Cover Reveal ~ ‘Finding Home’ by Lauren K. McKellar.

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Synopsis

Moody, atmospheric, and just a little bit punk, Finding Home takes contemporary YA to a new level of grit…

When Amy’s mum dies, the last thing she expects is to be kicked off her dad’s music tour all the way to her Aunt Lou in a depressing hole of a seaside town. But it’s okay — Amy learned how to cope with the best, and soon finds a hard-drinking, party-loving crowd to help ease the pain.

The only solace is her music class, but even there she can’t seem to keep it together, sabotaging her grade and her one chance at a meaningful relationship. It takes a hard truth from her only friend before Amy realises that she has to come to terms with her past, before she destroys her future.

Finding Home, Lauren K McKellar’s debut novel, is coming October 1, 2013.

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‘Look, I have to go. Can we talk about this later?’ Dad was asking Mum. Joe had shut the door behind him, and it was a good thing he did too, because when Dad had finished speaking, Mum picked up an empty bottle of Grey Goose vodka and threw it at his head. She missed, missed by a mile, but that didn’t stop the bottle hitting the wall behind him and shattering into thousands of tiny pieces.

‘Jesus!’ Dad exclaimed. He turned around, surveying the damage.

‘Oh, look what I did! Can’t have clean-cut Stevie D trashing the green room. People might talk!’ Mum’s voice dripped with sarcasm. It sounded hoarse, no doubt a result of the hours she’d spent alternating between crying and screaming up until now.

‘Even if this was our bloody lounge room, I would still be furious! You can’t just throw s**t like that.’

‘I’ll throw whatever I want to throw!’ Mum yelled. ‘You’re so uptight.’ She walked up to Dad and put her hands on his shoulders, shaking them. ‘Give up this stupid dream already.’

‘And do what? I can’t afford your habits any other way. If I don’t sing, you have to get a job.’ Dad shook his head.

I inched around behind them and started to pick up the pieces of glass. They were all different sizes, and some had gotten stuck in the carpet. They required a bit of twisting to retrieve, but the others I could pick up with ease and place in my hand.

‘What do you want me to do? I don’t have any skills. And there’s clearly only one thing you think I’m good at these days,’ Mum said, leering. She pulled at her top, exposing her décolletage.

I focused on the glass again. I counted each piece in my hand. Thirty-six, thirty-seven, thirty-eight. On the fortieth piece, a shard broke through my skin, spilling bright red blood. Funny. I hadn’t thought my skin would be so thin.

‘Amy, you’re hurt!’ Mum pushed past Dad and came to kneel next to me. ‘What are you doing?’ She knocked my hand with her own, and the pieces of glass flew up into the air and landed back on the floor.

All my efforts — ruined.

‘Let me see,’ Dad said.

‘Get the hell away from her!’ Mum yelled, raising her voice again.

‘Do we have to do this in front of Amy?’ Dad asked. I felt them turn to look at me. Did they think I hadn’t heard? That the fights they’d been having all day in the adjacent hotel room hadn’t resonated with a hatred that travelled through walls?

‘Please don’t,’ was all I could say. But it was enough. Dad left the room, and Mum tended to my hand, spilling some vodka to cleanse it before wrapping it in a spare t-shirt.

‘I’m sorry, baby,’ Mum whispered to me. ‘I promise, things are going to get better.’

Only they didn’t. They got much, much worse.

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So Many Books . . . So Little Time!

I appear to be in a rather pensive state of mind at the moment, so thought I’d put my rambles out into a blog post.

My Goodreads to-read list is getting longer and longer with every passing day. My bookshelves are creaking and groaning a little more every time a new paperback is lovingly placed on top (there’s no space actually on the shelves). My Kindle is getting a little closer to the 3,500 book limit every day, despite half of the books having not been read yet. But despite all that, I still always find myself reading this book again (I lost count of the number of times I’ve read it after it got to about 20+).

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling

I think that is the magic of a good book, something that you can go back to so many times and still feel the thrill you felt the first read, even 20+ rereads later.

J.K. Rowling is my greatest inspiration as a writer. She gave me the best part of my childhood and gave me a world to escape to when the one we live in became too much. That she could round her characters so well, and make every one of their actions seem believable is awe inspiring. Maybe that is why I became a writer too. The desire to create my own world where I could escape to when reality lets you down, is a driving force of my writing, even if the story isn’t fantasy. We can give our characters the happy endings they deserve, and gives hope that there are people in the world like those characters we’ve created that give you hope for humanity.

