Book Review: One Thousand Stars and You by Isabelle Broom #Bloggers #Fiction #Blogtober

One Thousand Stars and You Isabelle Broom book cover

GIFTED / Today I bring you my review for a backlist written by one of my favourite authors: Isabelle Broom. Becoming a mother slowed me down in my reading and pretty much stopped me from reviewing/blogging for so long that now I have so many books that I am late with when it comes to reviewing. Good thing is I still am very interested in every single one I received and I am making my way through them. One Thousand Stars and You was a good book to spend time with and even though I am kind of late with my review for it, I still hope my review will makw you notice this novel and maybe will get it some atteintion. After all, when it comes to backlists, chances are they are traslated in more languages by now and available in more libraries.

One Thousand Stars and You was published on August 23rd 2018 by Penguin and it has 400 pages. I want to thank the team from Penguin UK, Michael Joseph for sending me an eARC via Netgalley in an exchange for an honest review.


About the book:


Alice is settling down. It might not be the adventurous life she once imagined, but more than anything she wants to make everyone happy – her steady boyfriend, her over-protective mother – even if it means a little part of her will always feel stifled.

Max is shaking things up. After a devastating injury, he is determined to prove himself. To find the man beyond the disability, to escape his smothering family and go on an adventure.

A trip to Sri Lanka is Alice’s last hurrah – her chance to throw herself into the heat, chaos and colour of a place thousands of miles from home.

It’s also the moment she meets Max.

Alice doesn’t know it yet, but her whole life is about to change.

Max doesn’t know it yet, but he’s the one who’s going to change it.



Are you familiar with the case when you like the author and enjoy their writing, but you just don’t click with the story?
That is what happened to me with One Thousand Stars and You.

I usually love Isabelle Broom’s work. Ever since she started publishing her stories back in 2016 I fell in love with her writing and the way she would describe places her characters visited, and she found her spot on my favourite authors list.
Unfortunately, although I still enjoyed her descriptions of beautiful Sri Lanka, I didn’t fall in love with this novel.

I think the main reason I was put off was the way one of her characters was presented to us, through other characters’ (and what it felt like through author’s too) eyes.
I am talking here about Moureen who was perfect the way she was, but for some reason our MC and her love interest looked down upon her, like they are for some reason better then her.
Like Alice was pure and inocent when in reality she was emotionally cheating on her boyfriend since the moment she met Max, and Max who for some reason acted like he deserves better then Maur.
It was just really hard to love the story with hard-to-like characters.

I also wasn’t a fan how the novel reminded me of Me Before You in some parts and I am still not sure would I loved it better if it went all the way there or do I like it that it took a different turn.

In the end I appreciate the message behind this whole journey, and think that the book is good and would still recommend it.
I just wish I liked it little bit more.

3 stars rating

Review I should have written a lifetime ago: Just Like the Other Girls by Claire Douglas #Books #Thriller @MichaelJBooks

Just Like the Other Girls by Claire Douglas book cover UK edition

GIFTED / Today I decided to post my review for a book that came out some time ago. I was lucky enough to receive a Netgalley widget for this book, but as some of you already know, I was in a bad place and too occupied with motherhood to keep up with my blog.

I enjoyed reading Just Like the Other Girls, as it was a buddy read with my friend Amanda from Chocolate Pages, who came to the rescue when it comes to clearing that Netgalley shelf of mine.

The novel came out on August 6th 2020 and it has 394 pages. Thank you to Penguin UK – Michael Joseph for providing me a copy.


About the book:



Una Richardson’s heart is broken after the death of her mother. Seeking a place to heal, she responds to an advertisement and steps into the rich, comforting world of Elspeth McKenzie.

But Elspeth’s home is not as safe as it seems.

Kathryn, her cold and bitter daughter, resents Una’s presence. But more disturbing is the realization that two girls had lived here before. Two girls who ended up dead.

Why won’t the McKenzies talk about them? What other secrets are locked inside this house? As the walls close in around her, Una starts to fear that she will end up just like the other girls . . .



Just Like the Other Girls was a wild ride I took with my friend Amanda (in other words, we buddy read it), and guys, it was a thrilling enjoyment.

