[Blog Tour] ARC Review + Excerpt + Giveaway: Jersey Six by Jewel E. Ann

Review of Jersey Six by Jewel E. Ann

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Jersey Six by Jewel E. Ann is available now and it’s FREE for Kindle Unlimited subscribers! This is absolutely one of my favorite reads of 2019. I was completely blown away by this story. Keep reading for the description, an excerpt and my review – plus a link to enter a bundle giveaway!

Thank you to Social Butterfly PR and author Jewel E. Ann for sending me a review copy in exchange for an honest review as well as an invitation to join the blog tour.


DESCRIPTION

How far would you go for revenge?

A hit-and-run accident leaves Jersey Six orphaned and homeless on the streets of Newark, shattering her dreams of school dances, pink nail polish, and a diploma.

Eight years later, a burn victim with amnesia wanders into Jersey’s barely-existent life. She resists his efforts to form a friendship until he reveals knowledge of the person responsible for derailing her future. Through their unusual friendship, she discovers a way to avenge the deaths of her foster parents.

All she has to do is destroy the world’s biggest rock star.

In the ultimate game of sex, lies, and manipulation, can Jersey discover the truth? Or will she be blinded by attraction, deceived by love, and destroyed by her past?


EXCERPT 

“We ate at the hotel.” Her lips twisted to the side. “Mind if I stick some stuff in my bag for later?” 

A tiny wrinkle formed between Ian’s eyes, just below the long sweep of his black bangs. “There will be lots of food available later too. But…” he shrugged, leaning forward and resting his elbows on his knees “…take whatever you want.” 

Jersey glanced over her shoulder at the food and the three other men in the room. She decided to wait a little while before shoving as much as possible into her bag like a free-for-all. “Thanks.” Jersey returned her attention to Ian. “So … you’re a singer. Like … are you a big deal?”

Every word she spoke seemed to feed his level of happiness. “Well …” He rubbed his chin, twisting his lips. “We play music. People like to listen to our music. But no … it’s not a big deal. We’re not saving lives or anything like that.” 

She eyed him with suspicion for a few seconds. That smile of his didn’t feel worthy of complete trust. “Um … what exactly do you need me to do? What’s my job? They already took Chris. Will that big, bearded guy come for me too?” Jersey couldn’t remember his name.

“No.” Ian stood, pushing his elbows out from his shoulders, twisting side to side. “Tonight you are just going to watch the concert from backstage. Tomorrow night you’ll sell merchandise.” 

“Drugs. You mean drugs, don’t you?” 

Ian paused his stretching, letting his arms fall limp to his sides. “Merchandise—T-shirts, posters, keychains, phone cases, hats, guitar pics …”

“To who?” 

“Fans.” Ian grinned. “Okay. I might have understated all of this to you … can you name a famous singer? Old or new. Doesn’t matter. Just a famous singer.” 

“I had a foster parent who used to listen to Josh Groban.” Jersey gnashed her teeth, still feeling so much anger. Dena wasn’t just a foster parent; she was Jersey’s friend. 

“Okay. Well, Josh has sold millions of records, and he’s a huge star in his genre of music. Thousands of people pack venues all over the world to see him sing live in concert. And they sell merchandise of his at those concerts.” 

Jersey gazed unblinkingly at Ian as he scratched his jaw. 

“Well, I sing a different genre of music, but I, too, travel the world, singing to sold-out concert venues, andI have people who sell my merchandise at these concerts.” 

Jersey dropped her bag to her feet and planted her fists on her hips. “Listen, Coop. Stop talking down to me. I’m not an idiot. I know what a concert is. But earlier today you didn’t say what you did or what the job was you were offering. You bought a homeless person a hot dog and offered her a job. Of course, I’m going to think something sketchy might be involved.” 

Tipping her chin up, she held her breath to puff out her chest, pretending the recent revelation of Ian Cooper being a famous singer didn’t faze her one bit. Inside, Jersey’s heart hammered into her ribcage, and her mind reeled trying to figure out the day’s events. 

“Coop?” His lips twitched into a tiny grin. 

“It’s short for Cooper.” 

“Clearly.” Ian chuckled. “But my name is Ian. Everyone calls me Ian.” 

“I busted the nose and jaw of a kid named Ian. He tried to stick his cock in my ass. I’ll call you Tom, Dick, or Harry, but I’m not calling you Ian because that makes me want to physically harm you.” 

Ian’s eyebrows shot up his forehead as his head whipped back a few inches. “Coop it is.” 

