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Dragon Orb

Book Swamp -

Author: Mark Robson
Type of story: Adventure

Pell and his dragon shadow are outlaws in their enclave, their job is to retrieve the night orb but a power hungry tyrant stands in their way. The griffins they visited to find the orb have set Pell and one of Segun's senior riders but Segun's team cheat. The griffins hear this and give the orb that is made from his opponents dragon to him. VICTORY!
How good was it? Fantastic

Age 9
Adventurers Club

The Hexed

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The Hexed by Heather Graham
Book 13 of the Krewe of Hunters series.

Devin Lyle has recently returned to the Salem area, but her timing couldn't be worse. Soon after she moved into the eighteenth-century cabin she inherited from her great-aunt Mina—her "crazy" great-aunt, who spoke to the dead—a woman was murdered nearby. 

Craig Rockwell, known as Rocky, is a new member of the Krewe of Hunters. He never got over finding a friend dead in the woods. Now another body's been found in those same woods, not far from the home of Devin Lyle. And Devin's been led to a third body — by a ghost? 

Her discovery draws them both deeper into the case and Salem's rich and disturbing history. Even as the danger mounts, Devin and Rocky begin to fall for each other, something the ghosts of Mina and past witches seem to approve of. But the two of them need every skill they possess to learn the truth—or Devin's might be the next body in the woods

Another in the Krewe of Hunters series.  The Krewe is a branch of the FBI who specialise in paranormal cases and the setting for this one is Salem and the witch trials.  As well as lots of interesting information about that, there are old friends, new characters, murders, old ghosts and people who can see and talk to the dead.  It’s a good mystery with a unique twist.

Flight MH370

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Flight MH370: the mystery by Nigel Cawthorne

Just after midnight on 8 March 2014, Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 took off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport. At 01:19 it literally disappeared. It has never been heard from or sighted since. All 239 people on board are now presumed dead. 

Author Nigel Cawthorne has written a fascinating book about this unsolved mystery. The story still seems fresh in the mind, and the newspaper and television reports are easily remembered so there is strong motivation for the reader to “find out what really happened”. Of course, this book cannot and does not provide the ultimate answer, but it sure does weave an enthralling tale. Was it a terrorist attack? An aircraft malfunction? Pilot suicide? And did the Malaysian government “cover up” the true story? 

While the book is slight, it is a rollicking read that grips the reader from the first to the last page. It also makes you a bit wary of plane flight though!  A good book to finish off in a night’s sitting.

The devil walks – by Anne Fine

Quicksand -

“His tone changed. Thrusting his face at mine, he told me threateningly, ‘you’d best take care. More than one thing can sting under this roof.’”

The devil walks is a story set in the 19th century about a boy named Daniel Cunningham whose  name isn't really Cunningham. He is a blank page upon which anything might be written that has been hidden away from the outside world and told he suffers from a mysterious illness (even though he isn’t) by his mother who has stolen away his childhood he can not understand why until a forceful knock at the door reveals just how many secrets his silent and protective mother has kept from him and how many she’s told. Torn away from his home Daniel slowly piece’s together a chilling legacy of vicious cruelty and fiendish spite that has gripped his family for years 
by cam narre work experience 

Cooking the Books

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Cooking the Books by Kerry Greenwood

From the cover:  Corinna Chapman, talented baker and reluctant investigator, is trying to do nothing at all on her holidays. Her gorgeous Daniel is only intermittently at her side. Jason, her baking offsider, has gone off to learn how to surf. And Kylie and Goss are fulfilling their lives' ambition auditioning for a soapie. It should be a time of quiet reflection for Corinna but she's bored. Scenting a whiff of danger, Corinna accepts an offer to do the baking for the film set of a new soap called 'Kiss the Bride' where Kylie and Goss have parts. Things that could only happen to Corinna ensue involving, bizarrely, nursery rhymes and a tiger called Tabitha. While on the other side of town, a young woman is being unmercifully bullied by her corporate employers, employers who spend a lot of time cooking the books.

Possibly more famous for her Phryne Fisher series, Kerry Greenwood still delights with her Corinna Chapman series [this is book 6].  Modern day baker, amateur sleuth, and a size 20 lovely lady who is adored for her curves by the delicious Daniel, Greenwood's light and entertaining mysteries are filled with recipes for murder, mayhem, smooching and munchies. 

