March 2016 Wrap Up

March 31, 2016


 Check out the links below for my Reviews, Book Scoops and Discussions in March:

WHAT I READ 


Pale Highway by Nicholas Conley (5 STARS)
Walk in the Flesh by Peter Bailey (3.5 STARS)
Falling in Love with Hominids by Nalo Hopkinson (4 STARS)
Alex + Ada Vol. 1 (Alex + Ada #1-5) by Jonathan Luna, Sarah Vaughn (5 STARS)


The Vegetarian by Han Kang (2.5 STARS)
5 to 1 (5 to 1 #1) by Holly Bodger (4 STARS)
The Other One (5 to 1 #1.5) by Holly Bodger (4 STARS)
DR.A.G Book the Film Edition (5 STARS)


The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge  (3.5 STARS)
The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith      
(4 STARS)
If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizin (3.5 STARS)
Alex + Ada Vol. 2 (Alex + Ada #6-10) by Jonathan Luna, Sarah Vaughn (4 STARS)


Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer (3.5 STARS)
Burlesque Book the Film Edition (5 STARS)
Alex + Ada Vol. 3 (Alex + Ada #11-15) by Jonathan Luna, Sarah Vaughn (4 STARS)
You Have Been Murdered and Other Stories by Andrew Kozma (4 STARS)

DISCUSSION POSTS

How to Read More
Author Spotlight: Lorraine Hansberry
Women's History Month Recommendations 

This was a great reading month for me. My Favorites of the Month were the Alex + Ada series by Jonathan Luna, and Pale Highway by Peter Conley. My least favorite was The Vegetarian by Han Kang, mostly because I had such high expectations before reading. Let me know below if this has been a productive reading month for you.
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You Have Been Murdered and Other Stories by Andrew Kozma

You Have Been Murdered and Other Stories, Andre Kozma, Book Review, InToriLex
Published By: Smashwords (February 8th 2016)
Format Read: Ebook
Genre: Horror /Speculative Fiction/ Thriller
Source: Author in exchange for an honest review
Rating: FOUR STARS
You Have Been Murdered and Other Stories

SMASHWORDS
You Have Been Murdered and Other Stories is a collection of weird, speculative fiction containing four stories dealing with the end of the world, both in terms of the death of the individual soul and the running down of the universe as a whole.

The title story presents a woman who’s been murdered and still has a dinner party to prepare for. In “Teller of Tales,” a young girl must take on the responsibility of being the necessary conscience of her city. “Breach of Contract” describes the plight of an oil man who just wants to insure production quotas, but is roped into saving the world. Lastly, “The Trouble-Men” details what happens when a man trying to survive the end of the world meets up with those who are ending it.

Andrew Kozma’s fiction has been published in Drabblecast, Albedo One, Fantasy Scroll, and Daily Science Fiction. His book of poems, City of Regret (Zone 3 Press, 2007), won the Zone 3 First Book Award. His previous collection of short fiction is The Year of the Stolen Bicycle Tire and Other Stories.

REVIEW:

This was an enjoyable short story collection. I wanted to read more, and this was just a tease of the imaginative writing that I can expect in the future from this author. I would recommend this to people who enjoy creative visions of our reality.  Below are my thoughts on each short story.

You Have Been Murdered- This story gave me the unsettled feeling that the Murdered young women must have also been feeling. I enjoyed reading through her attempts to hide her death, and the anxiety that persisted even though she was dead.

Teller of Tales- This story was great because the author did a good job of building anticipation. I was excited to learn what happened next and disturbed by the ending. As a fan of many dystopian novels, this was right up my alley.

Breach of Contract- I like the absurdness of the story, met with the rational mind of the oil man. I also liked that it included a Native American character, because diversity always elevates a story for me.

The Trouble Men- These men were scary because of their described lore and appearance. I could relate to the man's fear, and his resignation to his fate.The end of the world could happen in so many ways. Why not this one?
"They knew all your secrets, even the ones you had forgotten, but they would never tell them to anyone and, now, neither would you."

