Friday, 29 December 2017

Looking back on my 2017 goals and resolutions...how did I do?


IT'S ALMOST THE NEW YEAR! There's 3 days left of 2017 - can you believe it? This year absolutely flew by! It was an interesting year. I turned 18; I started writing my second book; I began volunteering at the library and at my church; I FOUND A CHURCH, FINALLY; I began making new friends, and I grew as a Christian! YAY! I feel as if I grew a lot this year, and I'm happy with the person I'm becoming.

SO! Every year I make goals and resolutions. I like having goals to work towards: goals that will challenge me, push me and motivate me. I like having something to work towards; I like feeling as if I'm getting somewhere, and I like having things I can measure my progress against. I made several goals this year, and I actually accomplished most of them. WHO EVEN AM I?! I'm so proud of myself! 


I tend to make the same goals every January, but this year I feel as if I actually made an effort to accomplish them throughout the year, and I did (mostly). In 2018, I will have these same goals, but I will chase them even more so then I did this year. What were the goals, you ask? It was this:

1. Be a better Christian ✅
2. Get As in my exams ✅
3. Improve my anxiety ✅

1. It's only the past two months I feel as if I'm really becoming the Christian I always hoped I'd be. I'm nowhere near where I want to be, but I feel as if I'm on the right track. I've always wanted a close relationship with God; I've always wanted to be involved in a church, read my Bible more and live more like Jesus. And you know what? I'M DOING EXACTLY THAT! YAY! I've made Bible study a priority in my life. So every day, I'll either use a Bible study method to work through a specific verse and then read a few chapters; or I'll listen to a sermon to help me understand the book in the Bible I'm currently studying; or I'll do some Bible reading and writing in my prayer journal. I'm absolutely lovely delving into the Word and getting to know God more. We also found a church (thank you, God!) and I LOVE IT. I've made a few friends there, and I volunteer at their cafe every Tuesday - it's wonderful! 

2. Well, I half accomplished this. Although I didn't get an A in my maths exam, I'm still proud of my mark. I know I put in a lot of effort, and (after receiving my exam paper back), I know that it was mainly method marks I was losing. I understood the work, and I was getting the right answers, but I wasn't answering in the way the examiners expected me to; hence, I lost marks.

I got a high mark in my English paper, though, that I'm so proud of! I spent a lot of time on past papers, writing essays and then perfecting the areas that needed work. I'm happy all the hard work paid off.

3. My anxiety has improved so much this year. I went to a homeopath who gave me natural remedies to take, and they have helped so much! At the beginning of the year, I couldn't walk to town without having a panic attack. Now? I walk to town every day and actually enjoy it. At the beginning of the year, I couldn't do cardio workouts, because it triggered my anxiety. Now? I do ballet once a week as well as boxing workouts at home. I'm able to walk around town with my friends, stay on my own and go to places without my parents...I couldn't do that last year. I'm so incredibly grateful that I'm feeling much better! I still get bad days (in fact, I'm really struggling with my anxiety at the moment) but I'm so much better and that makes me very happy.


I also resolved to do certain things in 2017...and this is where things go slightly pear-shaped.

1. Eat less sugar 
2. Get back into pilates 
3. Meditate 
4. Get to sleep earlier 
5. Create a blogging schedule and stick to it ❌ (hahahaha, wishful thinking at its finest)

Okay, so I didn't do as great here...but 2018 is a chance to try again, right? 

1. I've definitely decreased the amount of sugar I ate this year, especially the past few months. *tries not to think about all the mince pies and Christmas cake I've consumed the past few weeks*
Besides this month, I've done pretty well with controlling my sugar intake. Instead of eating milk chocolate during the week, I have one or two blocks of dark Lindt chocolate. On weekends, I try not to eat too much normal chocolate. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don't. In 2018 I want to try to control the amount of sugar I eat on weekends, because sometimes I go slightly overboard when Friday hits.

2. I HAVE ACCOMPLISHED THIS GOAL. This year, I've not only done pilates but I've also started doing ballet and cardio workouts. I do 45-60 minute boxing workouts at home, as well as other cardio workouts. I'M SO PROUD OF MYSELF. I tend to slack towards the end of every month though, so next year I want to try to exercise consistently every month.

