Decluttering | The Start of it All

declutter

A year or so ago a lot of people I knew started to read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō. I have been intrigued about the idea ever since, but for some reason never took the initiative to read the book or declutter.

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Well, for the past month I have started to really feel cluttered by my stuff. I was sticking things in placed that made no sense I had piles of books and papers everywhere. My room was beginning to feel uncomfortable and overwhelming. So I started to watch some youtube videos to actually see what this book was about. Through this little bit of research I decided to get the book from my local library and give it a try. I also bought her Manga called The LifeChanging Manga of Tidying Up: A Magical Story by Marie Kondō, which I already read and loved! Then I ended up coming across a blog called http://makinglemonadeblog.com, which is run by Carrie. I ended up finding this awesome checklist to go with the book.

With all of these tools, I am going to try to take control of my space again. I know I do not use a ton of the things I have. Old textbooks, boxes, books I did not enjoy, and knickknacks I have not been able to part with. So to keep myself accountable I am going to share my little decluttering journey with you all. I am still not sure if I am going to follow this plan to a T or use it as a guide, but either way I am very excited.

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Reading Goals | Mid-Year Check-In

Reading Challenge

In March I did a quarter of the year check in on my goals to see if I was either on track or falling behind. Since seeing everyone post their mid-year check-ins, I thought it might once again be a good time to revisit my own goals to see if I am on track.

Top Five Book I Want to Read in 2017

At the start of the year I picked 5 books off of my TBR I wanted to get to this year the most. You can find the post here. I am happy to say I achieved this goal I have read every book I picked. You can find a review of most of those books in my #TBRTakeDown Wrap Up. Since I did so well with this I think I want to add another 5. So here are my new choices.

Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman

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A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas

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Eleanor Roosevelt, Vol 1, 1884-1933 by Blanche Wiesen Cook

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Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popović

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Prince’s Gambit by C.S. Pacat

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Giving Up on Series/Books I Am Not Enjoying

Check! If feels so good to just let go of a book I am not enjoying.

Becoming a More Critical Review/Reader

This is more of a reflective goal than a goal you can actively seek such as page count or books read, but I felt it was important for me to become more critical. In the past where I have read if a book made me happy it was automatically 5 starts even if it was not my favorite. I have to say that this year I have become less of a passive reader and have taken time to reflect on my reading THEN rate/review the book.

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Get to 0 by 2018

This goal is something I am having trouble with. At the start of the year I had 26 books on my TBR, which was great for me because it was well over 100 in the past. Currently, I have 34, but I have read 46 books so far this year. In theory I have read more than the books that were in my TBR, but I am not sure what happened. There are to many good book sales plus I went on vacation and picked up about 5-6 books. I think I am going to go on a Book Buying Ban or Read 5 to Get 1. I really crave the idea of walking into a bookstore of library and picking up a book and reading it then and there without adding it to a pile.

Post On My Blog at Least Twice a Month

Check!

Organize My Goodreads Shelves

Check! You can see all of my Goodreads shelves on my post  TAG | The Goodreads Tag.

Goodreads Reading Goal

I set this years goal at 50, which I do every year. I am very much on track having read 46 books so far this year.


How is your reading year going?

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BookTube-A-Thon | July 24-30th 2017

TBR

The BookTube-A-Thon is a yearly week long reading marathon hosted by Ariel Bissett. Each year there are reading challenges, video challenges, reading sprints via twitter, and there is also a book depository link and coupon code you can use to buy some great reads. This year it is from July 24th – 30th. It starts midnight your time. I did this last year and really enjoyed it.  Without further ado, here are the 2017 reading challenges.

The 2017 Reading Challenges

1/ Read a book with a person on the cover.

Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman

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What grows from the depths of their spirits is a romance of scarcely six weeks’ duration and an experience that marks them for a lifetime. For what the two discover on the Riviera and during a sultry evening in Rome is the one thing both already fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy.

2/ Read a hyped book.

Mad Miss Mimic by Sarah Henstra. A while ago I heard this name all over booktube so I do hope I enjoy it and it is not over hyped.

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Born into an affluent family, Leo outwardly seems like a typical daughter of English privilege in the 1870s: she lives with her wealthy married sister Christabel, and lacks for neither dresses nor trinkets. But Leo has a crippling speech impediment that makes it difficult for her to speak but curiously allows her to mimic other people’s voices flawlessly. Servants and ladies alike call her “Mad Miss Mimic” behind her back…

3/ Finish a book in one day.

Using any of the books I mention in this post.

4/ Read about a character that is very different from you.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. Myself and the main character, Henry “Monty” Montaque, do not have very much in common.

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Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

5/ Finish a book completely outdoors.

Using any of the books I mention in this post.

6/ Read a book you bought because of the cover.

Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popović. The cover of this book drew me to it right away, but once I read the description I knew I needed to have it.

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All the women in Iris and Malina’s family have the unique magical ability or “gleam” to manipulate beauty. Iris sees flowers as fractals and turns her kaleidoscope visions into glasswork, while Malina interprets moods as music. But their mother has strict rules to keep their gifts a secret, even in their secluded sea-side town. Iris and Malina are not allowed to share their magic with anyone, and above all, they are forbidden from falling in love.

7/ Read seven books.

Hehe… we shall see about this one.

So those are the four books I plan on reading this year for the BookTube-A-Thon. I also wanted to share the official announcement for this years booktubeathon. This is where you can find the most information as well as that link and code to book depository.


Are you going to participate in this years BookTube-A-Thon?

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DIY | TBR JAR

diyHello everyone, I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just don’t know what to read next. Most of the time I pick my next read based off of what catches my eye, but sometimes that does not work. So I decided to make a TBR jar. Now of course I went to youtube to get some inspiration. I ended up getting inspiration from J. Bookish , although I did tweak it a bit because I did not want to wait overnight for it to dry. Now on to the DIY project!

Step One: Get the Supplies

 photo IMG_9761_zpsxld37w9d.jpgYou need a jar, Mod Podge, gel food coloring, a few paper plates, a paint brush, and any decorations you may want. I picked up wooden letters and a few small paper flowers. Depending on the decorations you get you may need a hot glue gun or super glue.

Step Two: Add Some Color


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For this step you are going to take your jar and add some Mod Podge, I recommend adding more than you think you will need. Then add a little bit of the gel food coloring. For the coloring I suggest starting off with a little and mixing it, then you can add more if you would like the color to be darker. Stir, stir, stir until everything is evenly mixed. This is important because it will show later on if it is not mixed correctly. P.S. don’t stir to quickly you will get air bubbles.

Step 3: Turn That Jar!

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Now that your color is mixed you need to slowly rotate while slowly turning it side ways. This will evenly distruble the mixture inside the jar. If done to quickly you may have uneven coverage and air bubble.

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Once your entire jar is covered continue to rotate it and pour the extra color mixture onto a plate. Get as much of this out as you can because it will speed up your drying time.

Step Four: Let it Dry

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When as much of the liquid is out you place it upside down on a plate. Now at this point you have two options:

  • You can leave it like this and let it dry over night and continue tomorrow
  • Set oven to warm or 175 degrees F. Place the jar upside down for 10 min. on top of wax paper or foil. When those 10 min. are up it is now time to flip your jar over so the opening is facing up and keep in oven for another 20-30 min. If you take it out of the oven and there is still streaking you may need to leave it in for a bit longer.

While it is air drying or you are baking it in the oven now is a great time to either print and cut out the books on your TBR or hand write them. Even though I did not add reading challenges I think that could also be a fun idea.

Step 5: The Fun Part, It’s Time to Decorate!

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Here are a few of the decorations I picked up, you can get whatever it is you like. I did not end up using everything.

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Sorry you cannot really see the color of my jar in this picture. I had to place it on an oven mitt to protect my floor. Yes, I was to lazy to wait over night, I wanted to decorate! Anyway, I suggest planning out what you are going to place on your jar. As you can see in the top left I picked out my letters and flowers and laid them out. Now depending on what decorations you get you may need a hot glue gun, use some more of the glue we used earlier, or you have picked something that already has adhesive on it.

Step Six: Put in Your TBR Titles

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Here is my final TBR jar. I really love how the color came out. It is light enough you can see all the papers inside, but dark enough that it colorful. I hope you enjoyed this little bookish DIY. I love this DIY because it is so customizable and does not require a lot of supplies. It can be as simple or complicated as you want to make it.


Do you have a TBR jar?

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T5W | July 5th|Books Without Romance

Blog

In the past I have never done Top 5 Wednesday, but this week I decided to give it a shot. This week the prompt asks us to list the top five books without romance or have a tiny bit of romance. I went to the Top 5 Wednesday goodreads group to get this weeks prompt. You can also find all of the prompts for this upcoming month.

Jackaby by William Ritter

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I cannot speak more highly of a book/series. I love Jackaby and all the other cast of characters. Now, this book has some lingering eyes, but it barely even in the book. I will say there are a lot of people who want to see some of the characters shipped, but there is no romance in this book. Just  glorious supernatural adventure.

Sabriel by Garth Nix

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Sabriel is way to busy trying to save her father Mage Abhorsen in the Old Kingdom. She is dealing with free magic and a companion that might not actually be on her side to worry about a true romance.

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

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This books is a wonderful story. Honestly a must read in my opinion.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

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This is one of my favorite books. A high fantasy adventure following Bilbo Baggins. There is magic, orcs, elves, an angry dragon and much more…apart from romance.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

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This books main focus is on Jonas and his internal struggle becoming Receiver of Memory. Being given this role causes him to question the society he has grown up in.


