Monday, December 28, 2015

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood

The Darkest Secret
Apologies for the general email, but I desperately need your help.
My goddaughter, Coco Jackson, disappeared from her family's holiday home in Bournemouth on the night of Sunday/Monday August 29/30th, the bank holiday weekend just gone. Coco is three years old.
When identical twin Coco goes missing during a family celebration, there is a media frenzy. Her parents are rich and influential, as are the friends they were with at their holiday home by the sea.
But what really happened to Coco?
Over two intense weekends - the first when Coco goes missing and the second twelve years later at the funeral of her father - the darkest of secrets will gradually be revealed...
Taut, emotive and utterly compelling, an unputdownable 'ripped from the headlines' novel that you will want to talk about with everyone you know

With two well received crime novels to her credit, Alex Marwood has produced yet another brilliant, complex and exciting story. The interplay between the greedy, egocentric, power hungry and self indulgent characters and the subtle development of the relationships between the siblings in todays patchwork families leading to the death of a small child and the dilemma it causes, are well and credibly described. The book is well structured with its many twists and turns. The writing style of each character's thoughts and speech patterns is very appropriate to their background and their situation in life, almost a journalistic approach. This book is an exciting read to the last page. I guarantee you won't want to put it down.

Book received by Little, Brown Book Group UK via netgalley in exchange for a honest review.
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Drantos (VLG #1) by Laurann Dohner

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Drantos (VLG #1)
For most, a plane crash means the end of life. For Dusti Dawson, it’s just the beginning…

Dusti and her sister Batina survived the crash, thanks to a couple of brothers who are equal parts menacing and muscled. She’d be grateful…if they hadn’t turned out to be delusional kidnappers, who believe Dusti’s grandfather is some monstrous halfbreed creature bent on murder. Turns out Vampires, Lycans, and Gargoyles do exist— and they’ve been crossbreeding to form two hybrid races. Drantos, the man Dusti can’t stop lusting after, is one of the most dangerous of all.

VampLycans Drantos and Kraven were sent to eliminate a threat to their clan. But when that threat turns out to be mostly human women, clueless of their lineage, plans change—especially after Drantos gets a taste of Dusti’s blood. Now, he’ll die to protect her. Even if that means walking away from everything he knows to keep her at his side.

Is her strong desire for Drantos reason enough to endure danger coming from all sides? Or should Dusti cut and run the first chance she gets?

Author Note: VLG stands for Vampires, Lycans, Gargoyles…and breeds in between. Living in Alaska’s harsh, pristine territories, these creatures live and love fiercely. These are their stories.

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So we all know Laurann Dohner and we all love Laurann Dohners New Species series. Here are some of my favourites. Obviously there are more books and more series but this is one of the best. So getting to Drantos, I was really surprised that Ms. Dohner has started a new series. My first impression was A new Laurann Dohner book. I must live under a rock. 

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And I instantly pre ordered it. Please note that the cover is somewhat shite so don’t judge it.

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So please
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So the beginning of the book is “Brace for impact” The pilot’s voice sounded high-pitched for a man his fear obvious. “Tighten your belts, remove all sharp objects from your pockets, and bend forward-“ 

I thought well this is pretty cool not for the passengers but it did sound promising it then went to humour after they are saved by two brothers. “I’m Drantos,” the long haired guy informed Dusti when he looked down to hold her stunned stare. “We’re hopefully going to save your asses by protecting you with our bodies.” 

They do save them and there is the typical humour His smiled turned into an outright grin. “Sorry about that. I hope I didn’t damage you down there. That would be a crime. I love bright red, by the way. Is that a thong? I can only see the front.” Dusti and Bat Dawson are on their way to Alaska to visit their “dying” Grandfather, Decker Filmore. Bat was invited but Dusti wasn’t she doesn’t like her Grandfather. 

But not out of the kindness of his heart. They are saved by Drantos and Kraven. But they have their own agenda. They are to intercept the two before they meet up with their Grandfather. So here is where it gets slightly complicated. 

