Posts Tagged ‘Paranormal Romance’

Cover Reveal: Inspire

We are thrilled to bring you the cover for Cora Carmack‘s INSPIRE!

Inspire
Kalliope lives with one purpose.
To inspire.
As an immortal muse, she doesn’t have any other choice. It’s part of how she was made. Musicians, artists, actors—they use her to advance their art, and she uses them to survive. She moves from one artist to the next, never staying long enough to get attached. But all she wants is a different life— a normal one. She’s spent thousands of years living lie after lie, and now she’s ready for something real.
Sweet, sexy, and steady, Wilder Bell feels more real than anything else in her long existence. And most importantly… he’s not an artist. He doesn’t want her for her ability. But she can’t turn off the way she influences people, not even to save a man she might love. Because in small doses, she can help make something beautiful, but her ability has just as much capacity to destroy as it does to create. The longer she stays, the more obsessed Wilder will become. It’s happened before, and it never turns out well for the mortal.
Her presence may inspire genius.
But it breeds madness, too.

INSPIRE is a New Adult Paranormal Romance novel and is due to be released on December 15, 2014!

The cover was designed by VLC Productions.

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Headshot
Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She’s done a multitude of things in her life– boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.

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When The World Was Flat (And we were in love)

Ingrid Jonach
when the world was flatLooking back, I wonder if I had an inkling that my life was about to go from ordinary to extraordinary.
When sixteen-year-old Lillie Hart meets the gorgeous and mysterious Tom Windsor-Smith for the first time, it’s like fireworks — for her, anyway. Tom looks as if he would be more interested in watching paint dry; as if he is bored by her and by her small Nebraskan town in general.
But as Lillie begins to break down the walls of his seemingly impenetrable exterior, she starts to suspect that he holds the answers to her reoccurring nightmares and to the impossible memories which keep bubbling to the surface of her mind — memories of the two of them, together and in love.
When she at last learns the truth about their connection, Lillie discovers that Tom has been hiding an earth-shattering secret; a secret that is bigger — and much more terrifying and beautiful — than the both of them. She also discovers that once you finally understand that the world is round, there is no way to make it flat again.

I can’t quite put my finger on what initially grabbed my attention with Ingrid’s novel but I think it may have been the title. The play on words about the world being flat and there being love whilst now the world is round and bigger and far more complicated seemed to promise a whole dimension of intricacies.

And indeed so it was, but not in the way I’d expected.

To be completely honest with you although Ingrid Jonach’s love story was lovely it was rather simple and straightforward in itself. That said I take nothing away from it. But what truly made me appreciate this book was the symbolism that was woven into it and the concept behind it.

In this story initially Tom and Lillie’s love is like the world Lillie thinks they live in. As the title implies to Lillie the world is (metaphorically speaking) flat. It’s uncomplicated and three dimensional, what you see is what you get and is beautiful in its simplicity. But Tom knows better, and this world is not flat, in fact it’s not even round. To use his words as he teases Lillie “the world is hexagonal” and it is about to challenge Lillie’s beliefs and herself as an individual.

Ingrid chose to narrate this story from Lillie’s point of view but written in retrospect. The Lillie who tells us the story is the one at the end of it and although she attempts to keep in mind the thoughts of the Lillie at the time of the story occasionally she does slip up, and admits that what she thought back then when the world was flat was very mistaken and blissfully naïve. The recounting of her story was done in an almost clinical manner, and although she says how she felt the feelings felt delivered in a distant manner. Although this style of writing felt detached to the present day characters and limited my ability to bond with them, it allowed to underline the symbolisms, themes and bigger meaning of the tale.

For me the true beauty of this book did not lie in the characters themselves or their story but the world around them and how it affected them and their love. The way Lillie always repeats key words three times like a mantra, almost as though she needs the reassurance that everything is true, almost as though she already knows that something in this reality is off kilter. The way in which she turns sounds into words because her reality is speaking to her and warning her. How a love that transcends time and life is beautifully simple, because love in itself as a concept is not complicated. It’s the people and the world around them that taint it and twist it. So when the world is flat everything is smooth and straightforward, like it’s surface. But when you make it round, give it three dimensions….. everything is possible, and love becomes complicated.

