How to Date a Nerd (How To #1) by Cassie Mae

how-to-date-a-nerdBlurb: Zoe has a great pair of legs, perky boobs, and wears exactly what she needs to show it all off. She works hard for the easy sleazy you only wish you were me reputation, burying who she really is—an all-out nerd. The only time Zoe gets to be herself is when she hides under her comforter to read X-Men comics, sending jealousy stabs at everyone who attends Comic-Con.

Zak’s a geek to the core, shunned by everyone in school for playing Dungeons and Dragons at lunch and wearing “Use the Force” t-shirts. And Zoe’s got it bad for the boy.

Only Zak doesn’t want Popular Zoe. He wants Geek Zoe.

 

 

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3.5 stars

Ok, full disclosure, I’m on the fence about this book. I mean, I liked the writing and the story was a great one, but I couldn’t understand Zoe’s actions…AT ALL.  It probably has to do with the fact that I had such a hard core supportive tribe in HS that I never would have treated a friend this way, especially someone I was half in love with.  I just didn’t get her reasoning.  I don’t think she deserved to get the guy in the end, I wanted her to lose. That’s how much I disliked her character.

And I found Zak to be too much of a pushover.  He consistently accepted her apology time after time even when she humiliated him.  I was heartbroken for him when she let him down.  The beginning of the end for me was the stalker scene. When she dissed him so hard at school, I lost it. After that I was mad he gave her another chance.  I guess I am not one of those people that can forgive that easily.  Wow, whats that say about me.

BUT……The simple fact that CM made me feel so deeply about each character, even if it’s in a negative fashion, is a wonderful thing.  Cause most authors don’t have that power.  And her writing pulled me in right away.  I just didn’t like either character.  Which I used to think was a major deal, but since I feel so strongly about this book, the story must have touched me in some way right?  The story itself is a great piece about excepting and loving yourself for who you are and not giving in to societies demands for conformity. Something I am a huge die-hard fan of.  I hate almost all conformity.  So in that way, it was a win.

But I had to knock of a few stars for disliking the MC’s.  Sorry.

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Letters to Love by Soraya Lane

letters-to-loveBlurb: When her sister Lila and brother-in-law Gray are killed in a tragic accident, Bella is named as guardian to her two young nephews. Then she discovers that she’s expected to co-parent with Gray’s best friend, and grief turns to shock. Noah has always driven her crazy, and Bella’s sure the arrogant, handsome Navy SEAL is the last person she wants to share a life with.

Just as it seems they’ll never see eye to eye, letters from Lila start to arrive—letters she wrote in case they ever ended up in this situation. And so the reluctant couple follows her instructions, spending ever more time together as part of their unexpected, unconventional family.

Forced into an impossible situation, will these letters from the past bring them together?

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Favorite Quote: 

Her big, tough-as-nails, amazing military dad; a man who never cried, never complained, never asked anyone for anything. And now he was sitting as still as a statue, body shuddering with emotion as she touched him.

4 stars

I got this book from my Kindle for Samsung app.  You get a free book every month if you have it, so if you have a Samsung phone and like free books, I’d download this puppy.

This book was exactly what I expected it to be. A heartbreaking love story.  I cried a few times throughout.  The grief that Bella and Noah experience is genuine and the author was able to relate those intense -+–feelings quite flawlessly.

I loved how Noah stood up to Bella about the co-parenting request.  He knows he won’t be around as much but he still demands to be as much a part of their lives as he is able.  He has commitment issues and abandonment issues up the wazoo, but all those seem to take a back seat whenever he is around the kids.  He shows a great capacity for love and at the same time seems to be terrified of it.

Bella is headstrong and a bit controlling.  Contradicting Noah’s more laid back attitude. She adored her sister and her nephews and is still trying to navigate her life post death of her sister.  She is a great guardian and has a wonderful support system.  But, its hard for her to let go and just roll with it. Especially after her previous carefree life with no one depending on her.  I think she has a hard time not having a committed partner and that’s what scares her.  The two fears each MC exhibit contrast nicely in this book, giving the book a great conflict that is easy to follow.

