February 2019 TBR

The first month of the year is officially over! It was a pretty productive month for me that came with a lot of changes and unexpected surprises- all in a good way! I hope things were good for you, too.

First, a mini wrap-up.

I read a total of 11 books last month, which is the most I’ve read in a while. I’m hoping that I can keep this going for the rest of the year, but as school gets more difficult, that might not be possible. I’m just going with the flow right now.

Out of those 11, 5 were poetry collections and 6 were actual novels. Usually I don’t read this much poetry in one month, I try to spread it out. However, I got a lot of ARCs and review copies so I wanted to read them ASAP.

Also, I only read one physical book this month which is definitely new to me. I usually only read a few ebooks/audiobooks a month, but those are basically all I read in January. Like I said, January was full of surprises.

The TBR

February is the first month of the Booktube Games, which I am participating in! If you don’t know, it is a month long reading challenge where everyone is put into a team based off of a fictional place. The goal is to read as much as you can, and the team with the most amount of pages read wins.

I’m team camp half-blood (which is obviously going to win), and I’m so excited!

I planned a TBR out of 6 books, but I plan on reading a lot more- I just wanted room to read whatever I’m in the mood for.

It by Stephen King

I have owned the physical copy of this book for a long time now, but it’s so intimidating because it’s over 1000 pages! But, I finally got the audiobook on Libby, so I want to listen to it. I think it’s the only way I’ll get through the whole thing.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

If you don’t follow me on Instagram or Twitter (which you should), then you wouldn’t know that I am hosting a Shades of Magic read-a-long with my friend Aza! This month we are starting off with A Darker Shade of Magic (obviously), and I’m so excited! This book is one that is extremely hyped by the community, so I hope it lives up to that!

If you want to join us, be sure to use #SOMreadalong to update your progress :)

Sadie by Courtney Summers

I am actually group reading this with a few people on Twitter, so this is one of the first books I plan on getting to this month. The cover is stunning, the story sounds amazing, and literally everyone loves it. I heard the ending will make you cry, and that’s what I’m always looking for in a book if I’m being honest!

Circe by Madeline Miller

This is camp half-blood’s group read for the games, and if you read it within the first week, you get double the page count! I am not entirely excited about this one (it’s not something I would pick up on my own), but hopefully I end up enjoying it.

Gerald’s Game by Stephen King

Another Stephen King book is on here, oops. I just finished reading On Writing by him, and I loved it so much. That book really changed the way I view writing, so I need to get a move on and actually read his books!

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Finally, I want to read Starfish, which is a book I started last month. BUT, because of my weird ebook/audiobook kick, I couldn’t pick up any physical books. I definitely want to get to it this month, though. Summer Bird Blue was my favorite book of 2018, so of course I need to pick up other books by Akemi!

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What are you reading this month? Are you participating in the booktube games? Definitely let me know in the comments (and what team you’re on)!

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My Reading Tastes Have Changed… & So Has the Way I Rate Books

Hello, loves! Jess here. Notice anything new? I recently changed my site name, as well as my Instagram and Twitter handles! I wanted to “rebrand” in a way because my old name just didn’t encompass what this site is. I wanted a name that fits this blog and me! Kisses From Jess is now in the past :)

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What does this change mean? Basically nothing.

Like I said, I mainly just wanted a name that fits what this blog is- and that’s what Jessica C Writes does. I write. About books, writing, journaling, and a couple other things. As far as content, the type of things I post will stay the same, but I am going to be putting a lot of effort into those posts. I want each and every post to be something I am proud of. So that is going to be my aim for this coming year (oh- and expect more book reviews).

Anyways…

Let’s move onto what you clicked for- which is a discussion post about how my reading tastes have changed, but more specifically how it has changed my ratings!

I wrote a post about how I read both critically and for fun a few months ago, but my opinions have definitely changed on that subject since then.

I realized that (especially in the last few months) my reading tastes have been changing dramatically. What I used to read were mainly YA contemporaries- very fluffy ones. I had the occasional thriller or fantasy or adult book thrown in there, but I basically just stuck to one genre that I knew I loved.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.

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But the truth is, I didn’t really know what I liked in books and what I didn’t because I was only reading one type of book. Within the past few months, I wanted to change this. I wanted to pick up different books so that I could figure out what I like.