Verdict: Reading this novel brought me back to my time at school in English literature where I learnt to appreciate the beauty and the intricacies of themes and subtleties left behind by the author to make us wonder and reflect.
Reviewed by Pruedence

Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Publication Date: August 2013
Format: eARC
Pages: 272
Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Romance
Age: YA
Reviewer: Pruedence
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: Debut Author
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Demon At My Door

Michelle A.Valentine

demon at my doorGothic outcast Natalie Sugarman bartered her soul for her dying mother’s life sixteen years ago to a boy demon that could stop time. Now, days before her twenty-first birthday, the lifelines on her palms are slowly vanishing, and she knows it’s just a matter of time before Satan’s little helper collects.
Natalie’s tried numerous times to kill the demon and regain control of her soul’s destiny, but she always falls short. When she decides to try and gain the element of surprise for her next attempt, Natalie seeks answers about his location from a freaky, glowing-eyed fortuneteller. Creeped out by the psychic’s methods, she bolts from the reading and misses the warning that the demon who stole her soul is always closer than she thinks.
After some strange incidents with her new boyfriend, including a hot, levitating sex session, she realizes he’s the grown-up version of her little nightmare and he’s returned to collect on their deal. Natalie must figure out how to win her soul back from the demon before her lifeline completely disappears and she becomes his forever—even if that means making a deal to damn three other souls to take her place.

I first came across Michelle A Valentines’s work via Emma Davies( read her awesome blog here). Tweeting as @BookAngel_Emma she shared how much she was enjoying reading Rock The Band( Black Falcon 1.5), the sequel novella to Michelle’s Rock The Heart (Black Falcon series book 1). Having followed Emma for some time and enjoyed tweeting with her about our mutual love of contemporary new adult fiction, particularly the tattooed bad boys contained within, I knew that I had very similar tastes to her. I immediately downloaded and read Rock The Heart in one evening , followed by Rock The Band the following night.

Gutted to realize that I would have to wait until March for the continuation of the Black Falcon series, I read the excerpt of Demon At My Door, contained at the end of Rock The Band, with some interest. Impressed with the imagery and world building contained within that sample chapter, I set about emailing the author to request an advance copy, for the purpose of review.

With just 200 pages, Demon At My Door was a fast paced paranormal romance just begging to be read in a single sitting. Who was I to disappoint? 😉

The plot itself is fairly predictable, the blurb pretty much covers the major points of the story, and as readers we are provided with some very obvious clues. Never the less I was immediately drawn in to Natalie’s story. Rather than be frustrated at Natalie’s obliviousness of Rick’s true nature I found myself racing though the pages to find out when “the penny would drop” (Michelle’s timing was spot on in this regard *laughs evilly *) and how on earth she was going to win back her soul and straighten up the mess her life had become.

As with her contemporary romance series, what Michelle really excelled at was creating chemistry between her main characters. So much so that I found myself rooting for Natalie to get over Stew, the football playing boy next door, and get it on already with Rick, the soul stealing demon who’s interference had over shadowed most of her childhood (what can I say, I love a bad boy).

While the book finished in the absence of a cliffhanger, Michelle obviously has much more in store for Natalie, Rick and Stew, in what promises to be the start a fun new series from the self published author.

Verdict: Demon At My Door was a quick, easy and enjoyable read. I won’t hesitate to download a future sequel. Meanwhile, the count down to the release of Rock My Bed (Black Falcon book 2) continues.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher:Self Published
Publication Date: February 2013
Format: eBook
Pages: 203
Genre: Paranormal romance
Age: New Adult
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Provided by author
Challenge: None
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Underworld

Meg Cabot

underworldLast year, Pierce died – just for a moment. And when she was in the space between life and death, she met John: a devilishly handsome boy who ushers souls from one world to the next. Pierce tried to fight her attraction to John but has now accepted her fate and gone to live with him in the dark realm between heaven and hell. She may finally be safe from the Furies – the angry, vengeful souls of the dead – but is she safe from John? When she discovers that she’s a prisoner and her family are in danger she must escape even if it means risking everything, even her life . . .