Enter Jewel’s giveaway for a signed paperback and swag!

https://www.jeweleann.com/jersey-six-giveaway


REVIEW

Jersey sucked at subtle. She sucked at a lot of things, like patience, restraint, kind words and giving a shit.

This book was visceral and mind bending and just downright AMAZING.

I absolutely adore Jewel E. Ann’s writing, characters and stories and this one levels the playing field. It has the unwavering grit of her Jack & Jill series, the desperate and unyielding romance of Undeniably You and the absolutely mind blowing suspense of Transcend and Epoch.

I knew, I just KNEW about a quarter of the way into this book that it would wreck me. I was coming to love a character I should hate and not really sure why I should hate them. I was coming to distrust a character I loved and couldn’t make sense of how JEA was totally throwing my mind of kilter.

Truth didn’t live in the light; it hid in the dark, dancing with demons, afraid to be set free, afraid to be seen by judgmental eyes.

This book touches on SO many tough and authentic subjects such as homelessness, PTSD and mental illness, sexual abuse, physical and mental abuse, trauma, abandonment, amnesia and JEA does it well. So freaking well.

The relationship that develops between Jersey and Chris, their cohabitation and friendship was so genuine and touching. I really enjoyed the portrayal of their mutual dependence upon each other and how they found safe company in each other.

And Ian … well, he looked at her like he understood her, even though there was no way he had an inkling what her life was really like. He felt like the day to her night and a promise on the distant horizon.

Then Ian enters their lives and their whole world is ripped away while the world itself is handed to them on a silver platter. Jersey’s life with Ian is tumultuous and confusing at times. They crash together like waves breaking upon a cliff. Both molding each other into what comes next and unable to stop the rolling of the tide. I was intrigued, I was appalled, I was in their clutches and then I was shocked. I loved how messy and beautifully their relationship blossomed and their feelings developed. I could feel the desperation behind their moments together.

The big revelations in this truly shocked me. I had one of them guessed around 50% … but that’s not saying much because I was still thinking to myself, “If this ends up being true, this is CRAZY.” Well let me tell you folks, it was true and then the crazy train just kept on barreling down on me. The next plot twist came and knocked me off my feet. A true mind bender. And it all made sense. It made perfect sense.

Forever doesn’t exist. It’s just what people tell themselves to make the now a little more bearable.

Jersey has secrets we know and an insatiable desire for revenge. Ian is holding something back that he knows will change the way Jersey looks at him forever. Perhaps she will never wish to look at him again for the crimes he’s committed.

Overall, this one definitely ties with Undeniably You for my favorite JEA book and that’s saying a lot, because I feel very strongly about that book and the fact it made me cry for basically the last half of it. 😂 I highly, highly recommend this book if you enjoy romance in the vein of Colleen Hoover. I haven’t seen anyone write such emotional and gripping but romantic stories as her and Jewel E. Ann.

“Wish me luck, Jersey.”

“Luck, Coop.”

I also have never read a “rock star” romance because I felt as though it wouldn’t be my cup of tea but I feel like I could definitely jump upon the bandwagon now. 😂

SPOILER BELOW!

SPOILER, but I have to say it: And Chris – omg Chris – his character became so manipulative and such a driving force behind Jersey’s actions. I was like, “Who is this guy and where did our friend go?” He became so toxic, but I really loved the way JEA portrayed his arc and the influence he had on Jersey. His personality change versus Ian’s personality were exactly how I guessed the plot twist regarding Chris – though I did not anticipate the story of what actually happened to him. I loved this twist though, it was great.

SPOILER END

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Release Date: June 13th, 2019

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[ARC] Review: Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Review of Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Series: The Aurora Cycle #1

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Thank you to Knopf Books for Young Readers for sending me a review copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


DESCRIPTION

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.


REVIEW

And though this pack of losers and discipline cases and sociopaths might’ve been the last picks on anyone’s mind during the Draft, turns out none of them are bad at their jobs.

FLOORED. I am floored.

Zila would say it’s statistically impossible for Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff to continue putting out these amazing stories (both together and individually) – one after the other. But in truth, they’re just THAT good. Kaufman and Kristoff (sounds like the name of a law firm) are back to scatter our minds across the ‘Way with more unthinkable twists and to wrench our hearts out of our chests with more romance, tragedy and soul-stopping moments.

