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Julie-Ann's 101 Books in 1001 Days - Books 1-25
There is an internet challenge called 101 books in 1001 days. I started this on 8 March, my 50th birthday. This will be a long hub as I intend adding my books to it as I go. My 1001 days will expire on 4 December 2014. Just in case anyone feels like prodding me with a sharp stick now and again. I don't need much prodding, though - I am a voracious reader.
Here are the reviews! I hope some of them will stimulate you to buy and read a bit more!
1 - The 58th Keeper by R G Bullett - completed 10 March 2012
I know the author of this book so it was a nervous read in case I didn't like it. I needn't have worried. The 58th Keeper is an amazing book for readers of all ages. Archy Bass, a young orphan, finds himself spending time a boarding school that is less than ideal. He meets another student, Vincent, and they become best friends. Over the holidays Archy goes with Vincent and his family to Turkey to enjoy some sightseeing and work on an archeological dig.
What happens next is nothing less than magical. He meets a man by the name of Alturus Burk who convinces Archy to trade his possessions for what looks like an ordinary rug. However, the rug turns out to be anything but ordinary. This rug not only has powers of invisibility but it can fly. Archy and Vincent also find out that the rug is sought by evil forces that will stop at nothing to possess the magical rug. As he is in possession of the rug, which is actually a Shroud, Archy becomes the 58th keeper and protector of this most important ancient object.
If you love adventure and intrigue with a generous sprinkling of humor this is book is definitely a must read. It is also a wonderful story about how an average person can develop extraordinary skills and talents and be a hero in their own right.
2 - Switched (Trylle Trilogy Book #1) by Amanda Hocking - Finished 13 March 2012
As the first book in the Trylle Trilogy Switched details the early life of Wendy Everly, the main character in the series. She has always felt herself to be different and was, in fact, the target of her Mother's murderous belief that Wendy was a monster when she was just six years old. However, Wendy admits that she is different than the other girls around her and, with typical teenage problems, she finds it difficult to connect to those around her.
Fast forward eleven years to the time when Wendy meets Finn Holmes, the mysterious being that Wendy is strongly attracted to. What she finds out will completely shatter her understanding of self as she learns that she is a changeling that was switched at birth. This changeling element is very well done, not your typical vampire and werewolf options but one unique to the author's vivid imagination.A nice change from the usual in this genre.
Finn takes her to her home to a world of magic that is completely different from what Wendy has known. She finds out that she has amazing powers and abilities beyond her wildest dreams. She finds romance and a true sense of being, overcoming her teenage angst to begin to discover herself and her true abilities.
3 - Torn (Trylle Trilogy Book #2) byAmanda Hocking – Finished 17 March 2012
The second book in the Trylle Trilogy, Torn picks up the story of Wendy Everly who at the end of the first book had been kidnapped by the Vittra. While with this group she meets a new love interest named Loki, a Vittra that is more than a bit interested in her as well. Wendy begins to have second thoughts about taking on her role as a part of the Trylle and, with her perception that Finn is indifferent towards her, the decision becomes even more difficult. Loki's character is really the exact opposite of Finn, which makes for a very compelling love story within the main story.
As Wendy begins to understand the complicated relationship between the Vittra and the Trylle she also learns more about herself. She continues to develop her powers and goes through many different adventures and action packed chapters in honing her skills. She also learns to her amazement that is actually half Trylle and half Vittra, leading her to unique within the magical realm in which she now resides.
This book highlights how Wendy has grown and how she continues to grow. It also helps her to understand that she needs to let her past go and take on her responsibilities in her new world without the possibility or returned to her human world.
Loved this one as much as the first!
4 - Ascend (Trylle Trilogy Book #3) byAmanda Hocking – Finished 21 March 2012
The final book in the Trylle Trilogy leaves Wendy several choices in saving the Kingdom of Trylle, her love interests as well as all her friends. In this novel, which highlights the responsibilities that Wendy takes on in her role in the Kingdom, she really grows in personal strength and responsibility. In addition the character of Loki, a love interest from the Vittra, takes center stage in the book as Finn is left behind as a suitor.
The love interest is certainly a major factor in this novel and some of the choices that Wendy makes seem almost counterpoint to her earlier decisions. With an interesting twist in the plot at the end readers will definitely feel different about all the characters once they have read the book.
