Category Archives: Book Review

Book Review ~Sitanshu (Guardians of the Blue Lotus -2) by Anita Shirodkar

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THE BOOK
 


 
 
BLURB
 

As the divine Blue Lotus Indivara sprouts an ominous red petal, its guardians must do everything in their power to protect it and their kingdom. Aryavir and Sitanshu march to the border of Kalipura for a bloody showdown with the Chandraketu King Divyendu. It seems as if the Kamal Akshi Army with its peerless long-haired Kesakuta warriors cannot lose a war, but the wily enemies of Kamalkund have diabolical plans that are not written in any rule book. Thanks to the evil machinations of the Mayakari Queen Tamasi and wily King Kratu, Aryavir and Sitanshu are facing the battle of their lives.

With hidden ancient secrets that are known only to the revered Maheshwari Masters, the mythological Old World is about to be plunged into intrigue and danger its denizens could never have imagined. Powerful kings face mortality, relationships are tested to their breaking point and the Great War of Sompur will bring completely unexpected repercussions.

Written with the classic Indian ethos, Sitanshu, the second part of the Guardians of the Blue Lotus Trilogy, pays homage to India’s magnificent mythological heritage and takes the reader on a journey into the heart of human passions.
 
 

MY TAKE
 

Mesmerizing cover design and an interesting blurb combined with a wonderful prequel that goes by the title ‘Áryavir,’ beckons the mythological fiction buff to pick up ‘Sitanshu’ and I must admit that this one is a notch up compared to its prequel.

Picking up from where Áryavir’ ( Read my review of the book here) ends, ‘Sitanshu’ takes the reader on a ride far different from its prequel. Interesting and captivating there is a lot of action, there are intriguing paranormal sightings and a one of its kind encounter with the mythological Maheshwari Masters. Palace intrigues combined with startling revelations test relationships. Greed gets the better of good sense and love blossoms in unexpected quarters. Amidst all the action we get to know some interesting characters, see the birth of a new star and witness a positive change in equations as far as relationships are concerned. Little Eashwari with her intuitive powers puzzles all who come into contact with her and plays a pivotal role in taking the story forward. As one moves forward along a path ( read) full of twists and turns, one can’t but help admire the author’s skill at keeping her reader/s hooked. Relationships fail, new ones are built. Secrets are revealed, characters as well as readers are taken by surprise. The brave survive, deceit takes a beating. The foundation stone for a new and final part of the trilogy is laid.

The characters, again a huge cast, are well developed. One can actually visualize them and perhaps even live them out as one encounters them. There are some like little Easwari, Eshan and Lakshya who bring a smile to your face, and then others like Tamasi, Kratu, Divyendu, Drisana and Nyka who by their thoughts and actions leave you gritting your teeth. There are people like Queen Mother Chandrabha and Urmasi who leave you confused and wondering and then there are people like Sitanshu and Reva whom you can understand without going too deep into their mind. In short this is one story where you get a glimpse of all shades of human character and all types of human emotions.

Pace is racy, language is simple, crisp and lucid and the style is apt.
 
 

VERDICT

A book that’s sure to keep the reader hooked and guessing.


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Authored by Anita Shirodkar and published by AuthorsUpFront the book is available @ amazon.in

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Book Blitz ~ Killer Moves by Varsha Dixit

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Killer Moves
by
Varsha Dixit



Blurb
Everyone has a secret. Aisha Khatri has many! 


Aisha’s life is seemingly mundane on the surface-she writes for television and takes care of her niece Kiara and her retired father. But when Kiara’s life is threatened during a modeling assignment for the famous Kabir Rana, once a suspect for his wife’s murder, the only way Aisha can save Kiara is by accepting the unique ability she has aggressively resisted all her life. 


But Aisha is not the only one with secrets. There are others who have secrets and will kill to keep them. Aisha is determined to protect Kiara even if it means placing herself in the crosshairs of a depraved killer who butchers beautiful girls and leaves them as grotesque displays. 