3. There were months I was good with this...but they were few and far between. 

4. LOOOOOOOOOOOL. I think I need to accept the fact that I'm not an early sleeper. I DON'T LIKE SLEEP. That being said, I will still try to get into a decent sleeping routine next year. As long as I'm trying that's a good thing, right?

5. I've been saying this since I first started my blog nearly 6 years ago, BUT I'LL KEEP TRYING. Maybe next year will be the year I get all my mess together, but I won't hold my breath. Especially as I'm going to be super busy with studying the first half of the year, and (hopefully) super busy working the second half of the year. Oh well, may the odds be ever in my favour.

So, all in all, I'm really proud with the goals I accomplished this year! I'm so ready to make 2018 a year filled with personal growth, accomplishments, happiness, family and friends. How did you do with your goals in 2017?
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Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Am I happy with my blog?


I've pondered this question a lot recently, and I've reached a conclusion: I'm not happy with my blog, and I haven't felt happy with my blog for quite awhile. 

I haven't felt as if I've been producing quality content, and I haven't felt super proud about the stuff I've been posting. I think maybe some of that has stemmed from me not knowing what to post anymore; I've  nearly been blogging for six years (oh help, I feel old), which could explain my lack of inspiration. I feel like I've run out of bookish discussion posts and most posts (besides reviews) I put out, I feel like it's something that's been said before. I think this has contributed to my decline in motivation to post, because I feel like I have nothing new to bring to the table. My blog has felt stagnant, and my blogging identity confused. I've been wanting to post, but I've been struggling to come up with bookish things to post. I have no idea what to post about, but I know that I don't want to stop blogging. I've been producing posts somewhat sporadically, when I want to post steadily, with a proper schedule.

I've been struggling with what content to post for awhile and how often to post...but then, in November, I had somewhat of an epiphany. Six years ago, blogging and reading were my sole hobbies: I lived and breathed it. However, when you're eighteen, your life looks a lot different to how it looked at thirteen; because of that, my interests have grown throughout the years. Especially these last few months. Like, I'm really getting into my Bible study and trying to live more like Jesus – that's going to start filtering into my blog posts. Another thing I'm really going to be doing a lot of the next few months is studying, so I'm planning on doing a revision/study series on my blog. I'm also working on my book, so there'll be more writing posts.

I've realised I've been so focused on keeping this solely a book blog when I have developed so many other interests that I'd also love to write about. I've decided I'm going to start including more of my other interests in my posts. I've got a whole series of stuff that I'm so excited about, post that I can't wait to write!

I just wanted to let you guys know that although this is still primarily a book blog, I'm going to start posting more about other areas of my life and other things I'm interested in. There are going to be:
  • Christian/Bible study posts
  • Revision posts
  • Writing posts
  • Personal posts
  • (and a whole lot of book posts, don't you worry)

I feel as if I haven't been blogging how I want to. Instead, I've been blogging how I think a book blogger should be blogging (does that make sense)? I'm so happy I've finally realised what I want to blog about and what I want Blog of a Bookaholic to be. I'm not sure if I'll be able to have a proper blogging schedule, as the first half of 2018 is going to be super busy. But I'll try. 

I'm excited to bring you new content in 2018.
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Tuesday, 26 December 2017

2018 Releases I'm DYING to Read


MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I hope you guys all had a wonderful day!

I had a really nice day, but I felt kind of sad because all my family (except my parents) are in South Africa – I really would've loved having a lot of people over for Christmas, but besides that, I had a great day. My parents and I went to church in the morning and opened a present each; then we had an amazing Christmas lunch followed by reading on the couch; eating mince pies and then opening our final presents! It's 21:21 on Christmas evening as I'm typing this, and I'd like to stay up until midnight reading, blogging and doing some Bible study!

SO, one thing I love about the start of a new year, is looking towards all the amazing new releases that are coming out in the upcoming months. I read a dismal amount of 2017 releases (I'M SO BEHIND ON EVERYTHING), so I really want to try to keep up with next year's releases!

