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The Scent of Rain by Anne Montgomery

I’m going to start by saying that this book does have some frightening scenes and will delve into many forms of abuse. This can be from sexual, physical and verbal abuse that will shape many of the characters within the pages of the book. The Scent of Rain is also based on things that are actually happening today in parts of Colorado as explained by author Anne Montgomery at the end of the book.

The Scent of Rain, while fiction, is a book that could potentially be very true when it comes to what happens within the confines of a cult. The Fundamentalist Mormon (FLM) group in which the story takes places is one that is lead like so many other cults by one man, a prophet. A man whose word is law and if you do not follow his law you will not be allowed to go to the Celestial Heaven.

The story revolves primarily around the live of sixteen year old, Rose Madsen. She has plans for her life and many do not seem to agree with what her mom’s choices are for her.  Bliss, Rose’s mother, wants her daughter to follow in her footsteps and get married off to a member of the FLM. The problem with teenagers today are that often they do not wish to follow what their parents wish and some even will speak back to their parents. Rose is one of those teenagers and when she speaks up to her mother’s wishes Rose is beaten. Rose will even find herself locked into a small closet that would make the one a well-known wizard was locked in look like a suite.

The treatment of Rose is just one of the horrific stories that come out of this book as sadly there are others. A ruling from the leader of the group, their prophet, requires all children with pets to kill those pets. These type of events will eventually lead to the greatest act of Rose’s teenage life as she runs away.  She will find that she will not be going alone as a young man with just as a troubling life will go with her.

Sadly this potential of a great ending for the runaways will not go as planned. A misjudgment by those who find the two leads to even more trouble for the pair. Although there are others in the area who wish to help the FLM is a very powerful group.  It really is when others start to stand up to the prophet that things begin to show signs of hope for Rose and Adan.

This is a very powerful book and one that is not easy to put down. There is a lot of drama within these pages but at same time you get a sense of hope. The book is again fiction but really if one wishes all they need to do is some research to find out that these type of groups are out there. Groups that have older men running a compound with multiple wives and many children. Often they rule thru not just fear but psychological abuse that make others fear leaving would be like dying.

Author Anne Montgomery surely did her research on this book. You will find that out in notes she provides along with the dedication to Flora Jessop. As stated in the dedication she escaped two separate cults and now tries to rescue other girls, and women, from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  She acknowledges the subject matter at the end of the book and how she hopes to shed some light on the issues that are found in groups like the FLM. I know the subject matter in the book can be troublesome if not horrendous at times but this is a work of FICTION. The book may be based on some potential real events but the story telling is top notch as you watch people try and overcome this life. All they wish to do is believe in hope and rise above what they know and become the person they wish to be.

I’m going to start by saying that this book does have some frightening scenes and will delve into many forms of abuse. This can be from sexual, physical and verbal abuse that will shape many of the characters within the pages of the book. The Scent of Rain is also based on things that are actually happening today in parts of Colorado as explained by author Anne Montgomery at the end of the book.

The Scent of Rain, while fiction, is a book that could potentially be very true when it comes to what happens within the confines of a cult. The Fundamentalist Mormon (FLM) group in which the story takes places is one that is lead like so many other cults by one man, a prophet. A man whose word is law and if you do not follow his law you will not be allowed to go to the Celestial Heaven.

The story revolves primarily around the live of sixteen year old, Rose Madsen. She has plans for her life and many do not seem to agree with what her mom’s choices are for her.  Bliss, Rose’s mother, wants her daughter to follow in her footsteps and get married off to a member of the FLM. The problem with teenagers today are that often they do not wish to follow what their parents wish and some even will speak back to their parents. Rose is one of those teenagers and when she speaks up to her mother’s wishes Rose is beaten. Rose will even find herself locked into a small closet that would make the one a well-known wizard was locked in look like a suite.

The treatment of Rose is just one of the horrific stories that come out of this book as sadly there are others. A ruling from the leader of the group, their prophet, requires all children with pets to kill those pets. These type of events will eventually lead to the greatest act of Rose’s teenage life as she runs away.  She will find that she will not be going alone as a young man with just as a troubling life will go with her.