Is Kiara a target of a serial killer or is the killer closer to home-and Aisha’s heart? 


Who is Kabir Rana? An elusive and moody fashion photographer burdened with a dark past or a murderer who got away? 


How will Aisha save Kiara from a killer who is several steps ahead of an entire city’s police force? When the dead come calling, will Aisha answer? 


From the bustling streets of Goa to the beautiful palaces of Sirsa, Killer Moves is a fast-paced, gripping, romantic suspense tale with strong thriller and supernatural elements. 

Grab your copy @


About the author


Varsha Dixit, the best selling author of six successful contemporary romance books. Her debut book, Right Fit Wrong Shoe was a national bestseller for the year 2010. Varsha was a part of the Indian Television Industry and worked as an assistant director and online editor. She considers herself a dreamer who thinks deep but writes light. Even though creativity is gender free,Varsha feels blessed and enriched to be a woman.Currently, with her family, Varsha resides in CA, USA.
You can stalk her @

                  

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Book Review: MATSYA: The First Avatar (DASHAVATAR Book 1)

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TITLE: MATSYA: The First Avatar (DASHAVATAR Book 1)
AUTHOR: Sundari Venkataraman
PUBLISHER: Flaming Sun (Indie published)
GENRE: Mythological Fiction (Children’s Literature)
ASIN: B07BDN1Q87
FORMAT: Kindle Edition
 
 

 
 

BLURB
 

Lord Brahma is highly disturbed when the four vedas are stolen from him the moment he goes to sleep at the end of the kalpa. It’s Asura Hayagriva who’s gotten away with the sacred scriptures.

Lord Vishnu offers to go to the creator’s rescue and takes the guise of Matsya, the fish.

King Satyavrath lands up with a tiny gold fish when he’s offering prayers to the Sun God one morning. Is the fish all that it appears to be?

How can Satyavrath help the fish?

Read more to find out the reason for Lord Vishnu taking the avatar on earth as Matsya.
 
 

MY TAKE
 
 

Retold in simple, crisp language, this one on the first avatar of Mahavishnu, has all the elements required to make a read enjoyable, engaging and informative. Apart from putting across the reason for the birth of the Matsyavtar, the book also delves into the intricacies associated with the various yugas, the cycle of birth; apocalypse and extinction of life on earth every thousands of years and the emergence of a new dawn. It offers hope of destruction of evil forces and sends out a strong message that eventually good prevails.

The pace is perfect and the style does justice to the story. I loved the way the author has portrayed the growth of a small fish into one of monstrous proportion, and the final revelation of its true form towards the end. It’s sure to awe and garner interest among the little ones. And before I give my verdict I must add that the opening scene of Brahma being dead tired and yearning for a ‘short’ nap as well as Asura Hayagriva waiting to pounce on that unknown something that could possibly fall off from Devaloka ( Read ‘Brahma’) made me truly curious. I could not but help live Hayagriva’s anxiety. The Author does have a way of riveting you to your seat till you finish her book.

This one though a short read of just 38 pages, speaks volumes of the research that has gone into its creation.

 
 
VERDICT
 
 
A riveting one narrating a mythological story in a language and style that’s sure to hook readers both young and old alike, I’m giving this one a 👌 5.
 
 


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BOOK REVIEW: TRUST ME NOT

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TITLE: Trust Me Not
AUTHOR: Ankita Verma Datta
PUBLISHER: Jaico Publishing House
GENRE: Fiction ( Socio-Political Thriller)
ISBN: 9789386348944)
 
 

THE BOOK
 
 

 
 
BLURB
 
 
Rising corporate star Reeva Rai is offered a prestigious position in a top-notch PR agency. It is the opportunity of a lifetime. But working with Enigmatic Billionaire Kunaal Kabi was not going to be easy. Even as she develops feelings for him, she is determined to prove herself.

