Book spotlight and review: The Diary by Melinda De Ross

 book-spotlight

Hello everyone! Since Halloween is getting close, I thought I’d treat you with a bit of creepy entertainment, and a 99 cents offer of THE DIARY, a suspense/gothic romance by international bestselling author Melinda De Ross.

I don’t know how many of you have heard of Countess Erzsébet Báthory, so I’m going to give you a little background.

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Erzsébet Báthory (1560-1614) is a known historical figure and was a Hungarian countess, also known as Elizabeth Báthory, The Blood Countess or Countess Dracula. She has been labeled the most prolific serial killer in history, being responsible for the torture and murder of hundreds of young girls. The exact number of her victims is unknown, but is estimated at six hundred and fifty. It is speculated that she kept a diary with the names of all her victims, but if such a document exists, it has never been made public.

Here’s what Melinda says about writing THE DIARY:

“Living in an Eastern European country, I’ve heard about the countess since I was a teenager, but have only began studying her in 2014, when I decided to write a book that somehow included this horrific historical character. I watched countless documentaries and even two fiction movies about Elizabeth Báthory, and I confess that getting into her head was a terrifying experience.

To me, it seems that evil, madness and all things that conjure up horror stories were festering inside this woman, who was allowed to indulge her demonic depravity simply because she was an aristocrat.

I thought I needed to understand her in order to write a book that included legends about her, even tangentially, but I soon discovered it was an impossible, maybe even dangerous ambition. That’s why I started the book by quoting Friedrich Nietzsche, who said that “When you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.”

So that’s how THE DIARY came to life. This is the blurb:

In the legendary Transylvania, a castle belonging to Countess Erzsébet Báthory is discovered. Cameraman Hunter Cole and broadcast journalist Serena Scott arrive to make a documentary about the discovery, and the sinister Hungarian noblewoman, known as the most prolific female serial killer in history.

The two Americans could cope with roughing it in a fifteenth-century castle, with no modern amenities. They can even cope with each other, despite their initial mutual dislike for one another, which gradually turns into a mind-blowing attraction.

But when two girls are tortured and killed in Báthory copycat style, the nearby village is shaken to the core. In terror, they wonder who will be next…
I’ll leave you with a short excerpt, and with the hope that you will find this post as compelling as I do.

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In the bathroom, I lit the three candles and placed the candlestick on the floor. It was lighter here because of the large balcony. There was an old-fashioned wooden tub in a corner, a few basins and some buckets. I turned one bucket bottom side up and put my towels on it, along with the soap and flashlight. Then I went outside onto the balcony and dipped my hand into one of the many containers. The water was still warm.

I went back in and dragged the wooden tub close to the balcony entry. I ran a finger over its bottom to check for dust, pleased to see that someone had cleaned it. When I lifted one of the water buckets and poured it into the tub, my shoulder screamed with pain. Irrationally, I cursed Hunter for not offering to help me, even though I had prohibited him to enter the room before I was done. I dragged another bucket to the edge of the tub and poured the water inside, deciding that should be enough.

I stripped off my jeans and T-shirt, then my bra and panties. I turned another bucket upside down and placed them on it. After I removed my makeup I stepped into the tub, enjoying the feel of the warm water. I didn’t quite fit in the tub, but complaining wouldn’t help. It could be worse, I thought. What if I were as big as Hunter? How will he manage to wash in this?

The thought of Hunter naked was making me uncomfortable, so I firmly pushed it away, feeling my cheeks grow red. I stretched to get my bath sponge and soap, then started to wash thoroughly. After that, I just relaxed for a few moments in the fragrant water, staring out at the moon. It seemed lost in the inky-black sky, much as I felt in this foreign, strange place. Everything had happened so fast that I’d nearly forgotten why we were here. And when I remembered, an unpleasant shiver crept up my spine.