Can you think of any other books without romance?

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TAG | The Unique Blogger Award

Tag Tuesday

Thank you Dawlyn and Krista from Little Blind Book Finds for the Tag! Today for Tag Tuesday I will be doing The Unique Blogger Award. I love tags like this because every person creates the questions for the people they tag so no one has the same questions.

The Rules

  1. Share the link of the blogger who has shown love to you by nominating you.
  2. Answer the questions.
  3. In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate 8-13 people for the same award.
  4. Ask them 3 questions

The Questions

1.What inspired you to start your blog?

Going right for the hard questions, huh? Well I decided to make my blog because I wanted to talk about books. Now some of you may know I have a bookstagram and I had that first. But, while I LOVE bookstagram and still use it constantly I noticed there is a lack of communication which upset me. So I decided why not create a blog. While I made it a while ago, I really started using it this past January.

This beautiful classic has found a new home 😄

A post shared by @bookishluna on

2. What advice do you have for new bloggers?

Have fun and post what makes you happy because people who enjoy the same stuff will find you. Also, blogging is meant to be fun, make sure you are always enjoying the content you are creating and don’t put so much pressure on yourself.

3. Name a book that you’ve read or want to read that you heard about from the blogosphere?

This is a really great questions, hum. I think one of the main books/series I plan to read because of the blogosphere would have to be A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. I heard about it on booktube, but a review I read, which of course now I cannot remember, and it really sold me on the book/series. Apparently, my boyfriends love of commas has rubbed off on me.

My Questions

  1. Is there a quote from a book that has inspired you/changed the way you view things? If so, what is the quote?
  2. Who would you cast as the main characters of a movie adaptation of your favorite book?
  3. What do you enjoy most about blogging?

I Nominate:

Jess

Nikki

Kristina

Sarah

Misty

Also, anyone else who wants to join in on the fun!

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Review | The Way Back to Florence by Glenn Haybittle

Book Review

The Way Back to Florence by Glenn Haybittle

*I received this book through netgalley in exchange for an honest review. *

18302455If someone asked me to describe this book I would say it is poetic, passionate, and fast paced. It went by way to quickly for my liking, I wanted it to never end. In this historical fiction novel you follow the lives of  Freddie, Isabella, and Oskar against the backdrop of  in Italy during World War II. What I enjoyed the most is that their personalities are distinct, they do not feel generic at all. Isabella is a strong individual, she puts herself in so much danger to help others as well as project art. I went to art school for a few years and for me personally art is culture. It is a way to show how a group or individual feels, but also shows what they see around them. Art is very important. Freddie is a pilot during the war. His does gruesome work and is faced with danger often. During this time he bonds very well with his crew mates and you experience his point of view of the bombing, which I found interesting to read. Oskar, whose story is not really described in the description so I wont say much, but he is also a very distinct character who has a very important non-passive role in this book. I felt that this novel described a lot of the various roles citizens could have taken during the war.

I could easily go on about this, I honestly REALLY enjoyed this. It has all of the elements of a historical fiction that I look for. It takes place during an active time in history, the characters are involved in the events in different ways, and I genuinely connected with these characters. For me a bonus of this book was that it took place outside of Germany, France, and Britain. For me personally I had not read a WWII historical fiction that took place in Italy so it caught my eye even more than a historical fiction normally would. Over all I would say if you enjoy historical fiction, art, WWII related books, and you enjoy reading about characters that feel like real people you need to pick this up. I give this book an easy 5 stars!

Description

In 1937 Freddie (English), Isabella (Italian) and Oskar (a German Jew) become friends at an art school in Florence where they are taught by the dictatorial but magus-like Maestro and his sinister fascist assistant Fosco. When war arrives Freddie returns to England to become the pilot of a Lancaster bomber. Oskar, now a dancer, has moved to Paris where he escapes the 1942 roundup of Jews and arrives in Italy with his young daughter Esme. Isabella remains in Florence where she continues to paint. Until she is called upon by Maestro to forge an old master painting, apparently at the behest of the Führer himself, and as a result is seen as a Nazi collaborator by her neighbours.
The murderous skies over Germany and a war-torn Italy in the grip of Nazi occupation provide the setting for this novel about the love of a separated husband and his wife and the love of a man for his young daughter. Freddie and Oskar both hope to find their way back to Florence. But Florence’s heritage of preserving the identity and continuity of the past has never before been so under threat.


Book Information

Publisher: Cheyne Walk

Publication Date: (This edition) July 06, 2017

List Price: $13.99

ISBN: 9780993286308

Pages: 490 pages


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JULY TBR | 2017

TBR

The Sign of Four by Sir Arther Conan Doyle
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I have been slowly reading through all of the Sherlock Holmes novels and short stories and I have started The Sign of Four and I really, really want to finish it this month.

