8/10

#BookReview
Gilding The Lily by Justine John
@JustineCJohn

Synopsis:

A gripping mystery of jealousy, murder and lies.

An invitation to her estranged, wealthy father’s surprise 75th birthday party in New York sees London-based Amelia and her husband, Jack, set off across the pond to meet a whole new world of family politics.

Amelia, now a successful businesswoman, has guiltily never liked her father’s women, but does her upmost to give his new socialite partner, Evelyn, the benefit of the doubt. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could just all get along? But there’s something very dark, determined and dangerous about her…

When Amelia’s father, Roger, becomes ill, Jack grows suspicious that there is more to it. Amelia understands why, but no one else will believe them. They travel back to America to piece together the puzzle, but when Roger goes missing, the couple are driven to their wit’s end. It takes a DEA officer and a secret assassin to bring them any answers. The ruthless truth is something no one expected…


Book Rating: 8/10

Compelling, dark, and menacing!

Gilding The Lily is a character-driven novel that delves into the complicated, entangled relationship between family members and reminds us just how deceiving appearances can often be.

The writing is taut and twisty. The characters are determined, troubled, and secretive. And the plot, told predominately from two perspectives, subtly unfolds all the personalities, motivations, and actions within it to create a tense, suspenseful, cautious tale.

Gilding The Lily, at its core, is a novel about family, secrets, manipulation, jealousy, obsession, and murder. It’s an intriguing debut for John, and I look forward to reading what she comes up with next.

 

About the Author:

 

Justine John became a full-time writer in her late forties, after a successfully running various businesses in London. Her first novel, Gilding The Lily, is a domestic noir suspense story. Animal lover Justine lives in the beautiful Surrey Hills with her husband, rides her two horses and walks her Dalmatians daily.

 

 

Thank you to Justine John for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy now from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

 

For more information on Justine John, visit her website at: justinejohn.co.uk

or follow her on Twitter at: @JustineCJohn

 

#BookReview #BlogTour
and a Sixpence for Luck by Lilac Mills
@LilacMills @NeverlandBT

 

Synopsis:

Daisy Jones has hit rock bottom. Or so she believes.

A cheating boyfriend, trouble at work, having to move back in with her mother, and being forced to compare her brother’s loved-up, newly-wed status and brand-new shiny house with her own dire lack of prospects, isn’t what she imagined her life was going to be like at thirty. To top it all off, Christmas is just around the corner!

Daisy, bless her, thinks things can’t possibly get any worse, but when her ancient great-grandmother persuades her to plant a silver sixpence in the Christmas pud for luck, Daisy is about to discover that they most definitely can.


Book Rating: 8/10

Entertaining, heartening, and splendidly merry!

and a Sixpence for Luck is a sweet, holiday read that takes us on a tour of Daisy’s life as she meanders through all sorts of highs and lows, from losing her job, home and long-time love to forging new friendships and finding true love.

It is ultimately a story about friendship, family, self-discovery, and happiness.

The prose is light and fluid. The characters, including all the supporting characters, are unique, quirky, and lovable. And the plot is flirty, fun and full of tricky situations, zany mishaps, awkward moments, delicious chemistry, and heartfelt emotion.

Overall, and a Sixpence for Luck is a delightfully, jolly novel by Mills that will have you smiling from the very first page to the irresistible happy-ever-after ending.

 

Giveaway:

Signed copy of the book and a silver sixpence necklace (International)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

About the Author:

Lilac spends all her time writing, or reading, or thinking about writing or reading, often to the detriment of her day job, her family, and the housework. She apologises to her employer and her loved ones, but the house will simply have to deal with it!

She calls Worcester home, though she would prefer to call somewhere hot and sunny home, somewhere with a beach and cocktails and endless opportunities for snoozing in the sun…

When she isn’t hunched over a computer or dreaming about foreign shores, she enjoys creating strange, inedible dishes in the kitchen, accusing her daughter of stealing (she meant to say “borrowing”) her clothes, and fighting with her husband over whose turn it is to empty the dishwasher.

