Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Interpretation of MurderThe Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery





This one has been sitting on my bookshelf for awhile and I can finally put it on my "read" bookshelf on Goodreads! I was super excited to read this from the book's description but was a little disappointed due to the dryness of it, the words just drug on, and I found myself nodding off sometimes. The saving grace for this book is the storyline it is a twisted and complicated plot which could have translated into a great read if it was written with less dryness, so instead it was just average.
Thanks for stopping by,
Amy

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Company of LiarsCompany of Liars by Karen Maitland
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction





The plague sends an unlikely group of travelers on a journey to try and escape its ugly death but somehow death reaches in and takes what he wants to. This was a tedious read but one that I am glad I stuck with. The ending was most surprising, sharing all the secrets of this band of misfits I was generally shocked by their secrets, which is hard to do for I don't shock easily, I had no idea how deep and unsuspecting secrets can be. Narigorm , a leader of sorts for this group, was my favorite character and the one with the biggest secret of them all.

Recommended for: For people who love fictional adventurous travel reads.

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Mill River RecluseThe Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan (Mill River #1)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Mystery/Historical Fiction



A bittersweet tale of a wealthly shut-in with an extreme case of social anxiety. I found Mary's story to be sad and inspiring. A wonderful read that shows how through much pain and suffering it is still within our capacity as humans to be truly giving towards others. A great inspirational read.

Four stars means: A great read. Memorable and highly entertaining. Recommended, but for whatever reason, not the all consuming experience that I feel characterizes a five star book. Maybe one or two minor issues.

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Amy

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Friday, October 17, 2014

The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy, #3)The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal




Finally I got to read the third and final book in the All Souls Trilogy and it did not disappoint!! Blood-raged vampires, the birth of the twins, spell weaving and lots of conflict and drama. This is a must read for any fan of vampire/witch lore.

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Amy



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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Nightmares! (Nightmares!, #1)Nightmares! by Jason Segel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Children's Middle Grade Fantasy




Charlie and his friends go on a scary adventure into the land of Nightmares! A good middle grade book because even though there are some scary parts the ending turns out well and most of the monsters are not really evil they are just doing their jobs, like with Monsters, Inc.

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Amy

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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Letters from SkyeLetters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction




Letter writing is definitely a lost art what with email and cell phones, but even though everyone else thinks letter writing is antiquated I find it to be quite romantic.

Most of the content in the book is presented in letters, there is the correspondence between David Graham and Elspeth Dunn, their correspondence starts in 1912 and continues throughout World War II, and then there is Margaret, Elspeth's daughter, and her fiance/boyfriend, Paul,and their correspondence occurs during World War II.

Letters seem to project love so much better than a text message or Facebook post ever could, and that is shown throughout David and Elspeth's correspondence with each other. Elspeth is a poet and David wrote her after reading one of her poetry books, what started as a sort of fan letter developed into something more between them, even though Elspeth is married!!

We all have seen romantic movies set during a war, the death, tragedy, conflict, all of it is the perfect contrast to love, making it a great story and Letters from Skye does not disappoint in this regard, it is a wonderful example of historical fiction and I can honestly say this is one of the best historical fiction novels that I have read this year.

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Amy


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Monday, October 06, 2014

An Abundance of KatherinesAn Abundance of Katherines by John Green
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: YA Contemporary




Colin Singleton is a genius and he has a thing for Katherines, not Catherines, but Katherines. A little weird but there has been 19 Katherines so Colin's quirk is something that has brought him a lot of heartache. And how does a genius deal with heartache well he analysis it mathematical of course, The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability.

Luckily Colin has a great friend named Hassan who convinces Colin to go on a road trip to put the Katherines behind him, literally and figuratively. Ending up in Gutshot, Tennessee to see the obviously fake gravesite of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Colin and Hassan meet Lindsey Lee Wells.

Lindsey Lee is smart but she is pretending to be something she is not, a popular small town girl. Lots of weird stuff happens like a wild hog hunt and a cheating boyfriend but the bonds of friendship between Lindsey, Colin and Hassan deepen. Could this be the end of Katherines for Colin?

Again John Green can tell a teens story like no other. Not as good as Looking for Alaska but still wonderfully written and insightful.

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Amy

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Saturday, October 04, 2014

Looking for AlaskaLooking for Alaska by John Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: YA Contemporary




I think everyone has wanted to escape or reinvent their teenage life some time or another and that is exactly what Miles Halter, a.k.a Pudge, is hoping will happen when he starts a new school, Culver Creek Boarding School. Pudge has never been popular and his whole public school experience has been dull and lifeless, Pudge wants more. Quote: {"So this guy", I said, standing in the doorway of the living room. "Francois Rebelais. He was this poet. And his last words were "I go to seek a Great Perhaps." That's why I'm going. So I don't have to wait until I die to start seeking a Great Perhaps."} -Pg. 5 Pudge is obssessed with people's last words. Which makes him quirky and a little nerdy but it comes off in a cute way. Pudge is the kind of person that you stay friends with forever as he says witty things throughout your life that relates perfectly to what it is that is going on in your life at the moment. Pudge's new roomate, Chip, a.k.a. the Colonel, is an extremely smart yet mischevious individual who instantly includes Pudge into his circle of friends. Without Chip I don't think Pudge would have survived boarding school. Like any school you have the other kids and then the rich kids. And more so at Culver Creek because each group, the Weekend Warriors, who are the rich kids, and then just the regular boarders, who includes the Colonel and Pudge and of course Alaska, have a huge prank feud going on against each other and the school. Flooding each others rooms and replacing shampoo and hair gel with blue hair dye. Nothing to harmful but still a pain. Pranks are played, wine coolers are consumed, there is some making out, some mistakes are made. But for the most part Pudge's experience is just your typical boarding school experience. That is until Alaska dies. Consumed with guilt Colonel and Pudge struggle to find whether Alaska committed suicide or whether it was just an accident. Full of teenage experiences and the range of emotions that encompass them Looking for Alaska is full of "The Great Perhaps" Wonderfully written John Green composes the teenage experience like none other!