Corinna's bakery, Earthly Delights, is set in Calico alley, a fictitious but totally believable laneway off Flinders Street in Melbourne and local landmarks feature aplenty, something I always enjoy in books – you can so identify with the location which puts you right there in the scene!  Couple this with a cast of colourful characters that share Corinna’s Romanesque apartment building; the bakery customers and laneway neighbours; her beautiful cat Horatio and the not so beautiful but heroic ‘mouse police’ that prowl the bakery at night; oh, and sundry ne’er-do-wells and you’re in for a pleasurable few hours entertainment!  I enjoyed the audio version narrated by the talented Louise Siversen, but we have this series in all formats.  In order, they are:  Earthly Delights, Heavenly Pleasures, Devil’s Food, Trick or Treat, Forbidden Fruit and this one, Cooking the Books.   Indulge!

Horns by Joe Hill

Quicksand -

Horns by Joe Hill is an interesting book. It depicts the tale of Ig, a man who had just lost his girlfriend who was murdered. People suspect him for the crime and his life becomes a living hell. Ig wakes up one morning to find out he has grown demon horns. He finds out that the horns make others tell him their secrets. He can also control people based on what they have said to him. Ig then decides to use this ability to find out who murdered his girlfriend, and get revenge.

At first I read this very slowly, as I had other things going on but as soon as I found the time to read I was stuck into the book. At first I thought it was boring, with no development happening. I then read on and found it really interesting. Ig is an interesting character, a man who had lost everything he had loved and now cannot stop hearing people’s secrets. Ig is portrayed as kind of gloomy, always looking at the past with his girlfriend and trying to find out who had murdered her. Ig’s best friend Lee is portrayed as a shifty kind of character, always acting suspicious and doing suspicious things. Lee is by far the most interesting character in the book, with his lost eye and his shifty attitude.

The book also plays on a bit of religion, with Ig being more of a demon while Lee is more of an angel or god. The book also explains that Ig’s power cannot work on people wearing an holy item (e.g. a cross). This also pushes the religious aspect up. The book also has some parts played in a church, with the priests scared of Ig, as he has demon horns and demon powers. The religion that is displayed in the book however, is very limited, which is a very good thing.

In the end Horns is a very good book, depicting Ig’s journey to find his girlfriends killer. I would recommend this book to people who don’t mind reading something a bit adult, or are fans of things to do with demons and angels. The book is also getting a movie in the upcoming years, with it staring Daniel Radcliffe as Ig. I would recommend this book to those aged 15+

By Damon Slatter (Work experience student @ Endeavour Hills library)

Jacaranda Blue

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Jacaranda Blue by Joy Dettman
From the cover: For 44 years Stella Templeton has been a dutiful daughter and a good citizen living in Maidenville, population 2800, a town where nothing happens. Until one hot summer afternoon... 
An ugly act has lifted the respectable skirts of Maidenville and mystery starts to surround the daughter of the local minister. Then the disappearance of a 16-year-old boy adds to the neighbourhood's confusion. Does something sinister lurk behind the neatly trimmed hedges and white picket fences that divide this sleepy town? 
No one comes close to knowing the horrifying truth - but after 44 years of self denial and duty, Stella Templeton is finally beginning to blossom.
Stella Templeton's quaint small town and suppressed existence is thrown into disarray after an intense and violent act. This is a very engaging story involving a murder mystery and the prying eyes of well-drawn characters. 
The audio book version (read by Deidre Rubenstein) is very good and highly recommended.Ali

Two for the armchair traveller

Reading Rewards - reviews -

On the Slow Train Again by Michael Williams
Michael Williams spent a year travelling along the rail byways of Britain and this book is the result.  A pleasant read for those who like to take their armchair on a road less travelled - you will go from the far north of Scotland to the west of Wales.  Good fun!  Fay
The Inn at the Top by Neil Hanson
In the late 1970s, Neil Hanson and his wife decided on a whim to take up innkeeping at the highest pub in Britain, located on a very windswept hill in the Yorkshire Dales where the locals have many words for ‘rain’.  Despite a complete inability to understand the dialect of the sheep farmers who were the local customers; despite the howling wind, their inexperience at innkeeping and that the pub was awful, they fell in love with the Dales on the spot.  Well worth the read!  Fay

Guest Houses : Rose Series post cards

Links to our Past - history -

Staying at a Guest House in the hills was once a popular holiday activity. The Rose Stereograph Co. produced many post cards of Guest Houses, here are some from our region, taken from the 1920s to around 1954. These post cards are part of  the State Library of Victoria collection and are available on their website www.slv.vic.gov.au.