I really enjoyed the military background this book covered.  It added another layer to the story.  Noah’s commitment to his brothers in arms was admirable, even though it took him away from his family.

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Hook’s Little Mermaid (The Untold Stories) by Suzanna Lynn

hooks-little-mermaidBlurb: Captain James Hook was once a good man trying to make a somewhat honest living. He is a pirate, after all. However, after getting word that a boy named Peter Pan played a part in the death of a dear loved one, Hook makes it his sole purpose to hunt down and destroy the fiend.

On his journey for vengeance, the captain encounters many new comrades, including a young girl named Red and a fairy called Tinker Bell, and both push him to reconsider his desire for justice.

The accidental rescue of a mermaid leads him on a whirlwind adventure in Neverland. The journey is not a simple one, considering Pan, the Lost Boys, mermaids, and magic all come into play. After several misadventures, Hook must choose between the possibility of a new life with love and his much-desired retaliation against Pan.

Once everything is said and done, will the captain be able to overcome his need for revenge? Will he let compassion steer him toward love? Or will Captain Hook live up to his villainous reputation?

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2 stars

I don’t know what happened but I wasn’t that big a fan of this book as I thought I would be.  Maybe the cover reminded me of Hook from Once Upon A Time and I transferred my feelings of want to this book. Either way, it wasn’t for me. This book was missing some depth and had too much telling, not enough showing. Great potential, poor follow through.

It took too long to get to the point, and if the book had been longer I would have DNF’d it, but it was a short story so I just finished it.  Hook was made out to be the good guy and I couldn’t wrap my head around it.  Also, there isn’t that much action in this book, at least until the very end. I expected more obstacles to get in the way but everything seemed to work out with no real closure.

Maybe I need to be more discriminating when I choose a fairy tale retelling, they are not all created equal.

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Rainbows and Raindrops by Kelley Lynn and Jenny S. Morris

Blurb:
29444640Before… They are the Musketeers–one for all and all for Rain, or however that saying goes.

Now that Rain’s sixteen, freedom is at her fingertips. Cliff jumping at the lake. Rain’s first tattoo. Spence finally asking her out. With her friends by her side, there’s no reason Rain can’t be happy in a world that constantly tries to extinguish her addictive, carefree spirit.

After… It’s just Rain. No misfits and no Musketeers.

Until Rain pulls up to her new summer job and discovers the two people she’s been hiding from–Spence and Landon– are her new cabin mates. Landon’s determined to help Rain overcome her guilt and remember what once was. As they become closer, he awakens a part of her soul she never thought she’d feel again.

Making Rain wonder if, despite all the mistakes she’s made, it’s worth trying to get back to the girl she used to be.

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My Review:
4.5 stars — Oh you guys, this one just sucked me in and has now left me reeling…  This book had ALL THE FEELS.  I mean seriously, I didn’t just bawl once, I bawled at least twice with little mini crying bits in between.

Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t all just a cry fest.  It starts off really light and happy and I was just in love with the characters.  The first scene in the book just made me happy and had me wanting to know more about this little band of misfits.  Each of the 4 friends was so unique, though they all struggled with difficult home lives in some way…it’s kind of what brought them together I suppose.  They knew what it was to be outsiders in a sense.  And yet they fit with each other.  They pushed each other.  They wanted what was best for each other.  It was a great story of friendship, and how friendship can endure through tragedy (but not without stumbling blocks along the way).

Rain was a fascinating character…there were many parts of her that I related to (her love of colour, and her just giddiness I guess).  But at the same time, I can NOT relate to her sense of adventure and risk taking.  I was with Spence — NO NO NO!  😉  But I really felt how she felt those colours came from deep inside her soul, and I loved the contrast of colours to black before and after…it was a great use of symbolism, and really fit her character.