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Amy

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Thursday, October 02, 2014

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, #1)Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Genre: Contemporary/Mystery




This book was not like what I thought it would be, I thought literary fiction, turned out to be a contemporary story with secret societies and codes in books. And there was a lot of computer talk for a book that has 24-hour bookstore in the title. I did like though how they tried to merge books with newer technology, I mean I own a Nook but I prefer the real deal in my hands not some electronic version that runs on batteries, but the book did put a neat spin on how old knowledge and new knowledge could work together. Sometimes rambling. Sometimes just plan weird.

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Amy



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Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Beautiful Mess Happy Handmade Home: Painting, Crafting, and Decorating a Cheerful, More Inspiring SpaceA Beautiful Mess Happy Handmade Home: Painting, Crafting, and Decorating a Cheerful, More Inspiring Space by Elsie Larson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Non-Fiction/D.I.Y


So after the cookbook review I thought I would try my hand at this wonderful home decorating/D.I.Y book by the genius creators of the blog, A Beautiful Mess, Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman.

On their blog Elsie and Emma share tons of wonderful tips, techniques, projects and recipes to their millions of readers showing us how important lifestyle blogs are to our everyday life. I know personally I love the lifestyle/d.i.y. blogs they provide wonderful things, I even got a recipe to make my own laundry detergent from one that I still use years later.

But on to the books which does not have a recipe to make your own laundry detergent, lol! However, it includes wonderful projects and tips by room to make your home unique, to put your own personal style stamp on it. Most of the projects are relatively easy and low-cost which makes this book even better because not only does it have these great projects and ideas but you can make them work just about around any budget! Elsie and Emma also show us how to throw some parties.

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Amy



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Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Auschwitz EscapeThe Auschwitz Escape by Joel C. Rosenberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction




I always find it so difficult to write a review so long after I have read a book, it is not that I don't remember the story, it is just that after awhile there is a disconnection there, it is like trying to dig through all your memories for one particular moment, so bare with me on this one, please.

Jacob Weisz is a young man and normally that would be all used to sum him up upon first glance, but Jacob finds himself in a moment in history where he is not just a young man, but a young Jewish man. Jacob loves Germany, he is very patriotic for one so young, but he sees the country he loves turn against him and others who do not fit Hitler's ideal of the perfect human.

Jacob's struggle is your typical fiction Holocaust story, he works for the resistance, is captured in a raid gone bad and finds himself in Auschwitz. A wonderful blend of action and despair, in these moments it was hard to put the book down I had to know that good would eventually triumph over evil in Jacob's life, I had to see if he survives.

In Auschwitz a French assistant paster Jean-Luc Leclerc enters Jacob's life, he to is in Auschwitz for hiding Jewish families from the Gestapo. Jacob and Jean-Luc both joining a small resistance group that has been formed inside Auschwitz by the prisoners, their main goal is to escape and to inform the world of all the evil things happening not only is Auschwitz but throughout Europe.

Life and death is a central theme throughout the book and really shows the struggles and unselfishness of people who are willing to stand up to this evil and not just give in.

There is a little romance, lots of edge of your seat action, and a huge showing of that thing we call humanity, but there are atrocities that go beyond human understanding, that tear at your heart and soul. Yes I cried during some parts, I cringed, I was ticked off, Rosenberg tore emotions out of me for his characters and their situation with his words.

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Amy


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Friday, September 26, 2014

Imagine: How Creativity WorksImagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Non-Fiction




Imagine is an in depth look into creativity and how it seems that some of us are more creative than others. The book goes into great detail about various studies about creativity and their results without being boring and quickly shows how certain brain waves, areas of the brain, and different techniques not only show creativity but that they can make a person more creative, that you can change your mind into that of a creative person.

A look at different creative people and the ways that drug and alcohol use made them more creative was a particularly interesting part of the story, almost like a tattler magazine. But the stories about Google and Pixar and the way that the whole environment from the layout to their work schedules promotes so much creativity.

The book is broken into two parts: the creativity of the individual and the creativity of a group. I didn't focus to much attention on the creativity of a group part of the book but it was still chock full of ideas of how to promote and create creativity in groups of people. The individual creativity I found so interesting it is amazing how the brain works in regards to creativity and how you can retrain the brain to be more creative.

If you are looking for more creativity in your life and would like to understand how creativity works than this is the book for you!

Side note: I learned later that some of the Bob Dylan quotes in this books were fabricated to read more about this go to: My Apology

Thanks for stopping in,
Amy


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Thursday, September 25, 2014

We Were LiarsWe Were Liars by E. Lockhart
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Genre: YA Contemporary




This is seriously one of the weirdest YA novels I have read in a long time, however, it was extremely deep and even though I was confused there for awhile in the end it all made sense and I did cry. Even though it did make me cry I really didn't see to much in the book that makes it really stand out, it was a good read but that was about it it didn't really stand out to much.