But when an activist friend turns to her for help with a real-estate scam, Reeva has to make a high-stakes choice. Can she retain the credibility of her prominent clients while helping hundreds save their homes? As she digs deeper to find solutions, a nefarious scheme unravels with unexpected connections. A no-holds-barred race ensues, blood is drawn and Reeva is trapped in the eye of a political thunderstorm. If she succeeds, powerful people will have much to answer.
 
 
MY TAKE
 
 
Intricate, engaging and cleverly crafted, ‘Trust Me Not’ has the power to keep the reader guessing till the end. Though a Socio- Political piece of fiction, the book does throw up a few relevant questions and nudges the reader to think. It brings out the grey side of the human character well, and at the same time gives us a hint of a blooming romance, one that is not smooth as a fresh jar of skippy. Sinister plans, shady deals and their execution are narrated with a finesse that makes one look forward to see the resultant impact with the eagerness of a kid curious to know whether the radio hides within its cabinet people whose voices are heard on tuning a station.

The twists, the turns and the climax lay bare the battles, the intricacies, and the agenda of the triumvirate made up of the political, the corporate and the media world. The complexities of relationships built and those ruined are brought out well.

The author has done a fine job as far as characterization is concerned. All the characters right from the protagonist to those that make just a passing appearance in the story, are well developed helping the reader easily relate to them, their style, mannerisms and thought process. This in turn translates to a feeling akin to direct involvement in the story, which I believe is essential for the same to be a resounding success.

Language plays an instrumental role in the success of a narrative. It is that conveyance which reaches a story/ plot to its destination the reader. If the conveyance sputters, it is bound to fail before it reaches the destination, even if it does reach, it will have offended/ put off its occupants by the harrowing experience. But, I’m glad the conveyance here was well-oiled, smooth and comfortable, offering a joyous ride (read).

The pace gave no room for the escape of a yawn, or the wish to stretch and shriek. It was perfect.

So what is that one thing/ things if any, that did not work for me?

Answer – A love triangle.

I felt it could be done away with. It was like that sixth finger that serves no purpose yet sticks out as odd.
 
 
VERDICT
 
 
A truly enjoyable read, one that’s sure to keep the reader hooked from the first word till the very end.
 
 


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I received a copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

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Book Review: If You Only Knew Me

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TITLE: If You Only Knew Me
AUTHOR: Divyata Rajaram
PUBLISHER: Cinnamon Teal Publishing
ISBN: 978-9386301796
GENRE: Fiction
 

THE BOOK
 

TITLE
 

A lot said in just five words.
 

COVER DESIGN
 

Apt and appealing, the cover design does give an inkling to what to expect within the covers without breaking the suspense.


 

BLURB
 

If You Only Knew Me is a story of friendship, passion and intrigue set in Dubai, arguably one of the world’s most exciting cities to live in.

Rupali, Anjali, Dipika, Sakina and Monica are five NRI women whose lives are glitzy and exciting as they flirt with high society within the charmed social circles frequented by the Dubai expat community. Beautiful homes, designer clothes, shoes, fast cars and a lifestyle that is envied by all, there is very little these women have not attained. Together they have also woven the closest of friendships and must rely on each other to stay on top.

Appearances are deceptive, though, and often the people you think you know the best, harbor secrets too dangerous to be shared. When tragedy befalls, the investigation that follows opens an ugly box of secrets that will test their friendship and find them struggling to make sense of the madness and deception surrounding them.

Who can they really trust anymore? How far must they go in their fight for survival?

How long will their friendship last once the masks have dropped and none can pretend any longer?

 

MY TAKE
 

Fresh storyline with a twist that’s sure to take the reader by surprise is how one can describe Divyata Rajaram’s ‘If You Only Knew Me. ‘

Interesting, engaging and enlightening, ‘If You Only Knew Me’ reveals the soft and hard sides of human behavior. It also helps one understand how friendship among the most unlikely too is a possibility and how it works. The book is a grim reminder of the fact that looks are deceptive and the most hostile face can have a heart of gold, while the innocent lamb can be as crafty as a fox and as cruel as Medea.

