Tag Archives: 5 Hearts

Falling Hard (Colorado High Country # 3)

By Pamela Clare

Synopsis

A Gold Star wife alone…

Ellie Meeks promised her pilot husband that if he was killed in combat, she would live her life to the fullest. Three years later, she is still alone, raising the twins he never met. She has no interest in dating or meeting men—until one snowy night when a stranger helps her get her sick kids safely home. That stranger turns out to be a former Army Ranger and a member of the elite Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Team. He’s also tall, rugged… and irresistibly sexy. 

All it takes is one kiss…

Jesse Moretti came to Colorado to get Iraq out of his head, using the adrenaline of extreme sports and high-risk mountain rescues to keep his mind off the past. But getting involved with Ellie might be the riskiest thing he’s ever done. It’s not just their explosive chemistry. There’s something about Ellie that gets inside him, opening him to feelings he’s tried hard to ignore. 

When passion ignites…

Ellie feels alive in Jesse’s arms and happier than she ever thought she’d feel again. But their relationship comes at a price for him, and soon Ellie sees that she must help Jesse fight the demons of his past to protect the love of a lifetime—and save the heart of a hero.

Review

Ellie is a single mother to soon-to-be three-year-old twins (Daniel & Daisy) after her husband died in Iraq while she was pregnant.  She has a wonderful support system not only in her family, but in the small town where she lives.  I liked her a lot and thought her hesitations about dating again were realistic, though I did feel that her reaction to Jesse’s “secret” was a little irrational.  In fact, her reaction was the only part of the entire story that I didn’t like.

Jesse is an incredibly nice guy and I really enjoyed getting to know him.  He’s been living next door to Ellie for over two years and although they have never met, he knew about her husband and helped her out anonymously whenever he could.  He has saved many lives throughout his careers, but he focuses on the ones he couldn’t save, which affects him badly.  While he willingly jumps into frozen lakes without any hesitation, he hates the spotlight and doesn’t think of himself as a hero, which of course only makes him more likeable.

I have read all three books released in this series so far, and I have to say that this is the first time I’ve really gotten a feel for the small town.  When tragedy strikes, everyone in the community comes together to do and give whatever they can to help.  I don’t remember having that feeling in the first two books, but in this book that feeling was front and centre.

FALLING HARD is told in dual POVs, and quite often the POV would switch several times within a chapter.  While I did find that slightly annoying, I was grateful that the switch was marked by a symbol which made the change easily identifiable.  While FALLING HARD is part of a series, it can most definitely be read as a stand-alone.  The HEA is beautiful and sweet, but also achingly sad.  The final chapter took me the longest to read because I had to keep stopping to wipe my eyes.  Even re-reading it while I composed this review had me tearing up again.

FALLING HARD is the third book in the Colorado High Country series and is my favourite.  Any book that can draw out my emotions like this one did deserves the highest rating.

Falling Hard (Colorado High Country # 3)

My Rating:  

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Colorado High Country Series

Claimed by Magic (The Hunter Chronicles Book 3)

By Claire Marta

Synopsis

Broken hearted from Eric’s betrayal in Prague, Jasmine turns to her best friend to get her mind off everything she has lost.

Twitch takes her on a wild adventure in an attempt to cheer her up, but unbeknownst to either of them, danger lurks within the shadows of the techno mage’s magical homeland.

An ancient evil is rising.

No one is safe.
No one can be trusted.
Lines are drawn.
The battle to survive begins.

Review

Claimed by Magic is the third installment to the Hunter Chronicles and has taken this series to the next level for me.  New characters and new revelations are made.  Eric still pines for Jasmine and Jasmine is still broken hearted.  But we learn so much about them and Twitch.

Jasmine is jobless and is unsure of her next move.  She has a broken heart.  She also has another issue that she will have to face for some time to come thanks to Eric. Jasmine is tough and definitely not helpless.  She doesn’t even know what she is capable of yet.

