Mid-May Favourites

Today was my first day of exams so from now until mid-June I’m basically snowed under with revision. That said, I’ve still been finding time to discover a couple of new favourites this month and particularly my film favourite, I am completely obsessed with! That said, this list definitely isn’t up to my usual standards and I’m sorry!

Film:
Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 (2017)
Director: James Gunn

Obviously, if anyone knows me, I am going to be obsessed with the newest Marvel release. I know that the majority of people love this film, though some people are sitting on the fence, and I am firmly in the camp of absolute adoration. This film was quite different in tone from the first one and was definitely more emotional and moving but was still full of brilliant songs, amazing characters and the humour that all Marvel films are jam-packed with. This film was so engaging and enjoyable and I encourage everybody to go and see it!

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Book:
Six of Crows (2015)
Author: Leigh Bardugo

I can’t believe that the first time I picked this book up I couldn’t even get through the first five pages because now I am fully obsessed with this book. I love all of the characters because they’re so complex and engaging and are characters that I’ve never read about before. This world is so vivid and dark and gritty that I just want to discover more about it and the plot was perfect – who doesn’t love a good heist novel? I can’t wait to read the sequel!

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Album:
Grease Live Soundtrack (2016)

After becoming absolutely obsessed with the Hairspray Live soundtrack, I figured I should give Grease Live a shot as well. Now, Grease isn’t actually one of my favourite musicals (with is a very unpopular opinion) but I’m pleased to say that I absolutely adored it. Aaron Tveit, Vanessa Hudgens and Jordan Fisher are incredible in this and I have been listening to every single song on repeat.

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Doctor Strange | Movie Review

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Release date: 24 October 2016 (United Kingdom)
Director: Scott Derrickson
Box office: 677.4 million USD
Budget: 165 million USD
Music composed by: Michael Giacchino

If you know anything about me, then you know that I am an absolutely massive, humongous Marvel fanatic. This film came out at the latter end of last year and, come the middle of March, I was still yet to see it. And this didn’t sit right with me and I desperately needed to give it a watch, so I did. And while it may not be my new favourite Marvel film, it still made extremely enjoyable viewing and was definitely a very different film to what is currently out in the Marvel universe. I really loved the main character Stephen Strange and his partner in crime Christine and the bantering, almost sibling-like relationship like they had with each. The visual effects were also stunning and, as per usual, there was plenty of humour as well as some really deep and powerful messages about time and the meaning of life. This was a really fun, moving and unique film with some strong scientific elements that I think is a must-see for any movie fan.

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Dr. Stephen Strange’s – played by Benedict Cumberbatch – life changes after a car accident robs him of the use of his hands. When traditional medicine fails him, he looks for healing, and hope, in a mysterious enclave. He quickly learns that the enclave is at the front line of a battle against unseen dark forces bent on destroying reality. Before long, Strange is forced to choose between his life of fortune and status or leave it all behind to defend the world as the most powerful sorcerer in existence.

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Going into this film I was slightly apprehensive about Benedict Cumberbatch playing the main role. This wasn’t because I doubt him as an actor – I think he’s an absolutely fantastic actor – but I was slightly wary if he would be too famous and well recognized from other roles such as Sherlock for me to be fully immersed in his portrayal of Stephen Strange. But I really had nothing to worry about because within the first five minutes I was completely engaged in his character. I think that his American accent helped too for me to be completely immersed in the character of Stephen Strange. He is at the beginning of the film an arrogant idiot but he goes through a lot of character development throughout the film and by the end he still has his incredibly sarcastic humour that is part of his character but is a much nicer guy. My favourite character in the whole film was probably that of his partner-in-crime Christine who, at least in my opinion, deserved a heck of a lot more screen time. She was really kind and considerate but was definitely not a pushover and wasn’t afraid to stand up to Stephen and was probably the most realistic character in the film. I really enjoyed their chemistry because it was believable and still very entertaining.

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As I’ve already said, this film was very mind-bendy and that is the only way that I can really describe it. There are so many colourful special effects that are quite overwhelming at first, mainly because it is very unlike the rest of the Marvel films that are currently out there, but once you get into the film and understand the tone and style of the film then it’s something that really makes this film stand out. The plot of this film was fairly straight-forward and not exactly original but it was executed very well and particularly the end third of this film is extremely action-packed and fast-paced. It wouldn’t be a Marvel film if it wasn’t jam-packed with humour and this film certainly was, with lots of sassy comments and pop-culture references as well.

