June 27, 2014

Five Glass Slippers :: Clara Diane Thompson (+ Review & Giveaway!)

And we're back again! :) Today, you get to meet one more lovely young lady, plus get to hear what I thought of the stories, as well as get to enter a giveaway. So let the awesomeness begin!

Today, Clara Diane Thompson is here to answer my question:

You seem to enjoy music and song quite a bit, were there particular songs which helped set the mood for your story?

Oh, I do enjoy music very much! While this song might not have been on my mind while writing my story, Dark Waltz is a beautiful song with an eerie melody that fits it perfectly. The song has a haunting melody that is both whimsical and chilling...I can definitely see the musicians playing a song very much like this one on the autumnal night of the Moon Master's Ball! Hayley Westenra sings my favorite version of the song...I hope you will listen to it and love it as much as I do.

Thank you ever so much for having me on your blog today, Kara!

Thank you for visiting and sharing that song with us! Haunting and whimsical is a very apt description. :)

Clara Diane Thompson lives in the swamps of Louisiana with her loving family, dashing dog, and a very confused frog that resides in the birdhouse outside her window. Aside from writing, she enjoys playing guitar, singing, Broadway plays (particularly The Phantom of the Opera), ballet, tea with friends, and long BBC movies. An enchanted circus may or may not appear occasionally in her back yard.

You can find out more about Clara and her writing on her blog: To Find a Castle.

The Moon Master's Ball

After her terrifying experience there several years ago, the one place young housemaid Tilly longs to avoid is Bromley's Circus. But when kindly Lord Hollingberry begs her to deliver a message to the mysterious Moon Master hidden away among the circus dwellers, Tilly can't refuse...and finds herself ensnared in a web of enchantment cast by the loathsome Mrs. Carlisle and her beautiful goddaughter.


What fun! I so enjoy re-tellings and these ladies have done a fabulous job re-imagining Cinderella. I was quite impressed with their writing! They obviously had lots of fun sending Cinderella on so many different adventures. All the way into outer space even! :) Each short story has it's own feel and atmosphere, making it easy to get swept away. They were all delightful in their own way, but I confess to enjoying What Eyes Can See the most. By shining the spotlight on someone atypical of the Cinderella storyline, I really enjoyed watching it all unfold. But that's not to say the other's weren't entertaining! I'd never thought to imagine Cinderella in all the places these ladies took her, yet still staying true to the original story. You might not recognize her name, you may not recognize her situation, but the triumph of love and the importance of staying true to oneself are clearly visible. And how can you help but enjoy the bickering in The Windy Side of Care, the eerie yet irresistible Moon Master in The Moon Master's Ball, the friendships and fun of Broken Glass, and the camaraderie and heroism of A Cinder's Tale?  All five stories are charming and I closed the book well satisfied that these "Cinderella's" had found their happy ending. I look forward to seeing what these ladies will write in the future! :)



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June 25, 2014

Five Glass Slippers :: Rachel Heffington

And here we are again! Another lovely author to meet. I'll skip all the info dump from yesterday and let's go right to the question. :)

Today, Rachel Heffington is visiting!

As a Virginia girl myself, I'm interested to know how this lovely state of ours has helped inspire your writing? (Because surely it has!)

Wow, good question. Well, I think I have an abiding love for tradition and independence for which I thank my close proximity to Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown and all things historical. Also, the landscape of this beautiful state is a respite for me when I'm feeling dried-up and uninspired. A drive up to NoVa (Northern Virginia) is especially therapeutic. :)

That definitely makes sense. I love visiting Colonial Williamsburg!

Rachel Heffington is a Christian, a novelist, and a people-lover. Outside of the realm of words, Rachel enjoys the Arts, traveling, mucking about in the kitchen, listening for accents, and making people laugh. She dwells in rural Virginia with her boisterous family and her black cat, Cricket.

In February 2014, Rachel released her debut novel, Fly Away Home, and is excited to collaborate on Five Glass Slippers with her fellow authoresses. She hopes to release her second full-length novel and first mystery (Anon, Sir, Anon) in autumn 2014. For more on Rachel, her current projects, and writing in general, visit her on her blog: The Inkpen Authoress.

