Enchantment in Morocco by Madeline McDonald: A Contemporary Romance for 99 Cents

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

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Enchantment in Morocco by Madeleine McDonald
 
99 Cents
 
 
A romance set in a magical land at the crossroads of Europe and Africa.








 
Excerpt
Rafi danced with her on the day of the wedding, when men and women finally came together under one roof. Emily was surprised at her own popularity. One young man after another drew her into the circle of dancers. Even old Abdullah, almost unrecognizable in a clean djellaba, performed a few steps alongside her before his grandson took his place. Emily did not know any of the steps, but held hands and stamped her feet in time to the drumming. From the corner of her eye, she noted that Samira danced rarely, but sat in a corner drinking tea with a group of older women. The sight lent a spring to her step.

She had barely sat down again before Rafi crossed the room to her and led her onto the dance floor. 

“I can see you’re enjoying yourself. I have not had a chance to speak to you yet.”

“At least I can talk to you.” She gladly took her place in the circle beside Rafi. The day had been enjoyable. She felt at ease with herself and with him. “I can only speak a few words to the others, but I haven’t sat down since the dancing started.”

“You know why, don’t you?”

“I found the coin in the cake. Yes, they explained yesterday. But, I don’t understand. Everyone acts like it’s a huge joke.”

“Has anyone shown you disrespect?” Rafi asked sharply.

Emily shook her head. “Not at all. Everyone is friendly, but it’s like I’ve got two heads. I can feel them all talking about me.”

Two heads? Nonsense. A man would have to be blind not to notice that you are a beautiful woman, Emily.”

Her heart turned over. She forgot to concentrate on the dance. Caught off balance, she would have stumbled, but Rafi’s firm grip steadied her. Their eyes locked.No-one had ever said those words to her before. Well, no-one had ever said them in such a silky, caressing voice.

Returning his direct gaze, she asked, “What is the matter with me, then?” She was no longer interested in what the village thought of her. All she wanted was to hear Rafi’s opinion. Would he say those magic words again?

“Nothing. It is the first time a foreigner has found the coin, that’s all.”

“People marry foreigners, don’t they? You did.” In her relaxed mood, Emily felt no shyness about mentioning his wife.

“That was different. I brought Marie-Jeanne here on our marriage. Our women have an expression for outsiders who marry into Taghar. They say it is like sewing a new patch onto an old shirt.”

“That’s not very complimentary.”

“On the contrary, it makes the shirt stronger.” Rafi gave his answer light-heartedly. It seemed the party had made him cheerful.

The rhythm of the drumming changed, and two young men bounded into the centre of the circle. Finding it impossible to mimic their energetic steps, Emily shook her head at Rafi in a gesture of surrender. He led her to a chair, but stood beside her, continuing the conversation. To be heard above the drumming, he turned toward her and she looked up at him, her ears attuned to that caressing voice.

“If a young woman from Taghar finds the coin, her future is mapped out already. If she is betrothed, she will dance with her sweetheart at the wedding feast. But you, Emily, you are a foreigner, you are free as the birds in the air or the fish in the sea.” Rafi gave a mischievous grin. “Sometimes change is not welcome. Freedom such as yours alarms our young men. They do not know what to make of you, so they prefer to make jokes.”

“Do I frighten you as well?” Caught up in the magic of the wedding, Emily dared to tease him.

Rafi gazed down at her. “You have never frightened me, Emily. But I find you unpredictable.”

“I’m sorry. I get carried away sometimes.”

A rueful smile hovered on his lips. “Don’t be sorry. It makes life more interesting.”



Sale link


Author Bio
Madeleine McDonald, a Scot with a French passport, finds inspiration walking on the beach before the world wakes up.



A penny for your thoughts #14 (quote by Anton Chekhov)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

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Words touch us all in different ways. Sometimes the original intent of a quote resonates so profoundly with us that it is hard to believe that another wrote it. Other times it is a single word, peculiar phrasing, or an alternative meaning regarding an event in our lives that resonates the most. I believe in the power of starting the day (and week) off with a positive thought -- and so was created A Penny For Your Thoughts. This is a weekly blog hop that will feature quotes of all kinds; classics, character, book-movie, personal, etc. The themes will range from funny to serious, but really it all depends on how you interpret it! How does this work?


