Early to Death, Early to Rise

, by Kt Clapsadl

Early to Death, Early to Rise by Kim Harrison
Madison Avery #2

Seventeen, dead, and in charge of heaven's dark angels—all itching to kill someone.

Madison Avery's dreams of ever fitting in at her new school died when she did. Especially since she was able to maintain the illusion of a body, deal with a pesky guardian angel, and oh yeah, bring the reaper who killed her to his untimely end. Not exactly in-crowd material. It's amazing that her crush, Josh, doesn't think she's totally nuts.

Now Madison has learned that she's the dark timekeeper, in charge of angels who follow the murky guidelines of fate. Never one to abide by the rules, she decides it's time for a major change to the system. With the help of some unlikely allies, Madison forms a rogue group of reapers who definitely don't adhere to the rules of the heavens.

But as she grapples with the terrifying new skills that come with being a timekeeper, Madison realizes she may not be prepared for what lies ahead—unless she gets some seriously divine intervention.

After defeating the Previous Timekeeper who was out to destroy her soul, Madison is now in charge of the Dark Reapers, who carry out heaven's "hit" orders. She is still dead, and has to deal with trying to change the system, as well as an overzealous Light Keeper who will do everything he can to see her fail. Yet despite all this, Josh, her human friend, seems to want to be something more than friends, much to her delight. With her Dark Reaper bodyguard Nakita, and the Light Reaper defector Barnabas at her side, they set out to change one boy's fate. But fate it seems, doesn't want to be changed, and it won't be as easy as she thought after all. Madison may just have bitten off more than she can chew.

Madison, Nakita, Josh, and Barnabas make for one heck of a motley crew. I mean you have a dead girl, a dark reaper, a light reaper and a plain old human, so sparks are bound to fly at some point. You would think things would get a little overwhelming with so many main characters, yet it never does. Kim Harrison is fantastic at giving each character a distinct voice, with none of them ever seeming to just be a cookie cutter pattern, no matter how small the role. So when something happens, you can guarantee that the character's reaction will be very realistic and true to the character. I especially like the way she is able to show realistic growth in the characters without ever feeling forced.

Fate and choice play an even larger role in this book than the last one. It's kinda funny that Madison doesn't believe in fate, yet she is in charge of the reapers that kill in the name of fate. She's trying to change a system that has been in place for ages. While she may get frustrated and just want to give up, I don't think she has it in her to quit. Even when she finally finds her body, I just don't think she will be able to walk away.  She is in it for the long hall, and with her determination, I just don't see how things wouldn't start to change; no matter how slowly.

I'm really enjoying reading the Madison Avery Series, and I'm so happy to see the same writing style I fell in love with in previous books, continuing on with this series. Early to Death, Early to Rise was a very enjoyable read, even more so than the first installment. Now that I know what is going on, I was able to sit back and enjoy the ride. I have a feeling I will enjoy the next book even more as I've become attached to these characters and their journey, and cannot wait to see how things pan out for them. All in all if you are a Kim Harrison fan, you should enjoy this book, and I highly recommend checking it out.

Rating:





Buy now at Amazon:
Early to Death, Early to Rise (Madison Avery, Book 2)

Challenge Categories:
Outdo Yourself
YA

Interview and Giveaway with Jocelynn Drake

, by Kt Clapsadl



I love this series and I will be sad to see it end. Burn the Night will be the final installment and Jocelynn Drake was gracious enough to grant me an interview and giveaway spot on her blog tour. Exciting! The details for the giveaway will follow the interview. Make sure you check out my review. Enjoy!

*Burn the Night is the final book in the Dark Days series. Are you sad to say goodbye to Mira and the gang, or do you feel it was “time” and ready to move on to other things?

I’m definitely sad to be closing the book on the series. I’ve known Mira & Co. for several years. They’ve been in my thoughts for so long that I feel as if they are my family and it’s hard to say good-bye to them. Every once in a while, I still think of something that I didn’t have time to accomplish with them or a character that I wish I had had a chance to spend more time with. I think that’s part of the danger of creating such a big, detailed world. There just isn’t enough time for everything.