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Amy

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Night Dawn DayNight Dawn Day by Elie Wiesel (The Night Trilogy)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Non-fiction/Fiction/Fiction




This book consist of three different stories the first Night is Wiesel's most famous memoir of his experiences as a Jewish teenager during World War II and his survival of Auschwitz and other camps. I had read Night before, because it is published separately from Dawn/Day even though in this version the stories are published in one volume, as required reading in a class I took in college on the Holocaust and I have read it quite a few times since then it is one of those stories not only where you can glimpse the evil that man is capable of but you can see the struggle against death and evil and how the human spirit can persevere through so many horrors.

With Dawn Wiesel spins a story of historical fiction, our narrator has survived the Holocaust and now lives in British controlled-Palestine but now instead of being the victim he is the executioner of an English hostage. In Dawn Wiesel is showing us how the narrator, after seeing and surviving so many atrocities, contemplates the execution that he has been ordered to carry out.

In Day Wiesel writes another tale of historical fiction but this one appealed to me as a reader more than Dawn did because it shows how life can be for someone who is trying to live, though as a walking ghost sometimes, after witnessing and surviving so many atrocities during the Holocaust. The suffering is raw and though it is easy to get mixed up in what the narrator is trying to portray if you just take your time with this story and re-read some of the parts you will never be as close to understanding the life of a survivor after the incident and this applies not only to those that survived the Holocaust but to those that have survived any truly horrific experience.

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Amy


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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Hidden Child (Patrik Hedström, #5)The Hidden Child by Camilla Läckberg (Fjallbacka #5)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery




Patrik Hedstrom is on paternity leave from the local police force so that his wife Erica Falck, who is a crime writer, can finish her next book without have their daughter Mia underneath her feet, but his curiosity gets the better of him when a murder occurs.

Erica's mother was always extremely distant and unloving. She provided for her girls, for Erica has a sister Anna, but there was no loved shown to them by their mother. So when Erica goes through her mother's things and finds a Nazi war medal, a child's dress with old dried blood on it, and several of her mother's diaries she decides that it time to find some answers to why her mother was the way she was toward her and her sister, what was in her mother's past that was linked to these objects that could explain the person her mother had become?

This quest to find out more about her mother's past leads her to a local man, Erik, who is a retired history teacher and the local history buff on World War II. Local history buff may be putting it lightly, Erik was actually obsessed with World War II especially the German military and had collected many considerable artifacts over the years, he also lectured quite extensively on the atrocities that the Nazis's had committed. Erik's obsession could be attributed to his past, his older brother, Axel, was captured by the Germans because he would ride over to Norway from Sweden on fishing boats to work with the Norwegian Resistance. Axel was kept in a work camp and treated horribly but he survived and returned home after being liberated and this is where the drama starts. The story goes back and forth through time, with flashbacks to 1943 and then back to the present. Erica and Patrik are surprised to learn that the local murder victim was Erik whom Erica had taken that found medal to only days before his death.

So Elsy, Erica's mom; Britta, Elsy's best friend; Erik, our WWII buff; and Frans, a man full of prejudices and who was in love with Elsy, where all close friends back in 1943. When Axel was captured they endured it together but not long after returning home from a different trip, then the one Axel was captured during, Elsy's father brought with him a young man by the name of Hans Olavsen who had stowed away on the boat. Hans lives with Elsy's family and soon him and Elsy fall in love and Elsy soon finds herself in the family way, if you know what I mean. But what does Elsy really know about Hans, other than what he tells her? Chaos soon ensues once Axel returns home and outs Hans as a liar. A secret from the their past has finally come back to haunt Britta, Frans, Erik and Axel; one that had changed their friend Elsy's life forever and turned her into the unloving mother Erica remembers.

Full of heartache, murder, deep prejudices, and friendship Camilla Lackberg takes you on a trip through the past so that we may understand the present. I didn't know this was a book in a series but just had heard how good it was so I picked it up when I was at the library, but I have since added all her books in this series to my to-be-read list. Though a translated work, which I usually have a bit of frustration with because they feel like the writer is just telling you a story instead of making you a part of it, The Hidden Child, sucked me right in and wouldn't let me go long after I turned the last page. I still think about this book and human deceit even though it has been weeks since I finished it.

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Amy


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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Chateau of SecretsChateau of Secrets by Melanie Dobson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction/Christian 





A wonderful example of great historical fiction. Flashbacks show us the past while the rest of the story is in the present day. World War II, Nazis, the Resistance, war-torn France, a secret identity, and of course love can all be found inside the covers of this book. I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

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Amy



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Lucky UsLucky Us by Amy Bloom
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction




The best part of this book was the ending, which thank god was a happy one because this book depressed me. I know it got rave reviews but I don't see why it just didn't appeal to me at all.

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Amy



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The Secret Place (Dublin Murder Squad, #5)The Secret Place by Tana French (Dublin Murder Squad #5)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Genre: Mystery/Crime