Had Erzsébet Báthory bathed in this tub? Had she bathed in the blood of virgins as the legends said? There was no concrete proof of that, but why else would she have killed all those young women? The official documents regarding her trial were held secret. It was even said that she’d kept a personal diary, but no one could attest to its existence. I didn’t know much about The Countess, so I would have to do a lot of research to put this documentary together.

I’d read that the evidence indicated the number of her victims to be around eighty, but according to the three-hundred witnesses that had testified at her trial, The Countess had murdered more than six hundred and fifty girls. It was preposterous to think of such atrocities. Even in the historical context, in those times when cruelty was far from unusual and the Hungarians were known for their bestial cruelty, this woman was a stand out.

I’d seen a couple of movies about The Countess’s life, but considered them a waste of time. They’d tried to picture her in a humane way, as a woman, mother, wife and healer, diminishing the most important thing for which she was known: her monstrous cruelty, and perhaps madness.
Lost in these sinister reveries, I jumped when I heard Hunter’s voice.

“Hey, Serena, have you fallen asleep in there?”

The Diary Cover

THE DIARY is available in eBook and paperback format everywhere books are sold online, and this weekend you can order it for only 99 cents from Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, Smashwords, Barnes&Noble.

Melinda De Ross is an international author of Romanian origin. She writes in two languages, and her books combine the elegance specific to the European style with the modern appeal of the American culture. She has a Law degree and has been a professional target shooter for over a decade. Her favorite genre to read and write in is Romance, and anytime she prefers to watch a classic movie instead of going to a noisy club.

She loves to hear from her readers, and you can find her at: http://melindadeross.com/

FiveStars
My Review:

I give, The Diary, five stars.

First off, the author made me want to read the book just by having a gorgeous cover. Add history, murder, and suspense and I’m officially hooked. This book had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I admit, I was able to read this in under two days. That’s how captivated I was by this tale.

I loved the banter between the two main characters. I also loved how vividly the author described each scene. I could picture it all clearly and truly felt like I was there with the characters. I don’t want to give away too much. But if you enjoy stories full of intrigue, mystery, suspense, and romance that doesn’t feature insta-love, this is the story for you. And you should get it this weekend while it’s only 0.99. This weekend, cuddle up with The Diary. You won’t regret it.

#BeautifulVillains presents: Anna Black from the Chloe Daniel’s Mysteries series by Deidra D.S. Green.

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October belongs to the villains. All October, I’ve been sharing books that feature amazing villains. You know who I’m talking about – the bad guys/girls/creatures of the night who we love to hate. Or hate to love. Maybe both.

The next villain I’m showing love to is Anna Black from the Chloe Daniel’s Mysteries by author Deidra D.S. Green. First of all, let me say that I absolutely love this series and I LOVE Anna Black.

In my opinion, she’s one of those misunderstood villains. Like Harley Quinn from Suicide Squad or Regina as the evil queen from Once Upon A Time. You have to read the series to form your own opinion. Everyone say hello to Ms. Anna Black!

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Hush little baby, don’t say a word…

For years, Anna Black was the only child and the apple of her parents’ eyes. When baby sister, Angel, comes along, Anna’s life is quickly turned upside down. Anna will stop at nothing to win back her parents’ affection. When her tactics lose their efficacy, Anna’s desperate cries for help morph into something more sinister. Can anyone stop this angel of mercy? Find out in Sick, Sicker, Sickest… A Chloe Daniels Mystery

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Anna Black is an exceptional villain because she’s complex and simple all at the same time. Anna desperately wants the attention of her parents, simple, right? But the way she goes about trying to gain their attention is what complicates matters.

Anna is brilliant, I mean she is incredibly intelligent; however, people assume because of what she does that she isn’t all that bright. Anna proves over and over again that it takes a great deal of smarts to be an effective serial killer; although Anna regards herself as an Angel of Mercy.