But in the end, I think it was time to bring it all to a close. I had started the series to tell Mira’s story as she battled the demons from her past that were threatening to eclipse her future. I got the chance to see both her and Danaus grow into wonderful people and what parent couldn’t be more proud of that?

*I love how Mira and Danaus are like children to you. I think that shows just how close you are to your characters and it really shows in your writing. Speaking of new things, I’ve read you are starting a new series called The Tattoo Artists. Could you tell us a little about that?

This is a totally new and exciting world. After working in a closed/hidden world, where humans were in the dark, I decided to throw the doors open on this one. In this world, magical creatures live along side of humans, but they are all lorded over by powerful witches and warlocks. In an effort to get ahead in this world, many people will turn to the tattoo artists, who, for the right price, can give you love, luck, or revenge with the right tattoo and potion. The series centers on a skilled tattoo artist and his co-workers as they struggle with their hidden pasts and the interesting customers that come through the door.

*Wow that sounds really fascinating! I cannot wait to read it! So, how do you choose your character names?

For me, it’s mostly a feel thing, which I know doesn’t make much sense. I rely heavily on my copy of “The Writer’s Digest Character-Naming Sourcebook”. With the Dark Days books, I looked closely at names that were popular for the region that the character was from. Jabari was an Egyptian name, Sadira was Persian. Gabriel and Michael just naturally fell into place as Mira’s guardian angels. Danaus… I’m not sure where that came from… divine intervention… his soul calling out to mine …

*Haha.. That sounds like Danaus. If your books were to be made into a movie who would be your top picks for the cast?

Wow, hard question! I have to admit that I am a huge fan of all the sci-fi/action movies that Milla Jovovich has done and I think she would do an excellent job as Mira. As for Danaus, I think in my mind I will always have the image of the video game ad, though the cover of Pray For Dawn is very close. The only actor that has come closest in appearance would be Oded Fehr as he appeared in The Mummy movies. I've never found a good fit for the other characters and I love hearing the thoughts of my readers.


*Really great choices, especially Milla. I love all her movies and think she would make a perfect Mira. If you could tell readers one thing about yourself or your books what would that be?

The Dark Days series is a dark look into the soul and trying to see what you would do to save that which is important to you. How far would you go for someone you loved? Even more, how are you willing to change for love?

*I think that sums up the "moral" of the Dark Days Series perfectly. I loved seeing their journey and the lengths they would go for the ones that they love. What are some of your favorite books in the paranormal genre?

I can’t say a favorite book. There are just too many. I’m better off listing favorite authors, who include: Kim Harrison, Vicki Pettersson, Rachel Vincent, Simon Green, Jim Butcher, Kerrelyn Sparks, Lynsay Sands, Christine Feehan, Charlaine Harris, and Richard Kadrey. I’m sure there are more, but this is a good sampling.




Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows, Book 1)The Scent of Shadows (Sign of the Zodiac, Book 1)Stray (Shifters Book 1)Something from the Nightside (Nightside, Book 1)Storm Front (The Dresden Files, Book 1)How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire (Love at Stake, Book 1)A Quick Bite (Argeneau Vampires, Book 1)Magic in the Wind (Drake Sisters, Book 1)Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, Book 1)Sandman Slim 1st (first) edition Text Only


* Wow we have very similar tastes. You picked a lot of my favorites. Have you always wanted to be a writer, and how long did it take you to achieve your dream?

I was about twelve years old and I had just finished reading a wonderful retelling of the story of Robin Hood. I loved the story, but had walked away wishing that there had been a strong female character that could keep up with all the boys. I spent that summer sitting on my bed, rewriting the story of Robin Hood in an old notebook so that it included a strong, fearless female character that could keep up with Robin Hood and the rest of his merry band.

From that moment, I was hooked on writing. I spent almost all of my time creating stories about high school romances and fantasies about elves and mermaids. I wrote down whatever came to mind, never believing that I could one day do it for a living. For me, there is just this deep love of wondering “what if?” I need to daydream about places and people and creatures that may have never existed but in my mind. I love the written word and the way certain perfect combinations can draw an emotion out of a person you’ve never met before. That kind of power is intoxicating.

