Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Book Launch! Fireseed One by Catherine Stine Book Review/Giveaway!

Author: Catherine Stine
Author Online: Twitter Website
Publisher: Konjur Road Press
Release Date: December 2, 2011
Format: Paperback, 296 pages.
My Rating: 3.5/5
How I Got It: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review/giveaway.
Buy It: Amazon
Summary: (Taken from Goodreads) Fireseed One is a YA futuristic thriller with crossover appeal. Illustrated by the author. The year is 2089. Temperate climate has replaced Arctic ice, and much of what is now the United States is a lethal Hotzone, cut off by an insurmountable border from its northern, luckier neighbors, Ocean and Land Dominion. It is rumored that roving Hotzone nomads will kill for a water pellet or a slice of insect loaf, and that the ZWC, a dangerous Hotzone activist group, has infiltrated the border to the northern Dominions.  Up in Ocean Dominion, all eighteen year-old Varik Teitur wants is to party on SnowAngel Island with his friend Audun and flirt with college girls he dreams of joining next year in his quest to become a doctor. Instead, he inherits a vast sea farm, following the death of his father, famous marine biologist Professor Teitur. Five weeks later, ZWC member Marisa Baron breaks into the farm's secret seed vault and a fellow activist poisons the farm's agar crops, the world's food source. In order to save the last agar seedlings Varik is forced to journey to the Hotzone in search of Fireseed, a plant his father supposedly developed with magical hybridization properties.  Varik takes Marisa along. Aside from being a terrorist, she's the beautiful daughter of Melvyn Baron, the biggest real estate mogul in Land Dominion, and the professor's old rival. Oddly, she knows lots about Fireseed, and what Hotzone land Professor Teitur bought to test the crop, before becoming embittered and trashing the project. No one except Varik knows whether Fireseed once existed off the drawing board. Might the refugees in Vegas-by-the-Sea have answers, or the bizarre Fireseed cult in the Chihuahua desert? Varik, the reluctant hero, must risk burning in the Hotzone, as his mother did, to save the ailing agar, and the world.

I am super excited to take part in Catherine Stine's book launch for Fireseed One! I love the book, and Catherine is the sweetest thing ever, so thank you so much to her for letting me be part of this launch! Also, don't forget to stop by Catherine's blog to check out all of the other amazing people taking part in this launch! Giveaways, interviews and excerpts, oh, my!
My Review:
I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into when I agreed to read Fireseed One. All I knew was that it sounded really interesting, and I’ve wanted to jump-start my fantasy reads for a long time now. So I am very happy to say that I really enjoyed Fireseed One, and was really impressed with the author, Catherine Stine.
Fireseed One takes place in a future world. Global warming has taken place, and everything is far from perfect. People are quite literally burning to death from heat levels way above normal, and most are starving. It was a sad look on just what could happen to the world, and I really enjoyed reading about a future that wasn’t so bright, like most futuristic books will have you believe.
I loved the illustrations in this novel. I liked that the author not only showed you in words what things looked like, but showed you with actual images. They were often beautiful (just like the book’s cover), or kind of freaky (which was intended). Either way, I loved them, and got excited whenever an image showed up on the page.
Our hero, Varik, was a nice character to read about. It is not often that I read YA books from the male perspective, and when I do, I am always a little let down. That is not the case with Fireseed One. Varik was interesting, semi-witty, and although he could sometimes start to fade into the background of forgettable characters, he always redeemed himself, and I liked him.
Our heroine, Marisa, was nice, too. I didn’t really like her at first, but she grew on me.
She was strong, brave about most things, and really out there. I like a girl who can speak her mind.
Varik’s friend, Audun, was easily my favorite character. I loved how witty and loyal he was, and I was sad he was absent for most of the middle and end of the book.