Frank, Stephen and Holly are all three back in The Secret Place, they were all three in Faithful Place. If you read Faithful Place you will know that Frank's brother killed someone and his daughter Holly had to testify against him with the help of Stephen who arrested him. Tana's characters always tie in so well from story to story as the main character changes. Okay. So Holly has grown up quite a bit and is now attending St. Kilda's, an all girl's boarding school, which of course Frank can't afford but his ex-wife, whom he is trying to work things out with, can. Holly's best friends, Selena, Jules, and Becca all go to St. Kilda's to and they all room together. St. Kilda's has a bulletin board where the girls can anonymously post their secrets and Holly comes to see Stephen saying she found a secret that says "I know who killed him", him being Christopher Harper who got his head bashed in one night on the grounds of St. Kilda's. So Stephen takes the note to the detective in the murder squad who worked the case, Antoinette Conway, and the investigation that had went cold is suddenly on fire. Not having a partner and because Stephen gave her the note Detective Conway decides to let Stephen along for the ride to St. Kilda's to find out who put up the note and do they really know who killed Chris Harper or is this just a gag? I like YA Fiction but for some reason all the girl's and their constant backstabbing stories in the book just annoyed the crap out of me, this is the big reason the rating I will be giving the book at the end of the this post is so low compared to her other books. This is just my opinion so this shouldn't deter you to much from picking up this book if you can handle all the drama that goes with it. Detective Conway and Stephen question the girls that had access to the board later in the evening which was only two groups: Holly and her friends and their arch rival's, Joanne, Gemma, Orla, and Alison, who are supposedly the cool kids but are so stuck up I bet not one single girl in that school left there unscorned by this group. There is a constant back and forth as the girls continually blame each other for putting up the note. See Chris Harper was a ladies man so both Joanne and Selena have quite the motive for wanting Chris dead. Thanks to the fact that they got access to Chris's text messages Conway and Stephen were able to start unrivaling the she said, no she said, bull from coming from the girls. Holly's dad, Frank, shows up so that they can question his daughter more aggressively, for both the detectives know that she is definitely holding something back. Weaving back and forth between all these girls was definitely a buzz kill for me as I stated above but the reasons for the actual murder was so juvenile, yes I know these kids are teenagers but still where is their sense of right and wrong. Quite a tale but not one of my favorite books by her.

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Amy

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Broken Harbor (Dublin Murder Squad, #4)
Broken Harbor by Tana French (Dublin Murder Squad #4)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Mystery/Crime



Broken Harbor follows murder squad detective Mick "Scorcher" Kennedy who was the detective investigating Rosie and Kevin's murders in the previous book in this series, Faithful Place.

So in Faithful Place we first met Scorcher but to tell you the truth I did not particularly care for him, some characters you like some you don't, but anyway I wasn't to keen when I first started reading Broken Harbor because I held onto a little prejudice against him from the previous book. However, I soon changed my mind about old Scorcher once I got to know him past the egotistical attitude that he uses as a shield to keep the dark things from his past from devouring him.

This was a hard read not just because of Scorcher, but because two of the victims are children, young children. So you have been warned don't read further if you cannot stand it.

Patrick Spain, wife Jenny and their two children, Emma and Jack, seemed to be a wonderful family. Even though they were going through some money issues since Patrick got laid off from his job they still appeared happy, appeared being the word here. But underneath Patrick and Jenny were both becoming unstable and both of the children were in danger.

This story has many supporting characters and a web of lies and deceit that are to complicated to try and summarize in the book review so this is going to be short and more of a teaser than most of my reviews.

Scorcher gets assigned to the case at Broken Harbor, Patrick is dead as is Emma and Jack, and Jenny is badly injured and on her way to the hospital not sure if she will make it or not. High-profile does not even begin to describe a case where children have been murdered and Scorcher and his rookie partner, Richie, are going to have to get this one right or else.

There is a back story to the setting of Broken Harbor and how it relates to those dark things from Scorcher's past, for before it was a development it use to be the beach where his family would go during the summer to stay and it is also where Scorcher's mother walked into the ocean one day and killed herself. The really sad part is she had tried to walk into the ocean with Scorcher's youngest sister, Dina, but she survived whereas her mother did not. Their whole world turned upside down, mother dead, father overcome with grief that he just shut down, and Scorcher with sister Geri pretty much raised Dina who is bogged down with a lot of mental issues stemming from her experience that night on the beach with her mother. So Dina flip flops out of Scorcher's life right when he needs to be completely on the job but he constantly is worried about his sister while trying to track down the murderer.

Scorcher and Richie finally have a suspect in custody, Conor Brennan, Pat and Jenny's friend from when they were kids, he was even Emma's godfather, but due to some spat they had a falling out and Conor was no longer involved in their lives. Well they were wrong, for Conor had set up in one of the abandoned homes in the development and was watching the Spain's house. Creepy right!

Scorcher thinks they got their man but Richie is not so sure and keeps putting pressure on Scorcher to keep checking out Pat, Scorcher agrees even though his is so sure Conor was the doer. What Scorcher doesn't know though is that Richie pocketed evidence that directly implicates someone else, neither Conor nor Pat, and if it wasn't for Dina, his sister, than Scorcher may have never known of its existence.

An unreal confession comes out from the evidence and the whole case turns into a huge mess. Richie will never work murder again he is lucky to have even kept his badge but can Scorcher fix up this mess so that justice is served.

Blow's my mind is the perfect way to describe how I feel after I finish one of Tana French's books and even though I didn't care for this one as much as I have some of her others it is still a spectacular story of the messed up lives of ordinary people, I think that is why her books are so relatable I mean the Spain's could be my next door neighbors for crying out loud. A scary look into the mind of Conor just adds to it even though he thought what he was doing was harmless it was still super duper creepy. You'll be putting your blinds down for good after you read this one.

