Archive | April 2015

Lie Down with Dogs, Black Dog, Book 3, Hailey Edwards

Lie Down with Dogs, Black Dog, Book 3,  Hailey Edwards
Genre: paranormal/fantasy
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
I’m really enjoying this series. Thierry is back from Faerie – only for a year though, then she must return for her coronation. That will tie her there for 100 years….but she seems trapped even though she doesn’t want to do it. Poor Thierry, she’s a great girl and always wants to help where she can. She’s got so many ties on her now though it leaves little left for her. She’s still supporting her mum though mum doesn’t know it, she’s tied to Shaw as he can only feed from her, married to Rook even though she was tricked into it, and if she doesn’t take up her crown then Faerie will be at war with devastating consequences for everywhere and everyone.
It’s real rock and hard place for her. A less caring person would say Not my Problem but that’s not Thierry, she always wants to help even when the cost is high to her. Its part of her personality. She’s still ensconced in the triangle too between Rook and Shaw, and after reading this novel I’m still uncertain which team I’m on. Shaw has redeemed himself finally, and the connection between him and Thierry is strong – but then so is her pull to Rook, even though she was manipulated into marrying him. I’m sure he’s got reasons but so far we don’t know them. So team? I haven’t a clue
Thierry is struggling to get back to normal, but not succeeding. When her roommate and best friend suggests a week at the beach she’s in…but has to take along her two Fae guardians and Diode. That doesn’t stop her running into trouble though, and getting embroiled in something very serious which proves to be incredibly dangerous to her. There are some real surprises in this book, as well as a plot that takes twists and turns and is very entertaining. Its an easy to read novel, even though its got some complex themes. There are a few new people that turn up and who they are is a shock. Its a great read and I’m keen to read the next (final) book and see how it all ends, though I’ll be sorry to leave the group. Its one to re read though and will join my keepers files.

Stars:  Five, a fabulous read .
ARC provided by Netgalley and publishers

Uncovering Ray, Edie Danford

Uncovering Ray, Edie Danford  
Genre: LGBTQIA, New Adult
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
I’ve always thought it’s the story that counts, the romance, not the sex of the characters, their race, religion, disability or anything. Then I picked up this book and it made me realise that maybe I’m not as open minded as I like to think…
Ray is a troubled 20 year old, and is having a hard time coping. Jerk father, uninterested mother and he currently lives with his sort of stepfather and young half brother Dave,in a basement flat from the main property. Allows a little independence while still letting stepdad keep watch.d I so felt for him and his problems. Ray tries to help but has problems too – and Dave tries to help Ray. Sort of recipe for disaster isn’t it – the blind leading the blind?
Rays a hard worker though, does frequent double shifts at the Ellery Diner as the money is needed. Then in comes Wyatt and his frat pals, and they’re pretty obnoxious. Ray is tall but also has a real androgyny appearance and that’s much of the problem. There’s no neat pigeon hole, Ray is clear that sexuality is fluid and we’re left wondering – after drunken Mike asks it-well, is Ray a boy or a girl ? And that’s where my liberalism was tested – did it matter, and why was I so curious if its really the story that interests me? Am I one of those who want to label people? I didn’t think so but the more mystery about Ray there was the more I wanted to know the answer. I think though – hope anyway- that its curiosity alone that made me want to know. Certainly it didn’t affect the story whatever the answer was, and I really enjoyed the way it played out. I so felt for Ray, struggling over issues of not only gender but how everyone treats it, and how to find a way in the world that didn’t involve using parents connections. Independence is great, but sometimes having a rich family can work against one and that’s what Ray seemed to fear. Wanted to be successful under Rays own efforts.
Wyatt – tall,handsome, manly Wyatt,is clearly interested in Ray, but his early approaches get rebuffed. He’s persistent though, in his gentle,polite way and somehow he gets closer and under Rays barriers – though there are lots of push backs. Even when they’re at the kissing and touching stage its still never clear what sex Ray is and it doesn’t seem to matter to Wyatt even though so far he’s been only interested in girls…and soon they’ve gone further and are lovers. Its a very touching,emotional relationship, with Ray still have huge problems to overcome, and keeping so much hidden from Wyatt though he probably knows more than anyone else. Then – wham, everything catches up with Ray just at the point where, in an attempt to help, Wyatt contacts someone he doesn’t know is from Ray’s past….and its a huge blowout. That coincided with other major events in Rays life,and the beautiful romance looks to be lost. I was so upset, could see both sides, loved them both and understood why they did what they did,but the big question – could they get past that and make things work?

