Tuesday, 31 July 2018

A Month In Books - July 2018

Welcome to July's Month In Books roundup!

14 books read in July including amazing newly published ones that I've been enthusiastically shouting about on social media: Disbanded Kingdom and Bottled Goods. I've enjoyed vintage reads from the likes of Angela Carter, Margaret Atwood and Bill Bryson too. There are quite a few disturbingly weird titles scattered throughout this month's books and a prevalence of death - not quite sure how that came about!

Regular blog series:
I blogged another five excellent female-authored books for ReadingWomen on the 10th with the Around The Blogosphere choice coming from Mary at Dark Thoughts. I posted two Books From The Backlog and three 50/50 Fridays.

July's WorldReads featured books from Belgium and I will be 'visiting' Iraq for August's WorldReads on the 5th.

Reading Challenges:
Alphabet Soup: V added, KRXZ remaining.
Books In French: none finished
Classics Club: 1 added, 46 remaining
Decade Challenge: 1 added, 1910s remaining

Now, on with this July Reading Roundup!
(Click the book titles or cover images to visit their Literary Flits review/Spotlight pages)

My Reviews

Heroes And Villains by Angela Carter
My 1960s read 2017-18 Decade Challenge read
My fourth Classics Club Challenge read
One of my ReadingWomen choices

The Book Depository : from £8.54 (PB)
Wordery : from £8.15 (PB)
Waterstones : from £9.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $1.98 / £2.99 (used PB / ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Sharp-eyed Marianne lives in a white tower made of steel and concrete with her father and the other Professors. Outside, where the land is thickly wooded and wild beasts roam, live the Barbarians, who raid and pillage in order to survive. Marianne is strictly forbidden to leave her civilized world but, fascinated by these savage outsiders, decides to escape. There, beyond the wire fences, she will discover a decaying paradise, encounter the tattooed Barbarian boy Jewel and go beyond the darkest limits of her imagination.


Venetia by Georgette Heyer
V for my 2018 Alphabet Soup Challenge

The Book Depository : from £9.66 (audio CD)
Wordery : from £13.22 (audio CD)
Waterstones : from £16.99 (audio CD)
Amazon : from $10.46 / £7.98 (audio CD)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

In all her twenty-five years, lovely Venetia Lanyon has never been further than Harrogate, nor enjoyed the attentions of any but her two wearisomely persistent suitors. Then, in one extraordinary encounter, she meets a neighbour she only knows by reputation - the infamous Lord Damerel - and before she knows better, is egging on a libertine whose way of life has scandalised the North Riding for years.


Disbanded Kingdom by Polis Loizou
Almost my Book of the Month!

The Book Depository : unavailable
Wordery : from £7.33 (PB)
Waterstones : from £8.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $5.27 / £3.99 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Twenty-two-year-old Oscar is a lost cause. He roams central London, looking for love and distraction. But this isn't quite Bright Lights, Big City: Oscar is gay but feels disconnected from London's gay scene. He is naive and rootless, an emotionally stunted young man who lives in upscale Kensington with his foster mother, novelist Charlotte Fontaine. But all of this changes when Oscar meets Tim, Charlotte's thirty-something literary agent with whom he becomes hopelessly infatuated. While he struggles to understand Tim's politics and his rejection of religion, Oscar's developing friendship with Tim affects a profound change, making him want to understand the world and his place in it.


A Long Blue Monday by Erhard Von Buren

The Book Depository : from £10 (PB)
Wordery : from £10 (PB)
Waterstones : from £10 (PB)
Amazon : from $5.31 / £3.99 (ebook)
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In A Long Blue Monday, the narrator, who is temporarily away from home working on a book about Sherwood Anderson, remembers his unrequited love affair with Claudia, whom he met at college during rehearsals for a play. How could he, the village lad, the son of a working-class family, aspire to gain the affection of Claudia, a sophisticated town girl, who lives with her wealthy family in a spacious house by the river? Worlds seem to separate the two. But he is convinced that where there’s a will there’s a way. As a young boy, he had tried, by being a model pupil and a model son, to repair his family’s damaged reputation. But now, in spite of all his attempts, his love remains unreciprocated. Finally he decides to take several weeks off college to write a play – a trilogy, no less – to gain Claudia’s esteem.