I have been waiting for this since having the ARC of Abandon and I haven’t been disappointed.

Underworld begins right where Abandon left off. Pierce wakes up in the Underworld with John. She has to try and process everything she has just found out; her grandmother is a Fury and has just tried to kill her, she has tried to kill her before (!), the Furies are after her as a way to hurt John and they won’t stop until they get what they want. Phew, on top of all this she is now in the Underworld for safety and because of all the above can’t really go home. Being with John might be a dream come true, but life in the Underworld? Pierce doesn’t feel ready to let go of her Mum and her cousin Alex just yet.

So with all that in the background Pierce begins to explore her knew home and her relationship with John as she realises there is a lot about him she doesn’t know, and she wants to find out. She discovers he has some ‘undead’ friends living in the Underworld with him and her. Curiosity continues to grow, not just about John as the head of the entrance to the Underworld, but about his life, his family, the ship he sailed and most of all his death and how he came to be undead. Being the second book in a trilogy not all the answers are revealed, but over the course of the story we do get to know more about the enigmatic John.

Pierce is also worried about her cousin, Alex, who she sees on her phone trapped in a coffin. Her phone shouldn’t work in this other realm so Pierce is desperate to make sure he is alright. John is worried about taking her back, not only because of the danger from the Furies but because now Pierce lives in the Underworld she might find visiting her family a bit difficult. Pierce’s insistence that they go leads to all sorts of drama and it reveals more about the history of Pierce’s own family and the links it might have with John’s history.

In addition to all this is the development of John and Pierce’s relationship. Pierce is unsure if she wants to be stuck in the Underworld, although she is sure she wants to be with John. The connections to Hades and Persephone come to the fore as Pierce grapples with whether or not she will be able to leave the Underworld for good at all. We finally discover the significance of those pomegranate seeds!

Verdict: There is loads going on in the novel and I was hooked. There is plenty more action I haven’t covered. Its a real page turner and I still want to know more and see how it all works out. Hurry up book 3!

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Macmillan children’s Books
Publication Date: September 2012
Format: eBook
Pages: 314/936KB
Genre: Paranormal romance
Age: YA
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: None
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Incubus

Carol Goodman

‘This is where all stories start, on the edge of a dark wood…’
Ever since moving to Fairwick to take up a teaching post at the local college, Callie has been having vivid, erotic dreams about a man made out of moonlight and shadows. Dreams she begins to fear as well as anticipate…
She learns that her home – a Victorian cottage at the edge of a wood she bought on a whim – is supposedly haunted. And then her new – and rather strange – colleagues tell her a local legend about an incubus demon with a human past who was enchanted by a fairy queen…

Should be noted that I obtained this book from Netgalley under the title of ‘The Demon Lover’ by Juliet Dark, a pen name of Carol Goodman.

Callie lost her parents at a very young age, sent to live with her cold distant Grandmother she finds solace in an ‘imaginary’ prince who tells her folktales at night. Fast forward a number of years, Callie is now a lecturer in folk law, she has an interview with a small university in the back of beyond. She knows the job could spell professional suicide yet she is drawn to the place, and then she finds the old house by the woods…..

Both the covers for this book are quite deceptive with both appearing to be trying to appeal to the YA market. In fact I bought it for the school library and quickly had to move it to the Sixth Form and Staff library. It is definitely a more adult book and is everything that you would expect from a paranormal romance novel.

