Hearthstone Cottage By Frazer Lee Review (Random Things Tours)

As the Highland fog surrounds you, the depths of the black Loch intimidate your curiosity as you stumble backwards. It is only then that you notice the pair of yellow eyes staring at you, following you. You pick up speed, not daring to look back. Out of breath and drenched in fear you finally reach the cottage. But as you look up, your eyes are consumed by flames. And you can hear the sound of hooves getting louder and louder behind you…74666231_269186007341731_6004662406372917248_n_Fotor.jpg

Today dear readers I am on the blog tour for Hearthstone Cottage By Frazer Lee (Published 24th October 2019) A big thank you to the publishers Flame Tree Press for my copy to review, much appreciated. And also to the wonderful Anne for the invite. Thank you!

About The Author

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Frazer Lee is a novelist, screenwriter and filmmaker. His screenplay credits include the acclaimed horror/thriller feature Panic Button, and multi-award winning short films On Edge, Red Lines, Simone and The Stay. Frazer’s screenwriting and story consultant engagements have included commissions for Movie Mogul, The Asylum, Mediente, eMotion, and Vanquish Alliance Entertainment. 

Frazer’s novel The Lamplighters was a Bram Stoker Award® Finalist for ‘Superior Achievement in a First Novel’. 

Frazer is Head of Creative Writing at Brunel University London and is an active member of the Horror Writers Association and International Thriller Writers. His guest speaking engagements have included The London Screenwriters Festival and The Guerilla Filmmakers Masterclass.

Frazer Lee lives with his family in Buckinghamshire, England just across the cemetery from the actual Hammer House of Horror. 

Hearthstone Cottage

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Mike Carter and his girlfriend Helen, along with their friends Alex and Kay, travel to a remote loch side cottage for a post-graduation holiday. When Mike becomes haunted by a disturbing presence in the cottage, the bonds of friendship are tested as he must uncover the terrifying truth dwelling within the walls of Hearthstone Cottage. 

My Review

I love a good horror book. The drawn out suspense, pure terror creeping around the corner and the mind games that come with that ever taunting paranoia. When a horror film deals the audience a jump scare, they jump. But when you encounter a heart-stopping moment in a book, the effects are long lasting. The impact is that much greater because it’s in your mind, whirling around playing on your fears. Let us step inside Hearthstone Cottage, an experience that you will never forget.

Set against the mysterious backdrop of the Scottish Highlands Lee introduces the characters to the reader in the carefree way that most horrors begin with. Young people setting out on a journey with nothing but drink, sex and drugs on their minds. They have their whole lives ahead of them with endless choices and possibilities. You sense the foreshadowing that Lee has created within the first few pages. He adds the key elements for a spine-chilling horror, stranding the young characters in the middle of nowhere with no signal and damage to their vehicle, surely nothing else could possibly go wrong? It lulls the reader into that false sense of security that these characters maybe alright and will come out of this alive… cue evil laugh Muhahaha!

As the narrative progresses the reader learns more about the friendships in the group and their relationships are tested. Trust becomes a big issue as secrets that have been buried start to slowly resurface.

The whispers of folk tales and a witch who performed rituals at the The Spindle Stones is enough to get the heart racing. You listen around the fire with the characters while we learn about the witch and her sacrifices. And for a moment you feel caught in a horror movie yet it gets much darker as your mind starts to unravel to the abstract laughter of a child and the horrifying truth hidden at Hearthstone Cottage.

Mike felt the fevered grip of madness clawing at the insides of his skull. He no longer knew what was real and what wasn’t. His face was laughing back at him, and in his heart he felt only fear.  

There is a constant presence of the supernatural entwined with Mike’s paranoia. He is not a reliable character at the best of times as he’s either drunk or high. He is lazy and self-centred and just wants to celebrate graduating with his friends. Yet as events unfold you soon start to wonder about your own sanity, struggling to distinguish the nightmares from the reality. As Mike is haunted by horrific visions he slowly starts to distance himself away from the group without realising it. Lee effectively plays with the dynamics of the characters and the setting. It adds to the element of, ‘who can you really trust and what is actually real’? 

He looked into the eyes of each of his friends, and for an instant, he didn’t recognise any of them. Mike saw a trio of people with whom he had nothing in common anymore. Students who just wanted to play at mortgages and baby-boomer, flat-pack cots now that they had graduated. He felt that somehow each of them had mislaid their sense of fun on the motorway hard shoulder on their way to the cottage.

Lee creates a suffocating atmosphere that surrounds the reader in the form of fog and dead animals. It’s addictive reading as you feel that thirst for knowledge; what is happening to who and why? The constant curiosity of the mind and need for explanation is apparent here and works well within the story. 

Mike sat bolt upright, startled. Blinking as his eyes adjusted to the scant moonlight from the windows, he glanced around and caught the vague, inky shadow of someone — or something — moving —

The images and metaphors that are served to the reader on a blood stained platter are chilling and disturbing. It would leave any sane person feeling a little queasy. It’s creatively done and you can’t help but admire Lee’s imagination as he writes horror with the effect to unease you and make you feel uncomfortable.

The ending caught me off guard. Lee leads the reader down one path and then quickly changes direction taking you in a full circle that leaves you questioning everything. I won’t spoil it for you dear reader but it made my blood run cold. 

 

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I give Hearthstone Cottage By Frazer Lee a Four out of Five paw rating.

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Gripping from beginning to end, Lee knows how to spin a horror story that makes your flesh crawl. Filled with suspense and tension you will struggle to look away.

An intoxicating style of writing that toys with your mind. You won’t be able to look at stags the same way again…

Don’t forget to follow the rest of the blog tour, dates below, enjoy!