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Amy


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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Faithful Place (Dublin Murder Squad, #3)Faithful Place by Tana French (Dublin Murder Squad #3)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Mystery/Crime



If you have read this series in order you will realize that even though the books involve a different lead character, that character had played a part in the previous novel. Faithful Place involves Frank Mackey, who was Cassie's undercover handler in The Likeness. When Frank was nineteen the world seemed full of so many possibilities. Him and his girl, Rosie, were going to run away together and live in their own little romantic world. But reality sets in for Frank when Rosie doesn't show up at their designated meeting place on the night that they are to leave for London and their new life together. Frank of course ends up leaving without Rosie not for London but instead for Dublin where he joins the police force and ends up becoming a detective in the undercover squad. Thinking Rosie left for London without him, because of a note that she left him in an old building they all used to hang out in, Frank puts her out of his mind as much as he can. He got married, had a daughter, got a divorce, but no matter what Rosie is always there in the back of his mind trying to push her way back into his thoughts. A regular day for Frank ends up spinning his world out of control when he gets a phone call from his sister, that building, their hangout, Number 16, is being torn apart for some type of renovation and inside the workers find Rosie's suitcase, she had packed to leave, but did she just leave the case behind? Maybe she forgot about it? Or is there something much more sinister going on that no one wants to think about?? The case leads Frank on a search of the old building with his brother Kevin where they discover concrete slabs that were the size of a person, covering up something. Frank quickly calls the techs of forensics to get them down to see what is under those concrete slabs, finding a body badly decomposed, rotting under those slabs of concrete the tech bureau quickly calls in the murder squad and the pathologist, Cooper. Is it Rosie's body they just discovered? Or someone else? Not able to identify her right away due to the state of the body the police cannot tell Frank for sure who it is but deep down Frank knows Rosie didn't stand him up that night they were to run away instead someone had made sure that it didn't happen. Mick, also known as Scorcher is the murder detective assigned to the case and even though him and Frank were in the academy together Scorcher firmly tells Frank to back off that he will solve this just like he does all his other cases, Scorcher having the best solve rate of anyone else on the Murder squad has given him a bit of an ego. Frank dying to know what is going on with the case finds Stephen, one of the officers working with Scorcher basically doing grunt work like checking phone and bank records, and promises him a way out of the floater pool and into a squad if he is willing to share information about the case. Seeing a golden opportunity for quick advancement Stephen jumps at the chance despite his misgivings about sharing such information with Frank. Another murder occurs, Frank's brother Kevin, rocking Frank's world off its axis. Even though the police ruled it a suicide Frank knows that this is another murder and the murderer has done this before because this was the work of Rosie's murderer. Holly, Frank's daughter, has figured it out that Kevin and Rosie's killer is a member of her family on her father's side and she goes to great lengths to show her father what she had figured out. Everything is still topsy turvy and now that Holly's involved Frank must do all that he can to put the murderer behind bars, even if he is family. Another psychological maze from the brilliant mind of Tana French! Pulling us in to the lives of ordinary people and surrounding us with their inner demons and torments makes French one of the best writers of psychological fiction out there.

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Amy

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Likeness (Dublin Murder Squad, #2)The Likeness by Tana French (Dublin Murder Squad #2)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Mystery/Crime




It is said that everyone has a double out there.
Vampire diaries made doppelganger a household word.
It was even on Word Girl:
Need I say more.

But back to the book.
Detective Cassie Maddox is without a partner and is pretty miserable because she no longer works in the murder squad (like she was in book #1) but instead works for the domestic violence unit. Even though she has Sam, the boyfriend, Cassie is still pretty restless, that is until she gets a terrifying call from Sam making sure that she is alive.

What?
Yeah I know but this is where the story gets good.

Cassie has a doppelganger.
An unrelated twin so to speak.
But that "twin" is found murdered.
And Sam freaks because he thinks he is looking at Cassie's dead murdered body.

See I told you it got good.
It gets better.
Cassie used to work in the undercover unit before she transferred to the murder squad and it turns out our murdered "twin" was using one of Cassie's old undercover aliases. So not only is Sam freaking out but Cassie's old handler, who still works in undercover, Frank is also there and boy does he have the perfect idea on how to catch the killer.

Even though they have no idea of the actual identity to the murdered woman, she was going by Alexandra J. Madison, who Cassie portrayed while undercover trying to break up a drug ring at Trinity College. So our murdered victim was obviously hiding from something and using Cassie's old alias to do it with. This is where the doppelganger stuff gets a little weird, Vampire Diaries is obviously fantasy/supernatural but this book is suppose to be as real as possible and there is no way that someone looks so much like someone else that they move into that person's life to find out who killed them, but that is actually what Frank has in mind and he wants Cassie to go undercover once again.

So completely ready to do this Cassie first has to study the life of "Alex" to be able to fool all 4 of her housemates. They are Rafe, Justin, Daniel, and Abby; and boy can you said weird I thought my friends were weird (just like me) but nope these five friends take the cake for weirdness. However, I did just finish Donna Tartt's The Secret History and there is definitely a tie going on there for the weirdest friendships in fiction award.

All college students, but not your typical, stereotype of parties and late night studying. They all lived in the same house, which a little piece of is owned by all five of them, even though it was passed down to Daniel from Uncle Simon, who was a shut-in (PTSD from some war) and tended to avoid pretty much anything and everything, so the house is basically falling apart and they are all working at trying to put it back to working order once again. There is some tension on this subject however because Daniel wasn't the only living relative, cousin Ned is not to happy that the big house was given to Daniel, who split ownership of it up with the other four, because Ned wanted to bulldoze it to the ground and build something to make himself some big money. Unfortunately none of the mates saw it this way the house was important to them that is until "Alex" had found herself pregnant and needed a way out. Yep total shocker to me to. Which one do you think is the dad: Justin, Rafe, or Daniel?

