Thursday 31 March 2016

Review: The Vanishing Throne by Elizabeth May

The Vanishing Throne by Elizabeth May book cover

Title: The Vanishing Throne
Author: Elizabeth May
Series: The Falconer, #2
Format: eARC, kindly provided by
the publishers via NetGalley for
review. (Thank you!!)
My rating: 5 / 5

Add to Goodreads

My name is Lady Aileana Kameron.

First the fae murdered my mother. Then they destroyed my world.

Now I’m fighting for more than revenge.

Aileana took a stand against the Wild Hunt, and she lost everything: her home, her family and her friends. Held captive by her enemy, and tormenting herself over her failure, escape seems like only the faintest possibility. But when she gets her chance, she seizes it . . . to rejoin a world devastated by war.

The future is bleak. Hunted by the fae, running for her life, Aileana has only a few options left. Trying to become part of a society scarred by – and hiding from – the Wild Hunt; trusting that a fragile alliance with the fae will save her; or walking the most dangerous path at all: coming in to her own powers as the last of the Falconers . . .

-- As seen on Goodreads

My Thoughts

*I received an eARC from the publishers via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This didn't influence my opinion in any way.*

Now THIS is how you write a sequel! Oh wow was The Vanishing Throne everything I hoped it would be and so much more. After the agonising ending in The Falconer, it was so nice to see the sequel picking up shortly after those events. Aileana is being held captive in the faerie realms by Lonnrach, and she has no accurate idea of time passing, what with interrogations and torture taking its toll on her body and spirit. The intensity of the book is set right from those early few chapters and doesn’t waver at any stage. Granted, it did take me ten or so percent to settle back into the story fully, but once I did I was completely hooked and enthralled by the world created.

For me, the main highlight of both books so far has been the characters and how they’ve been developed – they’re completely amazing! Aileana is quickly becoming a favourite character of mine. Despite all she’s gone through, she’s still the fiery, witty and fierce girl she was at the beginning of the series, yet she has a new-found maturity about her which is so awesome to see. She’s not afraid of acknowledging she has a vulnerable side, and when she embraces it, it makes her much more likeable and a whole lot easier to empathise with. I completely adore her, and I can’t wait to see how her character continues to develop in the next book.

And Kiaran Mackay. Oh boy… *fans-self* If you thought he was swoon-worth in the first book, wait till you see him here! He was a bit of an enigma in The Falconer, and I LOVE that we get to learn more about him and his past. Looking back on the first book and just how torturous the budding romance between Kiaran and Aileana was, seeing how their feelings have matured and grown was so satisfying to see and it’s done in a completely believable way. Seriously, the chemistry between these two, holy hell, it was awesome! The tension is so, so good, and their banter crackles off the pages. When I look back at my notes and I see a mix of swooning and random threats littered throughout directed at anything standing in my ships way, well, it’s a pretty good clue I’ve found a new OTP to obsess over! I know I’ve focused quite a bit on the romance here, but what I love about the series is that the romance doesn’t take over the entire plot. It’s the perfect blend of awesome characters, a romance you can get behind and support, all captured up in an intriguing world and gripping story. We get to learn so much more about the Seelie and Unseelie courts, but what I particularly loved was finding out the history of the Falconers, and how they came to be.

We’re introduced to a new character in The Vanishing Throne, Aithinne, Kiaran’s sister, and I absolutely LOVED her! She added a completely different vibe to the story, and I though the sibling rivalry between her and Kiaran was so well done, and her budding friendship with Aileana was awesome. And not to forget Derrick! He has to be the most adorable pixie that was ever created! He’s so grouchy and snarky and absolutely hilarious! Yet, he’s also kind and caring in his own way, certainly toward Aileana, anyway. I absolutely love when the secondary characters are just as loveable as the mains, and for them get their fair share of development is so nice to see.

I have to mention the ending, oooh that ending… stab me right in feels and rip my heart out, why don’t ya! Remember that little cliff-hanger in The Falconer? Pffft. That was a teeny tiny mole hill in comparison to this one. I’m in complete agony here, people! *Sobs* Oh gosh, it was so cruel yet completely genius.

I’m so thankful I got to read this book: I thought The Vanishing Throne was so much better than the first book, and I cannot wait to find out what happens next. Over the past couple of years, I’ve been reading more and more fae books, and I really think this trilogy could become my all-time favourite fae series. Now, all I want to do for the next year is curl up with the first two books in the trilogy and reread them continually until the final book is released! I know the wait will be completely agonising, but I expect the conclusion to the trilogy will be completely epic.