Loneliness is a state that drives the mind to lengths it would never have even dreamt of if not left to battle it alone. ‘If You Only Knew Me’ portrays this aspect of the human mind beautifully in subtle strokes. There is murder, there is suspense and a lot happening out there in the pages of the book but what actually strikes one is the way loneliness, neglect and the craving to be recognized can actually take a toll not only of the physical self but of the mental state too.

Language is crisp and lucid with the power to make the reader visualize even little details like the settings of Monica’s Yoga Studio or Rupali’s dress style. This in turn transports the reader to the scene of action, making him/ her part of the story and enhances the joy of the read.

Characterization is one point where I felt justice has not been done to a few. While the characters of Rupali, Anjali, Sakina and Dipika are well developed and enable one to easily enter their mind and understand their thought process, the characterization of others like Monica and Rohit seem to be under- developed. One finds it difficult to comprehend the sudden change in Rohit’s nature from one furious at his wife’s amoral escapade to one willingly entering into an extra- marital affair.

Fast paced and easy to read, the book is a page turner.
 


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Book Review: The Coin by Sandeep Sharma

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TITLE: The Coin
AUTHOR: Sandeep Sharma
PUBLISHER: Redgrab Books & Anybook
ISBN: 978-9387390263
GENRE: Fiction (Crime Thriller)

THE BOOK

BLURB
 
 
“Who likes Sudden death?” That’s the only question he used to ask before killing his prey.

Random people are being abducted from the capital city, Delhi and are being killed mercilessly. Before killing, the murderer is reciting them a story, a story about a 9 year old child who saw the brutal side of the world at a very young age. All the stories are being recorded for the Police department to see.

Raunak Upadhyay, the Police inspector who is handling the case, links the style of serial killing to the case he solved years ago. But the murderer of that case is in jail then who is following the footsteps?

Does the murderer want to convey something?
Whose story is being recited?
Why the murderer is taking personal interest in Raunak?
Is there any other side of this coin or both the faces are just the same?

Welcome to the Brutal world!
 
 
MY TAKE

 
WOWs!
 

‘The Coin’ provides an interesting storyline that finds the reader enter a complicated maze, a maze that sees him/ her encounter many questions, rely on many options and ultimately reach a climax that is difficult to foresee considering that the build-up of the suspense is done cleverly.

A multi layered story, the book reveals a lot in terms of child psychology, criminal psychology and the unsavory happenings that the world is witness today in terms of child abuse. It also throws up some relevant questions regarding the above and nudges us to ponder on the same. In short the book can also be termed as a psychological thriller.

There are some interesting twists and turns that is bound to not only intrigue the reader but at times leave a bad taste. But then what is depicted here is cruel truth, a truth that society can hardly deny and overlook.

The characters are well-developed and the pace is fine.
 
 
OOPs!
 

Language: Though simple and easy to comprehend, there are certain usages that stand out like mismatched buttons in an otherwise fine shirt. They hardly fit in there and thus act as an impediment.

Editing: The story could do with a fresh round of editing to smooth out some bumps and rough edges and make it flawless.
 
 

VERDICT
 

A breezy read with a fresh storyline.


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Book Review: Murder in Paharganj

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TITLE: Murder in Paharganj
AUTHOR: Kulpreet Yadav
PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury India
ISBN: 9789386826619
GENRE: Fiction ( Crime Thriller)
 
 
THE BOOK

BLURB

On a cold December morning, a white woman is found murdered in a cheap hotel in Paharganj, New Delhi. Vicks Menon, an out-of-work journalist, is tipped off by the hotel’s receptionist and is the first to arrive at the crime scene, where he discovers a lead. It’s the bus ticket used by the dead woman two days earlier. But Vicks is battling personal trouble. He has no money, an alcohol problem, and a nearly broken relationship with Tonya, his estranged live-in partner, a clinical psychologist who specializes in profiling hardened criminals. Moving in and out of the shadows, Vicks pushes his investigation harder as it takes him from Udaipur to Bangkok. On his side, for resources, he has a nameless intelligence operative, and to read minds, a lover who is beginning to trust him again. But above all, his instinct to stay inches ahead of death will be the key to his survival. If Vicks lives, this is one story that will change his life forever.