Sadly this potential of a great ending for the runaways will not go as planned. A misjudgment by those who find the two leads to even more trouble for the pair. Although there are others in the area who wish to help the FLM is a very powerful group.  It really is when others start to stand up to the prophet that things begin to show signs of hope for Rose and Adan.

This is a very powerful book and one that is not easy to put down. There is a lot of drama within these pages but at same time you get a sense of hope. The book is again fiction but really if one wishes all they need to do is some research to find out that these type of groups are out there. Groups that have older men running a compound with multiple wives and many children. Often they rule thru not just fear but psychological abuse that make others fear leaving would be like dying.

Author Anne Montgomery surely did her research on this book. You will find that out in notes she provides along with the dedication to Flora Jessop. As stated in the dedication she escaped two separate cults and now tries to rescue other girls, and women, from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  She acknowledges the subject matter at the end of the book and how she hopes to shed some light on the issues that are found in groups like the FLM. I know the subject matter in the book can be troublesome if not horrendous at times but this is a work of FICTION. The book may be based on some potential real events but the story telling is top notch as you watch people try and overcome this life. All they wish to do is believe in hope and rise above what they know and become the person they wish to be.

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Posted by on October 9, 2017 in Reviews

 

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Eric Olafson: Midshipman by Vanessa Ravencroft

I first want to be honest with all that I was provided with an Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC) for my review. The review is unbiased and honest as a free copy does not get me to change my opinion or review style. I just wished to put that out first and foremost so all understand how I came about this book.

Eric Olafson: Midshipman by Vanessa Ravencroft is the book I have been referring to. The book is one in a series of books around the primary character Eric. The book will allow the reader to follow along as Eric starts his sophomore year at the Academy on Arsenal II. What awaits Eric and what will become his “gang” will be told within the pages of this very interesting book. I do want to make sure to point out this books setting is in outer space with Eric being a Midshipman in a Navy who’s ocean is the darkness of space.

The story will unfold as we find Eric traveling back to school as he looks to continue his education at the academy. It’s not easy to make sense of who Eric is but within the first few pages we find that he is quite a unique young man as he had made friends with one of the newest member of the Union, the Coven. He even at one point recollects meeting an admiral and discusses how in the past his confusion on whether to dress as a man or a woman.

The reader will also get an introduction into an often used tool within in writing, the interlude. I can see how some readers may get turned off but such a device, but these are well used within the book. They help to give insight into what is going on in the much larger landscape of the story. You will also get to learn so much more about Eric, and who he maybe even if unknown to himself.

The one point most important that I found within the opening chapters about Eric is a simple scene within a bar at Arsenal Gate. He stopped to get a drink and hope to find some directions on how to continue his trip on to Arsenal II. However, when a Midshipman walks into a bar often patronized by hard working men things can get heated. A simple misunderstanding turns into a near fight as Eric is required to defend himself. The whole thing shows that the young man is willing to try and avoid a fight, but if he must he will. The part that stuck with me was how he dressed down the security officers who came to his “rescue”. They did not follow the proper protocols and they ended up in more trouble than the man who tried to pick a fight with Eric. This showed me that he has a sense of fairness and will not just defend himself in a fight but in general.

The scene in the bar sets up behavior that will become a bit more common place for Eric as the story unfolds. We will find out some of stories behind him in his past as the book continues. You will find yourself wishing you had read the previous book just from what was revealed during the story of this book. The author Vanessa Ravencroft does a magnificent job in not just framing the story but the looks of the other species that are found within and outside of the Union. She will take the reader to worlds and species that may not come to the mind till they are introduced.

The book will eventually give us so much more when it comes to the story. One should not go into this book thinking it’s going to take place just within the training confines of the academy. Instead Eric will be on two very special ships of the Union fleet and even be temporarily given the role of one of these fine ships. The reader will eventually be introduced to the Olafson’s Gang which introduces some of the diverse aliens that are introduced within the pages. The one readers will surely come to sense is that there is something VERY BIG on the horizon that will involve Eric. The before mentioned interludes will introduce the reader to what may come and potentially even more on what makes Eric, well Eric.