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Links

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www.frazerlee.com

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Give the Bard a Tetanus Shot By V.C. McCabe Review

As an avid lover of poetry and poet myself, I indulge in exploring this bewitching world. From old favourites to fresh meat it always leaves me with a desire for more, dancing on my tongue, tempting and luring me into submission: and who am I to complain? When crafted right it’s heaven, simply bliss. 

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Today I am reviewing Give the Bard a Tetanus Shot (Published by Vegetarian Alcoholic Press September 24, 2019) By V.C. McCabe. A big thank you to the author for sending me a copy to review, always appreciated. Right, let’s begin dear reader, time for some poetry!

 

About The Author

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V.C. McCabe is the author of Give the Bard a Tetanus Shot (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press, 2019). Her work has been featured in exhibits and journals worldwide, including the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Museum & Library, the FRANK Gallery, Poet Lore, Prairie Schooner, The Minnesota Review, Appalachian Heritage, Spillway, and Tar River Poetry. She has lived in Ireland, England, and West Virginia.

 

Give the Bard a Tetanus Shot

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Give the Bard a Tetanus Shot reveals the reality of rural life with elements of the surreal. Comforts of country living are juxtaposed with poverty, domestic violence, the opioid epidemic, and environmental destruction both natural and man-made.

 

My Review

McCabe has a rich, inviting style of writing that has a habit of nestling up next to the reader making them feel all snug and cosy. These poems reminded me why I adore the literature world so, the use of words to create strong creative imagery that the mind paints uniquely differently between each individual. Her choice of words have been delicately crafted for her poems, giving the reader a sensual experience as they consume its mouthwatering contents.

McCabe shows that it is the simple things in life that make it worth living. These are the memories to make, remember and look fondly back on. It’s humbling and honest bringing a homely feeling to the reader. You can’t help but want to light some candles, grab a soft blanket and settle in with a warm drink as you read her poetry.

Picnic paper plates piled high,
we dangle bare feet over
old, abandoned riverboat docks,
skimmin’ green summer water. 

The sweet smell of honeysuckle
perfumes the hot, sticky air
better than a store bought bottle
and the buzzin’ bumble bees testify.

The nature of the world we live in is a beautiful disaster. Within seconds floods can drown villages while fires turn all that they touch to black ash and dust. But not only the natural causes are to blame here dear reader; for we as humans have to take some responsibility. The environment not only plays an important part in these poems but echoes the raw truths we ignorantly try to ignore. It’s powerful, compelling poetry and speaks from the heart.

The river swelled silently in the night,
       swiftly swallowing our small town

in a filthy sea of flood-water and mud,
       leaving only our trembling bodies

and sobbing prayers for so many
       neighbors swept away as we slept.

McCabe portrays human behaviour in all it’s exquisite beauty with grace and elegance. The reality of life and the blissful moments it can deliver, while always being vigilant as snakes like to linger in the grass. That constant fear we all struggle with, never being able to fully relax as there’s always something or someone waiting to pounce on you. 

Family is a strong theme dusted sweetly like icing sugar over a Victoria Sponge. McCabe reminds the reader that it is the memories that keep them alive, keeping family recipes and attempting to do them justice. However McCabe also shows that it’s not about whose blood runs in your veins that defines you, it’s the actions you make. It’s touching, bringing a tear to your eye as you dust off your grandmother’s old cook book to bake her famous banana-bread. The reader sees that even after we have gone, little things like this will live on, being passed down from generation to generation. It’s heartwarming.

I followed her recipe 

word for word—scrawled
in pencil on an old index card,
passed down two generations. 

Her curling handwriting faded
and chocolate-stained, warped
by decades of loving use. 

There were moments I found myself surrounded by the tranquil Appalachian mountains, life in a rural area. But heartbreakingly had to pay witness to the disasters it has unfortunately suffered in its lifetime. Where we grow up is always going to be considered our home but when that safe place is wiped away what do you have left? Bricks and mortar? McCabe stresses this in her poems, allowing the reader to see that no matter how far we travel, our home can never be replaced. It makes one homesick slightly…pass the tissues please. 

I sailed around the world  only to find
that I am now the one  left behind,
without an anchor,  haunted

  
and homesick  for a home
that no longer exists. 

At the end of the book the reader is treated to a Spotify playlist that adds to the atmosphere and emotions these poems provoke. It’s relaxing listening and brings life to the images McCabe has painted in her poems, they twirl and dance about as you sit back with your cup of tea and relax. 

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I give  Give the Bard a Tetanus Shot By V.C. McCabe a Four out of Five paw rating.

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These poems felt like flipping through a scrapbook of memories, family and life in general. They are personal and full of emotion that captures McCabe’s passion as a poet using the finest of imagery; she is a pleasure to read. I look forward to reading more of McCabe’s work in the future as I find it most imaginative. 

 

Links 

Buy a copy 75332774_427093254855776_4459823280580198400_n

 

Website
 vcmccabe.com

 

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Demise of the Undertaker’s Wife : A Short Story Collection By Anne Walsh Donnelly Review

Life is a bit like a broken record. Some days you happily go about your day, spinning and twirling to the rhythm of your beat. Other days you get caught in a loop and struggle to find a way out. You just keep repeating the same thing over and over and over before it all becomes too much and you force yourself to a stop, scratching yourself in the process. Your value decreases and you wait on the rubbish pile with the other scattered records and CDs, hoping to be recycled and have a second chance at this strange thing we call life. 

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Today dear readers I am reviewing Demise of the Undertaker’s Wife : A Short Story Collection (Published By The Blue Nib 1 Sept. 2019) By Anne Walsh Donnelly. A big thank you to the author for sending me a copy to review, always appreciated. Let’s begin shall we dear reader? After you. 

