What Book Bloggers Want Authors To Know

Book reviews are important for authors. It’s good for their sales and it gives them valuable feedback. Authors seek out book bloggers to send copies of their books to in exchange for honest reviews.

Some people see book blogging as fun and easy because you sit there and read before typing up your thoughts. But there’s a lot a more to it that people don’t realize. It’s hard work and it’s time consuming.

What Book Bloggers Want Authors To Know | Book Bloggers | Book Reviews | RachelPoli.com

Read Our Reviews/Review Policy First

If you want to ask a book blogger to read and review your work, you need to read their work first. Make sure you’re happy with the way they do their reviews and also make sure they review the kinds of books you write. Sure, it never hurts to reach out and ask if you have a question, but chances are the answer is already somewhere on their blog.

Be Personal And Professional

I mean, I’m not one to be too professional. I enjoy a good smiley-face in an email once in a while but a professional tone is nice. I like it when I get personalized emails using my name and talking about my own blog – not a general blog.

No Means No

I personally hate saying no to books. However, if I don’t think I’m going to enjoy the book or if I just have too many in my queue at the moment, I may not accept your request. If that’s the case, don’t keep emailing asking when I can accept your book or letting me know that you’re cool with waiting a while.

Don’t Send Too Many Emails

Speaking of waiting, if I accept your book I’ll let you know how long the wait will be. I don’t need you emailing me every week asking if your book is coming up next in my queue. I will get to it in the near future, otherwise I wouldn’t have accepted it.

Don’t Ask For A Good Review

Some reviewers don’t post reviews if they’re a certain low rating, but most reviewers post the review whether the rating is low or high. The point is, the reviewer is giving their honest opinion in exchange for a free book. If the book didn’t turn out to be their cup of coffee, they have the right to post the review no matter what. Remember, it’s just one person’s opinion.

Don’t Ask For The Reviewer To Pay For The Book

Sales are important and authors need to make a living, but asking for a reviewer to do you a favor and then have them use their own money just doesn’t fly. Book bloggers are doing you a favor so the least you can do is give us a free book in return.

Share The Review Around

Once the review of your book is up, please share the post around with your own followers and readers. As the book blogger is helping you by reviewing your work and sharing the review around, you can help the reviewer out by sharing the review too. It gives you exposure and it gives them exposure for their blog. It’d a win-win for everyone.

Say Thank You

Book bloggers live to read and review because we love the written word and we know how hard authors work. Most of us don’t expect anything in return and don’t charge for our book review services. So, after writing a review it’s always nice to get an email (or even a comment on the review) from the author afterwards with a simple thank you. Even if the reviewer gave the book a low rating, it feels good to get a thank you from the author.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I always feel bad giving a low rating – but the book just wasn’t my cup of coffee. So when I receive a nice email from the author afterward, appreciative of my work, it makes me feel good as well. I know my hard work was acknowledged and I’m sure I’ll be working with that author again in the future.

This goes especially for authors going through publicists. I’ve gotten most of my review copies from publicists and never hear from the author at all. I don’t mind working with publicists, but it’d be nice to know if the author themselves are reading my reviews of their books and not just trying to get a stack of reviews going.

Do you agree? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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My Book Review Format

I’ve changed the way I write book reviews over the years. I used to write a quick blurb about what I liked and didn’t like about the book and that was it.

Then I discovered Goodreads and realized that there’s a lot more to book reviewing than I thought. I took the biggest components of a book and put them together in a review – plot, characters, and writing style.

Now I do it a little differently and I’ve added more to my reviews.

My Book Review Format | Book Blogger | Book Reviews | RachelPoli.com

My Review

My review consists of six parts – Book Cover, First Thoughts, Plot, Characters, Writing Style, and Overall, a conclusion.

Book Cover

I talk about the book cover and my thoughts on how I like it and how it fits with the story itself. The book cover is the first thing people see. They say not to judge a book by its cover, but… come on, we’ve all done it.

First Thoughts

In this section I mention why I bought the book or why I decided to read it (if I get a free copy). I talk about what intrigued me about the book at first glance.

Plot

This one speaks for itself. I don’t typically summarize what happened in the book, but I discuss what I thought worked well for the plot and how unique the plot made the genre it’s written in. I say my thoughts on how well I think the author executed the plot.

Characters

Characters are what drive the story forward and are, in my opinion, the most important part of a story. In this section I discuss the protagonist, the antagonist, and any supporting characters. I talked about which characters I enjoyed and related to, and I also talk about how well they developed throughout the course of the story.

Writing Style

A book is only read well when it’s written well. The writing style section talks about how well the book flowed, the pacing and tension, as well as the POV and length of book.

Overall

This is the conclusion to the review. It’s a wrap up, just a sentence or two summarizing my overall thoughts before I give it the rating.

Extras

The actual review isn’t the only part of the book review post. Before I write my actual review I mention how I got the book and show the book cover along with its genre and publication date. I add in the summary of the book and then dive into the review.

At the end of the review, I post the rating – I use a 1-5 rating scale. After that I add in my favorite quote from the book which can be a funny line, a line that struck out to me for some reason, a great piece of description, or something inspirational. Anything, really.

Then I end the review with buy links to the book and an author bio, if provided.

It’s a much bigger process than it seems and it can be pretty time consuming. But this is the best way I’ve come up with writing my book reviews and it works for me.

