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Posted January 12, 2014
Lora is being raised in an orphanage in London, England 1915. In
Lora is being raised in an orphanage in London, England 1915. In these time the sixteen year old knows she has to stay out of sight and to keep quiet about her ability to hear music when others don't, the voice in her head and her dreams. While she tries to blend in she does stand out and gets the attention of a charity. She is sent to a boarding school where she clearly doesn't belong. Jesse a groundskeeper and Armand both notice her and want her for there own. Lora's powers seem to be growing and there is a danger near. She has to learn to use her powers quickly if she and her friends want to survive.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
This book does stand out as different and is very well written. It just didn't seem to be my thing. I know other people will love it. I liked Lora she is a good character that is surrounded by rich spoiled girls and makes the best of it. She has to understand what is special about her and learn to control it. She has two guys who want her but she doesn't go back and forth. She knows what is in her heart. I really liked Jesse. He seemed really special to me. I guess I am a sucker for the working and poor people in this story. At times I will say this book was very easy to put down and then I had to go back a few pages to refresh my memory. I just didn't get into it like I had hoped. I enjoyed the time period and what paranormal aspects the books has. If you like historical, paranormal YA books or are wanting to try one you may want to give this one a try.
Posted December 25, 2013
First of all, I ADORED the time period and location in which thi
First of all, I ADORED the time period and location in which this is set and that is what piqued my interest right off the bat. When I first started reading, I admit I felt the writing was a bit disorienting, as I struggled to grasp the overall concept of what was happening. However, the story began to flow and I got used to it, even with the sudden switching of POV's.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
We begin the book by meeting Lora, our protagonist. She was orphaned at a young age and was raised in an orphanage, where she was forced to take care of herself and hide her secrets. I really like that Lora is tough as nails, and after she is sent to Iverson, a boarding school for girls, she does not let any of the socialite girls affect her. However, amidst petty elitist girls, ridicule, and pity, Lora finds her bright spot, in my opinion, in Jesse. He is the school's groundskeeper and you can't help but fall in love with him. He is sweet, tender, and loving to Lora and also helps her realize who she truly is and what destiny awaits her, if she surrenders to it.
Armand, on the other hand, the aristrocratic Duke's son, is strangely drawn to Lora, from the moment they first meet as she gets off the train to Iverson. He doesn't understand why he is so drawn to her and neither do any of the other girls at Iverson. What could the poor penniless girl have that the Duke's son could possibly desire? Their banter is quite amusing and I liked how his role wasn't just to serve as a second admirer.
When I first read the synopsis and saw there may be potentially be a love triangle, I thought, 'really, another one?!'. I'm all love-triangled out! Rest assured to those who are like me, I thought the incorporation of both boys in her life worked out really well. I don't want to give anything away, obviously, but they are all destined for something more, together.
The ending of the book definitely ripped my heart open, but it also left me with hope for Lora and her future, as she's just now discovering who she is really is. (I won't say what but it was definitely awesome when it was finally revealed!)
I really enjoyed this book and read through it in no time at all. It was so easy to get swept away to England and pulled in to the magical elements of the story. I can't wait for the second book!
