Audiobook Review: Stepping Stone

Author: Dakota Willink

Narrators: Lacy Laurel, Jeffrey Kafer

Series: Stone, Book Two

Length: 7 hours 57 minutes

Publisher: Dakota Willink, LLC

Released: Nov. 15, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Romance

The story of Krystina and Alexander continues in Stepping Stone, book two of The Stone Series.
Krystina Cole is flawed and damaged from a traumatic experience. A relationship with Alexander Stone will never work. She knows that her capacity for love is limited, and that only she alone can repair the pieces of her shattered heart. But Alexander is everywhere she turns. In her mind. In her heart. And in her soul. She cannot deny him. He is her addiction and she is unable to stay away.
Alexander Stone has accepted the inevitable. If he wants to hold on to Krystina, he must bare all and release the secrets in his past. There were risks, but she is worth it. No woman has ever affected him the way that she did. She is the sunshine in his darkness. The lightning to his thunder. She is his angel.
Bound by their passion to be together, Alexander and Krystina fight to let go of their pasts. Together, they embark on journey of self-exploration, relying on trust to be their ultimate bond. Falling completely into one another, there finally seems to be a beacon of hope for their future. But as they test their boundaries of desire, fate takes an unexpected turn, threatening their only chance at survival…

Dakota Willink is a contemporary romance writer and editor, and the author of The Stone Series. She is an associate member of Romance Writers of America and a Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards winner.
Dakota has always had a passion for reading and writing. From the time she was an adolescent, she enjoyed curling up with a good paperback, reading genres that ranged from thriller and fantasy, to mystery and romance. She always dreamed of one day writing her own book, but had put her aspirations on hold to focus on her family and a career that would pay the bills. However, her heart continued to be with fictional characters – whether they belonged to a favorite author or if they were just stories that she made up in her own head.
In 2013, Dakota gathered enough courage to turn her dreams into a reality. In between playing chauffeur to two very busy children and working her job during the day, Dakota began to put words on paper. Eventually, she began to describe her life as a book. Everything she saw or heard throughout the day, intertwined with her imagination for the creation of future writings. By 2014, with the support of her husband and two children, she gave up the security of a steady paycheck and began working on her first novel full time.
Her first novel, Heart of Stone, was published in December of 2015. Less than a year after its release, the Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards recognized Heart of Stone as the 2016 Bronze Medalist in the romance category.
Dakota resides in the Western New York area, where she enjoys spending time with family, her two Labrador Retrievers, and her spoiled rotten cat. During the summer months, she can often be found soaking up the sun on the Great Lakes with her family.
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Narrator Bio
Lacy lives the life of a full time wife, mother and household manager. Needing a temporary escape from time to time Lacy returned back to her first love – reading! After devouring everything she could get her hands on she thought, -what if she could mix her love of performance and literature in a professional capacity? Once getting involved in the world of book narration she quickly became hooked and when not with her family you can find her in her studio working hard to grow in her own storytelling abilities.
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Narrator Bio
Jeffrey Kafer is an award-winning Audiobook Narrator and professional voice actor. Spanning over 350 titles, he specializes in Romance, Thrillers, Sci-Fi and more!

 

 

I definitely liked this second book better than the first. Enough to give it a higher rating, for sure! I have started listening to “Stepping Stone” immediately after finishing “Heart of Stone”. It’s not just the cliffhanger, but the curiosity of seeing how they will manage to reconcile their issues, or better yet, his issues.

Yes, “Stepping Stone” is more about Alex, but also Krystina has a lot to accept and deal with when it comes to our gorgeous male character. It’s his chance to open up, his chance to put his life and his heart in the hands of his significant other. It will not be easy, but as they say… baby steps. Their relationship will become stronger and stronger until past will come back and haunt them. Funny is that, as they come together as more than sex partners, their enemies will unite as well.