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This definitely isn’t your typical Marvel movie but did a great job of setting up some future movies with a little bit of history and backstory. It was engaging and entertaining, while maybe being a little too crazy for some viewers, but I immensely enjoyed myself regardless.

My TV Listings | April 2017

Over Easter break, I actually ended up getting quite a lot of TV watching done, which made me very, very happy.

Daredevil

I managed to finish series 2 of this show this month and I really, really enjoyed it. I definitely preferred it to the first series and while there were still some things I didn’t completely get on board with, I think this show is fantastic. It’s gritty and realistic and moving and compelling with some fabulous characters and I can’t wait for the next series.

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Only Connect

The current series of this show ended this month and that makes me sad. Not only will I not have my weekly dose of the fantastic Victoria Coren-Mitchell, I won’t be able to grasp onto that sense of pride I get when I manage to answer one question right. Because, let’s face it, the questions are border-line impossible.

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Mr. Selfridge

I’ve been rattling through this show this month (I managed to watch the first two series in the space of a week) after I had a random moment of inspiration and wanted to watch the whole thing. I’m now completely swept up in the world of this show and I love all of the characters and their backstories – I have a particular soft spot for Agnes, Henri and Miss Mardle. I know that this show has only 4 series so I’m thinking that I’ll be able to fly through the whole thing quite quickly.

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The Graham Norton Show

I’m so happy that my favourite chat show has returned this month because it makes me feel so happy and is such an entertaining show. You’ve heard me babble on about this show for long enough but all you need to know is that I love it!

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine

I’m so, so happy that this show returned this month because it made me realize just how much I love it. The characters are all so diverse and interesting with their own distinct personalities and quirks. This show is also absolutely hilarious but doesn’t make any jokes at anyone else’s expense – it is funny without being rude or offensive and I really do love it and I’m super excited to see the new episodes!

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My TV Listings | January 2017

So many amazing TV shows made their re-appearances this month and I’ve been having a very happy time catching up on them all. However, I did spent pretty much the entirety of the month watching nothing but Silent Witness.

Sherlock

HOLY COW! WHERE DO I EVEN START WITHOUT TYPING IN CAPITALS? This series was absolutely out of this world. It was scary and creepy and eerie and it really messed with your head and everything that you thought you were seeing. This series really shows you just how incredible all of the actors are and how complex and rich and engaging every single character is. There were more twists and turns than I could actually handle and you truly finish the series thinking WTF was that?

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Silent Witness

I have literally been watching nothing else this month because this show is amazing. Even though it’s been around for 20 series (which is crazy in itself) I feel like it deserves an awful lot more recognition. The plot lines are always engaging and challenging and relevant to everything that is happening in the world at the time which is what makes everything more visceral. I love the characters and their banter and humour together and I think this show is great.

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The Graham Norton Show

You guys know I love this show so I’m not going to harbor that point. But it’s great – it’s funny and engaging and easy viewing and Graham Norton is just a fantastic host. I really honestly hope that this show never, ever ends because then I will have a massive void in my life.

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Brooklyn Nine Nine

This show returned after a bit of a hiatus and with the arrival of a mega episode, it reminded me just how much I love this show. It’s funny without being rude and it’s surprisingly heart-wrenching and moving. It’s also just a great, enjoyable show that I love watching.

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Death In Paradise

One of my favourite crime shows made  a comeback this month and it might not be the eeriest and scariest of all the crime shows but it certainly makes for enjoyable viewing. The characters are all engaging and interesting, of course, the scenery is absolutely gorgeous and the show is also extremely funny.

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Agents of SHIELD

My favourite show following my favourite bunch of lovable rogues returned this month and I was particularly excited to see where things went given the ending of the last bunch of episodes. The characters are really developing their relationships with each other and the plot is definitely thickening – I’ve no idea where the story is going to go and I can’t wait to see.