So this is a rather rambly blog post that probably made very little sense, but was my way of expressing my thanks to J.K. Rowling, and all those other authors that gave me the best childhood, without which I wouldn’t be writing my own characters happy endings today.

Blog Stop + Review – ‘Her Dear and Loving Husband’ by Meredith Allard

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Welcome to the blog tour for Her Dear and Loving Husband, a historical romance novel with a paranormal twist …

Her Dear & Loving Husband (The Loving Husband Trilogy #1) by Meredith Allard

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SYNOPSIS

James Wentworth has a secret. He lives quietly in Salem, Massachusetts, making few ties with anyone. One night his private world is turned upside down when he meets Sarah Alexander, a dead ringer for his wife, Elizabeth. Though it has been years since Elizabeth’s death, James cannot move on.

Sarah also has a secret. She is haunted by nightmares about the Salem Witch Trials,  and every night she is awakened by visions of hangings, being arrested, and dying in jail. Despite the obstacles of their secrets, James and Sarah fall in love. As James comes to terms with his feelings for Sarah, he must dodge accusations from a reporter  desperate to prove that James is not who, or what, he seems to be. Soon James and Sarah piece their stories together and discover a mystery that may bind them in ways they never imagined. Do vampires and witches live in Salem? Will James make the ultimate sacrifice to protect Sarah and prevent a new hunt from bringing hysteria to Salem again?

Part historical fiction, part romance, part paranormal fantasy, Her Dear and Loving Husband is a story for anyone who believes that true love never dies.’

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My Review – ‘Her Dear & Loving Husband (Loving Husband #1)’ by Meredith Allard ~ 5 Stars!

‘Her Dear and Loving Husband’ was a stunning novel, and a heart-warming journey to read.

Infused with a beautiful and heart-warming love story, this book is a definite must for everyone who believes that true love never dies, even after the death of the body. ‘Her Dear and Loving Husband’ tells the beautiful spiritual tale of love after death and having a second chance with the one you love.

I loved the characters that I was introduced to throughout the novel, and I really felt connected to Sarah as she struggles to make a place for herself in Salem after the breakdown of her marriage, and sympathised with her desire to avoid making any romantic connections for the foreseeable future.

I can’t say how impressed I was with the cleverly written dreams that Sarah has. Meredith Allard presented a realistic, and scary image of the Salem Witch Trials, and these sequences were brilliantly contrasted with the writing style of the present day action. The voices and speech of the past was clearly well researched, and made the reading experience so much more believable, and making me feel as though I was actually there in that era. Brilliantly done!

I loved the elements of fantasy that were introduced throughout the novel, which although made up a large part of the story, what with our discovery of James’ true form, and Jennifer and Olivia’s true powers, didn’t seem forced or unrealistic. Not once when reading this book did I think that the fantasy elements were taken too far, and I really admire the author for being able to balance the fantasy and contemporary storylines so well.

The spiritual past life elements were spoken of in a way that made the idea of past lives seem not only possible, but probable. I think this story will resonate greatly with pagans, like myself, those who are interested in the worlds other, unseen elements, and those who believe that there is more to life than what we are told.

I adored James as a character, and greatly admired the devotion he had for his long dead wife, and how he made it his mission to prove to Sarah that he loved her for herself and not because of the possible connection between her and his wife. The scenes that were written after the death of James’ wife were heartbreaking and poignant, and shows the struggle that people who are left behind after the death of their loved ones must face. I cried when I read some of the simple yet overpowering lines.

“I miss my Lizzie.”

This story was cleverly crafted and in some ways I’d describe it as a suspense or thriller. There was a real focus on the issues that have been brought to the world’s attention since the days of the Witch Trials, and Meredith Allard showed a heartbreaking reality where we see the true dangers of stigmatism and prejudice. One worry or fear of something that can’t be seen or explained, can easily turn communities against each other, eradicate whole towns, and kill innocent men, women and children in the crossfire. It was a powerful message that gave me chills.

The pace of the novel was perfectly set, making the story a fluid and believable journey to read. It was a fantastic and beautifully written story, with an incredible amount of feeling put into every word.

5 Stars and a definite recommended read!


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~ Amazon UK ~ Amazon US ~


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Unknown-201Win a copy of The Salem Witch Trials: A Day by Day Chronicles of a Community Under Siege by Marilynne K. Roach. This is a factual book Meredith used to research the Salem Witch Trials:

What they say:
‘Based on over twenty years of original archival research, this history unfolds a nearly day-by-day narrative of the Salem Witch Trials as the citizens of Salem experienced the outbreak of hysteria.’