Eric is facing a crisis of his own.  He hasn’t had feelings for a long time and now he is finding out that Jasmine has started to warm is frozen heart.  He is having trouble processing this so he tries to put distance between them.  In book three, Eric is forced to observe Jasmine and really see her for who she is and that makes him have even more feelings for her.

In Claimed by Magic, we get to know Twitch even better. Twitch takes Jasmine back home with him to Avalon. We see his world and the place he has in it. He is an outcast and feels awkward except around the people he loves most. In this installment, you get to know how Twitch became they way he is today.  We also learn who his is and what he’s capable of.

Avalon also becomes a character in this story.  There are many facets of life on this magical island.  It has a balance where all the different magical houses have equal power.  Someone wants to upset this balance and take control of the island for themselves which could erupt into a war which would bleed over into the non-magical world.

Claimed by Magic is another great installment to The Hunter Chronicles series.  Claire Marta has a wonderful way of making this magical world visual and modernizing old tales. There is so much that happens in this book, I can’t give away any more without giving away the revelations that are made throughout this story. This book was definitely one that I was looking forward to and it did not disappoint.  I love the fact that Jasmine is so strong and that Eric has to understand who she is. I look forward to the next adventure in The Hunter Chronicles.

Claimed by Magic

My Rating:  5 Hearts

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Goodbye Paradise (Hello Goodbye # 1)

By Sarina Bowen

Synopsis

Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh and Caleb called it home. 

In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world. 

But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves. 

It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.

Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires. 

Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels? 

Warning: Contains a hot male/male romance, copious instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain, and love against the kitchen counter. This book was previously released under the title: In Front of God & Everyone.

Review

GOODBYE PARADISE is an amazing read with plenty of heartwarming scenes and beautiful characters.

Josh is an absolute sweetheart; one with a very kind and gentle soul.  Having been treated badly at the farm, he feels worthless and like nothing he does is ever good enough and, because of their religious upbringing, he also feels ashamed of his feelings towards Caleb.  But over time, and with reassurances from Caleb and their new friends, he slowly begins to let go of everything that was drilled into his head his whole life to find peace and happiness within himself.

“They think God doesn’t like it when you curse?  But god is just fine with throwing you out by the side of the road?  Do you hear how messed up that is?”

Caleb is the more confident, skilled and dominant of the two; he wasn’t bullied like Josh was because he held some rank at the farm.  He’s also a natural protector and spent most of his days at the farm shielding Josh.  I would go so far as to say he has a slight hero complex, because his need to protect sometimes went too far and he often felt responsible for things he had no control over.

“A real man does what needs doing.  He takes care of the people he loves.  You know this instinctively, even though every man in your own life treated you like shit.”

I not only loved Josh and Caleb, but almost everyone else in this story too.  Washington was their saviour when they needed one and seemed to become a father figure of sorts.  Maggie (a farm runaway from years before) was a lovely young woman who helped them adjust to life outside the farm.  Maggie’s husband, Daniel, was a cool guy who had no problem opening up his home to strangers in need.

GOODBYE PARADISE has loose ties to the True North series, but you don’t have to read those books to understand and enjoy this one.  GOODBYE PARADISE is told in dual POVs and comes with a lovely HEA for Josh and Caleb.  I truly hope we’ll be seeing more of them in the future, and I’d also like to see a book about Maggie’s sister, Miriam, because that young woman needs some happiness in her life after what she endured at the farm.

Goodbye Paradise (Hello Goodbye # 1)

My Rating:  

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Shutter speed: A Snapshot Novella

By Freya Barker

Synopsis

She likes picking up her camera because it allows her to see things through a different lens. Like when she lost her job recently and instead of focusing on what she’s forced to leave behind, she zooms in on the new options opening up in front of her. Or when a dangerous looking silver fox comes rolling up her path on a FatBoy, and her digital output shows a deep loneliness, matching her own, in his ice-blue eyes.
But when she’s working on making her dreams come true, she inadvertently captures something in her viewfinder she can’t un-see.

