry yelling. The phrases I could make out confirmed my suspicions. This had to be a dog fight, albeit one-sided.

“Control your dog!”

“Get that vicious beast out of here!”

And even a simple, “What the hell?”

I closed the door between the yoga room and the studio’s lobby, hoping to block out the intrusive sounds. Snarls, shouts, and an occasional ear-piercing shriek continued to reverberate right through the wall.

Undaunted, I imagined that the sounds were merely clouds floating across my mental horizon. Most of those clouds were dark and ominous, like the deep thunderclouds preceding a hailstorm. But every so often I heard a soft voice, more like the fluffy clouds of childhood summers. I couldn’t quite make out his words, but I could tell that the speaker was a man. From his tone, I assumed he was trying to calm beasts both human and animal.

It wasn’t working.

Neither, for that matter, was my attempted meditation.

I’d obviously have to shift tactics.

I tried drowning out the clamor with low, soft chanting. Then I increased the volume. But even as I belted out Om Santi, my favorite mantra for peace, I felt my jaw start to tighten. My fingernails bit deeply into my palms. My shoulders crept up to my ears.

An entirely different mantra began pounding through my head: Don’t get me angry; you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

A series of yelps and the words “I’m calling the cops!” zapped me like a cattle prod. I leapt from my mat and stormed across the floor, determined to put a stop to that infernal racket. I hurled open the door and came face-to-face, or rather face-to-snout, with the source of the commotion. Not more than five feet away from the studio’s entrance stood a paunchy, dark-haired man and the biggest, skinniest, meanest-looking German shepherd I had ever seen. Don’t get me wrong. I like dogs. I love them, in fact. It’s their human counterparts I could sometimes do without. But this frothing breast was no Rin Tin Tin. A long line of drool oozed from its mouth. Its sharp white teeth glinted in the sunlight, and its black wiry topcoat still stood on end from the prior scuffle. The dog was obviously rabid.
I didn’t recognize the man standing next to the frightening creature, but I did recognize his activity. He worked as a vendor for Dollars for Change, a well-regarded local newspaper that published articles about homelessness and poverty while employing those same homeless individuals as salespeople. Ordinarily I would have welcomed one of their vendors outside my business. If nothing else, supporting the paper demonstrated yoga’s principles of kindness and compassion.
But this was not an ordinary circumstance. I absolutely could not allow that disgusting dog to raise a ruckus outside my studio. The prenatal class would have a fit. Suffice it to say that pregnancy hormones didn’t always leave expecting moms in the best of moods. My moms-to-be liked their yoga practice. They needed their yoga practice. And they needed to be serene while doing it. If a noisy dog fight disturbed their peaceful experience, I’d be the one getting barked at.

Thinking less than yogic thoughts, I marched up to the pair, determined to put a stop to the chaos.

“What in the world’s going on out here?”

The human half of the dastardly duo held a leash in one hand, newspapers in the other. He smiled at me and said, “Sorry about all the noise. I’m George, and this here’s Bella. What’s your name?”

“Kate Davidson, but—”

“Well, nice to meet you, Kate. I’d shake your hand, but mine are full, so Bella will have to do it instead.”

The vicious beast walked up and calmly sniffed my hand. I prayed she wasn’t about to ingest my fingers.

“Bella, say hello!”

Upon hearing her owner’s command, the giant hairy monster-dog immediately went into a perfect sit and sweetly offered me her paw. Maybe she wasn’t rabid after all. Just huge and ill-mannered.

“Don’t mind Bella,” he continued. “She’s very friendly to people. She just doesn’t like other dogs much. She’d be fine if people kept their unruly mutts to themselves, but they think if their rude dog wants to play, Bella has to as well.” He shook his head in disgust. “I don’t understand some people!”

I tried to interrupt, to tell him that his dog was the problem, but he didn’t give me the chance.

“Bella and I are new to this neighborhood, and we’re supposed to sell papers near the market. I tried setting up by the north entrance, but there’s a pet store at that end. Pete’s Pets, I think it’s called? The owner was a nice enough guy and all, but selling there was a disaster with all those dogs going in and out. Bella wasn’t happy at all.” He shrugged. “So I guess we’re going to have to hang out here instead.”

I bit the inside of my lip and considered my options. Up close, George wasn’t exactly the paragon of health I wanted standing outside my business. His friendly smile exposed yellowed teeth in need of significant dental care, and if the sharp, ammonia-like smell was any indication, neither he nor Bella had taken a bath in quite some time. At three-thirty in the afternoon, I could smell whiskey on his breath, and I suspected this most recent drink hadn’t been his first of the day. It would also likely be far from his last. I only knew one thing for certain: if George didn’t frighten my students away, his loud, intimidating, fur-covered companion would.

I needed them to leave, but honestly, I didn’t want to say it out loud. After all, I taught yoga for a living. People expected me to be calm and collected at all times. I wasn’t allowed to be mean, or even irritated, for that matter. I hesitated as I tried to come up with the perfect words to make him want to move, if not out of the neighborhood, then at least across the street.

Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately), one of my favorite students picked that very moment to walk up with her five-month-old Lab pup, Coalie. “Hey, Kate!” she said. “I hoped I’d run into you! Do you still have space in your Core Strength class tonight?”
Coalie was as rude and friendly as Labs everywhere. She couldn’t stop herself if she tried. She ran up to Bella, wiggling her entire body with glee, and covered Bella’s muzzle in sloppy wet puppy kisses.

Bella wasted no time. Faster than a 747 and stronger than a freight train, Bella pinned Coalie to the ground between her front legs, snarling and air-snapping on either side of Coalie’s neck. I heard the sound of canine teeth chomping together and imagined soft puppy bones shattering between them.
My student screamed. Coalie yelped. George grabbed Bella’s collar while I reached in between razor-sharp teeth to pull Coalie from the jaws of death. The three of us wrestled the two dogs apart, but not before my student almost died of heart failure.

“What’s wrong with you?” she yelled. “Keep that vicious monster away from my baby!”

George quickly apologized, but said, “No damage done. Bella was just teaching that pup some manners.” He pointed at Coalie. “See, it’s all good!”

Coalie, oblivious with joy, seemed unscathed and ready to dive in again. Tail wagging and butt wiggling, she pulled with all her might, trying desperately to get back to Bella.

Bella had other plans. She sat next to George, glaring directly at that pup with a patented Clint Eastwood stare. Go ahead, she seemed to say. Make my day. My soon-to-be-former student ran off as quickly as her legs would move, dragging the still-happy puppy behind her.

“See you in class tonight!” I yelled to her rapidly retreating back. I doubted I’d be seeing her any time soon.

Yoga reputation be damned. I had to get rid of this guy.

I put my hands on my hips and stood nice and tall, taking full advantage of my five-foot-three-inch frame. “Look. I can’t let you stay here with the dog. She’s obviously frightening people. You have to leave.” I paused a moment for emphasis, then added, “Now.”

George stood a little taller, too. “Look yourself, lady. The last time I checked, I’m standing on city property. I have every right to be here. You don’t own this sidewalk, and you can’t stop me from making a living on it.” He glared at me, sharp eyes unblinking. “We Dollars for Change vendors are licensed, and no matter how much you don’t like us, the city says we can be here.”

“There’s no ‘us’ I don’t like,” I replied, frustrated. “It’s your dog. And you may have every right to be here, but the dog is another story. What do you think Animal Control will do if I report a vicious dog attacking people outside my store?”

George stepped back, pulling Bella closer. Seattle had the toughest dangerous dog laws in the nation. We both knew what would happen if I made that call. “You wouldn’t do that!” he said. “Bella’s never hurt anyone.”

I planted my feet stubbornly. “Try me.”

George gave me a wounded look and gathered his papers, shoulders slumped in depressed resignation. “OK, we’ll go. But I thought you yoga people were supposed to be kind.” He shuffled away, shaking his head and mumbling under his breath. Bella followed close by his side.

“Crap,” I muttered, watching their slow departure. “Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap.”
He was right. Like all good yoga teachers, I had extensively studied yoga philosophy and tried to live by it. The teachings were clear: A yogi should respond to suffering with active compassion. And George was clearly suffering, whether he realized that fact or not.

Threatening to call the cops on George’s dog may have been active, but it wasn’t all that compassionate, to him or to Bella. I felt like a cad. My solution probably wasn’t what the teachings had in mind, but it was the best I could come up with on short notice.
“Hang on there a minute!” I yelled as I ran to catch up with him. Out of breath, I said, “You’re right. I overreacted, and I’m sorry. How many papers do you have left to sell today?”

George stopped walking. When he turned to look back at me, his eyes sparkled with an unexpected hint of wry humor. “About thirty.”

The calculations weren’t difficult. I wasn’t completely broke—yet—but thirty dollars wasn’t a drop in the bucket. On the other hand, my Monday evening classes were popular, and I had to get this guy away from the front door. Mentally crossing my fingers that the toilet wouldn’t break again, I said, “Wait here. I’ll be right back.” I hurried back to the studio and grabbed thirty dollars from the cash box.

“If I buy all of your papers, will you be done for the day?”

“Yes ma’am, and that would be very kind of you.” He gave me a broad, yellow-toothed smile. “Bella and I appreciate it very much.”
He took the money, left the papers, and wandered off, whistling. Bella happily trotted behind him.

“Well, that wasn’t so difficult,” I said, patting myself on the back. “I should follow the teachings more often!” I went back inside and finished my considerably shortened practice. I chose to ignore the quiet voice in my head telling me I’d just made a huge mistake.

Author Bio:

My writing is an expression of the things I love best: yoga, dogs, and murder mysteries.

I’m a certified yoga teacher and the founder of Whole Life Yoga, an award-winning yoga studio in Seattle, WA. I enjoy sharing my passion for yoga and animals in any form possible.

My husband and I live with our challenging yet amazing German shepherd Tasha and our bonito flake-loving cat Maggie. When I’m not writing, I spend my time teaching yoga, walking Tasha, and sipping Blackthorn cider at my favorite local ale house.

I am a member of Sisters in Crime, The Pacific Northwest Writers Association, and the Dog Writers Association of America.

Catch Up With the Author:

Tour Participants:


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