If you keep up with my reading, you would know that reading club and buddy reads with my friends are my number one priority for months now, and let me tell you, I can’t recall when was the latast time we read such a good, discussion caller of a novel.

The writing pulled me in immediately, with action and mystery that urged me to read one more page, and all the characters that were suspicious.
This is one of the books where everyone can be a bad guy and you don’t know their motives at all, and as a result, you don’t even know how many bad guys are there at all.
Is it all the work of a one person, or do two/more work together?? That is a mystery!

Because of all of the above, we finished the book in 5 days instead of 8 that was originally planned.

I also want to applause the author for her courage to take turn that was brave and definitely unique, and so unpredictable.
If you read the book, you know what I’m talking about, if you didn’t, I don’t want to spoil you.
But because of that “thing” that happened, that lead to “part 2” I was sure I was reading a 5stars worth book.

However, after I finished the book, and mystery was solved (in a satisfying way) I looked back at italic parts of the book and I felt played out. Fooled.
It was like the author made up some parts of it just to lead us the wrong way, and they don’t make sense.
I was so angry I even wanted to give it 3,5 stars.
Actually, I still am angry and I still am debating whether to give it 4 or 3,5 stars.
This whole situation reminded me that Douglas did the very same thing in her previous novel When She Vanished, and I felt the same.

I decided that I will read another book by her some other time and if italics make me mad again, I will just give up on her work.
Her books are good, but I just don’t like being mislead if it’s not done in an intelligent way.

However, I do recommend this book because it is really good.

four hearts

The one to relax with: Queen Bee by Jane Fallon @MichaelJBooks @JaneFallon #QueenBee #BookLovers

Queen Bee by Jane Fallon book cover UK edition

GIFTED / Today I happily present you my review for Queen Bee, the newest novel by Jane Fallon, who’s work I always enjoy.

This book should have been published back in April, but the release day has been changed to July 9th 2020. It has 400 pages.

I received an eARC via Netgalley in an exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank Michael Joseph, Penguin for giving me this chance.


About the book:

FROM GOODREADS / Welcome to The Close – a beautiful street of mansions, where gorgeous Stella is the indisputable Queen Bee . . .

It is here that Laura, seeking peace and privacy after her marriage falls apart, rents a tiny studio. Unfortunately, her arrival upsets suspicious Stella – who fears Laura has designs on her fiancé, Al.

When Laura stumbles on the big secret Al is hiding, suddenly Stella’s perfectly controlled world, not to mention Laura’s future, are threatened.

Taking a chance on beating Al at his own twisted game, these two former strangers are fast becoming best friends.

But has Laura forgotten that revenge never comes without a sting in the tail?



Once again, Jane Fallon proved herself as a perfect go-to author for book clubs with her newest book Queen Bee.

As I already stated in my reviews for her other novels, I think Fallon’s work is great to read along with friends, as her novels often demand to be discussed about.
However, this time there wasn’t too many things people could argue about, but still it would make a perfect choice to read together and just comment things that were served.

I started this book and immediately knew I wouldn’t let it go until I finish that last page.
But life doesn’t happen as we planned it, so I gave birth somewhere in the middle of my Queen Bee journey, and too pause from it to get to know my baby and get better from that exper.
Once I finally took some time to read again, I was so happy to continue, as I was really looking forward to it, and didn’t forget anything that happened.

I enjoyed spending time in the neighborhood along with Laura. I think fans of Desperate Housewives would enjoy this story, because of the setting and mentality of characters.

The book is written in first person, following Laura’s POV.

I think it was a great choice because it made me really invested in the story.

I also really enjoyed how children of main characters were involved and I was looking forward to read about them.

I really recommend Queen Bee to readers of women’s fiction and I can’t wait to read more from this author in the future.

four hearts

The one about toxic friends: Faking Friends by Jane Fallon @MichaelJBooks @JaneFallon #booklovers #FakingFriends #Friends


GIFTED / Today I bring you my review for one blacklist title by one of my favourite authors.

Faking Friends is standalone published by Michael Joseph, Penguin Random House UK on January 11th 2018 and it has 448 pages.