 

Thank you to Lilac Mills and Neverland Blog Tours for providing me with a copy in an exchange for an honest review.

 

This book is available now. 

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

For more information on Lilac Mills, visit her website at: lilacmills

or follow her on Twitter: @LilacMills or Facebook: LilacMills

#BookReview
A Pearl for My Mistress by Annabel Fielding
@DearestAnnabel @HQDigitalUK

Synopsis:

A story of class, scandal and forbidden passions in the shadow of war. Perfect for fans of Iona Grey, Gill Paul and Downtown Abbey.

England, 1934. Hester Blake, an ambitious girl from an industrial Northern town, finds a job as a lady’s maid in a small aristocratic household.

Despite their impressive title and glorious past, the Fitzmartins are crumbling under the pressures of the new century. And in the cold isolation of these new surroundings, Hester ends up hopelessly besotted with her young mistress, Lady Lucy.

Accompanying Lucy on her London Season, Hester is plunged into a heady and decadent world. But hushed whispers of another war swirl beneath the capital… and soon, Hester finds herself the keeper of some of society’s most dangerous secrets…


Book Rating: 8/10

Insightful, exceptionally researched, and richly descriptive!

A Pearl for My Mistress takes us back to the 1930s, the interwar period, and gives an in-depth look into the formation of the British far-right movement and Germany’s influence and infiltration of British politics and high society.

The prose is fervent and captivating. The main characters include the scarred, loyal, enamored Hester and the bold, independent, resourceful Lucy. And the plot unfolds chronologically with a nice mix of historical events, intriguing fiction, social strife, forbidden love, political manipulation, and heartfelt emotion that keeps the story flowing from start to finish.

A Pearl for My Mistress is a well written, fascinating novel that highlights Fielding’s incredible knowledge and enormous passion for a period of time that is often forgotten and overlooked.

 

About the Author:

Annabel Fielding, having graduated from the University of Arts London with an MA in Public Relations, is a PR assistant by day and a novelist by night. Being a self-professed history geek, she dedicates her free time to obscure biographies, solo travel and tea.

For more information on Annabel Fielding, visit her website at: historygeekintown or follow her on Twitter at: @DearestAnnabel

 

Thank you to Annabel Fielding & HQ Digital for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                  

 

#BookReview
Heart Note by Cassandra O’Leary
@rararesources @cass_oleary #HeartNote

 

Synopsis:

Love is like a fine perfume. The top note draws you in, an instant attraction, but the Heart Note is the true essence. Like true love – a great perfume should be a woman’s perfect match.

At least, that’s what perfume counter manager, Lily Lucas, tells her customers in one of Australia’s largest department stores. 

It’s almost Christmas, the store is bedecked with baubles and Lily has about eleventy billion gifts to wrap and sell. She and her team of spritzer chicks are glamorous, professional and hoping they don’t have to wear the hideous red onesies and reindeer antlers the store manager has in mind.

The high point of Lily’s work life is Christos Cyriakos, ex-cop, security guard, possible Greek god. He’s a mystery box she’d love to unwrap. But can she trust him?

All Lily wants for Christmas is to kiss Christos (and more), catch a band of thieves running amok in the store, and live happily ever after. Is that too much to wish for?


Book Rating: 8/10

Lighthearted, amusing, and delightfully festive!

Heart Note is a charming, holiday novella about department store life and all the havoc, chaos, mayhem, and hijinks that surround this busy time of year.

The characters are unique, easygoing, and engaging. The writing is fluent and smooth. And the plot is a lovely mix of budding romance, gossipy coworkers, festive preparations, attraction, chemistry, and intriguing suspense.

Overall, Heart Note is a captivating, quick, fun-filled read with a little mystery, a dab of emotion, and a lot of romance that is perfect for a wintery day.

 

About the Author:

**Winner of the We Heart New Talent contest, HarperCollins UK. Nominated for BEST NEW AUTHOR in the 2016 AusRom Today Reader’s Choice Awards for excellence in Australian romance fiction.**

Cassandra O’Leary is a romance and women’s fiction author, communications specialist, avid reader, film and TV fangirl and admirer of pretty, shiny things. 