Eric Olafson: Midshipman by Vanessa Ravencroft is a fantastic book. There are so many primary plots with minor plots woven within the story the book is hard to put down. You will also find yourself wrapped up within Eric’s life and I found myself wondering how I would handle some of the things thrust upon this character. One can honestly find plenty to like about this book as there are elements of drama, comedy, mystery and so much within the pages you do not need to be a fan of science fiction to love the book.

I want to take the last few lines to thank the great people at Inkitt for introducing me to this great book. I can honestly I am hooked and look forward to what may come within the pages of future books by Vanessa Ravencroft that tell the story of Eric Olafson. I must conclude that I did tell a fib as I am a bit biased as Eric is from a planet that is based in some Old Norse mythology. I myself have some Norwegian heritage so really looked forward to that part of Eric.

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2017 in Reviews

 

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Promises by Ardyce Durham

As many fans of history know there are several ways to keep history alive and to record the events of the past. Author Ardyce Durham uses just one of those ways by researching the life of her paternal grandfather to find out the man had lived a very interesting life. She used these historical findings to put them into a very well told story that, although fiction,  gives us glimpses to a period many have forgotten.

Promises takes the reader back into the 1800’s prior to the Civil War and up thru and beyond.  The book opens with the reader getting an introduction to both the Walker and Cartwright families. The main characters are going to be a set of boys who were born just days apart. Their names are Owen Cartwright and Wes Walker.

The story will follow the lives of these two young men as they grow up into adult hood, and go off to war. The story will be filled with things from moments of comedy, to that of sorrow. One of the comedic pieces that stuck out to me is when the young men try chewing tobacco for the first time. I could almost imagine what they went thru as who has not tried something they shouldn’t as a child only to have it backfire and cause sickness.

There is also heartache and tragedy within the pages as often happened in the mid 1800’s whole families could be uprooted from their homes as they must move to where the work is to survive. This happens to both families when the local sawmill where both men work, shuts down. The families are forced to travel and find jobs and we find a lot of the original grit of the human spirit on how they react to these changes. We have to remember there are no paved roads, no cars and worse of all no CELL phones at this time. A trip that today, could be a few hours to a day trip by car on an express way took days, maybe weeks or months during this period.

The story will follow the boys as their families must move to a new town, a new way of living and how they adapt. We will read how they take up fighting in what can only be called an early fight club. The reader will have to take time to see how they do as I want to avoid a lot of spoilers. There again though we get a glimpse at the bond between the boys and also their families.  The bond forged thru their youth will take them into the Civil War and be part of what comes after that conflict.

Readers will get a sense of the bond the boys build throughout the book as they read the stories before and after the Civil War. I am sure there will be some who may suffer with the language used in the book. It’s in no way something you need to have fear about, it’s just that a lot of the language is period based. It fits the story and is something I enjoyed as it took me even more into the story.

There are some great characters developed within the pages of Promises by Author Ardyce Durham. She does a very good job at not just building the story between the boys but the scenery of the era the book takes place within. The backdrop of a strong bond between families, to that of the conflict that put families against families was brought to life with the writing. There are some moments of sorrow, love and anger within the pages but the book is a great telling of a story that is based on the life of the author’s grandfather.

 

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2017 in Reviews

 

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Zombies!!! The Official Board Game Soundtrack by Midnight Syndicate

zombies_cover-250x251As you read the next bit of this review I ask that you picture in your mind that voice you often hear in movie trailers. Now please picture that male voice here as you read these opening lines.

In a world where Zombies have become main stream is there a genre they have not yet stumbled and eaten their way through? My answer is no as here they are in a board game called, Zombies!!!.

You may ask why I start a review in such a manner but I felt it was fitting as people check the game out they must be sure to check on Midnight Syndicate’s soundtrack for the game. The title of which is very fitting as it is called, “Zombies!!! The Official Board Game Soundtrack”.