Fireseed One is a true fantasy-adventure! It grabbed me from the first chapter and didn’t let go. I was always left wanting more at the end of each chapter, and I was forced to read well into the night because of this book. I love when that happens. It was thrilling, exciting, and an overall great story. Catherine Stine is a wonderful story teller, and I enjoyed her writing style greatly.
My only complaint is the relationship between Varik and Marisa. I didn’t understand it.
Sure—every book needs a little romance, and don’t get me wrong; Fireseed One did not overdo the romance—but I just wasn’t feeling it. It seemed to me that one minute, Varik really disliked Marisa (and for good reason, too!) and then the next—he was kissing her! I must have missed the sudden growth of feelings between them, but still. I would have liked for them to get to know each other a bit more before that happened.
Also, some of the dialogue was kind of awkward, or just over the top. Varik often said things that I would have expected Marisa to say, because, well… she’s a girl. Needless to say, Varik could say some pretty funny things.

Overall, Fireseed One will have you on the edge of your seat, cheering for these characters every step of the way. It won’t let you go until the last page, and will leave you wondering just what will happen next. Even now, the story is still fresh in my mind, and refusing to let go!
If you’re a fan of fantasy that isn’t over the top, action-adventure with a bit of romance—read this book. You won’t be sorry. Catherine Stine is an author to look out for, and shines brightly with this stunning thriller.

“There’s only so far you can pry into someone’s soul before they protest. But I have to say Marisa builds her walls faster than anyone I’ve ever met, and, as close as I’ve gotten to her, it still brings me down.” –Fireseed One
Thank you so much to Catherine once again! Here's some fun links for you guys so you can check her out, and buy Fireseed One

Buy Fireseed One on iBook for your iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch HERE!
Buy Fireseed One on Kindle by clicking HERE!
Now, who's ready for that giveaway?! I am, thanks to the lovely Catherine, giving away one (1) SIGNED paperback copy of Fireseed One! How exciting! You don't wanna miss out on this! 
To enter, please read the rules below, and enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Thank you and good luck!
Must be 13 years of age or older to enter.
MUST be a follower of 909 Reviews and MUST 'Like' Fireseed One page on Facebook.
The winner will have 48 hours to reply to the email that I will send them, letting them know they have won or else a new winner will be picked.
You can enter so long as you follow 909 Reviews, letting that be your main entry, or you can fill out the form and follow the instructions to earn extra entries. 
Open to residents of the United States only. I'm sorry, but shipping is a lot for overseas, and it's the holidays, so... next giveaway!
Thank you! All entries will be verified to make sure you are following the rules. Please don’t leave out any information if the form asks for it: it’s there for a reason. :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Author Interview: Jennifer L. Armentrout + Giveaway!

 I am SO excited to have the author of Half-Blood and Obsidian, Jennifer L. Armentrout, on the blog today!
A few months ago (and I am just now posting this. I'm so bad), she was kind enough to answer some questions for me, and she is just an over-all awesome person, and an amazing writer. Please, PLEASE read Half-Blood--I can't tell you how amazing it is. Well, actually, I can. You see, if you click, oh, I don't know--HERE!--you will be taken to my review of Half-Blood. Isn't that easy? I hope to read/review Obsidian very soon.

Jennifer L. Armentrout lives in West Virginia. All the rumors you heard about her state aren’t true. Well, mostly. When she's not hard at work writing, she likes to read, work-out, watch zombie movies, and pretend to write. Rep'd by Kevan Lyon of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.
 Where you can find her: Blog Twitter

909 Reviews: First of all, I just wanted to thank you for coming on the blog today. I know how crazy-busy you are, so I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it!

J.L.A.:  No problem! Glad to be here!

909 Reviews: I know you probably get this question all the time, but for the readers who have yet heard of you—can you tell us a little about yourself? Your likes, dislikes, when you first started writing, where do you write, etc… 

J.L.A.: I started writing when I was wee little, first with really crappy poems that made no sense. I wrote my first full manuscript between 8th and 9th grade. So I've always been writing. Went to college, studying Psychology and Sociology with a criminal justice track. Started writing again in 2007/2008. Love zombie movies, reading, writing, and working out. Wanna be gardener with no talent. I pretty much write in my office or on the couch. 

909 Reviews: I know that you have said in past interviews that you can write a book in the time frame of anywhere from eight days, to three months. How do you do it without burning yourself out?!

J.L.A.: That's a good question. I think what helps is that I only write what I want to write, and I don't push myself to finish every novel in such a short time. And when I'm starting to feel burned out, a take a break from that world. That always helps.