MY TAKE

Intriguing, engaging and craftily weaved, ‘Murder in Paharganj’ has all the right elements in right proportions, to keep you glued to the pages of the book right from the word ‘go’ till the end. The best part is that inspite of the author revealing the person behind the crime at the beginning of the story itself, the reader’s interest interest in the story remains intact, i.e. the move does not act as a damper. It has the opposite effect. One can’t help but wonder regarding the motive. The author does a fine job leaving his reader’s guessing till around round-up time.

Packed with a bundle of emotions ranging from love to hatred and fear to relief, the story begins with a murder that at first appears to be simple, but later takes an interesting turn with the role of some covert operatives revealed and clandestine operations standing exposed. Interesting twists and turns unfold as the story moves ahead and we see one fellow racing against time with determination even in the face of sure death.

While shady characters and spooky settings set the perfect pace and background for the story, the style of narrative has the power to keep the reader hooked. Success with characterization is 75:25. While the character of the protagonist Vicks Menon and the antagonist Jamie are well developed, that of Vicks girlfriend Tonya lacks solid story goal. This makes her appear as an unwanted baggage, while in truth she has a lot of potential to contribute and work wonders for the story.

Language is simple, crisp and lucid devoid of nerve- wracking jargon and grammatical errors that tend to act as speed-breakers.

VERDICT

An enjoyable, breezy read that one can pick up either on a lazy afternoon when the sun is hot and one feels drowsy or on a late night when sleep tends to make the eyelids droop. Believe me, in both of cases the brain will be stimulated by the read and put on high alert.


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Book Review: The Accident On The A35

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TITLE: The Accident On The A35
AUTHOR: Graeme Macrae Burnet
PUBLISHER: BEE Books
 
 
THE BOOK
 

a
 

BLURB
 

The methodical but troubled Chief Inspector Georges Gorski visits the wife of a lawyer killed in a road accident, the accident on the A35. The case is unremarkable, the visit routine.

Mme Barthelme—alluring and apparently unmoved by the news—has a single question: where was her husband on the night of the accident? The answer might change nothing, but it could change everything. And Gorski sets a course for what can only be a painful truth.

But the dead man’s reticent son is also looking for answers. And his search will have far more devastating consequences.
 
MY TAKE
 
 
If you’d ask me whether I consider ‘The Accident on the A35’ a thriller or a mystery, I’d say ‘Neither.’

Why?

There’s nothing there that hints at it being so. There’s neither a brain wracking mystery to solve, nor interesting twists and turns that take you by surprise or keep you on the edge. In fact I felt the story is something like a character analysis of people with different traits. The story appeared to me as a work of psychological fiction rather than a mystery/ suspense novel, where an array of characters are presented and you get an opportunity to watch them at close quarters, analyze their actions, and reactions and search for answers to the same.

Having worked for a pretty number of years in the field of translation, I know it’s a tough job to translate a piece of literary fiction with perfection. So though I’d not like to comment on the success of the translation of the original here, I’d just like to mention that I did feel that the book could do with a relook and fresh round of editing to smooth out some rough edges, darn some gaping holes, and remove some portions and instead just include the essence of the original so that it holds the reader’s attention from the word, ‘Go’ till the end. A cut here, a stitch there, can I’m sure do wonders for the story and in turn for the book.

The language is simple, pace is slow and the end abrupt.
 
VERDICT
 
 
If you are looking for a fast paced thriller, this one is definitely not for you, but if you are looking for a book that can give you an insight into people with different characters and different tastes, and if you are interested in analyzing them, then you may want to pick this one up.


