Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Thriller I AM MAYHEM by @SueColetta1

Today’s team review is from Karen. She blogs here

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Karen has been reading I Am Mayhem by Sue Coletta

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5 stars

This was such a great book to go along with the Mayhem Series. It was so enlightening, entertaining, awe inspiring, and it may be my favorite so far of the Mayhem Series. I love Shawnee Daniels and her interactions with Mr. Mayhem and Poe. This story was so much more than I was expecting, and I loved every bit of it.

Shawnee’s life is in more danger than she’s ever been in this fourth book in the Mayhem Series, but she’ll get guidance and help from the most unexpected people. She’ll learn that her life was not what she thought, and she will be led to a new path in life. Her relationship with Mr. Mayhem will reach a point of dangerous proportions and they will have to figure out how to proceed when truths are brought to light. This book is such a turning point in Shawnee’s life, and I can’t wait to see where she goes from here. I love the characters in this book and series and with the addition of Shicheii, I am excited to see what knowledge Shawnee will learn as she gets to know him more. This book had me laughing at Shawnee’s cats, but it also had me crying with loss and the enlightening of Shawnee and her past, as well as being anxious with Levaughn on his search for Shawnee and her best friend Nadine. I give this book a 5-star review and can’t wait for more of Shawnee Daniels and Mr. Mayhem. If you like books in the murder suspense genre with great characters and sassy, independent women that find themselves in all kinds of trouble, you will love Sue Coletta’s books.

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As bloody, severed body parts show up on her doorstep, Shawnee Daniels must stop the serial killer who wants her dead before she becomes the next victim.

But can she solve his cryptic clues before it’s too late? Or will she be the next to die a slow, agonizing death?

With crows stalking her every move, Shawnee can barely function. Things worsen when body parts show up on her doorstep. An unstoppable serial killer wants her dead. Mr. Mayhem threatens to murder everyone she loves, sending Shawnee a piece at a time.

As Mr. Mayhem sits in judgement, his cryptic clues must be solved before the final gavel drops. The game rules are simple—win the unwinnable or submit to a slow, agonizing death.

When Shawnee tries to fight back, she discovers her very existence is based on lies. But the full impact of the truth might become the headstone on Shawnee’s grave. 

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Rosie’s #Bookreview of #Memoir 10 10 10: My 10 year journey from suicide attempt to ultra-marathon runner by Laura Bird

10 10 10: My 10 year journey from suicide attempt to ultra marathon runner10 10 10: My 10 year journey from suicide attempt to ultra marathon runner by Laura Bird

4 stars

10 10 10: My 10 year journey from suicide attempt to ultra-marathon runner is the inspiring memoir of Laura Bird.

Aged eighteen, Laura attempted suicide after a culmination of events from a challenging childhood. While recovering in hospital, Laura took her psychological well-being into her own hands and decided that as she was offered another chance in life, she would take it.

Laura’s recovery wasn’t without its hardships and pain, but through it all Laura began building her own mental strengths. She went on to push both the barriers of her physical and psychological abilities while taking on some amazing tasks: marathons, triathlons, ironman, SAS: Who Dares Wins reality TV show and a mammoth ten marathons in ten days.

Throughout the book Laura speaks candidly about her own journey through mental health and talks about how she now deals with everyday life issues. I was very interested in her ten year turn around and how she is driven to keep on trying while accepting that we all need to fail at things so that we can learn valuable lessons.

A very interesting and moving story to read, and one that I would happily recommend to a wide reading audience.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

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Fighting for her life after a suicide attempt, Laura ‘Birdy’ Bird ended her turbulent adolescence physically and psychologically broken.

Fast forward 10 years and she has run 10 marathons in 10 days to raise money for the people who saved her life.

Join Birdy on her moving and motivational 10-year journey from learning how to walk again, through the challenges of training for an Ironman, to taking on the brutal Directing Staff as a recruit on Channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins. Culminating in taking on the biggest

ultra-marathon running challenge she has ever faced.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Epic #Poetry KINGS AND QUEENS by @jn_eagles

Today’s team review is from Jenni. She blogs here

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Jenni has been reading Kings And Queens by J. N. Eagles

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There is something familiar about J.N. Eagles’ Kings and Queens that I cannot quite seem to put my finger on.

Perhaps it reminds me of the sweeping, 19th century epic poems- something along the lines of Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, or Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

Possibly it is something older, sifted from the fragments Sappho or the uneven unfolding that is Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

Chances are, it is something in the middle, that I am hearing an echo of the medieval Breton lai in Eagles’ lines, reminiscent of Sir Orfeo, or Bisclavret.