909 Reviews: Aiden and Seth get into a good, old-fashion throw-down, no controlling the elements involved. Who throws the first punch? ;)

J.L.A.: Ha. Depends on what the fight is over, I think. In maybe one or two cases, Aiden would throw the first punch. The rest would be Seth.

909 Reviews: In Half-Blood, Alex’s birthday is March 4th. That would make her a Pisces—same as me. I know some authors like to match their characters to their Zodiac sign. Do any of your characters have their personalities based off of their Zodiac sign, or were they their own person from the start?

J.L.A.: They were their own person from the start. Alex is more like a Gemini or a Scorpio. I picked her birthday because it's a friends BD in real life and helps me remember.

909 Reviews: Your next novel, Obsidian, which is a different series than your Covenant series, comes out December of this year. Can you tell us anything about that? What readers can expect?

J.L.A.: It's labeled as a sci-fi, but it's really light sci-fi, so that shouldn't turn anyone off who isn't into science fiction. It has a lot of romance, snark, danger, and did I say romance? Almost everyone who has read has laughed out loud once per page, so that's good news, right?

909 Reviews: The male lead in Obsidian is Daemon, and he just so happens to be an alien. Can you tell us little about Daemon and Katy? What are they like?
J.L.A.: They do not have your typical romance seen in YA books and I think that's why all the early readers love them so much. Their relationship was probably the most fun I've had writing about two characters in a long time. Daemon is very protective of his family. Katy is a book blogger, so you'll get to see a lot of blogger terms in there. There isn't much more I can say about either of them that's not spoilery.

909 Reviews: The cover for Obsidian is really something! Look at that guy—I mean—the colors! Lots of bright green colors…

J.L.A.: He's hot.

909 Reviews: I just want to wrap up this interview with something I like to call Five Question Dash. The idea is to learn more about you in five quick questions and answers. Let’s go!

909 Reviews: It’s the end of the world, but you can take three things with you to wherever you’re going. What do you take?

J.L.A.: Besides people or animals?
A Gun (because I have a feeling I'll need it)
A book to read

909 Reviews: Who is your book boyfriend?

J.L.A.: I have many. I'm a book slut. Kale, Todd, Tucker, Luc--the list could go on and on

909 Reviews: Cupcakes or muffins?

J.L.A.: Cupcakes, baby!

909 Reviews: (Without being too spoilery) What was your favorite scene to write in Half-Blood?

J.L.A.: Chapter 16

909 Reviews: I saw that you like the zombie movie, Shaun of the Dead. That’s my favorite zombie comedy! What is your favorite line from that movie?

J.L.A.: Come and get it! It's a running buffet! 
909 Reviews: I LOVE that line! The whole movie is so quotable. :)

909 Reviews: Thank you so much once again for your time, Jennifer. Is there anything else you would like to say?

J.L.A: Thank you for having me!

Thank you to Jennifer once again for being so awesome. She was so fun to interview!
Now, since I love Jennifer's books so much, and because I just finished reading it--I hope to have a review for it by tomorrow!--I am, once again giving away another copy of Daimon: The Prequel to Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Artmentrout. Also, since I'm feeling the holiday spirit--I'll also throw in a signed Daimon bookmark to another winner. :)
To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. All winners will be chosen randomly.
The first place winner will win one (1) paperback copy of Daimon by Jennifer L. Armentrout.
Second place will win one (1) signed bookmark.
The giveaway for the book is open internationally, so long as the Book Depository ships to your country.
The giveaway for the bookmark is opened to US, CA, and people of the UK only. Sorry to all of my other overseas friends! Next giveaway, for sure! :)
Must be 13 years of age or older to enter.
MUST be a follower of 909 Reviews.
The winner will have 48 hours to reply to the email that I will send them, letting them know they have won or else a new winner will be picked.
You can enter so long as you follow 909 Reviews, letting that be your main entry, or you can fill out the form and follow the instructions to earn extra entries. 
Thank you! All entries will be verified to make sure you are following the rules. Please don’t leave out any information if the form asks for it: it’s there for a reason. :)
Thanks, and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, December 9, 2011