This is a rare foray into books for adults for me, and despite the above I was aware that this was for adults when I picked it up. It did make a very welcome change and I have gone on to read the second book in the series since. It has everything that I love in a book. Supernatural and gothic themes, setting described so well that you can picture them and very strong believable characters. It was a book that reminded me strongly of ‘A Discovery of Witches’ by Deborah Harkness and ‘The Witching Hour’ by Anne Rice and I would thoroughly recommend this to anyone who enjoyed these books. Witchcraft, gothic houses and family secrets are all themes that run through each book.

The supernatural has been done to death in recent years. I liked that the mythology of it all was original in this book, something that is hard to do with the proliferation of books lately. I dearly love anything to do with the fey so their inclusion was very welcome.

Callie was a very strong central character, but this wasn’t to the expense of other characters in the book. As a reader you got to know them all. This was through Callie, as the book is told from her perspective, but she was on the whole quite perceptive and even when she wasn’t the plot strongly pointed out how you should feel about a character. There was a ‘twist’ at the end of the book that I found fairly obvious. But I did get the impression that this was done on purpose by the author; that the reader should know what was likely to happen, even if the main characters didn’t. There was also a second twist that I saw coming a mile off which wasn’t perhaps meant to be quite so obvious. I have a feeling that it was my hopelessly romantic side that wanted the result, rather than me actually being able to predict.

A very strong feature of this book is the setting. The town, the house, university buildings and the woods nearly become a character all of their own. They are described in such detail that it is almost cinematic. In many way the old house, with it’s history and eccentricities becomes a character outside of its description.

Overall I really did want to carry on reading and was quite disappointed when the book finished and quickly moved onto the next book. I can’t wait for the third to come out. It has also made me investigate the author further and I will be reading more of her other books. I now have a taste for books for ‘grown-ups’ which will make a nice change.

Verdict: Wonderful characters, amazing setting and great mythology. A really enjoyable read.

Reviewed by Alison

Publisher: Ebury Press
Publication Date: July 2011
Format: Paperback
Pages: 480
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Alison
Source: Netgalley
Challenge: None
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Fury


Rebecca Lim

Hell hath no fury like an angel scorned…
Heartbreak. Vengeance. Truth. Betrayal.
Everything that has happened to Mercy over millennia has made her who she is. Now she and The Eight wage open war with Luc and his demons, and the earth is their battlefield.
Ryan’s love for Mercy is more powerful than ever, her guiding light in the hour of darkness. But the very love that sustains her now places Ryan in mortal danger.
Two worlds collide as Mercy approaches her ultimate breathtaking choice.
Hell hath no fury like Mercy.

Please note there are spoilers for the previous three books in this series.

When I read the blurb for this, the forth book in the Fury series, I thought it sounded fascinating. Unfortunately I hadn’t read the other three so I dug out my trusty Kindle and got typing! I devoured the first three books and really enjoyed them. They are pacey and easy to read, I enjoyed the story of Mercy developing as well as the stories of the individuals that feature in those books.

So in a nutshell this is what we have learned over the last three books, Mercy is an arch angel she was thrown down to Earth by her lover Luc (Lucifer) to save himself.This didn’t work as he was imprisoned on Earth himself with other fallen angels and they have been causing destruction and disaster ever since. However Luc made Mercy a promise when they were both Angels and this prevents him from taking over the Earth altogether. He needs to find Mercy and get her back with him to win the ultimate battle and have complete control of Heaven and Earth. The Eight (the highest un-fallen angels) know this and have been hiding Mercy from Luc by hiding her in the bodies of mortal women. These experiences mean that Mercy had no idea who she really was for more years than you could care to remember, and that she has been changed by experiencing the lives of mortals, she is not a fallen angel, but she is not a true angel in her belief’s anymore either. Meanwhile Luc has been wreaking his havoc on The Eight in an attempt to finally find Mercy. As the Eight are weakened Mercy has been able to remember who she is as she is moved from one body to another (something she has previously unable to do) and therefore she has been able to learn more of her story and begin to take memories from one life to the next. This also means that she remembers Ryan. Ryan is a boy she began to have feelings for, although she is still confused about her feelings for Luc as she meets him in her dreams and sees him as her eternal love. Ryan has become more and more important to her and in the last book, Muse, Mercy effectively finally chose Ryan over Luc. Unsurprisingly Luc is not happy about how things are progressing. More of The Eight are vanishing and a battle ensues. We left Mercy and Ryan on a church rooftop in Milan, with Ryan close to death, it was a big cliff-hanger!