Monday 28 March 2016

April 2016 New Book Releases

April 2016 New Book Releases Journey Through Fiction

My Most Anticipated Releases this April

It’s a little crazy to think we’re right in the middle of Easter already – I swear it feels like the New Year was only two weeks ago! One good thing about the time flying by so fast is new book releases. This month I’m highlighting two books set to be released on the 26th of April, and they are The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi and Heir to the Sky by Amanda Sun.

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi Heir to the Sky by Amanda Sun

Both are fantasy books with some mythology undertones – The Star-Touched Queen is inspired by Indian mythology, and Heir to the Sky’s synopsis has a pretty strong Greek mythology vibe. Each sounds completely awesome and I really can’t wait to read them.

Other Books to Look Out For

All release dates are expected publication dates, and are subject to change. All links are to Goodreads.

April 5th

Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan Nightstruck by Jenna Black Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan // Nightstruck by Jenna Black
Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead My Kind of Crazy by Robin Reul When We Collided by Emery Lord

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead // My Kind of Crazy by Robin Reul
When We Collided by Emery Lord

Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima Flawed by Cecelia Ahern The Haters by Jesse Andrews

Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima // Flawed by Cecelia Ahern
The Haters by Jesse Andrews

April 12th and 19th

Dreamology by Lucy Keating Emerge by Tobie Easton Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey

Dreamology by Lucy Keating – 12th // Emerge by Tobie Easton – 19th
Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey – 19th

April 26th

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh The Art of Not Breathing by Sarah Alexander

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater // The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh
The Art of Not Breathing by Sarah Alexander

Wednesday 23 March 2016

WoW #82: Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh

This week, I'm waiting on...

Ivory and Bone

by Julie Eshbaugh

 Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh book cover

Expected publication: June 14th 2016

Genres: Fantasy; Historical; Young Adult

Add to Goodreads

A prehistoric fantasy—with allusions to Pride and Prejudice.

Hunting, gathering, and keeping his family safe—that’s the life seventeen-year-old Kol knows. Then bold, enigmatic Mya arrives from the south with her family, and Kol is captivated. He wants her to like and trust him, but any hopes of impressing her are ruined when he makes a careless—and nearly grave—mistake. However, there’s something more to Mya’s cool disdain…a history wrought with loss that comes to light when another clan arrives. With them is Lo, an enemy from Mya’s past who Mya swears has ulterior motives.

As Kol gets to know Lo, tensions between Mya and Lo escalate until violence erupts. Faced with shattering losses, Kol is forced to question every person he’s trusted. One thing is for sure: this was a war that Mya or Lo—Kol doesn’t know which—had been planning all along.

A prehistoric fantasy?! Sign me up! I don’t need to know anything else. But… you did mention Pride and Prejudice. A prehistoric fantasy with a nod to Pride and Prejudice?! Well, you’ve certainly got my attention! Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourite books of all-time... so no pressure, or anything! Hopefully it’s awesome.

What do you think? Have you read any prehistoric fantasy’s before? Personally, I haven’t, but if you have, I’d love to get some recommendations.
Thanks for stopping by, and Happy Reading!

* Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. *

Monday 21 March 2016

Review: The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

  The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski book cover

Title: The Winner's Kiss
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner's Trilogy, #3
Format: eARC, kindly provided
by the publishers via Netgalley
for review. (Thank you!!)
Publisher: Bloomsbury UK
Release Date: March 24th 2016
My rating: 5+ / 5

Add to Goodreads

War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it with untrustworthy new allies and the empire as his enemy. Though he has convinced himself that he no longer loves Kestrel, Arin hasn’t forgotten her, or how she became exactly the kind of person he has always despised. She cared more for the empire than she did for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she did for him.

At least, that’s what he thinks.

In the frozen north, Kestrel is a prisoner in a brutal work camp. As she searches desperately for a way to escape, she wishes Arin could know what she sacrificed for him. She wishes she could make the empire pay for what they’ve done to her.

But no one gets what they want just by wishing.

As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover that the world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and they are caught in between. With so much to lose, can anybody really win?

-- As seen on Goodreads

My Thoughts

*I received an eARC from the publishers via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This didn't influence my opinion in any way.*

Also, this review is completely spoiler-free.