Nightwalker started out as any other story that I wrote, just for me. By the time I was getting close to finishing it, I thought it was a really good story and that I just might be able to publish it. I spent about a year polishing the rough draft and then spent two years trying to get an agent. It was a long process with lots of rejection along the way.

*I am so glad you had the determination to stick it through. You are a very talent writer and I would have hated to miss the chance to read your books :) Could you tell us a little about you?

Born and raised in Northern Kentucky, just outside of Cincinnati, Ohio, I have been an avid reader and writer for most of my life. However, I never really expected to be able to pursue writing as a career. I had always heard how hard it was to get published so I generally kept my stories to myself. I started college as an engineering major but changed to a double major of journalism and English after my first year because of a deep hatred for calculus. While at times I miss science, my love of the written word runs deeper. I still live in a small town in Kentucky near my family with my two cats and my addiction to video games.

*What are your passions other than reading or writing?

Is there anything else besides reading and writing? Does daydreaming count? I am a daydream addict. I spent more time during the day in a world of my own creation than this thing people call “reality.” I love video games, good music, attending concerts, hanging out with my family, going to movies, and fires. Yeah, definitely got a thing for fires and explosions.

*Who doesn't love things that go "boom?" ;) What is the craziest or at least most interesting thing you have ever done?

I went to France on a student exchange program when I was 15. I was there for nearly three weeks and caught the flu. I went to Las Vegas to celebrate my 30th birthday. I’ve met amazing authors, danced in the ocean, dreamed about kissing hunky movie stars, and talked about the stock market on TV. I’m just a regular girl with big dreams.

*Just for fun. If you were stranded somewhere but had electric, what three things other than basic survival supplies, would you have to have?

A mound of books, a mound of chocolate, and my laptop.

*Very Good Choices. I always forget chocolate when I make my list. Finish this statement: "You'll like The Dark Days Series if.."

"You’re into strong, independent women, stubborn men, and great fight scenes.” 

Thanks so much for the interview!

Author Info:




The Oldest of three kids, Jocelynn grew up and continues to reside in the Cincinnati, Ohio region. She started writing when she was 12, spending all of one summer re-writing the story of Robin Hood in the battered remains of a notebook. While life has brought many changes and surprises, the love of writing and a good story has been a constant. When not writing, she can be found buried in a good book, wandering through the woods with her camera cradled protectively against her body, traveling to interesting locations, or relaxing with her family, who have also remained in the Cincinnati area.





Find Jocelynn online:

Two Signed Copies of Burn the Night
Giveaway provided by the Author
Check out my review

The Great Awakening approaches . . .

After eons in exile, the naturi have broken their chains and now roam the Earth bent on revenge. It is the sworn duty of Mira, the Fire Starter, to protect the nightwalker race—though even she may be powerless to withstand the horrific onslaught. As Mira and her brave lover, the vampire slayer Danaus, stand ready to do battle, thousands of winged shapeshifters darken the skies. The war of ultimate extermination has begun, and the battleground is Mira's home turf.

The humans don't yet recognize the doom descending upon them. And the nightwalkers will surely perish unless they unite with outcast naturi who claim to want peace. But these unexpected "allies" are the same demons who have long worked for Mira's destruction—and in these darkest of days the lines between friend and foe will blur treacherously before the bloody end of all things.

Rules:

1. International is okay.
2. Leave a comment to enter with a contact method.
3. Please spread the word. (Extra entries with links)
4. Ends 7/8 at Midnight.

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Burn the Night

, by Kt Clapsadl

Burn the Night by Jocelynn Drake
Dark Days #6

The Great Awakening approaches . . . 

After eons in exile, the naturi have broken their chains and now roam the Earth bent on revenge. It is the sworn duty of Mira, the Fire Starter, to protect the nightwalker race—though even she may be powerless to withstand the horrific onslaught. As Mira and her brave lover, the vampire slayer Danaus, stand ready to do battle, thousands of winged shapeshifters darken the skies. The war of ultimate extermination has begun, and the battleground is Mira's home turf.