As any good conclusion to a story Ascend has it all. There is, of course, the culmination of the war between the Trylle and the Vittra as well as more information about the society of each. There will be acts of betrayal by surprising characters, which provide excellent sub-stories within the main plot. The development and understanding of the magic and the paranormal powers of all characters will continue to be the highlight that attracts readers to this young adult trilogy.
5 - Johnny Be Good by Paige Toon – Finished 23 March 2012
Meg Styles has just found her dream job in Los Angeles as a Personal Assistant to superstar rocker Johnny Jefferson. Meg has her insecurities with the job and is struggling to cope and adjust to living in the United States and away from her native country of England. She gets the chance to attend all the major social events and big Hollywood parties as part of her job, and finds she is soon attracted to her superstar boss. However, just as you may expect, Johnny has more than his own share of problems, some which he seems to make little effort to try to correct.
To complicate matters a much quieter but similarly attractive friend of Johnny's shows up on the scene. He is a writer working on a biography of the singer and soon he becomes a close friend to Meg. The characters in the novel are all very well developed and you can instantly relate to their lives and their stories.
The novel focuses in on Meg's changing thoughts about her life and her relationships through the story. Meg is faced with some major life changing decisions that will not all be resolved in this book, but the answers are going to be found in the next book in the series Baby Be Mine.
I loved this book - wolfed it down in 2 days. It was just a light, fluffy, well-written chicklit read. HIGHLY recommended if you like this genre.
6 - Baby Be Mine by Paige Toon – Finished 27 March 2012
Written completely from the Meg's point of view, this novel, a follow up to Johnny Be Good, starts with Meg in a terrible situation. She now knows that bad boy rocker Johnny is indeed Barney, her adorable son's, father. This is a secret she is keeping from Christian, who assumes that Barney is his. As fate would have it this discovery is going to become the center of everyone's life.
Johnny has been long out of Meg, Christian and Barney's life but that all changes when Christian's mother passes away. At this reunion Johnny recognizes his obvious similarity to the infant Barney and the feelings and passion between Meg and Johnny seem to again simmer just below the surface. Christian is not kept in the dark for long about who is the real father of Barney, leading to some dramatic changes in the family.
Of course there are more twists in the plot as Meg works herself through very real and very troubling flaws in Johnny's character. In the end readers will discover a positivity that lends to a better understanding of how people can make mistakes but still grown and change in ways that may not initially seem possible.
Bit more depressing than the first book, so not such a light read but still good.
7 - True Of Blood (Witch Fairy Series #1) by Bonnie Lamer – Finished 1 April 2012
The first novel in the Witch Fairy Series, this book is a delightful look into the altogether amazing life of main character Xandra Illuminata Smith. Her parents, deceased but not departed, continue to live in her house as ghosts, keeping secrets even from their very special daughter. There is a son in the family as well, but the true relationship between the family is yet to be revealed.
When Xandra turns 17 she finds out that her mother is a Witch and her father was King of the Fae realm, the land of the Fairies. As such she is a Witch Fairy and possesses amazing powers that both the Witches and the Fairies want to control. The Fairies want her blood and the Witches want her life, so Xandra has a lot of learning to do about her powers while steering clear of both groups. Of course there are betrayals, promises of help with ulterior motives throughout the novel which adds to the twists and turns in the plot.
This is a high energy book that will keep you up at night turning pages. The sarcastic and headstrong Xandra grows throughout the novel and, with humor and lots of insight into motivations of the characters, you will find yourself looking for the next in the series to continue the story.
What I liked best about this is that the heroine was grumpy, realistic and believable.
8 - True Of Blood: Kallen's Tale (Witch Fairy Series) by Bonnie Lamer – Finished 6 April 2012
As a companion book to True of Blood, this is a must read for those that want a complete understanding of the characters in the series. While the Witch Fairy Series is told from the heroine Xandra's point of view, the companion books are told from Kallen's point of view. The entire book provides insight into his thinking of various aspects of the plot and characters in True Blood, giving readers a much more comprehensive and well-rounded understanding of motives and events.
Since the goal of the companion books is not to retell the story but to enhance the original telling, you really do need to read True of Blood before starting this book. Of course you may also leave at the end of the book having slightly different feelings about each character, but that is all part of the joy of reading and getting into the story on a personal level.
