Archive for March 2013


Apologies to those of you who arrived at the blog to find the Giveaway hasn't been posted this weekend. It has had to be postponed due to the death of my stepfather. It has been rescheduled for 20th and 21st April. I hope you will all join me then. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Surfing in Stilettos by Carol E Wyer - Plus Giveaway!

Brook Cottage Books is very excited to be part of the Fiction Addiction Book tour for Carol E. Wyer. You can find out more about the tour HERE .
Surfing in Stilettos is the follow up to Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines. However, saying that, Surfing in Stilettos can be read as a stand alone book. Having not previously read Mini Skirts and Laughter I did not have any difficulties at all getting into the story of Surfing in Stilettos.
Amanda and her super grumpy husband Phil are off on an adventure 'Gap Year' with Bertie the very unreliable camper van. The first leg of their journey starts off in France but Bertie has other ideas and breaks down. Amanda and Phil are forced to spend longer in France than they first intended. Amanda spends the time wondering if she will be able to stop herself from strangling Phil as he constantly complains, is poor company and seems downright miserable! Amanda is kept company via Skype with her very eccentric and totally bonkers mother Grace, whose philosophy of life is to live it to the full. Grace is a die-hard party animal who believes that one can never have too much fun, with age being no barrier!
Amanda and Phil leave their son Tom to house-sit, although they soon realise that this was a huge mistake and soon Phil leaves France to evict some uninvited house guests. Amanda decides to stay in France and soon meets the wonderful Bibi and they two become firm friends. But, Bibi has her own story and difficulties within her marriage that she endeavours to fix. However, Bibi's plan may backfire, having consequences for poor Amanda!


I have to say I absolutely adored this book! The characters were so entertaining and there were parts in the book that did make me laugh out loud. I loved them all!  Grace is the sort of person I want to be when I am elderly! She is without doubt a Granny who rocks! I love that Amanda is unaware of the effect that she has on those around her. She really doesn't realise just how loved she is. Anytime I thought of Bibi I kept thinking of a very young Audrey Hepburn.
The story has a wonderful plot with keeps the reader interested and entertained. There are a few exciting plot twists that were not expected at all! I loved the fact that Amanda has a blog and shares her adventures with all her online friends. The central message throughout the book is that you are never too old for adventure, love, new direction in your life and a damn good time! I highly recommend this book! Its great fun and wonderfully entertaining. It is very well written, in a refreshing and humorous way and has that 'feel-good' factor that lots of books sadly lack.

As part of the Book Tour there are a series of great giveaways! The giveaway is for 3 x Handmade Belgium chocolates (stilettos and handbags), 2 x Scotch stiletto tape dispensers in pink, 1 x stiletto key ring and 3 x copies of Surfing in Stilettos.  So, just what do you need to do to be in with a chance of winning? You lovely readers need to firstly Like Carol E Wyer’s FB page, Follow Carol on Twitter, Follow Carol’s blog Facing 50 with Humour and tweet/share one of the tour posts. This giveaway is for the whole tour and is open from 25th March until 6th April. Just click on the link below!



Author links:

Amazon UK Author Page
Amazon US Author Page
FeedARead (PAPERBACK VERSION ) Surfing In Stilettos
FeedARead (Paperback Version) Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines
Thornberry Publishing
Safkhet Publishing and How not to Murder your Grumpy
Member of Romantic Novelists Association