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Only Connect

For some reason, this show has now been moved to Friday evenings rather than Monday evenings and the BBC gave absolutely no hints that this was happening, I missed quite a few episodes at the beginning of the month. But now I’m back on the train and the competition is really hotting up! At least for a quiz show.

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Daredevil

After a couple of months of respite, I’ve started watching the second series of the show. I’m already much more interested in the plot of this series than I was of the last one and I can’t wait to completely fly through the episodes. I’m loving the relationship between Matt, Foggy and Karen and the mixture of humour and grittiness that really keeps you on your toes.

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My Most Anticipated Releases 2017 | Films

As well as being a great year for book releases, 2017 also happens to be a fantastic year for film releases too.

1) Thor: Ragnarok
Release Date: October 27th

If it’s Marvel then I’m interested. It’s as simple as that. And while I might not be able to get around to watching the film straight away (looking at you, Doctor Strange) but it’s still very much on my list of films to-watch. I really loved Thor: The Dark World and while Thor might be one of the lesser critically acclaimed superhero franchises, I am still extremely excited to see what is going to happen in this film.

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2) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2
Release Date: April 25th

Another Marvel film that is being released this year is the sequel to probably the biggest surprise of 2014 and that is Guardians of the Galaxy. This world is so different to any of the other films that Marvel currently have out that it’s impossible to predict what it’s going to be like. I adore the characters in this film because they’re all so roguish and flawed and I am super, super excited to watch this film!

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3) Spider Man: Homecoming
Release Date: July 7th

And ANOTHER Marvel film that is being released this year is quite a controversial one and that is the latest installment in the spider man saga. I personally really loved Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man and I also adored Emma Stone in the role of Gwen Stacy. But Tom Holland did a very good job in Captain America: Civil War so I’m intrigued to see what new things he will be bring to the character and how he will carry off a whole film.

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4) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Release Date: May 26th

The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is a franchise that I have loved for a very long time and even though the films have gone slightly ‘downhill’ as some people might say, I am still mightily excited for any new film that is set in the Pirates of the Caribbean because I know that they are going to be funny and filled with more sassy Captain Jack Sparrow.

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5) Wonder Woman
Release Date: June 2nd

I might be more of a Marvel fan than I am a DC fan (although DC do have some amazing characters and films too), I cannot contain my excitement for this film. I love Gal Gadot and the trailer for this film looks insane. I am so ridiculously excited to see Gal Gadot kick some ass and be amazing and I cannot wait!

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6) Beauty and the Beast
Release Date: March 16th

Okay, this is probably my most anticipated release of the year and probably the next ten years too. Beauty and the Beast is my joint favourite Disney film of all time (The Princess and the Frog also sharing that accolade) and to have some of my favourite actors and actresses staring in it really makes me unbelievably excited to see this film. Bring on March, because it’s going to be amazing.

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7) Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Release Date: September 29th

Kingsman was a massive surprise in 2015 because no one expected it to be any good, but it was. There may have been perhaps a few too many unneeded sex jokes but it was actually a very enjoyable film. Now there is a sequel and the Kingsman are off to the US which may seem like a fairly simple premise but I am so excited to see where the plot goes and the character development and hear more of those typically English accents that I love so much.

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8) Pitch Perfect 3
Release Date: December 22nd

We have another Pitch Perfect film, people! The world is okay. I love this film series because it in includes some amazing female characters and great music. What more could you ask for? There is very little information surrounding this film out at the moment but I already know that it’s going to be a fantastic film.

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My Favourite Books, Films and TV of 2016

I can’t believe that 2016 is at an end! It seems like 5 minutes ago it was only January and to think that it’s now 2017 is crazy. This is a round up of my favourite things that I loved throughout the year: my 4 favourite books, 4 favourite films and 3 TV shows that I have absolutely adored over the last 12 months.

Books

Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas

I adore this series and I adored this book. So much stuff happens in this book and it has you sitting on the edge of your seat throughout. The characters are wonderful because they are all so flawed and realistic yet engaging and lovable at the same time. The world is vivid and rich and detailed and every single story line is explored. I love the relationships between the characters, particularly the female friendships, as well as the romances that are slowly brewing. This book was funny and witty and filled with light moments that contrast with the dark and gritty and haunting moments. The last 50 pages of this book are some of the most tense pages of a book that I think I’ve ever read and I think I was just continuously shouting ‘no!’ because Sarah J Maas knows how to torture her readers but I love her for it.

