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Customer Reviews for Bethany House Paradise Valley, Daughters of Caleb Bender Series #1

Bethany House Paradise Valley, Daughters of Caleb Bender Series #1

An Amish settlement in Ohio has run afoul of a law requiring their children to attend public school. Caleb Bender and his neighbors are arrested for neglect, with the state ordering the children be placed in an institution. Among them are Caleb's teenage daughter, Rachel, and the boy she has her eye on, Jake Weaver. Romance blooms between the two when Rachel helps Jake escape the children's home.

Searching for a place to relocate his family where no such laws apply, Caleb learns there's inexpensive land for sale in Mexico, a place called Paradise Valley. Despite rumors of instability in the wake of the Mexican revolution, the Amish community decides this is their answer. And since it was Caleb's idea, he and his family will be the pioneers. They will send for the others once he's established a foothold and assessed the situation.

Average Customer Rating:
4.553 out of 5
4.6
 out of 
5
(38 Reviews) 38
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Rating Snapshot (38 reviews)
5 stars
24
4 stars
12
3 stars
1
2 stars
1
1 star
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37 out of 3897%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for Paradise Valley, Daughters of Caleb Bender Series #1
Review 1 for Paradise Valley, Daughters of Caleb Bender Series #1
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

A story of hope, family and faith

Date:March 28, 2014
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Cindi
Location:Pennsylvania
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Because of the interference of the Amish beliefs regarding schooling, the Bender family decides to move to Mexico and make a new start. Other families plan to follow once they are established but until then times are really tough for the Benders. They have nothing but vacant, dry land when they arrive. With so much work ahead of them, building a home, digging well, put up fencing, build a barn, etc., will they be able to succeed? Can they stay safe when there are so many bandits roaming the mountains?
The author does a nice job in creating his characters with realistic personalities. The story flows well and keeps the reader's attention throughout the book. He paints a clear picture of the land, danger and even the challenges that the characters face.
If you like Amish fiction with an in depth storyline you will enjoy this novel. I look forward to reading more of Cramer's work.
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Review 2 for Paradise Valley, Daughters of Caleb Bender Series #1
This review is fromParadise Valley - eBook.
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:January 10, 2014
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aifei
Age:18-24
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Its grt. lov de Amish lifestyle. Its very simple and without the complications the world gives. This book gives a clear view of what a father will do to protect his children from anything he believes is bad. That's a God given characteristic because God himself is like that. Great book but i wonder what happened with Miriam and Domingo.
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Review 3 for Paradise Valley, Daughters of Caleb Bender Series #1
This review is fromParadise Valley - eBook.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:September 23, 2013
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Dell
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
this book was very exciting, I love reading it and I would recommend it to my friends.
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Review 4 for Paradise Valley, Daughters of Caleb Bender Series #1
This review is fromParadise Valley - eBook.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

It is a really good book.

Date:August 22, 2013
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Msdnne
Location:Corinth Tx
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
A book of romance secrets surprise, childhood and growing up. Showing God's love and his watching over us.
I loved it.
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Review 5 for Paradise Valley, Daughters of Caleb Bender Series #1
This review is fromParadise Valley - eBook.
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Amish in Mexico

Date:July 29, 2013
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Jeannette Claridge
Location:B.C., Canada
Age:Over 65
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
The story of a move from Ohio to Mexico has many interesting historical insights as well as believable characters. Based on the author's own ancestors and their experiences, it rings true and makes one hope that they can succeed in their efforts.
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Review 6 for Paradise Valley, Daughters of Caleb Bender Series #1
This review is fromParadise Valley - eBook.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Unexpected setting and some ethical dilemmas

Date:July 11, 2013
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QLD mum
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This was a great book. Believable character tensions, unusual setting for an Amish book and a lot of action.
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Review 7 for Paradise Valley, Daughters of Caleb Bender Series #1
This review is fromParadise Valley - eBook.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A wonderful story!

Date:June 17, 2013
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Jeannie Donaldson
Location:Statesboro, GA
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This was an amazing story! I love Amish fiction because we are friends with several Amish families. But this is a story I did not know - how the settlement of Paradise Valley came to be established, and the struggles & heartaches they faced having to leave their homes in the USA. Although the story is fiction, it is based on factual events. I highly recommend it, whether or not you usually read Amish fiction! It was interesting and full of excitement, and of course, they had a touch of romance, too :o) which always makes for a better tale. A good book for adults and teens alike.
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Review 8 for Paradise Valley, Daughters of Caleb Bender Series #1
This review is fromParadise Valley - eBook.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Christian Book Distributors is tops in my BOOK!