So Fury begins right where Muse finished and you are straight back in the heart of the action. Rebecca Lim writes well and is great at describing a scene and the settings come vividly to life. As Luc continues to bring devastation to the world Mercy must decide how to help and try and figure out how she can stay with Ryan which, being as he is a mortal and she an immortal, seems impossible.

The mess and fear that Luc causes feels real, but I felt that now the love triangle side was more or less over some of the tension was missing in this book. In fact in this respect there was not enough fury, Mercy’s realisation of Luc’s huge betrayal of her just didn’t feel strong enough to me. There was plenty of vengeance wrought, but it seemed to come from a lot of different paths and what Luc has done to mercy seemed to take a backseat. In addition Ryan being her sustaining love and reason for existence got a bit irritating at times and felt in the way of the action and mystery.

I also felt that I missed the part of the story where Mercy inhabits another body as she is now purely herself. However I enjoyed her working out her abilities and how to use her powers. I loved that the irony was continued from the previous books that she can fly, but is scared of heights! As Mercy pits herself against the demons and tries to help the Eight the pace didn’t let up and I wanted to keep reading, however my overall feeling at the end was that some things just seemed a little too easy for Mercy to achieve. Mercy seemed to be able to outwit and defeat the demons quite easily. This was explained in the story and far from Mercy needing protection she became a protector herself.

Generally the story remained unpredictable and I really liked that aspect of it. I began to suspect what might happen in the end and was a bit disappointed in the final resolution of the story. I do like a happy ending and for all the ends to be tied up, but this was a little to tidy, even for me! I was also a bit frustrated that if this was possible why didn’t they do it earlier? It would have saved a lot of bother to have done this back in book one!!

Verdict: I did enjoy this book a lot, I did have moments of disappointment, but it kept me turning the pages! This is a series that I would recommend if you like a bit of super-natural, a bit of mystery and some romance in your bedtime reading!

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s
Publication Date: March 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 384
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Age: YA
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Received from publisher
Challenge: None
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Lies Beneath


Anne Greenwood Brown

Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans, killing them to absorb their energy. But this summer the underwater clan targets Jason Hancock out of pure revenge. They blame Hancock for their mother’s death and have been waiting a long time for him to return to his family’s homestead on the lake. Hancock has a fear of water, so to lure him in, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock’s daughter, Lily. Easy enough—especially as Calder has lots of practice using his irresistable good looks and charm on ususpecting girls. Only this time Calder screws everything up: he falls for Lily—just as Lily starts to suspect that there’s more to the monsters-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined. And just as his sisters are losing patience with him.

Perhaps reluctant to taint my rose tinted images of Mermaids, cultivated by childhood films such as “Splash” starring Tom Hanks and Disney’s The Little Mermaid (I’m showing my age!), I have avoided reading any YA mermaid centric stories. However, while browsing through a Good Reads list of 2012 debuts, I was immediately drawn to this gorgeous cover.

The girl completely at peace in the beautiful clear, still water with the light streaming through creates the feel of a totally separate world, just millimeters from our own. The ambiguity of the photograph teases us – does she have a beautiful red tail or is it her just her skirt clinging to her legs?! I wanted to learn more about the underwater world and its inhabitants and like a victim of malevolent mermaids I was pulled under.

In many ways this is your standard paranormal romance; girl and boy meet, boy has a big secret which girl is determined to uncover, but the things that make this story stand out are the elements that drew me to the book in the first place.