In 2015, Cassandra won the We Heart New Talent contest run by Avon Books/HarperCollins UK. Her debut romantic comedy novel, Girl on a Plane, was published in July 2016. Cassandra was also a 2015 finalist in the Lone Star writing contest, Northwest Houston Romance Writers of America, and a 2014 finalist in the First Kiss contest, Romance Writers of Australia.

Cassandra is a mother of two gorgeous, high-energy mini ninjas and wife to a spunky superhero. Living in Melbourne, Australia, she’s also travelled the world. If you want to send her to Italy or Spain on any food or wine tasting ‘research’ trips, that would be splendiferous. You’ll find Cassandra online, drinking coffee and possibly buying shoes. Oh, yes. And writing.

 

Giveaway – Win 5 x E-copies of Heart Note by Cassandra O’Leary (Open International)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Thank you to Cassandra O’Leary for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novella is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following link.

 

For more information on Cassandra O’Leary, visit her at the following:

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/cassandraolearyauthor

Twitter – @cass_oleary

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.co.uk/cassandissima/heart-note/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/cassandissima/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15272644.Cassandra_O_Leary

Website – http://cassandraolearyauthor.com/

 

#BookReview #BlogTour
Christmas at the Candied Apple Cafe
@katheringarbera @HarperImpulse @rararesources

Synopsis:

There’s nothing so magical as Christmas in New York…

Santa is coming to New York!

Snow is falling, excitement is high and the delicious scent of chocolate drifts along Fifth Avenue – the Candied Apple Café is ready for Christmas! And no one is busier than publicist Iona Summerlin. With so much to do, she doesn’t have time to think about men, dating, or the fact her last boyfriend ditched her for her brother… Relationships are off the menu!

Hotel boss Mads Eriksson is not looking forward to the first Christmas since losing his wife. His six-year-old daughter Sofia has lost her belief in Christmas magic along with her mother, and he has no idea what to do. But an unusually festive business meeting at the Candied Apple – and meeting the beautiful Iona – starts to defrost Mads’ frozen heart, and suddenly life seems full of light and sparkle again.

If only they dare to believe, maybe all their Christmas dreams will come true!


Book Rating: 8/10

Festive, heartwarming, and romantic!

Christmas at the Candied Apple Cafe is set in the idyllic New York City in wintertime and takes us into the lives of two main characters. Iona, a young woman who is hardworking, thoughtful and ready to find the one; and Mads, a grieving, single father who prefers to remain focused on raising his daughter than risk loving and losing once again.

The prose is light and smooth. The main characters are thoughtful, feisty, and endearing. And the plot sweeps you away into a winter fairytale complete with a beautiful, independent princess, a handsome, scarred prince, family, friendship, loss, heartbreak, true love, and a charming, little girl who will steal your heart.

Christmas at the Candied Apple Cafe is a perfect holiday read.  It’s entertaining, uplifting and will have you believing in the magic of Christmas, and dreaming of warm, cozy fires, hot chocolate, and scrumptious chocolate delights!

Giveaway:

5 lucky winners will win a copy of Summer in Manhattan, Katherine Garbera’s previous book for Harper Impulse.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

About the Author:

 

USA Today bestselling author Katherine Garbera is a two-time Maggie winner who has written more than 60 books. A Florida native who grew up to travel the globe, Katherine now makes her home in the Midlands of the UK with her husband, two children and a very spoiled miniature dachshund.

 

Thank you to Katherine Garbera for providing me with a copy in an exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now. 

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                 

For more information on Katherine Garbera, visit her website at: katherinegarbera.com

or follow her on Twitter: @katheringarbera 

Facebook: katherinegarberaauthor or Instagram: katherinegarbera

#BookReview
Two Journeys Home by Kevin O’Connell

Synopsis:

It’s now the late-Summer of 1767. As the eagerly anticipated sequel to Beyond Derrynane opens, having spent almost six eventful years at the court of Maria Theresa, Eileen O’Connell has availed herself of a fortuitous opportunity to travel back to Ireland.