How do you write your book reviews? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Should Book Bloggers Post “Bad” Book Reviews?

As a writer, when I read a book that I don’t particularly care for, I feel bad giving it a “bad” review. As a writer, I know how hard an author works on their book. I know the blood, sweat, and tears that go into it. I understand how time consuming it is, how much hard work and dedication gets thrown into the book.

Yet, as a book blogger, I’m obligated to be honest – but fair – in my book reviews. Especially if I get the book for free from the author.

So, what do you do when you don’t care too much for a book you read?

Should Book Bloggers Publish Bad Book Reviews? | Book Reviews | Book Bloggers | Reading | Books | RachelPoli.com

What is a “bad” book review?

To me, giving a book a “bad” review means giving it a 1- or 2-star rating. Of course, everyone’s rating system is different, but I typically go by the Goodreads rating system. To me, a 1 or a 2 means that I didn’t like the book that much and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever given a book a 1-star before, but I know I’ve given a couple books a 2-star rating before. As I said in my intro, I always feel bad doing this because I hate telling something I didn’t like their creative work.

But that just means it wasn’t my cup of coffee.

Not everyone reviews the books they read and book bloggers review books because they truly enjoy reading.

Reviews are super important to authors. It really brings the hype to their books and the feedback is wonderful for them.

Yes, it’s disappointing and disheartening when someone posts a bad review about their work, but you can’t please everyone. We all have different tastes in things, different likes and dislikes. I’ve come across a couple book bloggers who refuse to read books written in first person. It’s all a matter of perspective and opinion.

Should book bloggers published “bad” book reviews?

The short answer? Yes.

The long answer? Yes, because it’s the job of a book blogger and reviewer to be honest and give feedback to the author. The review serves two purposes: it shows potential readers of the book what to expect (if they read reviews before deciding to read the book) and it also gives the author feedback on their writing – what worked in their story and what didn’t.

As I said, you can’t please everyone. One person might have hated the protagonist, but three other people might have loved the protagonist. It’s a matter of opinion and now two people read the same story. It’s all perspective and what the book meant to them.

Remember to be honest, but fair and polite.

Just because you didn’t like it, doesn’t mean other people didn’t either. It also doesn’t mean the author doesn’t have feelings.

Every time I’ve given a book a 2-star rating, I always try to balance the review with the things that didn’t work with me along with things that did work well, but just wasn’t enough to do it for me. I also end the review with a recommendation.

Just because I didn’t like the book, doesn’t mean you won’t. If you thought the summary sounded intriguing to you, give the book a try.

What if you don’t want to give a bad review?

I’ve seen plenty of people say they won’t publish their review if it’s under 3 stars. Most authors prefer to not have the review published because they don’t want any low ratings. I understand that, but I personally don’t think it’s practical because not everyone is going to enjoy your work. It sucks, but it’s true.

So, if you don’t want to give a bad review, let the author know and tell them your feelings on why. There was a book I couldn’t finish one time and I explained why and deleted my free copy. That book wasn’t poorly written, but I couldn’t connect with the characters and the content of the book was pretty heavy on a topic I didn’t care to read about.

With that said, while I still post “bad” reviews, it’s okay to not review the book at all. As long as you email the author, if you got the copy for free from them, and explain to them why giving them your feedback privately, there’s nothing wrong with that.

It’s all up to you.

Some people don’t mind posting bad book reviews and others do. Just like the books themselves, it’s all a matter of opinion and whatever you feel is right.

Do you usually post a review for every book you read, no matter if it’s a high rating or not? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Locomotion By Jacqueline Woodson [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Review: Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson | Reading | Young Adult | Realistic Fiction | Poetry | Book Blogger | RachelPoli.com

I bought a paperback copy at Barnes & Noble.

Summary:

When Lonnie was seven years old, his parents died in a fire. Now he’s eleven, and he still misses them terribly. And he misses his little sister, Lili, who was put into a different foster home because “not a lot of people want boys-not foster boys that ain’t babies.” But Lonnie hasn’t given up. His foster mother, Miss Edna, is growing on him. She’s already raised two sons and she seems to know what makes them tick. And his teacher, Ms. Marcus, is showing him ways to put his jumbled feelings on paper.

Told entirely through Lonnie’s poetry, we see his heartbreak over his lost family, his thoughtful perspective on the world around him, and most of all his love for Lili and his determination to one day put at least half of their family back together. Jacqueline Woodson’s poignant story of love, loss, and hope is lyrically written and enormously accessible.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

The cover is sweet and pretty. I like its simplicity, though it doesn’t have much to do with the contents of the book.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

I’ve read a couple of Jacqueline Woodson’s books before and she’s a great writer. So when I saw this at the bookstore I decided to pick it up.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

Through poetry written by Lonnie, the protagonist, we learn a lot about what’s going on in his life and the world around him. This is the story of him and how he’s growing through his poetry and overcoming challenges and his past with his little sister and his foster mom.

It’s a sweet story but that’s basically all there is to it. We about Lonnie’s past and how he’s trying to overcome it. It’s a lot of telling through his poetry.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

There’s only a handful of characters in this story and we see them all through Lonnie’s eyes and what he writes in his poems. Lonnie is an interesting character to follow and I liked his teacher and foster mom. His younger sister played an important role though she wasn’t in it much.