  1. Every Sunday a quote will be posted
  2. Post your thoughts on your blog and/or the comment section of a participating blog. You only get the penny for one or the other. You can do both but it doesn't count twice.
  3. Those with posts can join up on the Linky - Linky will not be active until day of post
  4. Collect the pennies! Every week there will be a new penny to collect and include with your post.
  5. RAFFLE ENTRY: Your site or comment needs to be submitted to this form as well so that your name can be uploaded to a raffle generator. If you're using a comment as a submission instead of a post, then put name of site where you left the comment in the "direct link" section.
  6. On the last Saturday of every month the entries from the form above will be entered in a drawing. Winner will be notified on Sunday. You get as many entries as you have pennies for the month. Prizes will include books, gift cards, site promotion, and other bookish winnings!
  7. Have fun! This is a fun way to start some discussion, discover blogs, and get to know more people. Please re-post these steps so that followers understand the process.


Congratulations to March's winner:



"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light
on broken glass."
- Anton Chekhov

Book Spotlight: Of Love and Vengeance by Louise Lyndon

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

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99 Cent Sale
Scroll down for a chance to win an ebook of Of Love and Vengeance

Forced to marry Lord Aymon to ensure her nephews survival, English Lady Laila vows undying hatred for the Norman she holds responsible for so many deaths. Discovering Aymon has committed an act of treason gives her the chance to seek vengeance he deserves.  But will Laila really let Aymon die once she learns the truth?

A hardened Norman warrior, Lord Aymon has lived through atrocities no man ever should. With the invasion of England over, all he wants is a quiet life and a wife who will give him heirs and obey his every command. Instead, he finds himself wed to feisty and outspoken Laila. But when she learns the truth of his treasonous act, can Aymon count on her to keep his secret?

Excerpt:
Aymon caught a flicker of movement from a window on the second story. “I think we’re about to meet the welcome party.” An arrow zoomed toward him and landed on the pommel of his saddle. A half an inch closer and he would no longer be able to sire children. As if in demonstration of his ability with the bow and arrow, the shooter fired again. This time directed toward Hugh. The second arrow too came within a half an inch of his friend’s manhood.

 “You missed!” Aymon called toward the shooter.  He questioned his stupidity for mocking someone with such a good aim.

 “You want me to show you how good an aim I really am?” a woman’s voice echoed out across the yard.

“Bloody hell,” Hugh half cursed, half laughed. “Where does a woman learn to shoot like that?”

Aymon was shocked and admittedly a little impressed a woman had such remarkable shooting skills. He could use such a sharp shooter on his side in battle. After all, it was better to have someone so skilled firing for you than at you.

Aymon raised his black leather gloved hand in surrender. “No. I’m firmly attached to my balls, thank you very much.”

“Who are you?” the shooter demanded. “And what do you want? There is nothing of value here for you to steal. Be on your way, man, and leave me in peace.”

“Some would say a female is of value,” Aymon drawled sardonically.

 A second arrow lodged firmly on the pommel between his legs.

 “I do not give third chances. I’ll give you to the count of three to leave. Or else you will find an arrow straight through your heart.”

Aymon’s warhorse whinnied, and he fought to control the beast whose temperament was as black as his coat. “Put down your weapon!”

“One!”

“We mean you no harm!”

“Two!”

“I am Lord Aymon, and this is Lord Hugh. I’ve come to claim what is rightfully mine.”

Silence.

The two men looked at one another unsure what to do. “Should we storm the building and lay claim to what is yours?”

Aymon shook his head. He dismounted but never took his eyes from the door to the manor. “She will soon make her appearance.”

Hugh, too, dismounted. “How can you be so sure?”

