Friday, March 31, 2017

Review & Tour: Meant for You by Michelle Major

Title: Meant for You
Author: Michelle Major
Genre/Age: Contemporary Romance/Adult
Series: Unknown
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Format: ebook via Barclay Publicity
Rating: ✺✺✺
SynopsisSingle mom Jenny Castelli has a temper to match her red hair. When the former mean girls of her high school insult her son, Jenny fires off a big lie—that she’s engaged to a rich, handsome guy and is bringing him to their ten-year reunion. Now she needs to find the perfect fake fiancĂ© for one night. And only one man fits the bill.

Geek turned tech entrepreneur Owen Dalton already had his heart broken by Jenny Castelli. Still, he finds himself agreeing to her proposition—even as he struggles to remember that the chemistry sparking between them isn’t real. But when Jenny’s ex makes a play for custody and Owen is forced to deal with the family who always treated him as “second best,” their arrangement suddenly becomes very personal. And that lie they’ve been telling everyone? It isn’t nearly as big as the one they’ve been telling themselves.

Michelle Major grew up in Ohio but dreamed of living in the mountains. More than twenty years ago, she pointed her car west and settled in Colorado. Today her home includes her husband, their two children, several furry pets, and a couple of well-behaved reptiles. She’s grateful to have found her passion for writing stories with happy endings.

Connect with Michelle: Newsletter | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

Pre-order at:  Amazon

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**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book.**

A woman's big mouth gets her into a real big mess!

Image result for uh oh gif

When Jenny runs into a couple of classmates from high school, she is shocked to hear one of them insult her fatherless son, Cooper. Anger clouding her mind, she makes an outrageous claim: that she's engaged to a wealthy tech mogul. This instantly backfires because she's now expected to back up her lie and bring her fiance to her high school reunion. Uh-oh.

Owen isn't happy to see Jenny show up in his office. Their history is a painful one and he's not about to let her back into his life, again. Yet, the desperation in her voice and their natural attraction is hard to deny. Soon, he finds himself agreeing to her wild proposal and even making one of his own as he invites her to play his fiance at his own brother's wedding.

This book was a really good read. I laughed out loud several times, usually from one of Cooper's funny antics or witty remarks. That kid was a very well-written character and highly entertaining. He kept his mother and Owen on their toes throughout the entire story. Several of the secondary characters were interesting and added humor to the mix.

The romance was hot and cold as both Jenny and Owen had their reasons for not wanting to start another relationship with the other. Each was nursing wounds from past hurts and a sense of abandonment. There was plenty of angst present and a few spicy moments in between.

The plot was probably my favorite part of this book. I love the whole 'fake relationship that turns real' theme. I was surprised to see the charade being used in both Jenny and Owen's real lives. Jenny wanted to fool her classmates and Owen wanted to fool his family. In the end, their pretend affection didn't fool anyone as it quickly became all too real.

Then a surprising twist is thrown in and the fate of the couple's relationship is hanging in the balance. Jenny finds herself at a fork in the road and neither path will be an easy one. I was a little disappointed in her choices but people tend to make dumb mistakes when under pressure. 

In closing... 
A funny and emotional romance with an entertaining cast of characters! Four suns!

Mini Reviews ~ March 2017

Sometimes, I don't have the time or inclination to do a full review for a title. This will typically apply to books that are short stories, part of a mini-series, some novellas, etc. Instead of abandoning these reviews, I will be giving mini reviews. Check them out!

Title: Bet Me
Author: Lila Monroe
Genre/Age: Contemporary Romance
Series: None
Publisher: Self-published
Format: ebook via KindleUnlimited
Rating: ✺✺✺
Review: The premise of this book was really good. A woman with a bad track record with men has a moment of weakness when she declares herself to be celibate until men remember that romance is part of the intimate equation.

I loved another of Lila Monroe's books and hoped this one would be a five star read, too. Alas, it didn't quite live up to my expectations. Yes, there was plenty of shenanigans and some humor but I had two problems. One: even though this is a dual POV, we barely get Jake's side of things. This made it harder to connect with him because every important moment was from Lizzie's eyes.