So from what I can remember and what I’ll try to explain it goes as follows: There are Lycans and then there are Vampires. Some interbreed mixing occurred and the Vamplycans are born. They are stronger than the vampires which means they are in danger so they flee to Alaska where they meet a clan of Gargoyles they can also mate with Lycans and they are then a hybrid mx of Garlycan. They settle down and there are a total of four clans. It is similar to how a pack is run clan leader/alpha, enforcer etc. Three of these four clans want to live in peace. 

One of the clans that belonging to Decker Filmore wants more power. He wants Bat to give her to Lord Aveoth because his former lover died and he is addicted to a specific blood and his Granddaughters are of that bloodline. There is a lot of world building in this book and to be honest I nearly gave up on it as I kept on comparing it to her other books which you can’t do. 

After about 15 % it got better. 
I persevered. I rock. I get that Ms. Dohner wants to branch out with her ideas and after a long inner debate, believe me it took a while to get to grips with it and it is promising and has potential. I personally think a lot of potential.

 Dusti annoyed the living shite out of me. She was borderline TSTL, not a heroine that I am usually used to. Some of the things that came out of her mouth had me mentally screaming at her to shut her frigging trap. 

Drantos has the patience of a frigging saint. He can be my mate any day. So the mate, mine thing is still there which made me smile. There were times I wanted to read the book and continue and other times I felt like chucking it against the wall. 

In her previous books it has been done that the heroines in the book come out strong to those who think that she is weak. This didn’t happen here though there was a lot of pushing and pulling. I felt sorry for Dusti in how the clan treated her. She came to deal with her not so human side. 

They have obstacles that they need to overcome but all in all a good start to the series. 

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The Strongest Steel (Second Circle Tattoos #1) by Scarlett Cole

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The Strongest Steel (Second Circle Tattoos #1)
Harper Connelly never expected to find herself outside of a tattoo parlor at one in the morning, summoning the nerve to take back her past. She's determined to forget her old life and is looking for an artist who can tattoo over the scars on her back.

Trent Andrews, local legend and owner of the Second Circle tattoo studio, has his own reasons for specializing in inking over scars. And in spite of her mysterious past and the difficult road ahead, he quickly realizes that Harper is funny, smart, and--under her ridiculously oversized clothing and SPF 100 sunscreen--totally hot. He's happy to take on the challenge of designing a meaningful and deadly full-back tattoo for her.

But when cryptic messages start appearing on Harper's phone, strange deliveries arrive at her door, and Second Circle is vandalized, Harper is convinced that her ex-boyfriend has tracked her down, and worse, that he knows about Trent. Running was the only thing that saved her last time, but now that she's started to put down roots in Miami, she'll have to decide if she can finally fight back instead.

“This mountains of such sort that climbing it is hardest at the start; but as we rise, the slope grows less unkind.
” - Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy -
 Color me impressed, the debut novel by Ms. Cole was really good. But there were some things that irritated me so I docked a star. I also found it refreshing and the book got me out of my book funk and that is always good for me. 
I know that the whole stalker thing has been done, although this can’t really be defined as a stalker book. This is more premeditated I’m gonna kill you kind of book. Now, most of you would say meh, not interested but this book is different. 
First of all I would like to say that Trent Andrews is one of the best book boyfriend of 2015.Well for me any way. He owns “Second Circle” his tattoo parlor. He is successful. Spending his misspent youth learning the trade. After his disastrous relationship he had he hasn’t thought about relationships since then.
 He is starting to realize he wants more though. Harper Connelly has been living a half-life for the past four years with the circumstances, no surprise there. News that the perp is coming up for parole doesn’t go over that well. But she has made a vital choice to helping herself heal. Her back is completely scarred, Trent specializes in tattooing scars and so a connection is built. Harper has an aversion to touch but with Trent’s help it gets better. 
A lot of time, sweat and blood was put into this book and I think it is a good accomplishment. There is great character development throughout the book especially with Harper. She goes from a scared rabbit to a fighting tigress. We were introduced to most of the characters but most of all I really would have liked to have met Reid in this book.
 I would have liked to have seen that Trent thinking Harper didn’t like tattoos had been cleared up, miscommunication etc. I felt that the last two chapters were a bit rushed. I also need a good epilogue purely out of selfish reasons it makes me happy. 
I would also like to mention that there was a run in with one of Trent’s one nighter. She kissed him. He didn’t respond and pushed her off him. I think it was necessary to have this in the book because it shows how Harper was changing as a person. She was timid and scared and learnt how to fight back. 
I look forward to the next book. 
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The Fractured Heart (Second Circle Tattoos #2) by Scarlett Cole

