Thursday, August 21, 2014

Cat Thursday - What if humans acted like cats?



Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

This video is absolutely hilarious! 

Post by BuzzFeed Video.


Recent pics of Alice and Arya with my new smartphone camera. Better pics, but Alice is still hard to see because of her color.



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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

PUYB: Daphne Michaels' The Gifted: How to Live the Life of Your Dreams - Guest Post and Review


Going With Love

A wonderful friend (and one of my biggest fans) handed me a note as I was getting ready to fly to New York to launch my new book The Gifted; How to Live the Life of Your Dreams at the International Book Expo. Scribbled on a scrap of paper was written, “Be bold, be beautiful, be a lil’ sassy and sexy (you’ve got it, use it) and mainly go with love.”

I believe I speak for many writers when I say that promoting our own work is a daunting task. When I launched my first book nearly eight years ago I faced the question of how to market something that came straight from my heart. At that time I felt shy about getting the word out that I had published a book. Today, I realize that I could only market something that comes from my heart. I am eager to share that I have written a book to help others on their paths of personal development and spiritual growth. I am eager to say, as a psychotherapist with over 25 years experience, this is a book that will help.

This year at the International Book Expo someone had a great idea to do something new and wild. While the Book Expo has traditionally been limited to trade professionals, this year they opened the last day to the public. It was amazing to be a part of this experience! One day people were holding business meetings and talking shop, and the next day up to ten thousand readers made there way through long lines to be a part of the international reading experience. From tiny children being carried by adults to teens hoping to meet their favorite authors, people looking for gifts for loved ones and book club members deciding on their next selection — having readers at the event was incredible. As a steady stream of book fans pushed through joyfully crowded isle ways their smiles, appreciation and words of encouragement vaporized any sense of doubt I may have had about book marketing. I realized in that moment that writers and readers are inextricably linked by a bridge that connects us from heart to heart and gratitude that travels in both directions.

My thoughts on the book
The Gifted does a great job of outlining the tools we need to live the life of our dreams, but unless we are an expert carpenter, we need the instructions on how to pull all of it together and put it to use in our lives. While this books is beautifully written and gives us good examples of what we need - awareness, stillness, harmony, etc. - and don't need - being ruled by ego, self-doubt, fear, etc. - in our lives, I was really looking for more guidance. I'm sure this would click immediately for people who are more voiced in this subject matter already, but for someone like me who is looking for more instruction, it fell short. I feel that for someone who is seeking a clear approach, the books needs more concrete ways of putting these concepts into practice in our daily lives. Perhaps some questions at the end of each chapter, or some exercises and examples to make the reader more of a participant. In the end, the reader may get that these concepts are important to living the life of your dreams, but may end up asking, "Where do I go from here?"

About the Book:
In The Gifted: How to Live the Life of Your Dreams author, speaker and licensed psychotherapist Daphne Michaels celebrates the nine gifts that are our birthright, guiding readers in how to recognize and use them to transform their lives. In her author's preface, Michaels reveals how her own journey of life transformation began when she was young and realized that human existence wore two conflicting faces--one of love and joy, and one of fear and despair. She decided then to commit her life to reconciling these two visions because she knew that, irreconcilable though they seemed, together these two faces held the secret to living a life of endless possibility and authentic happiness. Her personal journey and formal education in social science, human services and integral psychology led to the founding of the Daphne Michaels Institute, which has helped hundreds of men and women design the lives of their dreams.

In The Gifted, Michaels shows us that the first three “gifts” we must recognize and embrace within us if we are to re-design our lives are Awareness, Potential and Stillness. These three allow us to identify and use the remaining six with a life-changing power: Disharmony, Harmony, Ease, Clarity, Freedom and Engagement. Each of these six relies on the “essential three” for its own power to change our lives, and each has its own gifts--its “children.” By approaching the nine gifts with real-world metaphors, Michaels answers in easily understood ways what for many readers have been lingering questions about personal transformation—such as how it works, what kind of commitment it takes, and why, if we’re committed, real transformation becomes inevitable—and addresses obstacles that readers may have encountered in the past in trying to reach in life a happiness every human deserves.

While the human universe’s face of love is celebrated in The Gifted, so is the face of fear that haunted a young girl decades ago. As Michaels shows us in her book, even Disharmony—the “quagmire” of life born of the human ego’s fear, defenses, delusions and despair—is a gift, too, and one as important as the others if we know how to see it clearly and use it. Once we understand Disharmony, we are ready to understand the real purpose of Harmony in our lives. Disharmony does not need to rule us. It is ours to use as we design the lives of our dreams.