Want to know a little about the very talented Carol E Wyer?
After completing a degree in French and English, Carol E Wyer became a language teacher. She actually began her working life abroad, in Casablanca, Morocco, where she taught English as a Foreign Language in an American Language school. It was soon discovered that she could speak French rather well, and she became a translator and teacher to large organisations and companies such as ‘Regie de Tabac’, Morocco’s largest cigarette company, and the Mediterranean Shipping Company.
After a few years she was ‘head-hunted ‘to run the English as a Foreign Language department of a private school in the UK. (Imagine Hogwarts without the wizardry.) Carol taught English up to, and including ‘A’ Level, along with English as a Foreign Language. She also qualified to teach pupils with Dyslexia and became Head of English for Special Needs. In 1988, Carol set up her own language company called Language 2000 Ltd and worked in schools and for companies. She taught a variety of languages, including basic Japanese, to all ages and translated documents.
A recurrence of spinal difficulties that began when she was a teenager, forced her to give up teaching and choose a new direction. In order to deal with her health problems, Carol attended a fitness course (Premier), took the qualifications to become a fitness instructor and became a personal trainer. That led her to become a trainer for others, particularly for older people who, like herself, had undergone major surgery.
Thanks to older age, Carol now no longer trains people, but she is currently writing a series of novels, articles and books which takes a humorous look at getting older. It is her hope that they will educate through laughter and help others appreciate life.Carol has written several short stories over the years, including humorous books for children which served to teach them French. She was not able to fulfil her desire to be a full-time author until two years ago when her son flew from the nest, leaving his bedroom which Carol turned into her office.
Since then, she has written two novels, Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines and Surfing in Stilettos, both of which have enjoyed media attention and success, becoming best sellers and winning awards. Carol writes regularly for author websites and she has recently become a contributing author on a help guide entitled Tutorials and Tools for Prospering in a Digital Age.

Life Class by Gilli Allan

Life Class is about 4 individuals coming together for an art class. More specifically a Life Class. There is Stefan, the enigmatic and moody tutor of the class. This is his first teaching class and he is met with more resistance than he had bargained on. The class doesn't want to be taught new skills. They simply want to have fun. And, if Stefan was totally honest, he doesn't want to be a teacher! But, just what are his ambitions?
Then there is Dory, looking for a new start and a new future. In a career working in a sexual health clinic it is a less than conventional job giving her a jaded view of men and relationships in general. She is uncertain what path to take in her career and indeed her life. She's had her heart broken and her life disrupted. Needing to find some direction and a distraction she is talked into going to the life class by her bossy sister Fran. 
Fran is on the wrong side of 30 and is is feeling the beginnings of a midlife crisis looming on the horizon and her life spiralling out of control as she hurtles towards her forties. She makes a completely out of character decision and soon begins to regret it, along with the decisions of the past. Trying to find an old boyfriend via the Internet takes her into a place darker than she could have imagined and threatens to destroy the life she settled on. Could things have been different for her if she'd have been brave enough to follow her dreams when she was younger? Is it too late for her?
And lastly, there is the skinny, pale and mysterious  teenager Dom, taken in by Stefan, but for what reason? Dom's life has not been easy. A street kid who has seen and been exposed to too much and now fears for his life. Yet, he finds it hard to pull away from the lifestyle that threatens to destroy him in more ways than one. Why has Stefan attached himself to this kid? And why have they been to Dory's clinic?
This is a fabulously well written book and explores the complexities around relationships, the need to be accepted, and the desire for love and family. It examines the choices that are made and the regrets that follow those decisions. Each one of the characters created by Gilli Allan is interesting, and multifaceted. Each of their lives is so different  from the other yet connected by their circumstances and an art class. They are all caught in the idiosyncrasy that is human nature and the uncertainty of who to trust in a world that has not been kind. At the heart of the story is love.
But, this is not a conventional hearts and flowers type of love story. It gets caught up in the nitty gritty of life examining difficult subject matter in a tasteful and compassionate manner.  We gain an insight into the not so nice side of life and human nature. Can love overcome all of this? You'll have to read the book to find out! This is a great read and I look forward to reading more by this talented author.


Also available in Kindle format here

Cover Reveal - Somebody Else's Shoes by Tiffany Wright

Tiffany Wright's new book Somebody Else's Shoes is launched on 27th March. Brook Cottage Books is proud to be part of the cover reveal for the new book. Without further ado lets have a look at the lovely cover for this book..........(drum roll please...)
I think you will agree that the cover looks amazing! Here's a bit of what the book is about............
Frumpy, insecure, London real life journalist Mia is unfulfilled with her life. Her job interviewing the weird and wonderful people of the world is un-fulfilling, she doesn't have a love life and her family and on the brink of driving her to the edge. If she were a pair of shoes she would be ballet pumps – reliable, comfortable and just a little bit dull.
Gorgeous Natasha Logue is a celebrity fashion stylist with everything she could possibly want at her feet. Her days are spent smooching around with celebs, wearing outrageously expensive clothes and dating London’s sexiest men. She is the epitome of a Louboutin – sleek, stylish and the envy of every other woman out there.
But one day Mia and Natasha’s worlds collide in a way neither could imagine possible and suddenly the shoes are on the other foot. But will a new chance of life be the opportunity both women need to change? Or is the grass always greener? We discover what it’s really like walking in somebody else’s shoes.
Sounds like a great book. It will be for sale on Amazon on 27th March! Make sure you grab your copy!