I received this novel via Netgalley in an exchange for an honest review, and I want to thank to the publisher.


About the book:

FROM GOODREADS / Best friend, soulmate, confidante . . . backstabber.

Amy thought she knew everything there was to know about her best friend Melissa. Then again, Amy also thought she was on the verge of the wedding of her dreams to her long-distance fiancé.

Until she pays a surprise trip home to London. Jack is out, but it’s clear another woman has been making herself at home in their flat.

There’s something about her stuff that feels oddly familiar . . . and then it hits Amy. The Other Woman is Melissa.

Amy has lost her home, her fiancé and her best friend in one disastrous weekend – but instead of falling apart, she’s determined to get her own back.

Piecing her life back together won’t be half as fun as dismantling theirs, after all.



I’ve read several books written by Jane Fallon and now I 100% stand behind my state that her books are perfect pick for book clubs.
There’s so many things that can be discussed and interpreted in different way, based on one’s look at life, and Faking Friends is no exception.

Out of all Fallon’s books, this one was my favourite.

The story pulled me in immediately, and it didn’t let go until the very end.
The main reason for that is beside the interesting things that happened the whole time, amazing writing style.
Since Fallon is well known and respected author for years now, it didn’t surprise me.

It is written in first person, from Amy’s POV, with some parts narrated by her frenemy Mel.

This book explores the topic of toxic friendships and I like how it gives perspective from which the reader can see signs of one being fake friend from the very beginning.
I’d like to believe that it will help some readers recognize toxic people around themselves.

This novel is women’s fiction in all it’s glory.
It talks about relationships, old ones and new ones, friendships, toxic and healthy ones, and one’s strength within herself.
This is not a love story or romance novel, so keep that in mind.

Overall, I really, really enjoyed reading Faking Friends and I can’t wait to see what else Jane Fallon has in store for us.
I highly, highly recommend it!

rating 4,5 hearts

The one that takes us to New Zeland: One Winter Morning by Isabelle Broom (Book Review) #Christmas #NewZeland #WomensFiction

One Winter Morning by Isabelle Broom book cover

GIFTED / Today I will talk about the newest book by my favourite author Isabelle Broom (if you noticed, I have more then few favourite authors).
One Winter Morning was published in paperback edition October 17th 2019 by Michael Joseph, Penguin Random House UK, and it has 400 pages.
I want to thank wonderful people from Michael Jospeh for sending me an invitation to read this book via Netgalley, in an exchange for an honest review.


About the book:

FROM GOODREADS / On a winter morning she lost a piece of her heart. Can she find it?

Evangeline isn’t feeling festive this December.

The frost and fairy lights only remind her it’s been a year since she lost the mother who took her in as a baby and raised her.

She’s never felt more alone – until she discovers her birth mother’s identity. And where to find her.

A lifetime and thousands of miles have separated Evangeline and Bonnie. Now, travelling to New Zealand could be Evangeline’s chance to confront the woman who gave her up.

But is she ready for what she’ll find there?

The answers she’s been looking for, a new family to heal her . . . Or someone she could never have expected?



Isabelle Broom is the author who started her writing career around the same time I started my blog, and I am proud to be her supporter from the very start.
How could I not be?
Ever since I read her novel My Map of You and fell in love with her writing style and courage to paint characters in the most realistic way, I knew I’d read every single book she’d write (okay, I admit I’m not the best supporter out there, because I am two books behind, but in my defense: do you know how it feels like to know that you don’t have anything new to read that’s written by your favourite author? Plus, I plan to read both of them before the end of this year).

One Winter Morning takes place in New Zeland most of the time, but also some parts of the story are set in England.
The story is written from POV’s of two women: Genie’s and Bonnie’s.
Even though Genie is the main character, I have to admit that I was more invested in Bonnie’s life and reasons behind the decision that she made.

