Quote of the Week (Pierce Brown)

Hi All!! Don’t worry, I’ll be back soon. Meanwhile, new feature: Quote of the Week. Every now and then I come across a quote that’s powerful, meaningful, or just plain beautiful, and I need a place to dump it so I’ll remember it for later. I figure I’ll dump all of them in here, so that you can all benefit (Merry Christmas!!!) XO, Em

“There’s something beautiful about someone who sees that which doesn’t exist, and is gentle to that which does.”

Pierce Brown, Justine Magazine

<p style=”text-align: center;”><img class=” wp-image-9067″ src=”http://writeawaybliss.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/dgw-ebook-cover-654×1024.jpg&#8221; alt=”9781620155776_cov.indd” width=”401″ height=”628″ /></p>

<p style=”text-align: center;”>Dead Girl Walking (Royal Reaper) by Ruth Silver</p>

<p style=”text-align: center;”>Published: November 25, 2014</p>

<p style=”text-align: center;”>Publisher: Booktrope</p>

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<b>Forget everything you know about grim reapers. </b>

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<div>Princess Ophelia Dacre sneaks out of the castle to visit her boyfriend in secret. A perfect night cut short when she’s brutally murdered.</div>

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Ophelia is given the rare chance to become a grim reaper. She must become Leila Bele, cut ties with her old life, and follow the rules of the reapers. Her greatest adventure begins with death.

 

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<em><strong>Now includes the prequel Ashes to Ashes as a bonus story in the Booktrope edition. Available in eBook &amp; Paperback.</strong></em>

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<div style=”text-align: center;”><strong><a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20749515-dead-girl-walking”>Add to Goodreads</a></strong></div>

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<div style=”text-align: center;”><strong><a href=”http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Girl-Walking-Royal-Reaper-ebook/dp/B00Q7CP1A4/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1417128543&amp;sr=1-2&amp;keywords=royal+reaper”>Available on Amazon</a> | </strong><strong><a href=”http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dead-girl-walking-ruth-silver/1119366468?ean=9780692202531″>Barnes &amp; Noble</a></strong></div>

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<h2 style=”text-align: center;”><strong>Excerpt</strong></h2>

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“Listen, kid, I don’t care what you believe in. It’s not for me to say what’s true and untrue, real or unreal. My assignment was you. You get to be one of us, if you want it. Otherwise, you move on, life is over, kaput.”

 

Ophelia backed away from the stranger. For the first time, she realized she didn’t feel cold and wasn’t shivering. Is this what being dead was like? “One of you?”

 

“A grim reaper.” He held out his hand to properly introduce himself. “Edon Montgomery, head reaper and old soul.”

 

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<h2 style=”text-align: center;”>Meet the Characters</h2>

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<p style=”text-align: center;”><strong>Ophelia Dacre</strong></p>

The princess and heir to the throne, Ophelia witnessed her mother’s murder as a young child. Barely seventeen, she is a hopeless romantic at heart. Ophelia has fallen in love with Larkin, a commoner. Although she knew it’s against her fathers wishes, she continues to see her boyfriend in secret. Ophelia is passionate, cunning, and would do anything for her young sister Mara.

 

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<img class=”alignnone aligncenter” src=”http://royalreaper.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Leila-and-Wynter-char-bios-200×300.jpg&#8221; alt=”” width=”200″ height=”300″ />

<p style=”text-align: center;”><strong>Leila Bele</strong></p>

<p style=”text-align: left;”>Formerly Ophelia Dacre, Leila is the newest reaper and has trouble following the rules. She missed her life as a princess, and has trouble staying away from those she left behind.</p>

<p style=”text-align: center;”><strong>Wynter Gael</strong></p>

<p style=”text-align: left;”>A grim reaper and constant rule breaker. Wynter enjoys Leila’s company. His roommate and best friend, Jasper, keeps him in line.</p>