The final gift in The Gifted, Michaels tells us, is the gift of Engagement. Engagement—with the universe and with ourselves—allows us to use all of the other gifts with more power and joy than we ever imagined possible.

That mountaintop decision never left me. It drove my life’s work and over the years led me to understand that there are gifts – nine of them, in fact – that we are all born with but rarely experience in their full glory and potential. These gifts – which make each and every one of us “The Gifted” of this book’s title – are the keys to living lives of endless possibilities and, in turn, achieving an authentic happiness that cannot be lost. They are, in other words, the keys to achieving the life of our dreams. 

Purchase your copy:
AMAZON 


About the Author
Daphne Michaels is an author, speaker and licensed psychotherapist whose institute has helped hundreds of women and men transform their lives through the "gifts" every human being is born with. Daphne began her own journey of transformation at a young age, pursued it fearlessly, and later studied formally in the fields of social science, human services and integral psychology. The Gifted: How to Live the Life of Your Dreams launches both Daphne Michaels Books and The Gifted series, whose goal it is to share with the widest audience possible the principles that guide the Daphne Michaels Institute. Daphne's earlier book, Light of Our Times, featured her conversations with such international figures in the fields of spirituality and personal development as Ram Dass, Julia Cameron, Dr. Masaru Emoto, and Thomas Moore.

Visit her website at www.daphnemichaels.com.
Connect & Socialize!
TWITTER | FACEBOOK

A copy of this book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for providing it.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

A Reading Life (33)


I thought long and hard on whether to participate in Bout of Books this week, but ultimately decided that I just don't have time. I know...me? Pass up a read-a-thon? What is this world coming to?!

Currently reading:
March, Geraldine Brooks
The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd
People of the Book, Geraldine Brooks
The Unholy, Paul DeBlassie III (review on 8/21)
The Gifted: How to Live the Life of Your Dreams, Daphne Michaels (review on 8/20)

Audio:
The Typewriter Girl, Alison Atlee

Family Reading Project (20 minutes daily, alternating titles):
The Crystal CaveMary Stewart (on page 177)
Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton (on page 111)

One movie/One TV show I like right now:
I saw The Giver on Saturday. I really liked it (and no, I haven't read the book...yet). It was actually an emotional movie for me. Very touching and meaningful subject matter.
The Leftovers - who else can't wait to figure out what the hell is going on? Mind blowing!

Life:
Gabe is on the Middle School football team. The Donelson Middle Jets. Not sure what position he will be playing, but I'm very excited for him. Just not sure if it's going to interfere with his music lessons at W.O. Smith Music School. I hope not.

I was given another client today so I now have five clients as a virtual assistant with Contemporary VA, along with my author client, Rebecca Hazell, independently. I'm getting ready to be even more busy, if that's even possible.

Read-a-Longs: 
I'm hosting a read-a-long of The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne during Gothic September at Castle Macabre.

I'm thinking about hosting a read-a-long of either Memnoch the Devil or The Vampire Armand by Anne Rice in October at Castle Macabre, in conjunction with The Never-Ending Anne Rice Challenge. Will make a decision on that soon.

TuesBookTalk - We will be reading two non-fiction books in September. Group members can read either/or...or both. Unbroken by Laura Hilenbrand and The Ancestor's Tale by Richard Dawkins. In October, we always read a horror novel so I'm thinking I'm going to pick some really scary ones for us to vote on. 

Lit Collective - we are reading and discussing the works of Geraldine Brooks in August
March
Caleb's Crossing
People of the Book

Nominations will soon be open for our theme read in March.

My upcoming events (challenges, read-a-thons, other reading events):

Banned Books Week commentary on this blog in September (possibly)
Gothic September at Castle Macabre
FrightFall Read-a-Thon at Seasons of Reading (end Sept/early Oct)
Season of the Witch at Castle Macabre (Oct)

Recent Book Acquisitions (including library check-outs):

James A. Michener's Writer's Handbook - from Paperback Swap
Death Comes to Pemberley, P.D. James - library

And I got a new Kindle Fire HD!


What's going on in your Reading Life?

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Cat Thursday - Authors and Cats (35)


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

The second Cat Thursday of each month is Authors and Cats Thursday. Each time I will feature an author and their cat(s).

I'm so behind this week! I haven't even had the time to visit your posts from last week. I'm so sorry! I will have to do double duty in the next couple of days.