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Baby Jane reminded Anna Black of Angel, her little sister.  Baby Jane didn’t stand a real chance at having a decent life, Anna thought to herself as she filled the syringe without measuring.  The teen mom, young, dumb, and immature, didn’t even realize she was pregnant (or that’s what she tried to tell anyone who would listen) until it was too late. 

Anna didn’t see the mother beforehand, but the buzz around the nurses’ station was that the girl didn’t gain a lot of weight with the pregnancy.  Her parents must have been stupid, too, Anna thought to herself as she found just the right spot behind the baby’s ear for the deadly injection. Who doesn’t know they’re pregnant, no matter how young they are? 

The girl is said to have had the baby at home sitting on the toilet.  She supposedly panicked and didn’t grab the little girl out of the shitty, bloody toilet water until it was almost too late.  The new grandmother heard commotion coming from the bathroom and fished the baby out of the toilet.  By the time they got the baby and the mom to the hospital, the baby had suffered brain damage. 

They weren’t sure if she would ever be right again. I’m doing her a favor, Anna mused as she pushed the piercing needle deep into the baby’s pink flesh.  The baby didn’t even cry, completely unaware of the assault of insulin about to take over her little body. First to die off completely would be her brain, then her main organs would start to shut down—her liver, lungs and finally her heart would fail to beat ever again. 

It was late at night in the nursery and Anna was one of only three nurses on rotation in the infant ward.  After recapping and placing the poison-filled needle back in the pocket of her nursing smock, Anna rubbed the baby’s back lovingly and began to hum and then sing her favorite lullaby.

Hush little baby, don’t say a word… Anna continued to hum as she went along.
The life supporting machines blared over Anna’s broken melody, alerting to the crisis the baby was beginning to experience.  Anna, being the savior that she was, ran to the alert button and slammed against it, signifying there was a problem in her unit.  Making her way to the entrance of her unit which spilled out into the main corridor of the infant ward, Anna went into full blown rescue mode.

“Help! Help! She’s Coding!”  Anna yelled into the hall for anyone in ear shot.  Doctors and medical personnel responded immediately, pouring into the unit and moving as quickly as possible to the aid of Baby Jane.  Anna stood back and let the madness unfold in front of her.  She hoped she had given Baby Jane enough to take her out of her misery.

If not, the baby would be worse off than when Anna started.  Besides, she was fucked up anyway.  Either way, Anna would be seen as the hero.  She was the one who found the baby in a compromised position.  She was the one who alerted staff to the medical crisis.  No matter what others did to try and save the baby’s life, Anna would be the one the parents would remember as the first to respond.

Anna moved closer to the action.  She had to.  She was a nurse and charged with the responsibility of aiding the sick.  Anna had taken the Hippocratic Oath just like the rest of the team working diligently to save little Baby Jane’s mediocre life.  Hands were moving swiftly—orders were being given from the lead doctor. 

They were almost frantic as the machines continued to blare the disaster that was happening right in front of their eyes. They had no idea that this disaster was man-made.  Anna had to hold back a smile as she saw just how much energy she created in such a short period of time. After a few moments of non-stop medical mayhem, the machines that indicated how well or how poorly the patient was doing started to utter sounds closer to normal. 

The height of the crisis was over, but Baby Jane was not out of the woods yet.  She would have to be moved to the neonatal intensive care unit where they would try and see if they could undo the things that had been done to her—the things they didn’t know had been done to her.

Baby Jane had a chance at survival if they found out about the oversaturation of insulin that had been so violently injected into her poor defenseless body.  If they got to her in time she would live, and her life would continue to be a waste. If they didn’t, Baby Jane would go to be with the angels.

The next step in the process was really what Anna lived for.  She lived for the thank you’s she got from her fellow medical practitioners for getting to the baby just in the nick of time.  Anna lived for the moment when the parents would be told what happened and who helped save their baby. 

Even if Baby Jane didn’t make it, for her parents, Anna would live in infamy as their hero—the one who got their first. Anna didn’t go with Baby Jane to intensive care.  That was not her job. She had done what she intended to do.  The rest of what happened would be left to others. Besides, there were more precious little babies for her to give her special kind of attention to.