2018 looks like it's going to produce some amazing books, and I'm so ready for it *starts singing Taylor Swift*. So, what am I looking forward to reading? Well, LEMME TELL YOU.


 The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1)The Hazel WoodBatman: Nightwalker (DC Icons, #2)A Conspiracy of StarsGunslinger GirlOur Dark StarsSay You'll Remember MeHonor Among Thieves (The Honors, #1)Heart of IronWhen Light Left UsFade to UsDon't Forget MeMore Than We Can TellObsidio (The Illuminae Files, #3)

*excitable screaming* I would go through why I'm looking forward to all these books, but there are just TOO MANY.  These all look so amazing! I'm especially excited for...

The Cruel Prince 
HOLLY BLACK. AND FAERIES. YES, YES, YES. If it's anything like The Darkest Part of the Forest, I know I'll love it.

• Batman
*HEAVY BREATHING* I love Batman. Like, I was always a Superman girl, but now...I LOVE ME SOME BATMAN.

Gunslinger Girl
WILD WEST?!?! YAAAS.

Our Dark Stars
PRINCESSES FLOATING THROUGH SPACE AND RAGTAG SPACE CREWS. I LOVE SCI-FI, SO I IZ EXCITED.

Say You'll Remember Me 
KATIE MCGARRY. I LOVE HER BOOKS SO MUCH. THEY'RE INCREDIBLE. HAVE YOU READ THEM?? YOU NEED TO!!!

When Light Left Us
This sounds like a YA E.T. - yes, please. Aliens are cool, bro.

Don't Forget Me
Friendship and moving countries and ahh, this sounds so adorable.

More Than We Can Tell
THIS BOOK SOUNDS SO HEARTBREAKING. But so wonderful. 

Obsidio
I CAN'T WAIT FOR THIS!!! I loved Illuminae and Gemina so much - they're favourites. I LOVE THEM.


 Suitors and SabotageSky in the DeepThe Fates Divide (Carve the Mark #2)Love & Luck

THE FATES DIVIDE THE FATES DIVIDE THE FATES DIVIDE!!! I LOVED CARVE THE MARK. I'M SO READY FOR THE SEQUEL.


ContagionCatwoman: Soulstealer (DC Icons, #3)The Other Side of Lost

CATWOMAN AND THE OTHER SIDE OF LOST SOUND AMAZING. DON'T YOU THINK THEY SOUND AMAZING? I CAN'T WAIT TO READ THEM.

Are any of these on your list? Which 2018 release are you most excited for?! 

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Friday, 22 December 2017

STORIES I FELL IN LOVE WITH THIS YEAR!


IT’S NEARLY 2018! I’m so excited! I absolutely love the start of a new year; I’m so motivated and READY to work on improving myself and other areas of my life, WHICH IS ALWAYS A GOOD THING! 

Another thing I love about the start of a new year is reflecting back on my year: on how I grew, on new experiences and, of course, looking back on all the amazing books I read! I feel like I didn’t read that much this year? Maybe because I read a lot of graphic novels and some nonfiction which is a lot different to what I normally read? I DON’T KNOW. Even though I feel like I haven’t read much this year, I’ve read a grand total of 76 books this year! (22 of those are graphic novels/novellas), yay me! *applauds self*

I’ve read some really good books this year, and I’ve found new favourites which is ALWAYS a good thing. I’m going to format the post a little differently to how I normally do. I’m going to categorise the books according to the seasons I read it in, e.g. favourite books I read in winter, autumn etc.

SO, LET’S EXAMINE THE PRETTIES.

Winter 2017 (January-February) 

Well, wasn’t this book a barrel of laughs. That was sarcasm, the most heaviest form of sarcasm I’ve used. This book broke my heart and made me cry and gave me literal CHEST PAIN because it was so heartbreaking. I really loved this book. The characters were so incredibly real, so brilliantly written; the writing was fantastic and this book was mostly perfection. The only thing I didn’t like about it was that the religious aspect was represented as the Pentecostal division of Christianity, but it was more of a cult thing and not Christianity AT ALL and that kiiiinda didn’t sit well with me. Otherwise, I LOVED IT. 

