book review: My Sister, the Serial Killer

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Afbeeldingsresultaat voor my sister the serial killerMy Sister, the Serial Killer

by Oyinkan Braithwaite

read in January 2019

format: audiobook

rating: 3.75 stars

This is a spoiler-free review!

synopsis

Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead. Korede’s practicality is the sisters’ saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood, the trunk of her car is big enough for a body, and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures of her dinner to Instagram when she should be mourning her “missing” boyfriend. Not that she gets any credit.
A kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where Korede works, is the bright spot in her life. She dreams of the day when he will realize they’re perfect for each other. But one day Ayoola shows up to the hospital uninvited and he takes notice. When he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and what she will do about it.

review

Korede’s sister Ayoola has killed three of her boyfriends in a row. Each time she claims they were committed in self-defence, and each time she calls Korede to help her get rid of all the evidence. My Sister, the Serial Killer started with a bang; I was instantly intrigued.

This novel is set in Nigeria and is only 226 pages long, so a guaranteed quick read. Considering we know the victims and perpetrator by the beginning of this book, this isn’t your classic mystery thriller. Perhaps I found the sisters’ dynamics even more compelling: Korede thinks her sister might be a cold-blooded killer as opposed to a victim, but she nevertheless cannot help protecting her.

I listened to the audiobook and finished it in a handful of hours. This probably won’t be my most memorable read of the year, but it was highly entertaining. I’ve never read anything like it and would definitely pick up more of Oyinkan Braithwaite’s work.

My Sister, the Serial Killer might also be considered a slice-of-life novel. The story started before the book began – e.g. several deaths and Korede’s feelings for a handsome doctor – and the story isn’t over when the book is. The ending might be a bit frustrating, but I’m okay with it. As someone who doesn’t like to read romance-centred books, I appreciated that Korede already had romantic feelings before the start of the novel. I much prefer that to insta-love.

My only issue with this novel is the claim that the murders were committed in self-defence. I won’t spoil whether that’s true or not, but in this day and age, I find it problematic when readers are lead to be believed someone is lying about being a victim of domestic abuse. I always want to believe victims, but especially in mystery thrillers, those claims are seldom legitimate.

content and trigger warnings for blood, murder, stabbing, child abuse, coma, cheating, anti-fat remarks (unchallenged)


Are you interested in reading this novel? If you have already, what were your thoughts? Though this won’t be one of my favourite reads of the year, I found it highly entertaining and recommend you check it out!

Thank you for reading,

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book review: Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

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Afbeeldingsresultaat voor sawkill girls

Sawkill Girls

by Claire Legrand

read in January 2019

format: audiobook

rating: 3.5 stars

This is a spoiler-free review!

synopsis

Who are the Sawkill Girls?

Marion: the new girl. Awkward and plain, steady and dependable. Weighed down by tragedy and hungry for love she’s sure she’ll never find.

Zoey: the pariah. Luckless and lonely, hurting but hiding it. Aching with grief and dreaming of vanished girls. Maybe she’s broken—or maybe everyone else is.

Val: the queen bee. Gorgeous and privileged, ruthless and regal. Words like silk and eyes like knives, a heart made of secrets and a mouth full of lies.

Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires.

Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight… until now.

review

For some reason I haven’t written a full-length book review since November, so please bear with me while I try to figure out how to do this again.

When I started reading Sawkill Girls, I honestly didn’t know much about it. Lately, many readers have been loving it, however, and after finding out the three female protagonists queer, I wanted to pick it up. I don’t usually read horror, so that was exciting as well.

I listened to the audiobook and the narration was okay. If I had read a physical copy, I think I would’ve been more invested though. The story didn’t fully grab my attention and I didn’t love the characters as much as I had wanted to.

Zoey was my favourite of the trio. She’s black, asexual and determined to figure out what happened to those missing girls. I’m usually not fond of M/F romances, but I liked her interactions with Grayson. Finally a boy in YA I genuinely like.