He wasn’t supposed to be here, but he can’t seem to escape his old life. Stuck in an old trailer in the mountains, he walks a fine line between ruse and reality. With the arrival of a young-looking pixie—who turns out to be a full grown, hot-blooded woman—his balance is thrown.
He tries to avoid her, but with the little pixel peeper snapping everything in sight, she unintentionally risks his exposure.

And his focus needs to be sharp to keep her from danger.

Review

Shutter speed is a novella that has a lot of suspense to it.  Definitely set the story up between Ben and Isla.

Isla is taking over the campground for her Uncle who is going to take care of her ailing Aunt. She has a passion for photography which just might get her into trouble.

Ben is trying to move onto the next chapter in his life but he keeps getting dragged back.  The first time he sees Isla he knows there is something special about her but in his current line of work the best thing to do is push her away.  But Isla is very good at being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Ben must work hard at achieving his goals and keeping her safe.

Shutter speed sets this up to be a thrilling series.  I look forward to the next chapter in Ben and Isla’s story.

Shutter speed

My Rating:  

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Below the Surface (Witness #5)

By Heather D’Agostino

Synopsis

Things aren’t always as they seem…

I’ve lived by that motto for most of my life. I’ve hid who I am, who I used to be, and what I’ve done from anyone who dares to get close to me. At nineteen I lost my parents. I thought nothing in the world could be more painful. I was wrong.

When I met Leo, my world seemed brighter. I felt hope for the first time in months. He promised me a life of luxury, but things aren’t always as they seem. Leo had a dark side, one that he hid from me. He pulled me under and held me captive, making death seem like the only way out.

It took me two years to escape. I ran never looking back until now. My life is finally coming together. I have people I trust, a job, and a safe place to call home, but things aren’t always as they seem.

One night, one phone call, one moment causes it to all crash down. Leo has my sister, and he wants to trade her for me. The one person I can trust is the only one who could also tear me apart… Detective Jeff Horn. He’s got secrets just like me, and seems to understand me better than I do myself.

How do I tell him my darkest secrets? How do I go back to a place that nearly broke me? How do I let him see Below the Surface?sert Synopsis Here

Review

Below the Surface was an amazing read, the leading character for me was Lena and she simply grabbed my heart from the first few pages.  As a reader I thoroughly enjoyed watching her journey from a survivor living Below the Surface of life from a horrific situation to finally breaking through and taking the amazing step of trusting another human being with her life and heart.

To watch Jeff and Lena make their way through so many obstacles, some very scary especially when she had to return to save her sister to them finally connecting on an intimate level was just beautiful story telling.

When Jeff and Lena are finally intimate I took a deep breath, it was just perfect in my eyes, the build up and emotional connection was just so worth the wait and did not disappoint.  I was with them every step of the way and Jeff’s handling of her was just so endearing but also forceful at the right moments for her recovery.

Below the Surface leads you through the story of her traumatic past however I appreciated we were not given too much detail as your own imagination can take you there to that dark place.  As soon as we were going dark the author turns and gives you light to make your way out of this part of the story, it is still sad but done really well in my opinion.

The supporting characters are very funny and help create a family of sorts and I have not read any of the other stories in the witness series, in my opinion you do not have to as this is definitely a standalone.

I could have read so many more chapters on Lena and Jeff and their love story – they were an amazing couple that had so much chemistry, passion and companionship – he was her warrior and brought her back from the darkness that she thought she would live with forever.

Below the Surface (Witness #5)

My Rating: 

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For His Eyes Only (Masters and Mercenaries Book 13)

By Lexi Blake

Synopsis

A night he can’t forget

Five years ago, Nick Markovic found himself consumed by his quest for vengeance. The one time he managed to find peace was in the arms of Hayley Dalton. Being with her was like bathing in sunlight, and he ached to feel that again, but he couldn’t. He gave his oath to Hayley’s cousin Desiree, his partner at McKay-Taggart and Knight, that he’d never let his darkness infect Hayley’s innocent world.