<p style=”text-align: center;”><img class=”alignnone” src=”http://royalreaper.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/mara-char-bio.jpg&#8221; alt=”” width=”300″ height=”200″ /></p>

<p style=”text-align: center;”><strong>Mara Dacre</strong></p>

<p style=”text-align: left;”>Princess and younger sister to Ophelia, Mara is just fourteen years old. Full of love toward Ophelia, Mara will stop at nothing to know the truth about how her sister died, and who murdered her.</p>

<p style=”text-align: center;”><img class=”alignnone” src=”http://royalreaper.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/larkin-char-bio.jpg&#8221; alt=”” width=”300″ height=”265″ /></p>

<p style=”text-align: center;”><strong>Larkin Alis</strong></p>

<p style=”text-align: left;”>Not of royal blood, unbeknownst to him, Larkin was courting Princess Ophelia up until her murder. He is a suspect in her brutal slaying.</p>

<p style=”text-align: center;”><img class=”alignnone” src=”http://royalreaper.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Edon-char-bio-200×300.jpg&#8221; alt=”” width=”200″ height=”300″ /></p>

<p style=”text-align: center;”><strong>Edon Montgomery</strong></p>

<p style=”text-align: left;”>Head reaper and considered an old soul, Edon’s job is to keep the other reapers in line. Tough but fair, Edon is always watching and fixing reaper mistakes. Although, he has a few secrets of his own.</p>

<p style=”text-align: center;”><img class=”alignnone” src=”http://royalreaper.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Jasper-char-bio.jpg&#8221; alt=”” width=”300″ height=”270″ /></p>

<p style=”text-align: center;”><strong>Jasper Ehlers</strong></p>

<p style=”text-align: left;”>A fellow reaper and best friend to Wynter, Jasper has been in love with Violetta for decades. He’s a romantic, constantly wooing Violetta through the decades, hoping to one day win over her heart.</p>

<p style=”text-align: center;”><img class=”alignnone” src=”http://royalreaper.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/violetta-char-bio-189×300.jpg&#8221; alt=”” width=”189″ height=”300″ /></p>

<p style=”text-align: center;”><strong>Violetta Mercier</strong></p>

<p style=”text-align: left;”>A grim reaper and roommate of Emblyn. Violetta is cheeky, dark, and quite often mysterious at first introduction. She loves to tease others and enjoys the thrill of being pursued by Jasper. She prides herself on being a reaper and lets it reflect in her appearance.</p>

<p style=”text-align: center;”><img class=”alignnone” src=”http://royalreaper.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/emblyn-char-bio.jpg&#8221; alt=”” width=”300″ height=”295″ /></p>

<p style=”text-align: center;”><strong>Emblyn Vernon</strong></p>

<p style=”text-align: left;”>The good girl reaper. Emblyn follows the rules, most of the time. A friend to most reapers, Emblyn has a kind heart and upbeat attitude. She sticks up for those that need support, and is always there to offer a hand when necessary.</p>

<p style=”text-align: center;”><img class=”alignnone” src=”http://royalreaper.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Astin-Stafford-char-bio-192×300.jpg&#8221; alt=”” width=”192″ height=”300″ />

<strong>Astin Stafford</strong></p>

<p style=”text-align: left;”>Of royal blood, Prince Astin and Princess Ophelia have an arranged marriage for the sake of their kingdoms. He’s kind, charming, but a bit of a push over. Ophelia has no romantic feelings toward Astin.</p>

<p style=”text-align: left;”><img class=”aligncenter” src=”http://royalreaper.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/juliana-char-bio-252×300.jpg&#8221; alt=”” width=”252″ height=”300″ /></p>

<p style=”text-align: center;”><strong>Juliana Stapleton</strong></p>

<p style=”text-align: left;”>Once human over a thousand year ago, Juliana was forever marked a dark angel. With black wings and a duty of responsibility, she doesn’t take her job lightly.</p>

 