Its hard not to compare this to the Illuminae Files but besides an amazing cast of characters and space setting we’re going to stop the comparisons there (other than to say both are great, read both!). I recently attended a panel in which Jay Kristoff was present and one of the questions was, could you change the genre of your book from sci fi to fantasy or vice versa? He answered yes and it couldn’t be more true. Aurora Rising has a sci fi setting but will absolutely appeal to fantasy fans as well – due to many strong fantasy elements (magic kinda stuff, mythology AND QUESTS). A friend recently called it “scifantasy” and I’m going to do the same because IT FITS.

We the Legion
We the light
Burning bright against the night

Aurora Rising made me so nostalgic for stories I love: Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Serenity/Firefly, Starship Troopers, Defiance, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy … elements from each are there and waiting for us to indulge in them.

And Squad 312 … this squad is so disjointed and an utter disaster in its infancy. Hold onto your butts though, folks. This is a squad we can all stan. There is witty banter, established and budding friendships, romance (insert googly eyes) and a genuine kinship between Tyler and Scarlett. I loved witnessing Squad 312 go from reluctant allies to working together as if they already know each other’s next move. I wont say much about the individual characters as I feel you just need to read the book and meet them, but the authors have done such a fantastic job of creating a team that is well balanced in knowledge, personality and background. As well as representation of sexuality, disability and ethnicity. ALSO. SPACE ELVES ARE A THING.

Do moons choose the planets they orbit? Do planets choose their stars? Who am I to deny gravity, Aurora? When you shine brighter than any constellation in the sky?

The story itself will keep you on the edge of your seat with it’s constant motion. The world is vibrant and well developed in ways I haven’t experienced lately. This book is one hell of a ride and you won’t be able to set it aside once you start. I was captivated!

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[ARC] Review: Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway

Review of Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway

Series: Glass Alliance #1

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Thank you to Tor Teen for sending me a review copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


DESCRIPTION

He was raised in revolution. She was raised in a palace. Can their love stop a war? Code Name Verity meets The Winner’s Curse in Joanna Hathaway’s Dark of the West, a breathtaking YA fantasy debut.

Aurelia Isendare is a princess of a small kingdom in the North, raised in privilege but shielded from politics as her brother prepares to step up to the throne. Halfway around the world, Athan Dakar, the youngest son of a ruthless general, is a fighter pilot longing for a life away from the front lines. When Athan’s mother is shot and killed, his father is convinced it’s the work of his old rival, the Queen of Etania—Aurelia’s mother. Determined to avenge his wife’s murder, he devises a plot to overthrow the Queen, a plot which sends Athan undercover to Etania to gain intel from her children.

Athan’s mission becomes complicated when he finds himself falling for the girl he’s been tasked with spying upon. Aurelia feels the same attraction, all the while desperately seeking to stop the war threatening to break between the Southern territory and the old Northern kingdoms that control it—a war in which Athan’s father is determined to play a role. As diplomatic ties manage to just barely hold, the two teens struggle to remain loyal to their families and each other as they learn that war is not as black and white as they’ve been raised to believe.


REVIEW

I LOVED this book and am now obsessed with this world. A fantasy world at war inspired by World War II-era Europe? It is just as beautiful and bittersweet as it sounds.

Some books move so slowly you feel as though your soul is being sucked away. Other books move at a steady progression, building and building, while you know a sudden crescendo will bring it all crashing down. This is the latter and it’s still building.

The MOMENT I finished I went back to read the Prologue straight away and it just hit me SO. DAMN. HARD. Seriously, read the book and then read the prologue again. Good luck keeping those tears at bay. I knew it likely took place later in Aurelia and Athan’s story, but it doesn’t take place at the end of this book and we are still learning about these two, their relationship and what will bring them to that point in the prologue. There is still so much to come.

And let me just say, this book is written and plotted fantastically. Ingeniously. The characters have a well of depth, much of it still to be discovered. Hathaway paints these characters well. They are young. They are impressionable. They want to be heard and want to please. They are teenagers. They are realistic.

As I was reading, I couldn’t help but think of movies like Atonement – and I just have this sickening feeling we are headed down a very similar path, but I also can’t look away. I know this story is gritty and the world Hathaway has written is sweeping and golden in its detail. I know there are dark things to come and things are only just beginning but I have to know. I have to know these two will eventually get their mountain.

This is a story about the desperation of war and love and finding your voice. THIS is the type of story that will stick with you. THIS is the type of story that should be written and I’m so very grateful it was.

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On Sale Date: February 5th 2019

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[ARC] Review: Circle of Shadows by Evelyn Skye

Review of Circle of Shadows by Evelyn Skye

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Thank you to the Balzer + Bray for sending me a review copy via Edelweiss and finished copy in exchange for an honest review.