Blog Tour: Farsighted by Emlyn Chand

I am happy and honored to be part of Emlyn Chand's blog tour for Farsighted. This tour is hosted by the lovely Stormi at Lightning Book Promotions. I would like to take the time to thank her for all of her hard work, and to let her know how awesome she is. Alright! Let's go! :)
Author: Emlyn Chand

Author Online: Twitter Website Facebook
Publisher: Blue Crown Press
Release Date: October 20, 2011
Format: PDF File, 215 Pages.
My Rating: 3.5/5
How I Got It: I received this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour.
Buy It: Amazon Barns & Noble
Summary: (Taken from Goodreads )  Alex Kosmitoras’s life has never been easy. The only other student who will talk to him is the school bully, his parents are dead-broke and insanely overprotective, and to complicate matters even more, he's blind. Just when he thinks he'll never have a shot at a normal life, a new girl from India moves into town. Simmi is smart, nice, and actually wants to be friends with Alex. Plus she smells like an Almond Joy bar. Yes, sophomore year might not be so bad after all.  Unfortunately, Alex is in store for another new arrival—an unexpected and often embarrassing ability to “see” the future. Try as he may, Alex is unable to ignore his visions, especially when they begin to suggest that Simmi is in danger. With the help of the mysterious psychic next door and new friends who come bearing gifts of their own, Alex must embark on a journey to change his future
My Review:
While first reading Farsighted, I was intrigued:A blind man ‘sees’ the future’? Sounds pretty cool… and it was. Before Farsighted I had only ever read one other book that dealt with the main character being blind. I really loved that book because of all the details; the way the author was able to identify with the reader not by sight, but by sense of smell, sense of touch—I loved the change of reading a story where the author just tells us what is going on, instead of showing us. Sadly, I didn’t really get that with Farsighted.
Our hero, Alex—I couldn’t connect with him. Some chapters I felt for him, other chapters, I did not. He could at times come across as uncaring, and even rude. But I found this to be very interesting and relevant to Alex during this story, since most chapters, he didn’t quite know his feelings on certain matters, and often was left undecided by that chapters end. Still, I would have liked to see more character development from him.
I do feel that the author left out a lot about the characters personal lives, though.
I wanted to read about Alex being the underdog, and then raising up in spite of his disability. I wanted to know some of his everyday struggles, (if he had any), his favorite things to do, his favorite music—those things were lost to me. I just wanted to know him, and sadly, by the end of the book, I still felt like I didn’t learn one thing about Alex other than the fact that he loves his family and friends very much.
But, after all of the above—none of that really took away that much from the story, so don’t be too hard on this book if you’re thinking about reading it.
The secondary characters were likable enough--my favorite had to be Shapri, Alex’s not-quite-friend/friend-half-of-the-time. Very confusing, I know. She was sarcastic, witty, and very brave. She didn’t take crap from anyone, and told them just how it was.
It angered me how easily Alex could dismiss Shapri after just meeting her, and not treat her very well when they were together. I felt that this was just silly, since in the beginning of the story, Alex is so desperate for friendship. I get that he was bitter toward Shapri for ‘stealing’ his first friend, Simmi, but, really? I would have liked for Alex to see Shapri as more than just his second resort as a friend. He treats her better toward the end of the book, but I still was disappointed in him.
Simmi, Alex’s friend/love interest, was an okay character for me. She didn’t really stand out, and didn’t have any redeeming characteristics other than her kindness. I felt her and Alex’s relationship happened too fast. They should have spent more time getting to know each other, but it seemed like they just jumped into everything head-first.
Now, for the things that I did like about this book: I loved how, at the start of every chapter, there were semi-guild-lines that explained what that chapter was going to deal with, in just a few words. I felt this was a great addition to the story, and added to the atmosphere. It was very clever.
I really enjoyed the relationship between Alex and his mother, and how, more than anything, he wanted what was best for her, just like she did for him. I thought it showed a soft, caring side to Alex. I also liked the paranormal aspects of Farsighted. While it wasn’t over-the-top like some, I do wish the author would have further explained the reasoning for how people came to get their ‘gifts’, but I am hoping that is a main point in the next book in the Farsighted series, Open Heart.
Overall, Farsighted is worth the read. It was quick, action-packed, and to the point. Emlyn Chand is an author to look out for, and I feel she will only get better in time. I will follow her writing, and can’t wait for book two in this exciting new series!
They say right before you die your whole life flashes before you--a medley of your own personal greatest hits. If this is true, I must be about to live, because a series of events that haven't yet happened push themselves through my head. --Farsighted
Emlyn Chand has always loved to hear and tell stories, having emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). Farsighted is her very first novel. When she’s not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann Arbor and is the president of author PR firm, Novel Publicity. Emlyn loves to connect with readers and is available throughout the social media interweb. Visit www.emlynchand.com for more info. Don’t forget to say “hi” to her sun conure Ducky!