I will be up front with Midnight Syndicate fans as this soundtrack does have a few tracks that have been re-inspired for the game. I got to say that for me there was no problem with this as the songs worked great with the overall pace of the album. There is of course original songs upon this soundtrack as well that fans will truly enjoy.

Those who enjoy the game will also find the music to fit the game. I have myself not played the game but have researched it and from the videos and information I have seen I could see myself at a table playing this game and enjoying the music. The opening track does its best to get you into the mood for the game as I can imagine players hitting play on the album and listening to the song as they start. The style of the opening helps one imagine what they are in for as hordes are about to take over the world.

The album continues in such a way that as each piece plays you could get more into the game. The themes that come across in the tracks fit so well with the theme of the game. Yes you may moving a game piece across a board but when your mind can get it’s imagination fed more thru a piece of music it makes a game come more alive for the players.

I will say that from that opening track, “It Begins”, to the middle track of, “Town Square” this is easily accomplished thru the long mastered music style of Midnight Syndicate. The creators of the game even lumped praise onto the music in a press release that came out back in September 2016.

Quote from Press release….

“The soundtrack is a perfect complement to the game,” added Twilight Creations co-founder, Kerry Breitenstein. “I couldn’t be more excited for the Zombies!! Fans to hear it, let alone the rest of the world.”  End Quote.

Now how does a reviewer like myself able to add much more in the way of praise for this album when the co-founder of the company behind the game states something like those works?  I will say that after I listened to the album I could also see it working with other games, and even turning off the sound of some Android zombie games and letting this soundtrack role as you play the game.

Midnight Syndicate is one of those bands that is able to let a music lover get into the tones and ambience of the music but it stimulates the mind and imagination. The album, Zombies!!! The Official Board Game Soundtrack, is just another accomplishment in this bands ever growing music catalog and worth a listen for game and non-game fans.

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2017 in Reviews

 

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Life was Stormy but Brighter Things Are Coming.

I’m sure by now there are those who follow my blog wondering what the heck happened. Where am I? Did I stop writing? Did I maybe die? Did my Multiple Sclerosis decide it wanted to take some joy from my life? No to all of those as I can honestly say that none of those are true and really they are the furthest from the truth. I do need to edit this piece a bit as MS did decide to flare up and I’ll get to that in a bit.

I could go on a long babbling story about what really happened but I want to make this post somewhat short as really it is a re-introduction to what this blog is for. So let me hit the points now to explain how the end of 2016 was stressful and how 2017 is finally calming down.

The month of August saw me traveling to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, not for myself but my mother. She had been dealing with some health problems for a while and just before she planned to take a trip away from her home her hairstylist, of all people, pointed out how she looked jaundice. This led her to get to a doctor and after much testing they told her she had developed cancer. This is what brought the trip to the Mayo Clinic for the first time in 2016 and it would not be the last time. After surgery to remove a spot from her lung, we went back so the doctors could remove the original tumor that was found. She actually had two surgeries on that last visit over a span of a week and being the family we are she was one of the unique ones to be fighting two cancers at one time. I have to say the good news the doctor shared after the primary surgery made being in a hotel over Christmas worth it for us.

As my mom was going thru this my younger brother was dealing with his own life/death situation. He is one of those who likes working outside, and he and his wife own several animals. They have horses, chickens, dogs, and I could go on but really you probably don’t want to read about their small “zoo”. Anyway somewhere between the work around his home and the work in community a horrible infection took hold and he’s been battling that for some time now. As it is his story I will not go on to much more on that except to say that he is doing better and using a strong faith to help him deal with things. This faith along with support from family and friends is helping so much.

As for me, I started reading again and was lining up some reviews. I even have a few I am about done writing and wanted to share but then mid/late February things got weird. My left eye sight started to get blurry in the vision. It reminded me of what my grandmother went thru when she started losing her sight. A look out the center of the eye resulted in blurry vision but my peripheral vision for the most part was fine. I figured with some fatigue and other issues I had going on this was an MS flair up.