Stars: five, for me this was a really great read,very full of drama and emotion and just the sort of romance I love. It made me think too and question my own perceptions and that’s good. We all need to be challenged sometimes.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Waiting for the One, L.A. Fiore

Waiting for the One, L.A. Fiore
Genre:  Romance
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
I love L.A.Fiore’s writing. Some authors write books in a genre that are so similar it feels like reading the same story, but with new characters – you know the sort, where men are alpha males and either bikers, monosyllabic and demanding, tattooed, bad boy MMA types, or rich, suave businessmen. They’re almost cut and paste characters. Nothing wrong if that’s what you want to read, but for me writers like this who come up with totally original characters and themes are who do it for me.
Saffron, she’s lovely. So full of positivity, even though she’s had the parents from hell – emotionally distant and cruel. She’s made her own life, found her own family in her friends from school and elderly neighbour Frank. He’s now in a home, and yet she still visits him several times a week. Its a small town, there’s a lot going on and Saffron is always ready to lend a willing hand. She’ll step up to help anyone, even though money is tight, she gives freely of her time. The town festivals were terrific, and the swordfish funnel cake part – fabulous!
Logan turned up a few months back. Comes in the bar where she works but never speaks to her. He talks to others but never her. He just responds with tiny smiles, and she’s made it a mission to get him to speak, but so far, funny though her chats are, she’s not succeeded. Then comes the swordfish festival and everything changes!!
Its a terrific read, packed with drama and emotion – actually made me cry – real tears, honestly, and that doesn’t happen often. Its a great story, the characters are wonderful and I was there with them, at the festivals, in the bar and when the dangers started stacking up for Saffron, like Logan I worried for her. Its a typical example of how the media affect people’s lives. We see it all the while, words and pictures twisted to put the worst spin on, it seems sometimes anything is game so long as the stories sell. Money really is God to some, and they don’t care who gets damaged in the fallout. Like Saffron I wonder – Why? Why do people feel the need to know every bit of ( false ) info about a celebrity’s life. Why do they queue for hours, imagine they are in love, see the Star as a person, rather than the real personality behind it. Odd – just odd, but we see it every day. Must be scary to be involved on the wrong side of some deranged fans.
The story itself is perfect, there are lots of little sub plots that round out the Saffron and Logan romance, that make it so much more than a HEA romance, and make it one I’ll want to read again. I loved it.
Stars: Stars: Five, a great read, incredibly sad at times and yet also very funny at others. .
ARC provided by Netgalley and publishers

The Werewolf Wears Prada, a San Francisco Wolf Pack novel, Kristin Miller

 

 

The Werewolf Wears Prada, a San Francisco Wolf Pack novel, Kristin Miller
Genre:  Romance, Fantasy/Sci-fi.
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
I’ve read  the Seattle Pack trio and enjoyed them, so thought I’d try this one from the San Francisco pack. These aren’t deep, heavy, complex reads, but a kind of werewolf lite read, one where humour plays a part, and the romance is…well, fluffy sounds wrong when talking about werewolves, but it gives an idea of the type of read these are. Fun reads, ones you can read, put down and pick up later without losing the plot…there’s a place for all books, and this one suits those moments where time is limited and you may only have an odd few minutes to keep up with the story.
Its a fun read as I said, Melina is a good female lead, and did remind me a bit of the lead in the Devil wears Prada, which I read many years ago long before it was a film. Ambitious but also genuinely kind, and the the conundrum of job security v fairness is well done. Hayden, he’s the consummate playboy – or is he. Like we see so often ( and I hate) the media shows only one side, the side that sells the most, regardless of the truth or who is hurt by the story. Still, I enjoyed the growing( and growling) romance between the two, and the dilemma Melina faced.  It’s a kind of simple plot – light and easy to read, with some humour and a decent romance. These types of read are rarely five star for me, though they are for many others, but I find they are perfect for filling a gap when I want a lighter read, or for people with limited time to enjoy novels. Nothing is explored in any real depth, the story and plots are very surface based, and of course the length of just over 200 pages doesn’t allow for too much detail. Within those restrictions though is a fun read, perfect for when you want something easy to relax with.
Stars:  Four, fun story.,
ARC provided by Netgalley and publishers