Entry via Rafflecopter. Giveaway open to US residents only and closes on August 27th.

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Win a dinner for 2 at Salem’s very own Adriatic Restaurant & Bar! Enter our giveaway and you could be the lucky winner of a sumptuous meal for 2 at Mediterranean eatery Adriactic Restaurant & Bar. Set within a warm interior, you’ll not only be treated to excellent, fresh cuisine but you’ll also find yourself in the heart of Her Dear & Loving Husband’s setting. Entry via Rafflecopter. Giveafinalway is for food only. Airfare is not included. Closes on August 27th.

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Win 1 of 5 e-copies of Her Dear & Loving Husband by Meredith Allard

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Meredith Allard

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Since 2000, Meredith Allard has been the Executive Editor of The Copperfield Review, an award-winning literary journal for readers and writers of historical fiction. She received her B.A. and M.A. degrees in English from California State University, Northridge, and she has taught creative writing and writing historical fiction seminars at Learning Tree University, UNLV, and the Las Vegas Writers Conference.

Her short fiction and articles have appeared in journals such as The Paumanok Review, Moondance, Wild Mind, Muse Apprentice Guild, Writers Weekly, CarbLite, and ViewsHound. She is the author of the Amazon Best-Selling Loving Husband Trilogy, as well as the historical novels Victory Garden, Woman of Stones, and My Brother’s Battle.

Victory Garden and Woman of Stones have also been Amazon Best-Sellers in the Historical Fiction and Religious Fiction categories.


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Find out more about The Loving Husband Trilogy:


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Meredith Allard

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Cover Reveal ~ ‘Precise (Pulling Me Under #0.5)’ Rebecca Berto.

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Precise cover - new

Title: Precise

Author: Rebecca Berto

Series: Pulling Me Under #0.5 (prequel novella)

Published | Updated version: November 27, 2012 | August 19, 2013

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Age Group: Adult

Cover Designed by: Berto Designs

Pages: 96 (now 30% longer!)

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Synopsis

Katie is a wife, a caring best friend, and the one person her mother, Rochelle, hates more than anyone. No one sees the darkness lurking just under the surface of their mother-daughter relationship, instead viewing Rochelle as misunderstood. That she has so much love for her daughter that she may seem harsh.

Wrong. So wrong.

Katie grew up taught that she was the cause of Rochelle’s miscarriages. She grew up with the belief she shouldn’t be happy knowing she’d caused her mom so much pain and suffering. Now Katie is pregnant and Rochelle is out to stop Katie from ruining her baby’s life—just like Katie ruined her own.

Still, Katie can’t imagine killing the life growing inside her. Hell hath no fury like Rochelle with a vengeance to make Katie pay for ruining her life.

In Rochelle’s quest for power, Katie’s baby is the pawn.

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Download the book for FREE!

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Want to read more from this series?

The next book in the series, Pulling Me Under is coming October 2013! Add to Goodreads.

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rebecca

Rebecca Berto is the Amazon bestselling author of Drowning in You. She writes stories about love and relationships. She gets a thrill when her readers are emotional reading her books, and gets even more of a kick when they tell her so. She’s strangely imaginative, spends too much time on her computer, and is certifiably crazy when she works on her fiction.

Rebecca Berto lives in Melbourne, Australia with her boyfriend and their doggy.


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Have you downloaded the book for free? Make sure to tell all your friends and read it before the sequel, Pulling Me Under arrives in October 2013!

Book Review – ‘Speak Easy (Speak Easy #1)’ by Melanie Harlow.

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Speak Easy by Melanie Harlow
(Speak Easy #1)
Genres: New Adult, Historical, Romance

Speak Easy (Speak Easy #1) by Melanie Harlow


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SYNOPSIS

The 1920s are roaring, and twenty-year-old Tiny O’Mara wants to be a part of it.

By day she works for her father’s small-time bootlegging operation, by night she craves the sexy roll-your-stockings-down lifestyle of a flapper—until her father is kidnapped by a mobster in Detroit’s exploding organized crime scene, and it’s Tiny who has to come up with the ten-thousand-dollar ransom… in one week.

Suddenly she’s thrust into an intoxicating underworld of greed, lust, lies, and betrayal.