As you may expect after reading Kallen's point of view you may find it important to back and re-read the original novel. This can really provide a deeper understanding of all the elements of the series including the plot, characters and the motivation.
9 - Blood Prophecy (Witch Fairy Series #2) by Bonnie Lamer – Finished 12 April 2012
This book picks up from the end of True of Blood, and finds the Fairies in their own realm and happy. However, the Witches are still in hot pursuit as they fear that Xandra will discover the powers that she has that would allow her to destroy their world. The Witches are evil and truly well developed, creating worthy adversaries for the heroine in the form of teenage Witch Fairy Xandra.
Still learning how to control all her amazing powers, Xandra has to discover all the details of the magic that is a part of her life. In addition Xandra has a new love interest in this book, allowing her to grow as a character throughout the chapters of the book. Of course the book is also filled with adventure and interesting details about the various realms in which she travels.
There are a huge number of characters in the book, all representing different mystical, mythical and paranormal types of characters. The writing and dialogue style continues to be very detailed yet humorous with a touch of reality that is very compelling throughout this book and the entire series.
10 - Blood Prophecy: Kallen's Tale (Witch Fairy Series #2.5) by Bonnie Lamer – Finished 16 April 2012
If you are a serious reader of the series then you have probably already read through Kallen's version of the events that happened in the original novel that starts the Witch Fairy Series. In this second supplemental or companion novel you will find the same information, specific insight into Kallen's motivation, understanding and even his concerns with his relationship with Xandra, her parents and the other characters in the story.
In the novel Xandra expands on her innermost feelings and thoughts but the readers are left to guess what is motivating Kallen to do some of the things that he does. What better way to understand what is going on for him than to hear it in his own words. This is not a stand alone novel and should be read only after reading Blood Prophecy to avoid confusion.
The unique aspect of the companion series told from Kallen's point of view is that you get to see things through both a male and female interpretation. While you may be able to relate to one gender's perspective more than the other, getting the insight into both only enhances the understanding of the entire storyline. For series Witch Fairy Series lovers these companion books are a must read.
11 - Blood Lines (Witch Fairy Series #3) by Bonnie Lamer – Finished 19 April 2012
In this third book in the Witch Fairy Series Xandra is once again given a task that initially seems overwhelming and impossible. This time she is helping the Angels, which have asked her to protect a man that she really doesn't want to. This person is her biological father, the Fairy King, who has been out of her life for years. She does ponder the reality of the relationship and makes some amazingly mature decisions in how to best handle a very difficult situation.
In addition to her relationship with her father, this book also highlights her growing relationship with Kallen. She continues to develop her magic powers and has some hilarious situations occur when her magic doesn't go just right. Like the other two previous books there is lots of adventure in the story making it a true page turner. The supporting characters in the story add to the entire effect, which is a nice change from some series where they seem to fade away and play no role at all.
Readers will see characters they recognize in this book and find out more about Xandra's very complicated family. They will also get a taste of things to come in the fourth book in the series Shadow Blood.
12 - Blood Lines: Kallen's Tale (Witch Fairy Series #3.5) by Bonnie Lamer – Finished 23 April 2012
The entire Witch Fairy Series is written from the point of view of Xandra, the heroine. However, as everyone knows, there is more than one side to a story. In this the third companion book to the series Kallen, a major character on his own and love interest to Xandra, is able to tell his perspective on different events in the story.
One of the unique aspects of having a companion series is that the author can provide readers with a completely new and unique look at what appears to be a very one-sided story. The Kallen's Tale companion books certainly do this giving both Kallen's personal perspective as well as a male point of view on what is unfolding in their relationship as well as in the plot of the story.
Although the Kallen's Tale companions aren't necessary to understand the Witch Fairy Series as it develops, they are definitely a plus for the serious fan. You will gain a much fuller understanding of the motives of the characters, particularly Kallen, who often appears a bit cold and logical when described from only Xandra's perspective. With a good sense of fun, humor and accuracy to detail these companion books are a terrific addition for any reader of the series.
13 - Shadow Blood (Witch Fairy Series #4) by Bonnie Lamer – Finished 27 April 2012
Continuing with the development of her magical abilities, Xandra is again placed in a position of having to complete a seemingly impossible task. This time she must rescue her aunt and her brother who have been mistakenly projected onto another realm, aptly called the Shadow Realm. This is a true test of Xandra's magical abilities as she has to rescue their souls literally from the Angel of Death.
