Hot and Badgered (Honey Badgers, #1) by Shelly Laurenston

Hot and Badgered (The Honey Badgers, #1)Hot and Badgered by Shelly Laurenston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: Hot and Badgered
Author: Shelly Laurenston
Series: Honey Badgers, #1
Pages: 433
Publisher: Kensington
Date: March 27, 2018

Summary:

It’s not every day that a beautiful naked woman falls out of the sky and lands face-first on grizzly shifter Berg Dunn’s hotel balcony. Definitely they don’t usually hop up and demand his best gun. Berg gives the lady a grizzly-sized t-shirt and his cell phone, too, just on style points. And then she’s gone, taking his XXXL heart with her. By the time he figures out she’s a honey badger shifter, it’s too late.

Honey badgers are survivors. Brutal, vicious, ill-tempered survivors. Or maybe Charlie Taylor-MacKilligan is just pissed that her useless father is trying to get them all killed again, and won’t even tell her how. Protecting her little sisters has always been her job, and she’s not about to let some pesky giant grizzly protection specialist with a network of every shifter in Manhattan get in her way. Wait. He’s trying to help? Why would he want to do that? He’s cute enough that she just might let him tag along—that is, if he can keep up.

Review:

It’s been four years since Laurenston’s last shifter book Bite Me and it seems much longer. I was so disappointed when I heard she was not writing anymore books in the Pride series. Make no mistake, I love her dragons and crows, but I ADORE her shifters. This new book is listed as the first in a new series, but it is actually connected to the Pride series which makes it even better.

The best I can tell, Hot and Badgered takes place about seven or eight years after Bite Me. Several characters from the Pride series show up in this book and others are mentioned. As I say time and again, yes, you can read these books as stand alones, but I don’t recommend it. That goes for this book as well. There are plot points that just will not have as much impact if you don’t know the history of the characters.

Having said all that, Hot and Badgered, is wonderful. I had a hard time keeping the sisters straight at the beginning, but they have distinctive personalities and shifter traits. There was one aspect about their shifted forms that bothered me because it contradicted the earlier books, but it was explained later on and actually supported a major thread of the story. It’s so hard to talk about the best parts of the book because of spoilers.

Charlie Taylor-MacKilligan is a wolf/honey badger hybrid. She is far too laid back for anyone to believe she is a badger until she’s not. Don’t piss her off. She and her sisters are dangerous.
Berg is a grizzly and all bear. He’s protective and seems more stable to me than other grizzly shifters. His personality seems more polar than grizzly. And you can tell I am a fan of these stories because that actually makes sense to me. And let me tell you, Charlie needs someone stable in her life.

I can’t really recommend this book if you are not already a Pride series reader. I think you will lose so much of the story if you don’t already understand the shifters’ world. If you are a fan, I don’t have to recommend it. I know any reader of Laurenston will be at the bookstore when they open to get this next installment in her world of shifters.

Now, when is the next book due out?

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Burn Bright (Alpha & Omega, #5) by Patricia Briggs

Burn Bright (Alpha & Omega, #5; Mercy Thompson World - Complete, #15)Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: Burn Bright
Author: Patricia Briggs
Series: Alpha & Omega, #5; Mercy Thompson, #15
Pages: 384
Publisher: Ace Berkley
Date: March 6, 2018

Summary:

They are the wild and the broken. The werewolves too damaged to live safely among their own kind. For their own good, they have been exiled to the outskirts of Aspen Creek, Montana. Close enough to the Marrok’s pack to have its support; far enough away to not cause any harm.

With their Alpha out of the country, Charles and Anna are on call when an SOS comes in from the fae mate of one such wildling. Heading into the mountainous wilderness, they interrupt the abduction of the wolf–but can’t stop blood from being shed. Now Charles and Anna must use their skills–his as enforcer, hers as peacemaker–to track down the attackers, reopening a painful chapter in the past that springs from the darkest magic of the witchborn…

Review:

It’s hard for me to believe I read my first Mercy Thompson book in 2012. It seems like I have known Mercy forever and yet it also seems like they are brand new. I love Mercy’s world and by extension, Charles’ and Anna’s world. When I read my first Alpha & Omega book, it was simply because it related to Mercy. I didn’t realize how much I would come to love them in their own right.