And two: I think there were many missed moments in this book where the author could have given several characters some enlightenment. The whole idea is that romance is dead and it shouldn't be accepted to stay that way. The secondary characters were very selfish and never really learned from their behavior. And Jake, himself, could have benefited from a moment of "zen" when he realized he was unknowingly being romantic in order to win Lizzie's heart. 

It fell flat in the end. It was all about sex and hardly nothing more substantial. I mean the characters were all going crazy without sex after what? A few weeks? I'm a military wife and can go without it for months. No sympathy found here.

I also couldn't understand Lizzie's consistent use of Tinder. It's common knowledge that the app is only used for hookups and not serious relationships. So an online dating site would have been better and made the story more believable for me.

Title: The Last Empress
Author: C.K. Brooke
Genre/Age: Fantasy Romance/Adult
Series: Jordinia Series (Book 0.5)
Publisher: Self-published
Format: ebook via Author
Rating: ✺✺✺
Review: This novella is a prequel to the Jordinia series that I love. Here, we are reading the diary entries of the young woman who will become the mother of Dainy (from The Duchess Inheritance).

The diary entries span many years and tell the story from before Neandra becomes an Empress and up to the relative time period that The Duchess Inheritance begins. We see the struggles Neandra faces with her new husband, the births of her children, and her attempts to connect with the people that she rules over. 

I loved getting a sneak peek into the mind of Neandra during a hostile time in Jordinia history. Her tale was sad at times, but it added another layer to the story since we don't get to see much of her in the other books. However, her legacy lives on through her daughter.

Title: The Boxer
Author: Piper Rayne
Genre/Age: Contemporary Romance/Adult
Series: Modern Love Series (Book Two)
Publisher: Self-published
Format: ebook via KindleUnlimited
Rating: ✺✺✺✺.5
Review: Hilarious, sweet, and steamy!

This book was a nearly perfect romance story involving a woman scorned by a cheating ex and a boxer with a slight identity crisis on the way. The fun takes no time at all to get started and doesn't really slow down until the final page. I laughed and swooned quite a bit throughout this story.

The romance was incredibly hot and the chemistry between our couple was instant and realistic. There were a few moments of foreshadowing that got my super sleuth mind churning. Not bragging (sure, I am) but I totally called it, including the first boxing match, too.

My only complaint is the lack of communication by the two usually quite mature characters. It seemed a bit forced for there to be so much secrecy when both characters were pretty genuine people. Also, Whitney really annoyed me a few times with her pessimism.

I'm definitely looking forward to the next installment of this series and seeing what trouble Lennon can get into!

Title: Her Forbidden Crush
Author: Ash Harlow
Genre/Age: Contemporary Romance/Erotica
Series: None
Publisher: Self-published
Format: ebook via Author
Rating: ✺✺✺
Review: This was a really steamy read.

The novella starts out with a bit of history between our couple, who knew each other years before and their families had a huge falling out. I can't say that I've ever read a book set in New Zealand before, so that was new.

Then the story jumps right into the naughty action, without delay, and the sexy time continues right up until the end. I must say that this was a bit on the raunchier side than I was expecting. No complaints, here. Our hero is more dominating and kinky than I predicted he would be, but our heroine is up for the challenge. In all, this was a good read with lots of dirty talk and sexy time.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Excerpt & Tour: Realms of Edenocht by DS Johnson

Title: Realms of Edenocht
Author: DS Johnson
Genre/Age: Fantasy/YA
Series: Unknown
Publisher: Self-published
SynopsisShazmpt has been prepared his whole life to complete the prophesy; however until recently, he was unaware of his true identity as a powerful war wizard. Hidden on an island in a time realm not his own, he must now search for ancient relics in order to stop the growing evil in the world. All he wanted was to hunt in his beloved forest, but is thrown into a world of sea serpents, dungeons, enchanted castles, miniature men, and air buffs. Driven by duty and hindered by self-doubt, he is sent on a quest to unite the magical realms once more. He must learn to harness his good and evil powers, but will he survive the shadow...? 

"There's more than one person that can use the power of the comet." Queen Ambrosia said through gritted teeth.

Her eyes drooped heavily, sagging under the pressure of no sleep.

"What are you going to do?" Aarin asked.