<h2 style=”text-align: center;”>About the Author</h2>

<p style=”text-align: center;”><img class=”aligncenter size-medium wp-image-9103″ src=”http://writeawaybliss.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/1-lo-res-214×300.jpg&#8221; alt=”1 lo res” width=”214″ height=”300″ /></p>

Ruth Silver is the best-selling author of the Aberrant trilogy. With a passion for writing and a love of story-telling, Ruth is actively writing two series: Royal Reaper and Orenda. Her interests also include traveling, reading, and photography. Her favorite vacation destination is Australia. Ruth currently resides in Plainfield, Illinois. She can be found on <a href=”http://twitter.com/writeawaybliss”>Twitter</a&gt;, <a href=”http://facebook.com/writeawaybliss”>Facebook</a&gt;, and her book blog <a href=”http://writeawaybliss.com”>Write Away Bliss</a>.

Book Review: The Soul Thief (Angel of Death Series #1) by Majanka Verstraete

****Full Disclosure: Like many of the books I review, I was very generously given a copy of this book in return for an honest interview. The generosity of the author/publisher does not affect my review*****

Witches. Vampires. Angels of Death. These are just a few of the characters/paranormal creatures you’ll be treated to in The Soul Thief, which will make it a favourite for paranormal lovers.

In The Soul Thief, Riley gets into a horrific car crash. During the car crash, she sees a girl steal a young boy’s soul. Naturally, she thinks that she’s hallucinating, or it’s all a dream, but then she later encounters the same girl at the hospital who informs her that she is a Halfling angel of death. Afterwards, Riley tries to come to terms with her new identity (and the fact that her father isn’t actually her biological father) all while going through intense training with Leander, a handsome angel of death who has already lived for centuries. Her training also means lying regularly to her parents and friends. However, Riley soon has even more to worry about when teenage girls who are around Riley’s age start to die under mysterious circumstances, and Riley has to figure out why.

Majanka Verstraete certainly is a whiz at starting things off running. The novel opens to Riley’s car accident, a powerful and intriguing scene that had me immediately captivated. The rest of the book continues much in this manner, moving from event to event, and not lingering in any one place for too long. For my personal taste, although I appreciate movement, I also enjoy having time to develop both main and secondary characters as well as develop the protagonist’s stasis. In particular, I would have loved a bit more build up between Riley’s accident and her learning that she is an angel of death, which would have given me a chance to feel out her personal and family life, and maybe get more acquainted with Riley as a character. However, if you like your books to move at a speedy, breathless pace, with every scene mattering a great deal to the plot, then you will find that this novel does that, in effortless style.

As far as characters go, I enjoyed Riley. She’s a very conscientious character, yet she has a wicked sense of quirky humour that keeps things from getting too serious. Leander at times veers toward getting a little too “pretty-boy,” but he matches Riley’s sense of humour and contentiousness with his own, which allows him to still be engaging. Secondary characters felt a bit thin at times, but this also kept the plot focalized on Riley and her strength as a character.

Plot-wise, this is a paranormal-lover’s dream. Verstraete crafts an engaging and thought-out paranormal world, with no noticeable cracks. In addition to the angels, we also encounter other paranormal figures, such as witches, casters, and vampires, which is sure to make any paranormal fan happy.

Ultimately, The Soul Thief  is a promising beginning to a series. While readers who prefer lots of character development may feel a little overwhelmed by the speedy pace, paranormal fans who love a plot-driven novel with lots of supernatural goodies will love it.