I had a normal six month checkup with my neurologist and mentioned the issue to her when I had that visit. A MRI was ordered and after having that done on a Friday, after a day or two of phone tag I got the results. The person who read the MRI said that it was NOT MS related but did state they had found three new lesions in the brain. Okay not the news I wanted when it came to the lesions but that is the disease but I still thought this eye issue was MS related.

This lead to an eye doctor visit a week after the MRI and that is where things got moving, and moving fast. First I got to say I have an outstanding eye doctor as she went well above the normal to help me on that visit. At first there was talk of a fix being glasses but then the retinal exam took place. She was going on about how healthy the right eye looked and the left eye she stopped. She asked if a few other doctors where available and next I knew she was consulting with retina specialists and then on the phone with the on-call neurologist for where I go. It came back that, yep it was MS related and I had a few choices. I could wait till Monday or get into the Emergency Room and get started on steroids that night. As we dealing with my eyes I went in that evening and started a steroid therapy treatment plan. I got to say that after just a few days my eye is feeling a bit better.

I realize these are a lot of excuses and I do HATE making excuses. There were some positives over the end of last year and the start of this year as well. Mid-year in 2016 I got promoted to a Front Line Leader (Supervisor) in the department I work within at my employer. I know have a small team of people reporting to me. The interesting thing my team is spread around the company but I am enjoying the challenges and most of all my team. My wife and I were given a small inheritance from when my mother sold my father’s business. This has allowed us to take on some home projects that we had been putting off. So, it hasn’t been all bad. Of course there is the joy in seeing my wife get ready to go visit her father who lives out of state who she hasn’t seen in a few years.

I just wanted to make sure that those reading knew that although it has been a rough six or eight months it wasn’t all bad. Things are picking back up for the positive and as always I am one that is trying to get back to the things I love doing. This means I do plan on getting those reviews I started out there, and more importantly getting all those authors waiting on a review realizing I did not forget their works. So, get ready as I may have to blow up the zoom in my Microsoft Word right now to write, I will be writing.  This is why the photo I used is one that was taken of a rainbow after a rain as to me it shows that thru all the stormy weather that life can bring something beautiful is waiting just behind it.

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2017 in Personal

 

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Leaders A Twin-Bred Novel by Karen A Wyle

LeadersCommunication is something so much of us take for advantage. One must ask themselves how they would survive if suddenly they couldn’t reach that person they are used to communicating with on a daily basis. A great example is imagine how you would deal if suddenly all the cell phone towers stopped working. I can imagine there would be some panic as so many have gotten rid of their land phone lines. There would be no internet access to talk to someone either. There would probably be some major panic across the world if this happened.

I know this is something easy to grasp but image it one step further and mankind had people living on Mars. Communication has gone blank and neither planet can talk to each other. The thought of concern for those on each planet would be tremendous. Who would send a rescue mission first, Earth or Mars? It’s the type of problem we find the Twin-Bred of Tofarn having to deal with.

Leaders is the latest entry in author’s Karen A. Wyle’s Twin-Bred series of books. I will admit it did help me to have read the first two books in the series before this one. I say that not because Twin-Bred and Reach are great books but the great work Wyle uses in creating the characters and world that is used within the pages of all three books.

The Tofa are different then man and events from the previous book saw much of the twin-bred rocketing into space leaving their home world of Tofarn behind.  Only one of their number had stayed behind and he, and his offspring, are seen as outcasts among those around them. They get second glances from others and hear whispers behind their backs. Some would plot to end them or change how society thinks of them. There of course are others who feel the offspring, Lan-sol, is their future leader. Those that have left the planet are also reaching out to Lan-sol inviting him to come and join them.