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How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran

This year I happened to read a couple of non-fiction books and this book absolutely blew my mind. I adored it. It was such a refreshing and honest look on the feminism that I’d come to know and I found every single page engaging. It weaves stories from Caitlin’s life to prove her points on the world of feminism and it’s because you know that it’s real that it is so interesting. I was not expecting this book to be so moving and emotional and heart-wrenching but it really tugged at my heartstrings as well as making me think. I am so happy that I finally got round to read this book because I absolutely loved it.

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Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne

I have loved Holly Bourne for quite a while now but this book brought something completely different to my attention and I absolutely adored it. This book brought OCD to my attention in a way that wasn’t glamourized or made fun of but was honest and true to life. This book also breaches the topic of feminism in a funny, engaging and easily understandable way. The characters in this book are all so funny and witty and intelligent and I really love their friendship and they don’t compete for attention or popularity but are just genuinely good friends to each other. I also really liked the subtle romance in this book because it was sweet and sensitive and realistic. I absolutely adored this book and I also love the other books in this series.

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Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

I’m pretty sure this is the book that I have read the quickest in all of my years of reading. I absolutely flew through this book because it was just so engaging and thought-provoking and entertaining. Lou Clark is one of my favourite ever characters because she is so lively and vivacious and stubborn, which is a little bit like myself. This book is so funny and witty and engaging but at the same time it is very moving and poignant and inspiring and talks about a lot of issues that I’d never read about in a book before. This book doesn’t have a happy ending, which does physically pain me because I am all for everyone being happy at the end of a book, but the ending just makes this book more important. The characters are funny and relatable and the plot is fast paced and this book is great.

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Films

Joy

I have not shut up about Joy this year and that is because I think it deserves more love and recognition. Not only is it the amazing true story of an amazingly brilliant woman but it’s also a fantastic film in its own right. This film is inspiring and thought-provoking and moving but it also has its funny moments and I think that Jennifer Lawrence does a brilliant job telling the story of Joy Mangano. The main thing that I liked about this film is that Joy’s family was a completely normal family with it’s problems and it’s struggles – her family fight and argue, she has kids to look after and a job to go to as well as trying to invent something that could change her life forever. It’s such an empowering film about inspiring women helping each other and overcoming adversity and sexism in the 60s and I think it deserves so much more love.

Captain America: Civil War

You could probably predict that the latest Marvel release would be on this list but it actually is one of my absolute favourite films of the year. It manages to pack so much into the film without feeling too full or pushing characters to the wayside in the name of plot. It’s a superhero film so yes, there is a lot of action, but it is also heartfelt and moving and feels more realistic than I think some of the previous Marvel films have been. It has a very simple plot – it takes the characters that we’ve come to know and love across the Marvel films and shows us again how they are human and not their idealized personas and how they feel things and think things and are not just pieces to be moved on a board. And, as per usual, it was absolutely hilarious and filled with witty one-liners and I thought it was brilliant.

Now You See Me 2

This is another film that I think deserves more love because of the entire world that it manages to create and the complexity of everything that goes on. This film is mysterious and intriguing and the plot keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. The characters are all unique and interesting and witty and I love see their interactions on screen together. This film is visually beautiful to watch and the special effects really add another layer to the film and make the magic seem all the more real, even though the audience knows in their heart of hearts that it is not real. All of the performances are excellent and this film really is a mix between a spy thriller and buddy movie. It is brilliant and I really recommend that you check it out.

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It was really difficult to chose between Zootopia and Moana but I think I preferred Zootopia just a teeny bit more. It is a really engaging film because it’s so bright and colourful and interesting. I also think that it’s a universal film because it can appeal to both kids and adults – which kids taking the more basic message of the film and older viewers picking up on the deeper meanings of everything that is going on. The film is really funny and witty and I love the main character of Judy as she’s so stubborn but helpful and kind and sarcastic. This is such a current film, despite it being a cartoon, because everything that this film says about race and identity is perhaps even more prominent in our current society. I really love this film and I think it’s great.