*Thank you to Random House for providing an advanced copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.*
Posted November 6, 2013
I absolutely loved it! It took me a bit to get into the story, b
I absolutely loved it! It took me a bit to get into the story, but as soon as the twist started to be introduced, it was nothing but love from there! I feel the only reason I didn't care for some of the beginning is that I don't like the whole snotty mean girl vibe, but I get that needs to be a part of some stories. I'm glad Lora didn't turn out to be some wilting flower. She's had horrible things done to her, and she stills stands up for herself. She's got strength. Jesse was super wonderful, and so selfless. It would be hard not to adore him. Armand was a little harder for me to like, but he did grow on me a bit later on in the story. I'll tell you though, I hate the nickname Mandy! Horrible! Every time someone called him that, I'd cringe. The twist was wonderful, I was thinking it was going to go one way, and then BAM!, nope that's not the way it goes. I love the direction it went. I like the visuals Shana Abe creates with her words. The setting really adds life to this story. If you like fantasy love stories then definitely read The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe. This story really worked for me. Next up on my to read list, the sequel to The Sweetest Dark, The Deepest Night. I'm really looking forward to it!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 18, 2013
There are monsters living beside you right now. We were told tha
There are monsters living beside you right now. We were told that monsters are a myth but they do exist. They look just like us when they want to, but they are really monsters made of smoke, colors and claws called the Dra’kon. The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe is the story of one of the last Dra’kon.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The story begins during World War 1 in 1914 at The Moor Gate Institute for Socially Afflicted Youth in London England. Eleanor is sixteen years old and was found wandering the city streets with no memory. She also hears voices and music that no one else hears. After awhile her condition improve and opportunity knocks. Children are being sent to schools in the country because of the fear of the German army attacking London. Eleanor is then given the chance to go to a new school called The Iverson Boarding School.
Iverson is an eerie looking Gothic castle and very exclusive school on England’s Southern coast where rich people send their kids. Eleanor doesn’t fit in at the school but she does meet two boys who want to win her heart. One knows what Eleanor really is and the other can help her in the future and has secrets of his own. Eleanor must learn to use her magic or loose everything she has.
The Sweetest Dark is a beautifully written paranormal historical fantasy. I loved how it was set during World War 1 and how the castle and location added to the atmosphere in the story. The way everything is described in this book, it was more like looking at a beautiful painting then reading a coming of age story.
The Sweetest Dark is a YA novel and is not the normal kind of book that I like to read but the way the story was told really brought it to life. The settings were described in breathtaking detail and Eleanor was a character you couldn’t help but fall in love with. She is a girl who is a little different and is trying to fit in while wanting to find out why she is the way she is. People of all ages will find something to like in The Sweetest Dark. So if historical fantasy, ancient magic, vividly described settings and a touch of romance are your cup of tea then give this one a read.
Posted September 2, 2013
The year is 1915 and sixteen-year-old Lora Jones has just been g
The year is 1915 and sixteen-year-old Lora Jones has just been given the chance of a lifetime to attend a prestigious boarding school, surely better than the orphanage she currently resides in on the outskirts of London. Lora isn’t just any ordinary girl though. Within her she harbors some powerful secrets that even she can’t fully understand and she must hide them from the world; that is until she arrives at her new school and meets Jesse, the school’s groundskeeper. He sees Lora for her true self and will go to the greatest lengths to help her, while Armand, one of the rich students, has dark secrets of his own and together, the three teenagers will walk an ancient magical path while fighting for the heart of the girl.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
“I know all about it. I know all about you. You have wings at night. You lift as smoke. And you come to me, don’t you? Always to me.”
I love that this book had a historical setting and a new fresh spin on the fantasy genre. Shana Abe does a wonderful job creating characters that are lifelike and allow the reader to really feel a personal connection with them. I definitely recommend this book if you are looking for something new and unique!
*This book was provided in exchange for an honest review*
*You can view the original review at Musing with Crayolakym and San Francisco & Sacramento City Book Review
Posted July 11, 2013
Captivating, but short
I really enjoyed this book. It was only 200 and some odd pages so I read it in two days. I wish it were longer, but thankfully the next book comes out next month(August 2013). From what I understand there are going to be at least 3 books. The author's web site says she is working on the 3rd.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
It is captivating and beautifully written. I have mixed feelings about the end of the book, it seemed somewhat rushed. But, overall it was definitely worth the read.