Beaconsfield Upper - Salisbury House  Guest HouseState Library of Victoria Image H32492/2099

Beaconsfield Upper - Runnymede Guest HouseState Library of Victoria Image H32492/6081

Cockatoo - Eastgate Guest HouseState Library of Victoria Image H32492/422
  Emerald - Avonsleigh HouseState Library of Victoria Image H32492/4108

Emerald - Emerald HouseState Library of Victoria Image H32492/4612

Emerald - Fernlee Guest HouseState Library of Victoria Image H32492/1403

Emerald - La Belle Guest HouseState Library of Victoria Image H32492/2547
Emerald - Silver Springs LodgeState Library of Victoria Image H32492/3775

Peter Pan Must Die

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Peter Pan Must Die is the fourth in the Dave Gurney series by John Verdon

Dave Gurney is a retired NYPD homicide cop with amazing skill to solve the most puzzling of murders. In Peter Pan Must Die, Gurney is encouraged by a former police colleague, Jack Hardwick, to assist finding the truth to a shocking murder that couldn’t have been committed the way the police say it was. He becomes immersed in the mystery and intrigue to determine the guilt or innocence of a woman already convicted of killing her powerful politician husband – who was shot in the head while delivering the eulogy at his mother’s funeral.

Consisting of multiple murders and startling twists and turns, this novel is brilliant in delivering a thrilling plot. I have not read the first three books in the Dave Gurney series, but will be sure to read the others now, and continue to look for further novels by John Verdon in the future! 

I would thoroughly recommend this to fans of thrillers and murder mysteries. It was fine to read as a stand alone title. Readers should note however that there is some harsh language used.  
~ Narelle

A Tiny Bit Lucky

Book Swamp -

A Tiny Bit Lucky
Author: Liz Pichon
Type of story: Funny

This is my all-time favorite book from the series (Tom Gates). It has lots of different stories/mini stories in it and just really funny/interesting. (I am a book worm so some of you may not like it).

How good was it? Fantastic

Age: 9

Man Book Shortlist 2014

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The £50,000  Man Booker Prize for Fiction embraces "the freedom of English in all its vigour, its vitality, its versatility and its glory wherever it may be".  Judges consider authors from anywhere in the world, so long as their work was in English and published in the UK.  Just announced:  

Joshua Ferris (US) - To Rise Again at a Decent Hour

Richard Flanagan (Australian) - The Narrow Road to the Deep North

Karen Joy Fowler (US) - We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

Howard Jacobson (British) - J

Neel Mukherjee (British) - The Lives of Others

Ali Smith (British) - How to be Both

Chair of the 2014 judges, AC Grayling, commented on behalf of the judges:
‘We are delighted to announce our international shortlist. As the Man Booker Prize expands its borders, these six exceptional books take the reader on journeys around the world, between the UK, New York, Thailand, Italy, Calcutta and times past, present and future.'

We have all these titles on our shelves - why not click on one to borrow and you be the judge - "Booker Prize or not?"

The First Voyage

Book Swamp -

The First Voyage by Allan Baillie begins way, way back in time.
Before Lieutenant James Cook landed in Australia.
Before the Chinese began work on the Great Wall of China.
Before the Great Pyramid of Giza was built in Cairo.
And before Neanderthals became extinct.

The Yam tribe live peacefully on an island called 'Bird Island.'
But another tribe called 'The Crocodiles' also live on this island and they are violent and ferocious.
What can the Yam tribe do to protect themselves? Where can they go?
Out of desperation, the Yam tribe are forced to make a dangerous sea voyage.
Not all of them will survive.