This month's author is P.D. James who celebrated her 94th birthday on August 3. This is a drawing of her with her cat by New York Times Artist David Levine. Brilliant! 


About the author
P. D. James is the author of twenty books, most of which have been filmed and broadcast on television in the United States and other countries. She spent thirty years in various departments of the British Civil Service, including the Police and Criminal Law Department of Great Britain's Home Office. She has served as a magistrate and as a governor of the BBC. In 2000 she celebrated her eightieth birthday and published her autobiography, Time to Be in Earnest. The recipient of many prizes and honors, she was created Baroness James of Holland Park in 1991. She lives in London and Oxford.

Awards: International Crime Writing Hall of Fame 2008; Grand Master Award from Mystery Writers of America, 1999; Diamond Dagger from British Crime Writers' Association, 1987.

Author of Death Comes To Pemberley, Children of Men and many more.

Which reminds me...I simply must read Death Comes to Pemberley! It's coming to Masterpiece on PBS at the end of October/early November. Have you seen this?! 




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Monday, August 11, 2014

A Reading Life (32) - Pick-Your-Thon Wrap-Up and my Classics Club Spin Book


Currently reading
March, Geraldine Brooks
The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd
People of the Book, Geraldine Brooks
The Unholy, Paul DeBlassie III

Audio
The Typewriter Girl, Alison Atlee

Family Reading Project (20 minutes daily, alternating titles)
The Crystal CaveMary Stewart (on page 166)
Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton (on page 101)

One movie/One TV show I like right now
Saw Hercules over the weekend and I REALLY liked it. Pleasantly surprised and greatly entertained!
The Knick - Clive Owen is brilliant, as always. Seems like it's going to be a great show.

Life
The boys started school last week at their new school. They are now attending their zoned school and I think it's a good thing. Gabe won't be under constant scrutiny and on a highly positive note, I will have loads of stress off of me since I won't be doing so much driving. Their school is about five minutes down the street. Yay!

Sad day in our world today, as the beloved Robin Williams has passed away. He apparently had long been suffering from depression and took his own life. We must remember to be kind to one another. We have no idea what another person might be going through. That fact makes kindness all the more important in this world. Rest in Peace, gentle soul. You will be missed.

Read-a-Longs 
I'm hosting a read-a-long of The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne during Gothic September at Castle Macabre.

TuesBookTalk - We are reading The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd this month and we're currently voting on a non-fiction title for September. Right now at TuesBookTalk, we are voting on our non-fiction title for September. I'm considering having two reads in September, as I'm not really in the mood to read Unbroken, even though I've heard it's good. I just don't feel like reading about war right now. I'm not in that frame of mind. The other selection we're voting on is The Ancestor's Tale by Richard Dawkins.

Lit Collective - we are reading and discussing the works of Geraldine Brooks in August
March
Caleb's Crossing
People of the Book

Nominations will soon be open for our theme read in March.

My upcoming events (challenges, read-a-thons, other reading events)

I have buttons ready for all of my Fall events - just no sign up posts yet. They will be coming soon. In the meantime...





Recent Book Acquisitions

William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back, Ian Doescher - won from Kai/Fiction State of Mind

from Better World Books...
A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan
The Lady of the Rivers, Philippa Gregory
The Legend of Broken, Caleb Carr


Well, I didn't do so hot on The Book Monsters' Pick-Your-Thon. I probably read about 100 pages all total from The Invention of Wings, The Unholy and Elizabeth. And I didn't write one review. #fail It just wasn't my week for reading.


The Classics Club Spin #7 - They randomly picked 17. My number 17 book was...



What's going on in your Reading life?

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Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Classics Club Spin 7 - Let's try this again, shall we?

My lucky Classics Club spin - #17 it is! All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy


The Classics Club spin...it's time again. Since they started doing this, I've only managed to succeed once with Wide Sargasso Sea on spin 5. We're supposed to challenge ourselves by choosing a mix of titles like 'books I can't wait to read, books I'm dreading, etc.' but since I have so much reading on my plate already for August and September, I'm just going to choose a list of 20 shorter books. We will see how this goes...