Or, lastly, maybe, something much, much newer than any of these- like Max Porter’s melding of poetry and story in Grief is a Thing with Feathers.

Whatever lineage my subconscious keeps tripping over, it is obviously there. Eagles’ fairytale through poetry is obviously drawing on threads almost as old as story itself; kingdoms to be defended, thrones to be earned, dragons fought and tamed, selves discovered, and knights to be sacrificed, all time-honored and long-loved pieces of European lore.

There is magic in returning to the staples and reading them anew, and Eagles’ reinterpretation of the classics is just that, magical.

Grounded with a queen trying to find her own voice and place within her kingdom, and punctuated by beautiful pen and ink illustrations, Kings and Queens is marketed as coming of age poetry, likely geared towards younger readers, but is sure to be enjoyed by lovers of verse and story at any age.


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Kings and Queens is a coming of age poetry book. The story follows a young queen as she struggles to find herself while dealing with the king’s rule, the fire-breathing dragon, and the evil queen.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview of #Contemporary #YoungAdult Fiction A SECRET SERVICE by @_joymoment_ #TuesdayBookBlog

A Secret ServiceA Secret Service by Joy Jenkins

4.5 stars

A Secret Service is a contemporary young adult story set in Washington DC.

Eighteen-year-old Carter is the daughter of a Secret Service Agent. Left to bring up his daughter alone when his wife walked out, Steve Owens fell back on what he knew; he brought her up to defend herself using his Navy SEAL training.

Forced to attend a prestigious high school, Carter is a social outcast, not helped when she stands up to the bullies. She meets Link and Donovan when their own school is closed for an emergency; they are an odd duo, but Carter befriends them and they aren’t put off by her straight-talking and forward attitude.

Carter is excellent at reading people and she soon sniffs out the truth about Link and Donovan. The trio remain friends, helping each other out, particularly when Link and Carter both have some serious emotional setbacks.

I did enjoy this book, the writing flowed easily and I was engrossed in Carter’s world from page one. I loved how Carter called her dad Captain and he in turn called her Sarge as they negotiated the ups and downs of a father/ daughter relationship. Carter was a fun character, with a whole arsenal of verbal weapons and physical abilities to tackle any foe. The author also made Link and Donovan likeable characters and I could easily picture them all in my mind. I loved the ending but I won’t give away any spoilers.

I’m always happy to dip into a good young adult story and this one I can recommend. I shall look forward to more from this author.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

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Carter Owens, daughter of a Secret Service agent, is trained to disassemble any weapon, any situation, and anyone.  Her biting sarcasm and razor-sharp mind make her impossible to beat in a word fight and when talking doesn’t work, she uses her fists. She attends Hamilton Prep, Washington D.C.’s most prestigious high school, where everyone is related to someone in power, except her. 

When Hamilton Prep receives a flood of new students, Carter’s role as social outcast changes when she makes two unexpected friends. Friends who are hiding a secret.  As Carter uncovers the truth, she confronts challenges she is unequipped to handle and finds herself in a dangerous situation.  

For a girl trained to see everything, Carter never saw this coming.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview of #Mystery OUT OF SHOT by D.S. Joyce

Out of Shot: A Claire Armstrong MysteryOut of Shot: A Claire Armstrong Mystery by D.S. Joyce

3.5 stars

Out Of Shot is a mystery set in the Highlands of Scotland. The story mainly takes place in the remote village of Kylecraig and revolves around journalist Claire Armstrong who is spending a year making a film in the hope of helping to save the village school. Claire spends much of her time either filming in the school or the surrounding hills and shoreline.

During that year, drama comes to the village when one of the school children goes missing and Claire questions whether she should continue to film the villagers; shock waves move through the community. For much of the time Claire is desperately lonely; she does befriend the new school teacher, but when he abruptly leaves she’s left alone once more.

I thought that the author did a good job of portraying the isolation in a remote setting; Claire’s first cottage and the wild beach come instantly to mind. However, I did struggle to warm to Claire. I wanted her to have a more realistic range of emotions; she came across as angry far too often.

Some of my favourite parts were the scenery and the traditional village gatherings. The film-making element was very interesting, too; the author’s knowledge and experience in this shone through. The mystery didn’t work for me, which is a shame; it got a bit lost, becoming more a piece of journalism than a fully engaging mystery story with gritty suspense and danger.