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Midnight Ride, Cat Johnson

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00ONTR6EC/ef=nosim?tag=jeanniezelosb-21

Midnight Ride, Cat Johnson
Genre:  Romance.
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Well, romance and cowboys, a nice easy read. I did enjoy this, and the younger man angle was something different – why is it no one bats an eyelid if the man is 36 and the woman 24 – its all wink, wink and congratulations,  lucky guy, way to go etc. but when its the other way round there’s murmurings of cougars and how it can’t last….Janie is worried about that too – there’s real chemistry between her and Tyler, and though he’s a rep as a player and reckless, underneath that is a man that’s solid and responsible and knows what he wants. He’s done all the light stuff, playing the field with the one nighters and now he wants more, and he sees Janie as his future. Sadly though she finds it hard to believe, thinking all the negatives that are pushed the way of older lady – younger man…Tyler has his work cut out to persuade her what they have can be permanent, and that he doesn’t want someone younger.
I think my biggest problem with this read was the time scale, it all takes place over a couple of weeks and for such a big change in life, for Janie to understand she’s not a quick fling for him  I really needed it to cover months. I’d have a problem too, believing Tyler could change in the space of a week. After all they met when he was escaping from his latest would be sex for the night fling….
I really liked Janie as a character and Tyler – it was easy to see he’s more than he shows everyone, but I needed the time for him to convince Janie – I just couldn’t see that in a couple of short weeks she’d have such a mental turn around. Tyler – wow – he was definitely hot, and very mature when he showed that side of his character. He was loving to his family, responsible and loyal to his friends, and as evidenced by his giving up one night a week to help a local store owner who was sick, on top of what he was doing for Janie, ( round the ranch, not to her!!) he was hardworking. He actually felt a lot older than 24 going on 25 and I think that’s why it worked so well between them – he’d done the mad bit and was ready for more. Janie, well, her husband was older, and his illness had made him very sedate, he was loving but not a ball of energy. Someone with some life in them that could make her feel young again – as she was at just 36 – was just what she needed. They had shared outlooks too, with the animals and ranch being something they both enjoyed. It made for what could have been for me a great read if it had been spread over a longer timespan, and had a bit more drama added. As it was it’s a sweet, easy read but not one I’d re read.
Stars: Three, a good read but a bit lightweight
ARC provided by Netgalley and publishers.

Wicked Exposure, Katana Collins

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00ONTS5GA/ef=nosim?tag=jeanniezelosb-21

Wicked Exposure, Katana Collins
Genre:  Romance, Erotica
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
I knew already from Katana’s Soul series that I enjoy her writing style but this one isn’t paranormal, so wondered if I’d like it as much as I do her fantasy books. I did, that’s the short answer, its got everything I like in it. A good story, great characters, suspense that’s not too overcomplicated but still makes me struggle to work out who could be behind things, and of course some very sensual and spicy scenes. I got sucked into this read very quickly. Yes there were some things I had issues with, such as how Jessica lets so much go without questioning, and esp the party stuff….but for me the best way was to shut down that line of critical thinking and just enjoy the story. I may not have liked Jessica being so accepting but it let the novel progress into areas it needed to go.
I like the way bits unfold carefully, the way there are parts and people that seem to fit the growing mystery,  and then something comes up to make me doubt them. The steam between Sam and Jessica – and the scenes – are scorching and very sensual and worked perfectly given their background. I enjoyed too that its a rocky road for them and not just pick up where they left off all those years before. Dane – he’s a mysterious character and I want to know more about him, he’s very enigmatic and I’m sure he knows much more than he’s saying but whether he’s actually behind things who knows…I can’t quiet see it but then?
The dangers start stacking up quickly and the body count grows. Just when I think I’ve worked out one possible angle it all changes. Add in the romance that’s on, off and then on again and its for me the perfect mix of sensual romance and addictive mystery. The only downside is my pet hate, cliff-hanger ending
Stars: five, a great read and I so wish the next part was ready now – I hate waiting, especially when it ends like this.
ARC provided by Netgalley and publishers.