"Sink the island and destroy Srinna Vossa.”

She walked sternly toward her deep oak desk. Aarin's stomach lurched inside him as the words hit his mind.

"How? Why?!"

"With this," she pulled out a long parchment that was rolled tightly. “the Incantation of Undin," she said, fingering the edge.

"And how will sinking the island stop Gavin Rhill?"

"I will take every last person with it, so that he will never be able to find the Binding of the Crypt spell." she said dropping one end.

"You're going to kill all of your people?"

"Would you rather be tortured by Gavin Rhill and the Shadow?"

"No, I guess not."

"Then make your peace now because as soon as the comet is at the highest point in the sky everything will be over."

Her stomach lurched too as she felt the despair of not being able to raise her child and see her grow into a woman. To never be with Jerim again and her wonderful council and all of her loved ones, it was almost too much for her to bear.

"What shall I tell the armies?" he asked.

"That its time, and send Jerim."

Aarin bowed. His once childlike eyes glazed over. Queen Ambrosia studied the scroll once more. She sat it on the desk and walked to the edge of the balcony. One hand on the cold stone, the other gripped her blue sapphire stone necklace. She wore a gold and teal blue robe and her delicately woven crown. The anguished cries of her people now sat on numb ears. A small pink hand gripped the lower half of her robes. With the innocence of young age a small girl, gazed up.

"Mommy, what's happening?" Serin asked.

"Oh, my dear little one." The Queen picked up her baby girl. She buried her little girl's teary face into her shoulder. "Shhh shhhh shhh," Queen Ambrosia whispered.

Jerim walked briskly up behind her, his clashing and clanking hidden under booms and crashes from the distance.

"Ambrosia, My Queen, you sent for me?"

His heart skipped a beat and he swallowed hard shoving the bile back into his stomach when he saw the little princess in her arms.

"It's time." she whispered.

She could hardly see his bruised face through the heavy shield of her own tears.

"Is there another way?" he asked.

"There is no other way."

"Alright." he said.

He slipped his arm around her waist and pulled her into his embrace. Her long blonde hair tickled his skin. His hand rested on the side of her face. He leaned in, slowly and thoughtfully, he kissed her. She returned his kiss. Just like the one and only time they had been together.

"I love you. I always have." Jerim said.

"I love you too, I have to tell you something.” She looked at Serin, then back to Jerim, “Serin is yours, not Mikal's." Jerim pulled back and smiled his intoxicating smile. "You're not mad?" she asked, "I'm sorry I never told you."

"Nor should you have."

"Mommy, I'm scared." The tiny voice came as she played nervously with her mother's hair.

Queen Ambrosia studied her daughter's face one last time and said to her gently, "You go with your father."


"Into the sky with the flyers, ok?" she gave her the last kiss she would ever give her.

"But when will I see you again?"

The queen gave Serin to Jerim and he wrapped her in her blanket.

"Go... take her to the wyverns and get her out of here."

He bowed and leaped off the stone carved terrace onto Medrith's back. The Queen sent a furling burst of air under the wyvern throwing them into the sky above. Medrith pulled in her wings and shot through the sky like an arrow. To fight a war was one thing but to give up one's own flesh and blood is another. When the queen could no longer see them, she threw up her arms. Using the islands powers that came from the center of the Teorran Belt, she shouted at the top of her lungs the incantation, drawing the power of the comet into her being.

A little about me, first I want to tell you a story, about a young girl who thought she was dumb. Yes, in the first, second, and third grades this little girl, was in the ‘Resource’ program or ‘Chapter 8’ as I have also heard it called. Even though she was then put in the regular class, she knew all too well by then she was not a smart child. All the way through high school this girl struggled. She graduated with a glorious 2.9. Yes, it was heart breaking for those little numbers to reflect the great struggle and all the efforts she had put forth.

She went on to start beauty school, figuring she wasn’t college material. Suddenly, she learned that she wasn’t dumb after all. She was what is called a kinesthetic learner or ‘hands on’ learner. She LOVED it. She went on to do very well, for many years. Until, life got complicated. She had five children, a husband, and a disabled mother who now required constant care. While contemplating how to earn a little bit of extra income, now that doing hair wasn’t an option, a thought came to her, ‘Write a book’ it said.