Author Interview: Tasha Cotter

Today I’m interviewing Tasha Cotter, author of the NA romance, Red Carpet Day Job! If you haven’t already heard about it (or seen the be-au-ti-ful cover), then you can check it out here:http://iluvhg.wordpress.com/2014/11/14/cover-reveal-tasha-cotters-red-carpet-day-job/

Emily’s Interview with Tasha:

 

1. What inspired you to write your novel?

It’s hard to say where this book came from! I really like the work of Helen Fielding, Sophie Kinsella, and Julianna Baggott and I’m a sucker for romantic comedies. I suppose I was influenced by those writers, more than anything else. The character of Sophie was the initial spark for the rest of the book. After thinking about her character I began to build up the rest of her world – her somewhat-employed boyfriend, the unlikely romance between her and Nick, and a boss who’s considerate of her, but also very driven to make the agency work. He sees the ambition and potential in Sophie and pushes her to be as good as she can be. Pretty soon other events and characters – like the beautiful young Kate Farris—began to appear. My characters gave me the tension, drama, and conflict I knew I would need if this was going to be a novel. I knew I had something to work with and just sat down and began taking a lot of notes, then I created an outline, and much, much later, the book was finally written.

2. What were the easiest parts to write?

Once I know my characters really well, dialogue comes rather easily. That being said, I have to be able to visualize these people in order to write them. I have to know what their hiding. I have to know their motivations and I have to know their backgrounds, to some degree. I need to know their weaknesses. If I know them well – and I have to know them well—I can channel the dialogue. I won’t say it comes easily, but it’s easier than shaping the plot and making the book come together as a whole.

3. What were the hardest parts to write?

I think the hardest part was striking the right balance between Sophie, Nick, and Scott. Sophie and Scott have this long history – they were college sweethearts who moved to New York together because she got a good job. Scott followed her to New York and started an urban farming operation. They were once in love with each other, but have grown apart over several years. When we first meet them, they’re living together in New York in a cramped apartment, and they’ve become such different people. They’re on two different paths, which Sophie recognizes sooner than Scott does. Nick is like Sophie’s reality check. Nick comes along and represents something very different—he’s a new chapter in her life—but balancing who she was with who she becomes (is becoming) was not easy. I needed to braid the past with the present. I needed to follow her transformation and help her make sense of the present. More than anything, I needed to make it clear her moving on from Scott made sense.

4. What are some of your favourite YA novels?

I’m a big fan of John Green, M.T. Anderson, and Suzanne Collins. I love books that have a strong narrative – I love a good plot. I also love a good love story.

5. I have to ask (it is a dystopia blog): what are some of your favourite dystopian novels (or just one)?

I really loved The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I also thought M.T. Anderson’s book Feed was terrific. It seemed to illuminate an information-driven future we’re all sort of stumbling toward. I thought the world that M.T. Anderson created was so wonderfully realized.

6. Favourite writing snack?

Usually tea and chocolate are never far from my laptop. J

7. If you could be any character in your novel, who would you like to be?

Good question! I’d have to go with Sophie. Or maybe Kate Farris? I’d choose Sophie because she’s on the way to becoming the person she always wanted to be. And that’s an exciting place to be in life. She’s on the cusp of playing a very important role at the talent agency and she’s finally working with some amazing Hollywood talent (and getting the respect she deserves). Not to mention, she may have finally met a guy who has a job, treats her well, and is not at all bad looking. Why might I choose Kate? She’s that enigmatic “it-girl” that everyone simultaneously loves and hates. She’s also a little spoiled. It’s a good thing she doesn’t have that unflappable ambition and drive to excel that Sophie does – Kate could take over the world, if that were the case!

8. What do you hope readers will learn from/ take away from your novel?

I hope this is a good story – I hope it’s a fun story. Red Carpet Day Job is sort of a modern day Cinderella story: Sophie is undergoing a transformation in this book and her life becomes a little brighter by the end of the book. Her career starts making more sense. Her life in New York starts to come together in ways she hadn’t planned, and she has to balance her career with Nick Jackson and what he’s about. I love writing New Adult because you get to follow characters through some of the most interesting and important decisions of their lives. I hope that readers come away intrigued by the big choice that Sophie has to make. By the way, her story isn’t over yet – I’m already at work on the sequel….

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I’m excited for that!!! Thanks for the lovely interview, Tasha!