Aymon looked at his friend. “We do not have arrows through our hearts.”
*****


 

 
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

*****

Louise grew up in country Victoria, Australia, before moving to England, where for sixteen years she soaked up the vibrancy of London and the medieval history of England. She has since returned to Australia and now lives in Melbourne.
In 2013, Louise won first prize in the historical romance category of the Crested Butte Sandy Writing Contest for her story, The Promise, which has since been retitled and is now known as, Of Love & Vengeance.
On December 19, 2014, Louise's debut novel, Of Love & Vengeance, a historical romance set in medieval England at the time of the Norman invasion, went on world wide release. It is published by The Wild Rose Press. On January 1, 2015, Of Love & Vengeance, hit the paid best seller list on AMAZON UK. Louise is currently working on her second novel.
When not writing, Louise can be found covered in mud, crawling under barbed wire and hoisting herself over twelve foot walls!
Where to find Louise Lyndon:
EMAIL:  louise_lyndon@yahoo.com
WEB:
  www.LouiseLyndon.com
BLOG
: http://louiselyndon.blogspot.com
FACEBOOK:
  www.facebook.com/pages/Louise-Lyndon/1472910852955051
TWITTER:
https://twitter.com/LouiseLyndon1
PINTEREST:
llyndon3513
GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/LouiseLyndon
 
Where to find Of Love and Vengeneance:
AMAZON US: http://amzn.to/1zW0SZ3
AMAZON UK:
http://ow.ly/GGmSn
The Wild Rose Press
http://ow.ly/FT0oK

A penny for your thoughts #13 (quote from Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

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Words touch us all in different ways. Sometimes the original intent of a quote resonates so profoundly with us that it is hard to believe that another wrote it. Other times it is a single word, peculiar phrasing, or an alternative meaning regarding an event in our lives that resonates the most. I believe in the power of starting the day (and week) off with a positive thought -- and so was created A Penny For Your Thoughts. This is a weekly blog hop that will feature quotes of all kinds; classics, character, book-movie, personal, etc. The themes will range from funny to serious, but really it all depends on how you interpret it! How does this work?

  1. Every Sunday a quote will be posted
  2. Post your thoughts on your blog and/or the comment section of a participating blog. You only get the penny for one or the other. You can do both but it doesn't count twice.
  3. Those with posts can join up on the Linky - Linky will not be active until day of post
  4. Collect the pennies! Every week there will be a new penny to collect and include with your post.
  5. RAFFLE ENTRY: Your site or comment needs to be submitted to this form as well so that your name can be uploaded to a raffle generator. If you're using a comment as a submission instead of a post, then put name of site where you left the comment in the "direct link" section.
  6. On the last Saturday of every month the entries from the form above will be entered in a drawing. Winner will be notified on Sunday. You get as many entries as you have pennies for the month. Prizes will include books, gift cards, site promotion, and other bookish winnings!
  7. Have fun! This is a fun way to start some discussion, discover blogs, and get to know more people. Please re-post these steps so that followers understand the process.


But Mockingjays were never a weapon," said Madge. "They’re just songbirds. Right?"

"Yeah, I guess so,” I said, But it’s not true. A mockingbird is just a songbird. A mockingjay
is a creature the capitol never intended to exist. They hadn’t counted on the highly controlled jabberjay
 having the brains to adapt to the wild, to thrive in a new form. They hadn’t anticipated its will to live.”

― Suzanne Collins, Catching Fire

Book Review for This is What You Just Put in Your Mouth? by Patrick Di Justo

Thursday, March 19, 2015

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Amazon Link
“Don’t stick that in your mouth, you don’t know where it’s been.” - Mom  

Di Justo and my mother would have gotten along just fine. In This is What you Put in your Mouth he details the surprises inside everyday things either stuffed in our pie holes or slathered on our person.

The book is divided into two parts. The first deals with items eaten, drunk, or inhaled. From the book’s title one might get the idea the author wags a literary finger advising us to cast suspicious eyes at everything on the dinner plate. Not so. Di Justo’s background is a reporter for Wired magazine. He is simply driven by curiosity and tries to answer the question. What the heck is in this thing?