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Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075MP5ZC3/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sicker-Sickest-Daniels-Mystery-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00DIGO2N4/

Follow the author on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Deidra-D.-S.-Green/e/B0079LSQV8/

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Sign up for Deidra D. S. Green’s mailing list and get a free copy of Chloe Daniels: The Union. Click the book cover below to sign up!

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But wait, there’s more…

There’s still time to enter my giveaway!

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#BeautifulVillains presents: Cinderella And The Wolf Prince by Siren Allen #IRromance

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October belongs to the villains. All October, I’ll be sharing books that feature amazing villains. You know who I’m talking about – the bad guys/girls/creatures of the night who we love to hate. Or hate to love. Maybe both.

The next villain I’m showing love to is one of my own. She’s an evil step mother, a wicked witch, and the owner of a brothel. Say hello to Katherine Dupont from, Cinderella And The Wolf Prince.

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Lady Katherine met and fell in love with Cinderella’s father, soon after Cinderella’s mother passed away. Though Cindi was open to allowing her step mother into her life, her step mother wasn’t open to raising a child who wasn’t her own.

After Cindi’s father died, Katherine began treating Cindi like a servant, forcing her to clean up after Katherine and her two spoiled daughters. Katherine’s hatred for Cinderella runs deep and when Cindi finally finds a shot at true love, Katherine is there to sabotage it. Enjoy this excerpt from Cinderella And The Wolf Prince.

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“Dear stepdaughter, it seems you’ve gone and found yourself a new job.”

“What are you talking about?” Cindi stared from Katherine to her daughters. What were they up to now?

“You look surprised?”

“No, I look confused. What’s going on?”

Katherine ignored her question. “I had that same look on my face this morning, when the royal family’s carriage stopped in front of my establishment.”

Oh no. What did Wulf do?

“Usually the royal family members show up at night,” Katherine told her. “Today, they made it their mission to show up early and hunt me down.”

Cinderella chuckled at the word hunt. Lady Katherine was so over-dramatic.

“You find this funny?” Katherine asked her.

“You said they hunted you down. I think that’s a little dramatic.”

Katherine placed her hands on the desk. “I was in the bath when they arrived. One of them, forced himself into my establishment and ignored my ladies when they told him to wait for me in my upstairs office. He demanded they tell him where I was. When they did, he stalked me down. If it wasn’t for the shower curtain over my tub, he would’ve seen all of my glory.”

He wouldn’t have been the first. Even so, that didn’t make what he did right.

“I’m sorry Katherine.”

“I don’t want your apology. I want an explanation.”

“I don’t know what made him do that.”

“How do you know which royal did it?”

Busted. “I don’t.”

“You do. Stop lying. There’s too much lying going on around here. Did you know that this royal, showed up here a couple of nights ago and bedded not one, but two of my ladies?”

Actually, just one. “No, I didn’t. Well, yes, I knew he bedded one of them.”

“And how do you know this?”

“Because apparently the lady he bedded went missing and he’s looking for her. He hired me to help him find her.”

“How will you help him when you work full time here?”

“I told him I would help him on my days off.”

“And how did he take that?”

Cindi shrugged. “He agreed.”

“He lied. He showed up here, bright and early, to let me know that you would no longer be working for me.”

Broomsticks. “Katherine, I swear that was not my agreement with him.”

“He’s not one to be reasoned with. Do you know who he is? Who he really is?”

“I do.”

“I didn’t. Not at first. I hate being surprised. It gives me wrinkles. And all the potions in the world don’t permanently get rid of wrinkles.”

***I hope you enjoyed this peek into Katherine and Cindi’s relationship.***

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THE PRINCE
Wulf St. Jamison is a cursed prince who’s finally found his princess. Or, at least, he thought he had. After spending one night in his masked female’s arms, he awakes to find her missing from his bed and from his life. No one seems to know who she is or where she came from. Was she real or just a creature his broken mind conjured up?