About The Author

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Anne Walsh Donnelly lives in the west of Ireland. Originally from Carlow she moved to Mayo, twenty-four years ago. Her work has appeared in several publications including The Irish Times, Cránnog, Boyne Berries, The Blue Nib, Writers Forum and Dodging the Rain.

Her short stories have been shortlisted in many competitions including the Over the Edge New Writer of the Year Award (2014, 2016), the Fish International Prize (2015) and the RTE Radio One Frances Mac Manus competition (2014 & 2015). She won the 2018 Over the Edge Fiction Slam. 

Her poems were highly commended in the Over the Edge New Writer of the Year Award (2017 & 2018). She won the Winter/Spring 2017/2018 Blue Nib poetry chapbook competition and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2018. She was also nominated for the Hennessy Irish Literary Award in 2019 for her poetry.

Demise of the Undertaker’s Wife

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Demise of the Undertaker’s Wife is an impressive debut from Anne Walsh Donnelly. With her close observation of the human psyche, her razor-sharp pen delineates the world of murder, cruelty, control, with an eye that is sharp, unsettling and clearly demonstrates her lyrical talent. She shines a spotlight on the brokenness of life, the fear of silence and the desperate need for the characters to find someone to communicate with, whether it is with Iscariot or the Angel Gabriel. The voices are always true and convincing. I still cannot get the demise of the poor undertaker’s wife out of my head. That’s exactly what a good short story should do.

My Review

I loved reading Donnelly’s poetry book The Woman With An Owl Tattoo so was excited to learn that she had recently published a short story collection. YAY!

I admire Donnelly’s strong but brutally honest writing style. Her characters are realistic, caught in a hard place and struggling to figure it out. There’s no fairy tale romance or happily ever afters here. This is the real gritty dirt that life throws at us. Life is a once admired ornate object that was quickly smashed to pieces before anyone got a chance to actually see it. You spend the rest of your life trying to figure out what bit goes where: how does it all fit back together again?! And we make a lot of mistakes in the process. Life is never perfect. We hurt each other, lie and cheat. Donnelly portrays the human condition in all its horrific beauty in her stories. The whole naked truth of what we really are and it is fascinating to savour. 

Her warm corpse clung to his, as I screwed on the lid of the coffin. It was a difficult job getting it shut. My heart was thumping and hands shaking. I managed to squeeze the Guess handbag between Jack’s shoes.
I had to take the two dead dogs out of the coffin so there’d be enough space for Maureen. The weight of them nearly killed me as I dragged them out back and put them in the boot of my car. I’d bury them in the garden later, under her rosebushes.

There were moments that made my blood run cold dear reader. Donnelly has a chilling narrative that makes you aware of your surroundings and the silence that you keep. She creates a real sense of atmosphere, the lonely stretch of Irish farmland that surrounds the characters, the silence and quaintness of life. How small and insignificant we all are when you look at the bigger picture. It broadens your mind and wakes your senses to the reality of the world we live in. 

It’s so quiet that I can hear the water lick the walls of the small pier at the bottom of the garden. The smells of the lake air and sap from chopped wood remind me why I still visit.

Donnelly entwines themes such as second chances, forbidden love and taboo topics that get the reader thinking. They pay witness to the state of the messy world we live in, how lies and secrets eat away at the flesh and cause nothing but pain and destruction in their wake. It’s shocking and compelling writing that pulls you further in without a moment’s hesitation. 

These stories are laced with grief, depression and death. The grief of losing someone you love only to realise that maybe it wasn’t love after all. The heavy depression that life weighs us down with in the day to day, paying bills and trying to survive. And the death of oneself, pretending to be something or someone you’re not and taking the risk to make a change, grabbing life by the throat till it begs for forgiveness. When did we start our slow demise and secretly lost our minds? Donnelly explores this intricately in her stories, it’s intoxicating and bewilders you.

She put the earphones of her old Walkman onto her ears.
The spools scratched as they turned the ribbons of the cassette tape, scratches that threatened to scar the words of her favourite song, Only a Woman’s Heart. She’d played it every day since its release, the same week Teresa died. It was only at the lake that she listened to it; only there could she lie in her private mausoleum of grief. 

The stories in this collection strongly relate to what is happening in the here and now. In a world where everyone owns a phone we have little fear or concern of feeling alone, of having to entertain the silence. And isn’t that just what everybody needs sometimes? Someone to talk to, to listen and be heard? The world is inhabited by humans, there are billions of us, yet we still fear the silence and do battle with loneliness the moment it rears its ugly head. We may be able to connect to people online but still that yearning for the loneliness to end lingers. It’s human nature and we crave social interaction no matter how small or big, no matter who gets hurt along the way. Donnelly brings this much needed darkness and chill in her writing that needs to be noticed before we all succumb completely.

 I give Demise of the Undertaker’s Wife : A Short Story Collection By Anne Walsh Donnelly a Four out of Five paw rating. 

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Donnelly’s writing goes from one extreme to the next, highlighting how much depth and skill she has as a writer. She is able to write from the most innocent and humble of minds to the most disturbingly psychotic. This collection of short stories not only shows the reader a dark realistic version of the world but opens a juicy can of worms on taboo topics that people often scream and shirk away from. She’s not afraid and is an extremely brave woman. I admire that, I raise my cold cup of tea to you, cheers. 

Links

Buy A Copy51LNsTyz+EL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

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https://annewalshdonnelly.com

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The Winter Of The Witch By Katherine Arden review (Random Things Tours)

You feel a slight shiver as the first signs of winter grace your skin. The fur coat offers no warmth, only sadness. All around is a cold, thick darkness that threatens to suffocate you. Then suddenly you hear the comforting sound of hooves and see the flicks of a fiery tail light up your surroundings. It is only then that you see them: The Chyerti. They have been waiting for you.

