Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 End of the Year Book Survey

This survey is created by The Perpetual Page-Turner. For even more fun, go to the page and link up your survey so you can look at other people's answers!

1. Best Book You Read In 2011?

I've got to give my top 5 here because it's too hard to narrow down:

-Divergent by Veronica Roth
-The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
-Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
-Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake
-Shifting by Bethany Wiggins

2. Most Disappointing Book/Book You Wish You Loved More Than You Did?

Lost Voices by Sarah Porter- I really wanted to love this one because I like this idea of mermaids. Unfortunately I just couldn't get through the slow pacing and never felt attached to the characters.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2011?

The Demon Trapper's Daughter series by Jana Oliver because I just wasn't expecting to fall in love with these characters so quickly and I was entrance by the world they inhabited.

Also, Shifting by Bethany Wiggins which just blew me away when I opened it and made me mad I hadn't read it the second it came out.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2011?

Hands down Divergent by Veronica Roth and The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. Can't say enough about these fabulous books. Also, right around Halloween I was throwing Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender and Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake around like they were candy.

5. Best series you discovered in 2011?

I'm going to say that this question means several books already out and not the start of a series (or I'd be in trouble).

Definitely The Body Finder series by Kimberly Derting.

The Demon Trapper's Daughter series by Jana Oliver, Firelight series by Sophie Jordan, Paranormalcy series by Kiersten White and Stork series by Wendy Delsol.

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2011?

Too many to list... Veronica Roth, Michelle Hodkin, Kimberly Derting.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

The Art of Dancing in the Rain by Garth Stein was way out of my usual reading and it broke my heart in all the right ways,

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2011?

Again, I have to go with Divergent by Veronica Roth. I was late for plans because I was reading this novel.

9. Book you most anticipated in 2011?

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler and Legend by Marie Lu. Both of which I haven't had a chance to read. Also Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi which I did read and wasn't disappointed with.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2011?

Has to be Wither by Lauren DeStefano. Not only is this an excellent novel but that cover gets prettier every time I look at it!

11. Most memorable character in 2011?

Noah Shaw from The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2011?

Toss up between The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi and Wither by Lauren DeStefano.

13. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2011 to finally read?

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting. It's too good to wait!

14. Book That You Read In 2011 That Would Be Most Likely To Reread In 2012?

If I re-read anything it'll either be Divergent by Veronica Roth or The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin.

15. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

Divergent by Veronica Roth (the whole thing), The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (the whole thing and particularly the parts with Noah), Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (the whole thing but mainly the writing) and Wither by Lauren DeStefano (the beginning with the gun shots).

Book Blogging/Reading Life in 2011:

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2011?

I made two lists on my blog of blogs I'm thankful. You can check it out here and here. The list had blogs like Reading Angel, Pure Imagination, Xpresso Reads, and Cheezyfoot Books.

But I'd like to add One Page At A Time which is one of the blogs I was looking for but couldn't remember the name. KM's reviews are always really helpful, she has insightful posts and she's very sweet.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2010?

Has to be my review for Victoria Schwab's The Near Witch which I tried to write to match the beauty of the writing. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi is another one.

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?

I have loads of great discussions on my blog. I have a weekly post called Saturday Discussions where I chat about all sorts of things. I'm fond of my most recent talking about how I feel when authors comment on blog posts.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?


This one is pretty easy. I went to YALLfest which was loads of fun. Not only did I get to see historical Charleston but I got to meet a lot of amazing authors including Michelle Hodkin, Kimberly Derting, Beth Revis, Diana Peterfreund and others! I had a blast!

5. Best moment of book blogging in 2011?

Anytime someone recognizes me from my blog-- either author or other blogger. Eating dinner with Angela from Reading Angel is high up there as well as finally getting to meet my little sis Jessica from The Midnight Bookworm.

6. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

It was YA Bachelor Voting Open!

7. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

My Happily Ever Endings posts. They are book ending summaries for series novels. Basically, in about four paragraphs, I recap what happened in the last 100 pages of books. This feature has grown so that three other people help me. I know they are viewed but I love to get more comments on them so I know people are using them!

8. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Well, I finally sat down and figured out what BEA is all about. And now, I'm planning a trip to New York for next year's BEA! I can't wait!

9. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I did complete the 2011 Debut Author Challenge which is exciting. I didn't end up reading 100 books like I had originally planned but I did manage to finish writing my novel so it washes out for me. 
Looking Ahead...