Follow the whole tour!
1st Heather K @ Hezzi D's Books and Cooks
2nd John @ The Incessant Droning of a Bored Writer
(interview only)
2nd Stephanie @ Our Family World
3rd Amanda @ Letters Inside Out
4th Alaiel @ Librarian Mouse
5th Beverly @ The Wormhole
7th Wendy @ Minding Spot
9th Angel @ 909 Reviews
10th Heather P @ Earth's Book Nook
11th Lisa @ The Ultimate Fan Blog
12th Connie @ The Character Connection
(interview only)
13th Andrea @ Dark-Readers
14th Deina @ Pages Hidden In Time
15th Jen @ A Book and a Latte

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Book Review: Sophie & Carter by Chelsea Fine!

Author: Chelsea Fine
Author Online: Twitter Website
Publisher: Acacia Publishing, Inc.
Release Date: June 20, 2011
Format: Paperback, 128 pages.
My Rating: 5/5
How I Got It: I won this book from a giveaway, and later received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review/giveaway.
Summary: (Taken from Goodreads )While other high school seniors are dreaming about their futures, Sophie and Carter are just trying to make it through each day. Carter is overwhelmed by issues at home as he struggles to support his mother. Meanwhile, next door neighbour Sophie is left to care for her three younger siblings in place of their absent and troubled mother. All that holds these two best friends together is each other, and knowing that each night they'll sit together on Sophie's front porch swing and escape from reality, if just for awhile. But as their relationship reaches a turning point and high school graduation nears, will their friendship become something more?
My Review:
Sophie & Carter, in one word, was freaking-adorable. See what I did there? I hyphenated it to make it one word. I’m so clever.
Sophie is this sweet, young girl whose mother has abandoned not only her, but her three younger siblings, as well. She lived the kind of life that is hard to imagine—it was more or less a nightmare—but she still had this sense of sweet innocence to her, and although she was wise beyond her years, she gave off this vibe of naïveté that, to me, made her feel all the more real.
Carter was a guy who, like Sophie, had been through so much, but had still come out of it all a good person. He cared for Sophie like no one ever had, and was always her shoulder to lean on, in more ways than one.
I loved how gentle he was, with both Sophie, her little brothers and sister, and even his mother, who was mentally unstable.
But at the same time, he was such a strong, brave character—Sophie as well—and I think that made this story even better; the fact that, despite the life that they had been given, Sophie and Carter never complained about it. They both did what they had to do to make sure that their loved ones were taken care of, and when that was finished, they took care of each other.
While reading Sophie & Carter, there were times when I would smile, laugh, get angry, and, yes: even a little teary-eyed. Chelsea Fine writes in a way that makes you feel like you’re right there in the story, speaking and interacting with these lively and enduring characters. She makes you feel the intense heartbreak of Sophie and Carter’s home lives, the joy of when they are together, and the romance that is always seeping over the edge, dying to break free and let itself be known between these two best friends.
My only complaint, which isn’t really one at all, is that, while Carter’s P.O.V (point of view) was written in normal-style font, Sophie’s was written entirely in italic. I found this to make Sophie’s chapters a bit confusing and hard to read since I had never read a full chapter of any book all in italic. But moving on from that—Sophie & Carter is a very short book—only 117 pages!
I know that some people had a hard time with this fact, but really—I don’t think Sophie & Carter needed to be any longer. Chelsea Fine is truly a great writer; she told the story in its entirety, all in a reasonable amount of time. Nothing dragged on, and nothing was left in the dust. She gave readers the answers to our questions (if we had any questions), she let us feel the emotions of her characters, and by the end of the story, I felt that the book of Sophie & Carter had already closed, and that is a great feeling to have; knowing you can close a book because you met the last page and it greeted you like an old friend. This book left me feeling happy, and completely satisfied.
If you’re looking for a beautifully crafted, heartfelt and adorable, yet heartbreaking novel—Sophie & Carter is that book. I hope you love it as much as I do.