The Griffin Cryer by Julia Hughes

Francesca  is 15 years old and prefers to be called Frankie. Ever since her brother had a freak accident that has left him in a coma for the last couple of years she has felt like an outsider amongst her peers. Her only true friend being her brother Michael's dog Bally. Frankie worries constantly about her mother and has a good, but tentative relationship of sorts with her stepfather. Just when Frankie's life couldn't get any stranger, whilst out walking Bally she 'accidently' summons a Griffin from another world. And, for good measure, his Rider comes along too!
The Rider is a quiet and mysterious young man who Frankie finds infuriating. But, she agrees to help him and Balkind, his griffin, get back to their own world. However, the secret of the Griffin is not Frankie's alone and she soon discovers that there are other, more dubious characters who have a vested interest in acquiring a griffin. They are prepared to use Frankie's family's desperation to have Michael come back to them from his own other world as a bargaining tool. Will Frankie and The Rider be successful in their quest or will darker forces stop them achieving their goal. For Frankie, a lot rests on her ability to be The Griffin Cryer and summon Balkind and save her brother in the process!
The Griffin Cryer is a Young Adult book and not my usual genre. However, once I started reading it I could not put it down! I was totally hooked! I was instantly transported back to my early teen years when this was just the sort of book that I adored. The excitement and sense of adventure are palpable and to be honest, I felt like I used to when I was a teen with my nose constantly stuck in a book that held a world of fantasy, full of magical creatures and dark and brooding strangers. I loved it!
Julia Hughes has created a wonderful host of characters, right down to the villainous Professor! The book also, in a subtle yet effective way, explores the complexities of loneliness, family relationships, and grief for a life hanging in a state of limbo. I loved how gutsy Frankie was and her fearless loyalty to her family. This is a story that just holds the promise of further adventures for Frankie! This is the first book I have read by Julia Hughes and I look forward to reading more by this very talented author.
The Griffin Cryer is available to buy on paperback from 26th March. To celebrate the paperback release the book will be available to download FREE on 26th March. Brook Cottage Books has been lucky enough to be given a signed paperback ARC of The Griffin Cryer by the lovely Julia Hughes. All you have to do to win a copy is leave a comment below and your name will be picked using on the 30th March with the winner being announced on the events page HERE !


The Traz by Eileen Schuh

The Traz is a YA book and part of the BackTracker series that explores the good choices and bad choices that young people can sometimes make. Katrina gets herself involved with a biker gang and witnesses things no young girl should. The man mountain Shrug, one of the bikers, takes her under his wing but for what reason? Does he have an ulterior motive? Is Katrina in over her head and who will protect her? Is Shrug even all he appears? And, who is the new mysterious biker Chad? Well worth a read!

I liked this book, despite it not being something I would usually read. It has many messages for young people within the story and explores issues such as drugs, murder, sexual vulnerability and grief. The book offers important lessons to its readers and explores the consequences a particular course of action may lead to. I liked the way the book also had a Discussion and Teaching guide at the end. As a social worker I am always interested in any teaching guides that open up areas for discussion with young people. The characters in the book are very complex. Part of me felt sorry for Katrina yet part of me disliked her manipulative side a little too. In contrast, another part of me was saddened by her vulnerability. She tends to illicit a whole range of emotions in the reader and reminded me at times of a young version of the character Lisbeth Salander from the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo books.

There were times during the book when I felt a little uncomfortable that Katrina, whilst essentially still a child, was very savvy with regards to how she could exploit men using her sexuality. However, that said, being a social worker I have come across such young women and this is the reality of life. The book was extremely well written. It ended, I felt quite abruptly and I found myself shouting at the Kindle desperate to find out what happened next! This is a very clever piece of writing, making the reader desperate for more in the series which I shall look out for with interest.
Also available on

Permanently Temping by Lauren Milner-Howells

In her attempts to avoid having to go work for her father, Holly is thrown into all manner of temping jobs. Jobs that make Holly question if there is the 'perfect' job out there for her. She spends a lot of time writing out her career plans in her lovely new jazzy notebook, her funky pen and sparkly post-it notes to boot! However, Holly soon realises that perfect job might not be out there for her after all.