This problem communication will suddenly stop between the two worlds. Those who blasted into space have landed on a planet they are calling new Landing. Mara, a scientist behind the twin-bred experiment went with her twin-bred and is trying to live a quiet life. As one can imagine, when things go wrong people look to their heroes to save them. Thus, the twin-bred on New Landing turn to Mara to help solve what has happened with communications. They must also decide if it’s really worth the trouble to try and talk to those back on Tofarn. They chose to leave and other than friends what is there back home to really worry about.

It actually is interesting how events on both planets in a way mirror what is happening on the other. There are of course different characters along with different motives, but the main thing is do we care what happened to the others. This is where author Karen A. Wyle’s talent shows through as she is able to blend the events and stories so well throughout the book. Her character development will leave you wanting to take crib notes to ensure you don’t miss a thing as you read the story.

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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When the Devil Climbs by Drake Vaughn

Devil ClimbsThe one thing we learn in life is that our choices can lead us down a multitude of directions. We can choose to take a specific talent and apply it and make a name for ourselves. We can also choose that it would be too hard and have life take us in a different direction. There are times that we may rush to judgment and the results could be disastrous. This would be the case of one Russ Grote who will see his life go in a direction he never expected. He will find himself with an ex-wife, going to prison, a son he never sees and worse stuck working with other ex-convicts.

This is the life he will be leading as someone opens “When the Devil Climbs” by Drake Vaughn. The book opens with Russ having a conversation with his ex-wife and how he is looking so forward with reconnecting with his son. Russ is even able to primarily ignore his coworker, Harley, as he adds some commentary to things going on as they wait for the boss Slake to arrive. Victor, another coworker shows up and the crew of three ex-cons gets their day started as they load up to go change out the billboard on a large road sign.

The reader will come to understand that this is one of the few jobs that are willing to hire ex-cons. As you get an introduction into each character you may be very thankful they don’t work with you. On the hand you may even know someone who acts like any of these “fine” gentlemen. Russ is at least working on some of his demons as he has gotten help and the others, well. To give you an idea on the others Slake is one quick to action and will find quick to anger as he is the boss of this crew. Harley he is an old timer with no sort of political correctness and enjoys tormenting the new guy on the team, Victor. As the new guy, Victor, will get razzed but he is also Hispanic and there are plenty of off color jokes directed his way by the ignorant Harley.  It will surely make for an interesting work crew and for an eye opening day.

The problem for these men is they have come to fight the law and there decision will haunt them for the remainder of their lives. As they come across a police cruiser and are told to turn they are given an option from life. They could listen or try some stupid stunt. The choice, you may have guessed it, is stupid stunt and they drive around the cruiser to head to their job.  It is not long after this when ominous dust clouds in the dry ground show in the distance and trouble is coming and these four men are going to find out man is not always the key of the food chain. They will learn that even they can become a great meal for something man feasts on around the world.

When the Devil Climbs will really jump into action at this point in the book. The men will see the dust storm and realize it is actually a large group of pigs running wild. Harvey, who stays on the ground to watch the trucks, even will try to play with one of the pigs as they get close. He will find out to late that this group has more on its mind then running free as they are hungry and man is now the “other white meat”.   It won’t be long from this point when the remaining three high on the billboard platform watch in horror as Harley is devoured by the creatures and they realize they are trapped.

The book will see the three remaining men struggle with each other at first. It will not be long before they run out of water, and food and this will lead to self struggles as the mind becomes their enemy as well. Author Drake Vaughn shows a great gift for delving into the mind and characters of each of these men. Their backgrounds and natures will be slowly revealed as they stay trapped up on that billboard platform hoping, and praying, for some help. What will make matters even worse is when help appears to becoming their arrival; well one must read the book.

The truth is that, When the Devil Climbs, does a great job of character development as well as setting the stage for a very psychological horror story. There are moments when we get to read how the pigs fast but in truth it felt to me much of the horror comes as these men realize the trouble they are in and must determine how to react in the face of this danger. This is why I opened the review by pointing out life choices as each man made a choice that somehow lead to them being there at that moment in time when their lives may end.

I must add that for a great book trailer head over to Drake Vaughn’s website and enjoy.

 

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2016 in Reviews

 

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