He turns his hand over to grasp mine. And we sit, silent and connected at the hand, for long minutes, staring at the dark street. I’m happy. –Sophie & Carter

I am happy to announce that Chelsea Fine will be stopping by for an interview, and I will be holding a giveaway for a paperback copy of Sophie & Carter! Please follow my blog if you would like to be notified as to when this will all be happening. Thank you!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Book Review: Shifting by Bethany Wiggins

Author: Bethany Wiggins
Author Online: Twitter Website
Publisher: Walker Childrens 
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Format: Hardback, 368 pages
My Rating: 4.5/5
How I Got It: I purchased it myself.
Summary: (Taken from Goodreads) After bouncing from foster home to foster home, Magdalene Mae is transferred to what should be her last foster home in the tiny town of Silver City, New Mexico. Now that she's eighteen and has only a year left in high school, she's determined to stay out of trouble and just be normal. Agreeing to go to the prom with Bridger O'Connell is a good first step. Fitting in has never been her strong suit, but it's not for the reasons most people would expect-it all has to do with the deep secret that she is a shape shifter. But even in her new home danger lurks, waiting in the shadows to pounce. They are the Skinwalkers of Navajo legend, who have traded their souls to become the animal whose skin they wear-and Maggie is their next target. Full of romance, mysticism, and intrigue, this dark take on Navajo legend will haunt readers to the final page.

My Review:
This novel was a non-stop, action packed, never-ending ride of paranormal awesome!
Maggie Mae has to be one of the most enduring characters I have read about in a very long time. I couldn’t help but feel for her, and at times, I almost felt as much pain as she did. She had been through so much, but she was still very strong and level-headed. She had a life that she could have cried and moaned about, but she didn’t. She was strong, brave, and never gave up. Bethany Wiggins really brought Maggie Mae to life, and gave her a voice worth listening to. I wish there were more heroines like Maggie Mae out there in the YA world, because everyone knows we need them!
That being said, I loved most of the characters, but my favorite had to be her foster mother, Mrs. Carpenter. She added this kind of fiery-spice to the book that made Maggie’s home life so much better, and really made me love her as a character. She was very hands-on in her care of Maggie Mae, as a foster mother should be, and I loved that. Nothing can ruin a story faster for me than parents/guardians who are talked about, but never seen. I am happy to say that is not the case here.
This story read easily and beautifully and by the end of the first few chapters, I was hooked. Every chapter is exciting and always leaves you with one more thing left thinking about, and always leaves with a bigger and better build up to the next chapter than the last.
The only thing that I wasn’t crazy about was the relationship between Bridger and Maggie Mae. I didn’t feel a ‘connection’ when they were together. Maybe it was because Maggie Mae was so willing to believe that no one could feel for her romantically, or because this was also one of those relationships that started pretty much from the beginning of the story.
Most of the time, I felt the reader was hearing more about the romance between Maggie and Bridger than we were seeing it. I wish that their relationship was better build and developed than just the usual boy-meets-girl, boy-falls-for-girl, they’re together before the end of chapter 3. It was too fast, too soon. But nevertheless, that didn’t stop me from enjoying the story.
 Shifting is a story that, where it is focused around the concept of shape-shifting (shape-shifters), there is actually a lot more to it than just that. Bethany Wiggins gave us brief—but in-depth—background on her take of shape-shifters. It was interesting reading about how shifters came to be, and the back story behind just how different from her kind Maggie Mae really is.
If you’re looking for a new take on the paranormal phenomenon that is shape-shifters, I would pick up Shifting by Bethany Wiggins. Action, romance, adventure, and a bit of mystery—Shifting is not a book you will easily forget. Shifting is YA Paranormal done right; Bethany Wiggins is a wonderful storyteller and an author to look out for. I can’t wait to see what she has for us readers next.
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