Posted May 30, 2013
Owlnestly Reviews How do I even begin to describe this literally
Owlnestly ReviewsWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
How do I even begin to describe this literally breathtaking novel? This book was incredible, point blank. I have never read a novel that was as whimsical, mystical, and taunting wrapped up all in one. The novel is set in the WWI era and starts out with Lora and her experiences in the orphanage and the mental institution. You see, Lora is not your typical human. In fact, she is hardly human at all. She is able to hear the mysterious songs of gold, and precious gems, and she has a daunting voice inside telling her all sorts of absurd things. Lora is special, which is seen from the very beginning. But, like all young adult novels, Lora is also a teenager. She is sent off the a pristine boarding school on scholarship away from the bombings in London. Here, she meets two very handsome, very mysterious boys.
I was torn between these two boys. I wasn't sure which one I loved more, but either way I loved to love them. Jesse is the groundskeeper for Iverson boarding school and he is everything you would expect is a total swoon worthy character. He is handsome, caring, and just precious. Armand, on the other hand is a lot tougher. He definitely has a rough exterior, but he also holds secrets that must be protected by his hard shell. Both of them were quite the gentleman in one way or another.
Unlike most young adult novels, this ones writing went so much more in depth. It carried a whimsical quality that flowed like the wind on a clear summer night. Everything was written so delicately and precisely. I thoroughly enjoyed the writing style. Also unlike young adult novels, the ending to this one had a somber note to it. It was the perfect ending, because it was foreshadowed throughout, but it did not stop the tears in the least.
I guarantee you will love this novel if you enjoy dragons, swoon worthy characters, and a bit of mystical storytelling. What are you waiting for?
Posted May 10, 2013
I ridiculously loved The Sweetest Dark, in the sense that after
I ridiculously loved The Sweetest Dark, in the sense that after I finished it, I just about cried before I found out that book two comes out in August. Or maybe I was still crying over the ending. *spoiler* It’s heartbreaking. Basically there was a lot of feels going on towards the end of The Sweetest Dark. Funnily enough, I didn’t enjoy this book in the beginning. I nearly DNF’d.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I’ve never been a fan of period novels. Besides having a hard time relating to individuals from another time, the writing style in period novels tends to be dense and therefore more time consuming. I knew I was taking a huge risk requesting/starting a book that takes place in the early 1900s. Of course, now that I’ve finished and adored The Sweetest Dark, there’s a part of me that wants to give others a chance. Yes the writing was denser, but because so, the emotions were amplified.
Abe’s writing style is so colorful and passionate. I really got a sense for 1900s-London, a setting that was absolutely perfect. Dark and gritty, 1900s London was just right for The Sweetest Dark which has an edgier, almost gothic quality. Taking place in the middle of World War I also heightened the sense of danger and despair.
Our main character, Eleanor a.k.a. Lora is quite plainly extraordinary. An orphan with a seriously dark and disturbing past, Lora has been through a lot. Yet, she prevailed. Wise beyond her years, Lora is incredibly smart, quick, resourceful, brave and confident. She’s also witty and fast-thinking – able to throw verbal punch for verbal punch with anyone – even a certain smart-mouth highborn (Armand). She’s not afraid to stand up for herself, among males and the catty material girls that Iverson is known for.
When you see Jesse and Armand mentioned in the cover description you automatically think or dread “love triangle” – like I did. But don’t be afraid! There’s more to it. I found both boys to be completely different with their own faults and virtues. I thought that their roles were essential and enjoyable.
The myth/magic part in The Sweetest Dark is tastefully done. It’s mysterious, dark, sexy and dangerous.
There’s a lot of heartbreak and despair in The Sweetest Dark. I won’t lie, I teared up a bit… or you know… a lot. The ending was cruel yet probably essential (as I keep trying to tell myself).
I give The Sweetest Dark 5 stars for it’s originality and shocking twists.
Posted April 27, 2013
The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe is a new YA series, which is some
The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe is a new YA series, which is somewhat of a spinoff from her very successful Drakon adult series. The story takes place in England during World War I.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The heroine and main character in this book is Eleanore Jones ( Lora), whom we meet from the start, as an orphaned young girl. She has no memory of her early childhood, other then the orphanage. She has had a hard life, always hearing music in her head, which made her life even harder, with people thinking she was mentally impaired. Over time the voices/music go away, and she is then chosen as a charity student to an exclusive for the rich, school in London. As soon as she arrives at the school, the voices start coming back, and the music, which comes when looking at precious metals/gemstones. Lora does not know what is happening, and is convinced she is going insane.