Thrown into the mix are 3 men who are determined to complicate Holly's life - James the sleazy ex. Stephen the current love interest who is just not floating Holly's boat and Gavin who gives her butterflies every time she sees him but is just out of reach. Could things get any weirder or confusing for poor Holly? Decisions need to be made with regards to Holly's career and her future happiness.
This was a nice quirky story. Holly is a totally ditzy character who often gets herself into the strangest of situations. She was at times infuriating but I could so identify with her, especially her passion for notebooks! She is overly naive and I found myself often groaning, 'oh Holly!' She can be a bit silly at times. Holly is luckier than she realises with 3 men in her life! In her search for the perfect job will Holly eventually find the perfect man? Does he even exist?

Its a fun rom-com with some laugh out loud moments. Its a feel-good story. Easy, light reading.
This is the sort of book that's perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon in front of the fire or lounging by the pool on your holidays.

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

Lucille and Ruth are two sisters who are raised by a succession of relatives after their mother's death. They live in a remote town called Fingerbone and never seem to quite fit in with the other residents of the town. Their family are considered a little odd. A little quirky. When their aunt Sylvie comes into their lives and takes over their guardianship their lives take on a whole new dimension. Aunt Sylvie has lead a transient lifestyle for many years and appears to be extremely eccentric, although there is obviously an underlying reason in the book which I won't go into too much detail about for fear of spoiling the story. Suffice to say, its really up to the reader to make their own judgements as to why Sylvie acts as she does, but I'd say its fairly obvious. What is sad about the story is it highlights not only the girl's physical abandonment but also how they have been abandoned, cast out by a whole community. Their isolation takes on not only an emotional form but a physical one. 

The descriptive style of this book is of such a high standard and so impressive for what was Marilynne Robinson's first book. There is no getting away from the fact that this is a great piece of writing. However, I found the pace of the book to be a little slow and a little bit of a depressing story, which of course it's supposed to be. And, perhaps that's why the book is paced the way it represent how life for the main character's merely meanders along. Their isolation is almost crippling. The main character's in the book are all women, with men having little mention.

The railroad and the lake in the town seem to affect every aspect of Ruth and Lucille's life, their past and their future and both also play a recurrent theme throughout the book. Whilst I found this a slow story, others reading it may enjoy the pace of the book. I found that the story left me feeling a little melancholy. Perhaps that was the authors intention? Beautifully written in a poetic way and atmospheric way.

Cover Reveal - Life by Design by Elizabeth James

Life by Design by Elizabeth James will be released on 15th March. Here's what the book is about. 

Jane Carter’s life had never been easy. Leaving her parents behind only to be abandoned pregnant by the one man she thought she could depend on. She had a sense that things just weren’t going to be easy for her or her precious daughter Jolene. She’s so sceptical about life that she thinks she’s dreaming when she catches the eye of handsome, successful architect, Jay Anderson. Will Jay be willing to accept her and her child or will she be forced to return to a past that just won’t go away. Falling in love is easy.Life is hard. Has life finally designed the happy ending she’s always dreamed of? 
Now, without further ado...........lets have a look at the great cover which looks fantastic! Wishing Elizabeth every success with her new book.

twitter: @ejamesauthor
Book links:
link to Life by Design on goodreads:

The Twelve by Justin Cronin

The Twelve is the long awaited sequel to The Passage and the second book in the Trilogy. You can read my review for The Passage HERE. A more action packed, faster paced book than the first, if that’s possible, the reader finds out more about what happened to some of the central characters and those who were originally considered minor characters from the first book.  Appearances can be deceptive! Like The Passage, the story often takes the reader back to ‘the time before’ during the time the Virals appeared to consume humanity and its way of life. The reader is then brought back to the Time of the Virals and how those characters continue to play central roles.