Val and Marion, the other protagonists, are queer as well. While I obviously love that we got a F/F romance, I wasn’t thrilled by the execution. Their feelings developed too quickly for my taste.

It’s an interesting choice that The Sawkill Girls isn’t a whodunit. We know right from the start who’s responsible for the missing girls. If this book had been shorter, I think I would’ve liked that approach more. At 450 pages, however, it took me quite a while to finish the audiobook and as I have said before, I wasn’t completely invested.

Additionally, I didn’t love the writing style. It’s certainly a case of “it’s me, not you”, though, as I struggle with flowery writing.

Sadly Sawkill Girls didn’t live up to the hype for me, but I don’t regret picking it up. It was nice to explore a new genre and I especially liked learning more about these characters. They were fleshed-out, which I find important.

content and trigger warnings for physical injury, death, murder, animal pain and death, anti-ace remarks (challenged), sexual assault, child abuse, sex on the page (F/F)


Have you read Sawkill Girls yet? Are you interested in picking it up?

Thank you for reading,

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quarterly backlist TBR | 2019 part 1

on my TBR

Hello my fellow book lovers! As I mentioned in my 2019 reading goals post, I am doing quarterly backlist TBRs to get to some of the books I’ve owned for years, but haven’t picked up yet. Here are the three books I would like to get to in January, February and March.

eliza and her monsters

Because I find TBRs intimidating, I want to start off with a book that seems right up my alley. I bought Eliza and her Monsters soon after it was released, but I never think about picking it up, despite it seeming like something I’d definitely love. Many of my friends recommend it and it’s been compared to Radio Silence, so my hopes are high!

the night circus

I don’t read fantasy often, but I have tons of them on my TBR. The Night Circus is very beloved, so it seems less daunting than high fantasy books. I own a mass market paperback, however, and I’m already dreading picking it up.

the book thief

I have owned a copy of The Book Thief for so long, I didn’t even live in this house yet! I love historical fiction, but I don’t read it as often as I’d like to. I have to admit I’m intimidated by the hype! I hope I’ll love it as much as everyone else does.


So this was the first quarterly TBR of 2019! For more books I want to read, check out my monthly TBRs!

Thank you for reading,

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2019 reading goals & 2018 follow-up

book chat.png

Hello my fellow book lovers! Today, I’ll check whether I accomplished my 2018 reading goals and discuss my 2019 goals with you!

Here’s the original post in which I discussed my 2018 goals!

2018 recap.png

Read 52 books

I thought I would be busier in 2018, but unfortunately, I was unemployed for the majority of the year. As a result, I managed to read 100 books in 2018, though!!

physical TBR: more read than unread books

Wow, I forgot this was one of my 2018 goals… I decided to separate my read and TBR books on my bookshelves and I was surprised so many of the books I own are unread. I even created a second Goodreads account to keep better track of this.

I, however, completely failed at this goal. Because I read so many audiobooks, I neglect my physical TBR. I certainly want to pay more attention to this this year.

read a variety of genres

I mainly read Young Adult contemporaries and wanted to diversify the genres I read. I picked up more literary fiction in 2018, but noticed I often didn’t have enough life experience to fully comprehend its themes and characters. I, however, completely discovered my love for true crime and read more non-fiction than ever before.

As for other genres, I am still intimidated by fantasies. And while I love historical fiction, I rarely pick it up.

2019 goals.png

read 52 books

While I read 100 books in 2018, my reading goal is 52 books just as previous years. I’m proud of myself for reading so much, but I’m quite a slow reader as opposed to when I listen to audiobooks.