Cassie starts to get comfortable in "Alex's Life" and begins to play a very dangerous cat and mouse game with Daniel that could wind up with her cover being blown to the others or worse. This book is a pure head game full of smart diabolical moves on the housemates part, but Cassie knows that her time in the house is running out can she get to the bottom of this murder or will she crash and burn?
An ending you won't see coming but in true Tana French fashion all the pieces fall together right after and the whole story just clicks and you know that you just read a great psychological thriller.

Thanks for coming by,
Amy


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Friday, September 19, 2014

In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad, #1)In the Woods by Tana French (Dublin Murder Squad #1)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Mystery/Crime




A girl's body is found and Detective Rob Ryan finds himself in the same woods that have haunted him his whole life. Rob and two of his best friends in the prime of their youth went into those woods and only Rob came out, the other two were never found.

Going back to that tragic place from his youth throws Detective Ryan for a loop but he cleverly hides it on the outside but the inside is a big mess of torn up thoughts and flashes into the past.

His partner Detective Cassie Maddox has no idea what Detective Ryan is hiding but she does her best to back up his move anyway that she can. There are so many possible suspects since the body of young Katharine Devlin was found at an archaeological dig site full of hopeful college students trying to find artifacts before the area is bulldozed to make way for a highway.

The trail leads them away from the college student and starts to lead them in the direction of the girl's family and how the strange things that had been happening to Katharine before she was murdered. Here is where Detective Maddox and Ryan will find the murderers. The shock of finding out who killed Katharine Devlin is to much for Detective Ryan and the whole case blows up in their faces. They are able to solve the case but their partnership doesn't survive this and Detective Ryan is forced to make a decision about his career.

A tale of manipulation and murder unlike anything I have ever read before. I always feel a little lost when I read Tana French because it feels like you are just dropped into the story and you have to figure out where the things that may not seem related end up solving the case, but this is what is so intriguing about her writing for the whole story by the end has meaning even the little things that you noticed in the story finally mean something.

Thanks for stopping in,
Amy


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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

We Are Not OurselvesWe Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Literary Fiction





We Are Not Ourselves, is the story of Eileen and Ed, broken down into different parts of their life as they progressed. The author begins with Eileen and her life before Ed. Here is where we as readers can get a grasp on those things from life that influenced and changed Eileen into the woman she had become. Then Ed enters her life and even though he is obsessed with his work him and Eileen seem to lead an ordinary married life they even manage to find the time to have a child. But Eileen has there son and her job to keep her occupied but there is a whole left there by the long absences of Ed. Ed had ambition when it came to his research but didn't worry to much about money or how the other half lived but Eileen wanted more. She wanted to live in a house instead of an apartment. She wanted nice things. She just didn't know how to convey this want to Ed and they constantly fought about it, especially when Eileen decided it was time for them to move out of the apartment and into a house. Eileen picked out the house without Ed and Ed went along with it in the end because he loves Eileen. The house was nice but now needs a lot of work done to it to make it beautiful once more but Eileen knows between her and Ed's salaries that they would be able to make it work they always had. Here is where the bottom drops out. Ed has been forgetting things, getting frustrated easily over the simplest things that he can no longer figure out, he begins to get very angry and soon finds himself dealing with an Alzheimer's diagnosis. The job of a professor and researcher is full of skills and knowledge that Ed once had but can no longer find within his mind, so the university decides that Ed can no longer work there and Eileen is left to care for Ed and work just so they can hang on to the roof over their heads and to put food in their stomachs. Overwhelmed and overworked Eileen has tried everything to take care of Ed but she comes to realize that that hope is no longer possible. Consumed by guilt of placing Ed in a nursing home and the sadness of watching him rapidly decline Eileen visited rigorously in order to make up for it but she knew deep down that her Ed was slowly and painfully disappearing before her eyes. We Are Not Ourselves shows us that life is not only fragile but sometimes just down right cruel. From the start to the finish it follows Ed and Eileen's story until the very end. Courage, love, anger, frustration, and every other emotion is thoroughly explored and felt in this book it also shows the harsh and unfair descent of Alzheimers and how it effects not just the sufferer but also the family members involved. I cried when Ed dies and even cursed at my Nook, for that is what I was reading it on, but I am truly honored to have read this story even though it is fiction Ed and Eileen felt so real to me that even as I write this it is hard for me to find the words to talk about them as just characters in this book for they felt that real. If you get the chance to sit down to read a book soon make sure the book you are picking up is We Are Not Ourselves!

Thanks for coming by,
Amy

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Monday, September 15, 2014

It's Time to Say Good NightIt's Time to Say Good Night by Harriet Ziefert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Picture Book



Through the beautiful illustrations of Barroux the story walks us through the day of a little boy as he says good morning to the sun and follows him throughout his day as he says good morning to all the animals and to the earth. Soon the boy is saying good morning to a plane and a bus as he rides his scooter through town. He says good morning to everything in sight. But then it is time to say goodnight and the process is reversed and he is saying good night to all the things he said good morning to. The story ends with the boy getting a good night from mom! A very cute story with the repetition of all the different things that were first said good morning to and then saying good night to, if you have ever been asked to read the same book over and over again, which if you have kids you probably have, then you will know that kids love repetition and this book fulfills that love! The story and the illustrations work so well together the story is a simple one of good morning and then a name of something that it is being said to and the same with the good nights and the illustrations though colorful they to are not full of anything that doesn't need to be there they are very simple and minimalist in nature.