I now pick up books that are very different from what I was reading just a couple years back. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t suddenly become a huge high fantasy or science fiction reader, but I stray outside of the YA contemporary romance books. I read mysteries and thrillers, and lots of NA and Adult books! I also add a lot more fantasy novels to my TBRs than I have in the past!

Overall, I have definitely broadened my horizons when it comes to reading, and I am so happy about that!

How has this affected my reviews?

Because I now know what I like to see in books- in terms of themes, genres, character development, etc., I read more critically. I am very picky about what I like and what I don’t like, so I don’t give everything 4 or 5 stars anymore as I previously had for no reason whatsoever. I basically just gave everything 5 stars as long as I somewhat enjoyed it.

With that in mind, I am also pickier about what I read to begin with- I don’t add books to my TBR just because they are extremely hyped by the book community. I only add books that I have a genuine interest in reading now. So even though I said I give less 4/5 stars, that doesn’t mean the book is necessarily bad. It still had something in it that drew me to it, it just isn’t one of my all time favorites.

Mainly, I am just pickier about what I choose as my favorite books opposed to just good books.

For example- a rating between 4-5 means a book is amazing and I really, really love it. It has definitely earned a spot in my top favorites.

However, a book with 3-4 stars does not mean the book is bad- there was just certain elements that fell flat for me, or I was a little disappointed by it. For example, I might not have liked the writing style, but loved the story. Or the pacing was slow but I loved the characters, etc. This is still a book I enjoyed though!

I think most people see a 3 star rating and assume a book is bad, when that is not the case for me at all. It all definitely depends on each reviewer and how they rate their books, but I think in general a 3 star rating is not equal to a book being awful.

I rarely give 1-2 stars, but those are the books that I consider “bad.”

By experimenting with my reading tastes, I have definitely turned into a much more critical reader. Reading critically is something I really enjoy, and I’ve always been this way with books for school, so I don’t know why it has taken me this long to be this way with other books.

This post is getting pretty long, so I’ll end it there!

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Have your reading tastes changed at all? How/Why? This is a topic I could go on about for days, and it’s super interesting to hear other people talk about! Definitely leave a comment letting me know your opinions on this down below :)

See you soon!

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How I’m Staying Organized in 2019

* this post is in promotion with Clever Fox planners, but all opinions are my own *

Hello everyone ! If you saw my last post, you would know that I have started using the Clever Fox Planner this month, and I am really loving it! Today I wanted to make a post about how I am using my planners, not just that one, for 2019. I have a system that will probably change as time goes on, but for now it is something that works for me!

Planner 1: School

The first planner that I am using is my Clever Fox planner, which I decided I would use for school! I was originally going to use this one for my creative projects, but because it is a lot bigger than my other planner, it will fit all of my assignments better. Plus, it is undated, so after this semester is over and I am off for four months, those pages aren’t being wasted because I can use them for the next year.

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The picture that I have is of my January spread which actually has all of my creative projects on it, but that will be changing starting next month. Instead, I will assign a color to each class I am taking, and will include all of my assignments for that month.

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The weekly spread is where I will write down all of my day to day homework assignments, as well as my work schedule and other meetings or plans with friends.

Planner 2: Creative Projects

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As for my creative projects, I will be using this Ban.do 2019 planner. I am obsessed with the look of this one, and it is something that I wanted to purchase for myself for a few years now. They no longer sell the design that I have, but I linked the same planner with a different pattern.

It is smaller than the other planner, which I like because I can carry it in my bag with me.

I will be using this one for scheduling blog post and videos, as well as days to take bookstagram pictures, write poetry, work on my draft of my novel, etc. It will be solely dedicated to planning out my creative projects, because those are something that I am taking more seriously this year.

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The monthly spread will once again be color-coordinated for each project, and the weekly spreads will have my day to day to-do lists.

Journal: Goal Tracking

Finally, I will be using an art/junk journal that I have to track my habits and my goals each month. I might eventually switch over to just doing this in the Clever Fox planner because it does give you space to do so. For now, though, I like the way I have mine organized.

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That is all for how I will be staying organized this year! If you have any questions about the system, please leave them in the comments :) See you next week!

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December 2018 Wrap-Up

Hello everyone and Happy New Year! This is my first post after Blogmas, and I’m feeling great. I’m inspired and I have so much to share this year. I can’t wait to see where I go.