1. One Book You Didn't Get To In 2011 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2012?

The Furture of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler as well as Legend by Marie Lu, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins and The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2012?

Loads of them. Seriously, a lot. I'm going to say Something Strange and Wicked by Dennard, Incarnate by Meadows and Where It Began are very high up there.

3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging in 2012?

Make more amazing friends, meet more authors and bloggers, read even more books and hopefully get my own novel polished enough to snag an agent!

Did you take this survey?

Saturday Discussions: Authors Commenting on Posts

I was browsing on an author's site recently (can't remember who) and they were talking about how they felt a little nervous to comment on post's that showcase their work--whether it's a review or a Waiting on Wednesday post or something else. It got me thinking about this and Jessica and I thought it would be a great topic for discussion.

Authors are meant to be on the internet to interact with their fanbase by writing out blogs, holding contests and being genuinely fabulous so that reader's want to read their novels. I think a huge part of that is knowing the community they are going to write for. Which means that I think it's important that authors look at book reviewing sites and interact.

I know that when I take the time to write up a post about books I'm excited about, it makes me feel super awesome when a writer leaves a quick comment or shoots me an email letting me know they saw the post and thanking me for featuring their book. Ann Redisch Stampler (author of the upcoming Where It Began) is particularly good at this. Every time I've talked about her novel, she left a comment or sent me an email with something sweet to say. And you know what? It makes me feel really, really good.

As many of you bloggers will agree, we put a lot of time and effort into reading all about the latest books and shouting from the rooftops about things we love or are excited about. I'm certainly not complaining about the work I do for this blog. I wouldn't do it if I didn't want to. And I'm not saying that every book I mention on this blog should come with a personal note thanking me for talking about it. What I am saying is that I think it's awesome when an author realizes how much work we do and takes the time to thank us. It certainly isn't a requirement but it sure does make my day.

I've been noticing that a lot more authors are doing this lately. I was just contacted by Courtney King Walker (author of On The Fringe) who talked about seeing one of my posts with her novel in it and who thanked me for an interview I did with her a while ago again even though she'd already thanked me once before. There are so many authors now that are doing these sort of things and I think it's fantastic. I love it when authors join in discussions too.

The only time I don't think it's appropriate for an author to comment is when it's a negative review. I know that, at least for me, I never want to review something badly but also that it's my responsibility as a book reviewer to give the readers an honest opinion. It doesn't mean I don't feel badly about it. Heck, I'm a writer myself so I know how much it stinks to have someone not like your work. As a reviewer, I don't want to know that an author has read my negative review, especially when they disagree with it. Likewise, even if it's a positive review I prefer to get an email about it than a comment where everyone can see. To be fair, I've never seen an author do either of these things but I just thought I'd cover it.

Pretty much every time I go to an author signing or event, I hear them express gratitude to the blogging community for all the work we do. I love how this is turning into comments on our blogs and emails in our inboxes. Am I saying that I won't love an author if they don't do this? Heck no. But I will say that I feel very fondly towards the authors that are doing this and I definitely shout a little louder about them to the people I know and love.

So I'm for authors commenting on blogs or emailing a quick thank you. It makes me feel good and anything that spreads cheer is alright by me!

What about you bloggers? How do you feel about authors commenting on blog posts?

Authors? Do you do this? Why or why not?

*Just so this is clear, I don't expect authors to comment on posts. This isn't their job. Rather, I really like it when they do and should they feel like they want to, I always appreciate it!*

December R.A.K. Wrap-up post

I hadn't done R.A.K. in a little while so it was fine to participate again! I had a blast going through wish lists and will do this again next month.

I sent a R.A.K. of The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting to Amanda at Hippies, Beauties and Books, Oh My!

I received an R.A.K. this month as well:
Amber from Books of Amber sent me Entangled by Cat Clarke and I couldn't be more thankful. Seriously Amber (of the rocking name), you made my month!

Can't wait to participate again next time! Did you post a Wrap-up?

Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Stats

This has been my first full year of blogging and let me tell you, it's been intense! I've had so much fun getting to know all the amazing people around the interwebs and sharing my thoughts on books. The blogging community has kept me sane in may ways and kept me very, very busy too. So in a year's time, here's what I was able to accomplish!