If you didn’t know, Isabelle Broom is famous for her beautiful descriptions of the places her stories take place in.
Although I enjoyed descriptions of New Zeland, this time I couldn’t imagine myself there, as I usually do when it comes to her books. Maybe the reason for that is the fact that I am not that familiar with New Zeland (the most I know is from Hobbit), but I also think that the part in that plays my disappointment with all the sunshine and summer, because the book cover and the title made me expect more wintery setting.
I admit, I should have paid more attention to the premise, and obvious logic, because I know that New Zeland is on the other side of Mediteran.
Also, the story takes place around Christmas time, so it is a festive read, but with different setting.

It is important to say that this book has one disabled character (I hope I used the right term, if I didn’t, I apologize) who is, in my opinion, presented very well and Broom gave her (the girl who is disabled) a strong personality and she really was the big part of the story.

As I understood, this story is close to heart to the author (I got it from her email newsletter I am subscribed to) because of her own family situation, so it makes me appreciate it even more.

Family relationships were my favourite parts of the book.

I would highly recommend One Winter Morning to readers who love family stories with dash of romance in it, but also to those who’d like to read about Christmas set in sunny parts of our planet.

four hearts

Book Review: Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas #Thriller #ThenSheVanishes #BookBloggers

Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas UK book cover

GIFTED / Today I bring you my brief review for the thriller I read some time ago and never got around to review it: Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas.
This book was published by Michael Joseph, Penguin Random House on August 8th 2019, and it has 448 pages.
I want to thank the team from Michael Joseph for sending me an e-galley of this novel (in an exchange for an honest review).


About the book:

Heather and Jess were best friends – until the night Heather’s sister vanished.

Jess has never forgiven herself for the lie she told that night. Nor has Heather.

But now Heather is accused of an awful crime.

And Jess is forced to return to the sleepy seaside town where they grew up, to ask the question she’s avoided for so long:

What really happened the night Flora disappeared? 



It has been some time since I finished Then She Vanishes so I will try to keep my review short and point-blank.

First and most important: this thriller was highly entertaining and that is it’s main plus.
It took me five days to finish it but that is because I was very busy in time I was reading it. I imagine if I had more time to read I would probably finish it in two days.

It was so easy to read, and I really wanted to turn those pages faster, even though the reason for that wasn’t that I was dying to know what will happen, but because I was purely enjoying spending my time with this book.

It main disadvantage, if I’m being honest, is it’s predictability.
There are many things that happened in the story and, of course, most of them weren’t as obvious, but the main revelation and the outcome were visible from the very beginning of the book.

The second flaw is that the story is just not rememberable.
As I already stated, it has been some time since I finished this novel and I already have hard time when I try to think about it’s side characters or subplots. Most of it is a blur.

In the end, I think this book would appeal to readers who like to read thriller from time to time, but if you’re an advanced reader of that genre, maybe you’d wish it brought more to the table.

rating 3,5 hearts

An amazing crime novel: The Whisper Man by Alex North #BookReview #BlogTour #Crime #TheWhisperMan

The Whisper Man book cover proof copy with headphones

GIFTED / Today I am proud to be the host for The Whisper Man blog tour.
I want to say thank you to Jenny Platt from Michael Joseph for inviting me.


About the book:

In this dark, suspenseful thriller, Alex North weaves a multi-generational tale of a father and son caught in the crosshairs of an investigation to catch a serial killer preying on a small town.

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window…


My Review:

When it comes to thrillers, I have to admit I was very lucky this year. I didn’t read a lot of them, but I liked almost all of those I read.

The Whisper Man is a thriller that stands out, and I dare to say that there’s a big probability that it will end up on my “favorite books of 2019” list. My guts tell me I won’t forget this story any time soon.

The story is set in a small town and it has that small town vibe that I love so much, with few but very impressive characters and a plot that make you read long after you had to turn the lights out.
At least, that’s what happened in my case.

I was surprised how fast I flew trough the story, and how easy to read it actually was.
I ascribe it to the fabulous writing style that pulled me in and kept my attention until the very end.
I liked the way the writer led me through the story without many philosophicall thoughts about life, but he still made me think about life and people anyway.

This novel also played with my mind (just a little bit) because at some point I wasn’t sure whether there will be a paranormal aspect to it or was it all just the twist of words to make me think that way.