Date:May 16, 2013
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Brenda W
Location:Waterford, PA
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Although I haven't read the book yet, the process of ordering and receiving my ebook was very simple and user-friendly.
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Review 9 for Paradise Valley, Daughters of Caleb Bender Series #1
This review is fromParadise Valley - eBook.
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

This book has a good clean story.

Date:May 1, 2013
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CatCotrona
Location:Ontario, Canada
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
This story was a nice clean story, with wholesome values. With this fast past world we live in, it's nice to slow down and read a nice story of back to the earth and pure family values.
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Review 10 for Paradise Valley, Daughters of Caleb Bender Series #1
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Amish men jailed and their children taken away

Date:March 10, 2013
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wfnren
Location:St Cloud, FL
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Five Amish fathers arrested and thrown in jail, brought before a judge and charged with neglecting the welfare of their children and contributing to the delinquency of a minor all because they kept their children home from the consolidated school. The men tried to convince the judge that they were giving the children an education by teaching them the ways of the farm and the ways of Gott, to read, write and figure so what more do they need since they grow up to be farmers and farmers' wives. The men refused to budge and were sentenced to sixty days in the county jail unless and until they each paid a fine of twenty dollars per child, plus expenses, AND submitted a signed statement agreeing to comply with the conditions of the Bing Act by seeing to it that their minor children attend public school five days a week from then on.
Three days later the sheriff made the rounds to the five homes again, this time to pick up all of the school age children and take them to the county children's home, because they had been neglected. They told the children they were going to clean them up, like they were dirty or something. The boys got haircuts and all of the children were given new clothes, now they looked like Englisch children instead of Amish.
When the father's heard about this, they paid their fines and agreed to send the children to public school, they didn't want their children to suffer. Father's and children were all returned to their homes. The children didn't like attending school any more than their Dad's wanted them to go there. No one was happy with the situation.
Caleb Bender found an advertisement for land in Mexico, Paradise Valley. After some research and talking among themselves it was decided that he and his family would move to Paradise Valley so they could raise their children the way they wanted. Once the Bender's were there they would keep in touch and other Amish would follow them.
There were problems and fears in Mexico, rattlesnakes, scorpions and the biggest fear, bandits. After hearing about some of the difficulties, some of the families backed out, but there were also some families from other Amish communities that decided to move to Paradise Valley.
If you think the Amish are hard workers in America, wait until you read about the work they did in Paradise Valley. Not only that, the obstacles and fears they now have, was it worth the move? You will read about the bandits and everything they do to the Benders, but Caleb still sticks to the Amish way, no violence, no guns to deal with them. How does that work out for them?
The Bing Act, the Ohio law that got the men in trouble, stipulates that all children shall attend public school five days a week from the age of six until eighteen with a possible exemption at sixteen, providing they obtain a valid work permit.
From the author's notes in the back of the book:
The author's great-grandfather was the elder statesman of the colony, his grandparents lived in Paradise Valley, and his father was born there. However written records are scant and few firsthand accounts have survived, so the author used the known history and geography of the colony to create a backdrop. But this is a work of fiction. While the historical context of the novel is fairly accurate, the characters and their stories are entirely the author's creation.
This is a very interesting story, one that I think other readers of Amish books will enjoy. I am on to the second book in the series, The Captive Heart and after that I've already got the third one, Though Mountains Fall.
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Review 11 for Paradise Valley, Daughters of Caleb Bender Series #1
This review is fromParadise Valley - eBook.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:April 19, 2013
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Blessed in Texas
Location:Texas
Age:Over 65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I really enjoyed this book. Had a lot of insight as to what the Amish had to endure. A lot of misunderstanding from the world, if they would just look at the people without judgment, but this is their way of life. Their simplicity is a blessing. I wish it was longer, I could have kept on reading.
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Review 12 for Paradise Valley, Daughters of Caleb Bender Series #1
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Interesting historical information concerning

