ARC Review: Deacon Locke Went to Prom by Brian Katcher

Title: Deacon Locke Went to Prom

Author: Brian Katcher

Published: 09 May 2017 | Katherine Tegen Books

Date Read: 13 May 2017

Synopsis:

In this funny, offbeat, and smile-inducing contemporary romance from award-winning author Brian Katcher, the love life of an awkward teen takes an unforgettable turn after he brings his grandmother to prom.

Promposals are taking over Deacon Locke’s high school and there is no place left to hide. But even with graduation looming, shy and unusually tall Deacon doesn’t think he can get up the nerve to ask anyone to the dance. Especially given all the theatrics.

It isn’t until Deacon confides in his witty and outgoing best friend Jean that he realizes should could be a great person to take. Only problem is Jean isn’t your typical prom date. She’s older. A lot older. And she’s Deacon’s grandmother.

But when Deacon meets Soraya—a girl unlike any other he’s ever met—he fears he has totally squandered his chances of having a prom he’ll never forget. Deacon couldn’t be more wrong. About everything.

*ARC Kindly provided by Katherine Tegen Books thru Edelweiss for review*

Deacon Locke is probably one of the awkward-est but cutest characters I’ve ever encountered and his story is as well one of the cutest & simplest story I’ve read this year!

Deacon Locke Went To Prom is a story about a shy guy who decided to bring his grandma to his prom and ended up being instantly internet famous. Ohhh, yes, that quick. This is not the first insta-internet-famous story I’ve read. There are several YA books with the same insta-internet-famous plot line. I think, this goes to show how influential the social media is really getting right now.

Anyway, back to the story. The story flowed smoothly for me but I was just a bit left perplexed by the thought of Deacon not owning a cellphone and having no interest with social media. There might be some millennials – like Deacon – that may not be interested in social media but not owning a cellphone? Hmmm.

The first part of the story focuses on Deacon’s Prom dilemma while the second half is a bit more personal and emotional for me. I love how the story transitioned from focusing on the normal teenage dilemma such as prom then proceeding to turn the story into stuffs that I guess is more serious.

On to the characters, there’s only a handful of characters introduced but they all captured my interest!

I loved Deacon and I want to hug him for the entire duration of the story. He’s awkward and I really liked him. With Deacon, what you see is what you get. He’s a bit of a nerd when it comes to astronomy, has a dry sense of humor but over all a very good guy.

Elijah – Deacon’s friend is such a sweetheart as well and I really liked how he’s pushing Deacon out of his shell. Soraya is the love interest in the story but since the story doesn’t really revolve on the love story aspect of it we only get a few glimpses of Soraya here and there (but don’t fret there’s a HEA here *wink*). Jean – Deacon’s grandmother also captured my heart. She’s a great character and though her love and support for Deacon isn’t really shown verbally, you can see thru the actions she’s making for him that he do love our main guy.

“Like the universe, my future is limitless. And like the universe, my future is mostly uncharted and kind of scary.”

In all, Deacon’s story was cute, plain and simple. More than everything, this is a coming of age book with Deacon deciding what he wants for his life and his future.

Blog Tour & ARC Review + Giveaway: Obsidian and Stars (Ivory and Bone #2) by Julie Eshbaugh

Title: Obsidian and Stars (Ivory and Bone #2)

Author: Julie Eshbaugh

Published: 13 June 2017 | Harper Teen

Date Read: 11 June 2017

Synopsis:

In the sequel to Ivory and Bone—the prehistoric fantasy novel that New York Times bestselling author Amie Kaufman described as a “richly crafted world of life-and-death stakes”—the story shifts to Mya’s viewpoint as vengeful adversaries force her to flee the life she once knew.

After surviving the chaotic battle that erupted after Lo and the Bosha clan attacked, now Mya is looking ahead to her future with Kol. All the things that once felt so uncertain are finally falling into place. But the same night as Kol and Mya’s betrothal announcement, Mya’s brother Chev reveals his plan to marry his youngest sister Lees to his friend Morsk. The only way to avoid this terrible turn of events, Morsk informs Mya when he corners her later, is for Mya to take Lees’ place and marry him herself.

Refusing to marry anyone other than her beloved, and in an effort to protect her sister, Mya runs away to a secret island with Lees. And though it seems like the safest place to hide until things back home blow over, Mya soon realizes she’s been followed. Lurking deep in the recesses of this dangerous place are rivals from Mya’s past whose thirst for revenge exceeds all reason.

With the lives of her loved ones on the line, Mya must make a move before the enemies of her past become the undoing of her future.