The grief and emotional upheaval that Rain experiences…heck that they all experience…was just so real.  I felt it in my bones.  I loved that they all reacted differently and dealt with it in different ways…they all had different journeys to becoming ok again.  And as someone who struggles with depression, while it wasn’t addressed head on and spelled out, I could recognize it in Rain, and I thought that it was dealt with superbly.  I really did feel all her emotions down to the core of myself.  And I especially loved Ms. Morris’s note in her acknowledgements at the end of the book about depression…

So why round down instead of up?  Well folks, I’m still me, and I’m still a romantic at heart, and so it was a personal taste thing.  And while I ADORED the different examples of love in this book, I also struggled with it.  My little simplistic heart wasn’t prepared to fall in love multiple times, and so my heart had a hard time accepting where the story was going to go (even if I loved where it went and felt it was the right place and all that jazz).  And in the end, I kind of wanted a “story” ending on the romance front, like some big declaration from Rain or something.  It’s stupid.  I still got what I wanted, I just wanted more.  I love the boy she ended up with…seriously, another beta boy — MEGA SWOON!!!  But it was just too realistic for me.  And sometimes I love that…and a part of me is even now arguing in my brain that it was better this way, and it fit the story better and all that good stuff.  But damnit!  My gut wanted more.  Maybe we’ll see glimpses of them in the next book and it will satisfy me.

Also, I wanted a bit more from some of the secondary characters (Knox and Ellis in particular).  I like mystery, but I needed a bit more of a hook I guess.  Not that I’m not all in from that teaser chapter of the next book…oh yeah, my one-click finger is ready, just put the buy link in my hands and I’m all over that shit.

On a final note, can I just say that the ending chapter was pretty much the most perfect way in the history of ways to end the book?  I mean, I never saw it coming, and it was just…EPIC.  Like EPIC EPIC.  Like, I can’t even go there epic.  Like you guys are all rolling your eyes at me but then you’ll read it and be like “awww, Lenore was right.  That was epic.”

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Grin and Beard It (Winston Brothers #2) by Penny Reid

23337863Blurb: Sienna Diaz is everyone’s favorite “fat” funny lady. The movie studio executives can’t explain it, but her films are out-grossing all the fit and trim headliners and Hollywood’s most beautiful elite. The simple truth is, everyone loves plus-sized Sienna.

But she has a problem, she can’t read maps and her sense of direction is almost as bad as her comedic timing is stellar. Therefore, when Sienna’s latest starring role takes her to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park she finds herself continually lost while trying to navigate the backroads of Green Valley, Tennessee. Much to her consternation, Sienna’s most frequent savior is a ridiculously handsome, charming, and cheeky Park Ranger by the name of Jethro Winston.

Sienna is accustomed to high levels of man-handsome, so it’s not Jethro’s chiseled features or his perfect physique that make Sienna stutter. It’s his southern charm. And gentlemanly manners. And habit of looking at her too long and too often.

Sienna has successfully navigated the labyrinth of Hollywood heart-throbs. But can she traverse the tenuous trails of Tennessee without losing her head? Or worse, her heart?

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Favorite Quotes: 

I swear, at this rate of staring and grinning, Jethro and I were in serious danger of going steady and holding hands.

“You’re a movie star. A celebrity with millions of fans.” “And you’re a wildlife ranger who traps giant, dangerous black bears for a living and acts like it’s no big deal. Tell me that doesn’t sound like a heaping helping of crazy, with bizarre gravy, and a slice of mashed loco for Cocoa Puffs.”

“And you are more than the mistakes of your youth. You are more than the label you’ve been assigned by people who might love you, but don’t really know who you are anymore.”

“Think of how much better the world would be if people craved compliments about the beauty of their heart rather than the beauty of their face.”

“don’t ration the passion, i.e. put your best fuck forward.”

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5 Stars!

