Publisher: Kensington

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The Unyielding – Shelly Laurenston – 5 stars

March 28, 2017 Kensington, Read in 2017, Sent 1

I received this book for free from . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Unyielding – Shelly Laurenston – 5 starsThe Unyielding by Shelly Laurenston
Published by Kensington on March 28th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Paranormal, General, Fantasy, Action & Adventure
Pages: 400
Buy on Amazon
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five-stars
five-flames

Stieg Engstrom, Angriest Viking Ever, has got big problems. The human Viking Clans of earth are in danger of being obliterated—along with the rest of the world—and the only one who may be able to save them is a super pain-in-the-ass Crow. Most people annoy Stieg, but this is the one woman he really can’t stand…

Erin Amsel loves being a Crow! Why wouldn’t she when the other Viking Clans are so hilariously arrogant and humorless? She’s not about to let all that come to an end! She just didn’t expect to be shoulder to shoulder in battle with Stieg. Then again, he’s so easy to torment—and also kind of cute.

With the future of the world riding on them, Stieg knows he’ll have to put aside his desperate need to kiss the smirk right off Erin’s face. Wait. What? He didn’t mean that—did he? No! They have one goal: To conquer the idiots. Because nothing bugs Stieg more than when idiots win. If only he can keep himself from suddenly acting like one…

Are you ready for more Crow craziness?  Are you sure?  Are you really, really sure?

Well, buckle up for some more fun with the ladies and men who are trying to keep the world safe from some really insane deities.

Erin is up to something…  ok..  so she’s always up to something but this time she’s REALLY up to something.  She’s caught by someone that she honestly can’t stand at a moment when she really did need help (soooooooooooooooo not liking admitting that) but who she gets is someone that she can’t easily manipulate or ignore.  I loved getting to know more about her and understanding where the personality traits that drive everyone else insane came from.  She’s not willing to admit what Stieg comes to mean to her but he knows and accepts her for who she is.  I love her smart mouth but also found that behind this is someone who cares deeply for those around her and is willing to do what it takes to keep people safe.  There are moments when you just want to strangle her but the moments are broken up by laughter as she even knows that she’s doing it on purpose.

Stieg was so much fun to watch.  He’s driven but the way he tries to tell her not to do something in the beginning made me put down the book for a bit to laugh.  He’s not what he seems either which is why their pairing makes so much sense.  His relationships with others including shifters made me smile but it was the damn goat that made me almost lose it.  You’ll love meeting her but also love the way that he struggles to come to terms with what Erin starts to mean to him.  I will admit there is a part of me that wanted a more overt claiming but honestly these two are perfect for one another.  The way that the relationship just is… not forced… just natural made me smile.

Now… when is the next one?  I really wanna see how this new threat plays out cause…  DAMN MAN.

Also, Shelly…  if you ever decide to make more totes…  yeah… I NEED ONE… also… Vida…  thanks again!!!  I won’t see you this year at RT but thank you for letting me continue to share the love of these stories.

five-stars

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Shift – Sidney Bristol – 3 stars

August 19, 2016 NetGalley, Read in 2016 1

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Shift – Sidney Bristol – 3 starsShift by Sidney Bristol
Published by Kensington on July 26th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Suspense, Contemporary, Action & Adventure
Pages: 320
Source: NetGalley.com
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three-stars

Nothing shines like classic cars under the Miami heat. With engines revving hot and emotions running high, sparks are sure to fly . . .

Tori Chazov isn't exactly the girl next door. For one, if the neighbors found out she's an FBI asset and the daughter of a KGB defector, she'd have to grab her go bag and run. Then there's her day job: making magic happen under the hood of big beautiful muscle cars. She's more likely to be wearing engine grease than mascara, and most guys don't fantasize about their mechanics.

But then most girls don't fantasize about FBI tech geniuses, either, and Tori has it bad for Emery Martin. Emery has a past. She can see it in the way he keeps his body honed like a weapon, in the mysterious scars under his snap-button shirts. She can see it in the way his eyes follow her around the room, even though he never says a word.

He's going to have to start talking now, though. A vicious Russian hit squad is on the way to Miami to take Tori out for good. And without Emery's help, she might not make her last great escape . .

This wasn’t a perfect book but I did enjoy the main characters and find myself wanting to read the next one in the series.  I am going to have to chat with someone that I know that read and DNFd book one to see what that one holds but I would like to see what Gabriel has in store.  If you haven’t read book one I think you will be ok as I wasn’t completely aware of that being out (yeah I know I’m a mess).