Each item selected has a clear explanation of the ingredients easily understandable by the layman. Most also include an interesting backstory on how or why the item was chosen. Di Justo is no snob. He admits to a love of A-1 Sauce and then includes an explanation of the ingredients with the help of chef, Alton Brown. As Di Justo states, “If you’re looking for shocking stories of the gigantic corporate conspiracy to poison America through its processed foods, you’re reading the wrong book.” His refreshing attitude is that these products are a part of the world “and you are better off knowing what is in them rather than not knowing.”

The second part of the book deals with everyday items that are not consumable. There are some surprising ingredients. Some I found charming...the cracking pop from color-flame artificial fire logs comes from birdseed. Some I found creepy...leave the Cover Girl LashBlast Luxe off if having a cranial MRI. According to Di Justo, the amount of dark metallic pigment can screw up the picture and be mistaken for a melanoma. Again, backstories produce interesting tidbits. For instance, Play Doh is opaque to x-rays. I don’t know why I find that amusing. More amusing was the author’s personal test with less than flattering results of Just for Men hair color.

I found the book a quick enjoyable read, lacking the preachy high-handedness of most books of this genre. Although, I must admit I’m relieved Di Justo didn’t write about Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies. I’d rather not know what’s in them. My head already understands they’re bad for me, but my heart isn’t ready to drop kick them off my personal food pyramid.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a review.

L. A. Kelley writes fantasies with adventure, romance, humor and touch of sass. You can find her at http://lakelleythenaughtylist.blogspot.com




A penny for your thoughts #12 (quote by John Green)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

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Words touch us all in different ways. Sometimes the original intent of a quote resonates so profoundly with us that it is hard to believe that another wrote it. Other times it is a single word, peculiar phrasing, or an alternative meaning regarding an event in our lives that resonates the most. I believe in the power of starting the day (and week) off with a positive thought -- and so was created A Penny For Your Thoughts. This is a weekly blog hop that will feature quotes of all kinds; classics, character, book-movie, personal, etc. The themes will range from funny to serious, but really it all depends on how you interpret it! How does this work?

  1. Every Sunday a quote will be posted
  1. Post your thoughts on your blog and/or the comment section of a participating blog. You only get the penny for one or the other. You can do both but it doesn't count twice.
  2. Those with posts can join up on the Linky - Linky will not be active until day of post
  3. Collect the pennies! Every week there will be a new penny to collect and include with your post.
  4. RAFFLE ENTRY: Your site or comment needs to be submitted to this form as well so that your name can be uploaded to a raffle generator. If you're using a comment as a submission instead of a post, then put name of site where you left the comment in the "direct link" section.
  5. On the last Saturday of every month the entries from the form above will be entered in a drawing. Winner will be notified on Sunday. You get as many entries as you have pennies for the month. Prizes will include books, gift cards, site promotion, and other bookish winnings!
  6. Have fun! This is a fun way to start some discussion, discover blogs, and get to know more people. Please re-post these steps so that followers understand the process.
"I don't know where people got the idea that characters in books are supposed
to be likable. Books are not in the business of creating merely likable characters with
whom you can have some simple identification with. Books are in the business
 of creating great stories that make your brain go ahhbdgbdmerhbergurhbudgerbudbarr."
- John Green


A penny for your thoughts #11 (quote from What I Saw in America by G.K. Chesterton)

| | | 0 comments
Words touch us all in different ways. Sometimes the original intent of a quote resonates so profoundly with us that it is hard to believe that another wrote it. Other times it is a single word, peculiar phrasing, or an alternative meaning regarding an event in our lives that resonates the most. I believe in the power of starting the day (and week) off with a positive thought -- and so was created A Penny For Your Thoughts. This is a weekly blog hop that will feature quotes of all kinds; classics, character, book-movie, personal, etc. The themes will range from funny to serious, but really it all depends on how you interpret it! How does this work?