DESCRIPTION

Sora can move as silently as a ghost and hurl throwing stars with lethal accuracy. Her gemina, Daemon, can win any physical fight blindfolded and with an arm tied behind his back. They are apprentice warriors of the Society of Taigas—marked by the gods to be trained in magic and the fighting arts to protect the kingdom of Kichona.

As their graduation approaches, Sora and Daemon look forward to proving themselves worthy of belonging to the elite group—but in a kingdom free of violence since the Blood Rift Rebellion many years ago, it’s been difficult to make their mark. So when Sora and Daemon encounter a strange camp of mysterious soldiers while on a standard scouting mission, they decide the only thing to do to help their kingdom is to infiltrate the group.Taking this risk will change Sora’s life forever—and lead her on a mission of deception that may fool everyone she’s ever loved.


REVIEW

This was one of my most anticipated 2019 releases, but it just wasn’t for me.

Instead, it was exhausting. And also one of my biggest letdowns as of late. It started off great, then got soooo slow, then weird and unconvincing. Honestly, I’m really proud of myself for actually having finished this – I was so close to DNFing it and that is something I adamantly try to avoid. I try limit myself to one read and one audiobook at a time, but I became so disinterested in this that I set it aside multiple times. It took me almost three weeks to finish this and in that time I finished eight other books.

Maybe it’s just me? Hopefully it’s just me because I WANT this book and author to be successful – but I really feel like there was so much untapped potential here.

The story started out with a truly fantastic premise. Bonded warriors, a unique magic system and intriguing mythology! However, after our two main characters infiltrate the enemy’s forces, the action and progression of the story really felt as though it fell to the wayside. For most of this book I felt as if things were dead in the water.

Near the end, the story became incredibly over-the-top and just plain weird. Not to mention, the romance aspect in this went in a totally unexpected and uncomfortable direction. One of the main characters is approached romantically while recovering from hallucinogens and it wasn’t even treated as wrong. I really couldn’t make sense of how the romance in this took a complete 180 – it was just so forced and convoluted.

Overall, I felt as though Circle of Shadows definitely deserved a little more polishing before it hit the shelves. I will be speaking about it on my Instagram soon – as I am apart of the tour (I am super excited and grateful for this!) – unfortunately this just wasn’t for me. I certainly hope others will enjoy it more than I did!

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On Sale Date: January 22nd 2019

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[ARC] Review: Analiese Rising by Brenda Drake

Review of Analiese Rising by Brenda Drake

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Thank you to Entangled Teen for providing me with a review copy via NetGalley and the author for a finished copy in exchange for an honest review.


DESCRIPTION

Half-Blood meets Antigoddess in a thrilling, romantic new series from New York Times bestselling author Brenda Drake.

When a stranger gives Analiese Jordan a list of names before he dies, the last thing she expects to see is her own on it. Not. Cool. Her search for answers leads to the man’s grandson, Marek, who has dangerous secrets of his own. Both are determined to unlock the mystery of the list.

But the truth is deadly. Analiese is a descendant of the God of Death, known as a Riser, with the power to raise the dead and control them. Finding out she has hidden powers? Cool. Finding out she turns corpses into killers? No, thank you.

Now the trail plants her and Marek in the middle of a war between gods who apparently want to raise an army of the Risen, and Analiese must figure out how to save the world—from herself.


REVIEW

Analiese Rising is a fun and fast-paced story that takes its reader from the streets of New York City to Rome to Paris.

Analiese, a girl shouldered with grief and anxiety, is shocked when she is approached by a man moments before his death and given a cryptic message. Among his personal belongings she discovers a list with names of the deceased, as well as her own. Analiese soon finds herself thrown into a hunt of monumental proportions, alongside the man’s grandson, Marek – the only other person in the world who can help her find answers.

Overall, this story was a little predictable and cliche, but certainly pleasurable with an aire of urgency. Brenda Drake did a wonderful job conveying the haste behind Analiese and Marek’s search, as well as adding in fair bits of humor and romance. The almost quest-like nature of this book kept the pacing on point and the puzzles always had my mind working. I thoughly enjoyed the introduction of gods and goddesses, particulary those more obscure and how she blended their traits and talents into the story.

If you enjoy urban fantasy, cryptology, mystery and mythology – this is the perfect read for you!