The development is subtle, but it is there for most of these characters.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This is a book of poems written by the main character in his point of view. They’re easy to read and flow well. The poems range from various styles and definitely work well with the plot. The book itself is short and sweet being only 100 pages. It’s a very quick read to get through.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

While I wouldn’t peg this as one of my favorite books by Jacqueline Woodson, this was a good read and I enjoyed it. This is certainly worth the read.

Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“Ms. Marcus don’t understand some things even though she’s my favorite teacher in the world. Things like my brown, brown arm.” –Jacqueline Woodson, Locomotion

Buy the book:

Amazon

Read my reviews of Hush and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson!

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around! Also, check out some other Book Reviews I’ve done!

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How To Decide Your Next Read

Choosing what book you should read next is not easy.

Sometimes you have to be in a certain mood to read a book. Other times you have your next book all picked out but then you go to the bookstore and end up finding something else. There are times you look at the millions of books on your shelves at home you haven’t read, yet you decide to go to the bookstore or library to find something new.

So, how do you typically decide what book you should read next out of all the books you currently own?

How To Decide Your Next Read | Reading | Books | RachelPoli.com

Ask a friend to pick one for you.

If you’re really unsure of what book you should read next, ask a friend or family member to pick one out for you. Tell them to explore your bookshelf and have them pick one at random. No cheating, either. You have to read whatever they pick out.

Play book bingo or another reading challenge.

Book bingo and other reading challenges are great because they get you to zero in on books you already have. I’m sure you have plenty of unread books with blue covers that you can read and check off a bingo square.

Pick a number out of a hat.

This one may be a bit tedious, but you can count how many books there are on your shelf and then pick a number out of a hat. Then count down which book is that number on your shelf and read that next.

Pick a book out of a hat.

Do the same thing above, but write down the titles and/or authors of books you haven’t read yet.

Read your unread books in alphabetical order.

Start with the letter A and work your way down your TBR pile in alphabetical order. The letters will do the choosing for you.

Reread a book you love.

It’s not exactly reading something new, but if you’re in a slump or just don’t know what to read next, reading an old favorite it sometimes the way to go.

How do you typically pick out your next read? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Should Book Reviewers Get Paid For Their Reviews?

I always say to myself, “I would love to get paid to read.” That would really be the ideal job, right? Sitting on your couch all day with your pet, beverage of choice, snuggled in your pajamas. You can read books upon books upon books. Then get paid to write a review for the books.

As lovely as that would be, who would be paying us? Do we really expect authors to pay for reviews even after giving us a free copy of their book?

Should Book Reviewers Get Paid for Book Reviewing? | Book Reviews | Book Bloggers | Blogging | Reading | RachelPoli.com

Getting Paid

I’ve seen some book bloggers post disclaimers about how they will never accept any monetary compensation for reviewing books. I’ve also seen some book bloggers offer paid services for their reviews. For example, an author can pay a fee in order to bump their book to the top of the reviewer’s TBR list.

I can certainly see why some book bloggers ask for monetary compensation to review books, though.

Book reviewing isn’t an easy as it seems. Yes, we book bloggers get a book, we read it, and then we write a review on it. It sounds simple, but it’s time-consuming and ironically a lot of work.

Book bloggers take on a lot of books at one time, often not being able to read what they want because they take on so many requests. We love books, so we get in over our heads.

Writing the actual reviews is time-consuming as well. We post it on our blogs, Amazon, Goodreads, and anywhere else. We share the review around for a while after we publish it.

Books are important to us and we know how difficult is it for authors to write and publish these books.

However, because we know how much work this is for authors, I don’t think it makes sense for book bloggers to ask to be paid. They’re already sending us a free copy of their book and authors already don’t get paid that much to begin with.

Am I saying book bloggers don’t work hard enough to get paid? No, absolutely not. Though I just think book reviewing is more a favor to our favorite writers and I think getting a free book in exchange is a good way to do things.

Donations

I have seen book bloggers ask for donations though. If they review a book for an author, they accept the free book and review it for free. However, they’ll ask the author if they want to donate to their website or blog in return.

I don’t think this is a bad way of doing things. Bloggers work hard and we put a lot of time and money into our websites. If an author is happy with the way the blogger handled the review process, then asking them to make a simple donation to keep their site up and running so they can add more book reviews, isn’t a bad idea.

Of course, it’s just a donation. People aren’t obligated to pay anything.

Being A Book Blogger

While being a book blogger is a job in itself, it’s fun and I enjoy adding books to my reading list as well as aiding authors out on their writing journey.

It would certainly be nice to get paid to review books because it’d be a fun and easy job, but I like the satisfaction of helping out fellow writers.

What are your thoughts? Do you think book bloggers should get paid to write book reviews? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Does Reading Help Your Writing?

One of the biggest pieces of writing advice I hear from authors and writers alike is: “Read, read, read.” The more you read, the more your writing will improve.

The reasoning behind this is that you’ll learn from the authors before you and you’ll be able to improve your writing based on the way they write their own books.

But is that really true? Can reading actually help improve your writing?

Does Reading Help Your Writing | Creative Writing | Reading | Books | RachelPoli.com

Reading Craft Books

If you’re reading books based on the writing craft, then yes, you can certainly learn a lot. There are craft books based on getting published, writing the first draft, creating characters, writing in various genres, and so much more.

The information is out there and it’s definitely useful. You can learn a lot when it comes to the writing process and writing in a specific genre as well as sending your work out into the real work.