She replied by looking around and with her finger pointing at herself, she said, “Who me? I graduated high school with a 2.9 remember?”

The little thought came again, “Yes, you. Write a book.”

It so happened, that she had been telling her children nighttime stories for some time, so she did. It took five years to learn from the internet, a few writing classes, some great blogs, a lot of practice, one very good editor and the awesome support of her family. But she did it, and now I bring The Realms of Edenocht Series to you! Yes, that little girl was me, but no longer.

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Book Blitz: Marked by D. Laine

Title: Marked
Author: D. Laine
Genre/Age: Fantasy/NA
Series: Apocalypse Assassins Trilogy (Book One)
Publisher: Self-published
SynopsisFor trained assassin Dylan Romero, business is good. 

As the agency’s top warriors, he and partner Jake Walker are the last two people evil wants to see on the other side of a gun. When a mission takes them to the college town of Bozeman, Montana, they discover that there is more than just another mark in another town to keep them there. With a heavy concentration of vessels doing their demon masters’ dirty work and flesh-craving monsters lurking around every corner, the secluded Midwest town is set to become the first battleground of the apocalypse.

The last thing Dylan needs is a distraction. With the fate of the world at stake, the life of one girl shouldn’t matter – until the day she changes everything.

Seconds later, the bartender set two matching drinks on the counter in front of the guy from the parking lot.

He wordlessly slid one of the glasses toward me. My eyes darted to his in surprise, and he shrugged. “You look thirsty.”

I picked up the glass with a grateful smile, and helped myself to a sip of the cool liquid. Jack and Coke—exactly what I wanted. He was observant. “Thank you.”

As he nodded, his eyes moved over my shoulder, in the general vicinity of Vivian. A small grin tugged at the corner of his lips. He glanced up at me briefly before giving undivided attention to his drink. “How’s your boyfriend?”

“Who? You mean the guy from earlier?”

“Well, I’m not talking about him.” His head nodded across the bar, where David was doing his best to catch the waitress’s attention. “That poor fucker doesn’t stand a chance, does he?”

“David is my friend,” I responded defensively. “And Kyle isn’t my boyfriend. You’re wrong on both counts.”

His eyes snapped to mine, then slowly lowered. Heat followed his gaze as it swept across my lips before settling on my neck. I was forced to sweep the hair off my shoulders in an attempt to cool off. It didn’t help.

He squinted at my neck like he considered devouring me right then and there. With the hot ball of lava tumbling through me, and ultimately settling in my core, I considered letting him. One look. That was all it took.

No guy had ever . . .

Oh, God. Vivian was totally right.

His mouth curved like he had read my thoughts. Then his hand shot out to mine as he stated, “Dylan.”

I accepted his hand with a smile. “Thea.”

His head angled closer to mine. “Thea?” When I nodded, he leaned back with a smirk. “Are you a librarian, or something?”

“What?” I demanded, suddenly on edge.

“Hot librarian,” he corrected with a lazy shrug, as if that somehow made his comment less insulting. At my unamused glare, he used his hand to cover the smile spreading across his face, and muttered, “I’m sorry. I don’t think I’ve ever met a Thea before. It’s, uh . . .”

“A librarian’s name, apparently,” I finished for him sourly.

He chuckled. “I like it, alright? I do. In fact, you’ve given me a new standard to associate with the name Thea. Next time I hear it, I won’t imagine a ninety-year-old librarian. I’ll picture you instead.”

He somehow made me like the sound of him thinking about me, despite the example he used. Some small, gullible part of me liked it. The rest of me reared back with revulsion.

“Need to picture me to get you through the night, huh?” I quipped.

His lips pursed as he considered my question. Then a broad grin turned his lips up. “Never really gone for a good girl before. Unless it’s an act . . .” His eyes swept down the length of me with obvious interest, and I folded my arms over my chest to interrupt his uncensored gaze. When he finally made it back to my eyes, he hooked an inquisitive brow.

“It’s not an act,” I stated firmly, “and I don’t play games.”

He shook his head at the counter, and muttered, “I didn’t think so.”