Thanks for coming by,
Amy

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

AdrenalineAdrenaline by John Benedict
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Mystery/Thriller




Adrenaline is a medical thriller that won't put you to sleep! Afraid of a takeover one of the anesthesiologist at Mercy Hospital has taken it in his own hands to get rid of the younger, better educated anesthesiologists in the group in order to secure his position should the need arise, and he is willing to fight to the death for it. Doug Laundry, one of the other anesthesiologists at Mercy Hospital must keep his wits or he could be the next victim. Written by an anesthesiologist Adrenaline provides an in depth look into how precise everything must be in order to be able to wake up after being under anesthesia. The plot is a mind bender and I was intrigued by not just the murder bent anesthesiologist but also by how the intern and the head anesthesiologist are wound into the plot line. Some parts of the book were a little on the dry side which is why I didn't give it five stars but if you put those parts aside this is a medical thriller that you just have to read!

Thanks for stopping in,
Amy

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Does a Beaver Sleep in a BedDoes a Beaver Sleep in a Bed by Harriet Ziefert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Picture Book


Does a Beaver Sleep in a Bed? is part of the Think About Series which highlights things that young kids are curious about. This book in the series presents in a silly way all the different places humans sleep and also brings humor to the story by showing all the places certain animals do and do not sleep. A great book about different ways that animals sleep compared to us. Another great resource to this series of books is the last two pages are full of different ways to use the content in the book to further engage your youngster's mind with questions and activities. The illustrations are really bring the content of the story to a visual level that really pulls in the younger reader and even helps them to look at the pictures and then pick up what some of the words on that page will be in the story.

Thanks for coming by,
Amy

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Does a Bear Wear Boots?Does a Bear Wear Boots? by Harriet Ziefert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Picture Book


Does a Bear Wear Boots? is part of the Think About Series which highlights things that young kids are curious about. This particular book in this series focuses on clothing and uses the humor of animals wearing clothing to show the differences in behavior of people and animals which helps show the uniqueness of humans in a way that younger children can understand. The use of silly humor with the dressed animals will have your little one laughing and will keep them The illustrations in the book are wonderful and really support the content and purpose of the book in a clear way so that younger children who may not be able to read yet but that are having this book read to them can visually see the parts of the story.

Thanks for coming by,
Amy
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The Fourteenth GoldfishThe Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Children's Middle Grade Fantasy 



Ellie is surprised when her mother comes home with her grandfather who has turned himself into what looks like a thirteen-year-old boy. A rare jellyfish has made Ellie's grandfather, Melvin, young again but he can't get to it because he has been barred from his laboratory by the company he worked for, but he is intent on retrieving the jellyfish so that he may make his discovery known to the world so that he will be the most famous scientist ever!

As if a thirteen-year-old grandfather is not drama enough Ellie is now in middle school and she finds herself on her own because her best friend, Brianna, has found a new clique with the girls on the volleyball team, and Ellie feels alone. When Ellie felt like things couldn't get any worse her and her grandfather meet Raj who becomes the third musketeer of their group with the main goal being to get the jellyfish out of Grandpa Melvin's lab. Ellie becomes extremely interested in Science as her Grandpa talks about all the amazing things that encompass the board subject of Science. After quite the break-in they were finally able to retrieve the jellyfish from the lab. But then Ellie starts thinking about the implications the jellyfish will have on the cycle of life and the world. After much thought Ellie goes to her grandfather and tells him he cannot share what he knows with the world because of the heavy consequences such a discovery would have on human life. The pursuit of science that will improve human life is her grandfather's dream and she is asking him to keep it to himself to think not just of the good consequences of his discovery but to also look at the bad consequences that could ruin everything. Her grandfather argues with her but eventually he sees the light and realizes that somethings no matter how great they are can have dire consequences and they just need to be left alone.

A great read about family, friendship, life and death and the wonder of science! Well written for the targeted age group you or your middle grade child will love this book. The only thing I didn't really get was the title and the first chapter they seem to mean something since if they didn't the author wouldn't have included all of it but I just didn't get how the title and the first chapter ties into the story. Maybe I'm to much of an adult to get it.

Thanks for coming by,
Amy

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

NestNest by Esther Ehrlich
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Children's Middle Grade Realistic Fiction




Nest, is about eleven-year-old Naomi, aka Chirp, who loves birds and lives in Cape Cod with her family. Her mom is a dancer, her dad is a psychologist, and Chirp and her sister, Rachel, are pretty close. Life seems good, but doesn't it always before it starts to slide down hill. Naomi's mom, Hannah, is a dancer who has been diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis) and unable to bear the diagnosis Hannah becomes deeply depressed and is hospitalized for her depression. The story occurs in 1972 when shock therapy was still widely used and for Hannah it is her last option after so many other techniques and medicines have failed to bring her out of her depression. The shock therapy seemed to help Hannah and soon she is able to come home but the depression creeps back. During this time Chirp, her sister, and her dad are trying to go about their daily routines while their family is slowing falling apart at the seams. Rachel starts acting up and acting out especially against anything her dad says. Rachel however is really trying to be there for Chirp even if sometimes she is snippy with her, but we the reader must remember that Rachel is still a kid herself and is going through the same things Chirp is. Chirp is clinging on and as the story progresses you can see that she won't be able to hold it together for much longer, luckily she has found a friend in Joey, a boy her age that lives directly across the street from her. Tragedy does strike yet again when Hannah kills herself and everyone's world spins out of control. But thanks to her dad, Rachel, and Joey, Chirp will make it through anything even something as horrible as this.