Cover Reveal: Tasha Cotter’s “Red Carpet Day Job”

Today, I’m featuring something new: New Adult! This NA romance by Tasha Cotter sounds adorable and romantic, and just like the type of book I like, especially this time of year! Plus, it’ll be released in time for Valentines Day, which makes it either a lovely Valentines gift for yourself, or for someone special (the gorgeous cover doesn’t hurt either). Read on:

Most of the working-class secretaries in New York City don’t spend their mornings wrestling skirts from beneath roosting chickens or cleaning egg yolk off their heels. But Sophie Waldrop does, thanks to her boyfriend, Scott, and the organic egg business he runs out of her 5th floor walk-up. Though they’ve been dating since high school, Scott no longer pulls his weight in the relationship—financially or emotionally. Sophie’s ready to send him, and his chickens, packing.

The day she breaks up with Scott, Sophie’s boss introduces her to the firm’s new client, Nick Jackson—the hottest up-and-coming actor in Hollywood. Sophie can’t believe her luck when her boss volunteers her to be Nick’s date for a red carpet award ceremony that same night. Freshly single, Sophie tries to keep things in perspective as her “work event” leads to a budding romance. She didn’t expect to like Nick, and she certainly didn’t expect him to like her.

When her dream job lands in her lap, Sophie rejoices that her hard work has finally paid off. But she soon learns that it may have been Nick’s influence that opened the doors and created the opportunities that she would rather have earned for herself.

 

Nick’s hectic schedule, the persistent leading ladies with whom he works, and Sophie’s own promotion and career ambitions further complicate their fairy-tale romance. Can Nick and Sophie make their love last, or will their relationship be more like the paparazzi’s camera flashes—fast, bright, and fading?

Author Tasha Cotter_Pic1

Tasha Cotter is the author of That Bird Your Heart (Finishing Line Press) and Some Churches (Gold Wake Press). A graduate of the University of Kentucky and the Bluegrass Writers Studio, her work has appeared in or is forthcoming in NANO Fiction, Verse Daily, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. You can find her online at www.tashacotter.com or on twitter @TashCotter.

Interview: Sherry D. Ficklin, Author of “Queen of Someday”

Historical fiction and YA lovers take a deep breath!! Today, I have a special treat for you. Sherry D. Ficklin, author of Queen of Someday, along with other fab YA novels, kindly allowed me to interview her!!! Our interview focuses on Queen of Someday (which I went pretty ga-ga for this summer), as well as some general writing questions. Bonus: You’ll also learn some history! Enjoy!

1. What inspired you to write your novel? In particular, what inspired you to choose Catherine the Great as the subject of your novel?

I was doing research on the Romanov line for my other novel, EXTRACTED, when I first came across Catherine’s story. It was one of those truth is stranger than fiction things. Her history was so decadent and angsty I knew it would make a fantastic novel. The more I researched, the more I wanted to know how an innocent girl from Germany became the ruthless Empress of Russia. Talk about character growth.

2. What were the easiest parts to write?

The romance was the easiest part to write. It was one of the only pieces not grounded in real history so I was really able to play with it at my own discretion. It was so much fun to experience that first, erratic, all consuming, reasonless love.

3. What were the hardest parts to write?

**SPOILERS**

The toughest scene was when Rina’s pregnancy was announced, but the most technically difficult were the scenes where she’s just moving though the palace. The perfectionist in me really wanted to get it right, but without actually having BEEN to Winter Palace, it was nearly impossible.

4. Did you originally plan for your book to be a YA novel? Or did that happen along the way? It certainly reaches a wide audience. I’m twenty-one and I love it and I know others who are closer to middle age and love it as well.

I think the series at least begins as a young adult novel, those things are generally based on the age of the main character more than anything. But as the series progresses, it melts more into NA and adult categories. I just finished book 2 and it’s much darker, less romance, much more at stake, at least from a political standpoint. I think it is one of those stories that, by the nature of time passing and the characters maturing, will appeal to a wide spectrum of readers. I will say, I don’t think there’s ever been a YA novel quite like it.