The humans don't yet recognize the doom descending upon them. And the nightwalkers will surely perish unless they unite with outcast naturi who claim to want peace. But these unexpected "allies" are the same demons who have long worked for Mira's destruction—and in these darkest of days the lines between friend and foe will blur treacherously before the bloody end of all things.

Mira is still reeling from the events in the previous books, but has no real time to lick her wounds. The Naturi have split into two factions and a catastrophic war is on the horizon. Mira will have to swallow her pride and then some in order to join forces with the very species she has devoted her life to destroying. At least these Naturi seems to want peace when the war is over, at least for a time. Mira is too smart, or jaded depending on how you look at it to believe otherwise. The Great Awakening is just around the corner, with the Nightwalkers and Shapeshifters scrambling to put it off for as long as possible. Secrecy has been necessary to their very survival, but with the Queen of the Naturi determined to bare all in plain sight, Mira knows the time of hiding is just about up. That won't stop her from make one last effort to prevent those events and put an end to the insane queen once and for all.

Burn the Night is told from dual first person perspectives, with both Mira and Nyx getting a few chapters each turn. I'll be honest that I was a little worried at first when things started out with Nyx, and that the book wouldn't have enough of Mira, but I need not have. Mira definitely got her due share, but I really enjoyed Nyx's perspective as well. It was like a behind the scenes look into a side we hadn't really understood before this point. In a funny way, Nyx is really similar to Mira in many ways. They both are extremely powerful, and both were shunned by their people as a result. Another similar trait was their fierce protectiveness and willingness to sacrifice everything if needed. This any many more things would make Nyx a formidable opponent for Mira if they were ever to come to blows, even more so than any other the others Mira has faced, because none of them have had that same sacrificial nature. Luckily for both of them they were on the same side, at least for the time being, but that fragile truce made for a very interesting reading, knowing that it wouldn't take much to tip the scales at all.

The best thing about Burn the Night was that Jocelynn Drake didn't just wrap things up with a cookie cutter ending nor did she try to shove these raw characters into a neat little wrapped box with a bow. The ending is fragile and tenuous, with the knowledge that no peace nor resolution will be permanent due to the nature of all the different species, but at least we do get a small look into a reprieve, however long or short that may be. Trust me, Mira's earned a little downtime, if not some major R&R. Anything more concrete just would not have been realistic, and I cannot be happier that she stayed true to the characters and the wonderful world she built.

Burn the Night is the type of book that deserves to be savored. However, with its nonstop heat pounding action it became a battle of wills in order to slow myself down to truly appreciate what I was reading. So much was going on that I really wanted to take my time to make sure I didn't miss anything, but the action just would not be denied and I raced through the entire book at a record pace. I'm very much looking forward to a reread in the future to discover everything I missed in my haste to see what happened next. As much as it saddens me to say goodbye to Mira and Danaus, I really felt like the series is ending in a very natural place. There are many reasons for this, that I won't get into to avoid spoilers, but suffice it to say that almost all of the questions and pressing issues will be answered.  Burn the Night will leave you with a sense of satisfaction as you bid farewell, making it a fitting final installment in this amazing series.

Rating:







Buy now from Amazon:
Burn the Night: The Final Dark Days Novel

Challenge Categories:
Outdo Yourself
Horror and Urban Fantasy
Vampire 

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Waiting on Wednesday (49)

, by Kt Clapsadl

Don't forget my two giveaways: Dead Iron and Burn the Night



Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights an upcoming release we are greatly anticipating.

My pick this week:

Forever - The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3
by Maggie Stiefvater
Publication Date: July 12th 2011

The thrilling conclusion to #1 bestselling Shiver trilogy from Maggie Stievater

In Maggie Stiefvater's SHIVER, Grace and Sam found each other. In LINGER, they fought to be together. Now, in FOREVER, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.

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Once Dead, Twice Shy

, by Kt Clapsadl

Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison
Madison Avery #1

My name is Madison Avery, and I'm here to tell you that there's more out there than you can see, hear, or touch. Because I'm there. Seeing it. Touching it. Living it.

Madison's prom was killer—literally. For some reason she's been targeted by a dark reaper—yeah, that kind of reaper—intent on getting rid of her, body and soul. But before the reaper could finish the job, Madison was able to snag his strange, glowing amulet and get away.