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*ARC Kindly provided by Harper Teen thru Edelweiss and FFBC for review*

Ivory and Bone is one of the YA books that I’ve read last year that left its mark on me what with its prehistoric setting and all the tribes and clans. I loved that first installment to this series that’s why I’m so ecstatic to be given a chance to read Obsidian and Stars a bit earlier that its release date and you guys and girls, its definitely worth the wait!!!

I’m going to start this off by giving my kudos to the author Julie Eshbaugh for keeping me at the edge of my seat for most the time that I am reading Obsidian and Stars. Not even into 20% of the story, my adrenaline is already pumped-up! It was non-stop heart stopping adventures and fight-scenes.

Obsidian and Stars was told in a new POV that is of Mya’s. If you can still remember, the first book was told in Kol’s POV. Mya’s POV was so much different than of Kol’s but I do enjoy getting to know her – how she values her family more than anything and how strong-willed she is to fight for what’s right and of justice. Reading on Mya’s perspective also gives us a different view on her and Kol’s relationship – their chemistry is still undeniably there! *wink*

The story was supposed to focus on Mya and Kol’s wedding until an unexpected thing happened and Mya needs to save her younger sister. And from there, more trouble seems to come their way. The plot twists and the unexpected things that happened are what really makes me love this book.

As much as the 1st book Ivory and Bone intrigued me, I enjoyed reading Obsidian and Stars so much more. I also love how the vividness of the author’s description and her prose is still present on this story. As I’ve mentioned already, the actions kept me at the edge of my seat most of the time. Obsidian and Star was fast-paced and really an enjoyable read.

The story wrapped-up nicely though there are still questions in me that are left unanswered, nevertheless, it was a bitter sweet ending for me. I’ve read that this will be the last book for this series – making it a duology instead of a trilogy – but I’m excited to see what’s more that is instore for us from Julie Eshbaugh.

Julie Eshbaugh is the author of Ivory and Bone (HarperCollins, 2016). She used to have trouble staying in one spot, having lived in places as varied as Utah, France, and New York City. Julie eventually returned home to the Philadelphia area, where she now lives with her husband, son, cat and dog. Her favorite moments are when the unexpected happens and she cheers loudest when the pitcher gets a hit.
  • 1 Finished copy of Obsidian and Stars is up for grabs!
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US vs UK Book Covers

Let’s all be honest, book covers always plays a role whenever we choose something to read. It’s a break it or make it moment at times. When I started blogging, I keep wondering why does a book have different covers? Why is there a need to have different covers when what is inside will be just the same? Good thing, I found an article online (which I can no longer find right now) that one of the reason behind the difference in the covers is because of the market. UK and US markets has different taste in colors and graphics thus the difference in book covers.

Last April, I did the Dream Book Covers Tag where I listed several of my favorite book covers.  Today, I’m doing another post – still related to book covers – but focuses on the difference between US and UK Book covers and which I loved more. 😉

Note: US Book Covers are on the left screen side while UK Book Covers are on the right screen side.

A Thousand Nights (A Thousand Nights, #1) by E.K. Johnston

I loved the purple back drop of both covers but I appreciated more the details and graphic play made on the US Cover.

And I Darken (The Conqueror’s Saga, #1) by Kiersten White

I haven’t read this book yet (I know, It’s a shame I haven’t read this) so I don’t have a bit of an idea what’s the relevance of the cover to the story. But my eyes are making heart-eyes on the US Cover. Don’t take this the wrong way but I’m actually not a big fan of book covers with people in it.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

I loved the UK Cover of Caraval and I loved Caraval! I guess it’s a tie between these two covers. But they do have a limited UK Edition where the hardcovers  have special graphics on the front cover when you removed the jacket. Please do check it our here.

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

I’ve always been in love with Marissa Meyer’s books and her book covers. For this specific book, hands down, it’s the US Cover. I loved all the thorny-stems and the color play between black and white. The UK Cover didn’t appeal greatly to me.

I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

This one will be a tie. I loved both the covers and the minimalist in me is happy dancing!! I love the simplicity of both the covers and how it greatly depicts what is inside the book as well.

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Stephanie Perkins

This is one of my favorite Christmas Anthology book and I really do love both covers! I loved the holiday vibes it  gave and the light but vibrant colors used.

Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1) by Jay Kristoff

Both covers gave me creepy vibes! Again, I wasn’t able to read this book yet so I really don’t know the relevance of the graphics to the story but I really appreciate it. This one will be a tie on both covers.

Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands, #1) by Alwyn Hamilton

I own the US Cover copy and I could definitely say that it was soooo beautiful. The metallic gold and blue colors are of great combination.