Date:June 18, 2012
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grandma jane
Location:missouri
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
persectution of Amish and their beliefs. The book is based on circumstances I had never heard of. It is well written, easy to read, entertaining and thoughtful.
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Review 13 for Paradise Valley, Daughters of Caleb Bender Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Amish historical fiction based on actual events

Date:April 16, 2012
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MaryAnn
Location:OR
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This historical fiction is based on the colony where Dale Cramer’s great-grandparents lived. His strong fictional characters bring the tale to life as they interact in a saga that moves them from the heart of Amish country in Ohio to Paradise Valley, a rugged, remote settlement in Mexico, in the early 1920s.
You may have heard of the Amish men who were jailed because they refused to allow their children to attend public school full time. The children were put in a foster home and stripped of their Amish attire until the families complied with the law. One family then chose to pioneer a move to Mexico, where they would not be forced to send their children to a government school.
The tale is movingly told mostly from one daughter’s viewpoint. Teenager Rachel Bender was one of the children snatched from her community. Her quick thinking and actions helped Jake Weaver and his brother escape. But when her family moves away, she fears she will never again see this young man whom she hopes to marry.
Homesteading in a strange land brings struggles and challenges—a new language, different climate, thieves, and threats. The Benders persevere, and their hard work pays off for their own family and those living around them. In the midst of their difficulties, Rachel discovers a gift for life that God has given her.
This heartwarming story is the first in a trilogy about the daughters of Caleb Bender. I particularly enjoyed the audio version.
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Review 14 for Paradise Valley, Daughters of Caleb Bender Series #1
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Good Read

Date:February 2, 2012
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weatherlover1
Location:U.P Mi
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
This book is set in the early 1920’s in Ohio. The government is mandating all children go to school 5 days week even the Amish and they go as far as to put Amish in jail and take the kids. This book follows the Bender family. In this book we follow Rachel who is 15 at the time and must go to school. We also follow the father of the family Caleb as he must decide what is best for his family. He ends up seeing a advertisement for cheap land in Mexico which means freedom from the government. Hearing that there are bandits the community want to send one family down there to start and see how it goes and Caleb agrees to be that family.
Rachel is heart broken because this means she must leave her secret boyfriend Jake behind. She has to deal with her grief over the move as well as help her sisters Emma who is married her boyfriend right before they leave and her other sister Miriam adjust to the move as well. Once in Mexico things get interesting. Its not as friendly or as safe as they had hoped but they soon make friends with a young Mexican named Domingo who help them settle in and also protects them. As the book draws to a close its revealed that Miriam and Domingo seem to have feeling for each other and this sets the stage for the next book.
Wow this was quite the book! This author was quite the story teller and I really enjoyed reading this book.
What I liked: The historical factor of this book is great! Learning about how the Amish where treated during this time was very interesting. I also enjoyed learning about Mexico. The characters where very enjoyable. Even though Rachel was young I really liked her and her family. Again the author is an amazing story teller and I felt like I was right there with the family as they went along on their journey. I also enjoyed the suspense in this book I was on the edge of my seat a few times and felt myself holding my breath as well.
What I did not like: Rachel was 15 at the beginning of the book. I kept forgetting she was that young she came across as more of a 18 year old and it made it hard to relate to her at times. I know it’s the culture for the Amish to want to marry etc, but it just seemed a little forced for her to be worried all throughout the book about Jake. I really wish we could have had a few small chapters where both Jake and Domingo told some of the story. I get the feeling they are going to be a big part of the next book and I would have liked to get to know them a little better especially Domingo.
Over all I really enjoyed this book. Like I stated above I really felt like I was there with the family the author is an amazing storyteller. I am looking forward to the next book and the new adventure this family will face as they settle into Mexico. I highly recommend this book!
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Review 15 for Paradise Valley, Daughters of Caleb Bender Series #1
This review is fromParadise Valley - eBook.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Thoroughly enjoyed this bit of Amish history

Date:March 3, 2012
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homemom5
Location:Regina, SK, Canada
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I did not know that Amish fathers had been jailed for refusing to send their children to public schools, or that their children had been removed from their loving homes and placed in foster care during this time. This was well-written and I have since enjoyed more books written by W. Dale Cramer.
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Review 16 for Paradise Valley, Daughters of Caleb Bender Series #1
This review is fromParadise Valley - eBook.
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Good reading