Just like last year, my life is rather unpredictable right now. I’m looking for a job, but my search hasn’t been very successful so far. Because of this, I don’t know whether I’ll have as much time to read when and if I get a job.

physical TBR: more read than unread books

Because I completely forgot this was one of my goals last year, I want to pay more attention to this in 2019. I won’t stop listening to audiobooks, but would like to read before I fall asleep, instead of browsing YouTube and Pinterest every. single. night. for. hours!

read every single day

I absolutely do not read every single day. I don’t even listen to audiobooks daily, because I love podcasts and YouTube just as much. That said, I’m hoping I could at least read thirty minutes each day. Honestly, this is a really ambitious goal for me. I often go weeks without picking up a book, so I would have to completely change my daily routine to make sure I get some reading done. That said, I’m determined to make this a habit.

quarterly backlist TBRs

At the beginning of 2018, I posted a list of backlist books I wanted to read throughout the year. I did quite well the first few months, but after a while, I neglected that list. This year, however, I think I might be more successful if I turn that list into quarterly TBRs instead. At the end of the year, I am still aiming to read the same amount of backlist books, but it seems more manageable this way.

Additionally, I would also like to create more monthly TBRs. I am a mood reader so I don’t want it to be too rigid, but a couple of books seems feasible.


What are your 2019 goals? Did you manage to achieve all your 2018 ones?

Thank you for reading,

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anticipated book releases | January 2019

anticipated book releases

Hello my fellow book lovers! It’s time to discuss which January book releases I am looking forward to! As usual, I don’t including sequels of series I haven’t started yet, even when I’m looking forward to reading them someday.

These are in order of publication date. When you click on the book’s title, you will be brought to the Goodreads page.

oh my gods.png

Oh My Gods, isn’t this cover adorable?! 😀 This YA fantasy seems like a lot of fun: Helen Thomas is a half-mortal teenager, whose family are ancient Greek gods! If you are a fan of Rick Riordan’s work, you should check this out!

release date: January 3rd

black enough.png

I am always looking for more diverse anthologies and Black Enough sounds perfect! The synopsis says it “showcases diversity within diversity”, which I find a beautiful message. Staring authors such as Renée Watson and Jason Reynolds, I doubt this is going to disappoint!

release date: January 8th

the gilded wolves.png

I don’t know anything about The Gilded Wolves, but everyone who has had the chance to read this yet, absolutely loved it! Though I have some of Roshani Chokshi’s work on my TBR, I haven’t read any of her books yet. Oh, and this one stars characters of colour, queer representation and a heist, so what’s not to love?!

release date: January 15th

dragon pearl.png

I have been meaning to read the Rick Riordan Presents books, but I haven’t got around to them. Dragon Pearl is a middle grade sci-fi novel inspired by Korean mythology.

release date: January 15th

genesis begins again.png

Though it’s not my favourite genre, I really enjoy diverse middle grade novels. Genesis Begins Again is a debut and stars Genesis, a girl who learns to love herself by overcoming her abusive family and internalised racism.

release date: January 15th

our year of maybe.png

I’ve wanted to read Solomon’s You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone ever since it was released a year ago, but I haven’t pick it up yet! I think I’m absolutely going to love it though, and my hopes for Our Year of Maybe are high as well. This novel stars Jewish characters and a bisexual protagonist!

release date: January 15th

96 words for love.png

I don’t tend to like books with a heavy emphasis on romance, but 96 Words for Love sounds like it has lots of other elements to offer. It’s a modern retelling of an Indian legend and I love the splash of watercolour on the cover!

king of scars.png

Because I haven’t read the Shadow & Bone trilogy yet, I won’t be picking up King of Scars anytime soon. That said, the hype is going to be through the roof, so I know I’m going to pick it up someday. I’m excited to read more about Nina!

release date: January 29th

the love and lies of rukhsana ali

I already mentioned a few weeks ago The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali is one of my most anticipated releases of the year. Hard-hitting contemporaries are my favourite and the synopsis reminds me of the wonderful Written in the Stars, so my hopes are high!


A few days late, but here are books I’m looking forward to in January 2019! What are your most anticipated releases of the month? Are any of these on your list?

Thank you for reading,

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TBR | January 2019

monthly tbr

Hello my fellow book lovers! Welcome to my first monthly TBR of 2019! I will also be doing quarterly TBRs, but those will contain I am intimidated to read.