The Windy Side of Care

Alisandra is determined to have her rights. She knows that she is the king's secretly dispossessed daughter, the true heir to the throne. Prince Auguste is an imposter, and if she plays her cards right, Alis will prove it to the world! That is, if charming Auguste doesn't success in winning her heart before she gets her chance...

Stay tuned! More fun yet to come....

June 24, 2014

Five Glass Slippers :: Emma Clifton

Hello my lovelies! And welcome to the Five Glass Slippers tour. I am quite pleased to be a part of the fun stuff happening this week! So what does that mean for you??

That means that you get loads of posts to read (well.....only three from me.....but there's lots more elsewhere! Check out the blog tour page over here to find out more!) and just generally find out all about the lovely ladies who wrote this series of short stories. Fun, right?!

So. Let's get this show on the road, shall we? :)

Today the question goes to Emma Clifton:

Fairy tales always end with dreams coming true and happily ever after. Do you enjoy stories that end this way or do you prefer more realistic endings?

I don't like depressing stories or unhappy endings. So give me the happily ever after, please! And if you think about it, the end of history will be a happily ever after--Jesus will return triumphant, all things will be made new, there will be no sin, death, or suffering. So I think happily-ever-after's are pretty realistic.

Very good point, Emma! I like that. :)

Emma Clifton has been thinking up stories since before she knew how to type them out. Reading books such as the Chronicles of Narnia, The Door Within Trilogy, and Redwall inspired her to take her writing more seriously. Though her rigorous homeschool education keeps her busy, she also enjoys sewing, reading, and spending time with her family in beautiful Northern Virginia.

Emma blogs at Peppermint and Prose.

Broken Glass

The slipper fits...but on the wrong girl! Rosalind never once danced with Prince Marius at the ball, for she is in love with his brother Henry. If only Rosalind and Marius would stop bickering long enough to invent a scheme, perhaps the three of them can find the real mystery lady. But they must work quickly, for dark deeds are afoot, and the kingdom is poised on the brink of disaster.


What happens when Cinderella is so painfully shy that she cannot bear the idea of attending the royal ball? Or when the slippers fits...but on the wrong girl? What happens when Cinderella is determined to oust an imposter prince from her rightful throne? Or when she is a cendrillon miner working from a space station orbiting a cthonian planet? What happens when Cinderella, a humble housemaid, is sent with a message for a prisoner trapped in a frightening fairy circus?

Here is Cinderella as you have never met her before, wearing glass slippers and off on unforgettable adventures!

Available now in paperback and Kindle formats!
($0.99 for Kindle this week only)

Don't forget to stop in around these parts later this week, there's much more fun to come. Plus a giveaway! (Who doesn't love a giveaway?!)

June 17, 2014

Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund HodgeThis book. Oh my gracious, this book!!! I'd been eyeing it since it came out and then I read a review that fully convinced me. So I promptly downloaded it to my kindle and stayed up waaayyyy too late to finish. ;) But it was worth it! Because this is one incredible story.

Yes, we all know the story of Beauty and the Beast. But what if Beauty isn't all that beautiful? What if the Beast is really and truly a horrifying creature? And what if the love story between them actually makes sense? Now let me clarify that. The original love story part is nice, but it's a fairy tale, so it doesn't feel very real. But this Beauty and this Beast? They feel real. They understand one another. They truly see who the other is. And that makes all the difference.

A fellow blogger called it creepy yet romantic. And I thought that a very apt description. Nyx and Ignifex's relationship is so full of give and take, push and pull. Not unlike Gen and Attolia's from The Queen's Thief series. (Thanks Rebeka for that comparison!) It also made me think of Sarah and Jareth from the Labyrinth movie. Not the romantic part, but the push and pull part. Where these two people are drawn together, yet they frustrate and anger one another as well. The way this relationship progresses throughout the story just made sense to me. I could understand their connection, if that makes sense. And this relationship is, obviously, central to the entire storyline. It's complex and imperfect and real.