A spark she can’t put out

It was years before that Hayley offered everything she had to Nick. After that one amazing night, all she wanted was to be his forever. Unfortunately, Nick’s reaction was to walk away from her and never look back. The warm and caring man she’d discovered was gone, and after Des’s death, he’d only grown colder. But when Hayley finds herself in mortal danger, she’s forced to seek protection from the man who broke her heart.

A flame that threatens to consume them both

Haunted by the women he failed, Nick can’t allow himself to grow close to Hayley again. Running to stay ahead of the powerful forces that endanger their lives, they travel from the lush Garden in London to the glittering lights of Rio. As the threat against her becomes clearer, he realizes that to keep her safe he must confront the demons from his past, even if it costs him a future with the woman he loves.

Review

Some of my friends may say that I have an obsession with this series and they would be correct. For His Eyes Only is a great addition to this series.

Nick is a man who choose retribution over love.  He had a chance to run off with the woman he fell in love with and live a happy life five years ago but he choose to follow the other woman in his life to avenge his sister’s death.  The other woman was Des who we meet and lost in Master No. It was really interesting getting to know the true nature of their relationship.  Des was a sneaky woman that dragged Nick around.  I don’t think even he knew the depths which she would sink to.

Hayley was a girl who fell for a man that wasn’t ready to leave everything else behind five years ago.  She was Des’s cousin and kind of the black sheep of the family.  The English part of her family saw her as the poor American. After losing her cousin and dad she is just going from day to day.  After she read the letter from Des stating that if she is ever in trouble she should find Nick, her house blows up and she knows that she is being followed.  She shows up on the door step at the Garden in London.  They have to work together to keep Hayley alive and to give Nick a second chance to correct past wrongs.

For His Eyes Only is another example of Lexi Blake’s ability to convey a whole range of emotions.  Ian and Charlotte create great moments in this story that make me laugh out loud and inject insight through sarcasm.  Damon and Owen give us some of the more serious advise. We learn a lot more about how Nick got the place where he is at now.  The chemistry between each of the characters is amazing.  They are family and will protect each other.  I don’t think I will ever get enough of this series.  I also love the Zanetti reference.  As in most Lexi Blake books we are given a little tease of what’s to come and I can’t wait because she manages to draw me in with every book.

For His Eyes Only

My Rating:  5 Hearts

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Brighter Than the Sun (KGI #11)

By Maya Banks

Synopsis

Searing action and passion ignite the latest KGI novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Darkest Before Dawn.

The Kelly Group International (KGI): A super-elite, top secret, family-run business.
Qualifications: High intelligence, rock-hard body, military background.
Mission: Hostage/kidnap victim recovery. Intelligence gathering.
Handling jobs the U.S. government can’t…

As the last unattached member of the Kelly clan, Joe is more than ready to risk life and limb on any mission he’s assigned to, but when it comes to love, he’ll keep his distance. He’s content to watch his brothers become thoroughly domesticated.

Zoe’s had nothing but heartbreak in her life, and she’s determined to start over with a completely new identity, thanks to her college friend, Rusty Kelly. But it’s the gorgeous smile and tender words of Joe Kelly that begin to weaken her resolve to never risk her heart again. And Joe will have to put everything on the line to save Zoe, when secrets of her past resurface—and threaten to tear them apart…

Review

Brighter than the Sun has returned me to the KGI series I adore and ultimately into the fold that is the Kelly family. Maya made me cry for the last 1/4 of this book and when the letter was read I sobbed – just breathtaking and beautiful – Marlene and her love for Rusty I cannot wait for this story to play out.  Now back to Joe and Zoe’s story of love which is going to be another one I will cherish as I knew in my heart his would be as special.  Like his twin Nathan’s was, their connection as brothers and then to include Nathan’s wife also completing the connection with Zoe as the awesome foursome – I was so happy for them all.

Joe’s story gave us a slow build up of romance through multiple dates and then also Rusty playing her part as the match making friend. The friendship moments between Rusty and Zoe I really enjoyed as Rusty to me always felt lonely so I am so happy she has a friend like Zoe.  The second half picks up a quick pace for the mystery & suspense part and I look forward to seeing these two charcters in the upcoming KGI books to see the little pitter patter of feet as these Kelly families breed like rabbits. When Joe and Zoe finally had their night of passion well Maya definately gave us lots of hot and steamy moments.