So, can reading craft books improve your writing? I think so. If you’re learning something new, then it can improve your writing.

Reading In Your Genre

Reading fiction in your genre or nonfiction or poetry can help aid you in your own writing endeavors. You can learn a lot based on certain genres based on the way different authors write in the same genre.

You can see how they do things and get ideas for your own stories. A great piece of advice I’ve heard is “steal other ideas.” Don’t plagiarize, of course, but you can take other people’s ideas and turn them into your own. Use that “what if?” factor and turn their idea into something completely different.

Writing Mechanics

Reading works from other writers and authors can help you understand formatting and structure of writing as well as grammar mechanics. I can admit I’ve learned a thing or two about commas while reading books… though I’m still bad with commas.

My Opinion

So, does reading actually help your writing? My answer is not really.

You can learn a lot, yes, and see how other writers do things, but I don’t think it can necessarily help your own writing grow.

Writing is a form of creativity and uses a lot of imagination power. There is no right way or wrong way to write. We all have our own style of writing, our own ideas, and fictional characters.

We, as writers, can learn how other writers do things and we can try it out. However, in my opinion, the more you practice writing, the more you find your own style and way of getting your story across the page.

So, reading does help your writing, but it doesn’t help your writing.

What’s your opinion on this? Do you think, as a writer, you have to read in order to write better? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Revolution: The Nora White Story (Book 2) By Yecheilyah Ysrayl [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Review: Revolution: The Nora White Story (Book 2) by Yecheilyah Ysrayl | Historical Fiction | Creative Writing | Books | Reading | Book Blogging | RachelPoli.com

I received a free ARC of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

When Nora White is drugged by her friend she is forced to deal with the harsh reality of life in the North. She meets Keisha and the women catch a ride to The Den, a gambling and numbers hole-in-the-wall in Jacobsville New York. Unlike the upper echelon of Harlem, Nora’s new friends are hustlers but down to Earth and feels more like family. They take her to Liberty Hall where she is introduced to Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (U.N.I.A.).

Meanwhile, Nora has no idea her father has been arrested and back home Molly is hanging on by a thread. When the community discovers the truth of the alleged crime they devise a way to get Gideon out of jail but their actions could mean life or death for everyone involved. Will Nora come to her senses and return home in time to help the family or will her naiveté lead her astray once again?

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

The cover is beautiful. It’s simple and easy to look at. I find it ironic that when I look at the cover, I see peace, and that’s everything this book is not.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

I read the first Nora White book and enjoyed it, so I’ve been looking forward to this one.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

Nora gets herself into an interesting situation, though she meets some fun characters and makes the best out of it, in a way. Meanwhile, her family is unraveling back home because Gideon is in jail and Nora is missing.

There’s a lot going on in this book and there’s a lot of different characters to follow. The plot flowed pretty well through it all though and it was easy to keep up with and to understand.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

There are a lot of characters and they’re all likable (except for a few here and there which I’m sure we’re not really supposed to care too much for). They all have their own agenda going on or their own conflict and everyone is intertwined with each other. It’s well done.

My favorite part about all the characters were their voices. They speak how they would if they were real and it sounds authentic adding a new level to the book.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This is a fast paced book with fairly short chapters. There’s plenty of dialogue but there’s also a good amount of description to back it up and paint the picture. The story flowed well and there were many moments where I turned the page fast just to see what would happen next.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

This was a great read and held up to the first book’s standards. My only complaint was that I felt the ending was a bit abrupt and moved too quickly. It was a satisfying ending, but I felt as though there could have been a little more in between the last couple of chapters. Still, if you’re into historical fiction and read and enjoyed the first book, definitely pick this one up.

Revolution: The Nora White Story (Book 2) by Yecheilyah Ysrayl gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“Young man. I don’t want any trouble. I am, however, willing to put my foot in someone’s ass, if need be.” –Yecheilyah Ysrayl, Revolution: The Nora White Story (Book 2)

Buy the book:

Amazon

Read my review of Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book 1) by Yecheilyah Ysrayl!

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around! Also, check out other Book Reviews I’ve done!

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A Reading Routine

People always say if you want to write, you should read and read a lot. If you love exercising your imagination and want to be transported to different worlds, read a book.

If you’re like more writers and bookworms, you’d rather read all day instead of socializing or going to work. So, how do you fit in a time for your love of reading each and every day?

There are a few routines I’ve tried out for myself. They’ve worked for a little while and then something would change in real life. Or maybe I’d hit a reading slump. Or maybe I would just find a random point in the day where I had a moment to read and took the opportunity messing up my “schedule.”

It’s certainly easy to sit down and read all day long and yet it’s sometimes difficult to find the time.

A Reading Routine | Reading | Books | Book Blogger | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

In The Morning

I’m an early bird. For some reason, my brain is more awake and in tune to get work done in the morning over any other time of day. Because of that I don’t typically read in the morning. I usually blog or write. However, once in a while, I’ll wake up and decide to sit and read with a cup of coffee. This is usually on Saturday or Sunday.

When I’m on vacation, I read in the morning. Like I said, I’m an early bird and that includes weekends and vacations. Everyone else sleeps in though so I usually have the mornings to myself on vacation. There’s nothing better than sitting in the porch by the lake and reading a book with coffee in the peace and quiet.