Now she's stuck on Earth—dead but not gone. Somehow the amulet gives her the illusion of a body, allowing her to toe the line between life and death. She still doesn't know why the dark reaper is after her, but she's not about to just sit around and let fate take its course.

With a little ingenuity, some light-bending, and the help of a light reaper (one of the good guys! Maybe . . . ), her cute crush, and oh yeah, her guardian angel, Madison's ready to take control of her own destiny once and for all, before it takes control of her.

Well, if she believed in that stuff.

Madison is your typical seventeen year old girl. Well she would be if she were alive. Now in addition to all the normal teen stuff, she has to deal with learning to control the amulet that she stole in order to "live." She also doesn't need to eat or sleep, which can be a little hard to hide at times. She is still on the run from the Dark Reaper that targeted her. Something is a little fishy since she is already dead and he should have no use for her anymore. She will have to stand up and fight if she wants to continue on with the illusion of a body. This is one girl who will not "go gently into the night," she will fight to the bitter end despite what fate tells her.

Madison is a really unique character. Of course the fact that she is dead might have just a little to do with that. She dresses ecentrically and her hair has purple tips. While she says she wants to fit in, she never really makes an effort to, making me think she only says it because she thinks she should want to. She is very gutsy and never hesitates to step right into the action. Of course she is a typical teenager in that she doesn't always think things through making her more than a little reckless. I see a lot of potential for her character to grow. This became especially apparant as things were revealed and the reason behind her survival. Her "role" is sure to make things quite interesting in the long run and I can't wait to see what she gets herself into next.

I didn't really care for the way we were thrown into the middle of Madison's world without much of an explanation or back story. It took a while for things to start to be revealed. I just found out there is a short story in the anthology, Prom Dates From Hell, that shows Madison's death. Perhaps if I had read that, the begging of this one wouldn't have felt so jarring. I also wish the Fate vs. Choice concept had of been more prevalent earlier on and I found it to be really interesting. However, I do think I will get my wish in the next book as things were really well set up for those issues to play a larger role in the future.

Once Dead, Twice Shy has a great cast of characters, and the dynamic between them is what really made the book. I really enjoyed the ending as it really solidified those relationships, and made me very eager to read the next book. I absolutely cannot wait to see how the motley crew figures out how to work together without tearing each other apart, no small task when you consider just how different they all are. While this book may not be quite up to the caliber that Kim Harrison's other series, The Hallows is, it was definitely an enjoyable read, and I look forward to reading the next installment.

Rating:





Buy now at Amazon:
Once Dead, Twice Shy (Madison Avery, Book 1)

Challenge Categories:
Outdo Yourself
YA

It's Monday! What are you reading (49)

, by Kt Clapsadl






It's Monday! What Are You Reading, hosted by Book Journey, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.






Here's what I read this past week:


Hunt the Moon: A Cassie Palmer NovelGrave Dance: An Alex Craft NovelDead Iron: The Age of Steam (Cedar Hunt)


Hunt the Moon by Karen Chance (Review)
Grave Dance by Kalayna Price (Early Review)
Dead Iron by Devon Monk (Early Review)


I had a pretty awesome reading week. First up was Hunt the Moon by Karen Chance. I love Cassie and how amazingly strong she is. Sometimes by the fifth book in a series, things have started to fizzle a little. However that just simply isn't the case here. If you are Cassie fan you won't be disappointed in this latest installment.

Next was Grave Dance by Kalayna Price. I loved loved loved this book. In fact I pretty much love all her books, and I hope she continues to gain popularity. What is really unique about this series is her ability to write a love triangle type theme really well. I personally think the best triangles are ones where the reader has a really hard choosing a side, and Grave Dance fits that bill.

The final book for the week was my first foray into Steampunk. I'll have to admit I had a pretty large learning curve as I hadn't really read anything remotely like it, but once I got into it I really enjoyed it. I'm a big fan of Devon Monk's Allie Beckstrom series, so I knew I would just have to try Dead Iron out. I'm very glad I did. I'm giving away a copy of Dead Iron here, so make sure to check that out!