Overall I enjoyed the setting and I understood the isolation, but the mystery needed more of a boost to give it a chance in this popular genre.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

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A remote Highland village. Two outsiders. One missing child. And a guilty secret….

Film-maker Claire Armstrong has swapped city life for a remote coastal community in the Highlands, where she is making a documentary.

Claire is drawn to the mysterious new arrival, Jackson; but even as their friendship deepens, he won’t share any personal information about himself. And why does he choose to live in a van on the beach in the dead of winter?

When a local child goes missing, the village is swamped by journalists and TV crews. Suspicion and anger turn to hatred, as some locals are convinced that Jackson is the prime suspect. He is driven from the village – or has he run away?

And will Claire be able find out the truth, before somebody stops her?

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Poetry Kings and Queens by @jn_eagles

Today’s team review is from Sue. She blogs here

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Sue has been reading Kings And Queens by J.N. Eagles

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Kings and Queens is a fantastic fantasy poem, set in the kingdom of Benvolio and told exclusively from the point of view of the queen. We don’t learn the names of any of the characters.

It is an amusing rhyming poem about the life of a young queen who is mostly ignored by her power-hungry, unfaithful husband and how she reacts when her realm is beset by a dragon, due to the King’s greed:

“The beast had red scales
And sharp nails.
Its claws dug in the ground.
The knights were spellbound.
And as it crept nearby,
They shook at the dragon’s cry”

A knight comes to the castle and the queen falls in love with him and he reciprocates her love. The king has been cruel and neglectful to the queen, but when he hears rumors of their love from the nosy ladies-in-waiting, he becomes jealous, sending the knight out to fight the dragon.

The knight is compassionate and cannot kill the dragon, but instead he rides it back to the castle, where he presents it to the queen. She hopes that now she is the owner of a dragon this might make the court listen to her, since she has had precious little luck at making her voice heard at court so far. She had expected to be seen as an equal to the king, but that has been far from the case. She is frustrated that being queen is not enough to make her desires heard. Instead the king locks her up in a tower like a damsel in distress.

The dark queen attacks their land in retaliation for the loss of her husband, by the dragon, so the queen needs to find the courage to help defend her kingdom and eventually she manages, realising that she no longer needs a protector and can take care of herself, despite what the king has made her believe. She rides off to battle on her dragon, but unfortunately. tragedy strikes during the battle.

The young queen’s character has developed throughout the poem and she has become a much stronger person, able to command respect and beat her foes.

The poem is a quick but very enjoyable read and I look forward to hearing more from this author. I imagine an audio version would probably sound like a rap and I would quite like to hear that! In fact I can also imagine parents reading it out to their children like a rap. The poem is suitable for all ages.

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Kings and Queens is a coming of age poetry book. The story follows a young queen as she struggles to find herself while dealing with the king’s rule, the fire-breathing dragon, and the evil queen.

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview of #Dystopia REDDER DAYS by Sue Rainsford

Redder DaysRedder Days by Sue Rainsford

3.5 stars

Redder Days is a dystopian tale set in a semi-abandoned commune; teenage twins Anna and Adam remain with ex-commune leader Koan. The commune is in an unknown setting but it is close to the shore and a forest, while much of the ground bubbles with volcanic disturbance.

Anna and Adam prepare for STORM; an end of the world prediction. Each day at dawn and dusk they kneel for devotion and prayer. Then Anna keeps watch through the night and Adam has the day shift. What they fear most is a red disease; something which turns humans and animals into monsters.

The commune was created by a group who wanted to escape this red disease. During the heyday of the commune, Koan’s leadership was strict; women giving birth did so in a farrowing room with only Koan in attendance. He alone controlled the fate of each babe, with those who survived being ‘educated’ by Koan; we learn about this via accounts from the twins.

The chapters go back and forth between Anna and Adam, with some chapters from Koan’s diaries and a sprinkling of others from a former commune inhabitant, Matthew. This is quite a slow gruesome story, with little let up of the pacing, even at the end. It deals with indoctrination, survival and incest. The subject matter is disturbing and the style of the narration added to the overall atmosphere with no light relief, which I found made it hard to read.

The author has also chosen to use an experimental style of prose and it did feel awkward to read. Particularly the over-use of subordinate clauses as well as dialogue with no speech marks. I can understand wanting to make your work different, but it had me re-reading some lines believing I was missing something, which became a distraction from the main narrative. I know there will be a market for this type of writing, but it isn’t for me at this time; experimental styles need a lot of skill to carry off.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

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Twins Anna and Adam live in an abandoned commune in a volatile landscape where they prepare for the world-ending event they believe is imminent. Adam keeps watch by day, Anna by night. They meet at dawn and dusk.