Edit: I emailed Katana about the follow up. The final part is out Oct 27th 2015.

Behind the Scenes, Things are never quite as they appear, Sophie Childs

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00UT5CZU4/ef=nosim?tag=jeanniezelosb-21

 

Behind the Scenes, Things are never quite as they appear, Sophie Childs
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Romance
I was looking forward to this, love a film setting, and was hoping that it would be one of those where the star falls in love with Bethan….
Sadly I quickly changed my mind – I really didn’t like Bethan, in fact I didn’t like her boyfriend or her best friend either. Bethan moaned about her job and boss, but spends most of her time there doing things other than works and trying to shirk off early. She comes across as a doormat for the boyfriend, and its kind of easy to see very early what’s going on there. Lee is selfish, rude and just walks over Bethan and sometimes I think why on earth are they together, it seems that its more important to her that he’s good-looking, chasing fame ( and certainly more important to him!) and wanted by other women, than they have a genuine relationship. She just accepts all his excuses. When she loses her job one moments she’s worrying about paying the next months rent, then she’s out shopping, retail therapy. Clearly not that worried about the rent…Then there’s her best friend – a vapid, shallow girl, who sleeps with anyone that takes her fancy, and sees men with girlfriends as OK – she tells herself if they were happy then the boyfriend wouldn’t approach her. I really can’t like that kind of selfish person.
As for the story – well, its kind of light,no real depth to the characters or story IMO and I found it really hard to believe the way everything just went Bethan’s way, from meeting Vincent to the jobs that followed just when she needed them. I liked Vincent but would he really be oblivious to what a bitch his wife really was? Overall I just couldn’t get into the story – I did finish it but it was hard going, it was one of those where it just wasn’t right for me. as ever though its just one view and there will be many that differ. thankfully we all want different stories – it’d be dull if we didn’t!
Stars: Sorry but this one is a two – just didn’t cut it for me.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Broken Juliet, Leisa Rayven

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00Q4TH25W/ef=nosim?tag=jeanniezelosb-21

 