These two series are so interwoven I can not understand how anyone could read one without the other. There are numerous references between them that are not essential to understanding the stories, but certainly add to both. Burn Bright is no exception.

This book takes place immediately after the last Mercy Thompson book, Silence Fallen, and that situation explains why Bran has left the pack in Charles’ hands. Bran, oh Bran! I love you, but sometimes I want to slap you upside the head. Of course, I am certain my hand would come back without any fingers if I tried it, but I really think you need it.

Anyway, Bran is in charge of most, if not all, of the werewolves in the United States. His immediate pack consists of wolves who are too dangerous to live outside of his immediate supervision. These can be some scary wolves. However, we find out in this book that there are even more dangerous wolves called wildings. They are so damaged that they cannot even be part of Bran’s pack.

And someone is hunting them.

It is left up to Charles and Anna and a few of the other wolves to protect the wildings and find the bad guy. And this is where it gets interesting. One of the wolves who is helping is Bran’s mate Leah. No one likes Leah and that includes Bran to a certain extent. She is disliked in both the Mercy books and the Charles and Anna books. She just has that type of personality.

In this book, however, we find out so much more about Leah . . . and I’m going to leave it at that.

I did not see the ending coming. It worked. It was perfect. But I really didn’t see it coming.

And now I want the next book! Storm Curse, a Mercy book, is due out in May of 2019 AND I CANNOT WAIT!

This book was sent to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.

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At the Highlander’s Mercy (MacLerie Clan, #6) by Terri Brisbin

At the Highlander's Mercy (The MacLerie Clan, #6)At the Highlander’s Mercy by Terri Brisbin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 

 

 

Summary:

Captive of the clan

To regain control of his fractured clan Robert Matheson must take Lilidh MacLerie hostage as a bargaining tool. But Lilidh is no ordinary captive. She’s the woman he once loved – and rejected!

Rob’s touch is etched permanently into her memory and, unaware that he was forced to repudiate their love, Lilidh has never forgotten the man who broke her heart all those years ago. Now, looking into the eyes of her captor, she no longer recognizes this fearsome leader. She should be afraid – there’s no telling what he will do. But something about him excites and unnerves her in equal measure….

Review:

I’m always thrilled to find a new Highlander book, so I had high hopes for this one. I thought the plot was an interesting one with a twist I had not seen before. Unfortunately, I was disappointed by the two main characters themselves.

My favorite couples in Highlander romances consist of a strong, alpha man and a strong, independent woman. I realize the entire Highland cannot consist of lairds, but these are romances, so I get to choose what I love.

Rob is the bastard son of the former laird and and although he has been selected as laird, he is not accepted by his entire clan. In particular, his cousin Simon challenges him because he believes he should have been chosen as laird. Rob does little to nothing to control Simon and the clan is in turmoil because of this.

The Highland lairds I love would have smacked Simon down at the very onset of his troublemaking. They certainly wouldn’t have allowed him to continue to challenge their decisions.

Lilidh (pronounced Lily – I had to look it up) has become a widow after only a few months of marriage. She is returning home to her family so that they can find her a new husband. And that’s what I didn’t like about her. She rarely seemed to stand up for herself. Where are the feisty heroines of my favorite Highlander romances? She doesn’t have any opinion regarding who she is to marry and where she is to live. She leaves all the decisions up to her father and clan.

This book is a spinoff of Brisbin’s MacLerie series. Lilidh’s parents are the couple from the first title in the series: Taming the Highlander and make regular appearances in this book. If you are a fan of The MacLerie’s, you really do need to read this book. It’s always fun to visit couples from books you love and find out how they turn out.