I received this ebook from the author in exchange for an honest review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Kozma's fiction has been published in Albedo One, The Cupboard, Fantasy Scroll and Daily Science Fiction. His poems have appeared in Blackbird, Subtropics, Copper Nickel, and Best American Poetry 2015, and his book of poems, City of Regret (Zone 3 Press, 2007), won the Zone 3 First Book Award. He has been the recipient of a Jentel Residency, a Houston Arts Alliance Fellowship, a Walter E. Dakin Fellowship, and a D. H. Lawrence Fellowship. He lives and writes in Houston, Texas.

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Alex + Ada, Vol. 3 (Alex +Ada #11-15) by Jonathan Luna, Sarah Vaughn

March 30, 2016
Alex + Ada, Vol. 3, Alex +Ada #11-15, Jonathan Luna, Sarah Vaughn, Book Review, InToriLex

FOUR STARS
Alex + Ada, Vol. 3
~Amazon~
The last thing in the world Alex wanted was an X5, the latest in realistic androids. But after Ada is dropped into his life, he discovers she is more than just a robot. Alex takes a huge risk to unlock Ada so she can think for herself and explore life as a sentient android. As Alex and Ada spend more time together, they become closer. But as restrictions tighten on artificial intelligence, Ada feels unsure about her place in the world, and Alex questions being with an android. In this final arc, Alex and Ada struggle against the growing hatred for sentient robots and their human allies. Can they survive what's around the corner?

REVIEW:

Things got dark and scary in this conclusion, and I relished every moment.  The world that Ada's in begins to challenge her existence, and the tension is raised around Alex's friends. As things change Alex and Ada have to find quiet moments with each other and learn how to be on the run, while on the run. As robots start dying Ada gets scared. She starts to question the limits of her mortality as a robot, and what could be next. Humans continue to pick sides, and everyone that's for the robots has to hide that allegiance or face the consequences.
Humans seem to be projecting their insecurities onto Robots, reacting in violence out of fear. While Alex and Ada lose their safe spaces to go, they choose each other. We get to see how the future develops for them both, and how sentient robots  become apart of it. I really wish this series was longer, so that the finale wouldn't have seemed rushed. The romance came off as sincere, and there were definitely some surprises. But the ending was heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time. This was a great series full of memorable moments that make you think and wonderful sci-fi elements.


Reviews in Series
Alex + Ada Vol. 1 (Alex + Ada #1-5)
Alex + Ada Vol. 2 (Alex + Ada #6-10)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR




JONATHAN LUNA co-created and illustrated THE SWORD, GIRLS, and ULTRA (all Image Comics) with his brother, Joshua Luna. He co-created and illustrated ALEX + ADA with Sarah Vaughn. He wrote and illustrated STAR BRIGHT AND THE LOOKING GLASS (Image Comics). His work also includes the art for SPIDER-WOMAN: ORIGIN (Marvel Comics), written by Brian Michael Bendis and Brian Reed.
 

Writing and drawing comics since he was a child, he graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design with a BFA in Sequential Art. He currently resides in Northern Virginia.
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Burlesque Book the Film Edition

March 29, 2016
Burlesque, Book the Film. Book Review, InToriLex
FIVE STARS
The Sequel to The World's Most Glamorous Book! 160 Pages of top Burlesque Photography!You can purchase this gorgeous book from BookTheFilm Publishing
bur.lesque | | noun
A revue showcasing political skits, ribald comedy
and the most revealing of personalities

REVIEW:

 
This was a celebration of beautiful women, with some male eye candy thrown in that will be sure to delight. In this wonderful collection of photos, there are women all of all ethnicity's, shapes and sizes. It's always great when a collection takes the time out to find wonderful, enticing, diverse and memorable photo's to include. I went through the book three times because I enjoyed the collection so much. The beauty displayed is praiseworthy, because the photographers captured the art and personality of the models well. 
I was entranced by the use of color, costumes, and action shots. It inspired me to keep a look out for any Burlesque shows so that I can experience the magic in person. There is some tasteful nudity included throughout the collection, which elevates the pictures without being raunchy. Some photos  feature some  heavily tattooed ladies, and plus sized model. While many of the models are posed in a sexually suggestive way, every photo is meant to cause a range of reactions. This would make a great addition for anyone who enjoys photography and the multitude of ways the human body can be used to visually draw you in. 
"Burlesque isn't seduction. It's the art of making you think your the only one being seduced."