Wow. Just… wow! The Winner’s Kiss was everything I hoped it would be, and a whole lot more. This was one of my most anticipated new releases of 2016 and my expectations were ridiculously high when I began reading. What I wasn’t expecting was each and every one of those expectations to be met, and exceeded. And I’m SO HAPPY ABOUT THIS! I’m completely blown away by how perfect this book was, and it’s easily one of the most satisfying conclusions to a trilogy I’ve read in a long, long time.

The book begins within days of the previous book ending, and in general, it’s a lot bloodier and more brutal than its predecessors. It’s even more action packed, which was a wonderful surprise, and the stakes are higher than ever. The range of emotions I went through was incredible! I was on the edge of my seat right from the beginning, and I didn’t relax until I read the very last sentence. It was excruciating to read at times, but in a completely good way. I went from nervous, to scared, to happy, to petrified, to anxious, to devastated, to swooning, and right back to nervous to begin the cycle all over again. I swear I was nearing emotional overload by the time I finished reading! But, oh wow, it was so epic.

The world building was just as vibrant and detailed as ever. Its development didn’t take a back seat despite it being the last book, and we continue to learn things about each kingdom’s politics, and everything becomes so much clearer as the book progresses. Also, the pacing was absolutely perfect and there wasn’t a dull moment at any stage. The writing style was just as beautiful, if not more so, than the previous books. We’re put right in the middle of a war, exploring the tactics, choices and consequences of being at war, yet, the writing style and words used are so beautiful it contrasts so perfectly with the brutality of what’s actually being described. The combination was so exquisite to read and I wish I could remember each and every moment… actually, in the hopes that I could do this I think I highlighted at least three-quarters of my eARC!

Oh, I just have to quickly mention: the battle scenes and how they’re written? P.E.R.F.E.C.T.I.O.N. It honestly felt like I was watching a movie, only it was a zillion times more intense. Not giving anything else away, but just wait until you read them, they’re incredible.

As for the characters, I don’t think I can even begin to express how much love I have for them. If there was ever a doubt that Kestrel and Arin would be added to my all-time favourite characters list, that doubt has been obliterated by this stage! Both of them have grown so much, and to have seen them blossom into the characters they’ve become in this book has been a pure joy to witness. Now, there were moments where I wanted to strangle them, and other moments where I wanted to swaddle them in cotton so nothing bad could ever happen to them, but all of these feelings are what I love to experience when I read. Kestrel is all kinds of perfection, and oh my goodness, I love her to PIECES. She has been a consistently amazing character throughout the series, and to see how much she’s grown yet stayed true to her core personality is phenomenal. I was a little iffy about Arin in The Winner’s Crime, but he completely redeemed himself here. Also, we get to see him get his piiiirate on. And it’s a total mix of adorable and scary. But mainly scary. And also awesome! If you haven’t fallen for Arin yet, I think this book should take care of that nicely. I love when secondary characters get just as much attention and development as the main characters in a series, and I absolutely love Roshar! And Sarsine, too. (Oh, and let’s not forget Javelin! I just had to mention the best and most adorable horse of all time! <3 )

Personally, I think The Winner’s Kiss is by far the best book in the series. It captures every single element that you could possibly hope to experience while reading, and delivers it seamlessly chapter after chapter. It’s nothing short of perfection and I absolutely loved it. Would I have liked more? Well, I’m never going to say no to that question, really. I mean, if another dozen books wanted to show up based on this trilogy, I’d devour them in a heartbeat! But, as for the conclusion to one of my favourite trilogies of all time, I’m completely satisfied. I couldn’t have asked for more, and I wouldn’t change a single thing. After reading scores of mediocre finales over the years, it’s always an extra special delight when you read a beautiful little masterpiece such as this.

Friday 18 March 2016

Is It Possible to Be a Mood Blogger?!

Is It Possible to Be a Mood Blogger?! Journey Through Fiction

This question came to mind the other day, and I’d like to talk it through with you. I’m not sure if it’s going to make a load of sense as my own thoughts have been all over the place lately, but, is it really possible to be – or to become – a mood blogger?! I’m a mood reader, so I guess it’s not that hard to think that blogging could follow along in the same vein?

We all have to force ourselves to do things we’re not in the mood to do, but the one thing I can’t force – and believe me, I’ve tried – is being able to write. Anytime I do try it sends my thoughts into overdrive and I manage to think of every single thing I need to do that doesn’t involve writing, and by extension, blogging. All these thoughts come flooding in and they will. Not. Go. Away!