Again, character development and lots of action packed adventure makes this book a great read. Xandra, as the central character, comes even more alive for the reader in this fourth book in the series. The author is true to each character, helping to build them through each novel in the series. Xandra matures even more in this novel, both in her magical abilities as well as in her own personal growth. Her romance also continues to grow with interesting twists and turns.
Although many series books are challenging to follow, the strong character development and the excellent story line just leave the reader wanting more. Author Bonnie Lamer is certainly setting the pace for other series for young adults in the genre of the paranormal and mystical.
14 - Blood Of Half Gods (Witch Fairy Series #5) by Bonnie Lamer – Finished 2 May 2012
The fifth book in the Witch Fairy Series finds Xandra, the powerful yet still learning Witch Fairy, responsible for the safety of her father and her friends. She is actually on a sort of a road trip with the group all with the intent to solve a problem that is brewing in the land of the Giants.
As they travel by fairy power Xandra tries out new magic powers, some which go hilariously awry. Of course Xandra has funny commentary that highlights her mistakes in a fun and entertaining way. As they travel it becomes more and more obvious that Xandra's magic is being used against the group, but by who and for what reasons no one is sure, at least at the time. While the adventures in the land of the Giants are ripe with adventure there are some interesting twists and turns that add to the overall enjoyment of the plot.
In this book the relationship between Xandra and Kallen also heats up. For those that want to know just what happens you will have to read the book, but make sure that you start at the first one in the series to really get insight into all the characters in this outstanding novel.
15 - Blood Of Destiny (Witch Fairy Series #6) by Bonnie Lamer – Finished 7 May 2012
This sixth book in the Witch Fairy Series continues to add to the characters and the world that have already been introduced as well as to add some new concepts. This book deals with Angels that are acting more like devils which really contributes to the excitement and emotional turmoil that the main characters experience. Throughout the book Angels will be described in more detail, helping readers to see how they have so much influence on the story itself.
Like all of the series this book holds true to what readers would expect each character to do, but there are twists and turns that keep it from being predictable. Xandra, as always, has snide comments and insight into what is going on around her that adds a light touch of humor to the book. The plot is very fast paced and there are some serious changes in her love interest with the handsome Kallen.
If you are a fan of the previous books in the series this one is a must read. Xandra continues to mature and gain insight into her powers as well as her inner strength. Although she does make mistakes there is always improvement, which is just what we all want to be able to say about ourselves.
16 - Blood Of Dragons (Witch Fairy Series #7) by Bonnie Lamer – Finished 12 May 2012
This seventh book in the series has a definite change in Xandra that is not at all what you may have thought would happen. She finally gets right hand fasted to Kallen, but this is when everything gets strange. There is body and soul changing between Xandra and the Angel Raziel that makes this book stand out from the rest to say the least. In her Angel form Xandra then has to try to rescue Tabitha from the realm of the dragons before she is killed.
In typical Bonnie Lamer style this novel is a page turner that just doesn't stop. There is also a lot of laugh out loud humor in both Xandra and the other characters conversations and the somewhat unpredictable positions they find themselves in.
Although a true love story Blood of Dragons is also so much more. Xandra continues to gain control over her magical powers and abilities but also over her self in making decisions that are everyone's best interest. Still very independent and clear about what she thinks is right, Xandra is an unforgettable character that is more than able to save the day and keep you anticipating what she will do on her next adventure.
17 - Blood Of Gold by B.V Larson – Finished 17 May 2012
Phew, no more Witch fairies! Just had to get that out of my system. But this I am afraid is yet ANOTHER paranormal romance aimed at teens.
For a fast paced romantic read that is heavy on the suspense you will definitely want to take your time and enjoy the Seeker Series. Blood of Gold is the first novel and introduces the main character, Haley, a perfectly usual high school student, or at least that is what she thinks. Like all girls in her high school she is immediately attracted to the amazingly handsome new student Seth, but that is when all the strange things begin to happen.
In gaining an understanding of who, or perhaps better said as what Seth really is, her life begins to change dramatically. Haley finds friends turn on her and the adults in her life do very odd things, only contributing more to her problems. The plot line and levels of suspense are outstanding in this book, making it different from your average young adult novel.