  1. The Lambs of London, Peter Ackroyd
  2. A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess
  3. Moravagine, Blaise Cendrars
  4. The Devil and Miss Prym, Paulo Coelho
  5. The Collector, John Fowles
  6. The House of Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorne
  7. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
  8. What Maisie Knew, Henry James
  9. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
  10. Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut
  11. Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton
  12. Orlando, Virginia Woolf
  13. The Plague, Albert Camus
  14. Howard's End, E.M. Forster
  15. The Sylph, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire
  16. She, H. Rider Haggard
  17. All the Pretty Horses, Cormac McCarthy
  18. The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plateh
  19. Perfume, Patrick Suskind
  20. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh

What's on your Classics Spin list?


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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Saturday Quotes Day (1)


My lovely friend, Rebecca at I'm Lost in Books has started a new meme (which I thought would be a great idea, by the way) so I'm joining in. Click her blog name above, or the image, if you'd like to join in.

from Elizabeth: The Virgin Queen and the Men Who Loved Her


"'I alas shall have no such comfort,' he sighs as together, full of smiles and tender care for each other still, he closes the casement and accompanies her to his chamber door where, with that final kiss upon her lips, he lets her go. Will it be like this for the rest of his life, he asks himself? Would the seasons come and go, and they two grow old and grey together, still always in love but never lovers? It would be a pleasant torment - but really, he knows it can never be sustained. There is no magic box of hers to store these joys and wonders. The world does not function that way, not even for a Queen of England. And that knowledge, as it steals its way into his meditations again and again this night, is the greater part of his sadness as he rests alone in his solitary bed."

from The Invention of Wings


"She laid the book down and came where I was standing by the chimney place and put her arms round me. It was hard to know where things stood. People say love gets fouled by a difference big as ours. I didn't know for sure whether Miss Sarah's feelings came from love or guilt. I didn't know whether mine came from love or a need to be safe. She loved me and pitied me. And I loved her and used her. It never was a simple thing. That day, our hearts were pure as they ever would get."

What quotes have moved you this week?

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Cat Thursday - Cuteness = Arya


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

I had to share these shots I took of Arya yesterday. They are poor quality because my cell phone takes pictures for beans. I'm working on upgrading to a smartphone just so I can have a decent camera. Anyway, I went to the kitchen to cook supper and when I came back I saw that Arya had made herself a little cave of my comforter. I wish I could have snapped a better pic. It was too cute. The other shot is just her being her pretty self (with a blasted glare spot marring the image. ARGH!)

Look, I even drew some directions for you. lol



Isn't this just so true!


What cat owner can't relate to this?



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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Anna Belfrage's The Graham Saga - Book Blast and {Giveaway}

Join Anna Belfrage as her beloved time-slip series, The Graham Saga, is featured around the blogosphere from July 28-August 15 with HF Virtual Book Tours and enter to win your own set of Books 1-6!

About The Graham Saga

The Graham Saga Series

This is the story of Alex and Matthew, two people who should never have met - not when she was born three hundred years after him. It all began the day Alex Lind got caught in a thunderstorm. Not your ordinary storm, no this was the mother of all storms, causing a most unusual rift in the fabric of time. Alex was dragged three centuries backwards in time, landing more or less at the feet of a very surprised Matthew Graham. In a series of books we follow the life and adventures of the expanding Graham family, both in Scotland and in the New World - and let me tell you it is quite an exciting life, at times excessively so in Alex' opinion. Sometimes people ask me why Alex had to be born in the twentieth century, why not make her a woman born and bred in the seventeenth century where the story is set? The answer to that is I have no idea. Alex Lind is an insistent, vibrant character that sprung into my head one morning and simply wouldn't let go. Seductively she whispered about terrible thunderstorms, about a gorgeous man with magic, hazel eyes, about loss and sorrow, about love - always this love, for her man and her children, for the people she lives with. With a throaty chuckle she shared insights into a life very far removed from mine, now and then stopping to shake her head and tell me that it probably hadn't been easy for Matthew, to have such an outspoken, strange and independent woman at his side. At this point Matthew groaned into life. Nay, he sighed, this woman of his was at times far too obstinate, with no notion of how a wife should be, meek and dutiful. But, he added with a laugh, he wouldn't want her any different, for all that she was half heathen and a right hand-full. No, he said, stretching to his full length, if truth be told not a day went by without him offering fervent thanks for his marvelous wife, a gift from God no less, how else to explain the propitious circumstances that had her landing at his feet that long gone August day? Still, dear reader, it isn't always easy. At times Alex thinks he's an overbearing bastard, at others he's sorely tempted to belt her. But the moment their fingertips graze against each other, the moment their eyes meet, the electrical current that always buzzes between them peaks and surges, it rushes through their veins, it makes their breathing hitch and ... She is his woman, he is her man. That's how it is, that's how it always will be.