Like The Passage, this book is rich in characters and introduces some new ones. All are connected in some way.  Again, Amy The Child From Nowhere remains central to the story leading her loyal band of friends and fellow ‘survivors’ further into the perilous journey to overcome the Virals and prepare for another epic  battle of survival. This book has a more intense post-apocalyptic feel than the first insomuch as it’s far more brutal and also focuses on the brutality of man as well as that of the Viral population. There are also quite a few surprises for the reader. This book is huge and could not be read in isolation, needing to be read as part of the trilogy. I am not sure how I will be able to cope waiting for the final instalment!


100 Little Words on Parenthood by Charlie Plunkett

100 Little Words on Parenthood is a lovely little book. Its the type of book that makes you smile and nod appreciatively. Its the type of book that makes you think, 'oh yes I remember that!' It is not a fictional book but a collection of memories, advice and lovely snippets of quotes and poetry that relate to the highs and lows and roller coaster of parenthood. The overall consensus seems to be that parenthood is a huge shock to the system and changes us in more ways than we could ever imagine from the time the pregnancy test gives a positive reading.
The book is divided into sections such as Pregnancy, Birth, Breastfeeding etc and even discusses teens! In each of these sections people from all walks of life give up their stories and anecdotes about what parenthood has meant to them. All done in 100 little words. What I liked about the book is we are given a little bio on each contributor with links to their various websites and blogs. The contributors range from writers to bloggers to professionals, grandparents etc. All with a common bond - children have a way of coming into our lives and changing it in so many ways and on so many levels! There's a whole variety of people representing all walks of life, each offering the reader a peek into their own experiences.
I really enjoyed reading this book. At times it made me laugh so loudly that my husband thought I was crazy! Many of the experiences also made me get a little emotional and I shed a tear for times gone by. And, if I'm honest, it made me a little broody. At that point my husband was going to hide my kindle to stop me reading any more of the book! 100 Little Words on Parenthood is such an easy read and I really enjoyed it. Well done to Charlie Plunkett for writing such a little masterpiece!
                                                          e-book                     paperback

Author in the Spotlight - Sue Watson

Brook Cottage Books is thrilled to have Sue Watson as the Author in the Spotlight. Here's what Sue had to say.


When asked to take part in the author spotlight for this blog I procrastinated and nibbled and drank wine and baked a cake. Then I finally came up with an idea. The question I’ve been asked most since becoming a writer is: ‘where do you get your ideas from?’ which is almost like asking ‘how do you breathe?’ It’s a tough one to answer because, luckily for writers it just happens... or so I thought. Anyway, I contemplated this and realised the subjects I write about are often based on or around my obsessions - dieting, eating, baking, wine ... and when I’m not doing any of the above, I consume reality shows. My show of choice often involves weight loss and has ‘Celebrity’ or ‘Brother’ in the title. Therefore, any one of these profound issues are likely to turn up in my novels ... oh yes, my shallowness runs pretty deep!

So where do I get my ideas?  From everyone. Everywhere. Every day. My handbag is a mess but among the carnage of receipts, congealed sweets vital phone numbers and old tissues, there’s a note book to write everything down, even my most embarrassing moments. You have to capture those feelings as they happen... even if they make you cringe.  I’ll confess, I also plunder all my friend’s lives, comments and dramas, changing a few elements so they’ll never know ... I hope!

My first novel ‘Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes,’ is about Stella, a wife and mother with a weight problem, a work problem and a man problem, who finds comfort in baking amazing cakes. Though I didn’t live through the man problem (my husband has asked me to make that point!) I certainly lived through a lot that’s in the book. The heroine is disorganised, can’t stick to a diet and loves the smell of icing sugar in the morning and when I’m stressed, just like Stella I find solace by whipping up a fresh batch of warm, vanilla fairy cakes.
I’m currently completing and editing my second novel, ‘Younger, Thinner, Blonder,’ and have created a very different heroine. This lady is organised, disciplined, obsessed with cleaning, exercises constantly and has amazing control over her weight ... you guessed it, the absolute opposite of me! I wanted the challenge of entering into a completely different life and believe I’ve created an entertaining, funny and perfectly flawed heroine. A successful daytime talk show host, Tanya Travis appears to have everything, a fabulous career, walk-in wardrobe, designer kitchen and gorgeous, hunky boyfriend. But at forty-something her age is becoming an issue in the youth-obsessed world of celebrity and  when her life begins to unravel, she finds herself in a strange situation, questioning what she’s sacrificed along the red-carpet way. It’s a romantic comedy about women, lovers, money, age, fertility and the truth behind what we consider to be ‘a successful life.’ As a former TV Producer with the BBC, I know and worked with people in the public eye and feel I can provide an insight into the ‘real’ life of a presenter/celebrity. Oh and my favourite things have popped up again, there’s a reality show, a handsome guy and lots of very expensive shoes... what’s not to love?