Unlike some series books, B.V Larson takes the time to give a history of each character, particularly Haley and her questionable best friend Brooke. Seth's character is well developed as well, but his exact identity is not known until the end. You also will need to read the next in the series to see Haley develop her talents which were just beginning to come to the surface at the end of this book.
I love BV Larson - one of my favourites!
18 - Blood Of Silver by B. V Larson – Finished 23 May 2012
The novel Blood of Silver picks up right where the first book in this series Blood of Gold, left off. We find Haley and Seth still somewhat together, although they rarely see each other anymore since it is 10 years since the first book ended. Haley and Brooke have patched up their friendship and are again doing everything together. In addition Haley is now visited by two other beings of the mysterious type by the names of Ariene and Andre. It appears that Ariene is there to help Haley, or is that just a ploy? Andre is the handsome rich older man who saves Brooke and Haley from a horrible experience.
With more time spend with Andre, Haley starts to wonder if Seth is right for her. To top it off she is starting to wonder if perhaps Andre isn't a bit too possessive and controlling. There is mystery and suspense, lots of character development and some outstanding twists and turns to this story that are very plausible but completely unexpected.
Blood of Silver is a great sequel in the Seeker Series. With even more developed characters and a truly outstanding plot you will find yourself unable to put the book down until you reach the last word on the last page.
19 - The Book Of Lost Souls (The Ivy MacTavish Novels) by Michelle Muto – Finished 26 May 2012
Although written for the young adult reader, this paranormal suspense novel is a great read for anyone at any age. The main character, Ivy, is a teen that deals with all the typical types of teenage angst, but with an interesting twist. She has discovered that she is a witch with some amazing powers, now her task is to find ways to use them for good. In typical teenage style this isn't always an easy decision but usually Ivy is able to make the best possible decision in a critical situation.
There are a wide range of different supernatural characters in the story, all that are very well developed and all the reader to make an instant connection. Unlike some books in this genre the author keeps the conversations light and humorous, a nice contrast to the sometimes sinister plot. If you love suspense, mystery and that preternatural feel then this is definitely a book for you.
Of course there is romance and mystery and a lot of action packed pages. While the characters are the stock of most paranormal books, this is a completely new and original look at how they interact, communicate and of course how they strive to get what they want.
20 - Chasing Daisy by Paige Toon – Finished 28 May 2012
One of the trademarks of Paige Toon is the interesting careers of the main characters in her novels. In this novel Daisy Rogers has just signed on to work with a Formula1 Grand Prix team, spending her days traveling from one exotic race location to anther. Of course she is also recovering from a horrible relationship and has firmly pledged to stay away from men at all costs.
Enter the other characters in the novel, including the driver Luis Castro, who will play a major role in her life. He is an amazing driver but he certainly has his own character flaws as well. There is also the handsome driver Will Trust, who is a complete personality opposite to Luis, but who is also in a serious relationship. Trying to decide which guy to go for creates a sexual tension in the book that literally leaps up and off the page.
This is definitely not just a chick lit book. There is nail-biting suspense, great action scenes and excellent insight into the very deep and human emotions that we all experience as we go through life and relationships. Each of the characters is very realistic and, although far from predictable, the book has a great flow and story line throughout.
Love this one almost as much as Johnny Be Good.
21 - The Finishing Touches by Hester Browne – Finished 2 June 2012
If you have yet to discover hester browne DO IT! Especially if you are an Anglophile.
This is a great read that has all the elements of an adult fairy tale combined with a love story and a feel good novel. In the story an orphan girl, Betsy Phillmore, is raised by Lord and Lady Phillmore of the acclaimed Phillmore Academy for Young Ladies. Her life is great and she eventually moves off, only to return to find her beloved Academy is fallen into disrepair and become a relic. In order to save Lord Phillmore's legacy and make the Academy the place she remembers Betsy implements a whole new and very up to date curriculum.
However, that isn't the only thing that Betsy is up to. She is also trying desperately to locate her biological parents, a heartbreaking experience as she tries to uncover her mysterious past. There is also a heart throb love interest that isn't all that he seems to be in more ways than one.