Today’s post is a simple wrap-up because December was actually a pretty good reading month for me up until the end. I read a total of 9 books, which ended my year with 65 books read. I didn’t beat last year, but I’m okay with that. My goal for 2019 is 52 books! Hopefully I can get more than that :)

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

Oof. Where do I even start? I wanted to like this book, and I tried. I really did. But the characters were just so unlikeable and I honestly didn’t care for the plot at all. I had high expectations for it, too. But I just couldn’t get myself into it.

Rating: 2/5 stars

What Happened by Hillary Clinton

This is a memoire by Hillary Clinton talking about what happened in her campaign and sort of what went wrong. I really enjoyed this audiobook and I found the story so interesting. I am very interested in politics, so this story was very important to me. I highly recommend it if you want to know more about the 2016 election.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Pillow Thoughts by Courtney Peppernell

This is a poetry collection that I wasn’t entirely sold on. The poems just didn’t connect with me all that much, and I felt like they were too simple. They didn’t have that rawness and depth that I look for in poetry.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Yesterday I Was the Moon by Noor Unnahar

Luckily, after that last one, I picked up a collection I actually enjoyed. These poems were so powerful and important. I felt the emotions behind each one, and I was able to be empathetic and connect to them, even if they didn’t relate to me personally. I loved it.

Rating: 4/5 stars

What We Buried by Caitlyn Siehl

This collection was just breathtaking. I bought this because I was attending a reading for Caitlyn and Amanda Lovelace (author of The Princess Saves Herself in This One). I fell in love from the moment I heard Caitlyn read a poem. She was amazing. I really, really recommend this one.

Rating: 5/5 stars

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

This is a book I read for one of my classes last semester, so I don’t want to judge it. I read it solely from an analytical point of view.

Merry Inkmas by Talia Hibbert

I’m starting to get into the romance genre and so I decided to pick this one up because the ebook was free. I am so glad I did. It was a quick read but filled with a lot of cute moments. I really enjoyed it.

Rating: 4/5 stars

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

I heard a lot of good things about this one, but again, I just didn’t like it. The love story was just so cringe worthy and unrealistic to me. It’s a big “insta-love” and I hated it. That’s probably my least favorite trope ever. I loved Natasha’s story a lot, and I would have preferred just reading about her, and not the love story.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

This is another book that I wanted to love so so bad. I have been putting it off for so so long because I was scared I wouldn’t like it, and unfortunately my fears were right. I just didn’t connect with it and I honestly don’t really remember the plot at all and I read it so recently. Nothing stood out from it to me.

Rating: 2/5 stars

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As you can see, my reading was sort of all over the place this month. Lot’s of ups and downs. Let me know what you thought of these books if you’ve read them, or what you read this month!

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A Thank You. Recommending Bloggers // Blogmas Day 25

Merry Christmas y’all! I know Blogmas technically ended yesterday, but I wanted to add an extra day to thank everyone who has either been very inspirational to me, been a great friend, or just someone I love to read! I am going to be sharing some of my favorite bloggers for you guys to check out because they deserve the world!

Thank you all for everything. I wouldn’t be where I am without all of your love and support. This community means so much to me, and I just want to give back by shouting out some of my faves!

Merry Christmas again, and see you in the new year !

Meltotheany

Kalinasbookblog

Ambsreads

Taytalksbooks

Abookathought

Justanotherbookinthewall

Brilliantlybookish

Sprinklesofdreams

Emmareadstoomuch

Classyxbookreviews

Kerrithebookbelle

Midnightwanderer

Thecursedbooks

Tarynandherbooks

Drizzleandhurricanebooks

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Tag your favorite blogs down below! Let’s spread the joy :)

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More Pretty Book Covers! // Blogmas Day 24

It’s already day 24 of Blogmas! Merry Christmas Eve :)

I just wrote this post recently, but I have so many more book covers that I want to talk about, so here is part two!

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This cover is just so pretty to me because it’s simple and clean, but different. There’s just something about it that always catches my eye, even if I don’t necessarily think I’ll like the book. It was just done really well.

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I think everyone agrees that this is a nice book cover. The gold compliments the flowers so nicely, and makes it pop. I am usually fan of simple covers, but I love how this one looks a lot.