One of my favourite couples in this story was Steele and Maren and how they cared for Zoe after her ordeal, it makes me want to go back and read their love story again as he is like hard nut on the outside but all soft and gooey on the inside.  Maren has been one of my favourite ladies in KGI and also Sophie – her story is my favourites of the series.

Now onto the big surprise that is Rusty’s part in this whole story and from about the last quarter of this story I had endless watery eyes and upon the time I had to read her letter I sobbed for what she is losing, I am so angry right now for Rusty, like poke in the eye angry, I want her to come back to the fold with some hot shot boyfriend to rub salt in the wounds of these men, I want not only Sean to be slapped in the face but some of her so called brothers to freakin stand up for her – no judgements. I am so sad for Rusty, she has such issues with trust and being accepted and these brothers of hers jump down her throat and I find them some times very condescending to her. The shining light in her life are Frank and Marlene and heaven help these boys when Marlene finally makes them stand up and be accountable for her girl taking the course of action she did at the end of this book – I am so sad right now.

Only one part I found a bit tiresome was the big War Room scene, so many names thrown about I admit I became a bit confused and spent time thinking ok they are with that team, who are they again and trying to recall all of the players in each group.

Overall I loved this story and cannot believe how emotional I was for Rusty and I know her story will be that last book of this series and I can honestly say I will probably cry through most of her book!

Brighter Than the Sun

My Rating: 

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Beastly (Phoebe Reede: The Untold Story # 3)

By Michelle Irwin

Synopsis

Not all things are exactly as they appear.

Beau Miller thought his happily ever after had returned in the form of the girl with the seafoam eyes. He never expected a second heartbreak at her hand. 

When her father, Declan Reede, turns up with murder in his eyes, Beau discovers that the break-up might not have been what it seemed. He must solve the mystery if he’s to find his girl.  

How can he and Declan rescue their princess when she’s been taken by someone with beastly intentions? And will they make it in time?

Review

After the scary cliffhanger in PHOBIC, I knew I was going to be in for a rough ride in BEASTLY, but I had my fingers crossed hoping that it wouldn’t be as bad as I feared.  Sadly, it was.  But WOW…what a read!  My heart was pounding for four and a half hours straight as I read this non-stop from beginning to end, and this is definitely a book that you’ll be thinking about days later.

“No one cares that Phoebe’s missin’.  It’s like my heart’s been torn from my chest, and no one else realises the world stopped spinnin’ the moment she disappeared.”

I love Beau and he’s totally a keeper, but I will say that I wanted to strangle him for being so dumb.  Obviously we all know who has taken Phoebe, but he had his suspicions and never voiced them.  WTF???  I realise the story would have been super short if he had, but GRRRRRRR!  I felt bad for him when everyone suspected that he had something to do with Phoebe’s disappearance, because he wouldn’t hurt a fly.  I liked the bond he ended up having with Declan and I really look forward to seeing those two build on their relationship.  I think Declan knows that there is no better man for his little girl than Beau.  Although, I was getting an iffy feeling in the scenes involving Beau and Angel, and if Michelle is reading this, I hope she doesn’t go down “that” road.  I mean, I don’t want to tell an author what to do, but please don’t do “that”.

BEASTLY is told only in Beau’s POV and ends in a really sad cliffhanger, so have some tissues handy.  It cannot be read as a stand-alone, so you do need to read the first two books in the series before starting this one.  It’s usually nice to see Declan again, but it wasn’t this time and my heart broke for him when he realised who had his little girl and what had been done to her.  When it comes to Phoebe, we’ve only scratched the surface of what she suffered, and I think we’ll learn more about it all in PHYSIS, which comes out in April this year and will be told in her POV.

Please Note: This story contains scenes/topics that may be triggers for some people.