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Today I am on the blog tour for The Winter Of the Witch ( Published 3rd October 2019 ) By Katherine Arden. A big thank you to the publishers, Ebury for my copy to review. And also to the amazing Anne for the invite, thank you. Let’s dive into another realm shall we dear readers, come, follow! 

 

About The Author

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Born in Austin, Texas, Katherine Arden spent her junior year of high school in Rennes, France.

Following her acceptance to Middlebury College in Vermont, she deferred enrolment for a year in order to live and study in Moscow. At Middlebury, she specialized in French and Russian literature.

After receiving her BA, she moved to Maui, Hawaii, working every kind of odd job imaginable, from grant writing and making crêpes to serving as a personal tour guide. After a year on the island, she moved to Briançon, France, and spent nine months teaching. She then returned to Maui, stayed for nearly a year, then left again to wander. Currently she lives in Vermont, but really, you never know.

She is the author of The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower. These novels make up the first two parts of The Winternight Trilogy.

 

The Winter Of The Witch

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 A thrilling conclusion to the Winternight Trilogy – a magical series perfect for fans of The Night Circus

One girl can make a difference…

Moscow is in flames, leaving its people searching for answers – and someone to blame. Vasilisa, a girl with extraordinary gifts, must flee for her life, pursued by those who blame their misfortune on her magic.

Then a vengeful demon returns, stronger than ever. Determined to engulf the world in chaos, he finds allies among men and spirits. Mankind and magical creatures alike find their fates resting on Vasya’s shoulders.

But she may not be able to save them all.

 

My Review

I am in love dear readers, completely and utterly in love with this book. I couldn’t get enough, refused to put it down until the very end. I was seduced by the enchantment and fantasy of this world as it willed me to take a jump up onto a fiery mare and ride into the unknown. 

Arden wastes no time in setting the narrative as she bundles the reader into the aftermath of a bloody battle. Moscow is in flames and there is a new fear in the hearts of men; whispers that a witch walks among their ranks. The reader has no time to recover from past events from the previous book, The Girl In The Tower before they are challenged by an angry mob. There’s little time to think as the plot descends on Vasya and beats her into submission. You can’t help but read on as you HAVE to know what is to become of her. It’s a compelling way to open the story, giving the reader a taste of what is yet to come. 

Vasya is a character to be reckoned with. From within the first few pages her strength and courage are dragged to the stake to be burned into black ash. She is a survivor and willingly walks into midnight to save a city that wished her dead. Arden throws chaos and destruction in Vasya’s path which only makes her stronger. It is fantastic character development as she is put to the test of where her loyalty lies and is constantly battling the light and dark within herself. She is often warned that the use of her magic can turn her mad and is tested over and over again with how much she can take before she breaks and loses herself to the night. I admire Vasya, as after everything she has been made to suffer, she still holds out hope, thinks of others and always looks towards a better future. There were so many moments that brought me to tears or made me full of rage on her behalf that made me want to scream.  She has a lot of depth to her and I not-so-secretly hold out hope that this is not the last we will see of her. She is a complex character which only makes it more intriguing to read. 

“The wind blew sharp off the lake, and Vasya could not shake the sense of being watched, of being measured by the eyes she could not see. She felt like a girl hurled unwary into a tale she didn’t understand, with folk all around waiting for her to take up a part she didn’t know.”

I adore the mixture of characters that are littered throughout this book. Arden bestows her characters with emotions of torment and uncertainty. Sasha is torn between family and serving his king. The Grand Prince Dmitrii doesn’t know who to listen to – his trusted advisers or a priest claiming to banish the walking dead. Then there’s the ongoing battle between The Winter King and his brother, The Bear. Not to mention Vasya’s bloodline and everything that comes with it. There is so much going on and it works beautifully. It doesn’t give you a headache or feel too over-crowded. Adren has written it in a way that feels natural and delicious to digest. It immerses you and you start to yearn to learn more. It’s exquisite writing and not only fleshes-out the characters, but brings a new set of dynamics to the narrative, keeping the reader constantly on the precipice. 

The vodianoy popped out of the water scare an arm’s length away. His grinning mouth was filled with needle-sharp teeth, his skin thick with slime and river muck. Water ran like diamonds down his warty skin and foamed and boiled around him. He opened his spin-toothed mouth and roared at her. 

The use of imagery is vast throughout the narrative. It captures a world far from our own. The folktales of Russia are woven delicately into this fine fabric. It’s a story that has been hand-crafted to capture your breath, bottle it away and wait for the right moment to set it free again. As I wandered through the woods with Vasya I happened upon swamp demons, mushroom spirts and the much feared Baba Yaga. This is a dark, gritty, magical world that shows you its secrets and fears, bringing you to the brink of death to see the blurred vision of a white horse before hastily waking you with a fresh new midnight. It really is a breathtaking experience dear reader, SO GOOD!

I have to admit that I read this book out of order from the trilogy (Bad I know but the blurb hooked me) as it was the first one I had happened upon. BUT Arden has written The Winter Of The Witch in such a way that it not only works as its final chapter but also serves the purpose of a stand alone story to new readers. Of course I would highly recommend reading them in order first (and this book definitely makes you want to) but there is enough backstory and explanation given to the reader to help understand past events. I of course have every intention to read the first two now I have experienced this realm. It would be a shame not to. I just have to!

I give The Winter Of The Witch By Katherine Arden a Five out of Five paw rating.