Because I am a mood reader, I want wiggle room, but here are some of the books I’d like to read in January!

our stories, our voices

I started reading Our Stories, Our Voices in December, but I didn’t get around to finishing it. I really liked this non-fiction anthology and Amy Reed’s essay was my favourite so far. I’m keen to continue this!

the obelisk gate

Back in November, I picked up The Obelisk Gate, but I’ve kind of neglected it since. I am determined to finish this series soon, however, and I’m hoping to continue The Obelisk Gate this month. You can read my review of The Fifth Season here.


So this is my very short January TBR. I wasn’t in the mood to read in December, so I’m taking it slow. I’m aiming at reading five books this month, though, so I have plenty of mood reader choices left 😉

Which books do you want to read in January?

Thank you for reading,

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Top Ten Tuesday: best books of the year!! | 2018 wrap-up

top ten tuesday

Hello my fellow book lovers! Happy New Year!! It’s time for a very important blog post: my favourite reads of 2018!!!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in 2018. You can have a look at the future topics here!

I read a total of 100 books last year and today, I am going to talk about my favourites (in no particular order). When you click on the book’s title, you will be brought to my review, which includes content and trigger warnings.

girl made of stars

I received an e-ARC of Girl Made of Stars and I read it in one sitting. Ashley Herring Blake is one of my favourite authors and her newest release did not disappoint. In fact, it’s my favourite work so far. This novel deals with sexual assault, so be careful if you want to pick this up. That said, the subject matter was handled perfectly. I sobbed while reading this, because it was so relatable. I definitely plan on re-reading Girl Made of Stars someday.

sadie

Sadie took me by surprise! As you must know by now, the audiobook is PERFECT. As a fan of true crime podcasts, this was right up my alley. I read All The Rage soon afterwards and am keen to read more of Courtney Summer’s work.

radio silenceI was nervous to pick up Radio Silence, because I desperately wanted to love it as much as my friends do. Thankfully, it did not disappoint! This novel was incredibly relatable and made me tear up multiple times. I plan on reading more of Oseman’s books, but I doubt they will top my love for Radio Silence.

the stranger beside me

The only non-fiction book on this list is The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule. I discovered my true crime obsession this year and now regularly pick up non-fiction. Ted Bundy is one of the most famous serial killers, so I decided to pick up The Stranger Beside Me to learn everything about him. Considering Bundy and Ann Rule where friends, this is a must-read for Murderinos! In 2019, I will continue to read more of her non-fiction work.

the seven husbands of evelyn hugo

I loved The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo so much, I’ve read it twice already! I’m relieved I enjoyed this as much as my friends. I’ve read quite a few of Reid’s novels and this is certainly her best work so far. The characters don’t seem fictional, they’re so realistic and the pacing is perfect. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a book I will re-read many times throughout my life.

piecing me together

I’ve said this a million times before, but I will say it again: Piecing Me Together deserves more hype! If you are looking for a short, diverse Young Adult novel, I highly recommend this! I thought everything was executed perfectly and I cannot wait to read more of Watson’s work.

little fires everywhere

I didn’t love Little Fires Everywhere as much as Everything I Never Told You. That said, this was the second book I read in 2018 and I still think about it often. Considering I read one hundred books, that’s quite an achievement. Celeste Ng is one of my favourite authors and I will continue to read everything she writes.


Have you read any of my favourite books yet? Do you love them as much as I do?

What are your favourite reads of 2018?