Emery is basically a master hacker, information gatherer and overall super-agent even though he isn’t really an agent or maybe he is or …  yeah his exact ties to the FBI aren’t fully clear but he’s the assumed brainiac/geek/nerd but what he actually is well…  let’s just say I’d love to be in Tori’s shoes when his attention is fully focused on her.  He’s got his secrets (which I wanted to know more about dammit) and past which impacts his choices in life.  He’s convinced that Tori isn’t in to him but he’s been in to her for quite a while now and when circumstances push them together he takes advantage of them.  I liked his devotion to her and keeping her safe but the fact that he doesn’t try to fully cocoon her made me happy.  He’s also quite controlling in the sex scenes we get but it is a good kind of controlling even though I sort of wish we’d gotten more glimpses of this but the story arc kept them busy outside sexy times.  I look forward to seeing him a bit more in Gabriel’s story but know we probably won’t get much more of his backstory.

Tori was a fun character in a lot of ways.  She’s initially having conversations in her head with her dream version of Emery but admits that this is nothing compared to what she wants from real Emery when she finally spends time with him.  She’s had a crush on who she thought he was but the real him just completely does it for her.  She’s loyal to her twin sister, Roni, and her father but there’s a part of her who wonders if she’ll find someone that can accept who she is.  Her history was interesting as well so perhaps we’ll get more of this when/if Roni’s book comes out.  I liked how uncertain she was about being sexy for Emery but also enjoyed that she didn’t completely obsess over it.  She’s who she is and luckily for her he’s completely in to who she is so while she might want to have the more girly trappings the fact she doesn’t have to really does it for her.

Overall a good, fast read but I do wish we had a bit more time to completely know both of them.

three-stars

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Dirty For Me – Jackie Ashenden – 4.5 stars

August 8, 2016 Kensington, NetGalley, Read in 2016 1

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Dirty For Me – Jackie Ashenden – 4.5 starsDirty For Me by Jackie Ashenden
Published by Kensington on July 26th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Erotica, General, Action & Adventure
Pages: 300
Source: NetGalley.com
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four-half-stars

Ezekiel "Zee" Chase has a complicated past. Born into a family whose wealth grew from the seedy world of big-time crime, he ran away as a teenager and made a home for himself on the streets of Detroit. By day, the mechanic works at a local garage. But by night, he throws down with the best of them in Detroit's gritty underground fighting scene. With all those muscles, he's never had trouble with women--until he meets one who challenges him to the greatest fight of his life. . .

Tamara Eliot is a hardworking corporate high-flyer who appreciates the finer things in life, from her expensive perfume to her designer handbags. More than anything, though, she likes to be in control--and when Zee explodes into her life, she feels anything but. He's the definition of a bad boy: brash, fiery, and of course, irresistibly hot. And there's a darkness about him that keeps her coming back for more. As Zee takes Tamara deeper into a world she never knew existed, she just might prove to be the one opponent he won't be able to dominate--at least not without some pleasurable convincing .

I am trying to figure out how to review this one without it becoming a fan girl letter to Jackie…

This book sets up what should be a very intense set of stories about a group of close friends who made a family out of not so great circumstances.  This first book is about Zee who is keeping a pretty big secret from his friends and is driven by a memory of what might have been.  He’s convinced that he’s only good for a no-strings fling but finds himself oddly attracted to a woman who he feels is too good for him. I liked seeing him realize who he really was, what he really wanted and even better…  that he wasn’t his father.

The woman who makes him wake up has spent the last few years being the perfect daughter.  She’s taking atonement to a whole new level by suppressing her entire personality, dreams and self in order to make up something she shouldn’t have to for parents who don’t deserve her.  She meets Zee when she accompanies a co-worker to a gym in a not so great side of town.  Sparks fly between them that are undeniable but Tamara is determined to make her parents proud by working hard, marrying the man they picked and, in general, not allowing herself to be anything other than a rich princess.  Zee is supposed to only be a fling that doesn’t mean anything during the last bit of freedom that she has.

What we get with the two of them is amazingly hot sex but a sense that these two can heal one another.  They can push each other to fully embrace who they are without shame, without judgement and without the burdens of the past.  They really will grab at you but …. I have a feeling as much as I enjoyed them….  The next two pairs will put their scorching story to shame with the small glimpses we saw in this one.  I cannot wait for the next book and look forward to seeing how the rest of the gang find their happy endings…  😉

four-half-stars

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The Pages of the Mind – Jeffe Kennedy – 4.5 stars

June 2, 2016 Kensington, NetGalley, Read in 2016 1

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Pages of the Mind – Jeffe Kennedy – 4.5 starsThe Pages of the Mind by Jeffe Kennedy
Published by Kensington on May 31, 2016
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Romantic, Romance, Action & Adventure, Historical, Science Fiction
Pages: 432
Source: NetGalley.com
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four-half-stars

An Orphan's Throne

Magic has broken free over the Twelve Kingdoms. The population is beset by shapeshifters and portents, landscapes that migrate, uncanny allies who are not quite human…and enemies eager to take advantage of the chaos.