I received a review copy from Book the Film Publishing, in exchange for an honest review
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Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer

March 28, 2016
Winter, The Lunar Chronicles #4, Marissa Meyer, Book Review, InToriLex
Published By: Feiwel and Friends on November 10th 2015
Format Read: Kindle Edition (833 pages)
Genre: Young Adult/ Fantasy/ Science Fiction/ Romance
Series: Book Four of The Lunar Chronicles
Source: Purchased
Rating: THREE POINT FIVE STARS
Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4)
~Amazon~ 
Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.
Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.
Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

REVIEW:

The suspense, humor and action made this a wonderful read overall. Cinder goes through a treacherous journey that leads her to face hard but rewarding challenges as a revolutionary. Winter gives us a hallucinogenic point of view, that is sometimes unsettling, but definitely entertaining.  I was excited to see how Winter would evolve with this book especially while working against Levana. She  grows on you but I was disappointed she wasn't the star of of the finale named after her. Levana finds more unique and disturbing ways to mistreat the people of Luna, she's a disturbing villain. I never got bored with her madness and Cinder and company finding away to fight against it.
Slow Clap, Winter, Marissa Meyer, Book Review, InToriLex
I felt emotionally connected to these characters and so enjoyed seeing the part they would play in the revolution. That emotional connection pushed me through the parts of the book that I didn't enjoy. Not all the threads in the series were woven seamlessly together. It seemed like Meyer wanted to focus on more couples then others, and I wanted more Winter and Jacin. I rolled my eyes too many times as characters escaped death over and over. The close call scenes became repetitive at times and the suspense wore off. The writing was below the quality of the other books in series. There were major scenes and plot points happening every other chapter, and that was probably why the writing suffered.
"Dreaming was for people with nothing better to do."
As a fan of the series I enjoyed the book, but know that it could have been better. This final installment answers many questions lingering from the other books and gives us a better view of how Luna and the Lunar people are. The ending threw me a little because I expected something different, but it was satisfying. I also thought how one couple ended up didn't make sense, considering all of the wonderful advanced technology on Luna. Despite my mixed feelings about the story, there was more then enough goodness to keep me reading this massive 833 page book.

Reviews In Series
Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1)
Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2)
Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3)
Fairest: Levana's Story (The Lunar Chronicles #3.5)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


I live in Tacoma, Washington, with my fiancé and our two cats. In addition to my slight obsession with books and writing, I'm big on road-tripping, wine-tasting, and hunting for antiques. I'm represented by Jill Grinberg.
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Alex + Ada, Vol. 2 (Alex +Ada #6-10) by Jonathan Luna, Sarah Vaughn

March 25, 2016
Alex + Ada, Vol.2, (Alex + Ada #6-10), Jonathan Luna, Sarah Vaughn, Book Review, InToriLex
FOUR STARS
Alex + Ada, Vol. 2
~Amazon~ 
Tensions rise between humans and robots in this sci-fi/drama set in the near future. Alex took a huge risk to unlock Ada and it seems to have paid off - Ada can now think for herself and explore life as a sentient android. As Alex and Ada spend more time together, they become closer. But as restrictions tighten on androids, Ada feels unsure about her place in Alex's life and the world. Collects Alex + Ada #6-10.

REVIEW:

This was a great continuation of everything I enjoyed in the first volume of  the series. The story itself moves much faster, with Alex and Ada deciding what's next for the both of them. Ada slowly learns what her feelings for Alex means and wants to pursue them. Alex has to figure out if he wants a relationship with Ada and how to proceed in a world that has become fearful of the robots that they created. The humor and great dialogue kept me reading and entertained the whole way through.

What I liked most about this Volume is that Ada starts to decide what's best for her and figures out the best way to survive for herself. Alex does not swoop in and become her knight and shining armor at every turn, and I appreciated that part of the story. Alex's friend's are mostly supportive of Ada, but even Alex's fun grandma has reservations about the risk unlocking Ada poses. In this volume we find out the fate of the Alex and Ada as a couple, learn why Claire left Alex, and are left with a cliff hanger ending that has me very excited for the next and (sadly) last volume of the series.
Exploring a world divided by it's fear or acceptance of technology, is fascinating. Love in all the forms it can take is usually not as easy as it should be, and this comic explores that. I wish there was more about the Robot's Rights groups, but this was still a great addition to the series without its. If you want to read a sci-fi comic, where the superhero's don't wear capes and aren't always human, pick of this series.