Before Bed

If you’re not one to get up early or are able to have peace in the morning, then before bed it most likely the time for you. If you’re naturally a night owl, reading a few chapters before bed would be ideal. I’ve personally tried reading before bed and it made me sleepy so I never got too far.

Of course, there have been times where I’ve stayed up too late in order to finish a book. In that case, if you read before bed, you may become a night owl because you read before bed.

Set A Time Frame Or Page Goal

One way I try to get myself reading each day is setting a certain time frame or a page goal. I’ll aim to read for an hour or to read anywhere between 50-100 pages in a day. Depending on the book, I can sometimes reach both goals at once. Sometimes I can read 50 pages in an hour and if I feel like continuing, I can.

Anytime Is A Good Time

I mean, reading in the morning or at night or for a certain amount of time or pages is great and all, but honestly? If you carry a book with you and find any down time in your day, you should be able to read.

You can read during your lunch break at work or while you sit on the train. Books are easily transportable, especially if you have an eReader.

How do you get yourself into a reading routine? Do you try to read every day? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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The Chronicles Of Crallick By Brad C. Baker [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Review: The Chronicles of Crallick by Brad C. Baker | Fantasy | Reading | Book Blogging | RachelPoli.com

I received a free digital copy from the author’s publicist in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

The Chronicles of Crallick, the first book in The Spirit of Amathrain series, tells the story of Crallick Oakentree, a man with a checkered past that finds himself widowed in a cruel jest of fate. As a result, Crallick becomes a failed farmer, a single father, and an alcoholic.

One day, after awaking from one of his many drunken stupors, Crallick finds his daughter has been kidnapped and his favourite drinking hole has been set ablaze.

Leaving the serene beauty of his home in Gladeholme, he travels across beautiful countryside and over a wide ocean full of danger, before tackling the seedy ports of a pirate-ridden archipelago. Still though, the kidnappers remain one step ahead of him and his accompanying friends. Crallick is intent on one thing: rescuing his daughter. Failing that, he wants to inflict his revenge upon those that do her harm.

But after ten years of drinking and aging, does he still have what it takes? Follow his Chronicles and find out.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

I think the cover is beautiful. It just screams fantasy, in my opinion. A person with a sword in the middle of a pretty forest. There’s definitely action and adventure and certainly fantasy elements.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

While I love Lord of the Rings, I don’t typically read this kind of fantasy. Or, I should say I don’t read fantasy often. But this novel sounded good so I decided to give it a try.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

The Chronicles of Crallick is just like another adventure fantasy. He goes through some troubles and is a drunk, but once his daughter is kidnapped, he puts on his armor once more and sets off to rescue her along with his friend, who’s daughter was also kidnapped.

They go through some trials and tribulations on their journey, which takes a whole year. I’ll be honest, I didn’t realize that much time had passed. I thought it was just a couple of months.

The plot was good, but as I said, it’s similar to most fantasy novels. The journey was great but it wasn’t as unique as I felt it could have been. It was enjoyable all the same though.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

All the characters were well done, I didn’t feel as though any of them really developed though. The journey took a year and I felt like they were the same people who began the journey. They hadn’t really changed or learned anything throughout.

Still, the characters were my favorite part. They were all distinct from one another, had unique personalities and voices, and I absolutely loved their names. Crallick, for example, just rolls off the tongue and sounds so good. There weren’t any names in here I had to stop and try to sound out. I just read through them normally.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This book is easy to read and it flows well. It’s written in the third person, past tense and it’s a page-turner. The story was pretty linear and I found it enjoyable to read.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

Overall, this was a good story. I think the timeline could have been done better and the plot could have been more unique, but it was still a great read with wonderful characters. It had tense moments, sad moments, and I chuckled a few times as well. If you enjoy fantasy or any sort of action and adventure, check this one out.

The Chronicles of Crallick by Brad C. Baker gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“Doesn’t your goddess teach tranquility and peace? Why don’t you exercise it?” –Brad C. Baker, The Chronicles of Crallick

Buy the book:

Amazon

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around! You can also check out other Book Reviews I’ve done!

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I Am A Failure By Akhil Sharma [Book Review]

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Book Review: I Am A Failure by Akhil Sharma | Memior | Autobiography | Nonfiction | RachelPoli.com

I received a free digital copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

Have you experienced failures in your life? Is your startup business facing a downturn? Is your dream partner telling you she hates you? Don’t despair. Failure encages us all.

Akhil, born with a plastic spoon in India, was specially designed for all failures life can bring. Growing up like everyone, the more he tried for success, the more he failed. Not until when he redefined his stupidity and started listening to his heart, his failures brought forth his keys to freedom and made him discover that ‘Failure encourages us all’.

This book is about his transformation from being a failure to the creator of the award-winning technique ‘The Art of Failure’. It talks about his technique, hidden in the form of an entertaining but true autobiographical story. It is helpful for everyone who wants to become a fearless failure warrior rather than being a usual success hunter.

The narrative is set against the transformation of India – from its analog days to the digital age and bubbling startup economy. One thing which hasn’t changed with time though is the hatred and fear towards failure and how it has been eating up our enormous innovation potential for ages. It is time to accept failure as a part of life – where there is no failure, there is no growth. Learn from your experiences and move on!

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

I think the cover goes well with the words inside. It shows the author well put together but in fragments as well. He fails, but there are some successes and failing is part of life and what makes you the person you are today.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

I’ll admit this isn’t the typical story I’d pick up on my own if I saw it in the bookstore. Though it intrigued me enough when the author reached out to me. We all fail, so I knew it was definitely going to be something relatable.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

This is a non-fiction memoir piece about the author by the author. He describes his life in detail from the moment he’s born up until now.