Her vivacious personality matched only by her arresting physical presence, Eileen returns to Derrynane this time not as a teenage widow but, rather, as one of the most recognised figures at the glittering Habsburg court. Before departing Ireland several months later, she experiences a whirlwind romance, leading to a tumult of betrayal and conflict within the O’Connell clan. Once back in Vienna she unexpectedly finds her responsibilities as governess to the youngest Habsburg archduchess now linked to relations between France and Austria.

Abigail, rather than being eclipsed by her colourful younger sister, has instead ascended to the vaulted position of principal lady-in-waiting to Empress Maria Theresa. No longer “just a girl from deep in Kerry,” she is a beloved – and powerful – figure at court.

Hugh O’Connell, the youngest of the large family, leaves behind waning adolescence and a fleeting attraction to the youngest archduchess when he begins a military career in the Irish Brigade of the armies of Louis XV. But, perhaps as a foreshadowing of his adult life and career, more royal entanglement awaits him in France …

In the continuing saga, the O’Connells will confront intrigue, romance – even violence. Despite their innate wisdom, cunning and guile, what their futures hold remains to be seen.

With his uniquely-descriptive prose, Kevin O’Connell again deftly weaves threads of historical fact and fancy to create a colourful tapestry affording unique insights into the courts of eighteenth-century Catholic Europe as well as Protestant Ascendancy–ruled Ireland. Watch as the epic unfolds amongst the O’Connells, their friends and enemies, as the tumultuously-dangerous worlds in which they dwell continue to gradually – but inexorably – change.

Along with Beyond Derrynane, Two Journeys Home – and the two books to follow in The Derrynane Saga – comprise an enthralling series of historical novels, presenting a sweeping chronicle, set against the larger drama of Europe in the early stages of significant change, dramatising the roles, which have never before been treated in fiction, played by a small number of expatriate Irish Catholics of the fallen “Gaelic Aristocracy” at the courts of Catholic Europe, as well as relating their complex, at times dangerous, lives at home in an Ireland still controlled by the Sassenach.

In addition to Eileen’s, the books trace the largely-fictional lives of several other O’Connells of Derrynane, it is the tantalisingly few facts that are historically documented about them which provide the basic facts which give rise to the tale, into which strategic additions of numerous historical and fictional personalities and events mesh seamlessly.


Book Rating: 8/10

Fascinating, insightful and richly descriptive!

Two Journeys Home is an intriguing tale that picks up where “Beyond Derrynane” left off, taking us back to the 1760s where family honour and respect are more righteous than love and emotional happiness and the youngest sister Eileen is struggling to fulfill her wishes and dreams amongst an abundance of betrayal and violence.

The prose is captivating and vivid. The characters are bold, resilient, and willful. And the plot takes us from the 1760s through to the 1770s, from the dazzling courts of Austria to the green hills of Ireland where upheaval, acceptance, and familial strife weigh heavily on the heart and mind.

Two Journeys Home is a well written, sophisticated novel that certainly highlights O’Connell’s outstanding research, incredible knowledge, and enormous passion for his family’s history and genealogy.

Two Journeys Home is the second novel in “The Derrynane Saga” and if you haven’t already read my review for Beyond Derrynane (Derrynane Saga #1) be sure to check it out here:

Thank you to Kevin O’Connell for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. It was a pleasure and honour to read.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                        

For more information on Kevin O’Connell, visit his website at: Derrynane Books

#BlogTour #BookReview
Fatal Masquerade by Vivian Conroy
@VivWrites @HQDigitalUK

Synopsis:

Lady Alkmene and Jake Dubois are back in a gripping new adventure facing dangerous opponents at a masked ball in the countryside.

Masked danger…

Lady Alkmene Callender has always loved grand parties, but when she receives an invitation to a masked ball thrown by Franklin Hargrove – oil magnate, aviation enthusiast and father of her best friend, Denise – she’s never seen such luxury. The estate is lit up with Chinese lanterns in the gardens, boats operated by footmen float across the pond and the guest list features the distinguished, rich and powerful!