And this is what I liked about this book (praise to the author for that). While Alex and Krystina grow as a couple when it comes to trusting each other, their experiences sexually speaking also grow. Even professionally speaking, they will evolve: Krystina as a team leader and manager and Alex, by accepting his past. These lovely combinations between all aspects of life are so well intertwined and well handled in these chapters.

It is impossible not to mention the similarities between this series and “Fifty Shades of Grey”, where also in the second book we find out about Christian’s past and where he and his partner test the boundaries of pain and pleasure. Some might say it’s bad, others might say it’s not. I’m of the latter. Since there are tons of books that speak of different society classes and rankings, as “Hunger Games”, I can accept there will be books that are similar to “Fifty Shades”. But if the author comes with something new, then it’s perfect.

I believe Dakota Willink did do something wonderful with the series. I had a great time listening to book no. 2, as well as with the first one. In regards to the narration, I have almost the same comments as previously. For me, there is a big discrepancy between Alex’s tone, interpreted by Jeffrey Kafer and the one interpreted by Lacy Laurel. However, this time she did a better job with the voice inflations, as I did not hear the same intonation synopsis.

All in all, great! 5 Stars J

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Audiobook Review: Fragile Chaos

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Author: Amber R. Duell

Narrators: Bradley Pittman & Jamie Lee-Lewis

Length: 8 hours 10 minutes

Publisher: RadiantTeen Publishing

Released: Oct. 17, 2017

Genre: Fantasy

A god of war seeking restoration. An unwilling sacrificial bride. Betrayal that could destroy them both.

 

Every fiber of my being is woven from the rage of mortals.

 

Theodric, the young God of War, has a talent for inciting conflict and bloodshed. After being stripped of his powers by his older brother, King of Gods, he sets out to instigate a mortal war to prove himself worthy of being restored to power.

 

I loved Kisk once; it was my home… But that was before. This is now.

 

Sixteen-year-old Cassia, like many in the modern era, believes gods and goddesses to be just a myth. Enemy to her country and an orphan of the war, she has no time for fairy tales. That’s until religious zealots from Theo’s sect offer her up as a sacrifice.

 

Can Cassia and Theo end the mortal war and return balance to the earth and heavens? Or, will their game of fate lead down a path of destruction, betrayal, and romance neither of them saw coming?

Amber R. Duell was born and raised in a small town in Central New York. While it will always be home, she’s spent the last six years living in Germany and Maine as a military wife where the next step is always an adventure.

When Amber isn’t writing, she’s wrangling her two young sons. She is a lover of history, a fan of snowboarding, and a travel enthusiast. In her downtime, she can be found curling up with a good book and a cat or two.

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Narrator Bio

 

Bradley Pittman is a producer and freelance musician living and working in Atlanta. He received a bachelor’s degree in audio production from Georgia State University in 2016. Though he most commonly works on musical projects, he began self-producing audiobook chapters in 2015 as a way to unite his love of studio production with his love of literature.

 

Narrator Bio

Jamie-Lee Lewis, aka Jaylew, hails from the island of Jamaica. Since a small child, she’s always had a hyper imagination. She enjoys writing and telling stories, singing and composing songs, entertaining and edifying, playing different characters as well as creating them through drawings, and finding the beauty and fun in everything she does. She is currently a professional and passionate Youtuber.

 

 

First off, I love mythology and all that comes with this subject. To combine mythology with present times is risky if not more. One has to be very skilled with writing, so that the story does not flow into ridiculous. But, with this book I felt the joy of reading about gods and their wars and passions for humans.  The author did a great job describing the plot and intertwining mythological aspects with our mortal lives.

The story plunges directly into action. We don’t get a moment to spare and I felt quite attracted from the first pages. Theo’s stubbornness is what’s driving the book for now. But once Cassia enters, her stubbornness will match his. They will form a great team (and maybe more?) and together will find a way to balance their relationship.