I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH. I read it in one sitting (practically). I never read a book in one-sitting, well clearly I do, BUT it has to be super, super good. AND THIS WAS SUPER, SUPER GOOD. The characters were amazing, the writing was amazing, the romance was amazing. Everything was amazing and beautiful and I loved it so much. PLEASE READ IT. ALSO, it was a super clean read. There was practically no swearing, no explicit scenes...nada. I know a lot of people like it when there's swearing in YA books because it makes it realistic, but as someone who pretty much never swears and reallllyyyy doesn't like it when people swear, I loved that this book had NO SWEARING.


Honourable mention: 
When I got my iPhone for my birthday, I immediately downloaded the Kindle app and had a look at their free books. I found a novella in the Broken Dreams series by Elodie Nowodazkij, and I downloaded it because IT'S ABOUT BALLET (fact: there aren't enough YA ballet books and it makes me sad). I absolutely LOVED it and then proceeded to buy the whole series, while I was on a book-buying ban (that basically sums me up in a nutshell). I absolutely loved the first full-length novel and the two novellas I read. I have another full-length novel left to read and although I want to read it, I also don't because then it will be over. I don't want it to be over.

Spring 2017 (March-May)
I didn't read much during March-May because HELLO, EXAMS. But the books I did read, I loved. I also managed to find MY FAVOURITE BOOK EVER, so SUCCESS. In spring, I reserved, like, twenty books from the library and read them all (so proud of myself). They were all diverse reads that I never got to read as part of this home-schooling programme I used to do, so I thought even though I don't do the programme anymore, I CAN STILL READ THE BOOKS. And so I read some of them and loved most of them. I didn't find ABSOLUTE FAVOURITES THAT I WANT TO READ FOREVER AND EVER, but I did find quite a few that I loved. And I also got sent a book to review that ended up being possibly my favourite book ever. What book is that? LEMME TELL YOU.

*Drumroll*

Guys, I reread this book a few days after I finished reading it. I've never done that before, but I loved this book so much that I couldn't help myself. I won't speak too much about it here because I'll end up writing an essay on how much I loved it. If you want to read my thoughts, here's my super-long review for it. I JUST LOVED IT SO MUCH.

Oh, how I loved this book. I absolutely adored the main character and her family; I loved the setting; I loved the writing. This book made me smile and cry and I JUST ABSOLUTELY ADORED IT. It's such a precious read.

You know when you read books that completely sweep you up in their world and you feel like you could live in there forever? THAT'S HOW I FELT READING THIS BOOK. I loved the main character, and I adored the storyline. I loved learning more about Chinese culture, too! It was such a sweet read – I highly recommend it!


Well, if this book didn't break my heart and then stitch it back together again. I'm not sure why I picked this up, especially as if it had MY WORST FEAR EVER in it (my parents dying together), but I'm glad I did. This book was amazing. It was told from varying points of view and all the storylines were woven together. I loved how this book took such a heartbreaking, terrible topic and managed to infuse it with hope. It was so, so good. Absolutely heartbreaking but brilliant. I loved the main character, I loved the writing, I loved all the characters...YOU SHOULD READ IT. But you'll need tissues, just saying.

Summer 2017 (June-August) A.K.A. The summer I found ALL THE FAVOURITES:
Man, this summer was amazing for reading. As some of you may or may not know, I volunteered in the library from July to September and on the quieter days, I managed to get a lot of reading done. Thanks to all this reading, I FOUND SOME NEW FAVOURITES (!!!).


THIS BOOK IS AMAZING. If you want to read a theological book that explains the basic ideas of Christianity and helps you understand it more, THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU. C.S. Lewis is an incredible writer. After reading this book, my faith felt so much strengthened because everything Lewis said made so much sense. Even if you're not religious, you should give it a go. It's a briliant book.

This book will forever be linked with a horrible time in my life, but this book made me smile and feel okay when I felt like I'd never feel okay again...and that's one of the reasons I'll always cherish it. The characters in this book was amazing, the themes were amazing, the writing incredible...it reminded me of Bone Gap. I LOVED IT.