“Not like it would matter anyway.” My eyes lowered to his lap in mock consideration, then to the drink in front of him. “You’ve had so many of those, I doubt you could even play your part at this point.”

Dylan’s head rolled back as a deep laugh rumbled through him. I refused to acknowledge how sexy it sounded.

“First of all . . .” He lifted a finger in the air. “I’m always up to playing my part. Got it?” I kept my arms folded, my face unreadable, as he lifted another finger. “Secondly . . . I find it interesting that you know how much I’ve had to drink tonight.”

My arms slowly uncrossed under his amused and knowing gaze. His eyebrows shot up in silent inquiry, and when I offered no explanation, his grin broadened.

“I thought so.” With a flirty wink, he turned in his seat to face the bar.

I write relationships. Whether contemporary or fantasy, they are always real and never easy.

When I'm not writing, you can usually find me with my nose in my Kindle - reading romance of course - or running around after my three little boys, or catching up on an episode of Supernatural or This Is Us.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

VIDEO: Book Blogging for Beginners

Book Blogging for Beginners 
A Video Series

A collection of videos for new book bloggers. Everything from setting up your blog, finding books to review, and organization.

Video #1: The Checklist
What you need to get started.

To see all videos and those coming soon, click here.

If there is a topic you would like covered that isn't listed above, just let me know in the comments below!

Promo & Tour: Dating the It Guy by Krysten Lindsay Hager

Title: Dating the It Guy
Author: Krysten Lindsay Hager
Genre/Age: Contemporary Fiction/YA
Series: None
Publisher: Clean Reads
SynopsisEmme is a sophomore in high school who starts dating, Brendon Agretti, the popular senior who happens to be a senator's son and well-known for his good looks. 

Emme feels out of her comfort zone in Brendon's world and it doesn't help that his picture perfect ex, Lauren seems determined to get back into his life along with every other girl who wants to be the future Mrs. Agretti. Emme is already conflicted due to the fact her last boyfriend cheated on her and her whole world is off kilter with her family issues. 

Life suddenly seems easier keeping Brendon away and relying on her crystals and horoscopes to guide her. Emme soon starts to realize she needs to focus less on the stars and more on her senses. 

Can Emme get over her insecurities and make her relationship work? Life sure is complicated when you're dating the it guy.

He put the magazine between us, and when I moved forward to see it, he put his arm across the back of my chair. Now lots of guys did put their arms on chair backs, even Kirk did that with Rory, and he definitely wasn’t interested in her, but I couldn’t help but hope it meant something. I got this shivery feeling, and he asked if I was cold. I shook my head. I always got a feeling before something major was about to happen, and it has nothing to do with being cold, but I didn’t know why I got the feeling. Grandma used to do the same thing and always said, “Somebody just walked across my grave.” Somehow I didn’t think Brendon would understand if I told him I needed to move my future burial plot to a less high-traffic area.
“Are we still on for the art fair?” he asked.
I had only been circling it with hearts on my calendar since he asked.
“Sure, I think I’m still free,” I said.
We finished up our work, and he walked me out to meet Kylie.
“Okay, I’ll pick you up at three tomorrow,” he said, walking off.
“Can I ask a stupid question?” Kylie asked as soon as Brendon was out of earshot. “What’s he like? Because he’s so well-known, and I can’t imagine what it’d be like to grow up with your whole life under a microscope. I mean, my mom remembers his first birthday party pictures being shown on the news. And he’s hot, but he’s not like I-know-I’m-a-hottie hot, but more like a confident, ‘Yes, I am hot. Any questions?’ I mean, he has to have noticed there aren’t any guys who look like him walking around.”
“I should tell him what you said.”
“Don’t you dare,” Kylie said.
“I get what you mean—he’s grown up with everybody knowing his dad and watching him, but he’s pretty down to earth.”
“So what’s up with you two? You guys didn’t do any work last Saturday, and now you’re going to an art fair.”
“I dunno. He just asked me to go with him.”
“Asked you to go with him as his study buddy or asked you to go with him because he’s desperately in love with you?” she asked.
I said we were just friends, but she wouldn’t let it go.
“Okay, duh, obviously I like him, but let’s be honest. He’s out of my league. He’s out of most people’s league. It’s weird because normally if I like a guy then one of two things happens—either he likes me and asks for my number…or I find out he’s not into me and I cry in my pillow and listen to man-hating music for at least three days,” I said. “But this time’s different because he’s, I dunno, not just ‘some guy.’ I mean, I’m not putting up a shrine to him in my room, and I haven’t rooted though his garbage can, but I have as much chance of going out with him as Kirk does of getting an ‘A’ in this class.”
“You listen to man-hating music?” she asked, and I narrowed my eyes at her. “Whatever. Anyway, Em, he’s asked you out once already, and you are seeing him tomorrow. Plus, he’s always staring at you.”
I said he was probably just bored in class today, but she wouldn’t let it go.
“I’m not just talking about today. When we watched the movie on Monday, he watched you instead, and whenever I see you guys, he acts like there’s no one else in the room,” she said.
I couldn’t hold back the big, stupid smile spreading across my face. “He does? For real?”
She nodded. “You know, it’s weird. Here you were all upset you didn’t have a partner at the beginning of the semester, and then you ended up with like, Mr. Perfection, as your partner.”