The characters are a match to each other. The attraction between them is visible from the first moment they lay eyes on each other. However, Theo has bigger plans and worlds to fight for. He doesn’t need to worry about a mortal.  Cassia didn’t ask for this, she is as bothered by the situation as he is. But she will try to adapt. They both will try to adapt and face the consequences. The dialogue brought a smile to my lips more times than one and it adds to the good time spent reading it.

Other great things are: the audio format and the world building. The narrators did a great job as well. Their voices were perfect for the characters and they complemented each other quite nicely. I would recommend this version as is more captivating, but the book can quite well do it too. As for the world building, it was amazing and truly mythical.

I had a great time, I loved the story, loved the characters, the narration, the writing. No point in giving less than 5 stars. Hope you’ll enjoy it too. Happy Reading

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by RadiantTeen Publishing. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

 

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Audiobook Review: Heart of Stone

Author: Dakota Willink

Narrators: Lacy Laurel, Jeffrey Kafer

Series: Stone, Book One

Length: 14 hours

Publisher: Dakota Willink, LLC

Released: June 29, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Krystina Cole was a girl on a mission. She had big dreams and aspirations, none of which included a man by her side. She knew better than that – at least until she met Alexander Stone, the New York billionaire real estate tycoon. She saw the way that he looked at her, and the dark promises in his eyes. She was curious about his world and all that it entailed. But the shadows of her past haunted her, making her afraid to explore possibilities that she could never before have imagined…

Alexander Stone was a man who knew how to get what he wanted. He understood the value of finesse, and the importance of patience and diligence to achieve the desired result. He was successful and wealthy, relying on his naturally sharp instincts to guide him through life. But a chance run in with Krystina Cole quickly turned his world upside down. Her quick wit and firecracker attitude was the complete opposite of what he wanted in a woman, and his instincts failed him at every turn…

However, both Krystina and Alexander are clinging to the secrets in their past, and neither of them are willing to compromise. Krystina’s hardened heart makes emotional surrender a hard limit. But for Alexander, revealing his past could have devastating results.

Dakota Willink is a contemporary romance writer and editor, and the author of The Stone Series. She is an associate member of Romance Writers of America and a Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards winner.
Dakota has always had a passion for reading and writing. From the time she was an adolescent, she enjoyed curling up with a good paperback, reading genres that ranged from thriller and fantasy, to mystery and romance. She always dreamed of one day writing her own book, but had put her aspirations on hold to focus on her family and a career that would pay the bills. However, her heart continued to be with fictional characters – whether they belonged to a favorite author or if they were just stories that she made up in her own head.
In 2013, Dakota gathered enough courage to turn her dreams into a reality. In between playing chauffeur to two very busy children and working her job during the day, Dakota began to put words on paper. Eventually, she began to describe her life as a book. Everything she saw or heard throughout the day, intertwined with her imagination for the creation of future writings. By 2014, with the support of her husband and two children, she gave up the security of a steady paycheck and began working on her first novel full time.
Her first novel, Heart of Stone, was published in December of 2015. Less than a year after its release, the Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards recognized Heart of Stone as the 2016 Bronze Medalist in the romance category.
Dakota resides in the Western New York area, where she enjoys spending time with family, her two Labrador Retrievers, and her spoiled rotten cat. During the summer months, she can often be found soaking up the sun on the Great Lakes with her family.
WebsiteTwitterFacebookGoodreadsInstagramPinterest
Narrator Bio
Lacy lives the life of a full time wife, mother and household manager. Needing a temporary escape from time to time Lacy returned back to her first love – reading! After devouring everything she could get her hands on she thought, -what if she could mix her love of performance and literature in a professional capacity? Once getting involved in the world of book narration she quickly became hooked and when not with her family you can find her in her studio working hard to grow in her own storytelling abilities.
WebsiteTwitterFacebook
Narrator Bio
Jeffrey Kafer is an award-winning Audiobook Narrator and professional voice actor. Spanning over 350 titles, he specializes in Romance, Thrillers, Sci-Fi and more!