Broken Juliet, Leisa Rayven

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Romance
Well, last year I read Bad Romeo, and had a few issues with things in it. I felt it could be five star but the gripes brought it down for me. That Ethan though – he’s been plaguing me ever since to re-read it, saying I’d not got the point. Finally I gave in, knowing Broken Juliet was due out ( and then – hurrah, I got an ARC for it, so could read both back to back, my preferred way of reading stories) I couldn’t believe how the issues that annoyed me first time round were so much easier to accept on second reading, and them disappearing more into the background let the story and drama play out for me raising it from a 3 to a 4.5. Then I read this one, and the issues I had are all answered here – in full, and it was a fabulous, romantic, dramatic read.
Its still told in flashbacks and alternating POV, and this time I found it easier to keep up and keep my mind in the time period the story was in. That’s good, as really there are three separate times: the present time, the college years six years back, and the three years between now and finish of college. It sounds confusing but it wasn’t.
Cassie really is broken, she’s shut her heart and emotions away now, vowing no-one will ever have the power to break her again. She doesn’t think she could get over it, so when Ethan comes along asking for a third chance – she doesn’t want to know. Rightly so – after all how can she know he’s changed? But he has and he’s happy to take as long as it needs to show her his true heart, that he loves her openly, fully and won’t let her down again. He knows he’s got a hard line to tread though, but it seems he’s going to be persistent!
We see them back at college, and see just how badly Cassie was hurt, then that second breakup – the one that puzzled me so badly in book one. Finally I understood just why she was so adamant. Poor Cassie, I felt for her in the first book, and this one, well – thank goodness she’d been blessed with such loving and supportive friends. She needed them after that second breakup, and without them I think she’d have been suicidal. There’s such drama here, such pulling at emotions, but where before we just saw the results of Ethan’s actions, now we get an insight into just why he behaved that way, his motivation, how he felt and that he really thought he was doing the right thing. Is it possible to change so much though? Can Cassie get past such sorrow, such heart break, such betrayal of trust? Well, Ethan really has grown, and finally faced his fears, and now he has to convince Cassie to face hers. Even if they don’t get back together she truly is broken as she is, hasn’t been able to have a relationship since they’d split, just a series of unsatisfactory one night stands. She can’t go through life like that without ending up embittered and unhappy at everything and everyone. Her heart knows it belongs to Ethan, he just has to convince her head to let him have one more chance. He knows this time he won’t let her down, he has a confidence and a maturity that shows through, and he’s just so incredibly supportive, so open and loving, so unsderstaning that he made me fall in love with him all over again.
Its a fabulous read, full of emotion, drama, romance, and yet deals with issues that affect many people. It shows us how we can get stuck in a pattern of behaviour. I so wanted Cassie to give him another chance – once I knew why he had changed. I liked that there was a real reason for that change, that he could come out and say what was wrong for him, and what he;’d done to put it right. I liked that it took time, both for him to heal and become the man he now is, and for Cassie to believe him. After all the dramas they’ve been through it wouldn’t have been right if he said “give me a third chance Cassie, please?” and she just said yes…they needed that time, we needed that time to read and understand them both. I loved seeing an update of Erika too at the end, and it made me wonder just what had gone on in her life. It was clear she recognised the strength of love and emotion between Cassie and Ethan right from the start, and seeing her at the end closed the circle perfectly.
Stars: five, a fabulous read that answers all my questions from book one.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Redemption Falls, A Littleton Novel, Kate Hewitt

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00W79RKM8/ef=nosim?tag=jeanniezelosb-21

 

Redemption Falls, A Littleton Novel, Kate Hewitt
Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Gosh, some really troubled people in this book. Rob, trying to escape from the guilt he feels over his past actions is back in his home town. Linnea has also come home after twelve years roaming, floating from place to place, job to job, rootless. After a postcard from her mum she thinks finally she can come back and make changes. Its a different place to what she left though, and Ambler isn’t open and friendly to her “sister” but sullen and moody. She’s fourteen now, a tough age anyway and Linnea just feels even more guilty for leaving. Her mum hasn’t encouraged contact and the three of them all seem very self contained, not close though its clear Ambler and the lady she thinks is her mum have a special bond. I so felt for Linnea, though she left her daughter when she was two its not as cut and dried as that, and she still looks to be trying to stop the hurt of rejection. Linnea isn’t really made welcome even though her mum asked her to return. She lives a few miles away, in a tiny ramshackle place in the mountains, but has been invited for dinner just a couple of times since she returned. Any more frequent contact Linnea tries is discouraged. She was hoping they could tell Ambler the truth but that seems like it’s not going to happen… Just when she’s thinking maybe she should just go again something huge changes everything.
Rob, he’s not exactly happy in his new job. He’s got to make some sweeping changes and severe cutbacks to keep the college running. One of his ideas for extra income is for the college to have some extra classes – adult education, not for the basics but for Art, History, subjects that interest people and aren’t easily found. There’s a bit of closed ranks but he gets his way. He’s attracted by Linnea but she’s rude, prickly and unwelcoming. Somehow though he sees in her someone like himself who needs a friend, and he wants to see more of her. She’s scared, puts him off, conscious of her position as an uneducated shop-worker compared to his as College President. He wears her down though, but just when they finally seem to make progress everything gets upturned and there are some tough decisions to make.
Stars: Four, a haunting read, and I really felt for the characters.
ARC provided by Netgalley and publisher