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The reason that I love this one so much is because I didn’t even notice that the “mountain” in the back is a face. It’s just so subtle and nice. I’m obsessed with it.

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This cover. I don’t even know where to begin. It is gorgeous. Jellyfish are my favorite sea creatures, so this definitely caught my eye from the beginning. Also, the background is so nice and I love the font of the title.

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This has been one of my favorite book covers ever for a long time because it’s just so aesthetically pleasing. If I wrote a book, this is the type of cover I would want. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy the book as much. The cover makes up for it a little bit.

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Once again, Merry Christmas Eve! I’ll see you guys for the last day of Blogmas tomorrow! Enjoy the holidays :)

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24 Hour Read-A-Thon Recap // Blogmas Day 23

As some of you know, if you read my last TBR post, I just did a 24 hour read-a-thon with two amazing people! It was a lot of fun, and I definitely want to do more in the future :)

Let’s talk about how I did!

The TBR:

What I read:

I had about half of Emergency Contact left (200 pages or so), and I managed to finish it at around 11:30 at night. I kept alternating between listening to The Sun is Also a Star and reading Emergency Contact. Luckily, the The Sun audiobook was short, and since I listen at 2.5 speed, it took me less than 4 hours.

I finished it at about 7:30. It took me a long time to finish both because I took a lot of breaks and went out a couple of times throughout the day, but at least I managed to read 2 of them!

I started Dumplin’, but only got about 3 chapters in!

I’m definitely still counting this as a win because I managed to finish 2 books. I’m definitely happy with that.

I also had so much fun!

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This was a lot of fun, as I’ve mentioned! If you want to see more 24 hour read-a-thon posts, let me know! Or if you want to participate the next time I do one, definitely let me know, and I can make sure I announce it first :)

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Favorite Books of 2018 // Blogmas Day 22

Yesterday I accidentally titled my blog post Day 22 because I obviously can’t count, but I fixed that, and today is the true Day 22!

Today’s post is an exciting one- I am finally going to be sharing my top 10 favorite books of the year! I read 65 books this year, and I am currently in the middle of 2 others (but I don’t think they will make this list).

Out of those books, I found some of my absolute favorites, and I am so so excited to share them with you all! I put them in an order, but take it with a grain of salt. It was so hard to even narrow down my list, let alone rank these 10. I changed the order so many times because I was indecisive, so just remember that!

 

10. Looking for Alaska by John Green

I know that this is a bit of an unpopular opinion, but I loved this book. It was hard to get into at first, but I was hooked completely by the middle. It just gave me such a nostalgic feeling because this is a book that middle school me would have obsessed over. I can’t even really describe why I loved it so much, I just did.

9.Bird Box by Josh Malerman

I’m going to be honest, I really didn’t think I would like this one, but I decided I should just give it a chance. I ended up LOVING it. The movie is also amazing, so make sure you check it out!

8. To Make Monsters Out of Girls by Amanda Lovelace

This probably became my favorite poetry collection ever. It was so, so good. Amanda never fails to make me fall in love with her writing, but this one especially just spoke to me so much. I absolutely loved it, and I think everyone should give it a try.

7. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

After reading Simon, I didn’t have high hopes for this one. I loved the Simon movie, but the book fell flat to me in so many ways. It was just so hyped, so I expected a lot more from it. But this one was amazing. I loved and related to the characters so so much, and I really enjoyed the story. It was definitely a surprise for me.

6. Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

I love Jenn Bennett so so much, and 2018 is actually the year I discovered her books. This is one that doesn’t come out until 2019, but I was lucky enough to get an ARC and I am so grateful. The way she writes romance is unlike anyone else. She makes you fall in love with the characters and I was mesmerized by this one.

5. Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

This book melted my heart. I have been dying to read anything by Alice Oseman for so long, and this did not disappoint. It was so relatable and I love reading about podcasts, so this one was such a hit for me. The story was a bit sad at times, but it made you FEEL something, which I love.

4. The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

This is the first year that I got into thriller/mysteries. I’ve always read a couple here and there, but I definitely read way more this year. This one was by far my favorite. I listened to the audiobook and it just had me so hooked. I could not get enough of it, and I highly recommend it if you like this genre.

3. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

This is a story told through poetry, and I absolutely loved it. It was just such an incredible story, and I love poetry, so the two put together was just so amazing. I also just related to it so much (not as much now, but definitely a few years ago). I just saw myself in the story, and it made me so happy.

2. Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Wow, would you look at that? Another Jenn Bennett. At the beginning of 2018, I couldn’t decide if I liked this one more, or Starry Eyes (also by Jenn Bennett). But the more I thought about it, the more this one was on my mind. Alex is my favorite YA love interest ever. He was just so smooth and knows how to make you fall for him. I was obsessed (and still am, let’s be honest). Wow, I just really loved this one.

1. Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman

I don’t even know what else to say about this one. It just spoke to me on so many levels, and I couldn’t get enough. I posted a review on it, so I’ll just direct you there because it sums up my feelings pretty well.

Honorable Mentions:

Sea of Strangers by Lang Leav

What Happened by Hillary Clinton

The New Neighbors by Simon Lelic

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If there are any on this list that you haven’t read, I highly recommend picking them up! I love all of these wholeheartedly, and 2018 was an incredible reading year for me. Please check these out :)

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24 Hour Read-A-Thon TBR // Blogmas Day 19

I am doing a 24 hour read-a-thon tomorrow with my friend Amanda, and I am so excited! I plan on doing a few of these while I’m on winter break because I’ll have a lot of time, and it’ll be nice to get more reading in.

I have so many books I want to get to, so this will be helping me out a lot! Let’s just jump into the TBR.

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

This is my current read, and I really want to finish it ASAP! It’s not my favorite read right now, but I’m enjoying it enough to keep reading. I’ve had this on my TBR for far too long though, so I really want to finish it.

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

I have the audiobook for this one, and It’s about 8 hours long. Since I listen to them at 2.5 speed, it’ll take less than 4 hours, so I definitely think I can do this! I’ve been meaning to read this for the longest time, too. Everything, Everything was okay, but I’ve heard nothing but amazing things for this one!

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

I finally got the e-book on the Libby app, but I only have about 7 days left to read it, so I definitely want to get to it ASAP. The movie just came out on Netflix, and I’ve been using all of my self-control to not watch it yet. It’s been rough, but if I finish it soon, then I can finally watch it!

EXTRA:

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The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic

If I manage to finish the other 3 (highly unlikely), then I want to continue this one! I only read about 1 or 2 chapters of it, but I’m really enjoying it so far. I probably won’t get to it, but just in case, it’s on the list!

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If you’ve read any of the books below, leave a comment letting me know what you’re thoughts were! See you tomorrow :)

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Top 5 Favorite Book Covers // Blogmas Day 18

Happy Tuesday! I finished my last final today, and I’m finally back at home! I will have so much more time for reading/writing/blogging for the next 5 weeks, and I’m so happy about that.

Today I want to talk about some of my favorite book covers because I am all about aesthetic. I am very particular about book covers, and I definitely have a style that I prefer over others.

Here are some of my five favorites (although there are so many more- i will definitely do a part 2!).

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This first cover is one that I do not own unfortunately, but I am absolutely obsessed with. It’s pretty simple, but the vibe I get from it is so nice. It is so aesthetically pleasing, and I am just obsessed with it, okay?

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I thought this cover was absolutely gorgeous the day I got it, and I am still obsessed with it! In person it is really shiny and reflective, which adds even more to it! The U.K. cover is also so amazing, and so are the other books in the trilogy. The little details all come together so nicely, and the font of the title fits so well.

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THIS BOOK IS SO GORGEOUS!!! In person, the entire thing is glittery and so pretty! I am so in love with it. It’s literally the tiniest book ever but just so so stunning. Unfortunately, this was not a favorite of mine writing wise, but the cover makes up for that a little bit.

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Okay, can we talk about this cover? How beautiful is this?? This is definitely one of my favorite books of the year, and I think the cover definitely added so much to this story. It fits so, so well with the book. I think it captures the beautiful writing of this story so well.

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This cover was just revealed today and I’m already in love with it! The design is so sleek yet I feel like it captures the books essence perfectly (even though I have not read it yet). It just seems really fitting, and I am in love with it! I am going to buy a copy ASAP, and you all should, too :)

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What are some of your favorite book covers? Be sure to let me know in the comments :)

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