 

 

 

 

 

My Review

 

Fifty Shades of Grey meets clubbing – you’ll understand more later in the book. If you are a fan of the series, you will for sure like “Heart of Stone”. Book one is quite amazing and even emotional at times. Both characters chatter unknown waters and this first part is an introduction and accommodation to their lifestyle.

Krystina Cole’s wish to put in practice her marketing diploma lands her a job with Stone Enterprise, not before knowing the rich businessman. Book one concentrates on how their romantic relationship evolves, from the moment they meet until they reveal their almost all their deepest and darkest secrets.

I mostly appreciated how the author has left Krystina with a part of her independence, even if her struggle to comply with Alex’s wishes is visible. They both try to meet half way, once they realize there may be more between them than one night stands. The backstory is there, each having their own drama, or their own issues to face or fears to conquer.  I loved how the feelings transcend the written pages and how their relationship builds up. The alternation between our female character’s POV and the mace character’s is refreshing as well.

There were some items that did not stand well with me.  The way Alex wanted to call Krystina for her full name and not Krys, but she could call him Alex was one of them and there may be a couple of really small items. But the major item for me was the narration. The male voice interpreted by Lacy Laurel comes in contrast with the actual male voice of Jeffrey Kafer. While his seems more dangerous and strong, Lacy’s is more kind. This was confusing at times.

All in all, I’m going with 4 stars for the audio edition of the story. This is for sure an intense series, with some elements that are definitely not for the light hearted. Let me know your thoughts on it, I myself, am going to the next part J Enjoy!

 

 

 

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Audiobook Review: Bad Bloods: November Rain

Author: Shannon A. Thompson

Narrator: Jonathan Johns

Length: 5 hours 15 minutes

Series: Bad Bloods, Book 1

Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing

Released: Sep. 12, 2017

Genre: Young Adult Dystopian

Seventeen-year-old Serena isn’t human. She is a bad blood, and in the city of Vendona, bad bloods are executed. In the last moments before she faces imminent death, a prison guard aids her escape and sparks a revolt. Back on the streets determined to destroy her kind, Serena is spared by a fellow bad blood named Daniel. His past tragedies are as equally mysterious as her connection to them. Unbeknownst to the two, this connection is the key to winning the election for bad bloods’ rights to be seen as human again. But Serena is the only one who can secure Vendona’s vote. Now, Daniel must unite with her before all hope is lost and bad bloods are eradicated, even if it means exposing secrets worse than death itself. United or not, a city will fight, rain will fall, and all will be threatened by star-crossed love and political corruption.

 

Shannon A. Thompson is a young adult author, avid reader, and a habitual chatterbox.

As a novelist, poet, and blogger, Thompson spends her free time writing and sharing ideas with her black cat, Bogart, named after her favorite actor, Humphrey Bogart. Her other two cats bring her coffee. Between writing and befriending cats, Thompson graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in English with an emphasis on creative writing, and her work has appeared in numerous poetry collections and anthologies. Represented by Clean Teen Publishing, Thompson is the best-selling author of the Timely Death trilogy and the Bad Bloods series. When she is not writing, she is climbing rooftops, baking cookies, or watching KDramas in the middle of the night, often done with her cats by her side.

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Narrator Bio

Jonathan Johns is a professional audio book narrator, voice actor and family man.

As an audio book narrator he spends most of his time in front of a microphone spouting written words into Audacity. In his spare time he looks after his daughter Aria. He is currently recording all his audio books in Aria’s bedroom! Jonathan is known for his character work and spends far too much of his time using other characters voices in daily life. He currently has over 20 audio books to his name and has voiced hundreds of characters in them (all with varying degrees of success!). Be it Male, Female, American, British, Elderly, Youthful or anything in between, Jonathan has a voice for you.

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“Bad Bloods” starts off quite well! I took my time enjoying the 5 hours of this audiobook. Funny thing is that, after seeing on Goodreads it has 230 pages, I was thinking: “Do I usually read a book of 200 pages in 5 hours? “ I have no clue, but it’s a test I’m willing to take. That’s a story for another time, back to the review.