Dafne Mailloux is no adventurer--she's a librarian. But the High Queen trusts Dafne's ability with languages, her way of winnowing the useful facts from a dusty scroll, and even more important, the subtlety and guile that three decades under the thumb of a tyrant taught her.

Dafne never thought to need those skills again. But she accepts her duty. Until her journey drops her into the arms of a barbarian king. He speaks no tongue she knows but that of power, yet he recognizes his captive as a valuable pawn. Dafne must submit to a wedding of alliance, becoming a prisoner-queen in a court she does not understand. If she is to save herself and her country, she will have to learn to read the heart of a wild stranger. And there are more secrets written there than even Dafne could suspect…

I love this world.  There I said it.  This world makes me so happy and I was extremely excited to see that we would have more stories about it with new people to fall in love with.

Dafne spoke to me with her tendency to be hidden in the background and comfort in books.  She’s not much of a people person but those she allows close mean the world to her.  She takes her word very seriously but yearns to have something of her own that she convinces herself she will never have.  As she finally gets out on an adventure we get to see exactly who she is and what she is made of as she is faced with the chance to have more.  I loved seeing her struggle to understand what was happening to her but mainly loved her finally owning who she is and what she deserves.  She’s going on such a journey in this story so sit back and enjoy the ride.

Nakoa is just amazing.  I have to say he might beat Harlan in sigh-worthy moves but both of them have a special place in my book boyfriend heart.  He can’t speak her language but he still manages to show her how much she means to him and that they were always meant for one another even though she had never met him.  There is something about a man that is so powerful being so soft for his lady that just does it for me.  There is something else about him that does it for me and that I will leave to you to discover but suffice it to say he’s incredibly sweet and sensual but that isn’t even what I am referring to.  If you want to know what it is just message me and I will spoil for you but only if you seek me out.  I loved reading that moment and knowing what it means to them made it so much more than a simple moment.

This story continues from where we left the Kingdoms with more of the world to explore and find out.  I look forward to our next pair because that will be incendiary to say the least.  The way that we get to see so many people from the other stories made me very happy.

four-half-stars

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The Undoing – Shelly Laurenston – 5 Stars

March 29, 2016 Kensington, Read in 2016, Sent 1

I received this book for free from the publisher . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Undoing – Shelly Laurenston – 5 StarsThe Undoing by Shelly Laurenston
Published by Kensington on 2016-03-29
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology, Fantasy, Fiction, General, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 400
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
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five-stars

A risk worth taking…

No one would ever accuse Jace Berisha of having an easy life—considering her husband…you know…killed her. But that was then! Now she fights for mighty Viking gods with the spectacular and vicious Crows.

But things are turning very bad, very quickly because a vengeful, ancient goddess has come into the world with just one thing on her mind—ending it. And the only way they can hope to stop her is if the Crows join forces with their one-time enemies, the Protectors. A Viking Clan created to do nothing but kill every Crow they see.

Thankfully, Protector Ski Eriksen is a peace loving kind of guy. Because the woman he is desperately trying to get close to is the beautiful and not-very-chatty Jace. Battling Nordic clans? Unkillable goddesses? Jace’s mean-spirited dog? None of these things would ever get in the way of a true Viking!

Ok Vida…  I cannot stress this enough..  THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!  You will get hugs and maybe if both our schedules can work out at RT a drink for sending me this ARC.

Now to the book….

Those who know me know that Shelly Laurenston is a drop everything author for me even with the craziness of my job and school.  When this one arrived in  my mailbox I might’ve squealed a bit then jumped right in.  It was so worth having to stay up later to work on homework just because of our lovely Crows and the poor men who fall in love with them.

Jace was someone that most people would have a hard time knowing but I think she and I would fit in just fine together.  I love to just curl up and read while avoiding the world.  The fact that my local grocery store now has delivery just makes it so much easier to get off work on Friday and not leave again until work on Monday.  My cats have gotten used to this fact and I think enjoy it as much as I do.  Jace needs to figure out something to get her away from the other well-meaning Crows so takes advantage of an offer to work with the Protectors.  What she finds is people who get her and truly accept who she is even with her quirks.  She also ends up finding an amazing man who doesn’t think she’s damaged or bizarre but really gets HER.  I loved seeing her open up and become the woman she was meant to be even as the world is in crisis.