Enzo DiFiore is the son of the mobster holding her father hostage, but his sexy screen idol looks and dangerous charm leave her breathless. When the forbidden spark between them refuses to burn out, she tries to use their powerful chemistry to buy more time. And irritatingly handsome childhood pal Joey Lupo has the street smarts Tiny needs to make a quick ten grand, but he’s got his own agenda where gang rivalries are concerned.

Deciding whom to trust isn’t easy in a world where everyone wants something—be it booze, money, power, or sex—and no one cares what it takes to get it.

Temptation is everywhere. And anything goes.

**Due to mature material, this New Adult historical is recommended for ages 17+.**

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I received a copy of ‘Speak Easy’ in a goodreads first-reads giveaway.

This was such an incredible book! I was a little wary  after reading the blurb knowing that there would be some kind of love triangle, as I tend to get so emotionally attached to one couple that I am devastated if they don’t end up together, but this was such a fantastic and thrilling story with the such a brilliant writing style that I fell in love with all the characters and really wanted the best for them.

 I loved both Enzo and Joey and really enjoyed reading the scenes they both had with Tiny. I loved the sweet and protective bond that Tiny had with Joey, but also loved the passionate scenes between Tiny and Enzo. Melanie Harlow did a brilliant job at making all the characters seem very real, and showing the light and dark in their personalities. Although I didn’t agree with all of their actions, I could understand their motives and behaviours, which really credits Melanie Harlow as a writer for making these characters believable and human.

The descriptions of the 1920s were brilliantly done, without them being too overwhelming or too descriptive. The details of day-to-day life and the different establishments was great to read as it all came from Tiny’s perspective and gave a great insight into how somebody who lived in that era would describe their life. Whilst now we would describe the jazz club as glittering and seductive, or the cars as vintage and impressive, we got to see these things as somebody alive in the 1920s would have done, that they were just a part of everyday life. This really helped me connect to the time and place of the novel as seeing the story through Tiny’s eyes made me feel as though I was in her shoes and not looking at the scene as an outsider from a different era.

The bootlegging storyline was fascinating and I loved seeing this common but illegal practice taking place in Tiny’s everyday life. It was a realistic story and had some brilliant historical details that have me wishing to go back in a time machine to the 1920s to see the action firsthand.

I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, and am excited to see how the relationships between Tiny and Joey, and Tiny and Enzo develop, as they are both exciting and somehow I find myself rooting for both boys, which NEVER happens to me. I am a die-hard shipper who has so many times found myself in a serious state of depression when my couple doesn’t end up together (no joke), so I adored how Melanie Harlow was able to make me invested in both relationships and in all the characters. I’d love to see Enzo’s weaknesses to show that he’s not as put-together as he tries to make others appear, and I’d love to see more from Tiny as to how grateful she is to Joey, and accepting the fact that she needs him in her life.

A stunning story which I read through in one sitting. It was mind-blowing and phenomenal and I can’t recommend it enough.

5 dazzling, shiny stars!


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Book Review – ‘Keep Me Still’ by Caisey Quinn

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Keep Me Still by Caisey Quinn
Keep Me Still #1
Genres: New Adult, Romance

Keep Me Still by Caisey Quinn


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SYNOPSIS

Scarred by loss, Layla leaves her hometown of Hope Springs, Georgia, hoping to put her painful past behind her and start over in college in California. When she runs into Landen at freshmen orientation, she has a choice to make. Reinforce those steel walls she’s built up around herself or give the only boy who can keep her still a second chance.

Landen’s more than ready to tear down those walls, but this time when they come crashing down, they might bury her.

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Book Review ~ ‘Keep Me Still’ by Caisey Quinn ~ 5 Stars!

Keep Me Still’ was a wonderful, fun, emotional and heartfelt story that deals with very real issues that captivated me from the start, so much so that I read it all in one sitting! I loved the prequel ‘Let You Leave’ in this special edition ebook as it really helped me to connect with and understand the characters before we see them reunited in ‘Keep Me Still.’

I adored Landon and Layla together. Their journey was a tough one, with real life becoming a big cloud over their relationship. Whilst they love each other desperately, old insecurities get in the way and they have to find their way through them to get their happy ending. The emotion that Caisey Quinn put into this story seeped off the page and it was beautiful to read. Layla’s desperation to keep herself unattached and making her way through life with as little fuss as possible really makes the reader think about people who have these medical problems and how hard they have to work to get through the day, even if it may not be obvious to see. I adored Landon’s devoted attention to Layla and that he doesn’t see her as a project to be fixed, but as the woman that he loves.