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The Fractured Heart (Second Circle Tattoos #2)
All things, when placed under pressure, eventually break or leave a mark.

Tattoo artist Brody "Cujo" Matthews knows how to keep things simple. In life and in love. Abandoned as a child by a mother who refused to stick around to raise three boys she didn't want, he's intent on staying clear of complicated women. The only things complicated in Cujo’s life are the killer tattoos he designs and inks. That all changes when he’s asked to help organize his best friend Trent's engagement party, which means working with Trent's fiancée's best friend, Drea, the definition of high maintenance and sizzling curves. And the one woman he doesn’t want to walk away from.

Andrea "Drea" Caron is broke and tired. After years of caring for her ailing mom, she's at the end of her rope trying to manage the piling medical bills, two jobs, and a life placed on hold. She certainly doesn’t need the added frustration of a sexy playboy tattoo artist messing up her best friend’s engagement party or her carefully balanced life. But when Drea witnesses the abduction of a woman from the café she works at, she can’t help but turn to Cujo who’s determined to prove to Drea that he’s someone she can count on forever…but as they attempt to bring the truth to light, someone is working to bring that forever to a sudden, deadly halt.

On a side note the cover is hot but take a closer look at his nipples. Pointy bastards. Just sayin!

 This is the second book in the Second Circle series. It is Cujo and Drea’s story. I might have done a happy dance and a fist pump when I got my ARC. Drea Caron comes out swinging most of the time but then again she has been by herself since she has been 17 years old and has been looking after her mother who has cancer.

When you meet Roller Rosa her mother you’ll realise why. She is hard working and sassy as well as spunky. She works in the coffee shop, José is like a daughter to her. But she is tired wants help but doesn’t know how to ask for it.

Brody ‘Cujo’ Matthews is a silent partner in Trent’s studio as well as a tattoo artist he also is co-owner of a car garage and helps out with his other brother’s adventure company. He is an all-around good guy. He as most men doesn’t do relationships until he meets Drea. So you think that is the same ole’, same ole’, well your wrong.

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I‘m giving it a whopping 4 Shortcake & Brody Stars.

They both meet through Harper and Trent (book one) they have chemistry they don’t want to act on it but there banter interactions are great. They irritate each other but it is more to the fact that they are both stubborn and that they have each for their own reasons for staying alone.

They plan Trent’s and Harper’s engagement party and butt heads. “I thought of an idea for the party that kind of reminded me of you.” It was bait. She knew it. The only way to defend was a pre-emptive strike. “Let me guess. A chocolate fountain.. because too much makes you sickly.” “No. But good one. I was thinking fireworks.” She could see where it was going. “Okay, I’ll bite. Because they’re noisy and unpredictable?” Cujo laughed. “Funny and true. I was thinking more along the lines of they are colourful and vibrant… and beautiful when they explode.”

 He wants to stay away and well he does have his reasons and believe me they are valid reasons. He is strong and has overcome a lot. They have their difficulties and when Drea stopped being mad at the world and was vulnerable. When Cujo stopped being a dumbass he is amazing. At Trent and Harper’s engagement party.