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Five Favorite Movie Scenes of All Time 
by Krysten Lindsay Hager

One of my favorite movie scenes of all time is from “Just friends” with Ryan Reynolds and Amy Smart. I love when they go out to lunch for the first time in years and he’s trying to impress her with his new lifestyle and then he’s reminded of his less than cool past and weight when the waitress brings him pancakes. Then there’s this awkward scene where he drops her off and he’s mad at himself for blowing the whole lunch by trying to act cool. He doesn’t realize she’s come back to the car as he’s role playing the whole embarrassing scene. He goes over the top with it and then sees she’s been standing there watching him the whole time. It never fails to crack me up. I’ve been in both their shoes like when you go out with someone who is trying too hard to impress you and it’s awkward. I’ve also been in situations where you go back to your hometown and realize you truly can’t go home again.

It might surprise some people that I love “Shaun of the Dead” because I hate zombies. They terrify me and I start wondering if the whole walking dead thing could happen. Yet I love this movie. It’s so funny and I love the way it’s set up and shot. I watch it every time it comes on. My favorite scene is when Shaun’s stepfather utters the line, “I'm quite all right, Barbara, I ran it under a cold tap.” That cracks me up every single time.

The entire Harry Potter series is wonderful to watch when I want to escape. Especially if it’s cold or unpleasant outside. I can get under a blanket, grab a cup of tea, and watch. My favorite scenes are any that involve them in the library or in their common area with the fireplace. There’s something so cozy about those scenes.

“The Holiday: is another favorite. I loved this movie! I love how Cameron is in England in the cute little cottage, but my favorite scene is with Kate and her neighbor (Eli Wallach) when they first meet and she drives him home after he gets a little lost. Every scene they have together is great, but when he brings her the corsage—that completely gets to me every time. I confess I haven’t watched it since Eli Wallach passed away. He made that movie for me and I cried when I heard he died. There was one day my husband and I were in the parking lot of a grocery store and we saw this older man walking with a walker taking his groceries home. He was moving very slowly and reminded me of Eli and I said to my husband, “Oh we should offer him a ride,” and started talking about how it’d be just like in the movie and my husband said, “And he’d probably think we were weirdo kidnappers.”

I also love the movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and love the scene where Holly goes into Paul’s apartment just to chat and you can tell she feels safe with him. I love how she’s asking him about his writing and he says he writes every day and she calls him out on the fact he has a typewriter, but with no ribbon in it. That always cracks me up.

These are five of my favorite movie scenes and the movies I turn to when I need a little escape. They are my comfort movies and never let me down. 

Krysten Lindsay Hager is an obsessive reader and has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and humor essayist, and writes for teens, tweens, and adults. She is also the author of the Landry’s True Colors Series (True Colors, Best Friends…Forever?, and the soon to be released, Landry in Like) and her work has been featured in USA Today and named as Amazon’s #1 Hot New Releases in Teen & Young Adult Values and Virtues Fiction and Amazon’s #1 Hot New Releases in Children’s Books on Values. She’s originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and southwestern Ohio. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint.

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