Thank you for reading,

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Wrap-Up | December 2018

wrap-up

Hello my fellow book lovers! Today, it’s time for my final wrap-up of 2018! I’m honestly not looking forward to writing this post, because my reading month was A MESS. I wasn’t in the mood to pick up any books, but forced myself to reach 100 books, since I was so close.

books_I_read_this_month

I did it! I managed to read exactly 100 books in 2018, while my initial goal was 52! I mainly read non-fiction on audiobook this month and haven’t reviewed any of these books yet, with the exception of Mindhunter. These are in order of when I read them.

green river running red

The first book I read in December was Green River, Running Red by Ann Rule, about the Green River Killer. I loved Rule’s The Stranger Beside Me  and want to read all of her non-fiction work. Because of the large number of victims, it was often difficult to keep track of them. That said, this was very informative and in 2019, I will continue to read more of Rule’s books!

mindhunter

As I mentioned in my December TBR, I was really excited to pick up Mindhunter, as I love learning more about criminal profiling and serial killers. Thankfully, this did not disappoint. I wish, however, that we learnt even more about the serial killer research. Additionally, Douglas talks about many cases in which criminal profiling proved its worth. That said, there were A LOT of cases to keep track of. Anyway, you can read my full review here.

open mic

I want to pick up more anthologies because I need to get used to actually reading books again. I certainly listen to many audiobooks, but as a result, I neglect my physical TBR. Open Mic was also one of the books I wanted to get to in December and I thought it was a decent diverse Young Adult anthology. Admittedly I don’t remember much about the stories, but I didn’t hate any of them.

black klansman.png

Black Klansman is about black detective Ron Stallworth who launched an undercover investigation into the KKK. This wasn’t as action-packed as I had expected and the lack of retaliation shows me that that KKK group wasn’t very bright, but I nonetheless admire Stallworth for taking these risks by attempting to keep his community safe. The audiobook was narrated by the author himself and it was rather stumble-y at times; the writing wasn’t excellent.

freedom is a constant struggle

Freedom is a Constant Struggle by world famous activist Angela Davis is a collection of essays, interviews, etc. Because of this, the book felt repetitive at times. Because I listened to the audiobook, it was difficult to distinguish between questions and answers. I wish this had been edited further to make it seem like an actual book. Davis would for instance say “I see some people raising their hands right now”, which didn’t make sense in the context of a book.

That said, this was educational and I do not regret picking it up. Davis’ activism is intersectional: in support of Palestine, not restricted to the USA, covers trans lives, etc.

what we lose

As I had feared, I didn’t like What We Lose as much as I wanted to. That seems like a contradiction, so let me explain: I absolutely want to love literary fiction, but I often notice I don’t have enough live experience to understand all its themes and characters.

At times, this seemed more of a memoir instead of a fictional story. While discussing real events and individuals such as Nelson Mandela, I didn’t know whether those were the opinions of the character, or the author.

That said, if you are more mature and have more success with literary fiction, this might be your cup of tea.

bad blood.png

I have to admit I didn’t find the synopsis of Bad Blood very intriguing, but because of the praise this has received, I decided to pick it up anyway. And I’m glad I did! If this had been about any other Silicon Valley startup, I probably wouldn’t have cared as much, but considering this company wanted to improve medicine, its corruption is absolutely horrifying. If you enjoy true crime podcasts, I recommend this one!

brining adam home.pngFinally, I listened to the audiobook of Bringing Adam Home, about the disappearance of six-year-old Adam Walsh in 1981. I love true crime I had heard of John Walsh before, but I didn’t know any details about the case.

I’m beginning to think there’s no such thing as a perfect murder. Books like Bringing Adam Home prove this. At the beginning of the book, I thought “Will there be any twist and turns?? They clearly have their killer, what’s the rest of the book going to be about?!”. Sadly, terrible police work prevented this case from being solved decades earlier. Despite the queer slurs and detailed descriptions of paedophilia, I don’t regret picking this up.

what about my TBR

Of the six books on my December TBR, I read three. That doesn’t seem like much, but considering I’m a terrible mood reader, I’m pleased with that.

blogposts

I post other content beside reviews! Please check out these other posts if you haven’t yet:


As you can see, I read a lot of audiobooks and non-fiction this month, which indicates I wasn’t in the mood to read. Hopefully, I’ll get back into the swing of things in 2019! Which books did you read in December?