You know who's a doofus for not reading this sooner? MEEE! This book was AMAZING. I literally lay in bed and read it in one or two sittings. I COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN. The writing was amazing, the world-building incredible, the characters so complex...WOWZERS. Schwab become an auto-buy author immediately after I'd finished reading it.

I read this right after reading ADSOM...and I was terrified. WHY? BECAUSE HOW COULD ANYTHING EVER COMPETE WITH A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC?! I honestly thought I'd never read such a brilliant book ever again...and then I read And I Darken. HOLY SCHNITZELS. It was incredible. THE CHARACTERS WERE SO BRUTAL AND REAL AND COMPLEX AND I LOVED THEM EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE A LIL BIT EVIL?! The writing was so rich, the plot so political and captivating...I honestly felt like I went on a journey with these characters. I have the sequel on my bookshelf but I'm TERRIFIED to read it because WHAT IF IT DOESN'T COMPARE?! *rocks anxiously back and forth*



VERONICA ROTH HAS DONE IT AGAIN. I loved this book. It took me awhile to get through it (which was weird because I LOVED IT), but it was amazing. I loved the characters, the romance, the setting, the plot, the writing...I'm SO excited for the sequel!!! And I'm SO GLAD I loved another book by Roth! YAY!


This is the first Rachel Caine book I've ever read, but it certainly won't be my last. I really love the way she writes. I can't quite describe it, but she writes so gorgeously and fluidly and I LOVE IT. Ink and Bone was amazing, so much so that I reread it a few months after I first read it! I adored the characters and the dynamics between them; I loved the premise, the setting and the plot. I mean, it has forbidden books and libraries in it – how could I not love it?

GUYS, THIS BOOK WAS SO FREAKING GOOD. It was super chilling and terrifying and mind-twisty AND I LOVED EVERY SINGLE SECOND OF IT. I sped through it - SUCH A GOOD BOOK.

Autumn 2017 (September-November):
I didn't read much in autumn (hi, A levels) but I did read some books that were SO MUCH FUN! 

I LOVE MIDDLE-GRADE NOVELS. This book was so much fun! I also think I read it in a day or so? I absolutely flew through it. I loved the world-building, I loved the main character, I adored the writing AND I loved the story line. A clumsy, slightly awkward monster hunter?! I AM HERE FOR THIS ADORABLE YET HAIR-RISING ADVENTURE.

This book was SO FUNNY...and landed me in an awkward situation because of that! I was volunteering at the library, and it was dead quiet as there was only a librarian and myself in the YA section. Anyway, so I'm reading this book and it was so funny that I started laughing. Quite loudly. And because I knew I shouldn't be laughing so loud in a quiet library, I tried to stop laughing and thus ended up making these weird hiccuping/crying sounds, that the librarian felt the need to ask me if I was okay. Through my tears (of laughter) I held up the book and wheezed "THIS BOOK IS SO FUNNY". It was awkward, but at the time I was too entertained to think much of it. So, lesson learned: DON'T READ THIS BOOK IN PUBLIC. 


Honourable mentions:
I wasn't supposed to get this book out because I was on a library ban, but because I'm a rebel I ignored myself and took it out anyway! I'M SO GLAD I DID. Guys, this lady can write. Her metaphors, her similes and her descriptions are OUT OF THIS WORLD. I absolutely LOVE Roshani's writing style! I really enjoyed this book and I can't wait to read the sequel. This book could've been a favourite, but there wasn't much of a plot and the pacing lagged quite a bit, BUT THE WRITING WAS AMAZING. I've heard the second book is much better in terms of plot, so I'm sure I'll love it!

I started ballet this year and I love it. I had dreams of being a ballerina when I was little but seeing as that's not going to happen in reality, I decided I'll just live that dream through books. I reserved Bunheads from my library, took it home and finished it that night. I really, really enjoyed this book. There was no OTT drama: it was merely a realistic account of a girl trying to make it to the top in the cutthroat, competitive world of ballet. The author used to dance for a prestigious ballet company, so it was great reading such an honest, authentic portrayal of a ballet dancer's life. I loved the book and I adored the ending. SO GOOD - YOU SHOULD READ IT.