The Art Of Travel by Alain De Botton

The Book Depository : from £8.37 (PB)
Wordery : from £7.98 (PB)
Waterstones : from £8.99 (HB)
Amazon : from $1.97 / £0.01 (used HB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Few activities seem to promise is as much happiness as going travelling: taking off for somewhere else, somewhere far from home, a place with more interesting weather, customs and landscapes. But although we are inundated with advice on where to travel to, we seldom ask why we go and how we might become more fulfilled by doing so. With the help of a selection of writers, artists and thinkers - including Flaubert, Edward Hopper, Wordsworth and Van Gogh - Alain de Botton's bestselling The Art of Travel provides invaluable insights into everything from holiday romance to hotel minibars, airports to sightseeing.


Daughter Of The Sea by Maggie Freeman

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Amazon : from $12.15 / £7.99 (PB)
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It's 1579. Maria, abandoned on a desert island, gives birth to Mary - Francis Drake's daughter. Mother and daughter are captured by pirates and eventually sold as slaves on the spice island of Ternate. To help her daughter escape, Maria sells her to a Chinese sea-captain. While the sea breaks relentlessly on the shore Mary forges a new life for herself - a life where adventure, love and family loyalties all play a part.


Bottled Goods by Sophie Van Llewyn
My Book of the Month!

The Book Depository : from £7.99 (PB)
Wordery : from £7.65 (PB)
Waterstones : from £7.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $6.76 / £4.99 (ebook)
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When Alina's brother-in-law defects to the West, she and her husband become persons of interest to the secret services, causing both of their careers to come grinding to a halt. As the strain takes its toll on their marriage, Alina turns to her aunt for help - the wife of a communist leader and a secret practitioner of the old folk ways. Set in 1970's communist Romania, this novella-in-flash draws upon magic realism to weave a tale of everyday troubles, that can't be put down.


Death In Dulwich by Alice Castle + Giveaway

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Thirty-something single mum Beth Haldane is forced to become Dulwich’s answer to Miss Marple when she stumbles over a murder victim on her first day at work. To clear her name, Beth is plunged into a cozy mystery that’s a contemporary twist on Golden Age crime classics. But can she pull it off? She already has a bouncy young son, haughty cat, a fringe with a mind of its own and lots of bills to pay, as she struggles to keep up with the yummy mummies of SE21.


Wilderness Tips by Margaret Atwood

The Book Depository : from £8.99 (PB)
Wordery : from £7.66 (PB)
Waterstones : from £8.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $0.50 / £2.37 (used PB)
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A leathery bog-man transforms an old love affair; a sweet, gruesome gift is sent by the wife of an ex-lover; landscape paintings are haunted by the ghost of a young girl. This dazzling collection of ten short stories takes us into familiar Atwood territory to reveal the logic of irrational behaviour and the many textures lying beneath ordinary life.


Notes From A Big Country by Bill Bryson

The Book Depository : from £6.99 (PB)
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Amazon : from $0.03 / £1.01 (used HB)
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Bill Bryson has the rare knack of being out of his depth wherever he goes - even (perhaps especially) in the land of his birth. This became all too apparent when, after nearly two decades in England, the world's best-loved travel writer upped sticks with Mrs Bryson, little Jimmy et al. and returned to live in the country he had left as a youth. Of course there were things Bryson missed about Blighty but any sense of loss was countered by the joy of rediscovering some of the forgotten treasures of his childhood: the glories of a New England autumn; the pleasingly comical sight of oneself in shorts; and motel rooms where you can generally count on being awakened in the night by a piercing shriek and the sound of a female voice pleading, 'Put the gun down, Vinnie, I'll do anything you say.' Whether discussing the strange appeal of breakfast pizza or the jaw-slackening direness of American TV, Bill Bryson brings his inimitable brand of bemused wit to bear on that strangest of phenomena - the American way of life.