Nyx herself, battles her selfish nature as well as being far from innocent. She knows what's expected of her, desires to say no and run away from it all, yet ultimately stays the course. For her sister and for the good of everyone else. And that's where Ms. Hodge hooked me. While I love Nyx and Ignifex's conversations and watching them fall in love, Nyx is who I fell for first. She struggles with her selfishness constantly, and no matter her initial reaction, always comes back to the good. She's not perfect, no. But she has much good in her, she just can't really see it herself.

While I could probably write lots more paragraphs about the wonderfulness of this story, I truly think you need to read it yourself! :) It's incredibly well-written and absolutely worth losing sleep over. And that cover! I love covers that match the mood and theme of the story and this one is perfect in that regard. Plus it's simply gorgeous! Don't you think you need it on your bookshelf? Yes! Yes, you do. :D

I stood. "I need to go. I-I still have to find the other hearts."
Shade caught my hand, slid his fingers through mine. The touch felt like lightning up my arm.
"He's right about one thing," he said. "This house has many dangers. I cannot save you from most of them."
I clenched my hand until I felt the bones of his fingers.
Then I let go and forced a smile. "I wasn't born to be saved."

June 16, 2014

Predictable? No Problem!

Krista Mcgee wrote a post recently about how predictable stories can be and how that's okay. I wanted to shout "AMEN" from the rooftops when I read it! (I refrained. Aren't you proud?)

The joy of reading or watching (or listening to) a good story is the telling of it. Exactly! I just read Cruel Beauty (review to come soon - til then, you should read it!), a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. In other words, it's predictable. I knew exactly how the story would end. But the getting there? The journey? What the characters would think or do that I wasn't expecting? That part was not predictable and therefore I was swept up into the story very easily. (Seriously. You need to read this book!)

My point? Predictable stories are worth reading!

Now let me clarify one thing. I have read books where the plot was so full of clich├ęs and plotlines that had no originality and I found no surprise in them at all, and those sorts of predictable I can do without. (And it has more to do with how the writing didn't click with me.) But the idea that a book is predictable, or that it's a story you've read a thousand times before? Do NOT let that scare you away!

I am a big fan of retellings. I admit that it started with Jane Austen fanfiction, but it now includes fairy tales and classics and lots of other stories. And while I can predict where the story will end, it's the middle that truly counts.

It's the middle (and the beginning) where the author has the chance to give this well-worn story his/her own spin. Where they actually make it their own. And when they've spun me away into this world, that's when the magic happens and this story goes from being one I know well, to one that I've never read before. Even though I know the original!

Another excellent example is Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I started that audiobook knowing full well that Cinderella goes to a ball and gets her prince. We all know that story. But what I (and you too) didn't know, was how Ms. Meyer was going to get her Cinderella from the scrubbing floor to the ball and the prince. Or what that prince was going to do or say. Or whether robots or spaceships would be involved. You see what I'm saying?

Predictability is not a bad word. It can get thrown around in book reviews (I've used it myself!), but that doesn't necessarily mean that the story is not one you should read. Or write!

You know the story well, but do you really? There are some amazing writers out there who can take predictable stories and by the end, that story is no longer anything like you thought it would be. And that's a pretty awesome thing! :)

June 14, 2014

What Kind of Book Are You?

I saw this quiz via Susan Meissner's blog and thought it was fun. So you should hop right on over here and try it for yourself!

Incidentally, I'm a Second-hand book:
Sure, you’re a little tattered around the edges, and you might not smell the freshest. But that doesn’t matter: People are so blown away by your wit and wisdom that they want to share your words with everybody they know. Whether you’re handed from one friend to another or discovered on a travel lodge bookshelf, you bring the magic everywhere you go.
So! What kind of book are you? :D

June 11, 2014

Books I haven't Read Yet....But I Own Them

I saw this post over at Rissi's blog and realized that I could do a post like that very easily! I have loads of books that are sitting on my shelf (or my kindle).....unread. So! I thought I'd share a few of them and see if anyone inspires me to pick them up soon. ;)

1 - Graceling by Kristin Cashore - I've had this forever! So why haven't I read it?

2 - No Safe Haven by Kimberly and Kayla Woodhouse - It's the same for this one.

3 - The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater - Fierce waterhorses? Check. Great reviews? Check. Kara reading it? Um.....