  1. Every Sunday a quote will be posted
  2. Post your thoughts on your blog and/or the comment section of a participating blog. You only get the penny for one or the other. You can do both but it doesn't count twice.
  3. Those with posts can join up on the Linky - Linky will not be active until day of post
  4. Collect the pennies! Every week there will be a new penny to collect and include with your post.
  5. RAFFLE ENTRY: Your site or comment needs to be submitted to this form as well so that your name can be uploaded to a raffle generator. If you're using a comment as a submission instead of a post, then put name of site where you left the comment in the "direct link" section.
  6. On the last Saturday of every month the entries from the form above will be entered in a drawing. Winner will be notified on Sunday. You get as many entries as you have pennies for the month. Prizes will include books, gift cards, site promotion, and other bookish winnings!
  7. Have fun! This is a fun way to start some discussion, discover blogs, and get to know more people. Please re-post these steps so that followers understand the process.

"I wish we could sometimes love the characters in real life as we love the
characters in romances. There are a great many human souls whom we should
accept more kindly, and even appreciate more clearly, if we simply thought of them
as people in a story."
- G.K. Chesterton, What I Saw in America

Book Review: All Lined Up (Rusk University Novel #1) by Cora Carmack

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cora Carmack follows up her trio of hits—Losing It, Faking It, and Finding It—with this thrilling first novel in an explosive series bursting with the Texas flavor, edge, and steamy romance of Friday Night Lights.

(Blurb): In Texas, two things are cherished above all else—football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both.

Dallas Cole loathes football. That's what happens when you spend your whole childhood coming in second to a sport. College is her time to step out of the bleachers, and put the playing field (and the players) in her past.

But life doesn't always go as planned. As if going to the same college as her football star ex wasn’t bad enough, her father, a Texas high school coaching phenom, has decided to make the jump to college ball… as the new head coach at Rusk University. Dallas finds herself in the shadows of her father and football all over again.

Carson McClain is determined to go from second-string quarterback to the starting line-up. He needs the scholarship and the future that football provides. But when a beautiful redhead literally falls into his life, his focus is more than tested. It's obliterated.

Dallas doesn't know Carson is on the team. Carson doesn't know that Dallas is his new coach's daughter.

And neither of them know how to walk away from the attraction they feel.

Book Information

Published: May 13th, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: New Adult
Length: 322p


Review

I'm a sucker for sporty romances. My two favorites are MMA and football. Yes -- I love the quarterback-meets-geeky-kinda-girl books. Really I'm a sucker for any kind of story with an opposites attract theme. Maybe it's because the spectrum gives the reader a pretty good chance to relate to one or the other and live more vicariously through the characters. Reading the blurb, All Lined Up had all of the elements I typically swoon over a book for. But it was different in that the main characters are actually from the same side of the tracks. He's got the potential to be a star football player at Rusk and she's lived in that Friday Night Limelight her entire life and is over that type of life. What better way to create all sorts of plot tensions than to throw together two people with pretty different viewpoints of a particular sport and lifestyle ?

What I liked

The H/h viewpoints are what initially drew me in. Dallas' dad is a High School National Championship title holder and is whisked off to the mediocre Rusk University in an attempt to revive the football program. All she wants is to be out of her dad's shadow and make a group of friends whose lives don't revolve around football or what her dad is doing. Completely understandable considering everything about her life from where she's lived, to activities she's done, and the college she attends have all been determined by her dad's coaching status. Author Cora Carmack does a great job at providing the reader with believable pros and cons of these lifestyles, all while keeping the reading fun and the cliches to a minimum.

How Dallas and Carson meet is cute, funny, and even a bit sexy. I'll admit that when I first started to read the scene I rolled my eyes because it was set up as a typical college frat party with drunken gyrating and asshole football players. I hate both stereotypes, but Carmack later redeemed herself by giving some of these "asshole" football players a real non-meat-head personality.

What I'm neutral about

I picked this book because I'm a sucker for the trope and it pretty much held true to what you'd expect. There wasn't anything wow-inducing nor did the plot stray from the initial set-up.

What I didn't like

I was somewhat in disbelief on the "I'll drop anything for you -- even give up my career!" attitude. What was interesting was that this mentality flip came more from the Hero rather than the typical heroine.