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Book Review- Krishnaa: Queen Bee of No. 8 West Iyen Street

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TITLE: Krishnaa: Queen Bee of No. 8 West Iyen Street
AUTHORS: Radhika Giridharan and Vidya Nagaraj
PUBLISHER: Notion Press
ASIN: B0787QY7Y8

THE BOOK

BLURB

When a marriage proposal from a much married 30 year old Raghavenrda for 12 year old Krishnaa comes knocking on the door of Gundappa Chowltry, life takes on a dramatic turn for Krishnaa. An official bride-seeing ceremony and a quick peek at the bridegroom seals things and before long Krishnaa finds herself embarking on her new journey with her new husband-a man she barely knows, to the temple town of Kumbakonam. What lies in store for Krishnaa in her new house as Raghavendra’s second wife? Where is Raghavendra’s first wife? Are Krishnaa’s dreams and desires fulfilled? What cards are dealt to Krishnaa by the hands of destiny?

While tracing Krishnaa’s life journey from 1904 to the modern times, the book captures the soul of the Indian Joint family system, the customs and traditions, the love and laughter and the ever green human values. Set in the picturesque temple town of Kumbakonam, on the banks of river Cauvery, amidst the majestic Gopurams of Chakrapani and Sarangapani temples, the story of Krishnaa unfolds in all its colourful glory.

MY TAKE

Interesting and engaging, “Krishnaa: Queen Bee of No. 8 West Iyen Street” is the coming of age of not only the protagonist Krishnaa but an entire society or should I say a country. The book along with introducing us to life in the temple town of Kumbakonam and the metamorphosis of a happy –go-lucky child into a responsible adult full of empathy for her fellow beings gives us an insight into changing times, changing relationships and changing status and how they affect an individual. The changeover from a joint family set-up to the nuclear family set-up is woven seamlessly into the story and does touch a cord somewhere within people like myself who have lived in a joint family and have watched the same disintegrate with tears in the eyes.

Narrated in simple and lucid language, the book does spring up some surprises. Krishnaa’s attitude towards her husband’s first wife and Raghvendra’s attitude towards his wife’s family may seem unbelievable to the present day folks. Yet, we must remember that those were the times when one could sleep soundly keeping the doors ajar without fear of being robbed or seeing a knife on the neck. Those were the days when empathy was at its peak and greed a mere speck.

The characters though numerous are well- developed and relatable. The few lines of poetry at the beginning and end are like a fresh whiff of perfume added to make an already gorgeous lady stand out in a crowd. They complement the wearer (read story).

So is there anything that holds me back from saying, “Perfect?”

Well, I felt the book could do with a bit of fine tuning. Maybe a good editor could suggest some cuts, some changes to give the book a more professional makeover both in terms of content and length.

VERDICT

A simple yet engrossing read, one that’s bound to see the dull afternoon hours pass by with lightning speed.


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Children’s Book Review: Thatha at School by Richa Jha and Gautam Benegal

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TITLE:Thatha at School
AUTHOR: Richa Jha
ILLUSTRATOR: Gautam Benegal
PUBLISHER: Pickle Yolk Books
ISBN: 978-9351269403

BLURB

It is Grandparents Day at school. Everyone in grade 2A, except Oviyam, is excited. She doesn’t want her dhoti-wearing Thatha (grandpa) accompanying her to school; her friends will laugh at him, for sure. After all, the traditional dhotis don’t look as smart as pants do, do they? Oviyam must find a way to prevent Thatha from going to school. Read this funny endearing story of Oviyam’s embarrassment, her insecurities, and her finally dispelling the demons in her mind.

MY TAKE

Oviyam’s dilemma at having Thatha over at school on Grandparent’s Day, is described beautifully. Apprehension, anger and finally pride, emotions in stark contrast to each other, are described beautifully literally taking readers on a tour of the little one’s mind and help them live her dilemma.

The illustrations though simple convey the story in subtle shades, giving the little minds enough food for thought, food to help them yarn a story of their own too.

The book is not only entertaining but inspiring too.


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