But below the glamour, evil is lurking. When a dead body is discovered, it forces Lady Alkmene to throw off her mask and attempt to find the true killer before Denise’s family are accused. If only her partner, Jake Dubois, weren’t hiding something from her…

This case might just be more dangerous than either of them could have imagined.


Book Rating: 8/10

Mysterious, atmospheric, and delightfully entertaining!

In this latest novel by Conroy, Fatal Masquerade, Lady Alkmene Callender finds herself immersed in a clue-like murder mystery, complete with a country estate, class tension, secrets, half-truths, a knife, a boathouse, and of course an enigmatic, handsome sidekick.

The writing style is light and descriptive. The setting and mood are vivid and superbly authentic. The characters, including the intelligent, independent heroine, are well-developed, complex, and intriguing. And the plot is a well-paced whodunit full of amateur sleuthing, red herrings, suspects, deduction, and a little romance.

Fatal Masquerade is the fourth book in the Lady Alkmene Mystery series, and if you love cozy mysteries, this novel will not disappoint. It is a quick, easy, fun read that is truly a lovely, refreshing change in a time when we seem to be inundated with psychological thrillers.

 

 

Thank you to Vivian Conroy and HQ Digital for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                  

For more information on Vivian Conroy follow her on Twitter at: @VivWrites

#BookReview
Slap Shot by Kelly Jamieson
@KellyJamieson @readloveswept

Synopsis:

My name’s Max Hall, and I need to f***. As a pro hockey player who’s been away from the game for over a year, my libido has picked one hell of an inconvenient time to come roaring back to life.
 
After my wife died from a rare form of cancer, sex was the last thing on my mind. Same with hockey, the other love of my life. Now, after fifteen months of eating too much, drinking too much, and generally just feeling sorry for myself, I’m facing a steep uphill battle to get my ass in shape and play my way back onto the Chicago Aces.
 
So I’m not looking for a relationship. Just sex. Yeah, I know how that makes me sound. But the truth is, I’ll never love another woman the way I loved my wife. When I meet a sexy bridesmaid at my teammate’s wedding, I decide to scratch that itch. A fling with Kendra Armstrong in her posh hotel room could be just what the trainer ordered.
 
Not only is Kendra smokin’ hot, she’s dynamite in bed—one of the perks of being a sex toy designer. Since she lives in New York anyway, we agree to keep things casual, no strings attached. The arrangement is perfect . . . until one of us falls in love. And it’s not me.


Book Rating: 8/10

Steamy, heartfelt, and deliciously sexy!

Slap Shot, the fifth book in the Aces Hockey series, is a sporty, contemporary romance featuring Max a tough, honest, hockey player who is struggling to come to grips with not only the grief he continues to feel over the loss of his wife but the guilt associated with potentially moving on.

The writing is clear and emotive. The characters are genuine, believable and charming. And the plot is an impassioned tale filled with sizzling tension, scorching chemistry, poignant moments, hilarious innuendoes, flirty banter, and a swoon-worthy ending.

What more can I say, when it comes to writing entertaining, enjoyable novels about hunky hotshots who fall hard Jamieson is one of the best and Slap Shot with its heart, humour, heat, and hockey is no exception.

 

About the Author:

 

Kelly Jamieson is a USA Today bestselling author of over 40 romance novels and novellas. Her writing has been described as “emotionally complex”, “sweet and satisfying” and “blisteringly sexy”. She likes black coffee, white wine and high heels…and of course cheering on her Winnipeg Jets during hockey season!

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Random House – Loveswept, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is available October 17, 2017.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                  

For more information on Kelly Jamieson, visit her website at: kellyjamieson.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @KellyJamieson

 

#BookReview
The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey
@sarahbailey1982 @GrandCentralPub

Synopsis:

In a suspense thriller to rival Paula Hawkins and Tana French, a detective with secrets of her own hunts the killer of a woman who was the glamorous star of their high school.

Rose was lit by the sun, her beautiful face giving nothing away. Even back then, she was a mystery that I wanted to solve.