Hold by Michael Donkor

The Book Depository : from £8.94 (HB)
Wordery : from £10.34 (HB)
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Amazon : from $4.79 / £3.94 (used HB)
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Moving between Ghana and London, Hold is an intimate, powerful coming-of-age novel. It’s a story of friendship and family, shame and forgiveness; of learning what we should cling to, and when we need to let go.
Belinda knows how to follow the rules. She has learnt the right way to polish water glasses, to wash and fold a hundred handkerchiefs, and to keep a tight lid on memories of the village she left behind when she came to Kumasi to be a housegirl. Mary is still learning the rules. Eleven years old and irrepressible, the young housegirl-in-training is the little sister Belinda never had. Amma has had enough of the rules. A straight-A pupil at her exclusive South-London school, she has always been the pride of her Ghanaian parents. Until now. Watching their once-confident teenager grow sullen and wayward, they decide that sensible Belinda might be just the shining example Amma needs.


Lightness by Catherine Meurisse

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In the aftermath of the murderous attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices on January 7, 2015, cartoonist Catherine Meurisse struggles with the trauma of losing her friends and looks for a way to move forward with her life and her art. She soon enters a dissociative state where she loses her memories, especially those associated with esthetic experiences. This leads her on a quest to seek beauty and lightness in the world around her with the help of guiding lights including Proust, Stendhal, Baudelaire, and two provocative graffiti artists. Throughout the book, Meurisse uses her limber cartooning and dynamic writing to weave a tapestry of raw emotion and philosophical reflection laced with a strain of wry humor.


The Girl In The Gallery by Alice Castle + Giveaway

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It’s a perfect summer’s morning in the plush south London suburb, and thirty-something Beth Haldane has sneaked off to visit one of her favourite places, the world-famous Picture Gallery. She’s enjoying a few moments’ respite from juggling her job at prestigious private school Wyatt’s and her role as single mum to little boy Ben, when she stumbles across a shocking new exhibit on display. Before she knows it, she’s in the thick of a fresh, and deeply chilling, investigation.


Identity Unknown by Karolina Wojciak

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After the tragic death of his mother, sixteen-year-old Krystian lives in poverty in Warsaw, Poland, with his violent, alcoholic father. Their fights grow more intense until finally his father throws him out. Homeless and fighting for survival, Krystian has to put aside his sensitive nature and become a criminal. Lena, after a freshman year spent away from home, returns to the seaside town of Sopot between semesters, convinced that it will be another boring summer with her despotic father, a powerful lawyer. Instead, new friends show her what it feels like to make her own choices. Can Krystian escape his difficult start in life? Will Lena choose her family or her freedom? Do youthful mistakes mean there’s no chance for a good life?

Spotlights

A Study In Shifters by Majanka Verstraete + Giveaway + Excerpt

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Amazon : from $6.28 / £4.747 (ebook)
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Seventeen-year-old Marisol Holmes may be the great-great-great granddaughter of Sherlock Holmes, but it’s hard to live up to the family name when only one mistake can spell your downfall. After trusting the wrong guy in a case gone totally wrong, Marisol convinces the Conclave, an underground organization of detectives solving supernatural cases, to give her a last chance to prove her worth, and maybe even heal her broken heart. After all, as a half-blood jaguar shifter, Marisol is uniquely qualified to solve this murder—and every scrap of evidence points toward the culprit being a fellow jaguar shifter. But is one of her own people involved, or is this all a ploy to kick Marisol’s mother off the shifter throne?


On the Fault by Ronald J. Wichers + Giveaway + Guest Post


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Amazon : from $5.03 / £3.59 (ebook)
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For Joe Hearns the horrors of combat give way to those of daily life upon return to the States; a life burdened by an odd curse that seems to hover over the heads of anyone who fought in that otherwise magical land. He discovers that courage takes on a whole new meaning when coping with a world moving at a different pace – the pace of friendship and love. But, in the end, this proves the way out from under the curse of the war no one wanted.


Love Beneath the Mighty Dome: Volume 1 by Ronald J. Wichers + Giveaway

The Book Depository : from £16.95 (PB)
Wordery : from £16.51 (PB)
Waterstones : from £16.95 (PB)
Amazon : from $5.19 / £3.70 (ebook)
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What if you felt that Almighty God had called you personally to devote your life exclusively to His service only to discover that those in charge of your training were people not worthy of your respect? Would you stubbornly stick to your path? Would you rebel and try to change the institution from within? Would you begin to doubt yourself and your own integrity? Or would you question whether the institution itself was actually what its founder, Jesus of Nazareth, had intended so many hundreds of generations before you?