A story of adventure and great bravery.


The Minnow

Quicksand -

The Minnow by Diana Sweeney is the winner of the Text Prize for Young Adult and Children's Writing 2013.

I procrastinated for quite a while before I read this book. A pregnant teenager whose family had died in a flood? No thanks, I'll read something else.

But when I finally opened the book I couldn't put it down.
The cover is eye-catching - dark and beckoning - filled with sea creatures and underwater life. It also sets the mood for the novel.
And that is what I so loved about the book - a style and mood that sets it apart - dreamy and flowing.

The main character in the book is a girl called Tom who lives with a much older bloke called Bill since the death of her parents and sister.
Tom is pregnant with Bill's baby and she can no longer stay with Bill. She moves in with her friend Jonah who is helpful and supportive, as are others in her community.
As Tom works through her grief she communicates in an unlikely way with marine creatures and with her unborn child whom she names 'the minnow.'

This is a beautifully written novel that I recommend to those who love reading high quality YA fiction.

It is Diana's first novel, and it is a real winner.


The Happiness Project

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The Happiness Project: or why I spent a year trying to sing in the morning, clean my closets, fight right, read Aristotle, and generally have more fun by Gretchen Rubin
From the cover: One rainy afternoon, while riding a city bus, Gretchen Rubin asked herself, “What do I want from life, anyway?” She answered, “I want to be happy” — yet she spent no time thinking about her happiness. In a flash, she decided to dedicate a year to a happiness project. The result? One of the most thoughtful and engaging works on happiness to have emerged from the recent explosion of interest in the subject.
The Happiness Project synthesises the wisdom of the ages with current scientific research, as Rubin brings readers along on her year to greater happiness.In fact, Rubin’s “happiness project” no longer describes just a book or a blog; it’s a movement. Happiness Project groups, where people meet to discuss their happiness projects, have sprung up across the US — and across the world.
Lawyer-turned-writer Gretchen Rubin lives in New York City with her husband and two young daughters. She spends one year trying to increase her happiness in all aspects of her life with mixed results. Each month she decides on area that she will target such as "health", "love" or "money" and shares with the reader her trials and tribulations as she test-drives various theories and puts her happiness plan into action.

The Happiness Project is well researched and includes heaps of practical suggestions for increasing your wellbeing and, ultimately, your happiness. I particularly enjoyed Gretchen's daily adventures as she searched for both serenity and excitement amid the mundane routines of parenthood.

While her quest could seem self indulgent, the book is written in a lively way and has plenty of food for thought for anyone who would like to take time out from their busy lives to enjoy what really matters.


The Perfect Scent

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The Perfect Scent: a year inside the perfume industry in Paris and New York by Chandler Burr

The Perfect Scent is the thrilling inside story of the global perfume industry, told through two creators working on two very different scents. The first is commissioned by the French luxury brand Hermés, and developed by a perfumer named Jean-Claude Ellena, who begins his search for the scent on the banks of the Nile. The second is a celebrity fragrance, developed in New York by movie star Sarah Jessica Parker and a team of perfumers from a global conglomerate. Chalder Burr's thrilling narrative follows each scent from the initial concept to the worldwide launch. The Perfect Scent is the story of two daring creators, two very different scents, and a billion-dollar industry that runs on the invisible magic of perfume.

This book gives an insight into what goes on in the ultra secretive multi-million dollar perfume industry. Chandler Burr, perfume critic for the New York Times, spent a year behind the scenes watching both creators at work. He has written a colourful and riveting account of the characters from Paris’ exclusive Hermes brand and New York’s Sarah Jessica Parker team vying  for a spot in the “celebrity perfume” market.  This was a great read!

Berwick Grammar School Avenue of Honour and War Memorial

Casey-Cardinia 1914-1918: the Great War -

There are three Avenues of Honour in Berwick which commemorate the service of local people in the First World War.  The City of Casey has produced a book on the Avenues in their region, including the three Berwick ones. You can down-load a copy of the book here.

The smallest of these Avenues is the one in Church Street in Berwick which commemorates the nine soldiers who were killed and who had attended Berwick Boys Grammar School. This school operated from 1882 until 1928 and was located in the building on the corner of Church Street and Brisbane Street, in Berwick.