Ski… *seriously happy sigh*… this is a man who just understands her once he puts all the pieces together.  He has spent most of his life dealing with the characters that are the Protectors and now he’s found a woman who truly can fit in his world while keeping him on his toes.  He needs someone that is capable of being independent in many ways but still needs him.  He’s also such a fun character to get to know as he manages to balance his own interests with the immense responsibilities that are on his shoulders.  I also couldn’t help but love….

His CAT….  yeah we have a book with animals that are just as funny as the people who own them with their own quirks and awesome mannerisms.  Ski’s cat and Jace’s puppy will keep you giggling at various moments plus..

BRODIE HAWAII!!!!!

Oh and we get CLIPBOARDS… People get to finally start showing why they are critical for the battles to come and I loved how this story continues to build as we see more of the inhabitants of this world….

Also…  The Sisters made me have to sit the book down and laugh for a few minutes…

Yeah ok I am babbling here but this is why Shelly Laurenston is an automatic GIMMEE and I am so happy to have crossed paths with Vida in Kansas City.  I am glad we met and she keeps feeding me with titles that make my book-reading soul happy.

five-stars

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30 Days – Christine d’Abo – 3 stars

August 31, 2015 Kensington, NetGalley, Read in 2015 0

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

30 Days – Christine d’Abo – 3 stars30 Days by Christine d'Abo
Published by Kensington on 2015-07-28
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Erotica, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 320
Source: NetGalley.com
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three-stars

For years, Alyssa has been going to bed with a memory. Is she ready to wake up with a fantasy?

Some people wait their whole lives to find their soul mate, but not Alyssa Barrow. She met Rob at nineteen, and they were set to live happily ever after—until he became ill. In his final days, Rob urged his beautiful, young wife not to abandon happiness—or pleasure. He even left her a special gift, a sexy game plan to help her move on: Thirty cards with instructions for thirty days of passion. You'll know when the time is right, he'd said. Now it's two years later, and when Alyssa meets her hot new neighbor, Harrison Kemp, she begins to think the right time is right now…

From his sculpted thighs to his devilish grin, Harrison is the kind of man women want. Before she can lose her nerve, Alyssa tells Harrison about her long-ignored cards…and asks him to help her fulfill them. It's a favor he's more than happy to, um, perform. With his skillful touch, and the hot press of his lips against her skin, Alyssa finds herself re-awakening to life—and a host of other sensations. But what began as not-so-innocent fun soon grows into true intimacy, and Alyssa realizes she's opening herself up not just to sex…but to love. When it comes to a future with Harrison, what's really in the cards?

Saucy, heartwarming, and insightful, 30 Days explores the agony—and the ecstasy—of starting over, and how a little encouragement, and a little courage, can go a long way…

Be ready to tear up a little bit as you read this but also be ready to have a couple of issues with both the hero and heroine…

I’m struggling a bit with this one…  I liked it but I didn’t like how little we got to see of who Harrison is and what he wants other than thru her eyes.  I didn’t like that we really had limited time with him outside of what they did in bed or when they were fulfilling one of the cards.  I liked what we saw of him but I found myself wanting more of his time than of her time.  We just get a glimpse of a good man that has his own demons to put away but I just don’t see how they can be in love without more from him.

My biggest issues were with the heroine and her obsession with the past.  I get that she lost the love of her life… I really do… but I struggled with how much we had to hear about him and what he meant to her and blah blah blah.  Okay that sounds a bit harsh but come on really????  In real life there are these sorts of stories but I guess we have uncovered that in my fiction I don’t want to constantly hear about the ex or see the heroine obsess over her dead true love.  I mean we are in the story to see a couple develop and to be quite honest I felt for Harrison as he was fighting a ghost.  Granted what let him in to her life was her wanting to use the cards the man left her but dammit…  I wanted to understand more about the pull they shared which was constantly interrupted by the musings she had about her dear, sainted dead true love.

Yeah I guess I am a meanie but overall the story wasn’t bad but wasn’t something that I adored.  I liked the idea of the cards and the way it could bring someone back to life but dammit I want my couple to be a couple without a constant ghost cropping up.

three-stars

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The Unleashing – Shelly Laurenston – 4 stars

March 31, 2015 Kensington, Read in 2015 0

I received this book for free from the publisher . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Unleashing – Shelly Laurenston – 4 starsThe Unleashing by Shelly Laurenston
Published by Kensington on 2015-03-31
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 400
Source: the publisher
The Unleashing (Call Of Crows)<img src="http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=booaholano0c-20&l=as2&o=1&a=1617735051" target="_blank">Buy on Amazon
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four-stars

Winging It

Kera Watson never expected to face death behind a Los Angeles coffee shop. Not after surviving two tours lugging an M16 around the Middle East. If it wasn't for her hot Viking customer showing up too late to help, nobody would even see her die.