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Be sure to checkout my bookstagram for more information on Analiese Rising and a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

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[ARC] Review: Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer

Review of Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Review copy provided by Page Street Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


DESCRIPTION

Echo Alkaev’s safe and carefully structured world falls apart after her father leaves for the city and mysteriously disappears. Believing he is lost forever, Echo is shocked to find him half-frozen in the winter forest six months later, guarded by a strange talking wolf—the same creature who attacked her as a child. The wolf presents Echo with an offer: for her to come and live with him for a year. But there is more to the wolf than Echo realizes.

In his enchanted house beneath a mountain, Echo discovers centuries-old secrets, a magical library full of books-turned-mirrors, and a young man named Hal who is trapped inside of them. As the year ticks by, Echo must solve the mystery of the wolf’s enchantment before her time is up—otherwise Echo, the wolf, and Hal will be lost forever.


REVIEW

”There is one thing you must not do, one rule you must not break.”

Echo North is a brilliant and magical retelling of East of the Sun and West of the Moon, while also pulling inspiration from the stories of Cupid & Pysche, as well as Tam Lin. I read this in less than a day and was completely enthralled with everything about it.

Echo is the daughter of a bookseller that has always struggled to find her place and purpose in the world. She loves her family, her books and is a devourer of knowledge – but a fateful encounter with a wolf as a child left her face terribly scarred. Because of this Echo has experienced terrible rumors and unnecessary cruelty.

Tragically, Echo’s father goes missing for months, until Echo, lost in the woods herself, finds him half-frozen with the wolf from her childhood by his side. She makes a deal with the wolf to live with him in his enchanted house for one year. The only rule is that Echo may never look upon him between midnight and dawn.

I LOVED the wolf’s magical house in this book, the stories within stories in the mirror library, the growing companionship and dependence between Echo and the wolf, Echo’s adventures with Hal and Mokosh, the budding romance, as well as the mystery surrounding how to save the characters under “her” enchantments. If you’ve read the stories that inspire Echo North, its no surprise as to where the plot will take us, however Meyer puts her own twists into the story, creating a refreshing and new take on time honored classics.

Echo North is one of those books that drops breadcrumbs along the way, while you’re fully engrossed in the beauty and mystery of the story. They are there to piece together or you can let the answers come to you, while the story sweeps you off your feet.

I highly recommend this one!

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Release Date: January 15th, 2019

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[ARC] Review: Evermore by Sara Holland

Review of Evermore by Sara Holland

(Everless #2)
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Review copy provided by HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

Possible spoilers ahead for Everless, the first book in this duology!


DESCRIPTION

Jules Ember was raised hearing legends of the ancient magic of the wicked Alchemist and the good Sorceress. But she has just learned the truth: not only are the stories true, but she herself is the Alchemist, and Caro—a woman who single-handedly murdered the Queen and Jules’s first love, Roan, in cold blood—is the Sorceress.

The whole kingdom believes that Jules is responsible for the murders, and a hefty bounty has been placed on her head. And Caro is intent on destroying Jules, who stole her heart twelve lifetimes ago. Jules must delve into the stories that she now recognizes are accounts of her own past. For it is only by piecing together the mysteries of her lives that Jules will be able to save the person who has captured her own heart in this one.


REVIEW

“Don’t you know, Jules? Everything worth doing is dangerous.”

It’s no secret that Everless was one of my favorite 2018 releases and shouldn’t be a surprise that I was prepared to perform dark magic to get my hands on Evermore. Luckily, HarperTeen saved us all from that catastrophe and provided me with an advanced reading copy.

Evermore begins with Jules on the run from Caro, still reeling from what she has learned about herself and grappling with her new reality. Jules struggles to choose her next path – flee or fight for the final life she has? Much of this book follows Jules on the run while she searches her past for any way to defeat the sorceress.

And of course there is Liam, our dark, dashingly intelligent antihero. I wont lie … Liam Gerling is one of the sole reasons I am here. His character was my favorite from the first book and continues to hold that title through Evermore. Liam enters the book in total Liam style and is by Jules’ side for much of the book, to share what he has learned of the Alchemist’s life and as a steady companion through all of Jules’ searching. And maybe a little something more?

Evermore had has plenty of action, the pacing was great, the character arcs were well done and I got the romance I had been pining after. We learn quite a bit about Jules’ and Caro’s pasts, as well as what fueled the divide between them. Friendship was a large undertone to this story and I was really feeling the emotions near the end! Jules knows Caro is seeking her every weakness, most of all her friends – but its the help of others Jules must be willing to rely upon.

While I had hoped it would be as sweeping and mysterious as Everless, Evermore is certainly a worthy sequel and will give you all the answers you seek!

I will absolutely be reading more from Sara Holland.

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Release Date: December 31st, 2018

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