Graham Saga Titles

Book One: A Rip in the Veil Book Two: Like Chaff in the Wind Book Three: The Prodigal Son Book Four: A Newfound Land Book Five: Serpents in the Garden Book Six: Revenge & Retribution Book Seven: Whither Thou Goest (November 2014) Book Eight: To Catch a Falling Star (March 2015)


About the Author

Anna BelfrageAnna was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result she's multilingual and most of her reading is historical- both non-fiction and fiction. Possessed of a lively imagination, she has drawers full of potential stories, all of them set in the past. She was always going to be a writer - or a historian, preferably both. Ideally, Anna aspired to becoming a pioneer time traveller, but science has as yet not advanced to the point of making that possible. Instead she ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for her most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career Anna raised her four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive? For years she combined a challenging career with four children and the odd snatched moment of writing. Nowadays Anna spends most of her spare time at her writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and she slips away into her imaginary world, with her imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in her life pops his head in to ensure she's still there. For additional information regarding Anna, her characters, extra scenes, and teasers for her next books, have a look at Anna's website at: www.annabelfrage.com. You can also find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.


Book Blast Schedule

Monday, July 28
Broken Teepee
Kincavel Korner
bookworm2bookworm's Blog
Tuesday, July 29
So Many Books, So Little Time
Wednesday, July 30
A Bibliotaph's Reviews
Thursday, July 31
Book Drunkard
Friday, August 1
The Lit Bitch
Saturday, August 2
Book Nerd
Sunday, August 3
Literary Chanteuse
Just One More Chapter
Monday, August 4
A Bookish Girl
Historical Tapestry
To Read, Or Not to Read
Tuesday, August 5
CelticLady's Reviews
Wednesday, August 6
The True Book Addict
Thursday, August 7
Impressions in Ink
Friday, August 8
A Bookish Affair
The Mad Reviewer
Saturday, August 9
Historical Fiction Connection
Monday, August 11
Gobs and Gobs of Books
Tuesday, August 12
Pages of Comfort
Wednesday, August 13
History Undressed
Thursday, August 14
Passages to the Past
Friday, August 15
Mina's Bookshelf

Giveaway

To win a set of Anna Belfrage's Graham Saga (Books 1-6) please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Two winners will be chosen. Giveaway is open internationally!
Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on August 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter. Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter on August 16th and notified via email. Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Happy Five Years to Me!!!


Well, it really did sneak up on me this year. For some reason, I was thinking the date was August 9, but I should have remembered that I started this blog five years ago the day after my mom's birthday.

I can't believe it has been five years already. I have to say that getting into this book blogging thing has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I have met some wonderful people and authors...and have made a myriad of friends. Anyone who says online friendships aren't real...well, pshaw to them! I can happily say that some of my best friends are now people I met online (you know who you are).

I am a much more busy blogger than I was five years ago. I have 13 blogs on Blogger and two on Wordpress. I host several long-term reading challenges and I have a read-a-thon blog on which I host four week long read-a-thons a year. All of this on top of reading like a maniac, reviewing books for authors, being a mom of two preteen (one soon-to-be teen) boys, working at home as a virtual assistant and trying to write my own novel. The funny thing is, I have not really experienced any burn out. I even kept blogging through a serious illness in 2010, the dissolution of my marriage in 2012, and finally my divorce this past June. Whew! Never say die, right!? I always try to keep an positive and optimistic outlook and I think that has helped me to not burn out.

I'm so proud and thrilled to be the owner of The True Book Addict. I purchased my domain this year (www.truebookaddict.com) and I recently redesigned it all. I guess I will mention stats (even though I'm not overly concerned with keeping up with numbers) because I want to acknowledge the wonderful people who have appreciated my blog. So...

Number of blog posts since inception - 1351
Number of page views (all time history) - 1,140,720 (wow!)
Number of GFC followers - 702
Number of email subscribers - 111
Number of Bloglovin' followers - 329


Now, on to just a little something I would like to do in appreciation of my blog readers. I'm giving away a $10 (digital) Amazon gift card. All you have to do is leave a comment letting me know how you follow and please leave a way for me to contact you if you win. This giveaway is only open to current followers. I will draw the winner in one week (ending August 12 at 11:59pm CST). Good luck!

Thanks again for sticking with me over the years. It is much appreciated!


Sorry...I couldn't resist!

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