Details about his life, events, places, and people, are prominent as he describes his life’s ups and downs.

I found this to be an interesting topic for an autobiography because it’s one we can all relate to. We all fail in life multiple times, from something simple to something much bigger. The question is, how do we overcome it and move on? The author explains how he overcomes failure – how he expects it – and it’s done pretty well.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

The writing style is easy to read. The story is written in block text (much like blogging) rather than indented paragraphs right after another.

The tone of the narrator seemed to fit right in with me. It was almost as though he knew he was talking to the reader. We just sat down in a coffee shop one day and he told me his life story. It felt natural and well done.

I’ll admit there were a couple parts here and there that seemed to slow down. Some parts might not have needed as much detail, but it was pretty good all the same.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

This was certainly an interesting read. It was well written and the context is something everyone can learn from. It’s quick at 160 pages so if it piques your interest, please give it a try.

I Am A Failure by Akhil Sharma gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com 4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“We were scared of death back then and we still are. For us, it’s still the circle of life and not the circle of death, although both are one and the same thing.” -Akhil Sharma, I Am A Failure

Buy the book:

Amazon US | Amazon UK

About Akhil Sharma:

Akhil Sharma, AuthorAkhil Sharma aka ‘The Failure Guy’ is a renowned award losing entrepreneur, inventor and innovator. In his decade long career, ranging from being a mariner, selling credit cards to being a technologist, he is blessed to have failed almost every time. Specially designed for failure, he is using his extensive experience to conduct ‘The Art of Failure’ workshops through which he has helped individuals to keep up the spirit of trying despite failures and coached them how to listen to their hearts and find their real inspiration. These workshops have taught them how to be innovative and creative amidst a failure environment. His lifelong mission is to make the human mind friendly to failure – a concept which stands in stark contrast to the general interest in success.

In 2016, the United Nations and iCongo chose him for the Rex Karmaveer Chakra award and Global fellowship, and he is often called upon to talk about it for free on various platforms in India. He is also a Mentor for Change selected by the Niti Ayog, Indian Government in 2018.

Connect with Akhil:

Website | Twitter | LinkedIn | Goodreads

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Fairest Of All: A Tale Of The Wicked Queen By Serena Valentino [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Review: Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen by Serena Valentino | YA | Fairy tale retelling | fantasy | RachelPoli.com

I bought the book.

Summary:

The tale of the young princess and her evil stepmother, the Wicked Queen, is widely known. Despite a few variations from telling to telling, the story remains the same—the Queen was jealous of the girl’s beauty, and this jealousy culminated in the Queen’s attempt on the sweet, naive girl’s life.

Another tale far less often spoken of is the one that explains what caused the Queen to become so contemptuously vile. Still, some have attempted to guess at the reason. Perhaps the Queen’s true nature was that of a wicked hag and her beautiful, regal appearance a disguise used to fool the King. Others claim that the Queen might have hated the girl for her resemblance to the King’s first wife. Mostly, the Queen is painted as a morally abhorrent woman who never loved another being during the course of her miserable life.

In fact, the theories about exactly what cause the Queen’s obsessive vanity and jealous rage are too numerous to catalog. This book recounts a version of the story that has remained untold until now. It is a tragic tale of love and loss, and it contains a bit of magic. It is a tale of the Wicked Queen…

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

Similar to the covers of the other books in this series, I love how simple it is and also the surprise on the actual book. The jacket is of the Queen and the cover of the book is her old wicked witch self.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

I bought this book along with The Beast Within. I love fairy tale retellings and this series sounded good so I picked it up.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

This plot delves a little deeper into the Queen’s backstory with some twists. A little bit of it stayed true to the Disney tale, but for the most part it was as original as it could be. Honestly, it wasn’t the best twist, in my opinion. Though it did work somewhat and even though it took me a while to get through, it was okay.

The tale can get pretty dark and I think that’s what redeemed it a little more for me. There were actual stakes for the characters, unlike The Beast Within, which was the book I read right before this one.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

The witches have returned and are causing trouble once again. They weren’t bad plot fodder, but they still annoyed me quite a bit.

I found the Queen to be a great character. I actually really enjoyed her and wished she wasn’t such an “evil” Queen. The cards were laid out against her from the start and I was rooting for her along the way.

The other characters, such as the king and even Snow White, weren’t that memorable to me. I was disappointed that the only character I cared for was the Queen.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

The writing didn’t do it for me. I felt it was pretty bland and there wasn’t much emotion put into the scenes, the description, or the characters. While the idea was pretty good, I felt as though this could have gone through another round of edits or two to make the words really come alive.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

This was better than The Beast Within. Of course, I realized this is technically the first book in the series while the Beast one is the second. Since I liked the first more than the second, I’ll be interested in the third book. Yes, I plan on reading the third book just to see how it is. I’m curious. But first, I need a break from these books.

Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen by Serena Valentino gets…
Book Review Rating System | 3 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com3 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“I cannot live in fear of losing him, for fear of not living my life at all.” –Serena Valentino, Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen

Buy the book:

Amazon

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Kitty Hawk And The Hunt For Hemingway’s Ghost By Iain Reading [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Review: Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway's Ghost by Iain Reading | Young adult | Mystery | RachelPoli.com

I received a free digital copy of this book from the author’s publicist in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway’s Ghost is the exciting second installment in a new series of adventure mystery stories that are one part travel, one part history and five parts adventure. This second book in the series continues the adventures of Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenage pilot who has decided to follow in the footsteps of her hero Amelia Earhart and make an epic flight around the entire world. After flying across North America Kitty’s journey takes her down south to Florida where she plans to get a bit of rest and relaxation before continuing on with the rest of her long and grueling flight. As Kitty explores the strange and magical water world of the Florida Keys her knack for getting herself into precarious situations sweeps her headlong into the adventure of a lifetime involving mysterious lights, ancient shipwrecks, razor-toothed barracudas and even a sighting of the great Ernest Hemingway himself. This exhilarating story will have armchair explorers and amateur detectives alike anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept across the landscape and history of the Florida Keys all the way from Key West to the strange and remarkable world of Fort Jefferson and the Dry Tortugas.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

I enjoy this cover because it has little bits and pieces of what happens throughout the story. Each object on the cover is in the book and it’s almost as though the cover itself is a picture summary. The colors are bright and pretty, and while I like the font of the title, it is a little hard to read, especially with its size.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

I read the first book in the series and enjoyed it. So, when I was approached to read this one, I said yes.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

Kitty has found herself in the middle of yet another mystery. Starting where we left off in the previous book, she has begun her trip around the world. She lands in Florida and learns a lot about Ernest Hemingway, including coming across his “ghost.”

She ends up in the middle of something much deeper (yes, that was a pun). I thought it was well done and everything tied together nicely. I think I enjoyed this one more than the first.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

I’ve come to realize Kitty gets herself into these messes because she’s extremely nosy. It reminds me a little of Nancy Drew. It works, though none of this would happen if Kitty just went on her merry way. She still has conversations with herself which still bothers me. However, it wasn’t as overbearing as the first book so it made the reading easier.

She meets Jack and Jodi, a couple who sort of take Kitty under their wing as she goes on her vacation in Florida before her long trip. I enjoyed their characters and what they brought to the table.

I even liked James, the tour guide, and wish he was in it a little more.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This mystery is easy to follow along yet it’s not so easy to figure out. I was intrigued from the moment Kitty seemed to have found Hemingway’s ghost in the beginning and couldn’t figure out what it was. The history wasn’t overbearing and I feel like I actually learned something, geography included, and even about Hemingway himself.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

This is an enjoyable read. It’s entertaining, educational, and a fairly quick read. If you enjoy light mysteries and young adult, try this one out.

Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway’s Ghost by Iain Reading gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“And so it went, my imagination running wild and jumping from one absurd explanation to the next until I finally fell asleep.” –Iain Reading, Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway’s Ghost

Buy the book:

Amazon

About the Author:

Iain Reading | Kitty Hawk and the Yukon Gold | Book Review | YA Mystery | Historical Fiction | RachelPoli.comIain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations.

Iain is the author of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series, The Wizards of Waterfire Series, and the dragon of the month club. To learn more, go to his Amazon page.

Readers can connect with Iain on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Madam Tulip And The Bones Of Chance By David Ahern [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Review: Madam Tulip and the Bones of Chance by David Ahern | Mystery | RachelPoli.com

I received a free eARC of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

A surprise role in a movie takes actress Derry O’Donnell to a romantic castle in the Scottish Highlands. But romance soon turns to fear and suspicion. Someone means to kill, and Derry, moonlighting as celebrity fortune-teller Madam Tulip, is snared in a net of greed, conspiracy and betrayal.

A millionaire banker, a film producer with a mysterious past, a gun-loving wife, a PA with her eyes on Hollywood, a handsome and charming estate manager—each has a secret to share and a request for Madam Tulip.
As Derry and her friend Bruce race to prevent a murder, she learns to her dismay that the one future Tulip can’t predict is her own.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

Like the first two books before this one, I like the cover. The colors go nicely together – as far as green and orange can go together. Yet, the orange really makes the green title pop and it works. The bird makes sense, even if the title doesn’t suggest so.
First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

I enjoyed the first two books of the series, so when approached by the author to read this one, I was more than happy to give it a go.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

Madam Tulip has gotten herself into yet another pickle – and I’m not just talking about the crime sense either. Her publicity has taken an interesting detour, her parents are as neurotic as usual, and, of course, there’s a crime involved.

This plot is just as compelling as the rest of the series. The crime was woven in a way that it was easy to understand and it made sense. It was able to come together nicely by the end of the book.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

I’m still a huge fan of Derry – Madam Tulip – and Bruce. They made great protagonists and I love both of their voices.

I’ll admit, I could still do without Vanessa and Jacko, Derry’s parents. While their banter can be humorous, I sometimes didn’t think it fit well with the rest of what was going on.

Jessica and Sally were two great characters. I really loved their addition to the story and they really brought a lot to the table.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This book is easy to read and the crime is laid out well enough that I was able to understand it. I’ll admit I felt there were some scenes that weren’t needed, but nothing really jarred me out of the story.

While this is the third book in a series, it can be read as a stand-alone. However, there were a few references to the previous book, so I’d suggest reading it in order, if not just to get a feel for the characters.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

This was another great adventure for Madam Tulip. I enjoyed reading it from start to finish. While there were some slow parts, I never felt bored or had to stop for any reason.