The connection Layla and Landon shared had me tearing up. I loved how close they were, and that their relationship was made so much stronger by the friendship they shared before they got together. Some of my favourite scenes were when Layla gives a small, shy smile at something Landon says or does, showing that she almost can’t believe her luck.

This was a gorgeous story, and I can’t wait to read the next novella and to see where Landon and Layla’s story takes them.

5 Stars with a cherry on top!


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Book Review – ‘Beneath an Irish Sky’ by Isabella Connor.

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Beneath an Irish Sky by Isabella Connor
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Choc Lit

Beneath an Irish Sky by Isabella Connor


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SYNOPSIS

Jack Stewart thought he’d put the past behind him. On the surface, he has everything success, money, a big house and he is never short of an attractive woman by his side, but a tragic road accident shatters Jack’s world.

Raised as an Irish Traveller, Luke Kiernan hasn’t had it easy, and when he wakes in a Dublin hospital to find the man he’s hated since childhood at his bedside, he’s hungry for revenge.Two very different worlds collide, bringing new dangers, exposing past deceits, and unearthing dark family secrets buried long ago. But from tragedy springs the promise of a fresh start with two women who are intent on helping Jack and Luke mend their lives.

Can new love heal old wounds, or are some scars there for good?

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Book Review – ‘Beneath an Irish Sky’ by Isabella Connor ~ 5 Stars!

Beneath an Irish Sky was such a stunningly beautiful read! I was lucky enough to win a copy in a giveaway by the publishers Choc Lit, and I can’t say how grateful I am. This story spoke so much to me, and is one of my favourite reads of 2013.

Isabella Connor is a pen name for two authors, so I was delighted to see how closely their writing styles matched. There was no indication that the book was written by two people, as the story and character development flowed so fluidly throughout the novel. I really admired how realistic the storyline was, giving readers a strong reminder of how common unjustified prejudice still is, and how this prejudice can cloud judgment and completely destroy families and communities apart. The descriptions of Luke’s life as a Traveller were beautifully portrayed, showing the clear and unbiased point of view of a boy who has struggled through life being shunned and badly treated by others. I loved the distinction Luke made between people who are travellers and those who don’t, stating that there are some travellers who give them a bad name, but it is not travellers as a whole, just like you get bad people from any way of life.

I adored this storyline and the different point of views we were given throughout it, without the switches being too confusing. I loved reading from both Luke and Jack’s point of views and the authors did an incredible job at making me not feel as though I should take sides. I could see the black and white of both Luke and Jack’s behaviours and didn’t think either character was in the right, or wrong. It was great following their journey to understanding and acceptance. They both loved Luke’s mother Annie, and at the end of the day they both wanted to know the truth. Jack to know why the love of his life left him without a word, and Luke as to why Jack had ignored his existence. There was also some great chapters from the girls point of views, with Kate being a wonderful partner for Luke, and her love for him clear when their lives are turned upside down when the lies caused through prejudice are spread too far. It is a harsh reminder of the harm that prejudice can do to others, and just how far it can spread. Like a disease, prejudice affects everyone it touches in some way.

Kate’s mother Sarah was a character that I desperately wanted to slap soon after being introduced to her. I loved how we saw the story from her thoughts as well, which helped develop the storyline and give me a deeply rooted hatred for her and her selfish, poisonous nature. Sarah is a great example of a character that I loved to hate, as her every action was fuelled through petty revenge and the desire for personal gain, even though she believes she has done the right thing. It’s great having a character that you can blame for problems in the past and know that despite the mystery of Annie’s disappearance and secrecy of Luke, there is a truth that can be told, leaving all of the characters with the chance to know the truth of what happened all those years ago so that they can accept and move on.

Emer was a great character that I really connected to. The way that she connected to her patients on an emotional level was heart warming to see. It is all too often that people in these roles have to keep emotionally detached from their patients in order to help them through, but Emer was a breath of fresh air, going above the call of duty and helping others with both an emotional and logical approach.

There’s so much I want to say about this novel, and how much I loved it, but don’t want to spoil the cleverly written mystery and suspense for future readers, but I will say that this story is an incredibly powerful and moving journey of love, loss, truth and acceptance that tugs at the heartstrings and will stay with you. There are characters that make you ashamed to be human, and then those that will give you faith in humanity again. This was a beautiful journey and I adored every second of it.

5 Stars and a definite recommended read.


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Beneath an Irish Sky is available now on Kindle and in Paperback

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