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Book Haul | November & December 2018

new banner

Hello my fellow book lovers! Today I’m showing you which books I got in November and December! Because I haven’t been reading much lately, I also haven’t purchased a lot of books. Here are the four books I got in the past two months.

When you click on the book’s title, you will be brought to the Goodreads page.

our voices, our stories

Throughout December, Riveted by Simon Teen has several e-books available for 24 hours only. I started Our Stories, Our Voices, but I didn’t have enough time to finish it. I immediately ordered my own copy, however, because the essays in this anthology are amazing! The rest of this book is definitely on my January TBR.

fire and blood

My dad gave me Fire and Blood by George R.R. Martin for Christmas! I knew I wanted to read it ASAP when it was released, but it is so expensive! While I dislike mass market paperbacks, I guess that would’ve been easier to read than this massive hardcover 😮 Damn, this is a big book, y’all.

mirage

I hope Fadwa @ Word Wonders is proud of me for getting this book, hihi. I don’t know much about the plot of Mirage, but it has received tons of praise from my friends. I was rather surprised when I opened my package though, I had expected the cover to be purple! This one’s nice as well, however, so I’m not upset 😀

december tbr

In November, I bought Fresh Ink, a diverse Young Adult contemporary. I forgot to take a picture of the book by itself, but I don’t have time to take another one since this post has to go up in a few minutes.


Here are the books I got in November and December! Did you get any books during the holidays?

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Most Disappointing Reads | 2018 wrap-up

2018 wrap-up series

Hello my fellow book lovers! Today, I am going to talk about books I read in 2018 I thought I’d love, but didn’t meet my expectations. Don’t confuse this with my upcoming ‘least favourite books of 2018’ post! To me, ‘most disappointing’ and ‘least favourite’ mean completely different things.

These are in no particular order. When you click on the book’s title, you will be brought to my review, which includes content and trigger warnings.

leah on the offbeat

If this list were in a particular order, Leah on the Offbeat would probably be on my no.1 spot. As I stated above, this is not a list of the worst books I’ve read this year. That said, this was so disappointing!!! It’s all I can remember about this book. It felt so different from Becky Albertalli’s previous work and I’m honestly scared to pick up What If It’s Us because of it.

children of blood and boneI very much struggled reading Children of Blood and Bone; I’m surprised I even managed to finish it. Nevertheless, I might pick up the sequel because the ending was promising. I liked Zélie’s magic and Amari. Unfortunately, the rest of the book didn’t live up to the hype: the romance was awful and the plot was rather boring and predictable.

wonder woman warbringer

Did Leigh Bardugo actually write this?? It’s so different from all the bad-assery that is Six of Crows. I was initially incredibly excited about these DC Icons books, but because of Wonder Woman: Warbringer, I decided I won’t even bother with the other ones.

and then there were none

If this is really Agatha Christie’s best book, I won’t read her other work. While the reveal in And Then There Were None surprised me, it also kind of ruined the novel. I would’ve liked more clues throughout the story and an ending that seemed less as an afterthought.

the lost hero

The Heroes of Olympus as a whole, rather than The Lost Hero, was disappointing. Perhaps my expectations were too high, but the plot in every single one of Riordan’s books I’ve read, has been the same; it’s incredibly predictable! That said, I haven’t given up yet and plan on reading his other work nonetheless, but I hope the plot is going to improve.

wild beauty

This is definitely a case of “it’s me, not you”. I am not familiar with magical realism, which is why I have difficulties understanding what’s going on in these type of books. It’s also why I rarely pick up poetry. Wild Beauty was a nice read, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as other reads did. I do plan on reading McLemore’s other work and more books in that genre and hopefully, I’ll grow used to it. a torch against the night

A Torch Against the Night was the first book I finished in 2018, and it wasn’t the best book the start my reading year with. I struggled all through the previous year to read it, but sadly, I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as An Ember in the Ashes. I most likely won’t be continuing this series, despite loving the first book…


What are some of your most disappointing reads of the year? Did you feel the same way about any of these books?

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