Oh dear lord this book!  This series!  This cover! This author!  I could be easily convinced that PR sold her soul to the devil.  She is so good at her craft it’s almost outside the realm of reality.  (That’s a compliment)

I was waiting impatiently for Cletus’ book, but damn if I didn’t fall for the eldest Winston brother.  Jethro is confident in his work, but he is insecure in his role as eldest brother. You can feel the guilt that settles heavily in his heart for not being a good brother, something that he attempts to make up for constantly.  His character has such a contradiction of traits, it gives him depth and dimension.

And Sienna, god I loves her. Not only is this book a surprise diverse read for me.  She is also a plus size MC.  A woman like me!  Its lovely to see characters in books that we can relate to physically.  She is a successful actress, writer and comedian but she seems to lose her cool whenever Jethro shows up, making their interactions even more enjoyable.

The dialogue is consistently humorous, clever and sexy.  The family is pretty close knit and I love how they all live together.  I myself am the oldest of seven siblings so I get their dynamic so much.  I gobbled this book up in a day and am now suffering from withdrawal. Its a good thing my husband has a beard. 😉

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Expired Listings by D.M. Barr

expired-listingsBlurb: House up for sale?
When the lockbox goes on,
You won’t believe what these agents pull off …

Someone is ‘deactivating’ the Realtors in Rock Canyon and almost no one seems to care. Not the surviving brokers, who consider the serial killings a competitive boon. Not the town’s residents, who see the murders as a public service. In fact, the only person who’s even somewhat alarmed is Dana Black, a kinky, sharp-witted yet emotionally skittish Realtor who has no alibi for the crimes because during each, she was using her empty listings for games like Bondage Bingo with her sadistic lover, Dare. And yet, mysteriously, all clues are pointing her way.

Along with clearing her name and avoiding certain death at the hands of the ‘Realtor Retaliator,’ Dana has an even bigger problem: she’s inadvertently become a person of interest in more ways than one to Aidan Cummings, the sexy albeit vanilla detective investigating the case. While his attentions are tempting, Dana is torn—does she continue her ironically ‘safe’ but sterile BDSM relationship with Dare, or risk real intimacy with Aidan?

Kink, Suspense and Satire–Expired Listings masterfully combines all three while exploring the universal need for validation and the toxic nature of revenge.

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4 stars

I didn’t realize there was no actual sex in the book.  ::face palm:: I did it. I totally judged a book by its cover!  And what a fabulous cover it is!

The MC is hilarious in this book.  Her wit and charm are effortless and I love how she incorporates her BDSM lifestyle into this book without it being raunchy or uncouth.  If anything it made me more interested in this lifestyle. 🙂

The author wrote the people who are part of this lifestyle three dimensionally.  They are not sex symbols nor are they sex addicts.  They are normal people with normal jobs who happens to have abnormal tastes in what turns them on.  They have families and day jobs, they go out on lunch dates and gossip.  The author made it seem all very normal and ordinary.  Which shows me how talented she is.

Combine that with her mommy issues and you’ve got a recipe for a great multifacated story. It reads almost like a cozy, but it is not.  The mystery was very well laid out, I pegged the whodunit way later in the book than I normally do so that was pretty cool for me.

While I don’t usually read mysteries now a days, if these are the kind that are being published, I could be persuaded to pick them back up.

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Fallen Crest University (Fallen Crest High #5) by Tijan

fallen-crest-universityBlurb:  Samantha, Mason, and Logan are all together and united with one common enemy: Sebastian Park, the king of fraternity douchebags.

With professional football scouts eyeing his every move, Mason Kade has to walk the line for the first time in his life. Any move he makes against Sebastian has to be perfect and under the radar. One mistake, and his career is over.

Sebastian has other plans. Mason’s career isn’t his target—not even close. Wanting to destroy Mason completely, Sebastian knows he must hit him where it hurts the most: Samantha, who doesn’t give a rat’s ass that she’s the target.

Sam is bound and determined to protect Mason herself, no matter the cost, but what if the cost is beyond her imagination? What if this time, the villain wins?