The lead homicide investigator in a rural town, Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock is deeply unnerved when a high school classmate is found strangled, her body floating in a lake. And not just any classmate, but Rosalind Ryan, whose beauty and inscrutability exerted a magnetic pull on Smithson High School, first during Rosalind’s student years and then again when she returned to teach drama.

As much as Rosalind’s life was a mystery to Gemma when they were students together, her death presents even more of a puzzle. What made Rosalind quit her teaching job in Sydney and return to her hometown? Why did she live in a small, run-down apartment when her father was one of the town’s richest men? And despite her many admirers, did anyone in the town truly know her?

Rosalind’s enigmas frustrate and obsess Gemma, who has her own dangerous secrets—an affair with her colleague and past tragedies that may not stay in the past.


Book Rating: 8/10

Menacing, unsettling, and intense!

In this debut novel, The Dark Lake, Bailey transports us to Smithson, Australia a small town where gossip and deception run rampant, emotions run high, and solving the murder of the beloved local high school teacher may unearth more skeletons in the closet than anyone could have imagined.

The prose is dark and eerie. The characters, including the scarred Det. Sgt. Gemma Woodstock, are flawed, complicated, and self-involved. And the plot, using a past/present, back-and-forth style is a suspenseful thrill ride filled with familial drama, jealousy, obsession, grief, revenge, infidelity, secrets, and murder.

The Dark Lake is truly a well-written, gritty, absorbing story that highlights that rage and resentment fostered over many years can have devastating consequences.

About the Author:

 

Sarah Bailey was born in Melbourne, Australia, where she has lived all her life and currently resides with her two young sons. She has a degree in journalism and has a career in advertising. She is currently a partner at creative agency, Mr Smith. The Dark Lake is her first novel.

 

 

 

Thank you to Netgalley, especially Grand Central Publishing, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

For more information on Sarah Bailey visit her website at: sarahbaileyauthor.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @sarahbailey1982

#BookReview & #BlogTour
The Watcher by Monika Jephcott Thomas
@Authoright

Synopsis:

It’s 1949 when Netta’s father Max is released from a Siberian POW camp and returns to his home in occupied Germany. But he is not the man the little girl is expecting – the brave, handsome doctor her mother Erika told her stories of. Erika too struggles to reconcile this withdrawn, volatile figure with the husband she knew and loved before, and, as she strives to break through the wall Max has built around himself, Netta is both frightened and jealous of this interloper in the previously cosy household she shared with her mother and doting grandparents. Now, if family life isn’t tough enough, it is about to get even tougher, when a murder sparks a police investigation, which begins to unearth dark secrets they all hoped had been forgotten.


Book Rating: 8/10

Tragic, mysterious, and heartbreaking!

The Watcher is a moving tale that picks up where “Fifteen Words” left off, taking us back into the Portner household where the physical and psychological horrors of war still resonate, and the process of survival and healing remains a daily struggle.

The prose is somber and descriptive. The characters are wounded, secretive, and raw. And the plot is a poignant ride about life, loss, family dynamics, PTSD, suspicion, desperation, deception, jealousy, grief, and murder.

Overall, The Watcher is a well-written followup for Jephcott Thomas that does an exceptional job of highlighting the importance of trust, honesty, support, and intimacy in moving forward and rebuilding what’s been lost.

About the Author

monkika-jephcott-thomas

Monika Jephcott Thomas grew up in Dortmund Mengede, north-west Germany. She moved to the UK in 1966, enjoying a thirty year career in education before retraining as a therapist. Along with her partner Jeff she established the Academy of Play & Child Psychotherapy in order to support the twenty per cent of children who have emotional, behavioural, social and mental health problems by using play and the creative Arts. A founder member of Play Therapy UK, Jephcott Thomas was elected President of Play Therapy International in 2002. In 2016 her first book Fifteen Words was published. For more information on Jephcott Thomas visit her website at: monika-jephcott-thomas.com

 Thank you to Authoright for providing me with a copy in an exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

            

 

 

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