Just as she arrives at Iverson, Lora meets Jesse, the coach driver, and feels an immediate connection to him. She also meets Armand, who is the son of the Duke, and who pays for the charity student each year. But things start off rocky between Lora and Armand, and it becomes fun to watch their snarkiness to each other. Jesse is however, a quiet and gentle soul, and Lora knows she wants to know more about Jesse.
At the school, Lora is treated like the charity case she is. She is ridiculed by some of the rich girls, but Lora is also hardened by her young life, and stands up to the girls. She is amazing with her retorts. Lora, to the surprise of some of the other girls, does develop a friendship with Sophia, one of the rich girls.
She sneaks out often during the evenings to meet Jesse, and it is then she learns he is more then what he seems. Jesse begins to tell her of her own life, and how important and valuable she is. He explains some of the voices, and music she hears, and the letters she reads that she has from her unknown past. She learns of her mother, a Drakon, and what that means. Armand, as noted before, acts the part well as an arrogant aristocrat, but something pulls him to Lora. He too will learn more from Jesse. An unusual friendship bond will develop between the three of them.
Shana Abe has created three wonderful and interesting characters. At first, I thought it was somewhat slow learning about Lora, but not to far into the book, she becomes a wonderful and strong heroine. The last half of the book was excellent, watching Lora come on to her own, learning all that she needs to know, her love of Jesse, and the friendship she begins to have with Armand. It all ties together, and at the end, we are totally hooked to find out what will happen in the next book.
Posted April 16, 2013
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a re
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Random House Publishing Group and Netgalley.)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Sixteen-year-old Lora Jones is an orphan. An orphan who doesn’t even remember her parents, and can hear melodies no-one else can hear.
Having spent time in a mental institution after leaping from her top floor window thinking that she could fly, Lora finds herself sent to school for girls called Iverson, where she is looked down upon by the rich students, who don’t want to associate with a charity case.
Lora finds herself capturing the attention of two different men though. Jesse the hired help who maintains the grounds, and Armand, the owner’s son. Jesse knows what Lora really is though, and is about to help her become what she was born to be.
What is Lora though? What is Jesse? And who will she choose?
I liked this book, the writing was beautiful, and the mystery surrounding what Lora really was was quite compelling.
Lora was a quick-witted girl, who knew that she was poor, but didn’t listen when people told her that she was less than the rich girls. She tried her best to fit in and follow rules, but she also wasn’t afraid to make waves, and often came out with things that would have been considered b*tchy and inappropriate! Whether this was because of the way she was raised in the orphanage, or whether it was just her I’m not sure, but at several times I cheered that she stuck up for herself against the rich girls, and some of her insults were bril!
There were two love interests in this book – Jesse, who worked at the school and was thought to be mute (but wasn’t), and Armand, the owners son. Lora seemed to prefer Jesse, but I personally loved Armand! He was a little dark and dangerous, and being with him would have really ruffled feathers! This was one of those love triangles that was a little irritating because Lora was a little blind to it, and also because I thought she was making the wrong choice!
I liked the storyline in this book, and although the fantasy aspect could have been odd in this historic novel (circa WW1), it was actually blended in really well, and the idea of mythical creatures didn’t seem unlikely. I did like the beginning more than the end though, I think some of the mystery was lost towards the end, but I did like it overall. The way this book was written was quite beautiful and flowing, which added to the mystery and Victorian feel, and I really liked it.
The ending to the book was quite shocking with one characters sudden demise(!) and other events surrounding Lora, it will be very interesting to see where the story goes from here!
Overall; a YA historical fantasy novel with a splash of romance.
8 out of 10.