Maybe I would have enjoyed this one more if I had read the previous books. I did feel like I was missing the backstory on occasion. Then again, I really think Rob’s lack of backbone would have disappointed me no matter what.

Ratings:

Overall: 3
Sensuality level: 3

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Updated March 6, 2018:  I read this book five years ago, reviewed it, and never posted the review.  WTH??

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Lake Silence (The Others, #6) by Anne Bishop

Lake Silence (The Others, #6)Lake Silence by Anne Bishop
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: Lake Silence
Author: Anne Bishop
Series: The Others
Pages: 416
Publisher: Ace
Date: March 6, 2018

Summary:

Human laws do not apply in the territory controlled by the Others–vampires, shapeshifters, and paranormal beings even more deadly. And this is a fact that humans should never, ever forget . . .

After her divorce, Vicki DeVine took over a rustic resort near Lake Silence, in a human town that is not human controlled. Towns like Vicki’s have no distance from the Others, the dominant predators that rule most of the land and all of the water throughout the world. And when a place has no boundaries, you never really know what’s out there watching you.

Vicki was hoping to find a new career and a new life. But when her lodger, Aggie Crowe–one of the shapeshifting Others–discovers a dead body, Vicki finds trouble instead. The detectives want to pin the man’s death on her, despite the evidence that nothing human could have killed the victim. As Vicki and her friends search for answers, things get dangerous–and it’ll take everything they have to stay alive.

Review:

I have been waiting forever for this book. FOREVER! Okay, it’s only been a year, but I’m talking about a The Others book, so any time I have to wait is too long. Was it worth it? Oh, yeah. It’s not the book I was expecting, but it was still wonderful.

I have been a fan of this series since I found Written in Red on the “new book” shelf at my local library. I immediately bought my own copy and have it and the rest of the series in both ebook and audio format. Can you tell I love them?

Anyway, I was sad to realize last year that Etched in Bone was the final book in Meg’s and Simon’s story arc. Everything was tied up well, but I love the Lakeside Courtyard. This book, Lake Silence, goes in a different direction, but The Others I have grown to love are still represented.

The only shifters with a strong part are the Crowgard, Aggie in particular. Let me just say, I love Aggie . . . even when she is complaining about squishy eyeballs. The Crows are some of my favorite characters.

The true representatives of The Others in this book are the Sanguinati. They run the town of Sproing (and don’t you just love that name?), even though the humans don’t realize it. They think all of The Others are “out there”, not in the village itself. In this book, they certainly find out how wrong they are.

And that brings me to the major difference between this book and the previous ones. The humans have a much larger part. The main character is Vicki DeVine who runs The Jumble – a local B & B. A large part of the book is written from her point of view which really put a different feel to the story. It wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t what I expected.

And finally, this isn’t the book I was expecting. The previous book set things up to follow another village which has a Wolf sheriff and a human deputy. I really thought that was going to be the next book. This one was a surprise. I enjoyed it. It’s a really good book, but not the one I was hoping to read. Of course, that means I still have that story to look forward to. It has to be written at some point, right? Right?

As I say in all of the reviews I write which involve series, read the other books first. You will enjoy this one so much more because all of the world building has been done in previous books. Regardless, you want to read this book. I am already anxious for the next one and it’s going to be a long wait I know. -sigh-

This book was sent to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.

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The Escape Diaries (Life and Love on the Lam, #1) by Juliet Rosetti

The Escape Diaries (Life and Love on the Lam, #1)The Escape Diaries by Juliet Rosetti
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: The Escape Diaries
Author: Juliet Rosetti
Series: Life and Love on the Lam, #1
Pages: 294
Publisher: Loveswept
Date: December 10, 2012
Summary:

Wrongly convicted of killing her philandering husband, Mazie Maguire is three years into her life sentence when fate intervenes—in the form of a tornado. Just like that, she’s on the other side of the fence, running through swamps and cornfields, big box stores and suburban subdivisions. Hoping to find out who really murdered her husband, Mazie must stay a few steps ahead of both the law and her mother-in-law, who would like nothing better than to personally administer Mazie the death penalty via lethal snickerdoodle. With the Feds in hot pursuit and the national media hyping her story, Mazie stumbles upon a vast political conspiracy and a man who might just be worth a conjugal visit—if she survives.