“November Rain” felt more as an introduction to a bigger picture, to the actual action of the story. It slowly, but beautifully, builds towards that amount of excitement from the second part of the story and towards the second book. I don’t say that as a bad thing, on the contrary. The plot is full of political intrigue, it shows a generation of teenagers fighting for a world who has rejected them, for their future, for their right to live.  Shannon A. Thompson has done a magnificent job portraying each of the main characters and the secondary ones as well. Their background plays an important role in the coming fight, so I’m glad she has taken the time to create them and expose them to the reader in this manner. Alternating between Serena and Daniel’s POVs, we are gifted with views from both sides, two apparently similar groups, but with so many secrets separating them.

Serena and Daniel have their own connection, a tie that they will have to untangle and discover on their own. Joined by their desire to live and protect their new families, both will have to come together as one and fight a political system that wants them dead. As I’ve mentioned, the author has done a great job in presenting their traits and powers. They will slowly come to realize what they mean to each other and the road to that point is not at all boring or unimportant.

I must admit that at some point I got lost between the other characters. I was not sure if I should remember all their names and features. I even started writing down so I could mention them in my review. However, what is really important is the war they will have to face and how two groups with the same goal prepare for a fight they may or may not be ready to deal with.

I was missing that English accent in narrations! I loved Jonathan Johns’s voice so much. It was clean, warm and so easy to understand. I only wish the distinction between male and female characters would have been better realized.

A great story (a long review, sorry about that!) and such a big ending! I would recommend listening (or reading) “November Rain” only if you are prepared for what’s to come, as it will leave you wanting more.  For reasons I’ve detailed above, I am giving this book 4 out of 5 stars.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Clean Teen Publishing. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

 

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Audiobook Review: Soul Bound: The Warrior

Author: Jas T. Ward

Narrator: Edward Mittelstedt

Length: 8 hours 46 minutes

Series: Soul Bound, Book 1

Publisher: JTW Publishing

Released: Oct. 6, 2017

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Death May Be The End…
But Love Doesn’t Give A @&%#.

 

Murderer…
Jace Camden is haunted by his past. One that has many believing he got away with murder. He’s run from it, trying to start a new life in a new town. But his past hasn’t let him escape and it’s determined that his future will not be a long one.
Death will demand it’s due.
And his late wife will make sure that debt is paid.
Kitt Thomas’ life is in a rut but that changed when she looked into the sad, haunted eyes of Jace Camden. Something about his wounded soul called to her–like a flicker in a very dark cave she should have had the sense not to step into.
But his past will make sure she is no more part of Jace’s future than life is.
Because he’s soul bound.
And that’s a bind that can only be broken by death.
His.

 

It’s not about the Happily Ever After…
It’s about surviving the read.

 

Jas T. Ward has always used writing as a necessary escape. With a past that is marred with a difficult childhood and domestic violence as well as being homeless as an adult, Ward lost her creative voice when she lost her soul mate to suicide.

Finding that creative voice once again in writing in social media via blogs and creative writing groups, it was the fans that encouraged her to put her literary weavings to paper for them to enjoy.

Ward lives in Texas with her dog and cat- Author Dog Pumkin and Writer Kitty Orleans and is the proud parent of three independent children.

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Narrator Bio

Eddie was born and raised in California. At a young age, he loved to create cartoon-like caricature voices and perform them to anyone who would listen. His friends and family told him he should be in the voice-over industry when he grew up.

He currently works at Oceaneering International near Baltimore, creating software control systems for both remotely-operated and autonomous underwater vehicles.

His dream of being a voice actor was forgotten until recently he came across a friend who is a narrator for Audible. The possibility of being in the voice-over industry was rekindled, and after harassing his friend incessantly on the details of becoming an Audible narrator, you find Eddie’s story here today.

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Soul Bound: The Warrior is currently available on the Adopt-An-Audiobook page for interested reviewers!