Posted April 14, 2013
Shana Abe is a wonderful writer - The Sweetest Dark is a very we
Shana Abe is a wonderful writer - The Sweetest Dark is a very well written YA paranormal. I like how the book was written more in the first person telling the story rather than from outside, looking in.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Elinore Jones (Lora) has been raised in an orphanage, never knowing who her parent were and had no other family. She gets a rare opportunity to attend an exclusive girls school, Iverson and that's where things start to happen. Elinore hears music that no one else can and a voice inside her head. Things start happening at Iverson - there she meets Jesse the schools groundskeeper, a caring and loving friend that teaches her about herself - he is kind and patient. She also meets Armand, the son of a Duke who is like Elinore. I truly wish there is a follow-up book as the ending left me with a number of questions. If you looking for a beautifuly written, easy read - this is the one.
Posted April 13, 2013
I would like to thank Bantam and NetGalley for providing me a di
I would like to thank Bantam and NetGalley for providing me a digital copy in exchange for an honest review.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I loved this story! And I just love this beautiful cover! I was so frustrated that life got too busy for me to finish it quickly, but I guess this way I got to savor it. This story is set in the early 1900's with war going on and London being bombed by the Germans. Eleanore is a young orphan girl that has grown up in an orphanage home called Blisshaven, and has been treated for psychotic issues at the Moor Gate Institute. She hears songs in the stones and metals. And since no one else does so she must need therapy. But one day part of the school is bombed and so all the children are sent away, and Eleanore is being sent to The Iverson School for Girls as the new charity student sponsored by the Duke of Idylling.
Here Eleanore, also known as Lora, meets Jesse and Armand. And what she learns from them changes her life. Here she learns there is nothing wrong with her, and that she comes from a lost line of Dragon. She is drakon. And Jesse is her star. What ensues is a very sweet, hidden relationship between them as Jesse teaches and loves her, and helps her reach her full potential. I absolutely fell in love with Jesse. He is sweet, quiet, attentive, and caring, and calls to Lora with his own song. But he also knows what is coming because the stars talk to him. And he holds some of his secrets in. Lora loves him with all her heart.
Armand is the son of Duke Reginald. He is the opposite of Jesse. He is drawn to Eleanore and doesn't know why. And he finds little ways to get close and talk to her. Their little banter was fun and witty and had me wanting more of him. And he has a secret that he doesn't even know about or realize that leads to some great twists and turns. He had a wonderful part in bringing the story together.
I loved Lora's character. She has bright and witty and a fighter. She did not take any teasing and bullying from the spoiled rich girls at Iverson. She was quick with fun comebacks, and could protect herself. She was brave and beautiful. But she also had these strange morbid thoughts sometimes that showed you she could be evil, yet wasn't.
I have only read a few books with dragons and this one has moved up to favorite. Great characters, beautiful writing and descriptions, lovely romance, and a very bittersweet ending that, even though it broke my heart, it also seemed to be perfect. I am very excited to read the next book in this series.
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Posted April 13, 2013
An engaging read that captures the essence of teenager's struggl
An engaging read that captures the essence of teenager's struggles with trying to find themselves and turning it into a heart pounding fantasy adventure.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The story was written in a very descriptive manner, but what I liked most is that she could really make you feel like you were there by adding in descriptions for the other senses like touch, taste, and smell as well as sight.
Lora is different and its because of this that she has hidden much of herself away. I really liked her bravery and strength throughout the story. She needed all of them in order to make it through this harsh where you never can tell you is friend or foe. I believe that although she has many abilities the average human does not she is still a very relate able character. Everyone has to deal with the issues of fitting in at some point in their life, but for Lora its life or death.
I also really enjoyed the romance in this story which was very beautiful, but at the same time didn't take over the whole story. It was a nice addition and I liked how the relationships were handled. There were mistakes made, but the characters acknowledged them and were able to deal with any issues instead of running away or pretending like it didn't exist.
I can't wait until the next book because there are still a lot of questions about Lora's past that I would really like answered.