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

Whenever I see the US Book cover it never fails to remind me of The Empire State Building. Anyway, between these two, I could say that the UK cover was pretty but the US Cover captured my attention more than the UK one.

This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity, #1) by Victoria Schwab

Both covers scream “mystery” just like what this story is about. The graphics on both covers are relevant to the story so I guess, this one’s a tie as well.


You, which of the covers above you like best? Which other books can you add up on this list? Please do leave your comments below. 💜

Blog Tour & ARC Review + Giveaway: The Unlikelies by Carrie Firestone

Title: The Unlikelies

Author: Carrie Firestone

Published: 06 June 2017 | Little, Brown and Company

Date Read: 31 May 2017

Synopsis:

Five teens embark on a summer of vigilante good samaritanism in a novel that’s part The Breakfast Club, part The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, and utterly captivating.

Rising high school senior Sadie is bracing herself for a long, lonely, and boring summer. But things take an unexpected turn when she steps in to help rescue a baby in distress and a video of her good deed goes viral.

Suddenly internet-famous, Sadie’s summer changes for the better when she’s introduced to other “hometown heroes.” These five very different teens form an unlikely alliance to secretly right local wrongs, but when they try to help a heroin-using friend, they get in over their heads and discover that there might be truth in the saying “no good deed goes unpunished.” Can Sadie and her new friends make it through the summer with their friendships–and anonymity–intact?

This rich and thought-provoking novel takes on timely issues and timeless experiences with a winning combination of romance, humor, and wisdom.

*ARC kindly provided by Little, Brown and Company for review*

What really caught my attention before reading The Unlikelies was its blurb mentioning it’s part The Breakfast Club, part The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. I loved The Breakfast and I will surely not miss the chance to read a YA Story with a bit of The Breakfast club in it.

The Unlikelies was a quick and easy summer read letting us see the there’s still a bit of goodness left in the Internet. The whole storyline was unique and catchy however, the drama felt a bit unbelievable. The characters were just okay as well. I did enjoy their whole journey in standing up to online bashers and/or trolls up until they end up on bend with actual bad guys IRL. The story handled the sensitive subject of addiction and drugs with care.

Overall, it was indeed a quick read for me.

 

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Anticipated Releases: June 2017

Wow, I can’t believe the month of May is passing just that fast.

It seems like it was just last week that I’m preparing for my family’s out of town trip and excitedly anticipating spending my birthday with my relatives in the province (by the way my birthday was last 8th of May 😉) And now I’m off drafting another Anticipated Releases post for the upcoming month of June. That was fast, right? 😱

May was such a fun month of reading for me. I read more than 5 books from different genres – YA, NA & Romance. A lot of awesome books was released too which made me very happy as well!! Yay!

It was a productive reading month but a very unproductive month for blogging! I only have 2 posts this month, WHAT HAPPENED, KARLA? But don’t fret, I plan to correct that for the upcoming months. I have several posts and giveaways in-store for June and hopefully the upcoming months.

So, without further adieu, here are my 10 Anticipated Reads for June…

Internet Famous by Danika Stone
Release Date: 06 June 2017

Another story that is very timely to the vast usage of social media nowadays. Plus, the romance! Just reading the blurb about Madison and her online/offline flirtation with a french exchange guy student already makes me feel excited. I’m also looking forward on how the lead character was going to handle the difference between her online and offline self.   I loved Danika Stone’s All The Feels so I’m pretty sure I’m gonna love this one just as much.


The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson
Release Date: 06 June 2017

It was quite some time since a dystopian book captured my interest. The Sandcastle Empire really captured my interest especially since the story was lead by a heroine. Please do correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this is the debut novel of Kayla Olson and with the raves I’ve read on Goodreads and Twitter, this book surely earned its spot on my Anticipated Reads for June.


The Unlikelies by Carrie Firestone
Release Date: 06 June 2017

I actually started reading this book earlier today and can I just say how I easily liked Sadie especially her care packages – which is just so sweet. Anyway, I wasn’t near any part of the book that made her a hometown hero and suddenly internet famous but I am excited to get on those parts soon. What made me put this book on this list is that the blurb says it has a part of The Breakfast Club and The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks – and if any of you are following me on twitter, you would know how much I loved The Breakfast Club, so it was no surprise that I’ll definitely pick up a book that gives even a little resemblance to it. I’m excited to know more about Sadie and the other 4 characters that I hope to meet soon too. (PS. Please stay tuned here on the blog for my review after reading. 😉)


Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
Release Date: 06 June 2017

I’ve always wondered how it would be if I worked at a bookstore. I will probably in book heaven, right? And what if there’s a cute guy working along side me, that will be a huge cherry on top! Words In Deep Blue has been on my TBR since I guess, last year. The blurb immediately intrigued me. This is more than just bookstore romance (though it was a part of it) it is about second chances and how words can make a huge impact.


Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios
Release Date: 13 June 2017

Why do I have a strong pull with the cover of this book? Isn’t just pretty? But just like all the books, it’s more than just the book cover. The blurb of the book started light but as I go along my heart suddenly thumped hard – I got anxious and scared. I’m pretty sure this book will be a roller-coaster ride on my emotions so I’m preparing my box of tissues as early as now.


Obsidian and Stars (Ivory and Bone #2) by Julie Eshbaugh
Release Date: 13 June 2017

This series still captured and intrigued me with its prehistoric setting/time period – with all the tribes and clans and nomadic like type of living. I’m excited to read Obsidian and Stars because aside from Kol and Mya’s upcoming betrothal there are new twists and turns in the story. It will surely be another action-filled installment to this series.


Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2) by Victoria Schwab
Release Date: 13 June 2017

I’m once again excited to dive into the post-apocalyptic world of Kate and August where monsters roam around free. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one left wanting for more after the first book – This Savage Song – I’m looking forward on what would happen next to Kate and August. The responsibilities of our main characters are heavier on this book. I’m looking forward to more action-packed scenes!


If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak
Release Date: 27 June 2017

This book got me with it’s tagline that says “This is a story of finding people who leave and loving those who stay”. The main characters are fascinated by disappearances – Linny with her sister & Sebastian with his unknown father. Together, these two embarks on a journey of  learning about the mystery of disappearance and reappearance of a famous novelist.


Girl on the Verge by Pintip Dunn
Release Date: 27 June 2017

Thanks to Twitter, this book came on my radar.  It immediately captured my interest because it’s not always that we get a book with an Asian lead character. The lead character Kan has American-Asian roots (Thai to be exact) and she’s struggling how to compromise the two aspects of her life. There’s another character being mentioned – Shelly – from the early reviews that I’ve read that I’m intrigued to know. Some people say there is a strange twist on this story and I’m definitely excited to know what that is.


The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
Release Date: 27 June 2017

Probably one of the books I’m most excited about for 2017. I just know from it’s blurb that this book is going to be downright hilarious, intriguing,  fun and just great. I’m excited to meet Monty and join him on his grand tour of the 18th Century Europe. Oh and did I mention it was diverse too? I’m gushingly excited to read Monty and Percy scenes!! I’m pretty sure I’ll definitely loved up to those scenes. 😉


You, what are your anticipated books for June? Feel free to share them with me on the comment page below. 💜

Review: Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Title: Tell Me Three Things

Author: Julie Buxbaum

Published: 05 April 2016 | Delacorte Press

Date Read: 16 April 2017

Synopsis:

Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?

Julie Buxbaum mixes comedy and tragedy, love and loss, pain and elation, in her debut YA novel filled with characters who will come to feel like friends.

Tell Me Three Things is probably one of the fastest book I’ve read this year. I read it about a week ago, in one sitting (roughly 4-5 hours) and GAAAAAA I’m totally fan-girling about this book because it was so so so good and amazing!!!

“My mom once told me that the world is divided into two kinds of people: the ones who love their high school years and the ones who spend the next decade recovering from them.”

Jessie’s first week at her fancy new school was a disaster. Transferring from Chicago to Los Angeles, it’s been a huge transition. Add in the fact that her mother died two years ago, and her dad remarried a fancy-rich girl from LA. It’s been a rough start for Jessie. Until she received an email from an anonymous person who refer to himself as “Somebody/Nobody or SN”. As SN said, navigating the wilds of Wood Valley High School ain’t easy and that’s the reason he initiated sending an email to Jessie to help her navigate the jungle in the concrete city.

I loved Jessie. She’s an amazing character. She’s still grieving the loss of her mother (she actually know the exact number of days since she died) and I do feel her pain, hurt and anger. As the story progress, we get to know who Jessie really is. She looks strong and confident on the outside but inside she’s trying her best not to show her weaknesses. I love her wit and intelligence. She’s one of the most amazing characters I’ve read.

The secondary characters also played an amazing part in the story. Dri, Agnes and even Theo – Jessi’s new step-brother, I have come to love as well.

Of course, the story will not be complete without the romance and I enjoy each page of that said romance. I enjoy how Jessie and SN’s virtual relationship really worked. Their connection is palpable and I really enjoy their everyday conversations especially when they started this tell-me-three-things game.