Reviews in Series 
Alex + Ada Vol. 1 (Alex + Ada #1-5) 
Alex + Ada Vol. 3 (Alex + Ada #11-15)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JONATHAN LUNA co-created and illustrated THE SWORD, GIRLS, and ULTRA (all Image Comics) with his brother, Joshua Luna. He co-created and illustrated ALEX + ADA with Sarah Vaughn. He wrote and illustrated STAR BRIGHT AND THE LOOKING GLASS (Image Comics). His work also includes the art for SPIDER-WOMAN: ORIGIN (Marvel Comics), written by Brian Michael Bendis and Brian Reed.
 

Writing and drawing comics since he was a child, he graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design with a BFA in Sequential Art. He currently resides in Northern Virginia.
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Book Scoop March 18- March 25 2016


Book Industry News and Links to Sift Through When Your Face Isn't buried in a Book 

HEADLINES





LINKS TO CLICK





In Honor of Women's History Month I'm Showcasing A Book Trailer Each Week 

The Clasp by Sloane Crosley 
The Clasp
~Amazon~

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If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

March 19, 2016
If You Could Be Mine, Sara Farizan, Book Review, InToriLex
THREE POINT FIVE STARS
If You Could Be Mine
~Amazon~ 
In this stunning debut, a young Iranian American writer pulls back the curtain on one of the most hidden corners of a much-talked-about culture.
Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. They’ve shared stolen kisses and romantic promises. But Iran is a dangerous place for two girls in love—Sahar and Nasrin could be beaten, imprisoned, even executed if their relationship came to light.
So they carry on in secret—until Nasrin’s parents announce that they’ve arranged for her marriage. Nasrin tries to persuade Sahar that they can go on as they have been, only now with new comforts provided by the decent, well-to-do doctor Nasrin will marry. But Sahar dreams of loving Nasrin exclusively—and openly.
Then Sahar discovers what seems like the perfect solution. In Iran, homosexuality may be a crime, but to be a man trapped in a woman’s body is seen as nature’s mistake, and sex reassignment is legal and accessible. As a man, Sahar could be the one to marry Nasrin. Sahar will never be able to love the one she wants, in the body she wants to be loved in, without risking her life. Is saving her love worth sacrificing her true self?

REVIEW:

The subject matter of this book gave great insight into how homosexuality is treated in Iran. Being hung, imprisoned or beaten by the police are horrible consequences for expressing your love of the same sex. Sahar and Nasrin were opposite in many ways, but somehow found a way to fit together.  Their lesbian relationship is compromised and further complicated when Nasrin gets engaged. Sahar seriously considers sex reassignment surgery so that she can one day marry Nasrin, that came off as strange and naive to me. As careful as Sahar tries to be about being found out as a lesbian, I couldn't see her even considering such a drastic decision.
"Smile and don't worry so much. See the swinging bodies in the square? Smile and don't worry so much. Can't be with the person that you love because it's against the law? Smile, damn it."
The characters were realistic but the naivete of Sahar and Nasrin frustrated me alot while reading. Alix, Sahar's older cousin, and Parveen were refreshing personality's who did balance some of that frustration out. Nasrin was my least favorite character, because her selfishness and vanity was brushed off too many times by the people around her. Sahar grows up in this book, and becomes more like-able because of it. The novel is illuminating because it gives you insight into a different culture and place. I've learned and thought  more about how difficult becoming and living as a transsexual is. That's what kept me reading and what I enjoyed the most.
Book Review, If You Could Be Mine, Sara Farizan, InToriLex

The writing was well done and although this is a young adult book it doesn't shy away from mature subjects. The ending did feel rushed, but was satisfying. The family relationships described in this short read highlighted what led men and women to do what's expected rather than what they want. Despite my frustrations while reading, I was immersed in the book and enjoyed it. I would recommend this book to people who want to read a diverse, but hard hitting story about young love between two girls in Iran. 
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The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith

March 17, 2016
The Reflections of Queen Snow White, David Meredith, Book Review, InToriLex
FOUR STARS
The Reflections of Queen Snow White
~Amazon~ 
What happens when "happily ever after" has come and gone?

On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven's wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven's fiancé, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White's own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing:

The king is dead.

The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old.

It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what "happily ever after" really means?

Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White.