4 - Wildflowers From Winter by Katie Ganshert - Other bloggers have nothing but good things to say about her stories and I have yet to read a single one? I agree. This makes no sense at all.

5 - Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling - I've heard great things about this one and others who didn't like it, so I'm terribly curious what I'm going to think.

6 - The Remedy by Serena Chase - NO excuse for this one! I absolutely loved The Ryn and I'm so excited for The Seahorse Legacy (thanks to Amber) so you'd think I'd be rushing to read this one.

7 - This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith - Amber also reminded me (via twitter the other day) that I hadn't read this one yet.

8 - Trinity: Military War Dog by Ronie Kendig - Fellow readers have raved over Ms. Kendig's books. Raved I tell you! So I picked this one up and promptly never read it. Crazy huh?

9 - The Iron King by Julie Kagawa - I actually have all four books (maybe there's more? I haven't really figured out whether the others are continuing this series or a new series of their own) and have read bits and pieces of them, but not enough to count as reading them fully.

10 - Silenced by Dani Pettrey - I know! Believe me, I know exactly what you're thinking. And I'm determined to get to this one soon. Really! I mean it!

11 - Anomaly by Krista Mcgee - I was really excited for this one before it was published and when I saw it, I bought it immediately. Somehow I haven't ever picked it up though. Go figure.

12 - Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis - Her story looks so fascinating. And adventurous!

Well. There you have it. I have no idea why I haven't read any of these yet. They all look so fun and I know I'll enjoy reading them. Maybe I'm enjoying the anticipation of reading them? Who knows. *shrugs* I can say that they all look so pretty on my shelves though! :D

June 9, 2014

I've Totally "Flipped" Over This Story! (Pun Intended)


I reviewed the book a great while back and recently had the privilege of watching the movie. And then decided this little story was definitely worth chatting about! :)

The book is fabulous, but the movie.....oh wow! Talk about excellent casting. Bryce and Juli were wonderful, just as I'd imagined.

Watching these two grow up and figure life (and each other) out (the hard way sometimes) is such fun! The tree incident which beautifully comes around again, the supper at Juli's house, Juli's eggs, Bryce's grandpa, Juli's uncle.....seriously, there was not one bad scene or one bad actor in this movie! They all seem to really enjoy their characters and truly understand their motivations and who they are. I quite realize that I'm gushing, but you just need to watch it for yourself and then you'll see!

Plot Summary: Juli Baker devoutly believes in three things: the sanctity of trees (especially her beloved sycamore), the wholesomeness of the eggs she collects from her backyard flock of chickens, and that someday she will kiss Bryce Loski. Ever since she saw Bryce's baby blues back in second grade, Juli has been smitten. Unfortunately, Bryce has never felt the same. Frankly, he thinks Juli Baker is a little weird--after all, what kind of freak raises chickens and sits in trees for fun? Then, in eighth grade, everything changes. Bryce begins to see that Juli's unusual interests and pride in her family are, well, kind of cool. And Juli starts to think that maybe Bryce's brilliant blue eyes are as empty as the rest of Bryce seems to be. After all, what kind of jerk doesn't care about other people's feelings about chickens and trees?

The really fun part? Is that you get the story told from both Bryce's perspective and Juli's perspective. We see how very differently each of them viewed certain situations. And how vastly they misunderstand one another.

But the journey of them finding and understanding each other is fun to watch! I was quite impressed with these young actors and their characters are ones I won't be forgetting anytime soon. Have you seen it? What did you think? :)

June 5, 2014

Call The Midwife...I'm Completely Hooked!

Yes, I am truly hooked on this show now. I kept seeing things about it, and hearing fellow bloggers raving over it, and it all convinced me to start season one last year. I started the first few episodes and then life got really, really chaotic and I never finished it! (Crazy, I know.)

But then a few weeks ago, something made me decide to start it again. First with season one, and then of course, I had to find out what happened, so I borrowed season two from the library. Well, needless to say, somehow in the midst of watching, life once again got crazy and after overdue fines (twice!) from the library, I took it back and promptly went out and bought seasons two and three. Then proceeded to basically marathon both seasons in a matter of days. (Yes, I'm silly like that. ;)

So! Here I am, a little sleep deprived, but very much a devoted fan of this series. Which is why I had to write about it! My thoughts just wouldn't stop. :D

I admit, it did have to grow on me. The first episode was very intriguing and had my attention. But then came episode two and Chummy arrived.