He realises that if he doesn’t step up then Drea will be snapped up pretty quick. He takes her home and tells her the truth the next day. “Tonight, I want to take you home. Peel you out of this incredibly sexy dress while licking you to see if you taste as good as you smell. I’m gonna fuck you and make love to you. Often. Give you multiple reasons why we should do this, before I give you the reason we shouldn’t.”

Drea deals with what Cujo told her as if it would have been any different. One he makes his mind up he is all in. “I don’t want a fling, Drea … When it gets hard, I want to be there for you … But that means you have to be there for me when I get hard.” Cujo’s Mum is back after an apparent botched robbery and he doesn’t get that his father stills has feelings for her after so many years.

He was abandoned by her as were his younger brothers were as well and she made it out to be his fault. At first I thought that Brody got a vasectomy because of his mum but no it was completely different when he was talking to Trent and when he told Drea. Promises need to be kept and Brody broke when of his.

Cujo has a chance to get to know his mum again whereas Drea’s mum is dying. He wasn’t there for her really when her mum died. But he did make it up to her. But he does redeem himself. “Sit tight. I’ll come see what you need, then run you to work. We’ll figure it out when I can fit them, then. “Okay?” “Thank you, Brody” “Brody, huh?” “Yeah. But only when you’re nice.” There is a strong plot to the story.

Drea is working late and one of her customers is kidnapped from right in front of her. Drea gets caught up in the environmental assessment, oil company, fraking in the everglades, already two dead, initials of L.A. etc. story and there is a tie to Cujo they just don’t know it yet. The police are involved and Drea has a love interest Detective Ryan Carter. Now I wouldn’t mind at all to read a book about him.

Drea needs to figure things out and who she is before she continues with Brody. Brody didn’t go off on a tangent and drink and fuck. Nope he gave her space and then won her back. “I know you have stuff you want to work through. But don’t do it without me. Live with me. Grow with me. Let’s figure it out together … Just…be with me, Drea. Please.”

 Cujo is tatted and he never tattooed his left arm as he was saving it because it was ring finger that leads to his heart and that is reserved for someone special. And that someone is Drea. “I love who you were before. I love who you are right now. I’m gonna love you ten years from now. I hope you’re not the same, because it means we’ve grown. I just want to be the one who gets to do it with you.”

Can’t wait for the series to continue.
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Atone (Recovered Innocence #2) by Beth Yarnall

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Atone (Recovered Innocence #2)
Beth Yarnall’s sexy and emotional Recovered Innocence series continues as two broken souls discover that keeping their hands off each other is even harder than facing their demons.

Beau: Six years. That’s how long I spent behind bars for a crime I didn’t commit—the murder of the woman I loved. Now I’m free, but life on the outside is a different kind of prison. I don’t know who I am or who I want to be. At least I have my sister, Cora. She never stopped believing in me. She even got me a job at the private investigation agency that cleared my name. And then Vera Swain walks into Nash Security and Investigations and kicks my world on its ass.

Vera: There’s only one thing that would make me come out of hiding after two years on the run: finding my sister. I made the mistake of telling a monster about her, the same monster who beat me and broke me. Now I’m forced to confide in Beau Hollis of Nash Security and Investigations. He looks at me like he knows me—the real me. He sees too much, makes me feel too much. The pleasure he offers is exciting and addictive. But I can’t fall for him . . . because my love could get us both killed.