Their only companion is Koan, the commune’s former leader, who still exerts a malignant control over their daily rituals. But when one of the previous inhabitants returns, everything Anna and Adam thought they knew to be true is thrown into question.

Dazzling, unsettling and incredibly moving, Redder Days is a stunning exploration of the consequences of corrupted power, the emotional impact of abandonment, and the endurance of humanity in the most desperate of situations.

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Rosie’s#Bookreview Team #RBRT This Is Us: Black British Women And Girls Curated by Kafayat Okanlawon

Today’s team review is from Jenni. She blogs here

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Jennie has been reading This Is Us: Black British Women And Girls Curated by Kafayat Okanlawon

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A cynic or a scholar might say that it is tellingly colonialist that the only way I can think to describe This Is Us is in terms of consumption, and yet it is true.

This Is Us is delicious, a banquet by small bites- tiny tastes of the richest flavors. The nature of this collection allows for the most incredible pairings, a teenager’s dreams, hopes, and heartbreaks followed immediately by a grandmother’s experiences arriving in London in the 1960s, followed by a woman in her 30s struggle to define herself in spaces that do not recognize her.

There is sisterhood and love and betrayal, generational acceptance and distance, family both by blood and by bond all written in the pages of This Is Us. Chapters are loosely organized by theme: something along the lines of sexuality, self-acceptance, finding your voice, romantic relationships, friendships, faith, etc. but these are my names for them- there are no formal title cards, and rightly so. Most of the essays fit into more than one of these named categories, and the correlations I have identified could well be arbitrary, or completely different from the intent of Kafayat Okanlawon, the self-described “curator” of this text.

I like that Okanlawon describes herself as a curator, rather than taking the more traditional “editor” title that we are used to seeing with essay collections or anthologies. A simple word choice, but it elevates the pieces; essays, poems, memoirs and reflections, to the art that they are. 

Because they are art.

The best art depicts life through a unique perspective.

It takes the familiar frame of the world and tilts the camera, showing us the new, the unexpected, and the (yes, we’re back to food) delicious perspective of the artist.

For another reader, with another family history, another hometown, and another skin color, the stories contained in This Is Us might be familiar. A reflection of her life and experiences, a validation of everything she is, has been, and will grow to be.

For me, This Is Us is a tilting point. A changing point for my understanding of the human condition. It details experiences with institutions and individuals that are largely outside my, white girl raised in small-town Texas, frame of reference.

Change isn’t always comfortable.

But art shouldn’t always be comfortable, and change is good.

This Is Us is not just an enjoyable read, it is a necessary book. Necessary for readers of every shade and level. Necessary in the way that eating is- for both sustenance, and for pleasure.

5/5, will read again.

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This is Us is a collection of poetry and prose by Black British women and girls aged 4 to 86. With over 100 pieces, the book ties together the lives of women across generations to capture a lifetime of lived experience.

Collected by Kafayat Okanlawon from strangers, acquaintances, friends and family, the stories here are more than words on paper; they are a representation of resistance, freedom and sisterhood.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Historical Espionage BURKE IN IRELAND by @TomCW99

Today’s team review is from Noelle. She blogs here

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Noelle has been reading Burke In Ireland by Tom Williams.

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I was given a copy of this book for a fair and honest review for Rosie’s Book Review Team.

This is the fifth book in the James Burke series by this author. I haven’t read the previous four but I had no problems – the book is fine as a standalone.

In the late eighteenth century, with England seemingly beset on all sides, the War Office needs agents to spy for them and James Burke isn’t given a choice. It’s no business for a gentleman, but Burke is half-gentleman, half soldier and well suited to the job of spying. The four prior books haven’t been written in chronological order but when Burke is posted to Argentina, he is introduced to the world of espionage.  He has also been to the Iberian Peninsula, to Egypt and to Paris, after Napoleon is exiled to Elba. Burke in Ireland is Burke’s first real introduction to the practice of espionage, and the author admits that this is a dark book compared to the previous four, which have Burke on the side of the angels and the villain getting his just desserts in the end.