This is the memorial stone, in Church Street, which lists the names of the nine soldiers.

The Argus June 12, 1920http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1710870
We know the Avenue of Honour was planted in June 1920 and an Honour Board listing the names of the 66 'old boys' who joined up was unveiled at the same time and I presume the memorial stone in Church Street was also erected at this time.
Who are the nine boys, who were honoured by the Avenue in Church Street?  It is not always that easy to specifically identify the names on a memorial and in this case, as Berwick Grammar was a boarding school as well as  a day school, many of the students did not have a local address, so I was lucky to find the following article on Trove
Berwick Shire News February 9, 1916http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article92090882
As you can see the article lists a number of 'old boys' who had already joined up in 1916, some of whom are on the Avenue of Honour stone. Below is a list of the nine students and their Service Numbers (SN). You can access their full service records on the National Archives of Australia website, www.naa.gov.au
Brunn, E.D'A. This is Eric D'Arcy Brunn (SN 3357) even though his enlistment papers at the National Archives have his surname as Bruun, Eric was born in Seymour and was 38 years old and living in Woodend when he enlisted on June 18, 1917. He was Killed in Action in France on April 25, 1918. I am unsure whether Brunn or Bruun was the correct surname -  his sister, Alice D'Arcy Brunn enlisted as a nurse in 1915 and yet I have found them on the Electoral Roll as both Brunn and Bruun. 
Elmes, H. O.  Herbert Oliver Elmes (SN 1355) was born in Berwick and living in Berwick when he enlisted at the age of 40, on November 30, 1914. He was Killed in Action in France on November 5, 1916.
Gaunt, E.G.  I believe this is Edwin George Gaunt (SN 2604). He was born at Yarraville and enlisted at the age of 37 on July 7, 1915, in New South Wales. He was Killed in Action in France on July 19 or 20, 1916.
Hodgson, S. I can't work out who this is. On the Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour there is  only one S. Hodgson listed - Sidney Hodgson (SN 3562)  who was born and enlisted in New South Wales. He was 18 when he enlisted on September 7, 1915 and was Killed in Action in France a year later on October 22. Was this our S. Hodgson? The history of Berwick Grammar School (citation below) has an incomplete list of students and it lists an S. Hodgison -  but I cannot find any Hodgisons who enlisted.  If you know who this might be, I would love to hear from you.
Hope, H.L.  Harry Leslie Hope (SN 61) was born in South Melbourne and was living in Elsternwick  when he enlisted  on June 4, 1915 when he was 30 years of age. He died of wounds, in France, on April 22, 1917. 
Kent, A.E.  Alfred Ernest Kent (SN 3336) was from Narre Warren and enlisted on  August 2, 1915. Alfred's parents, Anthony and Mary Kent had arrived in Narre Warren around 1875 and purchased Granite Park (which they re-named Oatlands). Alfred was married to Alice Webb, the daughter of Sidney and Ann Webb.  Alfred was 40 when he enlisted as was Killed in Action in France on May 5, 1916.
Lyon, C.H. Charles Hugh Lyon (SN 412) was born at Hawksburn and enlisted in Western Australia on September 10, 1914. He was 26  and his next of kin, his mother, was living at Harkaway. Lieutenant Lyon was part of the Camel Corp and was Killed in Action on November 7, 1917 in Palestine. 
Miller, A.H.  Lieutenant Alexander Henderson Miller was born in Berwick  and enlisted, at Beechworth,  on July 15, 1915 aged 29. He was Killed in Action in Belgium on September 25, 1917.
Robin, A. M.  Arthur Mervyn Robin (SN 2180) was born at Camberwell and was 21 years old when he enlisted on March 10, 1915.  He was Killed in Action in France on June 29, 1916.

The Avenue of Honour in Church Street, Berwick.
There is a  history of the Berwick Grammar School - The School that was: a history of the Berwick Grammar School, 1882-1928 by John Bellair. It was published by the author in 1992.

Views from the hills: Rose Series post cards.