Now I’m wondering if the other books in the series are at least as good as this one or if they are even better. I’ve finished it last night and I am still shaken up by all the events happening. This book does not give you a moment of peace and tranquility.  It goes from one event to the next, it is freaking good! (both freaking and freaking good!).

The plot follows Jace Camden, whose wife passed away 5 years ago and since then he has not found a moment of silence. Her family follows him around, constantly accusing him of murder, while doctors hurry up to declare him insane. Little do they know he has another fight going on. But is he the only one fighting? By far, this is one of the most engaging books I’ve ever read.

Jace is one complex character. His fear of getting close to others has two causes, one of which is his to deal with. His late wife’s family is constantly trying to ruin all connections he manages to find, but the funny thing is he is good at it all alone. With Laura’s ghost as a constant presence, he has difficulties keeping friends close. All changes when Kitt Thomas decides to take a chance on him. This time he is not alone, this time he has people who are willing to help.

I am afraid of giving up too much, yet I want to somehow give you an understanding of how really great his book is! Mental illness is present in the book as well, as Jace is one step closer to being sent to a mental institution. However, his need to open up, his friends willing to help (or not willing to abandon him as all usually do) are one constant that keeps him anchored in this world. Even if something else is calling him to the other side.

I was this close to give it 4 stars. Last night I was so furious! At one point, Jace’s past is too fast revealed to the others too fast and there is one sex scene that in my opinion was a little too much. These two elements unnerved me so much because the entire book is so well written and just these two silly moments did not stay well with me. But I cannot, because several hours have passed and I am still thinking this was an awesome story!

From the audio perspective, even if the narrator did not do that well with the voice acting, there are some effects here and there, like a weird laughter, and the main character’s desperation is well captured and well transmitted to the listener.

I apologize for the long review, but there are so many things to say about this book. I cannot wait to get to the next one! Please give it a try and come back and let me know what you think. Oh, the end is also mind-blowing! I loved it – 5 stars, no doubt!

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Edward Mittelstedt. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

 

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Audiobook Review: Catch Me If You Can

Author: Miss Mae

Narrators: Stephen Mendel, Dave Mallow, J.W. Terry, Toni Attell, Robin Riker

Length: 5 hours and 51 minutes

Publisher: Miss Mae

Released: Nov. 11, 2016

Genre: Suspense

On an island bordering the coast of South Carolina, a convention is planned for “Catch Me” game enthusiasts. The game, designed by Stuart Harrington, wealthy businessman, is the genius behind the hottest game craze. But only ten guests are able to arrive before Brian, a category four hurricane, makes landfall. Lois Steinberg washes ashore on the beach. Amongst strangers, she has no idea who to trust and when Paul, the cook, is found murdered, events happen too eerily reminiscent of any “Catch Me” game that Stuart Harrington could ever conceive.

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Miss Mae is all about romantic mysteries. With her writing style compared to the likes of Agatha Christie, her books “Said the Spider to the Fly”, “When the Bough Breaks”, “Dove Island”, “It’s Elementary, My Dear Winifred” and “See No Evil, My Pretty Lady” are award winning best sellers. The novellas “Miss Penelope’s Letters”, and “Through a Glass Darkly” have received top rated five-star reviews. Her latest murder mystery, “Catch Me If You Can”, in audio format, has won the platinum award in the 2017 Hermes Creative International Competition. Tantalizing trailers, and more information, is readily available at her website.

She’s also penned three tales in the ‘Ahoy, Mischaps!’ children’s/humor series. Book #1 is “Ahoy, Gum Drop!” followed by Book #2 “Ahoy, Out There!” with Book #3, “Ahoy, Mummy Mia!” In these slightly cracked stories, readers are introduced to a cast of intriguing, extraordinary and downright bizarre characters, accompanied by the one and only I.B. Nosey, the ‘official unofficial’ reporter. To learn more about the ‘Mischaps’ and cyberspace’s only Pukelitzer Award winning interviewer, visit ‘Feeling Nosey?’

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