Books read (including short stories): 87
Pages read (according to Goodreads): 28,517
Number of blog posts (not counting today): 588
Number of page views: 201,522
Most popular post this year: YA Bachelor Voting Open with 11,603
Review with most comments: After Obsession by Carrie Jones and Steven E Wedel
Book signings attended: 4 (1 vicariously though my husband)
5 bunnies: 25
4 bunnies: 41
3 bunnies: 19
2 bunnies: 1
1 bunny: 1

Interesting facts:
- I joined both Twitter and Amazon this year.
- My Goodreads wishlist has 362 books on it.
- I hosted one major event this year: YA Bachelor's Contest (in which Jace from The Mortal Instruments won)
- I signed up for 5 challenges last year and completed only 2.
- I finished writing 1 novel and am 7 chapters into a new one.

So how was your year this year? I predict 2012 will be even more amazing!

Top Ten Books I'm Looking Forward to in 2012

Top 10 of 2011 is an event going on all week long hosted by Jessica from Confessions of a Bookaholic, Lisa from A Life Bound By Books, Rachel from Fiktshun and Jamie and Patricia from Two Chicks on Books. It's a feature where we are talking about our favorites of this year and next year for an entire week! 

This time we are looking ahead to book of 2012. There are so many great ones coming out! Here are my picks in no order:

1) Tempest by Julia Cross- I love the combo of time traveling and a male narrator. Can't wait to read this one!

2) Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer- The epic conclusion to Calla's story. Who will she choose- Ren or Shay? I'm not sure who I want her with in the end.
3) Insurgent by Veronica Roth- The second installment to Divergent. Enough said.
4) A Million Suns by Beth Revis- Fell in love with Across the Universe and I heard this second novel is even better.

5) Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake- I have to find out what happens to Anna. In the worst way.
6) Fracture by Megan Miranda- Love the concept and the trailer for this novel just made me want to read it more.

7) Slide by Jill Hathaway- I got to beta read this novel in an earlier draft and I have to see how it changed.

8) The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith- I love that this story is set for one day. I can't wait to see these characters meet and sparks fly!
9) The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg- This just sounds like such an amazing read.

10) For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund- I love Ramapnt so I can't wait to see how Ms/ Peterfreund does dystopian!
11) The Selection by Kiera Cass- Another dystopian with a unique spin. I really like that the guy she's set up with might actually be someone she call fall in love with.
12) Incarnate by Jodi Meadows- This cover blew me away and then I read the concept and had to have the novel.

13) Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard- Smart guys rock! Looks like a fun read with an interesting concept I don't think I've seen before.

14) Where It Began by Ann Redisch Stampler- You knew I had to have one contemp on here and this has to be it. It looks like such a beautiful read!

15) Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi- I've been reading such positive reviews for this novel that I can't help but drool over it!

And there could be a million more on this list. Seriously, it fluctuates and expands every single day. These are just a few off the top of my head.

What are your picks?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Time Will Come (26): Heist Society by Ally Carter

The Time Will Come is a weekly meme started by Books for Company which spotlights books that have been sitting unread on our shelves for too long.*

Want to join in?:
- Pick a book you have been meaning to read
- Do a post telling us about the book
- Link the post up in the linky at Books for Company
- Visit the other blogs!

Heist Society by Ally Carter
When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected. 
Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat's father isn't just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help. 
For Kat, there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it's a spectacularly impossible job? She's got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family's history--and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.
I feel like I repeat myself a lot here but again, the main reason I haven't read this one is time constraints. I've got a tbr pile that's out of control and this is just one of the novels in it. Shame really because I've heard this series is a lot of fun and I know at one point it was picked up to be made into a movie with Drew Barrymore attached to it.

What has been on your shelf too long?

Swoon Thursday (5): Jessica Rules the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

The ladies over at YA Bound created a sexy meme where you share what made you tingle in your current read. If you want to join in, here is what you do:From the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. What got your heart pounding, your skin tingling, and your stomach fluttering. Shout it out on Twitter with the hashtag #YABound, post it here in the comments, or grab the adorable button above and share it on your blog!

This week's swoon comes from Jessica Rules the Dark Side and is more sweet than sexy but still totally swoon-worthy. 

Indeed, if so much as one hair on my wife's head is disturbed while I cannot protector her, this kingdom will see retribution that will go down in the history books--to be read by the very few who remain standing.
--Pg. 143 of "Jessica Rules the Dark Side" by Beth Fantaskey

As you can see, this is less sexy and more incredibly sweet Lucius' own way. He's always been prone to violence, something he struggles with since that is how he grew up, and his only instinct is to protect Jessica with every fiber of his being. Even though this is a threat, I think it's swoon-worthy because of it's passion and it shows how much he loves her.