Date:February 16, 2012
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Maeb
Age:Over 65
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Good history of Amish that I didn't know before. I never knew that some Amish had moved to Mexico. I really enjoyed learning something new.
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Review 17 for Paradise Valley, Daughters of Caleb Bender Series #1
This review is fromParadise Valley - eBook.
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:February 3, 2012
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Wendy Stivers
Location:Louisville KY
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Well written and engaging. Looking for the next one in the series.
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Review 18 for Paradise Valley, Daughters of Caleb Bender Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Strong start to a new series

Date:September 7, 2011
Customer Avatar
Christianfictionaddiction
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Readers who enjoy Amish fiction and those who enjoy any historical fiction are in for a special treat with Cramer's latest novel, Paradise Valley. The author has a unique ability to create true-to-life characters that leap straight off the page and into your heart. His writing is simply a pleasure to read and savour, providing rich detail without getting bogged down. I found the story moved at a brisk pace, filled with drama and adventure and providing a fascinating look at a people and situation based on real life events.
Caleb's faith is inspiring as he seeks to hear God's voice and be obedient. As a parent, I could fully relate to his desire to see his children be raised in a godly manner. The opening chapters where the children are taken and the fathers arrested because they will not send them to secular public school are just heartbreaking, and you cannot help but feel impassioned by the injustice of the situation. I greatly enjoyed reading about the family's move to Mexico and their industrious spirit that allowed them to start over and not only survive but overcome in a new culture while facing unexpected threats to their lives.
The power of forgiveness and the beauty of a deep-rooted faith in God simply permeate this story and left me feeling uplifted. The only part I disliked about this story was coming to the end...and knowing I have to wait to see how the tale will continue in the next book in the series! I truly believe that the wait will be worth it. I highly recommend this novel and give it 5 out of 5 stars.
My sincerest thanks to the publisher, Bethany House, who provided a copy of this book for the purposes of this unbiased review
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Review 19 for Paradise Valley, Daughters of Caleb Bender Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Love it!

Date:August 3, 2011
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So Mommy
Location:Hartselle, AL
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Before this book, I wasn't a huge fan of Amish fiction. I liked to read them, but they weren't my favorite. Dale Cramer did a wonderful job writing "Paradise Valley." I didn't want to stop reading until the end! My family has moved a lot since I was younger, so I completely sympathized with the daughters during the move. While my moves were never this drastic, it was always hard to leave friends. When daughter Rachel found out she was leaving her first love, she was very upset. Another unmarried daughter feared she would never marry because they were leaving all of her potential 'mates'. This family showed how important it is to stick together in these hard times. When they were feeling down, another family member would be there for them. There were many dangers awaiting the family in Paradise Valley, but thanks to "Gott" (God) they found help when they needed it. I really enjoyed this book, and I can't wait to read more by this author!
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Review 20 for Paradise Valley, Daughters of Caleb Bender Series #1
Overall Rating: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

Boring!

Date:June 10, 2011
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Wendy
Location:south central Pennsylvania
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Generally speaking, I stay away from Amish fiction, on the premise that authors like to build this community up as some-kind of misunderstood utopian, Christian society. Yet, I grew up with the Amish and Mennonites and they're flawed human beings like the rest of us--even if you like their lifestyle. They deal with the harsh realities of sin and death, such as drug and alcohol abuse, premarital sex (which Cramer touches on in this book), child and spousal abuse, etc.
Anyhow, I have enjoyed Dale Cramer's other fiction so I'd thought that I give his Amish fiction a try. Yikes, I couldn't get past the 12th chapter! It was boring--too innocent. I wondered as I read through the pages if Cramer struggled thinking like his 15-year old female protagonist b/c his female characters sounded too perfect and two-dimensional.
This might be a great book for outsiders who think the Amish are perfect--but for a regular gal like me, it was nothing short of boring. And, even though, Cramer touched on parental rights and government encroachment--which are very real issues for Anabaptists' sects--he simplified it too much where the characters tamped down their anger and quickly picked up roots to move to Mexico. I know that this was based on facts and maybe that's my Englishness getting in the way of their culture, but I find hardly settling to read that Caleb Bender's one pregnant daughter rushed into marriage out of season without raising eyebrows and that the 15-year old was just too saccharin sweet to be believable.
+1point
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