Madam Tulip and the Bones of Chance by David Ahern gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com 4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“‘I’ll try not to run anybody over,’ said Jessica. ‘I’d hate to make that woman’s career.'” –David Ahern, Madam Tulip and the Bones of Chance

MADAM TULIP AND THE BONES OF CHANCE WILL BE OUT ON APRIL 12, 2018.

Buy the book:

Amazon

About David Ahern:

David Ahern, Author | RachelPoli.com

David Ahern grew up in a theatrical family in Ireland but ran away to Scotland to become a research psychologist and sensible person. He earned his doctorate but soon absconded to work in television. He became a writer, director and producer, creating international documentary series and winning numerous awards, none of which got him free into nightclubs.

Madame Tulip wasn’t David Ahern’s first novel, but writing it was the most fun he’s ever had with a computer. He is now writing the fourth Madam Tulip adventure and enjoys pretending this is actual work.

David Ahern lives in the beautiful West of Ireland with his wife, two cats and a vegetable garden of which he is inordinately proud.

You can learn more about David Ahern and Madam Tulip on his website.

Connect with David Ahern on Facebook and Twitter.

Does this seem like an interesting read to you? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Kitty Hawk And The Curse Of The Yukon Gold By Iain Reading [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Review | Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading | RachelPoli.com

I have received a free digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

After leaving her home in the western Canadian fishing village of Tofino to spend the summer in Alaska studying humpback whales Kitty finds herself caught up in an unforgettable adventure involving stolen gold, devious criminals, ghostly shipwrecks, and bone-chilling curses. Kitty’s adventure begins with the lingering mystery of a sunken ship called the Clara Nevada and as the plot continues to unfold this spirited story will have armchair explorers and amateur detectives alike anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept along through the history of the Klondike Gold Rush to a suspenseful final climatic chase across the rugged terrain of Canada’s Yukon, the harsh land made famous in the stories and poems of such writers as Jack London, Robert Service and Pierre Berton. It is a riveting tale that brings to glorious life the landscape and history of Alaska’s inside passage and Canada’s Yukon, as Kitty is caught up in an epic mystery set against the backdrop of the scenery of the Klondike Gold Rush.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

I love this book cover. It perfectly sums up some major events of the book – the plane, Kitty climbing the mountain, the whale in the background – and the art style is just great. I love looking at it and it certainly enticed me in.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

I was approached by the author’s publicist about this book. I love mysteries and was intrigued by the “historical fiction” part of this story. I’ll admit, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up on my own, but I decided to give it a try.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

Kitty Hawk goes on an adventure flying off in her plane to Alaska in order to watch whales, observe, and study them. Then she runs into a group of gold thieves. She overhears their plan and they catch her before she can run away. Her mission is no longer whales, it’s the gold.

I felt as though this book was slow to start. I didn’t really get interested in it until Kitty ran into the thieves and that was around 100 pages or so into the story. When that happened, I got really into it. I felt as though the plot was cleverly crafted into the story making the history important, but not bombarding me with a history lesson.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

I enjoyed Kitty’s character. She was a strong protagonist and certainly knew how to take care of herself. However, a good chunk of her dialogue, especially in the beginning, was her talking to her internal self. It got confusion since her thoughts were in normal quotations and I also didn’t think it made any sense. She was having actual conversations with herself. It became annoying and I didn’t think it was needed.

Once I met Charlie, Buck, Will, and Jay, I enjoyed their characters a lot more. The four brothers were certainly a great addition to the cast. Though, I wonder if all four were needed. Their personalities were certainly different from each other.

However, Jay was the silent type. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it was almost as though he wasn’t even there. He didn’t start really speaking until the main part of their journey was halfway over. I had completely forgotten about him to the point that when his name was stated I had no idea who he was.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This story flowed well. As stated earlier, I felt as though the beginning was slow, but it did pick up when the adventure truly began. Once that happened it was smooth sailing. The history lessons were minimum but I learned a lot anyway.

I enjoyed all the description of their adventure, though a lot of the dialogue felt unrealistic to me. A lot of dialogue didn’t contain any contractions making the characters sound almost robotic. It just didn’t seem like something a person would say in real life.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

Overall, this was a great read. Once you get past the beginning it’s an enjoyable read. If you like a casual mystery and have a taste for adventure, give this one a try.

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“Apparently even in deadly serious situations boys simply can’t resist the urge to play like they are secret agents or something.” –Iain Reading, Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About The Series

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is a perfect book to fire the imagination of readers of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history this book will inspire anyone to learn and experience more for themselves.

There are currently five books in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold (book 1), Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway’s Ghost (book 2), Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue (book 3), and Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic (book 4), and Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces (book 5).

“In the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series the heroine finds herself in a new geographic location in each book. The series will eventually have a total of 13 books in it (maybe more) and her flight around the world will be completed in the end,” says Iain. “The books are sequential but one could definitely read any of the later ones before reading the earlier ones.”

For more information, go to Kitty Hawk World

Check out the book trailer: YouTube

About the Author:

Iain Reading | Kitty Hawk and the Yukon Gold | Book Review | YA Mystery | Historical Fiction | RachelPoli.comIain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations.

Iain is the author of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series, The Wizards of Waterfire Series, and the dragon of the month club. To learn more, go to his Amazon page.

Readers can connect with Iain on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Have you read this book? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, I’d love to chat!

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