In uncountable years of service to the Allfather Odin, Ludvig "Vig" Rundstrom has never seen anyone kick ass with quite as much style as Kera. He knows one way to save her life--but she might not like it. Signing up with the Crows will get Kera a new set of battle buddies: cackling, gossiping, squabbling, party-hearty women. With wings. So not the Marines.

But Vig can't give up on someone as special as Kera. With a storm of oh-crap magic speeding straight for L.A., survival will depend on combining their strengths: Kera's discipline, Vig's loyalty... and the Crows' sheer love of battle. Boy, are they in trouble.

Okay I admit I fan girl over Shelly Laurenston…  I really truly do.  I even might fan girl over her wonderful, amazing, sweet, did I say amazing, publicist Vida who is always great about giving me ARCs of SL (BTW- there are never any strings to what I have to think or post on my reviews).  I might’ve cried a bit when the announcement came out about the hiatus on The Pride series but I recovered a bit when I saw the announcement that The CROWS and RAVENS were being brought back to life in a new location and to create a new series.   I loved the idea when it was originally presented and now that I can at least have this to get me by…  well…  color me happy.

Now to keep this from giving away spoilers…

Things you’ll love and laugh at:

  • Brodie Hawaii – Kera’s dog gets some very ardent admirers and friends in this story which will lead to some quite humourous moments as Kera tries to keep the other Crows from taking over her dog.  I also love what we get to see later in the book as it led to some of my favorite moments where I almost choked on what I was drinking.  She’s such a fun character and you’ll love how this once abused dog finds her revenge.
  • Kera’s initial impression of Vig when he frequented her shop.  Seriously this was the funniest blow to an ego that I have read in a very long time, if not ever.
  • CLIPBOARDS
  • The hypochondriac Crow
  • The constant commentary from other Crows about Kera’s looks.  Yes, this could be insulting but they are based in L.A. where comments like the ones they make are normal for those obsessed with being in the biz.
  • Kera’s trip to Valhalla – Honestly I loved seeing this and admit that my reaction to the people she meets there would probably be the same.  I mean…  seriously…
  • Vig’s reputation – I loved Vig and enjoyed how others saw him versus who he really is.  He’s something else and his inability to control things going on in his house was funny to read.
  • Erin – She’ll make you laugh as she struggles with how to handle Kera let alone how to be something she thinks she isn’t.

I appreciated this start to a new series and look forward to many more to come.  The baddie in this will be something to behold as things evolve so get ready for the ride.

 

Oh and Vida…  fair warning…  there will be a few of us stalking you at RT just cause you are so awesome about feeding our Laurenston fix…  😉

four-stars

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Twisted – Rebecca Zanetti – 4 stars

July 27, 2013 Kensington, NetGalley, Read in 2013 0

Twisted – Rebecca Zanetti – 4 starsTwisted Published by Kensington on June 20, 2013
Pages: 103
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
four-stars

In human form, Terrent Vilks is all male animal--dark, ripped, predatory. As wolf, he's unforgettably dangerous, unforgettably hot. Yet Maggie can't remember him. . ..

Not even when she learns she once agreed to mate him. Yeah, that was years ago, before she was kidnapped and tortured, before she lost her memory. Now she knows just one thing about herself--she'll do whatever it takes to bring down the monsters who took her, even trust her ex.

He's got her right where he wants her. . .

My Thoughts:

I’ve only read one other entry in this series when this one caught my eye.  I really need to read the rest of this series as the two I’ve read have been enjoyable.

Maggie is missing huge amounts of her past due to the torture she survived.  She has only recently been able to control her shifts and still isn’t 100% certain exactly who she is.  When she ends up staying with a man who claims to be someone important from her past she balks but finds that as she spends more time around him she’s intrigued.  She ends up finding out more about herself and her past in this short read but I liked that she stood up for herself and wasn’t completely “Woe is me” like others might be in the same situation.

Terrent has lived without his other half for too long and now that he has her back with him he’s determined to get her to remember him.  He’s definitely Alpha but is smart enough to know that the best thing he can do is be there for her and tamp down his need to claim her.  He’s very protective of her but still let her take the lead in a few ways.  His charming ways of getting her to remember him made me smile and man oh man can he turn up the heat.

I’m definitely going to go back and read the rest of the series ASAP because this was enjoyable.  Thanks to NetGalley.com and Kensington for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

four-stars

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