My Upcoming List:

Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison
Early to Death, Early to Rise by Kim Harrison
Something Deadly This Way Comes by Kim Harrison

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Dead Iron Giveaway

, by Kt Clapsadl



One copy of Dead Iron by Devon Monk
Giveaway provided by the Publisher
Check out my Early Review


Welcome to a new America that is built on blood, sweat, and gears...

In steam age America, men, monsters, machines, and magic battle for the same scrap of earth and sky. In this chaos, bounty hunter Cedar Hunt rides, cursed by lycanthropy and carrying the guilt of his brother's death. Then he's offered hope that his brother may yet survive. All he has to do is find the Holder: a powerful device created by mad devisers-and now in the hands of an ancient Strange who was banished to walk this Earth.

In a land shaped by magic, steam, and iron, where the only things a man can count on are his guns, gears, and grit, Cedar will have to depend on all three if he's going to save his brother and reclaim his soul once and for all...



Rules:

1. US Only.
2. Leave a comment with a contact method.
3. Please spread the word. (Extra entries with links)
4. Giveaway ends 7/4 at Midnight

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Dead Iron (Early Review)

, by Kt Clapsadl

Dead Iron by Devon Monk
Age of Steam #1

Welcome to a new America that is built on blood, sweat, and gears... 
 
In steam age America, men, monsters, machines, and magic battle for the same scrap of earth and sky. In this chaos, bounty hunter Cedar Hunt rides, cursed by lycanthropy and carrying the guilt of his brother's death. Then he's offered hope that his brother may yet survive. All he has to do is find the Holder: a powerful device created by mad devisers-and now in the hands of an ancient Strange who was banished to walk this Earth. 

In a land shaped by magic, steam, and iron, where the only things a man can count on are his guns, gears, and grit, Cedar will have to depend on all three if he's going to save his brother and reclaim his soul once and for all...


Cedar was cursed long ago with lycanthropy. Whenever he changes, he is sent into a murderous rage that leaves a path of death and destruction behind him. When he wakes up to the carnage, he has no memory of what happened the night before.  On his first change he killed his brother and has lived with that horror ever since. Many years later, a new hope has arisen, and his brother may still live. Cedar must accept a task to find the Holder, a device that could destroy everything. He just has to figure a way to get it away from a tremendously powerful strange that is dead set on revenge against those who banished him. Time is running out, and only one will be left standing in the end.


There is a whole lot going on in this book. So much that it took me a good while to really get into the story. Dead Iron is told in third person, and rotates perspectives. The rotation in itself wasn't the problem, but that as soon as you started to understand something, the focus would shift to someone else. Looking back, this actually was the best thing for the book as it allowed you to become attached to all the characters rather than just a select few. So once I got past my initial frustration, I was able to enjoy the book a whole lot more.

While there wasn't really a romantic element in Dead Iron the stage seems to be set for a potential in the next. Considering everything that was happening in this book, making this believable was no small task, yet the author made it progress seamlessly. In addition to the "seeds" sown for the potential love interests, there also were several kernels given about different characters. This leaves a whole lot of potential for growth in the series, and I find myself impatient to find out the secrets that are hidden.

This was my first foray into Steampunk, and I'll admit I wasn't really sure what to expect. The world the book is set in is very fascinating, as well as completely different from anything I have read in the past. I think my lack of familiarity with the genre and the world's uniqueness had a lot to do with my slow "learning curve." I have a feeling that I will enjoy the next book even more now that I have fully grasped the rules and overall concept. The characters were really substantial and I couldn't help wanting to root for them to succeed despite the odds against them. I have always loved Devon Monk's other series, The Allie Beckstrom books, and now I am happy to say Ms. Monk is definitely not a one hit wonder. So if you are a fan of Steampunk, or even a plain old fantasy lover, Dead Iron would be a great addition to your shelves.

(Received from the Publisher)

Rating:





Pre-order at Amazon:
Dead Iron: The Age of Steam (Cedar Hunt)

Challenge Categories:
Outdo Yourself
Horror and Urban Fantasy
Shifter 
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