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Just YES! Yes dear reader, this book is everything a story should host. The magical elements, diverse characters and constantly moving narrative made it a pleasure to read. Love, love, loved it! I just really really LOVE this book.  My heart was brutally stabbed, stitched back together, burned with rage and then carefully laid to rest in snow with the chance of healing before experiencing the whole process all over again.

 

Don’t forget to follow the rest of the blog tour, dates below, enjoy! 

 

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Links

Buy A Copy thumbnail_Winter of the Witch Cover

 

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Planet in Peril Review (The Arctic/Our Oceans) [Fly On The Wall Blog Tour]

Planet Earth. Home to thousands of species and lifeforms. Its delicate soft earth covered in grass, sand or ice with rivers and oceans running freely throughout its veins. A world of green, blue, life and death, the very place we all thrive and have inhabited for thousands of years. So why is it that we have taken an inordinate amount of our mother planet and plagued it with our selfish disregard for its other inhabitants? Why do we seem so intent on destroying our own home? Why?

Today lovely readers I am on the blog tour for Planet in Peril, (Hardback published 7th September 2019) an anthology for our time Poetry and Photography Edited by Isabelle Kenyon. The Foreword is written by Dr Michelle Cain, Science and Policy Research Associate, Oxford University and Features Emily Gellard Photography and a commissioned poem by Helen Mort. Basically, a really, really good mix of creative, talented artists. I am reviewing just one of the many inspiring sections in this breathtaking anthology, The Arctic/Our Oceans. As always a big thank-you to the publishers Fly On The Wall Press for a copy to review and also for the invite to take part. Always appreciated, thank-you. 

Planet in Peril

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When the sciences and the arts begin to work together, a powerful force is created. This anthology was founded on the belief that words have the power to change. Through poetry, photography and art, creatives across the globe, from the age of 8 to 80, have united to express the urgency of global warming, facing the facts but never losing hope.

A new metaphor is as useful in the climate fight as a new solar panel design. We need poets engaged in this battle, and this volume is proof that in fact they’re in the vanguard!

20% of the profits from this book will be donated to The Climate Coalition and WWF.

 

About Fly on the Wall Press

A publisher with a difference

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Fly on the Wall is a social enterprise company and a not for profit publisher. We publish high quality anthologies on pressing issues, chapbooks and poetry products, from exceptional poets around the globe, with socially conscious themes. To hear more about the press, we suggest subscribing to the mailing list!

https://www.flyonthewallpoetry.co.uk/subscribe-to-my-mailing-list

 

My Review

The Arctic is often seen as a cold vast landscape that offers little light and is blanketed in a pure white sheet of snow. Home to the polar bear, this part of the world is often neglected as the harsh realities of its habitat are slowly melting away into the ocean. An ongoing stretch of gentle blue, bobbing up and down, sometimes calm, sometimes wild. Earth has more water than land and if we are not careful, our fate could be sleeping with the fishies (bad pun I know, sorry!). As much as I would love to sing and dance with a talking crab, I don’t see how the whole breathing underwater thing would work.

The reader is given a short informal introduction to the tricky situation the Arctic and our oceans finds itself in. Its future looks bleak and uncertain as the threat of climate change, mining, shipping, oil and gas development, and overfishing is ever growing. We learn that the Arctic is warming twice as fast, impacting life on the ice and in sea. There is little food for staving polar bears who wonder the ice weak and tired. It’s shocking to see what the world has become at our own hands. It is not a place to be proud of. 

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These poems speak of the the peril that the Arctic and oceans face, should nothing change. How radioactive waste and oil pollute the waters, that the ice cap is disappearing  quickly like drawings in sand. Blink and you will miss it. It’s heartbreaking to read that this is what we have done to our beloved home. BUT also inspiring and a massive wake up call to the world that this is happening, right now, this second and we need to do something about it. I applaud all who took part in this project, you should all be proud of yourselves and the difference you are trying to make. Well done.

“Your perfectly preserved husk
Lies buried;
Sheets of glass
Protect your shroud from
Arctic hare and polar fox,
Their footsteps vibrating gently
Against the windowpane of
Your mausoleum.”

I was a blubbering mess reading Nanuk, her Babies and the Broken World By Jane Burn. I absolutely adore polar bears, always have done since I was a child and it breaks my heart to know there are so few left. Burn’s voice of the mother bear is perfection, it’s loving, and concerned for her cubs as food is scarce. I wanted nothing more than to welcome that little family into my home and give them a decent meal. It left me feeling helpless and wanting to do something, anything to help. 

They cry with their eyes closed. I curl around them,
skeleton in a sack. Wrap my babies best I can.

The imagery is so strong and striking, the vision of this thin polar bear, a skeleton with loose fur wandering the ice in search of food. It’s not right is it dear reader? A polar bear should be big, cuddly and have plenty of meat on them. It’s a disturbing and unnatural sight to see these beautiful creatures reduced to skin and bone.

Loose pelt hangs from my spine. I am gowned
in surplus skin. My body is shrouding itself.

These magnificent animals are worthy of so much more than what the humans have dealt them. They deserve a chance to hunt, have full bellies and live in peace. When I learned that Nanuk is an Innuit word for a Polar Bear and means ‘Animal Worthy of Great Respect, I started sobbing all over again. Because they are worthy of great respect. Polar Bears live in one of the coldest places in the world and battle against not only the elements of the harsh environment but also the damage that we have done.

The photography in this anthology is absolutely stunning, they need no words. The photos speak for themselves. You can see the fine details of the polar bear’s fur, the struggle, the fight to survive captured in one raw moment. The sadness in the eyes hits you right at the core. It should be an honour to share our planet with these creatures, indeed with all life. We are truthfully not worthy of their remarkable presence.