REVIEW:

This was an immersive look into Snow White's life, beyond the fairy tale. Snow White has to come to terms with who she is, and remember why she has come so far in life. She is very depressed and unsure how to deal with her depression, after her Charming has died. You learn more about how Snow White survived a nightmare inducing childhood, but was able to carry on. Faced with the mirror she is forced to live through her best and worst memories again. Slowly she learns to recognize the good in herself and realizes she needs more than what mourning the King can give her.
"That it is foolish to despair,...that there is always hope."
Through Snow White's reflection you learn how the dwarves and Charming are able to care for and befriend her. You get swept up in the sweet, kind, and steamy romance between Charming and Snow White. You get angry for Snow White, and can feel her frustration through one of the most infuriating scenes I've ever read. The experiences are well described with an adult audience in mind. I enjoyed the language of the period being incorporated seamlessly and was happy to learn what heterodox and immaculacy were.
Book Review, The Reflections of Queen Snow White, David Meredith
I appreciated exploring the stress and danger of being King and Queen, that is often overlooked in stories of Royalty for children. The  relate-able emotions Snow White feels made me reflect on my own experiences, while learning about hers. Retelling's are becoming more popular, but this stands out as a well written and memorable book.  I hoped there would be a bit more exploration of the seven dwarves, because their role in Snow White fascinated me, but it was still a worthwhile read without that.  I would recommend this to mature readers who enjoy re-tellings and want to learn some of what was left out of the original fairy tale. 

I received this e-book from the author, in exchange for an honest review.
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Women's History Month Book Recommendations & Giveaway

March 16, 2016

Beauty and the Beast, InTori Lex, Book Recommendations, Women's History Month

Below are my recommendations for Women's History Month. Pick a book from my recommendations listed below to win in the Giveaway (US Only). Some of these books I've read and loved. Others I haven't got to yet, but they have been praised for feminist themes and memorable female relationships. Enter the Giveaway in the Rafflecopter Below!


1.Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
InTori Lex, Book Recommendations, Women's History Month, Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Americanah
~Amazon~

2. Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay
InTori Lex, Book Recommendations, Women's History Month, Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay
Bad Feminist
~Amazon~

3. Ruby by Cynthia Bond
InTori Lex, Book Recommendations, Women's History Month, Ruby, Cynthia Bond
Ruby
~Amazon~

4.The Book of Memory by Petina Gappah
InTori Lex, Book Recommendations, Women's History Month, The Book of Memory, Petina Gappah
The Book of Memory
~Amazon~

5. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
InTori Lex, Book Recommendations, Women's History Month, The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, Becky Chambers
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)
~Amazon~

6. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
InTori Lex, Book Recommendations, Women's History Month, Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson
Brown Girl Dreaming
~Amazon~

7. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
InTori Lex, Book Recommendations, Women's History Month, The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion
The Year of Magical Thinking

8. Beloved by Toni Morrison
InTori Lex, Book Recommendations, Women's History Month, Beloved, Toni Morrison
Beloved
~Amazon~

9. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
InTori Lex, Book Recommendations, Women's History Month, An Ember in the Ashes, Sabaa Tahir
An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1)

10. Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward
InTori Lex, Book Recommendations, Women's History Month, Men  We Reaped, Jesmyn Ward
Men We Reaped
~Amazon~
11. A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride
InTori Lex, Book Recommendations, Women's History Month, A Girl is a Half- Formed Thing, Eimear McBride

A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing
~Amazon~

12. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
InTori Lex, Book Recommendations, Women's History Month, The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
The Handmaid's Tale
~Amazon~

13. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
InTori Lex, Book Recommendations, Women's History Month, A Court Thorns and Roses, Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)
~Amazon~

14. The Wife by Meg Wolitzer
InTori Lex, Book Recommendations, Women's History Month, The Wife, Meg Wolitzer
The Wife
~Amazon~
15. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
InTori Lex, Book Recommendations, Women's History Month, My Brilliant Friend, Elena Ferrante
My Brilliant Friend (The Neapolitan Novels, #1)
~Amazon~

16. I’ll Give You the Sun, by Jandy Nelson
InTori Lex, Book Recommendations, Women's History Month, I'll Give You the Sun, Jandy Nelson
I'll Give You the Sun
~Amazon~
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you read any of these titles or plan to? 
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