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TV

Ripper Street

This is my favourite ever TV show so it would be silly of my not to include it in this post when I watched the fourth series this year. In my opinion, this show deserves so much more love and attention and acclaim because it is just so brilliant. Firstly, it’s accurate in every sense of the word – it’s historical and surprisingly scientific. The characters are all really engaging and interesting because they are all flawed in several ways but that is what makes them feel so real. This show is also really intriguing because the plots are fascinating and fast-paced and can be quite grisly and dark. But this show is also surprisingly hilarious and this is an element which I think often goes in-noticed. There are snarky comments and laughs in every single episode and I cannot believe there is only one series left because I absolutely love this show.

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How To Get Away With Murder

This is a show that I have watched and enjoyed for a very long time but it is one of the only shows that I’ve watched this year that has been consistently on top. There have been no simply ‘filler’ episodes that serve no purpose and are a bit naff, everything serves a purpose and is engaging and is thrilling to watch. Every single episode is crammed with twists and turns and ups and downs and you are constantly sat on the edge of your seat. All of the characters are interesting and complex and they go through so much character development across the series that it really is unbelievable. There are also some particularly strong female characters as well as some good LGBTQ+ representation and this show certainly isn’t afraid to talk about ‘taboo’ issues and that something else that I love about it. It’s hilarious and mind-blowing and extremely stressful to watch but I still love it.

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Criminal Minds

If I had an award for the best discovery of the year, it would most certainly be this. I have fallen completely head over heels in love with show and I think it is amazing. I love that it focuses on the psychological elements of serial killers rather than just the crimes they commit because it makes the show so much more original and interesting than other cop shows. I also adore the characters on this show. They are all so well-crafted and interesting and engaging with their own distinct quirks and personalities and backstories. Every episode is packed with twists and turns and the balance is exactly right between the goriness and darkness of the crimes and the humour and banter between the characters. It’s interesting and complex and deeply enjoyable and I absolutely adore it.

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And, even have a look at some of my absolute favourite songs of the year!

My TV Listings | December 2016

It’s the final month of 2016 – where the heck has the year gone? I can’t believe it’s almost the end of 2016 and I want to thank all you guys who have stayed with me this year because it just means so much to me…

The Graham Norton Show

Yes, I love this show but that’s because it’s so entertaining and funny and easy to watch and I’ve actually been introduced to some of my new favourite celebs because of this show.

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The Apprentice

I’m not going to be giving any spoilers for this series, but I love The Apprentice. Yes, half the people on this show are arrogant and full of themselves but the other half are actually very nice people and there are some very smart people who appear on this show too. This series was very entertaining and I can’t wait to go for the next one!

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Close to the Enemy

While this show might not be as good as Dancing on the Edge it’s still an enjoyable and intriguing show set just after World War Two. All of the characters are really complex and interesting and while I might not understand every little thing that happens in this show, I like the general plot of the show and the romance between the characters.

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Strictly Come Dancing

Again, I won’t spoil anything for anyone who doesn’t know the outcome of this series but this was definitely one of my favourite series so far. It’s sad that is was Len Goodman’s last one but the array of celebrities and personalities definitely made this series a fantastic one to watch.

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Nikita

I’m still slowly working my way through the first series of this show and the episodes that I managed to watch this month were brilliant. I’ve really begun to love Nikita as well as my baby Alex and I’m loving seeing them working together and the shenanigans that they get up to. It’s engaging and fast-paced and I love the characters and the romance and the action. It’s just brilliant!

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Only Connect

Still watching this show! It’s incredibly hard and challenging but is also amusing and just really easy to watch, especially with the wit and charm of its host Victoria Coren-Mitchell.

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine

I really love this show and the most recent episodes have been some of the best in the series, at least in my opinion. Every episode is guaranteed to put a smile on your face and the characters are all so clever and quirky and engaging that every second is a joy to watch.

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Agents of SHIELD

This show returned this month from its random mid-season hiatus and oh boy, were there some good few episodes. If you’re a lover of Mac and Elena and have been seriously frustrated over the last few episodes about their relationship, then rejoice those kinks are ‘sorted’ out. This show definitely has its ups and downs but when it’s an up, it’s magical.

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