“The Antarctic ice sheet is actually a glacier and has existed for at least 40 million years. If it were to melt in its entirety, sea levels would rise 210 feet worldwide, according to the U.S. Geological Service. A single glacier ice crystal can grow to be as large as a baseball.” 

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I give Planet in Peril a Five out of Five paw rating.

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A collection of poetry and photography that when combined is a force of nature, one to be reckoned with. These poems are raw, honest and speak only the truth of the state of the planet. The poets/photographers are passionate about such an important topic that needs to keep being discussed, brought up and heard. Shouted from the rooftops if needs be. And most importantly, acted upon! It forces you to wake up and see the reality of the situation. Our Planet is in Peril and only we can help change this. We can’t just sit back and hope the problem will go away. We have the power to change things now, to help towards our future. We can do this. A world without polar bears would feel empty, cold and one I can not accept. I refuse! We’ve already lost so many glorious creatures, enough is enough.

The sad news about this project dear readers is they have had 5 failed grant applications. If you can help support this wonderful charity endeavour and the school workshop programme with any amount, even the smallest donation will make all the difference, click below to help.donate_hand.pngThey would be very, very grateful to you! Spread the word, tell family, friends and let’s help each other out. Thank-you.cf62efff-9499-487f-ae92-abec1d3ac690.png

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Links

Where can you buy it?

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Hardback: www.flyonthewallpoetry.co.uk
Ebook: Released through all retailers on November 1st 2019
Paperback: Released through all international retailers on December 1st 2019

 

Help support this outstanding project

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WWF Facts. Find out more

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 https://www.worldwildlife.org/places/arctic 

 

 

Hop hop wiggle wiggle 

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#Sonnets By Lucien Young review (Random Things Tours)

When one thinks of Shakespeare, what comes to mind? Be honest. Is it tights and puffy costumes or endless pages of dialogue that give you a headache as you try to understand why biting your thumb is seen as a great insult? Or even, dare we mention it, the Scottish play?

Today I am on the blog tour for #Sonnets By Lucien Young (Published 3rd October). A big thank you to the publishers Unbound for sending me a copy to review, always appreciated. And also to the lovey Anne for the invite, thank you. Right, let’s begin shall we? Ready to read Shakespeare as you’ve never read him before?

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About The Author

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Lucien Young is a comedy writer who has worked on various TV programmes, including BBC Three’s Siblings and Murder in Successville. He was born in Newcastle in 1988 and read English at the University of Cambridge, where he was a member of the world-famous Footlights Club.

#Sonnets

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I thought I could, with verse iambic, pry
Some sense from nonsense, and our modern scene
Depict and mock, while using “thee” and “thy”
In pages fit to rest by thy latrine.’

Shakespeare’s sonnets are among the great achievements in world literature. Alas, the immortal Bard never used his command of iambic pentameter to explore such themes as porn, Snapchat and Austin Powers.

#Sonnets is a collection of hilarious and inappropriate poems complete with illustrations of Elizabethan RoboCop and Snoop Dogg in tights. Musing on everything from Donald Trump to Tinder, comedy writer Lucien Young offers a Shakespearean take on the absurdity of modern life.

My Review

As an avid fan of Shakespeare and fellow performer of his plays, I was compelled to read Young’s take on one of the most famous historic literary figures that has ever graced our earth. Yes, some people see old Willy as the oddball that spoke funny while prancing about in tights, but you have to admit dear reader, he introduced the world to the endless possibilities that literature has to offer. He has been admired and respected throughout the world for years. Alas, as time proves, sometimes the past needs a little…updating shall we say. Thus I bring your attention to #Sonnets By Lucien Young. thumbnail_Sonnets Images.jpgUpon beginning the reader is welcomed with a note from the author which charmingly sets the tone for what is to follow. It turns out that Young is a Shakespeare in his own right. He relates to todays younger generation and it’s pop culture. What’s relevant to them and the strange language they chant, hashtag I feel so old!

If music be the food of love, hit shuffle,
For I would fain the grossest glutton be
And fill mine ears continually to muffle
The outside world’s outrageous litany. 

I really enjoyed this dear reader. A truly surreal experience to read about today’s trends in the form of sonnets. It was refreshing and brought new life to a dusty relic. Young most definitely has a talented way with words and uses the sonnet structure to his advantage. Along with his genius use of iambic pentameter, Young reveals to the reader just how mad the world has become. The fact that he is writing sonnets about Netflix and Pokémon is ironic as it sounds and brings a certain elegance to them that you can’t help but amusingly smile at. Good form Sir. Good form indeed. 

Good friend, thou see’st this lonely seeker
through
His long travails, his quest to catch them all
And I am blessed that thou, dear Pikachu,
Dost rest in my unworthy Poké Ball.

I strongly believe that this collection of witty and inappropriate poems should be taught alongside Shakespeare in schools. It would not only be humorous on a subject that many young teens find tedious but would be extremely relatable to their generation. Think about it. How can we expect kids to understand the complexity that comes with studying Shakespeare when so much has changed within the time since he penned his works? It doesn’t fascinate them as they often view it as some boring guy who wrote in riddles and doesn’t talk proper like. But here, with Young’s #Sonnets it’s modern, speaks of twitter, celebrities, things that populate todays youth. Therefore allowing them to gain more of an interest and hopefully investigate further as to it’s original source material. The youth of today don’t want to hear about what’s in a name or to be or not to be because it’s alien to them. It’s not useful in their day to day lives or ‘trending’. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and this daunting world of wifi tech is strangely beautiful in its own right.

Young tries to make sense of this strange world that we inhabit with Twitter, waiting a lifetime for a text reply and the unchartered territory that is Tinder. Just think, in a hundred years time WhatsApp messaging will be a unknown language to our future generations. It could probably take centuries to decipher our text speak. Lol living my best life, got to get them likes for the gram…oh god, no I can’t, apologies dear reader I love the english language too much to mock it, forgive me!