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

I read the first book in the series which is Vindicate and you can find my review here:
I was torn between my feelings on that book and here it is no different. I really enjoyed this book and I want to give it 5 stars and I actually feel bad and I wish that I could give it 4 stars but in the end I can only give it 3 Stars. 
Please don’t judge me.
 Beau Hollis has been released for a crime that he didn’t commit the murder of his ex-girlfriend and the wounds that it caused sit deep. “I walked out of the California Institute for Men in Chino, California, two thousand, two hundred and seventy one days-more than six years-after I walked in. I was finally free. Free.” 
Beau does a lot at the beginning for his sister Cora as he has her to thank for his freedom. He sleeps on her sofa, isn’t entirely sure what he is to do with this life. So he starts working for Nash Security. He has a deep hole with nothing to fill it. 
That is until Vera Swain walks in and asks them to find her sister Marie. Vera is not who she makes herself out to be. She has had a tough past, her prison wasn’t the same as Beau’s but they were both trapped in different ways that is until she ran away. 
 Like recognises like. 
Beau and Vera strike up a friendship that leads to more. There was good character development and I liked how they both evolved and dealt with their demons. They get to the bottom of the sex trafficking ring and it goes deep as well as how high it goes up. There is a good plot to the story and we get bread crumbs of where the story is going. There was a strong build up but the most happened in the last 30 % of the book so before that it did drag a bit.
 I also felt that there were a lot of thoughts and feelings repeated and in a way it contributed to the story but on the other hand I feel as if the sentences could have been phrased differently. 
Please note that this is my personal opinion and in the grand scheme of things it can be taken at face value but I recommend reading the book and finding it out for yourself. 
 I will most certainly read the next in the series. 
Book given to me via Netgalley from Random Publishing Group – Loveswept in exchange for a honest review.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

I Wish You Were Mine (Oxford #2) by Lauren Layne

I Wish You Were Mine (Oxford #2)
Perfect for fans of Alice Clayton and Emma Chase, Lauren Layne’s Oxford series heats up in this story of forbidden desire as a brooding jock hoping for a comeback falls for a woman who’s strictly off-limits.

A year ago, Jackson Burke was married to the love of his life and playing quarterback for the Texas Redhawks. Now he’s retired, courtesy of the car accident that ruined his career—and single, after a nasty scandal torpedoed his marriage. Just as he’s starting to get used to his new life as a health and fitness columnist for Oxford magazine, his unpredictable ex shows up on his doorstep in Manhattan. Jackson should be thrilled. But he can’t stop thinking about the one person who’s always been there for him, the one girl he could never have: her younger sister.

Mollie Carrington can’t say no to Madison. After all, her older sister practically raised her. So when Madison begs for help in winning her ex-husband back, Mollie’s just glad she got over her own crush on Jackson ages ago—or so she thought. Because as Mollie reconnects with Jackson, she quickly forgets all her reasons to stay loyal to her sister. Tempted by Jackson’s mellow drawl and cowboy good looks, Mollie is sick and tired of coming in second place. But she can’t win if she doesn’t play the game.

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after reading this book.
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3-3.5 You’re one of us now. No more secret Stars. 

So the first book in this series is by far my favorite. I actually thought that this would be Lincoln’s book so I was only slightly disappointed but hey this one was good as well. So I wouldn’t say that I have favorite authors but I do have authors that write books that I enjoy. 

Lauren Layne is one of them. She writes funny, heart-warming books where you love the secondary characters just as much as the main characters. It is also always a pleasure to see the old gang in the books. So the trope of falling for the sister/ ex be it boyfriend or husband difficult but that is just a personal preference so all in all this wasn’t that bad to be honest. 

Mollie Carrington has been in love with Jackson Burke since she has been twenty to his twenty seven. There is just one slight issue. Mollie Carrington fell in love with the groom of her sister Madison. Seven years later. Jackson Burke is bitter, cantankerous, antisocial grumpy lump. After his 

After his football career being over and his wife, now ex-wife handing in the divorce papers and the rumors that are spread about him and his cheating escapades he has taken a job at Oxford magazine in New York. Everyone thinks that he is running away from the one sister whereas he is actually running to the other sister. 

Over his marriage as his wife didn’t show a lot of interest he started turning more and more to Mollie. He didn’t cheat on his wife quite the opposite actually she constantly cheated on him. I personally also think that Madison’s endgame was to wrap Jackson round her finger so that someone could finally look after her. 

Mollie Carrington used to be socially awkward. She is brainy and funny and an all in all good person with a heart of gold. ”I messed up the toast,” she said quietly. “Nah” he said, “Just think how many people you educated on the mating ritual of parasitic worms. They should be thanking you.” Mollie has a triple major in chemistry, biology and sociology. 