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Favorite Quote:

“What are you looking at?” A broken daughter. I shook my head. “Nothing.” Me. I was looking at myself.

4 stars

I didn’t think there could be a more dramatic ending after the last book. Turns out, I was wrong.

At least in this one I see more growth in Mason, he seems to realize that he can’t do everything his way.  It is quite a humbling for him I’m sure.  Sam and Logan team up in this one to dun dun dun…..keep stuff from Mason.  Again! And guess what, Mason is keeping his own counsel as well.  Well slap my ass and call me Sally!  (No offense to anyone named Sally)

This one seems to have more about protecting Mason than anything else.  Protecting his career and making sure he doesn’t get kicked out of school.  You gotta love Logan’s commitment to his brother.  For him to be willing to do the dirty work even if it means he will be kicked out of school shows some serious loyalty.  And I know I’ve mentioned his loyalty before but damn, its worth another mention.

But the one character who stood out to me was the big bad.  Park Sebastion is the best bad guy I have ever read!  He is like Malificent to all the other Disney villians.  Seriously evil dude.  I applaud Tijan this time around.  The plot was definitive, not sloppy or unrecognizable.  Although I would be remiss if I didn’t add, “‘Bout time!”

And while I still think she uses too many plot devices in her books, it seems to work for her.  Breezy got some a serious following.  And I am one of them.

Until the next book…

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Fallen Fourth Down (Fallen Crest High #4) by Tijan

fallen-fourth-downBlurb: My mother tried to destroy me. She doesn’t exist to me anymore and my father, the one who raised me and the biological one, are both works in progress. The only two people that I can trust are Mason and Logan, and they’re the two people who I could lose. It won’t happen. I won’t let it. No matter the truth, no matter who loves me, I won’t let anything or anyone come between us.
They’re my world. They’re my life.
They’re my family.

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3 stars

Ok, I think I may be cured you guys!  I mean, not enough to stop reading the series.  But enough to stop rating them so high.  We have another one that has almost no plot.  This one goes every which way.  You know those ‘choose your own adventure’ books.  This one is like that, except I’m reading it straight through and its all garbled.

I’m serious guys, there are so many different stories running through this book its difficult to figure out what the plot really and truly is.  Which makes me think there actually isn’t one and the author just threw a whole bunch of stuff together to give the illusion of one.

Mason hasn’t changed, he is an asshole who thinks everything is about him.  And he still thinks its his world and everyone else just lives in it.  And they bring Marissa back!  For what?  She was a nobody in the previous books, and the author tried to make her a somebody now.  There is no earthly reason to have her character show up now, except as a plot device.

Sam hasn’t changed, she still has no backbone and allows others to speak for her.  She still keeps her own counsel, even after claiming to trust Logan and Mason.  She lets people fight over her and then at the last minute when it looks like there will be a physical fight, she steps in and acts like she’s all hard, mouthing off to everyone.  I don’t like her.

The only redeeming thing about this series is the sex scenes.  They are great.

I will say I personally love Nate and Logan in this book.  They have evolved the most I think as the series has progressed.  Nate is trying to branch out and network in college, a smart move IMO.  And Logan is getting a taste of what its like to be out of Mason’s shadow.  He shines. I’m gonna see this series through, or, I will read the next book and see if its worth it to keep reading.

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Fallen Crest Public (Fallen Crest High #3) by Tijan

falen-crest-pubicBlurb: Sam’s first day at Fallen Crest Public doesn’t go well. Some girls want to be her. Some girls want to destroy her. And some just don’t like her. All in all, despite being protected by Mason and Logan, it’s still only the strong survive. Sam will not only have to survive, she needs to learn how to conquer too, but there’s another battle growing. Things are about to come to a disastrous end between the towns, Roussou and Fallen Crest. Sam’s other main dilemma? Keeping Mason and Logan from getting arrested or hospitalized.