England needs spies everywhere, and Burke is a chameleon. So he is sent in 1793 to Ireland, which is a hotbed of Irish Nationalists. Burke must discover which of these men are plotting with the French to bring down English rule and/or planning for an uprising. Burke fits right into Dublin society operating smoothly between different strata and discovers it’s easy to identify the Nationalists. Getting to those who do more than just talk about Irish independence is another matter, and Burke manages to ingratiate himself with a member of the Irish elite who provides him with an ‘in’ to those he is seeking. Along the way, he turns in the names of a number of minor spies, who are sent to jail, tried, and hung, if their offences are serious enough. Burke struggles with his moral ambiguity, since the English were treating the Irish badly at that time – trials are rigged, Catholics tortured. Nevertheless, he finally decides that the safety of England trumps all, despite the ongoing tension that he will be discovered and possibly killed.

His “in’ is Patrick Geraghty, a well-to-do Dubliner who, after some time accepts Burke as a true Nationalist with Jacobin leanings. Geraghty is a huge man with an air of menace who drinks prodigiously and lets things slip while in an inebriated state. His beautiful daughter, named Siobhan, captures Burke’s attention and the couple become affectionate. Geraghty approves their relationship but his wife does not, despite the fact her husband beats her regularly. Thus Geraghty becomes the real villain, and the plot he arranges to spirit a true Nationalist out of the country, with the encouragement of Burke, becomes a dangerous and tortuous journey for everyone involved, not the least of which is Burke himself.

James Burke was a real person, but his story is entirely fictitious. But many of the characters in incidents cited in this book are historically accurate. The Alien Office which sent Burke to Ireland was real and became Britain’s first semi-official intelligence operation, a forerunner to MI5 and MI6. Wolfe Tone, Willam Drennan, Whitley Stokes, and Joseph Pollock were all true Irish Nationalists. Two men (Jackson and Cockayne) were spies for France and England, respectively. Archibold Rowan, a main character, was imprisoned in Newgate for sedition and libel but made an escape to France, his account of which is wrapped into Burke’s story.

In short, I found this book full of tension and historically fascinating, especially given my knowledge of Ireland’s “troubles” many years later and my experiences in that country (which I love). The descriptions of life in Dublin, especially the pub scenes, Newgate prison, and general society were vivid. The characters were very finely described and can be visualized by the reader. The web of spies in Dublin at the time is both brilliantly presented and nearly overwhelming in its detail. Clearly, the author did a lot of research for this book, and I loved being educated.

Burke in Ireland is not a light book to read, and to a reader looking for high tension and colorful conflicts on every page, it might seem dry. But it does what the author intended. I recommend it strongly to aficionados of historical novels and of Ireland’s history in particular.

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1793 and James Burke is under cover in Ireland, spying on Irish Nationalists. His objective: to discover any plots to conspire with the French to bring down English rule in Dublin.
Dublin is full of plotters. Finding them is easy. Staying alive is not as straightforward.
A tale of spying, love and death against the background of the early struggle for Irish independence.

It’s real history but not how you learned it at school.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Of #HistoricalFiction Cunning Women by Elizabeth Lee

Cunning WomenCunning Women by Elizabeth Lee

3.5 stars

Cunning Women is an historical story set in Lancashire, England during 1620. The story revolves around a family known for their witchcraft; they live outside the main village in a house left abandoned after the plague. Some of the villagers go to them for medicinal help, but mostly they are feared and few will openly help by giving food or offering work.

Daniel is the son of a farmer, a gentle soul who befriends Sarah, the teenage daughter of the aforementioned family. However, when a new magistrate moves to the area, the man’s determination to purge the village of Papists and witchcraft can only mean trouble for Sarah and her family.

I liked the premise of this story, but I found it rather slow and predictable after the opening chapters, which was a shame. It was still a solid story, it just didn’t draw me in as much as I had hoped.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

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Spring of 1620 in a Lancashire fishing community and the memory of the slaughter at Pendle is tight around the neck of Sarah Haworth. A birthmark reveals that Sarah, like her mother, is a witch. Torn between yearning for an ordinary life and desire to discover what dark power she might possess, Sarah’s one hope is that her young sister Annie will be spared this fate.

The Haworth family eke out a meagre existence in the old plague village adjoining a God-fearing community presided over by a seedy magistrate. A society built upon looking the other way, the villagers’ godliness is merely a veneer. But the Haworth women, with their salves and poultices, are judged the real threat to morality.

When Sarah meets lonely farmer’s son Daniel, she begins to dream of a better future. Daniel is in thrall to the wild girl with storms in her eyes, but their bond is tested when a zealous new magistrate vows to root out sins and sinners. In a frenzy of fear and fury, the community begins to turn on one another, and it’s not long before they direct their gaze towards the old plague village … and does Daniel trust that the power Sarah wields over him is truly love, or could it be mere sorcery?

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