The bubble grey emerges, three small dots
Declare that thou dost fashion thy reply
And, lo, my brow is slicked, my stomach knots,
For soon thy precious words shall fill mine eyes. 

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I give #Sonnets By Lucien Young a Four out of Five paw rating.

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A delicious twist on the old with the new. I found myself giggling throughout as I feasted upon sonnets of Doctor Who and that photo of Kim Kardashian that broke the internet. It is tongue in check humour and I highly approve. With all the craziness that is consuming the world today, dare I say it the conundrum that is Brexit, this collection of sonnets is very, very much needed and appreciated. 

Thank you Young, for reminding us that there is still some poetic justice in the world.

 

Don’t forget to follow the rest of the blog tour, dates below, enjoy! 

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Links

Buy A Copythumbnail_sonnets

 

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@LucienDYoung

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Hop hop wiggle wiggle 

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HALLOWEEN BOOK GIVEAWAY!

BOO! 

Did I scare you dear reader? Alas I know, poor attempt but ’tis the season and all. That time of year again when the days get darker, leaves are a mixture of reds and oranges and we can feel all cozy wrapped up in our never-ending layers. Although I find a reason to wear scarves all year round, kinda my signature thing along with Dr. Martens. Most comfortable boots ever!

Today I have a very, very special blog post to share with you. You are in for a treat! I have been asked by the lovely Vanessa Morgan if I would be interested in posting about this spooky giveaway to my readers. Yes, yes I would. There is nothing I feel more passionate about or support more than the beautiful world of literature.  Below are details of the ten spooktastic books you could win, and information on how to enter. 

But make haste dear reader as this giveaway ends on the 31st of October, 2019. So snuggle up, light some candles and indulge in your pumpkin spice latte while you take a gander at the spine-chilling books you could sink your fangs into. 

Don’t forget to share the love and tell your family and friends. Think of it as one less Christmas present to buy if they win 😉 Muhahahaha *attempts evil laugh* I used to do a wicked evil witch laugh, even got a certificate for it at school! I digress, onwards with the giveaway!

Halloween Book GIVEAWAY!!!

Who doesn’t want to dive into a good, creepy book this time of the year? With Halloween around the corner, we’re giving away ten books, written by the contributors of Strange Blood: 71 Essays on Offbeat and Underrated Vampire Movies edited by Vanessa Morgan (released April 2019).

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From vampires and werewolves to ghosts and serial killers, these terrifyingly brilliant books will have you enjoy the creepy season that much more.

You can win all of them by filling in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of the page. The giveaway is open worldwide, and ends October 31st, 2019. 

Good luck!

 

Strange Blood: 71 Essays on Offbeat and Underrated Vampire Movies by Vanessa Morgan (ebook)

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This is an overview of the most offbeat and underrated vampire movies spanning nine decades and 23 countries.

Strange Blood encompasses well-known hits as well as obscurities that differ from your standard fang fare by turning genre conventions on their head. Here, vampires come in the form of cars, pets, aliens, mechanical objects, gorillas, or floating heads. And when they do look like a demonic monster or an aristocratic Count or Countess, they break the mold in terms of imagery, style, or setting. Leading horror writers, filmmakers, actors, distributors, academics, and programmers present their favorite vampire films through in-depth essays, providing background information, analysis, and trivia regarding the various films. Some of these stories are hilarious, some are terrifying, some are touching, and some are just plain weird. Not all of these movies line up with the critical consensus, yet they have one thing in common: they are unlike anything you’ve ever seen in the world of vampires. Just when you thought that the children of the night had become a tired trope, it turns out they have quite a diverse inventory after all.

Purchase => https://amzn.to/2PzaiGY

Discover The Horror: One Man’s 50-Year Quest for Monsters, Maniacs, and the Meaning of it All by Jon Kitley (paperback)

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For over five decades, Jon Kitley has been on a never-ending quest to explore as much of the horror film genre as possible, from the early days of terror television to movie theaters and drive-ins, from the video explosion to the creation of his long-running website. Now, for the first time, fans of Kitley’s Krypt can read how it all started (and continues to this day) as Jon shares his personal “tales from the road” experiences, having attended over a hundred horror movie conventions from coast-to-coast, as well as thoughts on different sub-genres, critics, reference books, and so much more. Plus, discover plenty of tips on how YOU can get the most out of your own journey into Monsters, Maniacs, and the Meaning of it All!

Purchase => https://amzn.to/2mOmxoK

Wholesale Theft and the Least of One’s Problems by Chris Hewson (ebook)

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Focusing on sexism, B-movies, and the Golden Age of Hollywood, Wholesale Theft is about the adventures of Edith Donnegan, a young woman who invariably finds herself up against killer robots, mad scientists, and lizardmen. All the while, she has to deal with incessant chauvinism for the most absurd of reasons, but she strives to succeed. The Key in the Grave: A haunting in a feared old mansion catches the attention of Edith, who decides to play amateur ghost-hunter to discover what happened in the past, and what’s happening now. Empire of the Future: While on holiday to Luxembourg, Edith witnesses the world change into a bizarre hybrid of past and future technology. If she wants any chance of getting back home, she’ll have to stop a power-mad ruler before the changes are permanent. Undead Teenagers of the Lost Island: On an uncharted island, mysterious and dastardly experiments threaten a group of visiting teenagers. Can Edith rescue them in time from the clutches of a villainous mad scientist?