I’m also hooked with the whole chase on who really SN is in real-life. I have my suspects or erm guesses who SN really is that’s why I’m quite afraid if it isn’t who I thought it is. But luckily, my guess is right!!! Yay!! I loved SN and I can say that I loved who he is IRL (if that’s not spoiling or anything). Another plus point for me is that there is no love triangle or any complications like that. The romance is linear and I loved it and I’m swooning over it!

“Were all better versions if ourselves when we get extra time to craft the perfect message.”

I really admire the overall message of the story about familial relationships as well as school relationships. Overall, I totally enjoyed each page of Tell Me Three Things, I will definitely be on the look out for the future works of Julie Buxbaum.

PS. Before reading this, I just finished Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda and I’m surprised that I’ll be facing another story with a virtual romance but I’m not surprised that I loved it just as much as I loved Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda. *wink*

Blog Tour & ARC Review + Giveaway: How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

Title: How to Make a Wish

Author: Ashley Herring Blake

Published: 02 May 2017 | HMH Books for Young Readers

Date Read: 29 April 2017

Synopsis:

All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn’t have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.

Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace’s mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.

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Ashley Herring Blake’s debut book Suffer Love has been a remarkable read for me last year. I loved how uniquely the plot of that book was written as well as the characters. That’s why I made it my mission to ensure that I’ll get to read her upcoming novels as well.

I’ve read my fair share of diverse books but this is the first F/F YA story that I’ll be reading. I don’t know what to expect. I’m excited and curious all at the same time. How To Make a Wish is another remarkable story given by Ashley Herring Blake about two-girls who found each other on what may be the lowest points of their lives.

Grace is channeling all her focus in finishing High-School and soon going to a top music school in New York to do what she loves – playing the piano. I really admire Grace’s character. She’s smart, talented, strong-willed and dedicated. These were shown thru her passion in playing the piano, her relationship with his friends and her mother.

“I can’t leave her. She’s my mom; I’m her kid. We belong together.”

Grace and her mom doesn’t have the perfect relationship. Grace’s mom, Maggie is spontaneous, reckless, unreliable and unpredictable leaving Grace into the mother role of their so-called mother-daughter relationship. The way their relationship was written is raw, heartbreaking, painful and real. I literally shed a tear or two after reading several events between Maggie and Grace that are literally sad. With these events shown, we were given a window to see why Grace is feeling the way that she’s feeling – her anger, sadness and helplessness. I really admire her strength as a teen and her love for her mother.

Eva, on the other hand is grieving. She’s grieving the loss of her mom. She’s running from her own demons. I actually had a hard time getting to know Eva. The book already ended but it feels like I still don’t know her that well. Which I think could’ve been remedied by giving her a chapter or two because it feels like I only saw glimpses of her and her life.

“Up there, I didn’t belong to a messed-up mother. She wasn’t the grieving daughter. We were just Grace and Eva.”

“Just Grace and Eva. Two girls who need to feel young and free, need to feel like girls. Need to scream from the top of a lighthouse and eat peanut butter out of a jar and swear and accidentally brush up against each other and giggle about it. “

Grace and Eva are cute together. The chemistry is there! I love their moments in the lighthouse where they are simply Grace and Eva.

The main thing that makes this book stand out is the author was brave enough to introduce us to a set of characters that are not afraid of their sexuality. The main characters Grace and Eva are both bisexual. I really appreciate how real the sexuality of Grace and Eva were portrayed in the story. I also kind of like how we’re saved from all the “coming-out” stuffs because their family and friends easily accepted them. This part was thoughtfully written.

The set of supporting characters that this book has was also easy to love. Luca – Grace’s best friend was so charming. His mom Emmy has been a great help as well. I even ended up liking Jay Lanier!

The storyline flowed smoothly. The setting was dreamy as well – the little coastal town of Cape Katie. And above all, for me, the author well portrayed the F/F relationship in the story.

Overall, How To Make a Wish is a very heartwarming story. The ending was inspiring. It leaves us a very good note of accepting and loving who you really are and who you’re friends and love ones are. And, believing that dreams do come true. You just surely need to chase them.

“If you really want something, baby, the stars won’t help you. You have to reach out and take it.”

 

Ashley Herring Blake is a reader, writer, and mom to two boisterous boys. She holds a Master’s degree in teaching and loves coffee, arranging her books by color, and watching Buffy over and over again on Netflix with her friends. She’s the author of the young adult novels SUFFER LOVE and HOW TO MAKE A WISH.

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