So, those are my favourite reads of 2017! I absolutely loved these books, and I'm so excited for all the new amazing stories I'm going to discover in 2018. Have you read any of these and did you love them?! What book did you discover this year that you absolutely LOVED? LET'S DISCUSS ALL THE BOOKISH LOVELINESS. 
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Thursday, 21 December 2017

Festive Christmas Book Tag!



You know what this blog needs more of? Tags. I LOVE TAGS. If you need someone to tag in a tag – I VOLUNTEER AS A TRIBUTE. As it's Christmas, I knew that there'd be several fun Christmas tags around AND I WAS RIGHT. I scoured Youtube for some tags that looked super festive and fun, and I found this one! IT LOOKS SO FUN AND CHRISTMASSY. I AM EXCITED. I know the "standard" thing to do is wait until someone tags you, but because I'm a rebellious lil nerd...here I am, doing a tag without being tagged. If you're reading this, I tag you. Seriously, you can say I tagged you. I know how it feels to not be tagged, it's very tragic much sad, so YOU'RE WELCOME. Answer away and link me in your post!

*You can check out the original tag here!*
1. A fictional family you would like to spend christmas dinner with?
Alice's family from Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith. I LOVE HER FAMILY. She lives with her aunt, uncle and cousin (her parents died when she was younger) and they are amazing. They're kind and supportive and funny and involved and I WANT TO SPEND TIME WITH THEM BECAUSE I LOVE THEM MUCHLY.


2. A bookish item you would like to receive as a gift? 
(The bookish item is supposed to be an item that was gifted to a character in a book but I can't remember anything atm so I altered the meaning of this question slightly!)

Bookmarks, always bookmarks. You get so many adorable ones! I have quite a few bookmarks (most of them are in storage in South Africa), but I still always end up using whatever's nearest to me, WHICH NEVER HAPPENS TO BE A BOOKMARK. 

Related image

I'd also LOVE a bookish t-shirt or bookish jewellery! Anything that provides me with an opportunity to be a walking advertisement for literature, basically.


3. A fictional character you think would make a perfect Christmas elf?
DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT WAS THINKING OF A CHEERY, UPBEAT CHARACTER?! I clearly need to read happier books. After searching through my read books trying to find a character that would suit this title, I decided on...Harriet Manners from the Geek Girl series. She's such a cheerful, considerate, sunny person. She'd make a perfect elf!


4. Match a book to it's perfect Christmas song

And I Darken (The Conqueror's Saga, #1)

I was going to match with Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle with Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow! by Dean Martin, but then I thought that might be considered slightly lazy and a little bit predictable. So, I thought of matching And I Darken (not a very Christmassy read because Lada's a mad but lovable lil savage) with Last Christmas by Wham. She kind of breaks a lot of people's hearts and gives them away, so to speak. Hence, I thought it would be appropriate.


5. Bah Humbug. A book or fictional character you've been disappointed in and should be put on the naughty list?

Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons, #1)

One word: Jason.

THAT IS ALL (because spoilers).


6. A book or a fictional character you think deserves more love and appreciation and deserve to be put on the nice list?

I HAVE SO MANY ANSWERS FOR THIS *panicked breathing*. I'm going to have to go with the characters from one of the best books I read this year: Bone Gap.

Bone Gap

Finn, Sean, Roza and Petey are all so sweet and precious and complicated and have sad backstories and I JUST LOVE THEM ALL SO MUCH I CAN'T EVEN. THEY DESERVE ALL THE LOVE. ALL THE NICE THINGS. THEY'RE BEAUTIFUL AND PRECIOUS AND-


7. Red, Gold and Green. A book cover that has a wonderfully Christmassy feel to it.

I HAVE THE PERFECT COVER FOR THIS QUESTION. It's got red, gold and green. Go, me. 🥇

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories


8) A book or series you love so much, you want everyone to find under their Christmas tree this year so they can read it and love it too?

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)

SO MUCH ACTION. SO MUCH SASS. SO MUCH ADVENTUREZZZ. THIS BOOK IS SO FUN AND INCREDIBLE.


Those are my answers! Would you have answered the same for any of these?! Have you read any of these books? What favourite book of yours would you leave under everyone's tree, if you could?

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