HIS PRINCESS
Cinderella Dupont only has two more months of servitude before she’s free to claim her inheritance and leave her hateful stepfamily behind. After playing the role of obedient daughter for so long, she craves one night of pleasure. She finds that in the arms of a handsome stranger, only to find out later that he’s the prince.

When he shows up at her door, she assumes he’s figured out that she’s the female behind the mask. That’s not the case. He’s there to hire her, the most powerful tracker witch in the land, to help him find his mate.

THE HUNT
Unable to say no to the prince, she pretends to help him search for the female he claims he’s unable to let go. Working by his side, day after day, she finds herself falling for him and toying with the idea of telling him who she really is.

As dark forces descend upon them, will he forgive her for her deception? Or will her stepmother’s vile declarations turn him against her forever?

Especially since everything her stepmother says about her is true.

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Cinderella And The Wolf Prince is FREE w/Kindle Unlimited
US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075WBTHGQ
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B075WBTHGQ
CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B075WBTHGQ
Naughty excerpt: https://sirenallen.com/2017/09/30/cinderellateaser/

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Be sure to enter Siren’s Fairy Tale Giveaway:
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For more villain fun, check out the villain from Pandora Spocks’ new release, For Sparrow: https://sirenallen.com/2017/10/01/forsparrow/

#BeautifulVillains presents: For Sparrow by Pandora Spocks.

beautifulvillains

October belongs to the villains. All October, I’ll be sharing books that feature amazing villains. You know who I’m talking about – the bad guys/girls/creatures of the night who we love to hate. Or hate to love. Maybe both.

First up is For Sparrow by Pandora Spocks. For Sparrow releases October 3rd. Preorder it today at the special preorder price of .99 pennies. A deal so good… it’s scary. Enjoy this peek into the book.

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When Jessi Crenshaw’s husband Graham dies unexpectedly, she’s devastated. He’s the only man she’s ever loved. Just eighteen when she met him, she’s been married to him for twenty-five years. Now she’s lost her friend, her lover… and her Dominant.

But as it turns out, Graham had an inkling that his health was in decline, and he tapped his friend and protégé in the Lifestyle, firefighter and paramedic Judd Farris, to be Jessi’s Dominant until she gets back on her feet.

Judd is determined to fulfill his promise to his friend. But it’s a damn odd arrangement— a platonic Dom/sub relationship. With her fiery auburn hair, sparkling green eyes, and audacious spirit, Jessi captured his attention the first time he ever saw her. At her husband’s funeral.

A man could go to hell for the things he’s been thinking. But they’ve drawn a line, and he’s going to stick to it.

Judd’s sexy good looks and his gentle confidence aren’t lost on Jessi. She’s torn between loyalty to the man she loved, and desire for the man increasingly in her fantasies. In the letter Graham left for her, he mentioned that she might find Judd attractive. But that’s simply ridiculous. He’s five years younger than she is. He couldn’t possibly be interested in her. Could he?

Judd’s a Dom without a sub, and Jessi’s a sub without a Dom. It’s perfect for the time being. Could it be that Graham had more in mind than merely a temporary solution?

And could it all end at the hands of a madman?

FOR SPARROW is a contemporary erotic romance novel with a light BDSM theme. It’s the third book in the Dream Dominant Collection.

meetthevillain

The Villain—Gary Wayne Gentry

Gary Wayne Gentry is a nondescript little man with dreams of being someone important. He’s the guy who’s always on the outside, looking in.

He yearns to do a job that requires a uniform, but he was unceremoniously drummed out of the army for attacking a fellow recruit. And after they see the results of his personality inventory, he can’t land a job with either the police or fire department.

Tired of not being noticed, he embarks on a violent cross-country tour, targeting first responders along the way. He’ll show them.