What's your swoon this week?

Bout of Books Readathon

Not only am I going to be participating in this very easy marathon but I am also one of the co-hosts this year. I'm going to be holding a fun littler challenge on the blog at the end of the readathon and offering up a cool prize.

So you should definitely sign up!

It starts January 9 and ends the 15th (my host day!).

It's a low key marathon where you read as you normally would over the week and just participate in different challenges to win prizes.

Sign ups are today and I'd love it if you'd all decide to do it!

Go to the blog here for more info on the event!

ABC Challenge Sign-up

*Face palm* I am ashamed. I've signed up for 1,000,000 challenges thus far so what's the harm in one more I ask? Only my sanity but that was gone years ago anyway.

So this challenge is hosted by Gripped into Books, Ciecly Loves Books and Book Geek Central.

The point is pretty simple. All you have to do is read a book with a title for every letter of the alphabet. So here's my list (dear lord help me) thus far.

A- Arcadia Awakens by Meyer
B- Beautiful Creatures by Garcia & Stohl
C- Cinder by Meyer
D- Dead To You by McMann
E- Everneath by Ashton
F- Forbidden by Suzuma
G- Glimmer by Kitanidis
H- Half-Blood by Armentrout
I- Incarnate by Meadows
J- Juliet Immortal by Jay
K- Kissing Shakespeare by Mingle
L- Legend by Lu
M- Masque of the Red Death by Griffin
N- Night Circus, The by Morgenstern
O- On The Fringe by Walker
P- Partials by Wells
R- Rapture by Kate
S- Silence by Fitzpatrick
T- Touch of Morbid by Clifford
U- Under the Never Sky by Rossi
W- Where It Began by Stampler

As you can see, I have loads to fill in which I most definitely will. It's a start though!

Wanna sign up? Head over here!

Top Ten Characters of 2011

Top 10 of 2011 is an event going on all week long hosted by Jessica from Confessions of a Bookaholic, Lisa from A Life Bound By Books, Rachel from Fiktshun and Jamie and Patricia from Two Chicks on Books. It's a feature where we are talking about our favorites of this year and next year for an entire week!

1) Tris from Divergent by Veronica Roth- What's not to love about this tiny girl with boatloads of courage? Tris captured my heart from the moment her story began. Her willpower to get through anything and her ability to rebel for what is right in the face of all sorts of danger is just incredible to read about.

2) Jamie from The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin- I loved Mara and Noah but for me, the shining star was Mara's bisexual, Jewish, black friend with an attitude. He had me the moment he questioned what other language he'd need to learn besides Parsel Tongue. His quick witted humor and cheeky nature made me giggle and I had eyes mostly for him.

3) Juliette from Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi- It seems like this was the year of kick butt heroines because Juliette is another perfect example. Though she was definitely a little unstable, the way she saw the world was incredible and I loved how even when she was dressed up she was still dangerous.

4) Evie from Paranormalcy by Kiersten White- Evie could also take care of herself but unlike the other two above her, she was also super fun. Her positive attitude and love of all things fashion made for some fun reading.

5) Anna from Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake- I had no doubt that Cas could take care of himself but Anna is the true hero of that story. Strong, tortured and trying hard to prove herself, Anna's several parts creepy and a little like a real girl too. Cas's quips made the story funny but it was Anna who had me needing to read that next chapter.

6) Tamani from Wings series by Aprilynne Pike- Oh my wicked, wicked little Tamani. I think he gets extra points for his willingness to keep trying even when Laurel appears to be a lost cause. I love how playful he is and how he's willing to step up and do anything to make sure Laurel and those closest to her are safe.

7) Beck from The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver- I fell head over heels for Beck's southern drawl and his rough around the edges attitude. Through his eyes we see how hard he tries at everything and how frustrated he is with himself and it's hard not to love him. Plus, I love that whole demon hunter thing and the heat between he and Riley is scorching.

8) Noah from The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin- I'm not sure if I'm physically capable with making any list and not adding Noah Shaw to it. He's one of those characters that I can't get out of my head. His lines come unbidden into my mind and make me laugh at all hours of the day and he's so incredibly cheeky it's hard not to fall in love!