Riding Shotgun and Other American Cruelties by Andy Rausch

The Book Depository : from £9.89 (PB)
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Amazon : from $7.33 / £5.41 (ebook)
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Riding Shotgun and Other American Cruelties is a unique collection of quirky, Tarantinoesque crime novellas, representing three very different sub-genres.
In the first story, "Easy-Peezy," a band of elderly Old West bank robbers return to their wicked ways robbing banks in the 1930s John Dillinger era. The second story, "Riding Shotgun," is a bitter tale about a man pushed to the limits of human endurance and forced to take up arms to protect those he loves. The third tale, "$crilla," is an urban crime fantasy in which a fledgling hip-hop group kidnaps a record mogul in the hopes of finally making the kind of loot they've always dreamed of.


Read, Write, Love At Seaside by Addison Cole + Free Book
Literary Flits Spotlight Giveaway Winner

The Book Depository : from £14.99 (PB)
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Amazon : from $Free / £Free (ebook)
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Bestselling author Kurt Remington lives to write. He spends twelve hours a day in front of his computer, rarely leaving the seclusion of his beach-front property, where he's come to finish his latest thriller -- that is, until free-spirited Leanna Bray nearly drowns in the ocean trying to save her dog. Kurt's best-laid plans are shot to hell when he comes to their rescue. Kurt's as irritated as he is intrigued by the sexy, hot mess of a woman who lives life on a whim, forgets everything, and doesn't even know the definition of the word organized.


Liberty Landing by Gail Vida Hamburg + Giveaway + Guest Post

The Book Depository : from £8.99 (PB)
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After Angeline Lalande, a journalist and historian, unearths the real meaning of the name, "Azyl," conferred on the town in the 1800s by immigrant-hating politicians, the town elders begin the act of renaming it. During the course of the renaming, we meet the intriguing denizens of the town--survivors, strugglers, and strivers of every race and nationality, see the intersection of their lives, and the ways they find home, heaven, and haven in each other. We learn about the singular journeys that brought them to Azyl Park--a place that both transforms them and is transformed by them.


Dortmund Hibernate by C J Sutton + Excerpt

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Psychologist Dr Magnus Paul is tasked with the patients of Dortmund Asylum – nine criminally insane souls hidden from the world due to the extremity of their acts. Magnus has six weeks to prove them sane for transfer to a maximum-security prison, or label them as incurable and recommend a death sentence under a new government act. As Magnus delves into the darkness of the incarcerated minds, his own sanity is challenged. Secrets squeeze through the cracks of the asylum, blurring the line between reality and nightmare, urging Magnus towards a new life of crime…


Blood In The Woods by J P Willie + Giveaway + Free Book

The Book Depository : from £14.99 (PB)
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Amazon : from $4.93 / £3.73 (ebook)
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For Jody, growing up in the late eighties and early nineties in the small Louisiana town of Hammond with his best friend Jack was filled with wonderful childhood memories. Time spent playing in the woods, shooting pellet guns, blowing up mailboxes, fighting at school and upon the dawning of interest in the fairer sex, their carefree lives typical of children with few responsibilities and no worries beyond the next pop-quiz or getting to second base. As they grow older together and experience the joys and pains of life, love, family and friendship, they uncover a grim secret that their home town has kept, and through little more than an innocent, idle curiosity, Jody and Jack stumble upon something horrific in the woods and their lives quickly take a most sinister and dangerous turn as they find themselves hunted by an unspeakable evil.


The Collision of Grief and Gratitude: A Pursuit of Sacred Light by Rosanne Liesveld + Giveaway

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After the unexpected death of her husband, Rosanne Liesveld felt a desperate need to communicate gratitude to those who helped her through the shock that death left in its wake. The day of Curt's funeral, Rosanne wrote a Facebook post expressing how, in the midst of profound grief, she found a space in her heart for gratitude. The next day, she wrote another post; then another. Rosanne's daily posts throughout her first year of widowhood attracted hundreds to follow along on her journey. Her words inspired those who were not only grieving in some way, but those who wanted to build stronger relationships or live life with more intention and gratitude. It was messy. It was raw. And it was healing.