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4 stars

Oh dear god this one wins for most crap that happens that doesn’t make sense. I can’t stop you guys. I might need an intervention.  These books are so ridiculously over the top and I shouldn’t like them but I am addicted to the drama they provide.  Halp!

Somehow every male in her school district wants her and every female in her town hates her and wants her boyfriend Mason and his brother Logan.  (OK, I admit I want Logan, he’s dreamy).  Its filled with trope after trope and cliche after cliche.  But…. I like it.  Damn it what is wrong with me?  Was I not loved enough as a child, like Sam.  Actually….we are not gonna go there. Moving on…

Sam is such a pushover playing at being a hard ass.  Instead of ignoring the girls she pays attention to them.  Everyone one knows if you pay attention to them, it gives them power. I was a bit of a mean girl in HS but DAMN, I never did any of this crap.  These girls were psychotic!

I wasn’t expecting the amount of violence in this book since the other books had been straddling the line between violent and quasi-violent.  This book said, “Nope. We are gonna fuck you up real good this time around.”

The ending!  OMG, the ending was just so…un-freaking-believable.  No, I mean like that would never happen…ever. This world that Tijan has built is full of shallow females who think that sex is power and men that treat women like objects.

And yet, its still a 4 star for me.  What is wrong with me?

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Stolen Away by Jennie Marts

Blurb:
31701913.jpgElusive charmer Cash Walker is a tough-as-nails cowboy, except when it comes to the shy woman who shows up with a pretty smile, a wounded spirit, and a goat riding shotgun in her passenger seat.

Recently divorced from an abusive husband, Emma Frank has come home to Broken Falls, Montana. Lost, alone, and unable to escape the bullying tactics of her ex-brothers-in-law, she finds solace and friendship at the Tucked Away farm and with the handsome cowboy who believes in her and who helps her find her own courage.

There’s a darkness in Cash’s past that’s kept him from ever letting anyone get too close, but he can’t seem to stay away from Emma, who seems to be the one to finally break through his tough exterior and steal this cowboy’s heart.

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My Review:
2.5 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

OK, so this one just wasn’t a fit for me.  I literally forced myself to finish it.  It’s not an inherently bad book or anything, but I did NOT feel the magic, and so it was a slog.  And you know how it started?  It started b/c I requested this book for one reason and one reason only: the goat in the passenger seat.  And (spoiler alert), the goat appeared in the first 2 pages and that was basically it.  Seriously, false advertising.  The goat is a lie.  This book contained less than 1% goat.  I actually posted on our Facebook page about this book b/c I was excited about the goat.  So it kind of all went downhill from there.

OK, now that that silliness is out of the way, on to actual review goodness.  This was a pretty standard adult love story.  It had fairly solid characters, each struggling with demons in their past.  I thought the author addressed the topic of domestic abuse with care and respect.  My heart broke for each of their struggles, but particularly for Emma.  Truth be told though?  I didn’t really fall in love with either of them.  They were both great on paper, but they were each missing a spark for me.  I think I like my characters with more sass.  They felt a bit…manufactured sassy if that makes sense.  It might have just been me.  They were just blah for me.  Even the secondary characters were good, but not great for me.  There’s a tiny part of me that’s curious about their stories (which would have been in the previous 2 books), but not enough to go out and read them.  But I will say that if you read the previous 2 books and enjoyed them, I have a feeling you’ll love this one too.  It really seemed a case of it’s me, not you.

I was actually more intrigued by the mystery and plot surrounding the Purvis boys, even if it was a bit cliche and unbelievable.  I found it easier to read those action parts than the romance parts, which is super duper odd for me.  Seriously, I found myself sighing during the declarations and the steamy scenes.  Normally I would think I was in a slump, but I really think it was the writing in this case…it just didn’t connect with me personally.

So yeah.  If it hadn’t been a NetGalley ARC, I would have DNFd it.  Again, it’s not an inherently bad book or horrible writing or anything, but it just didn’t connect with me and my tastes.  Oh well…that’ll teach me to get sucked in by a goat in a car.

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