I swear, some days my thoughts really do resemble Jabberjays.

I know that I need to be in specific moods to tackle different blogging tasks. Take review writing. I need to have a completely different mind-set when I sit down to write a review than I would if I’m writing a Top Ten Tuesday post, for example. I feel like I’ve placed this unspoken need to be professional on myself when it comes to reviews, and sometimes I feel like I’m not letting my personality show through enough. It’s always how I’ve written reviews, and in a way, I feel like I’ve begun overthinking how I write them, instead of just writing.

And it’s not just with reviews, but with commenting as well. I’m a naturally shy person, and it takes a lot of inner pep talking for me to get the confidence to comment, comment, comment! I know I should just DO IT, but that’s always a lot easier said than done. Then my overactive brain latches on to the need to leave meaningful comments, and that lovely inner voice insists that every possible comment I could leave completely sucks, and it’s best to not leave one at all and save myself from the eternal embarrassment.

Mood blogger meets crippling anxiety??

The more I force things, the more everything crumbles, and I know I’m most productive when I follow my moods and whims… like, if I want to watch a movie, but force myself to write instead, I’ll get nothing of value done. This has happened WAY more often than I’d care to admit, yet, I still do it in the vain hope that this time I’ll be able to conquer my moods.

Those days when I do get into blog-mode easily are like little gifts from heaven. I get so much done, and I feel all accomplished and stress free. The trouble is they only last a day or two, then my focus shifts to something else and I’m back to square one trying to recapture that wonderful blog-mode that’s so elusive. For the past few weeks I haven’t been in the mood to blog, and I wish I had some other excuse to explain why I’ve been blogging inconsistently, but this is the only thing I’ve been able to come up with to explain why. I’ve fallen so far behind on everyday blogging tasks, and it terrifies me to even begin looking into all I have to do. It doesn’t help that these thoughts trigger my anxiety something fierce.

There are lots of things I love doing; yet, blogging is the only thing I’ve ever felt guilty not doing. Like, I enjoy baking but I don’t feel guilty if I don’t bake for a few weeks. (Actually, the scales would thank me if I don’t bake!) If I didn’t blog for a month or two I know I’d be completely crippled with guilt. I don’t know where the pressure to blog stems from, but it’s something I don’t think will ever fully go away, no matter how hard I try to ignore it.

So, I guess, I haven’t really come to an answer for my question. Do I feel like I’m a mood blogger? Yeah, I sort of do. Do I have any idea on how to overcome this? Heck no! But, I’d love to know what you think about this. Do you think it’s possible to be a mood blogger? Is this an anxiety thing? A procrastination thing? An all of the above thing??

Tuesday 15 March 2016

My Spring 2016 To Be Read List

My Spring To Be Read List Journey Through Fiction

I love creating to-read lists. I do have a terrible habit of choosing the exact books I won’t end up reading over the next couple of months, and yep, I need to fix this! Despite all this, I still enjoy sorting through all the books I’d like to read and figuring out which ones match my current moods. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme run by The Broke and the Bookish, and the topic this week is to share our Spring TBR (to-be-read) lists.

The Star-Touched Queen Heir to the Sky by Amanda Sun A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

The first books I’m including on my list are three new releases set to be released over the next couple of months. (For convenience I’m classing Spring releases as March, April and May.) I absolutely love the sound of The Star-Touched Queen and Heir to the Sky, and I need A Court of Mist and Fury in my life, like, yesterday!

My Spring 2016 To Be Read List

In an effort to prevent my house from turning into a safe haven for unread books, I keep trying to chip away at the books that seem to have been hanging around for quite a while. So, naturally, I’ve chosen five books I bought within the last couple of months and completely overlooked all the books that I’ve owned for years. I’m putting it down to mood logic. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!

Eon: Rise of the Dragoneye by Alison Goodman // The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen // Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta // Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare // Six of Crows by Leigh Bargugo

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

Technically, I don’t own the last two books on my list just yet. I bought them on Amazon the other day, so they should show up at some stage this week. They are Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton and The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman. I’ve seen quite a bit of praise for both books, so hopefully I’ll really like them. They're two of my most anticipated releases of 2016, so I have everything possible crossed that I will like them, anyway!

What books are you planning on reading this Spring?
Thanks for stopping by, and Happy Reading!