After eight months of being in New York. They meet up and Jackson is surprised at how hot Mollie looks. Mollie needs to escape her roommate M. Cabbage diet and Tarantula so Jackson asks her to move in with him. Talk about being awkward. 

Jackson gets Mollie with six words "Walk in closet with shoe racks" How can a woman say no to that? Mollie really hurt Jackson by believing that he had cheated on his wife. He’s trying to navigate his new life and well he isn’t doing that well. Cassidy gives him a pep talk. “Quit being a diva. Get over yourself. 

And for God’s sake, quite being such an antisocial loner before you end up lonely. He wants his old life back but with Mollie’s help he realizes that until it is nearly to let and makes a big mistake. Mollie ends up telling Madison and well I know that I would find it difficult but first of all she has always resented Mollie and she decided to split from Jackson. 
The ending was good and I enjoyed it. I can’t wait for Lincoln’s book now. 

Copy received in exchange for a honest review.

reviewed by

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Trouble with Love (Stiletto #4) by Lauren Layne

The Trouble with Love (Stiletto #4)
As Lauren Layne’s salacious Sex, Love & Stiletto series returns, a jaded columnist discovers a steamy way to get over an old flame: falling for him all over again.
As Stiletto magazine’s authority on all things breakup-and-heartache, Emma Sinclair writes from personal experience. Five years ago, Emma was Charlotte, North Carolina’s darling debutante and a blushing bride-to-be. Now she’s the ice queen of the Manhattan dating scene. Emma left her sultry Southern drawl behind, but not even her closest friends know that with it she left her heart. Now Emma’s latest article forces her to face her demons—namely, the devilishly sexy guy who ditched her at the altar.
After giving up everything for a pro-soccer career, Alex Cassidy watches his dreams crumble as a knee injury sidelines him for good. Now he’s hanging up his cleats and giving journalism a shot. It’s just a coincidence that he happens to pick a job in the same field, and the same city, as his former fiancée . . . right? But when Emma moves in next door, it’s no accident. It’s research. And Alex can’t help wondering what might have been. Unlike the innocent girl he remembers, this Emma is chic, sophisticated, and assertive—and she wants absolutely nothing to do with him. The trouble is, Alex has never wanted her more.
Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

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3-3.5 not bad for a second chance romance and really not my cuppa stars.

Emma Sinclair a Southern Belle moved to New York to escape her demons. Emma works at Stiletto in Manhattan and loves her job and her three best friends.

Alex Cassidy is the editor in chief for the magazine Oxford and he is also running from his demons. Only issue? They both run to the same city and can’t avoid one another as fate would have it they work in the same building and have the same circle of friends.

Talk about being awkward and all that. Due to a bad day for Emma, her flat being flooded, the electricity cutting out, having wet hair, no clothes to wear finding the one clean thing being a pink, sorry neon pink cocktail dress, meeting your ex fiancé in the elevator and finding that, said ex taking over Stiletto while the current editor in chief goes on a three month sabbatical isn’t a good day!

 Both of them have been dancing around one another for the past year and well they have both been dating other people and all that jazz but it has never been the same as when they were together. For the Christmas issue as Cassidy has taken over for Camille. He used his power to get Emma to write an article on the twelve ex’s of Christmas, himself included.

The interviews Emma did with her ex’s asking three questions was interesting because in hindsight she found out some things about her and it helped her to find the right path. There was just too much animosity between the two to realise that in a heartbeat that it was all forgiven and forgotten. I couldn’t get a read on Cassidy whatsoever so I can’t really give an opinion on him.

 I find second chance romance stories hard as there is always a reason in the first place why they didn’t work out. I’m glad to be able to say that this is slightly different. They had some serious issues and there was a lot of implication to what it was but at the end of it? And I don’t mean to belittle it but it was just so trivial. And all in all just a tad anticlimactic to be honest.

Go on and boo out the cold hearted woman.

Overall this is a fantastic series and I had a great time reading all the books.

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