Oh my gracious, I LOVE Chummy!

And that's where this show completely sucked me in. The characters. Yes, the birth of the week stories are interesting and amazing, but where this show really succeeds (at least in my humble opinion) are the characters. They're all so fascinating and real! What I initially thought of them, and then how they change and grow into characters that I love and care about is very well done.

I'll start with the regular nurses/midwives: there's Jenny, I enjoyed watching her learn to really find and feel her emotions. And Trixie, she comes across as pretty shallow at first, but I loved getting peeks into her serious side in season three. Then Cynthia, watching her realize her abilities and learning new things is very fun. She's definitely a wonderful friend to have!

And of course, I will not forget Chummy. Watching her learn to ride the bicycle, fall in love, figure out what her true calling is, and just her very "Chummy-ness" is absolutely wonderful! I know for certain that I'd want her as my nurse. :)

As for the nuns/midwives themselves, Sister Julienne is so very good. She knows just how to take care of every single person under her care. Always with a kind word, a hand on the shoulder, or simply knowing that she's there right behind them, supporting them. Sister Evangelina is tough as nails, let me tell you! But her heart is so kind and she has much love to give. Her softer insides don't show very often, but they are certainly there, no doubt about it.

Sister Bernadette's storyline is so compelling! I could get glimpses, starting in season one, of where they may be heading with her and I wondered how they would handle it. (My compliments to the writers for a job well done.)  I truly enjoyed watching her journey in season two. (Of course it does help that I'm a sucker for romance. ;) Her struggle was real and heartfelt, and I wanted so badly to give her a hug several times.

And lastly, Sister Monica Joan. I couldn't help but fall in love with her as well. Watching her battle with her failing mind feels so real and the writers give such care to her story. Plus it's great fun when you never know what she's going to say! I do enjoy all her literary references.

Of course there's Fred and several other characters who come and go and they each are so wonderful and have such fascinating backstories. I also appreciate how the storylines are handled carefully. There's several that are sensitive subjects, and the writers handle each one thoughtfully and splendidly.

This show is just so very real! It balances the struggle of the poor, the hopes and dreams of the young and old alike, the diseases they dealt with, the fear and doubt they battle, and yet the heartfelt moments, and the exciting and happy moments. The time period is one of change, and everybody feels it, from the nun, to the midwife, to the child on the street.

I'm pretty sure there's more loveliness to come. I'm excited to see where season four is going to take us! (Even if we did have to say goodbye to one of the characters.)

Have you watched the series? What did you think? (And thanks for reading my rambling thoughts all the way to the end! :)

June 3, 2014

Bite-Sized Reviews :: Edition Five

I thought I'd do some reviewing of the books I read in the previous six months, that I hadn't posted about. Fun, right? I should warn you that the "bite-sized" reviews will be more like mini bites. I realized I have several books to mention and didn't want to bore you with a huge, long post! I supposed I could have posted about each separately, but that'd take forever. So! This is what you get! :)

205057Secret Society Girl series by Diana Peterfreund - I've been wanting to read this series for quite some time. Secret societies? Are pretty fascinating stuff, it turns out! Amy and Poe had me at hello though. ;)

17349275A Breath of Eyre by Eve Marie Mont - I really wanted to like this one. The premise sounded really fun, but I was barely halfway through and had to force myself to keep going. It had me hooked enough to want to find out what happened, but I couldn't ever really connect with Emma. Her choices and thoughts and how she acted never seemed to add up to someone relatable and real for me. And the insta-love connection? I never did figure out what they saw in each other. It was still an interesting story regardless.

The Pursuit of Mary Bennet by Pamela Mingle - Really liked this one! Ms. Mingle made Mary very likeable and gave her a happy ending. I've always had a soft spot for Mary and finding sequels that give her a good life are hard to find. It was pretty predictable, but that did not lessen my enjoyment! :)

Princess Ever After by Rachel Hauck - Sigh. I want to be a princess! ;) Definitely enjoyed this one. Not quite as much as Once Upon a Prince, but oh my. It was delightful!