This is a great book for so many reasons. The characters are easy to related to and the contrast between what was important for women to know in years gone by and what is relative now is both eye opening and somewhat sentimental at the same time. You won't want to put this book down once you get started, and you will find yourself rooting for Betsy to succeed in all she does.
22 - The Forbidden Game by L.J. smith – Finished 6 June 2012
For a book with a twist and plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat you really need to read The Forbidden Game. The only drawback to this book is that once you get started you will have trouble putting it down. In it you will find an amazing alternate world, the Game, where your worst fears have to be faced in order to play yourself out of the game. Oh, and in case you lose, you won't be getting back to your nice comfy home, ever.
This book, which is actually a trilogy in one novel, traces the actions of Jenny as she looks for a new game for her group of friends to play. A strange and rather unnerving shop owner sells her a game that promises to have it all, which it certainly does. Once the game starts the Shadow Man, the game host and manager, makes sure that it is a nightmare for all involved.
Not a typical fantasy/suspense/horror book, this novel provides well developed characters in a plot that gets better with each page. There is mystery, suspense, unbridled admiration and of course, that paranormal edge that adds to the entire reading experience. The ending of the novel is not what you would expect, which only adds to the importance of this book in any young adult reading collection.
23 - I Heart New York by Lindsey Kelk – Finished 11 June 2012
What do you do when you find your boyfriend in the arms of another woman? Well, if you are Angela Clark, you grab your passport and head off for an adventure in a city across the ocean. I Heart New York is the perfect novel for anyone that has ever been jilted and just wanted to escape. Angela, never having been to New York, is smitten by the city itself as well as all the adventures, shopping and dating options that the Big Apple offers.
Jenny, Angela's new best friend, is just the person that she needs to meet. She introduces Angela to all the city has to offer, including some very handsome young men. In addition Angela is lucky enough to snag a blogging job that allows her to share her experiences and get paid. Although, from the wardrobe options and the outings that Angela enjoys it is evident that cash is not a problem.
This book offers an insiders look into fashion, dating, shopping and the great city of New York. It also allows you to just sit back, relax and read for sheer entertainment. You will love the characters and the setting and, with lots of decisions to make, you will find yourself cheering for Angela as she falls in love with the city as well as at least one special guy.
Now, some reviewers have said the book is unrealistic. Chicklit unrealistic, surely not? Oh shut up and just go with the flow and this will DELIGHT you!
24 - I Heart Hollywood by Lindsey Kelk – Finished 16 June 2012
This entertaining and very realistic novel of a British girl that arrives to the very different world of Hollywood is an excellent book for those that love the chick lit genre. Angela Clark certainly thinks she landed the dream job until she finds out just how things can be twisted around to make an innocent situation seem to be just the opposite. To make things worse those close to her, particularly her formerly adoring boyfriend and her great boss, seem to be going against her and not listening to her side of the story.
Of course Angela has lots of help in all her adventures in the form of a best friend Jenny, who may not be so helpful after all. However, the book also provides a literal tour of Hollywood and you will feel you have actually been there when you finish the novel. The characters are well developed yet absolutely human, making mistakes, brushing themselves off and going on with life.
There are secrets revealed, friendships confirmed and pickles to get out of to suit everyone's tastes in this novel. The ongoing development of the relationship between Angela and her boyfriend is also very well done with realistic events that crop up that both have to work through.
25 - I Heart Paris by Lindsey Kelk – Finished 19 June 2012
The third in the "I Heart" series, this book has Angela almost coming full circle on the whole idea of escaping versus going home. In this novel Angela finds herself on a writing assignment for a magazine as well as on a romantic trip with her current boyfriend Alex, who is actually going to Paris for a music gig. However, through an accidental encounter, Angela becomes aware that Alex is back in the City of Love and talking to an old girlfriend, which is never a good combination. To top it off it appears that someone is trying to get her fired and ruin her entire trip, which only adds to the interesting aspects of the book.
Like the previous novels in the series the author is perfect in her description of the beauty of the city of Paris. There are the ever interesting shopping outings as well as lots of excitement in the fashion world. You will instantly be drawn to the characters that seem to be just like old friends as you read through the novels. However, like the other books in the series, the characters are more than human and make several mistakes along the way, some funny and some frustrating.
This is definitely a great read for those that love the chick lit genre. It won't disappoint and you will find things to laugh about and keep you reading well into the night.
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