Wednesday 9 March 2016

WoW #81: The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye

This week, I'm waiting on...

The Crown's Game

by Evelyn Skye

 The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye  book cover

Expected publication: 17th May 2016

Genres: Fantasy; Historical Fantasy; Young Adult

Add to Goodreads

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love . . . or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear . . . the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

Oh, this sounds so wonderful! Maybe it’s just me, but the synopsis reminds me a little of Throne of Glass, with a bit of The Night Circus thrown in. And it’s set in Russia! I haven’t read too many books set in Russia, so it’ll be a nice change of pace. The only thing I’m a little worried about it the hints of a love-triangle… hopefully it’ll be one of the good ones that doesn’t take over the entire story! Also, pretty cover <-- Totally legit reason to want to read a book! What can I say, I’m a magpie when it comes to pretty covers!

What do you think of The Crown’s Game? Some of the early reviews seem to be positive, so I have high hopes this one will be good. If you’ve read it already, what did you think??

Thanks for stopping by, and Happy Reading!

* Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. *

Tuesday 8 March 2016

Mini-Reviews: Wandering Wild and Spell Bound

Mini-Reviews: Wandering Wild by Jessica Taylor and Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

 Wandering Wild by Jessica Taylor book cover

Title: Wandering Wild
Author: Jessica Taylor
Series: Standalone
Expected Publication: 3rd May 2016
Format: eARC, kindly provided by the
publishers via Netgalley for
review. (Thank you!!)
My rating: 2 / 5

Add to Goodreads

Raised by Wanderers, sixteen-year-old Tal travels the roads of the southern wild in her Chevy by day and camps in her tent trailer at night. Hustling, conning, and grifting her way into just enough cash to save her fifteen-year-old brother, Wen, from bare-knuckle fighting was once enough to keep her dreams of traveling the whole world at bay. Everything changes when the Wanderers set up camp in a little town called Cedar Falls.

There, Spencer Sway, a boy Tal tried to hustle at a game of billiards, keeps popping up into her life—and worst of all—into her scams. Buttoned-up, starched-and-ironed Spencer talks of places where Tal’s truck can’t take her. His promises of traveling across oceans are almost enough to shatter her love of the Wanderer life.

When a boy shows up at camp, ready to make good on a nearly-forgotten arranged marriage to Tal, Tal and Wen make a pact: No matter the cost, they will use their limitless skills of grift to earn the bride price and buy back her future—even if Spencer Sway gets used along the way.

-- As seen on Goodreads

My Thoughts

*I received an eARC from the publishers via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This didn't influence my opinion in any way.*

I absolutely love the concept of Wandering Wild, and the synopsis had me hooked from the first time I read it. In practice, though, I didn’t click with the book as much as I had hoped I would. While I was reading, yes, I did care and feel sorry for Tal and what she was going through, but it wasn’t a lasting sympathy. I didn’t have a deep enough overall connection with the characters, and by the time I was nearing the end of the story, I just wanted it to be over. The final kiss of death for me was feeling bored while I was reading – I mean, it took me a month to read the book, and that’s a fairly big clue that I haven’t connected with story. Take my opinions with a pinch of salt: I do have a bit of a hit or miss history with contemporary books in general, so don’t let me put you off reading Wandering Wild if you love the sound of it. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t for me.

 Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins book cover

Title: Spell Bound
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Series: Hex Hall, #3
Format: Paperback, bought.
My rating: 4 / 5

Add to Goodreads

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?

-- As seen on Goodreads

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed Spell Bound, and thought it was a really good conclusion to the Hex Hall trilogy. I went into this one a little fuzzy on the finer details as it had been a while since I read the previous books in the series. I did get back up to speed really quickly once I began reading, and it’s always lovely to see a little recapping in the first couple of chapters! I had forgotten how much I liked Sophia – she’s awesome. She’s a little snarky, witty and can be a tad impulsive, but she’s a great character to read about. However! There were a couple of things that bothered me, namely the love triangle with Archer and Cal flaring up. Personally, I felt the endgame was fairly obvious and dragging the final decisions out for so long was a bit disappointing and unnecessary. Also, the ending felt a little… rushed? Maybe it was just me, but I was hoping for a little ... more, you know? Overall, I thought Spell Bound was a really enjoyable conclusion to the Hex Hall trilogy, and I’d definitely recommend these books to anyone who wants a laugh-out-loud and light-hearted fantasy series.


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