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Gary Wayne Gentry stood watching as firefighters fought to extinguish the blaze in Parson’s Hardware on the main street of Baker City, Oregon. He was merely one in a crowd of lookie-loos that had gathered on the opposite side of the street, a guy so nondescript that no one would ever remark on the short, balding man with a slight paunch. No one would even notice him. Which used to bother Gary.

Used to. But he’d learned that being unnoticeable could be an asset.
He watched as the supervisor barked out orders to the firefighters on the ground. Hoses were deployed, plans were followed. Soon enough, thick black smoke turned white. Which meant the fire was out, there were merely a few hot spots that merited attention.

He knew this because Gary had always wanted to be a firefighter. Or a cop. Or a soldier. Some damn thing with a uniform. He’d actually been in the Army for a short time. Until he’d been involved in an altercation with a fellow recruit. It hadn’t been his fault. Gary Wayne Gentry didn’t take shit off of anybody. The cry baby had had his jaw wired shut for a few weeks, and everybody lost their mother-effing minds. To keep the bureaucratic wheels running smoothly, they’ve given him a General discharge, and Gary was adrift once again.

He’d tried the police and the firefighters, and gotten damn close, too. It was always when they saw the results of his personality inventory that they said, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

Watching the Baker City FD roll up their hoses and gather their other equipment, Gary snorted. Always so GD superior, like their shit don’t stink. Probably effing volunteer, sum’bitches.

He had a uniform, mind you. Like that was hard to get. There was a uniform store on every corner in America. Sometimes he’d dress up and go to a bar. It was usually enough to get a few free drinks. Gary would spin some yarn about the fires he’d put out, and the people he’d saved. That only lasted so long before people got tired of listening.

Firefighters probably got a lot of pu**y, too. Only so far, the fake uniform hadn’t yielded much of that. And the problem with small towns was, although he was reasonably anonymous, people would notice a man with a gun. That much he was positive about. A crowd that small, someone would definitely notice if he tried to pick off a firefighter or two.

Which was a pain in the ass, because that was the whole point of starting the fire anyway. What, did you think Gary Wayne Gentry was just a firebug, one of those pathetic bastards who got their rocks off watching fire? Please. The fire was simply a means to an end.

He used to listen to scanners and try to show up at fires and car accidents and such. But who has time for that, really? When you set the fire, you know exactly when and where they’re going to show up, it’s not rocket science.

Anyway, clearly, Baker City, Oregon was way too small for him to be able to indulge in his favorite sport. But then, you live and you learn, don’t you? He’d worked his way up the west coast with a moderate degree of success. Los Angeles and San Francisco had been goldmines for his little pastime. So crowded, so full of crazies.

When the odd firefighter here or there, and one cop, he was proud to say, ended up shot at emergency calls, the authorities always blamed gang violence or some such nonsense. Sometimes he wondered if he should be offended, gangs getting the credit for his work. But he wasn’t ready to stop, so the better for him if he remained unnoticed.

If someone, his mother for instance, bothered to ask him, “Gary, why do you do these things?” he knew exactly what he’d say. Because they think they’re better than me, that’s why. Because they think I’m not good enough, that’s why. G.D. mother-effers. I’m smarter than all of them.

As the last of the onlookers left the scene, Gary decided that remaining unseen was the best plan, so he mosied on back to his beige Chevy Impala and drove away slowly. There was one thing he was sure of. He sure as shit couldn’t go any further west. He laughed, imagining himself driving into the Pacific Ocean. So, east it was.

Heading off into the dark night, he considered his choice of hobbies. It was unorthodox, maybe. But it wasn’t his fault, not really. His name was Gary Wayne Gentry. Seriously, his mother should have known better.

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Universal Link for FOR SPARROW (Out Oct. 3) books2read.com/ForSparrow
FOR SPARROW launches on October 3, 2017.
Pre-Order it now for only 99¢.
After launch day, the regular price will be $2.99.

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