This book had me sobbing. The binds of family and friendship are tested to the extreme in this book and though it is a heart wrenching story it is also a heartwarming story of love. The subject matter touched upon is this book is some pretty deep stuff so it is up to you as a parent to really sit down and think about if your child is mature enough to understand the content and emotionally mature enough to handle the content for each child is different.

Thanks for stopping by,
Amy



Friday, August 15, 2014

The Great American Slow Cooker Book: 500 Easy Recipes for Every Day and Every Size MachineThe Great American Slow Cooker Book: 500 Easy Recipes for Every Day and Every Size Machine by Bruce Weinstein
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Non-Fiction/Cookbook


Cooking for me is a very visual hands on experience and so I thought that this review for a cookbook should be a lot more visual than a book review would be for me, so here goes!
he recipes really vary there are some fairly easy ones that even your mother or grandmother might have a similar recipe to but the majority of them are what I would consider fancier, basically gourmet slow cooker recipes. So if you love your crock pot but want to try new recipes this is a very good source for that.

The authors of this cookbook do have quite the introduction about slow cooking and slow cookers and I found it very informative even though I have been using a crock pot to cook with for more than a decade.
Okay so as you can see by the recipe name this is what I was talking about earlier when I said this is a great book to try new recipes out with your crock pot. So another great feature of the recipes is that each step is numbered, I love when it is broken down like this in a recipe and not just all jumbled together in paragraph form, this makes it so much easier to read while you are preparing the dish.

I loved everything about this cookbook except for one thing the lack of pictures, I am a very visual recipe picker, if I see the picture and the food is visually pleasing I am more likely to try that recipe with that being said this cookbook really lacked pictures there is a total of 8, front to back, pages of pictures that to me is just not enough for me even though the pictures they do have are gorgeous food pics.
It is hard to try to figure out how to rate a cookbook because they don't have the same criteria to me that fiction books do so I am going to still give it a go though.

Thanks for coming by,
Amy

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Invention of Exile: A NovelThe Invention of Exile: A Novel by Vanessa Manko
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction





By now you all know I love historical fiction and when I first started using Edelweiss it is a bit of an understatement that I went a little request happy with pretty much an historical fiction novel my eyes flitted across, but this one stood out to me at first sight because of the cover, an envelope and a "postmark", very cool design, and yes I judged this book by its cover!

Austin Voronkov is a hardworking Russian living in the United States who generally goes about his business in a quiet, unassuming way. Austin leads what seems to be a lonely existence but he does keep busy not just with work but by attending social events like lectures and classes to improve his English, he even joins a few clubs, but deep down there is still this loneliness that you can feel coming from Austin up from off the pages but then he meets Julia.

Julia's father died and so Julia's mother lets out an extra room that they have for rent for extra income this financial predicament her mother finds herself in will change Julia's life forever because her mother lets the room to Austin. Becoming quite fond of each other they begin a general flirtation that turns into so much more. Promises are made that one day they will wed once Austin has saved enough for them to have a nice start to their new life together, but like all great love stories there is a catch or a problem that arises just when it seems like everything couldn't get any better and this happens for Austin and Julia when Austin is rounded up with a bunch of other Russians during raids to round up the growing "Red Menace". Imprisoned, mistreated, and interrogated Austin is soon lead into a false confession that he is an anarchist. Since Austin actually confessed to this he is automatically deported but Julia decides to marry him before he is to leave and she then travels with him back to Russia.

Austin and Julia soon learn that Russia is no longer the Russia Austin used to know but instead is a hot bed of revolution with the communist gaining new ground everyday and so it is not looking good for the Voronkov's to stay there. Fleeing for safety they travel lots of different places but settle in Mexico since it is so close to the United States and Julia is fighting very hard to win their way back into the states but there is so much red tape that they find themselves raising their three children there until finally the children and Julia are given visas and are allowed to return but they have to leave Austin behind in Mexico because he is not granted a visa because of his past.

Alone in Mexico Austin suffers greatly from his families absence but he doesn't give up hope as he constantly works on different designs and inventions that he thinks are brilliant enough to earn him a visa to the United States and back to his Julia and their children. Slowly the years roll by and still the answer is always no and slowly but surely Austin goes a bit mad from the stress and loneliness of it all. Pretty soon Austin's children are grown and Leo and Vera have come to Mexico to get their father a visa but again they are denied so they soon take matters into their own hands getting Austin fake papers and then they help him enter the United States illegally. Austin after all these years cannot figure out what held him back for so long and is quite confused as to why he didn't try to cross the border sooner.

An emotional read, Austin's decline is hard to take and he is just so far away from his family and on his own it is heartbreaking. Even though Vera and Leo come and get their dad and bring him to the U.S. it is already to late, the damage already done, all that loneliness and stress has driven their father mad and there is no coming back from it, he will always be this way. I will not be talking about the political issues in the book given the political issues involving the U.S./Mexican border presently I don't want a whole bunch of mean comments so I will keep my politics to myself however they are a huge focus in this book.

There were a few issues I had with the book, one of them is I didn't like how the book flip flopped so much in setting and time, but this did calm down a bit closer towards the end, I also didn't care for some of the narrative it just seemed to disjointed like it didn't fit which would be fine when it is the stuff about just Austin since he is foreign and doesn't speak English very well but I found this quite a bit throughout the whole book and for me it was just strange and made it harder to really grasp what the author was trying to convey to us, the reader.

Discover: A story about the way government policies and politics can affect one person, one family.

Thanks for coming by,
Amy


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