The underwater environment feels so familiar to us, from our own tentative explorations and natural history programs and yet it also so separate from us, so alien. It has been said that we know more about our solar systems than our own oceans. I really enjoyed exploring Calder’s underwater world. I was actually quiet surprised at the amount of time Calder and his sisters spent on dry land and would have loved to explore more of their lake home.

Confident arrogance mixed with complicated back history, Calder is fairly typical of male leads in paranormal romance. What makes Lies Beneath stand out from the crowd is that Calder isn’t the brooding, stalking love interest, he is our main protagonist, and it is his voice that guides us through the book. Added to that Calder is fully aware of his nature and not a recent convert to it, makes his a really interesting perspective to observe from. Yes he’s a bit of a creepy stalker, but we understand why he’s doing it and we are complicit in it. From this vantage point we get to experience his struggles along side him and witness his growth as a character as his interactions with Lily and her family humanize him.

I LOVED Lily and her family. It was refreshing to meet a family who, despite their own life challenges, are obviously that supportive of each other.

From the way she dresses, the poetry she reads and her suspicious nature, Lily is very much her own woman. While you can not doubt Calder’s growing feelings for Lily, she is initially very wary of him and she certainly doesn’t fall down at his feet, a victim of instalove. For the first time in his existence Calder has to woo a woman with his mind and not just rely on his natural, predatory magnetism.

I’m particularly interested to see how the relationship between Calder and Lily develops in book two, Deep Betrayal, especially in light of the revelations in book one.

Verdict: If you enjoy paranormal romance, but crave a refreshing approach to it, you could do a lot worse than to dip your toe in to the cold waters of Lake Superior.

Reviewed by Caroline

Published in the UK by Delacorte Press Books For Young Readers.

Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
Publication Date: June 2011
Format: eARC
Pages: 320
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: US Publisher via Netgalley
Challenge: Debut Author
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Dead Reckoning

Charlaine Harris

With her knack for being in trouble’s way, Sookie witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte’s, the bar where she works. Since Sam Merlotte is now known to be two-natured, suspicion falls immediately on the anti-shifters in the area. But Sookie suspects otherwise and she and Sam work together to uncover the culprit – and the twisted motive for the attack. But her attention is divided. Though she can’t ‘read’ vampires, Sookie knows her lover Eric Northman and his ‘child’ Pam well – and she realises that they are plotting to kill the vampire who is now their master. Gradually, she is drawn into the plot -which is much more complicated than she knows. Caught up in the politics of the vampire world, Sookie will learn that she is as much of a pawn as any ordinary human – and that there is a new Queen on the board

If you happen to be new to Sookie’s universe I would highly recommend that you start at the beginning of the series with Dead until Dark.

The character development that began in Dead in the Family continues here. Although still impulsive at times Sookie is beginning to consider the consequences of her connections to the supernatural community and the challenges of a long term relationship with a ruthless immortal.

Pam continues to provide some of the wittiest and driest dialog in the series. We are provided with a satisfying glimpse past the fierce, perfectly polished facade as she demonstrates the protective element of her personality.

Dead reckoning finds Sookie in a cathartic mood, spring cleaning her attic and her life. The apparently pointless appearances of a naked Alcide (I know I can’t quite believe that I wrote “naked Alcide” and “pointless” in the same sentence!) and the consequences for Sookie’s household, led to the feeling that the author was also in the mood to spring clean. It remains to be seen whether this was simply intended to tie up loose ends and focus attention to the primary players or if the author has some wicked plot twists up her sleeve for the remaining two books.

Bills apparent personality transplant, the all too convenient departure of Judith and the artless “love making” scene really niggled at me. As an ardent supporter of team Eric Northman perhaps I’m simply experiencing sour grapes at the direction the romance appears to be taking.

Verdict: While I enjoyed dipping back in to the Sookie universe I didn’t enjoy this instalment as much as previous Sookie novels. However having come this far with the series, I am determined to stick it out for the remaining two novels.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Gollancz
Publication Date: May 2011
Format: Hardback
Pages: 325
Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Mystery
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: N/A
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