Beastly (Phoebe Reede: The Untold Story # 3)

My Rating:  

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Phoebe Reede: The Untold Story Series

Don’t Speak (A Modern Fairytale Book 5)

By Katy Regnery

Synopsis

In this modern retelling of The Little Mermaid, a fisherman’s daughter from an Outer Banks island untouched by time, meets the son of the North Carolina governor at a fancy party where she is working.

Laire, who wants more from life than her little island can offer, is swept away by wealthy, sophisticated Erik, who is, in turn, entranced by her naiveté and charm. The two spend a whirlwind summer together that ends on the knife-point of heartbreak and forces them to go their separate ways.

Years later, when fate finds them together once again, they will discover the terrifying depth of the secrets they kept from each other, and learn that shattered hearts can only be healed by a love that willfully refuses to die.

Review

Don’t Speak is a new adult romance in this modern retelling of The Little Mermaid. The relationship between Laire and the people around her is what pulled at my heart.  This novel is broken into two parts with an interlude.  The first part is the journey of self discovery and the second part is about a second chance at love.

Laire is a girl that is becoming a young woman.  She wants more for her life than her tiny island can provide.  Laire is caught between what is expected of her and her dreams of seeing what is beyond her home town.  Her family has outdated values and anything but settling down and starting her own family is out of the question.  I found myself hating Laire’s family more and more through the story.

Erik is a young man who has dreams of his own but his future has already been mapped out for him. Erik’s mother is determined for him to achieve the goals that she has set for him.  He is embarking on his own journey and did something he never thought he would do.  He fell for an island girl while on vacation with his family.

Don’t Speak is an emotional journey for a young woman who must choose between who she is and what her family believes in.  And for a young man whose own family provides obstacles on his way to happiness.  I found the interlude especially gut wrenching and effective to mark the passage of time.

I definitely could identify The Little Mermaid in this story between Laire and Erk.  And it made me see more complexity in The Little Mermaid.  This was am emotional journey for this two people whose families were not on board for their relationship.  And in the end they had to see past what was expected of them.  This was a very effective retelling of a classic story.

Don’t Speak

My Rating:  

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Cole

By Tijan

Cole

Synopsis

I shouldn’t have remembered him.
He was just a guy who walked through a restaurant. I didn’t know his name. We never made eye contact. There was no connection between us at all.
But I could feel him.
The tingle down my spine. The command in his presence. The snap of tension in the air around him. That was the first time I saw him, and I was captivated.
The second time was different.
He was in the mysterious back elevator of my apartment building. Our eyes met for a fleeting second before the doors closed, and I was staggered. My breath was robbed. My senses on high alert. My body hummed.
That was just the beginning.
He was the leader of the mafia. I was about to fall in love with him, and his name…
Cole Mauricio.

Review

Cole & Addison when combined well to put it simply their chemistry and passion was just perfection and when he says those three words you will have tears and tingles.

I devoured Cole and the hidden stories that evolved as his journey progressed. The Mafia connections and the ongoing relationship to Carter Reed was expertly entwined with this story.

Honestly to fully appreciate Cole you need to read Carter Reed 1 and 2 as both Carter and Emma return to Cole’s life and he is a god that man when he graces the pages, freakin Carter Reed – orgasmic pleasures upon these pages!

Two of my favourite characters apart from the leading lovebirds was Sia and Jake, Sia provided some amazing moments of humour and really complemented Addison and pushed her outside her comfort zone.  Jake was that perfect guy you want for your best friend that includes you in their inner circle and has your back and wow Dawn was an interesting surprise just when I was thinking where was she certainly came back with a Bang!

The whole story flowed really well for me and it was paced to perfection and also the timelines and explanation of Cole & Carter was done enough in case the reader has not read Carter Read.

I did not pick the hidden Mafia connections and the drama and action towards the ending was brilliant and then to see that Carter Reed 3 is coming – OMG happy dance right here and I would so love to see Carter and Cole making their own families with these two strong women who have taken these Mafia men into their hearts.

Quote: Once you go Carter, you always become smarter

Cole

My Rating:  

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