Letting Go Of Gravity by Meg Leder + Giveaway + Guest Post

The Book Depository : from £15.11 (HB)
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Amazon : from $13.30 / £11.37 (used HB)
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Twins Parker and Charlie are polar opposites. Where Charlie is fearless, Parker is careful. Charlie is confident while Parker aims to please. Charlie is outgoing and outspoken; Parker is introverted and reserved. And of course, there’s the one other major difference: Charlie got cancer. Parker didn’t. But now that Charlie is officially in remission, life couldn’t be going better for Parker. She’s landed a prestigious summer internship at the hospital and is headed to Harvard in the fall to study pediatric oncology—which is why the anxiety she’s felt since her Harvard acceptance is so unsettling. And it doesn’t help that her relationship with Charlie has been on the rocks since his diagnosis.


The Invisible Case by Isabella Muir + Giveaway + Excerpt

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It's Easter 1970 in the seaside town of Tamarisk Bay, and for one family the first Easter of a new decade brings a shocking tragedy. Amateur sleuth and professional librarian, Janie Juke, is settling into motherhood and looking forward to spending time with her family. When her Aunt Jessica is due back from Rome after nine years travelling around Europe, she arrives back in town with a new Italian friend, Luigi, and the whole family soon get embroiled in a tangle of mystery and suspicion, with death and passion at the heart of the story.


The Daughter of River Valley by Victoria Cornwall

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Cornwall, 1861
Beth Jago appears to have the idyllic life, she has a trade to earn a living and a cottage of her own in Cornwall’s beautiful River Valley. Yet appearances can be deceptive. Beth has a secret. Since inheriting her isolated cottage she has been receiving threats, so when she finds a man in her home she acts on her instincts. One frying pan to the head and she has robbed the handsome stranger of his memory and almost killed him.


Boy on the Beach by R.D. Maddux + Giveaway

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Andrew Foster, a real estate developer in San Diego, is a man suddenly haunted by his past. Memories, like specters from his former life of sex, drugs and rock and roll have come crashing into his current world of business in this sunny coastal city. The ominous, repeated appearance of a black SUV at the beach where he meets his sister each week, has triggered fears that it’s payback time for a bad choice he made years ago.


Hunter's Chase by Val Penny

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DI Hunter Wilson knows there is a new supply of cocaine flooding his city and he needs to find the source but his attention is transferred to murder when a corpse is discovered in the grounds of a golf course. Shortly after the post-mortem, Hunter witnesses a second murder but that is not the end of the slaughter. With a young woman's life also hanging in the balance, the last thing Hunter needs is a new man on his team: the son of his nemesis, the former Chief Constable. Hunter's perseverance and patience are put to the test time after time in this taut crime thriller.


I hope you have found some books to tempt you in this selection! You can keep up with my daily book posts on Literary Flits and don't forget all the Giveaways are listed in my Giveaway Linkup.

16 comments:

  1. Wow, 14 books is a lot of reading. I’ve read Wilderness Tips, but it was so long ago that I don’t remember it very well. I still have it on my shelf, so that means I liked it. I don’t have space to keep the books I don’t love. Happy August!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    Replies
    1. If I had any space, I'd have kept it too

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  2. That's a lot of books and some of them sound good to me but I haven't read any of these.

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  3. You have had a great month of reading! You read quite the variety of books during the month. Have a great July!

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  4. Wow - some great reads there! Will be adding some to my ever growing TBR list.Happy reading in August.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's great! Glad I could tempt you ;-)

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  5. That's a very diverse collection of books! I've only read Venetia, and I chuckled a bit when I read your review because I too went the audiobook route. Richard Armitage, dude. He totally pantomimed a bit in places, but the rest of it was delicious.

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    Replies
    1. I've got another two of his Heyer audiobooks to listen too and am tempted to buy maybe one of the Bernard Cornwell's. It's just his voice :-)

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  6. 14 books is an awesome month. Your diversity for reading is inspiring.

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  7. Congrats on a great reading month! Hope August has been just as fruitful!!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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  8. Bill Bryson is super fun. I have no clue how you all read so many books every month! What is your secret??

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    Replies
    1. I pretty much make reading priority over everything else!!

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