Links to our Past - history -

The Rose Stereograph Co. produced a series of post cards of views of Victoria - they are a great source of historical images  for the local historian and many are available on the State Library of Victoria website www.slv.vic.gov.au In this post we will look at some of these post cards that show views from the hills. They were taken between circa 1920 and 1954.

Beaconsfield Upper - The outlook from Kyogle (a guest house) State Library of Victoria Image H32492/2098
Beaconsfield Upper - The magnificent viewState Library of Victoria Image H32492/2091
Beaconsfield Upper - Outlook over Western PortState Library of Victoria Image H32492/2113
Cockatoo - View from Lovely ValleyState Library of Image H32492/2328
Cockatoo - From Pheasant Hill:  a birdseye view of of CockatooState Library of Victoria Image H32492/2166
Emerald - A magnificent panorama of hill and dale.State Library of Victoria Image H32492/2122
Emerald - A glorious panoramaState Library of Victoria Image H32492/2130 Emerald - View from the new roadState Library of Victoria Image H32492/2320
Emerald  - West Gembrook RoadState Library of Victoria Image H32492/2119
Gembrook - Panorama of GembrookState Library of Victoria Image H32492/6117
Gembrook - View showing Beenak RangesState Library of Victoria Image H32492/4108

Heir of Fire

Quicksand -

She is more than an assassin…She is a Queen…She is Aelin Ashryver GalathyniusHeir of two mighty bloodlinesAnd she’s back…
 Series: Throne of glass, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire
Celaena Sardothiencan no longer run, no longer hide. Heartbroken, lost and sent to the other side of the world, home of her ancestors, Celaena will embark on a journey to fulfil the oath she made to her perished Celaena to finally face the past and herself. Learning to accept her Fae heritage and magic will only be the beginning of Celaena’s journey from infamous assassin to reigning Queen. However there is more to the King’s reign than Celaenacould have ever imagined and defeat will come at a cost. The pieces are in play, moves are being made and war is about to rage. What will Celaena choose? Run or fight. There will be no second chances.friend. However fulfilling such an oath will require

Heir of Fire is by far the best book of this series; everything finally comes together in this thrilling, edge of your seat read. The old of characters return; Celaena’s past finally comes to light giving the reader further insight into her actions thus far; Dorian continues to grow although as with the last book he doesn’t appear as much as I would like; Chaol continues to play his role of helper of all failing to demonstrate an ability to make decisions for himself and the King proves to be more cunning than first thought. There is also a host of new characters such as Manon, a witch who is quite unlikable, and despite thawing out during the book I struggled to make it through her chapters, Sorcha a healer who attracts Dorian’s attention but has secrets of her own, Aedion the traitorous cousin and Roland the mystery Fae who intrigues not only Celaena but the reader as well. Each new character brings a new depth to the older characters and the plot overall. The descriptive nature of the text is engaging and it was refreshing to alternate between the different perspectives of the characters, as it added more layers to the overall story. Again as with its predecessors I was enthralled with the world Maas has built and the supernatural aspects she has effortlessly woven in. The plot twists along with the host of new characters makes for compelling reading and revitalises the story in exciting, new and unexpected ways. This book is literally a page-turner; a stunning new sequel in what is fast becoming one of my favourite YA series.

Courtney :)

The Accident

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The Accident by Chris Pavone

From the cover:  In New York, literary agent Isabel Reed is turning the final pages of an anonymous manuscript. In Copenhagen, CIA operative Hayden Gray is suddenly staring down the barrel of a gun. And in Zurich, the author himself is hiding in a shadowy expat life. Over the course of one long, perilous day, these lives collide as the book begins its dangerous march toward publication, placing everything at risk – and everyone in mortal peril.

This very complicated plot requires attention to detail. The story exposes a fatal accident that could bring down a media mogul, if true.  Through a series of events, multiple people read the manuscript, such as Isabel’s assistant, a rights director, a grandiose film producer, and Isabel’s star editor, which in turn puts them all at risk. This thrilling read includes mystery, mayhem and murder.
I love a good read with twists and turns and this story has plenty of them. Plus the ending of the book was jaw-dropping! The Accident is definitely an intriguing and thrilling tale.
I listened to the audio book version of this story, narrated by Laurence Bouvard [female]. It is also available in Playaway format and in print. 
~ Narelle


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