I completely understood Dallas' hesitance on dating a star athlete. And credit to Carmack for showing the struggle that Carson went through between choosing to focus on Dallas or a sport career.  But honestly, neither really had a lot to lose by dating each other. It was more so them being scared of her dad. And when some (fairly minor) shit hit the fan, instead of just talking to the dad like the adults they were, Carson just decides to walk into the dad's office and give up his scholarship and football career with no discussion. Really? I just read 200-something pages about how this means so much to this guy because of where he came from and all of the hours of training he had to put in and how he can't afford school without a scholarship, and you expect me to believe he's just going to burn his bridges just like that??


Overall, I'd still highly recommend All Lined Up to those who enjoy this type of book or are looking for a pretty light, non-committal series read.


A penny for your thoughts #10 (quote by Joss Whedon)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

| | | 2 comments
Words touch us all in different ways. Sometimes the original intent of a quote resonates so profoundly with us that it is hard to believe that another wrote it. Other times it is a single word, peculiar phrasing, or an alternative meaning regarding an event in our lives that resonates the most. I believe in the power of starting the day (and week) off with a positive thought -- and so was created A Penny For Your Thoughts. This is a weekly blog hop that will feature quotes of all kinds; classics, character, book-movie, personal, etc. The themes will range from funny to serious, but really it all depends on how you interpret it! How does this work?


  1. Every Sunday a quote will be posted
  2. Post your thoughts on your blog and/or the comment section of a participating blog. You only get the penny for one or the other. You can do both but it doesn't count twice.
  3. Those with posts can join up on the Linky - Linky will not be active until day of post
  4. Collect the pennies! Every week there will be a new penny to collect and include with your post.
  5. RAFFLE ENTRY: Your site or comment needs to be submitted to this form as well so that your name can be uploaded to a raffle generator. If you're using a comment as a submission instead of a post, then put name of site where you left the comment in the "direct link" section.
  6. On the last Saturday of every month the entries from the form above will be entered in a drawing. Winner will be notified on Sunday. You get as many entries as you have pennies for the month. Prizes will include books, gift cards, site promotion, and other bookish winnings!
  7. Have fun! This is a fun way to start some discussion, discover blogs, and get to know more people. Please re-post these steps so that followers understand the process.


"You take people, you put them on a journey, you give them
peril, you find out who they really are."
- Joss Whedon

Book Review for Video Game Storytelling: What Every Developer Needs to Know About Narrative Techniques by Evan Skolnick

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

| | | 0 comments
Video Game Storytelling
Video gaming has come a long way. Once upon a time Pac-Man raced around an uncomplicated maze. The gamers great quest was to get the little guy to swallow all the beads before being eaten by a ghost. It was mindless fun, but hardly epic storytelling. Times have changed. Video games now can contain large casts of characters complete with complicated backstories. With avatars, the players enter through a fictional portal to become actual participants in a digital realm.

Evan Skolnick has produced a very readable guide to the storytelling involved in the creation of these worlds. The book is divided into two parts. Part I is called Basic Training and includes a solid wrap-up of writing techniques. He makes the case that conflict is at the heart of every story and includes very clear explanations about such things as transitions, plot points, and exposition. Each description is punctuated with examples from video games. I found the chapter on believability particularly interesting as he discusses character consistency and when and how to break the rules.

Part II, The Trenches, delves into some of the nitty gritty of video game storytelling. The book does a thorough job detailing all the different facets a writer must consider in order to create believable story, character, and environment. Skolnick also addresses the team aspect of working with concept artists, programmers, musicians, along with the audio engineers who produce the sound effects. He includes a useful example of a character description document needed by team members to maintain consistency during development.

This is well-thought out and well-crafted book. I liked the layout and extent of material covered and would recommend it to anyone interested in developing video games or simply writing in general.

Picky Quibble
This has nothing to do with the content matter, but take a gander at that cover. Whoever approved the blah design should be ashamed. Video gaming revels in vibrant colors and excitement. This cover looks like it was done by middle schoolers in a summer camp class taught by volunteers at an underfunded community center. Don’t be dissuaded from a purchase. While the cover is terrible, the contents are well worth it.


I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a review.


L. A. Kelley writes fantasies with adventure, romance, humor, and a touch of sass. http://lakelleythenaughtylist.blogspot.com

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