And more!…

Purchase => https://amzn.to/2lVbTMH

Corporate Wolf by Stuart R. West (ebook)

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It was supposed to be a corporate retreat and a series of morale-boosting exercises. It was a weekend Shawn Biltmore nearly didn’t survive. There was something else playing in the woods that night, something other than a bunch of corporate drones with paintball guns. And it had chosen Shawn as its new chew toy. …rip ’em to shreds. The local authorities chalked it up to a bear attack. So did the doctors. Shawn knew the truth, however, as much as he wanted to deny it. But when one of his coworkers is viciously killed, Shawn must face the truth… He’s a killer who needs to be put down. Or is he?

Purchase => https://amzn.to/2lVs3Wp

Bill the Vampire by Rick Gualtieri (ebook)

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There are reasons we fear the night. He’s NOT one of them.

Bill Ryder was a dateless geek, but then he met a girl to die for. So he did. Sadly, that was just the beginning of his troubles. He awoke as a vampire but, fangs or not, he was still at the bottom of the food chain. Now he finds himself surrounded by creatures stronger, deadlier, and a hell of a lot cooler than he is … and they all want to kick his ass. Bill isn’t exactly average, though. A vamp like him hasn’t been seen in centuries. He’s got a few tricks up his sleeve, unlikely allies, and an attitude that makes him too damned obnoxious to quit. Join him in this hilarious tale of bloodthirsty monsters and the unlikely hero who’s not afraid to flip them all off, even if it gets him killed – again.

Purchase => https://amzn.to/2li4x5A

Dragon of the Stars by Alex J. Cavanaugh (ebook)

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The future is set for Lt. Commander Aden Pendar, son of a Hyrathian Duke. He’s poised to secure his own command and marriage to the queen’s daughter. He’ll stop at nothing to achieve his goals.

But when the Alliance denies Hyrath’s claim on the planet of Kavil and declares war on their world, Aden finds his plans in disarray. Entrenched in battle and told he won’t make captain, Aden’s world begins to collapse. How will he salvage his career and future during Hyrath’s darkest hour?

One chance remains – the Dragon. Lost many years prior, the legendary ship’s unique weapon is Hyrath’s only hope. Can Aden find the Dragon, save his people, and prove he’s capable of commanding his own ship?

Purchase => https://amzn.to/2ligxnL

Suckers by Anne Billson (ebook)

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Everywhere you looked, there would be women dressed in black – white faces, black hair, mouths painted scarlet. It was The Look. You saw it on the street. You saw it on the covers of magazines. You saw it presenting arts programmes on TV. And some of us saw it in our nightmares… Anne Billson’s debut novel, described by Christopher Fowler in Time Out as ‘dark, sharp, chic and very funny’, is set at the end of the ‘greed is good’ era, and features a gothic love triangle between a man, a woman and the 300-year-old vampire they chopped into pieces a decade earlier. But now she’s back, and this time she’s building a bloodsucking empire…

Purchase => https://amzn.to/2lhrypd

Saucy Jacky: The Whitechapel Murders as Told by Jack the Ripper’ by Doug Lamoureux (audio book)

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Come into the East End of London, England, 1888.

Walk the streets of Whitechapel and slums of Spitalfields, side by side with history’s most notorious serial killer.

Overhear his plans, and listen – or try not to – to his secret thoughts as he waits in the shadows. Keep pace, if you have the nerve, as he stalks his victims.

Watch, if you have the stomach, as he commits his outrages. And run with him, if you’re still upright, as he escapes the swarming forces of police desperate for his hide and head.

Imagining the unimaginable in this unabashed novel of terror, award-winning author Doug Lamoreux takes you inside the mind of the infamous killer who was never caught.

Discover the Whitechapel murders…as told by Jack the Ripper himself.

Purchase => https://amzn.to/2mVNE0Q

Blood Bar by Daph Nobody (ebook – French edition)

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In a close future, blood has become a valuable beverage. A “new world” guru named Borderman has built up a business on this fluid flowing in every man’s veins. During a long drought, as water is missing everywhere, blood becomes the core of a “golden rush”. People kill for a single drop of water or blood. After being raped by a bunch of men who introduced themselves as water sellers, Alna loses her mind and eventually commits suicide. Years later, her husband Jooze, old enough to feel death getting closer, wants to take revenge as a final shot before dying: he will find back those men and kill them all! On his way, he will meet a little girl who was genetically conceived by the government to be exclusively fed with blood. A magic encounter, so to speak! He will use her as his ultimate weapon. But a dark man called Bob Wayne is chasing them both, whose mind is driven by cruel desires and insane projects…

Purchase => https://amzn.to/2nowU2E

Peripheral Visions: The Complete Ghost Stories 1988-2015 by Robert Hood (ebook)

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Peripheral Visions is a unique reference collection that includes all of Robert Hood’s 44 ghost stories to date, three of them especially written for this volume. These memorable tales display Hood’s uncanny ability to make the fantastic real, to embrace weirdness and create human characters whose lives – both inner and outer – haunted by mortality, are laid bare and revealed to be our own worst nightmares. Ranging from melancholy reflection on life and death, through disquieting tales of dark humour and vengeance, to chilling visions of ghostly apocalypse. Hood’s stories are sure to draw you into a terrifying world that in the end is revealed to be irrefutably our own. Though many of these stories draw on the traditions of the past, they are far from traditional in approach. As you turn each page remember this: not everything here is as it seems. There’s always something more, barely glimpsed, out there on the periphery.

Each section has an evocative, disturbing illustration by noted artist, Nick Stathopoulos.

Purchase => https://amzn.to/2mPtGFi

 

If you want to be in with a chance of wining all 10 of these fangtastic books, click the link below!

RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Right dear readers, I am off to sink my teeth into some gothic literature and maybe watch a horror film later with the hubby. I do love this time of year!

 

Hop hop wiggle wiggle 

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