9) Four from Divergent by Veronica Roth- As with Noah, Four is another character I just can't get out of my head. His calm demeanor and willingness to conquer his own fears so that they don't make him weak is just incredible. Plus, the intensity with which he trains the new group of Dauntless is wonderful. I loved watching Tris and Four learn to find and understand each other.

10) Ari from Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton- I'm not sure if you are sensing a theme here but this seems to be the year of amazing leading guys and their kick butt heroines. Ari is another character who is rough around the edges but can completely hold her own in the real world. Tough, a skilled fighter and pretty much without fear, Ari puts an entirely new spin on an orphan searching for their parents.

These are a few of my favorite characters this year though there are a whole slew I didn't even mention. Who did you choose?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Top Ten Book Boyfriends of 2011

Top 10 of 2011 is an event going on all week long hosted by Jessica from Confessions of a Bookaholic, Lisa from A Life Bound By Books, Rachel from Fiktshun and Jamie and Patricia from Two Chicks on Books. It's a feature where we are talking about our favorites of this year and next year for an entire week!

1) Four from Divergent by Veronica Roth- Four pretty much personified the perfect man for me. Strong, rugged and with just the right amount of tenderness, he was absolutely one of the best guys I've ever encountered in fiction. I love him because he respects Tris and wants them to be on equal footing. He is brave, willingly conquering his fears, and he's not so sweet he's going to rot my teeth out with the things he says. If Veronica Roth had given him an Irish accent, I don't think I'd have recovered from this book ever.

2) Noah Shaw from The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin- Noah can essentially charm the clothes right off you. Devilishly wicked with a sharp tongue and quick wit, he's one of a kind in fiction. There are novels that go through great lengths to tell you how hot a lead male is and then there are novels that let the leading guy show you. Noah is the second category. I was so determined not to like him in the beginning because I just wanted to roll my eyes but by god, when he is driving Mara with a cigarette hanging loosely from his lips (a habit I can't stand and love him for anyway) and his unruly hair catching in the sunlight I was literally drooling. Pretty much every word out of Noah's mouth makes me love him more.

3) Cas from Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake- It's pretty easy to figure out why I fell in love with Cas. He's funny, sarcastic and the best of both of the Supernatural boys. I'd hang with him any day! Plus, as much as he doesn't want to admit it, he's kind of a romantic.

4) Beck from The Demon Trapper's Daughter series by Jana Oliver- Beck is definitely rough around the edges but when it comes to being loyal to someone, he's absolutely the guy you want in your corner. Plus, you just know that he'd love you forever and probably piss you the heck off but it would definitely be passionate.

5) Logan from Touch of Frost series by Jennifer Estep- Logan is the guy all the girl's want. I think there is a lot more to him than we know about and he just sound smoking. There is something really sexy about a guy who can pick up anything and know how to kill someone with it. I'd always feel safe!

6) Adam from Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi- I really like a guy in uniform and Adam is totally that. He's dangerous, passionate and completely loyal. But on top of that, he's really sweet with his brother and so tender to Juliette because she's so damaged. Easy to see why he makes my heart race.

7) Jay from The Body Finder series by Kimberly Derting- I love that Jay is a regular guy and can only do things that regular guys can. He isn't some super strong, super smart kid but he does everything in his power to make Violet safe. Plus, he's so stinking sweet to her. Derting did an awesome job of making him desirable but also just a regular guy.

8) Luc from Personal Demons series by Lisa Desrochers- Hello, sexy sexy demon. Heck, through the intense love he had for Frannie, he was able to withstand the tortures of Hell. If that is devotion, I'm not sure what is. I love that Luc is always striving to make himself better. Plus, you know he's passionate. I've read all about those spine-tingling kisses.

9) Bridger from Shifting by Bethany Wiggins- Bridger is just this enigma. I can't ever tell what he's thinking and I loved how he was so manly. He liked odd sports and was really into his heritage. Plus, he was witty, knew exactly the right things to say and was really patient with Maggie Mae.

10) Xander from Matched series by Ally Condie- I could easily choose Ky here too. I'm team undecided because they are both good choices but I feel like Xander is such a true friend and I respect his loyalty. I love that he is willing to be unhappy so Cassia can be happy but he makes it clear that he isn't giving up. He's thoughtful and kind, everything I could fall for!

Those are my book boyfriends this year. It was really hard to narrow down the list but I feel like there are plenty of guys to fall in love with here! Who did you add?
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