Ruby Red trilogy by Kerstin Gier - Another series I'd been waiting for! I was so excited when the library had all three books. I proceeded to take them home and read them all in one sitting! So much mystery and fun. Loved Gwyneth and Leslie's friendship. Definitely worth the wait.

The Chocolate Heart by Laura Florand - As delicious and wonderful as her others! If you're a fan of her stories, then you'll enjoy this one as well. :)

Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson - With mystery and intrigue, and a pretty sigh-worthy romance, Ms. Donaldson has done it again, as they say! SO much sweetness and fun to be found here. Absolutely one to enjoy and reread as the notion arises.

June 2, 2014

Questions, Answers, And Fun, Oh My!

So! I saw this post over at Jamie's blog first, then at Rissi's. They both invited anybody else to join in, so I thought "Why not?". And here I am! With answers! I just know you can't wait to see what I confess to, right? ;)

Here goes nothing:

What are your top three book pet hates?

1-I'll agree with Jamie, I'm not a fan of love triangles. I mean seriously. How many times in real life does a girl actually have trouble choosing between two awesome guys and...AND they let her basically date both of them while she chooses? Really?

2-Having to wait a year or more in between books in a series! Oh man. Waiting is hard! This is why I usually try to wait until the whole series is out before even starting it. But....I admit it....The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer totally sucked me in. And now I have to wait!!! *sigh*

3-When publishers change the covers in a series, right in the middle of the series. So I end up with one or two of this sort of cover and one or two of that one. What can I say? I like my covers to match!

Describe your perfect reading spot.

All I require is that it's comfy. I read in my favorite chair mostly. But also in bed, or on the couch, or at the table....so long as it's comfy, I can be happy. :)

Tell us three book confessions.

Oh boy. Let me think a minute...

1-I have very few authors that I love every single book they've published. Most of the time, I really like a few of their books and then there are always one or two or more that I don't like at all. *shrugs* I can't explain why, it's just the way it seems to go for me.

2-Reading blogs and reviews for the past few years has really opened my reading life up. Therefore, my list of books I've read or "wishlisted" (thanks for the word, Courtney! ;) is quite eclectic and interesting! I don't stick to just one genre, I read several. (Which you probably already knew if you read my reviews regularly, huh?)

3-Sometimes I don't read the entire book, every single word. Instead, I skim over some parts or even some paragraphs or pages and keep on going! Sometimes I do go back and reread those portions and sometimes I never do. Why do I do this? I have no idea. But let me reassure you, that I do read most of the story! I don't count it as read unless I've read most of every single chapter.

When was the last time you cried during a book?

Honestly? I really can't remember. Which is odd, because I'm usually an emotional reader. As in, it doesn't take much for me to cry.

How many books are on your bedside table?

Currently only three. Two nonfiction, and one fiction (The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight). The fiction book by my bedside is usually a revolving door. It changes regularly! ;)

What is your favorite snack while you’re reading?

I don't usually eat while reading actually. Unless it's during a mealtime, in which case the book is with me at the table. ;) But otherwise, if I get hungry, I eat whatever I can scrounge up. Namely, chips or chocolate or fruit or....you get the picture.

Name three books you would recommend to everyone.

My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay - Seriously! Everyone should read this.
Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery - No other words needed.
The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis - I know everyone else chose these as well, but they're not wrong! This series is wonderful!

I know, I picked way more than three books up there (maybe more like 15 or so?). But I had to include the whole series! ;)

Show us a picture of your favorite bookshelf on your bookcase.

Yeah, this is just one of my bookshelves (I currently have three and could use more!), but I couldn't just pick one shelf on it. So you get the whole thing! :D

Write how much books mean to you in just three words.

Hope, Adventure, Life

What is your biggest reading secret?

My biggest? I don't know if it's my biggest, but it's a secret regardless. Kinda anyway. I confess it, I love my kindle and one of the biggest reasons I love it so much is the fact that I can read a book and nobody has any clue what I'm reading. I'm just sort of weird that way!

And there you have it, folks! That was loads of fun. If you'd care to join in, I know the other bloggers won't care. And we'd love to read your answers as well! :)


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