I can proudly say that I am satisfied with every part of The Whisper Man. It was intense and thrilling until the very end I  recommend it to lovers of good stories.
If you like crime fiction, make sure to read The Whisper Man. I hope you will love it as much as I did!

5 hearts rating

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Solid crime: The Evidence Against You by Gillian McAllister (Blog Tour) #BlogTour #Crime #BookReview

The Evidence Against You by Gillian McAlister book cover UK edition

GIFTED / Today I am proud to be the host for The Evidence Against You blog tour.
I want to say thank you to Olivia Thomas from Michael Joseph for inviting me.


About the book:

It’s the day her father will be released from jail. Izzy English has every reason to feel conflicted – he’s the man who gave her a childhood filled with happy memories. But he has also just served seventeen years for the murder of her mother.

Now, Izzy’s father sends her a letter. He wants to talk, to defend himself against each piece of evidence from his trial. But should she give him the benefit of the doubt? Or is her father guilty as charged, and luring her into a trap?


My Review:

Gillian McAllister is one author I look up to. I pretty much followed her career from the very beginning and it was really satisfying to see all of her books being bestsellers. Her novel Anything You Do Say is one of the best books I had an opportunity to read and it was in my favorites of 2017, so when I had a chance to read The Evidence Against You my excitement was unmeasurable.

Unfortunately, I can’t say that the McAllister’s newest book lived up to my expectations. It was a solid book, and it was a good book, but I don’t think I will be thinking about it after some times passes (like I STILL think about Anything You Do Say) nor do I think that I’ll remember it too much after few months.

The writing style was pretty good and I like how Gillian McAllister shaped her sentences, but overall the story itself wasn’t too interesting to me.
I liked the premise, that is the reason why I picked it up in the first place (plus, the author I like), but if I’m being honest, I was bored most of the time while reading.
Maybe I just wasn’t the right audience for this one!

On the plus side, this book made me emotional, because I couldn’t help but imagine my own dad in the same position as Gabe, and how it would be heartbreaking to see him in Gabe’s shoes. That heartbreaking factor was the best part of the story.

On the minus side, I feel like every side character was one dimensional, and that is where my main criticism goes. All of them were forgettable and I felt like most of them were there just for sake of being.

There wouldn’t be a crime story without the mystery, and even though I had my suspicions, I couldn’t solve it. I was wrong, which, in a weird way, makes me happy.

The end was one of the most unsatisfying endings I had an opportunity to read. I don’t think the justice was served with this one, and because of that it made me angry at characters, and hurt for them at the same time.

Overall, I would recommend this one, it was a solid book, but if Gillian McAllister is new to you author, I would suggest you to start with one of her other books instead.

rating 3,5 hearts

Book Review: She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge (Blog Tour) #BlogTour #BookReview #SheLiesInWait

I am happy to be today’s host in She Lies in Wait blog tour.
I want to thank Jenny Platt from Michael Joseph, Penguin for inviting me.

About the book:

Six friends. One killer. Who do you trust?

On a hot July night in 1983, six school friends go camping in the forest. Bright and brilliant, they are destined for great things, and young Aurora Jackson is dazzled to be allowed to tag along.

Thirty years later, a body is discovered. DCI Sheens is called to the scene, but he already knows what’s waiting for him: Aurora Jackson, found at long last.

But that’s not all. The friends have all maintained their innocence, but the body is found in a hideaway only the six of them knew about.

It seems the killer has always lurked very close to home…

My Review:

She Lies in Wait is a pure crime story, so don’t let the quote on the cover fool you. It is not dark, deep thriller, but it is a good crime novel.

Reading this book was kind of interesting experience for me. My copy arrived really late (it was so late I actually lost the hope that it would arrive at all) so I had only 3 days to read it.
Since I am a slow reader it was questionable if I would make it, but since the book was pretty interesting and it read pretty fast, I was worrying for nothing.

The story follows two time lines: one that happened 30 years ago when a group of friends went to party into the woods, and one of them ended up missing, and today’s time when the body of a missing girl was found.
Through the story, we follow lives of people who were in the woods 30 years ago, and two main characters, inspectors Jonah and Hanson who work on the case.