Bad Romeo, Leisa Rayven

Bad Romeo

Bad Romeo, Leisa Rayven
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre:  Romance
Bad Romeo, Leisa Rayven
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Romance
Well, this book wouldn’t leave me, even though there were issues I had with it. Somehow Cassie and Ethan kept creeping into my mind til I just had to re read this book! I’ve waited til the next almost out so it’s still fresh when I read that. I really enjoyed it this time and as I’ve just got Broken Juliet for review that’s todays reading settled! My new thoughts are those in italics.
I’ve some really mixed feelings about this novel. Some parts were terrific and had me gripped, but others fell down badly. I loved both Cassie and Ethan, and yet there were things that just didn’t add up. We’re told Ethan destroyed Cassie twice before, so I was waiting for the second time…and just didn’t find it? Even Cassie says the “fool me once,” phrase indicating this is his third chance, but even to the ending I was still waiting for break up number two? If someone can point it out to me I’ll gladly accept I was wrong and have missed it, but I simply can’t find it. The story at the end goes from the past split at college to current time, so I just can’t see where it would fit in, and of course as so much of Cassie’s anti Ethan stance stems from Two heartbreaks it makes it feel very odd for me. I’m rereading this and think I’ve finally got it..maybe…its still not really clear but hasn’t annoyed me so much this time round .It got to the point where we were maybe 80% in and still on the college time, so I had the awful feeling we were getting a cliff hanger ending and there would be another book to follow ( and I Hate Those!!). That didn’t happen, but the ending we did get was very, very abrupt and not satisfying for me. It felt hurried, disjointed, rushed and so very out of synch with the rest of the story, a huge lost chance for some real solid dramatics. I’ve since discovered there’s another book due out April 2015 called Broken Juliet so maybe that has more answers? It does, just read an ARC and everything is clear now!! It’s due out later this month, April 28th
The pacing too was a bit off for me. The story is told in flashbacks, they work OK for me usually, not my favourite style but there are lots of them.. I did find it confusing sometimes working out what’s happened, when and why, and I think this novel would be better for me if the past was in one complete section. The way it alternated felt choppy to me, and affected the way I read and understood their actions. Ok, second time round this didn’t bother me so much either – maybe because I understand more where the story is going. Strange isn’t it how what was a real issue for me isn’t this time.
The chemistry between them was perfect, sizzling and sensual. That first audition where they touch hands, doing a Mirror exercise – Wow, I could feel they were two halves of a whole. I understood Cassie’s desire to be “in” with the crowd, not to stand out, to be the one that’s different. Its a kind of self protection – I’ve been there….its a way of avoiding the bullies. As she came from such a different background then she would be a target from the start unless she took steps such as she did. I didn’t really understand why Ethan was as he was…there was a part explanation given later in the book but it didn’t really add up to his actions for me. It needed to be something stronger. I also didn’t really get why and how he’d changed, it couldn’t just be he’d realised what he lost when he’d has such problems but we don’t really get to see how he’s turned himself around. That chemistry still has my breath caught – it’s incredible. I’m still uncertain exactly why Ethan is how he is, but read something I’d missed, my eye must have skimmed it and my brain didn’t log it – and that seems much more reasonable now. I really like Ethan this time, feel I understand him much more and am rooting for him to find a way to break through and get Cassie to trust him again
I felt it could have been a terrific story as the characters and settings were all there, but the little things that irritated – and the big ones of the missing breakup and rushed ending, spoiled it for me and brought the rating down to just an OK read. I needed more sadness, for the breakup that was given to be strengthened, and prolonged. They way we read it was so quickly that I didn’t get to feel Cassie’s ( and maybe Ethan’s) pain, or understand just how it had affected them and given Cassie has struggled for the three years since to get over him then it was a big loss to me. I needed more about the intervening three years and how it had affected them both. I’m hoping Broken Juliet covers this more, there’s a kind of six year/three year issue for me and I’m not really sure where the last break up fits in, whether its in what feels to me like a missing gap – that would make much more sense to me. Second time round I’ve really enjoyed this read, and somehow the things that grated before have gone more smoothly. I still felt the ending was abrupt and could have been prolonged, but the overall drama of the book resonated so much more this time so I’ve upped my rating to a four and a half.
Stars: Three, I really really wanted this to be a five star as for me the characters were so charismatic and perfect for each other but… The overall drama of the book resonated so much more this time so I’ve upped my rating to a four and a half.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

And having just read Broken Juliet ( full review on publication) all my questions were answered, the break ups, the reason for Ethans change, the missing three years…and that’s a five star read

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