Overall this is a beautiful adventure with a dash of romance that I highly recommend to all YA fans!
Posted April 9, 2013
A powerful story of romance, Dragon, and self-acceptance. Sixtee
A powerful story of romance, Dragon, and self-acceptance.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Sixteen-year-old Lora Jones is an orphan. Never before has she ever felt she belonged – frequently hearing sounds of music which others do not, and dreaming of floating in air. As others have constantly embedded in her, Lora too, at time, is starting to wonder if she really has gone mad. Leaving the constitution where she was ill-treated and imprisoned both emotionally and physically, Lora sets off for Iverson - where she instantly finds out that this new place isn’t much of an escape from her previous mistreat. The only good thing about Iverson is Jesse – the boy that causes the music she hears to elevate and explode at full power. There is an electrifying connection between the two of them and Lora doesn’t quite know how to deal with it. Not forgetting, the other boy who has been keeping his eyes on her, Lord Armand; whom is more than just eye-candy, he holds the very same secret that Lora does, and although coming from different status and background, they have more in common than they’d like to admit. Lora’s new start at a new place is only the beginning of the changes that will take place in her life; her true self will be uncovered and she’ll learn that the road she is to take may end up being a very lonely one.
I have to admit, a novel based on ‘Drakons’ is quite new to me … and I find it very intriguing. Shanna Abe’s ability to mix the concept with the analogy of self-discovery is quite awe-worthy. As Lora struggle to understand her new profound identity, for me is the perfect example of teenagers facing the problem of figuring out who they truly are – having to grow up, mature, and choose what they want to be after high school – it can be a very scary ride. This is why The Sweetest Dark series will be such a great read for teenagers and young adults still in process of accepting themselves.
As I mentioned above, the plot was refreshing and the words were lyrical. Sometimes it was as if a musical was operating – haunting and beautiful. And the characters were relatable and realistic - okay, so you are probably questioning me at this point – how can Dragons be relatable and realistic - in a sense that their human form still feels and think as normal humans’ would. As Lora’s character develops, she starts to feel she might be alone in this world – I don’t know about you, but I believe almost everyone at one point has felt that way. Besides, I wasn’t necessarily speaking of only of the leading characters, but also the supporting ones. Sophia, Lora’s hate-love friendship, and those Iverson are the perfect example of prejudice. They would all treat Lora horribly and they haven’t even taken the time to get to know her first; just because she wore raggedy clothes and her hair isn’t as perfect as theirs. The only difference with Sophia is that after a few badmouthing, she actually came around.
“Art may take its form however we wish. That is its joy.”
I enjoyed this book and recommend it to all the fantasy-dragon loving readers, especially teens and YA, who are in need of a good significant book.
(Plus, I have already read the second installment, and it was freaking awesome!) Look out for my review on book two – The Deepest Dark!
Posted April 9, 2013
If you are looking for a non-stop action packed adventure this b
If you are looking for a non-stop action packed adventure this book isn’t for you.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
If I had to pick one word to describe this book it would be beautiful. It was beautifully written and created. Highly complex, vividly descriptive, passionately conceived and emotionally gripping, Shana Abe’ plunges you into this fascinating world centered on England during the World War era.
The Sweetest Dark sucks us into a world where “dragons” and magic can exist, classes collide and finding ones true heart might bring true happiness. This was brilliant story telling with a love that will touch your soul.
This ARC copy of The Sweetest Dark was given to me by Random House Publishing Group - Bantam in exchange for an honest review. Publish Date April 9, 2013.
Posted April 7, 2013
The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe is the beginning of an unbelievab
The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe is the beginning of an unbelievable journey for Eleanore. Everything is changing. She is changing school. She will be living in a new place to attend this school. She will be surrounded by society’s finest children while she is an orphan. While dealing with these changes she learns about another change. A change that makes her different from everyone she has ever known.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 29, 2013
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Posted January 7, 2014
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Posted May 1, 2013
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Posted September 30, 2013
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