The story was good, and the writing style was also fine.
My favorite part when it comes to writing style were dialogues. Characters talked like real everyday people and their conversations were easy to follow.
The story is written in third person.

One downside of this story is that main characters seemed too one dimensional to me.
We did get little pieces of their past and that each of them had something that happened to them in the past, that made a huge impact on their lives, but we didn’t find out what it was nor did we get to see more of their personalities.
I assume, since this is the first book in the series, that they will be more explored in the future books, but in all honesty, I would like to know them more to even have a desire to hang out with them on their next adventure.

When it comes to the case itself it was a solid, entertaining tale, and it even though it occurred to me that the person who turned out to be the killer could be guilty, when we came closer to the end, I didn’t know who committed the crime.
I have to mention that crime novels are not usually what I read, so I am not as critical to this type of stories as crime fans are.

Overall, She Lies in Wait is a good novel that I would recommend to people who like to read crime stories every now and then.

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Mind blowingly amazing: The Taking of Annie Thorne by C. J. Tudor – Book Review (Blog Tour) #BookReview #BlogTour @MichaelJBooks #TheHidingPlace


I am so honoured to be today’s host in The Taking of Annie Thorne blog tour.
I want to thank Jenny Platt from Michael Joseph, Penguin for inviting me.
This novel blown my mind and it is now the best book I’ve read this year so far.

About the book:

Joe never wanted to come back to Arnhill. After the way things ended with his old gang–the betrayal, the suicide, the murder–and after what happened when his sister went missing, the last thing he wanted to do was return to his hometown. But Joe doesn’t have a choice. Because judging by what was done to that poor Morton kid, what happened all those years ago to Joe’s sister is happening again. And only Joe knows who is really at fault.

Lying his way into a teaching job at his former high school is the easy part. Facing off with former friends who are none too happy to have him back in town–while avoiding the enemies he’s made in the years since–is tougher. But the hardest part of all will be returning to that abandoned mine where it all went wrong and his life changed forever, and finally confronting the shocking, horrifying truth about Arnhill, his sister, and himself. Because for Joe, the worst moment of his life wasn’t the day his sister went missing. It was the day she came back.

My Review:

It’s been a long time since a book scared me. When I say long, I mean more then a decade long, and The Taking of Annie Thorne managed to do just that: scare me.
And what is even more interesting, I read the scene that made my heart jump while I was working. I think that tells you how invested in this story I was. I’ve even put my daily obligations aside.

C. J. Tudor is a well known author who wrote a novel called The Chalk Man. I haven’t read that book even though I’ve heard it was amazing.
Because of that, I wasn’t prepared for the story The Taking of Annie Thorne actually is.

The whole time, I was sure this would be one of those psychological thrillers, but it is actually a real, blood curling horror.
And I loved it!

It reminded me of stories Stephen King wrote, but with it’s original quality.
I have to stress out here that I have never read a book written by Mr. King, but I’ve watched movies based on his stories.

This book was so good, I can’t even properly articulate how positively surprised I was.
And I don’t talk about the story only, but about the writing style too.
It is so thrilling and the book is unputdownable, but also it contains numerous beautiful (or just awesome) sentences.
Trust me, this book is full of good quotes!

The story is written in first person, following Joe’s POV.

The Taking of Annie Thorne is also known by the name The Hiding Place.

I was so satisfied with this novel that now I want to watch the movie based on it.
I know that is something we readers often say, but this time I mean it on a whole different level. I really want to watch this movie, and I can’t even imagine the world without it.
I have no idea what is the situation when it comes to film rights and this particular novel, but I am sure that it will happen!

Now when I finally read a horror book, after years and years of pause (my last one (I think) was sth written by R.L. Stine, and we don’t count rereads here!), I want to read more.
This book showed me horror books can actually be amazing.

The Taking of Annie Thorne left us with some unanswered questions, but even despite that, I have to admit that I loved the end.
I mean, I wouldn’t mind getting some answers (or epilogue no 2) but the end itself was pretty awesome.

In the end, I just want to say that this book is the best one I read in 2019 so far.
I can’t wait to read The Chalk Man now!

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