A dense yellow miasma swirls in the streets of London as Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson accompany a beautiful young woman to a sinister assignation.

For Mary Morstan has received several large pearls – one a year for the last six years – and now a mystery letter telling her she is a wronged woman. If she would seek justice she is to meet her unknown benefactor, bringing with her two companions.

Goodreads.com

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

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I have a little bit of a funny story for this book. I was in the bookstore looking at new releases. Someone who worked there walked up to me and was so excited I had this book in my hands. She went on for about five minuets about  how much she liked it. While the premise of the book pulled me in this girls excitement sold me completely.

On February 22, 1862, two days after his death, Willie Lincoln was laid to rest in a marble crypt in a Georgetown cemetery. That very night, shattered by grief, Abraham Lincoln arrives at the cemetery under cover of darkness and visits the crypt, alone, to spend time with his son’s body.

Goodreads.com

Joyland by Stephen King

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Once again I plan on reading a Stephen King novel. My aunt recommended this one to me and I already owned it so I decided to pick this one up next. What could go wrong in a theme park? Oh wait, Stephen King wrote it…everything. I am excited to pick this book up as well.

College student Devin Jones took the summer job at Joyland hoping to forget the girl who broke his heart. But he wound up facing something far more terrible: the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and dark truths about life—and what comes after—that would change his world forever.

Goodreads.com

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What are you reading this month?

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JUNE 2017 | WRAP UP

Wrap Up

5 Stars:

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I finally got around to finishing A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas and I enjoyed it quite a lot. I have to say the ending blew me away completely. It has me very excited for the next book in the series. I am currently am in line to get it from my library so I can read it at the beach without ruining my copy.

4 Stars:

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Another book I got to during the month of June is The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember. I read this short book in a single day and I was very invested in the main character. This is a LGBTQ+ retelling/twist between Ursula from the little mermaids childhood and Norse mythology. This book would have easily been a 5 stars, but there was a scene that happened between our main character and her love interest that made me a little uncomfortable. Even with that small scene I adored this book.

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The first book I finished in June was It by Stephen King. This huge tome that is over 1000 pages was totally worth it. It was creepy and intriguing, it has me very excited for the remake that is coming out later this year.

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Some of this book I loved, the other parts I did not enjoy at all. I enjoyed all the nods to other words such as Harry Potter, The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and more. But, this book just rubbed me the wrong way sometimes. I just got angry at it, not at the characters. I found myself thinking, “Why? There was no reason for this!” Beginning is great, then ending is amazing, but the middle falls a little flat. If you can push yourself through the middle of the book you are golden!

Bingo Update

JulyBingo

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What did you read this month?

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TAG | The Goodreads Tag

Tag Tuesday

1. WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU MARKED AS ‘READ’?

The Fireman by Joe Hill

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2. WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

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Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King

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Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

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3. WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU MARKED AS ‘TO READ’?

Mad Miss Mimic by Sarah Henstra

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4. WHAT BOOK DO YOU PLAN TO READ NEXT?

I plan on reading The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock.

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5. DO YOU USE THE STAR RATING SYSTEM?

Yes, I actually have it posted on my blog [HERE].

6. ARE YOU DOING A 2017 READING CHALLENGE?

Yes, I have a goal of reading 50 books this year. I currently have 41 books read, so I am well on my way.

7. DO YOU HAVE A WISHLIST?

Yes, but I keep track of my wishlist on amazon not goodreads.

8. WHAT BOOK DO YOU PLAN TO BUY NEXT?

I have no idea, I usually just buy whatever book I feel like reading. But, I am craving a non-fiction read.

9. DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVORITE QUOTES, WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE A FEW?

“Life is tough my darling, but so are you” Stephanie Bennett Henry

“Kindness is an act of bravery, I think, just as hatred is an act of fear” William Ritter

“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth” Buddha

“I’m not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship” – Louisa May Alcott

“He thought much but said little” J.R.R. Tolkien

10. WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE AUTHORS?

Stephen King, Louisa May Alcott, Rainbow Rowell,  and William Ritter are my top authors.

11. HAVE YOU JOINED ANY GROUPS?

I have joined a few, but I don’t always read all of the books the groups read.

Top 5 Wednesday

NonFiction Pulitzers

Our Shared Shelf

The History Book Club

Supporting Bookstores

Non Fiction Book Club

12. HOW MANY SHELVES TO DO YOU HAVE ON GOODREADS?

Apart from read, to-read, and currently reading I have genre shelfs. I put books on these when I am done reading so I can see what types of books I am reading.

 

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I tag: Kristina ,  Charlotte , Sarah , Misty , Nikki , and anyone else!

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