5. For us non-history-buffs, how much did you alter or trim from Catherine’s real story when writing your novel? How did you decide what would stay, and what would go?

I tried to keep strict to two things, first being the overall political climate of the period and secondly being the nature of Sophie/Catherine and the other characters. I condensed time quite a bit, there are people she actually met much later in life that I brought in much earlier in the narrative, and specifically I altered some details like, for example, the scene where she’s poisoned. It was true that she fell ill and nearly died, but it was from pneumonia. I took the opportunity to ramp it up as a way to demonstrate the very fragile nature of her station, as well as the lengths people at court would go to in order to secure political alliances. All in all, it was a very delicate balance. I also “Americanized” it quite a bit. You will notice I use terms like “Empress” instead of “Tsarina” and Peter instead of Paytr. That was mainly for ease of reading. Some people love that about it, some hate it. It was a purely creative choice.

(Emily’s note: As I mentioned previously in my review of “Queen of Someday,” I found that the “Americanized” language stylistic choices were a particularly strong element of the novel.)

  1. What are some of your favourite YA novels?

That is impossible, I love so many and my favorites change from month to month. I’m very into teen paranormal, so pretty much anything under that umbrella rocks my world. Though, I just read Dethroning Crown by Lila Felix and I loved it HARD CORE.

  1. I have to ask (it is a dystopia blog): What are some of your favourite dystopian novels (or just one)?

I really enjoyed (most of) the Divergent novels, the Hunger Games, I liked The Water Wars and The Uglies/The Pretties. I don’t know, there are so many. I actually have a new WIP on my schedule that will be my first ever dystopian novel, I’m calling it Red Card. It’s going to be seriously badass.

8. Favourite writing snack?

Skittles and M&Ms mixed up in a bowl. It’s the CHAOS of snack food.

9. If you could be any character in your novel, who would you like to be?

I would probably be Grace from my Foresight series. She has some badass demigoddess powers.

 

10. What do you hope readers will learn from/ take away from your novel?

At the end of the day, it’s a story of strength, of not giving up. Life has a way of knocking us all on our faces from time to time, and sometimes it feels like it’s never going to get better. But if you have to strength to get back up, to face the future with courage and determination, then nothing in this world can stop you. Life is 1% success and 99% not giving up.

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Thanks so much for the interview, Sherry!!!!

Visit Sherry Online: Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4153170.Sherry_D_Ficklin

“The Soul Thief” Book Blitz

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Today, I’m featuring a fabulous new paranormal YA novel by Majanka Verstraete, The Soul Thief (Book 1 in The Angel of Death Series). Here’s a summary and an excerpt:

When sixteen-year-old Riley is injured in a car crash and sees a girl stealing a boy’s soul, she’s convinced she’s hallucinating. But when she sees the same girl at the hospital later, she knows she wasn’t dreaming. That’s when Riley learns her secret heritage and who she really is: a halfling Angel of Death.

Riley must come to terms with her new reality and supernatural abilities, but before she can do this, girls her age start dying in mysterious circumstances. It’s up to Riley to figure out why, what the innocent victims have in common, and what she can do to stop them.

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Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes

majanka

About the Author

Majanka Verstraete begged her Mom to teach her how to read while she was still in kindergarten. By the time she finished fifth grade, she had read through the entire children’s section of her hometown library.

She wrote her first story when she was seven years old, and hasn’t stopped writing since. With an imagination that never sleeps, and hundreds of possible book characters screaming for her attention, writing is more than a passion for her.

She writes about all things supernatural for children of all ages. She’s tried to write contemporary novels before, but something paranormal always manages to crawl in.

Majanka is currently studying for her Master of Laws degree, and hopes one day to be able to combine her passions for law and writing. When she’s not writing, reading or studying, she likes watching “The Vampire Diaries” and “Game of Thrones,” spending time with her friends, or playing “World of Warcraft.”

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