Anyway, I have a deadline to meet so I’ll sign off and get back to that edit... or perhaps I’ll just grab that mixing bowl and make a fresh batch of vanilla fairy cakes, well I need something to eat while I’m watching The Biggest Loser! 

‘Younger, Thinner, Blonder’ is published by Rickshaw Publishing and due out in the Autumn (if Sue can ever put the cakes down, stop watching TV and get back to the edit!)

Summer Daydreams by Carole Matthews

 Nell McNamara leads a simple life. She works in the local chip shop with friends and the owner who she considered her family. She lives in a humble home with her partner Olly and their little girl Petal and they just get through life as best they can. However, Nell has dreams of doing something different with her life. Nell wants to be a success and give her daughter a better life. However, it's not going to be easy. With the support of her friends and a large dose of resentment from Olly, Nell sets about changing the course of her life - with handbags! Nell begins designing and creating them with a passion. But, this passion is not without its price and soon Nell's dream starts to unravel into a nightmare. Is it possible to have it all? Is it possible to be a successful business woman and a mother? And, what of the financial cost? Nell soon discovers help comes in the most unlikely of places. And so do people who want to see her fail!
I adored this book. Carole Matthews has created a whole host of wonderful characters with great personalities. Its even difficult to dislike the bad guys too much too. Many readers will recognise themselves in Nell McNamara as Nell definitely represents the struggle that many working women deal with. A desire to have a career but also the need to be all things to all people and juggling work, home, children and a partner. Not an easy task! I adored the character Petal, Nell and Olly's daughter. What a little madam! Reminded me of one or two children I know! However, in the most desperate of situations Petal always brought humour to the situation and I loved that.
Carole Matthews has a writing style that is draws the reader in. I found myself cheering for Nell  and having a good old grumble at Olly! Nell's struggle almost became my own and I was willing her to succeed. To me, this is the sign of a great writer. One who makes the reader feel they have a vested interest in a character and becomes entangled in their struggle. This was the first book by Carole Matthews that I have read and I will definitely be reading everything I can by her from now on. This book was a lovely easy read with the right amount of romance, dubious characters and comedy sprinkled in. I passed the book onto my mother in law who read the entire thing in a single sitting. She simply could not put it down.

Voodoo Wedding by Janice Horton

Brook Cottage Books is proud to be part of the launch day for Voodoo Wedding by the lovely Janice Horton. I hope you enjoy the review for this great book.

Nola Nichols and Louis McGregor are so deeply in love and planning their wedding. However, they are not your average couple. Nola is a world famous and much sought after supermodel and Louis is a young up and coming doctor. Their hectic lifestyles don’t leave them much time to set a date for their wedding, much less make preparations.

Once a date has been set the task of inviting relatives to the event falls on Nola. However, Nola and Louis get more than they bargain for when Nola invites ‘past’ and present family members from Louis side to the wedding. Will the wedding go as planned? Will the eccentric relatives from Haiti and New Orleans have their own ideas of how the wedding will go? How will the happy couple manage to keep the press away and will that good old voodoo magic change the course of their big day? Add in a contingent of Scottish relatives from Nola’s side and there’s quite an eclectic mix of wedding guests! What could possibly go wrong?!

Voodoo Wedding is the second novella in the Voodoo Romance Trilogy and was such a fun read and I read the entire thing in one sitting. Janice Horton has created such an array of interesting and colourful characters. From the first story in the trilogy, ‘How do You Voodoo’ we can see how the characters have developed and matured, particularly Nola. The love story between Nola and Louis is sweet and I had a few moments when it tugged at my heart strings! I certainly cannot wait to read the final part of the story ‘Voodoo Child’ when it is released. Voodoo Wedding is the perfect book to read whilst snuggled up on the sofa with a glass of wine and a roaring fire! Congratulations to Janice Horton on yet another great story!

You can check out the review for How do You Voodoo? HERE 

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