Review:
When I first read this book, I gave it a five star rating . . . but I never actually wrote a review. Well, it is time for that review and it most definitely still earns its five stars.

Although The Escape Diaries is classified as a romance, the romance is simply a side note. This book is a straight up comedy. I decided to re-read it because I have read several dark, intense novels lately. I needed a change of pace and it really delivered.

Mazie is in prison for murdering her husband who really needed to be done away with. She’s innocent of course, but no one believes her, especially her psychotic mother-in-law. Anyway, she escapes, with the help of a tornado, which starts the spiral of one improbable event after another.

There is a love interest, but that is not the most interesting part of the plot. It is the situations Mazie gets herself into and out of that make the book so much fun.

I did not realize there were sequels and I will definitely read them. I have to find out what other crazy things happen to Mazie. And really, things seem to happen to her. It’s not really her fault.

If you are a fan of Stephanie Plum or Izzy Spellman, you will love Mazie Maguire. Give her a try.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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A Treacherous Curse (Veronica Speedwell, #3) by Deanna Rabourn

A Treacherous Curse (Veronica Speedwell, #3)A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: A Treacherous Curse
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Series: Veronica Speedwell, #3
Pages: 352
Publisher: Berkley
Date: January 16, 2018

Summary:

Members of an Egyptian expedition fall victim to an ancient mummy’s curse in a thrilling Veronica Speedwell novel from the New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey mysteries.

London, 1888. As colorful and unfettered as the butterflies she collects, Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell can’t resist the allure of an exotic mystery—particularly one involving her enigmatic colleague, Stoker. His former expedition partner has vanished from an archaeological dig with a priceless diadem unearthed from the newly discovered tomb of an Egyptian princess. This disappearance is just the latest in a string of unfortunate events that have plagued the controversial expedition, and rumors abound that the curse of the vengeful princess has been unleashed as the shadowy figure of Anubis himself stalks the streets of London.

But the perils of an ancient curse are not the only challenges Veronica must face as sordid details and malevolent enemies emerge from Stoker’s past. Caught in a tangle of conspiracies and threats—and thrust into the public eye by an enterprising new foe—Veronica must separate facts from fantasy to unravel a web of duplicity that threatens to cost Stoker everything. . . .

Review:

I have yet to read a Deanna Raybourn book that I did not like. I might not like particular plot points, but I liked, okay loved, all the books. I have to say though, the Veronica Speedwell books are my favorite.

Veronica is a woman after my own heart. I just wished I had her strength of character. She does as she believes is right, regardless of what others might think. I don’t know how realistic this is for the Regency time period or any time period, but I love her anyway.

She doesn’t have much use for most men and even Stoker is subject to her managing ways. Most of all, she is funny. A lot of the humor is found within her thoughts rather than what she actually says or does, but it is quoteworthy nonetheless.

He proceeded to lecture me for the next quarter of an hour, about what I cannot say, for I turned my attention to the contents of the packing crate. I had long since discovered upon my travels that men are largely the same no matter where one encounters them. And if one is prepared to let them discourse on their pet topics of conversation, one can generally get on with things quite handily without any interference.

As for managing Stoker, she knows him, and herself, well.

I pressed my lips together, holding back the question that rose to them. Whatever had caused him to react so strongly, he had no wish to share it and I had no wish to pry.

(I have pledged myself to honesty in these pages, gentle reader, so I will admit that in point of fact I had a rather ferocious wish to pry, but I had learnt through painful experience that Stoker responded far better to the oblique approach than to more direct methods . . .)

And just a general touch of humor:

I turned to the post, sorting the various envelopes into pigeonholes. BILLS TO PAY. BILLS TO PRETEND I HAVE NOT RECEIVED. LETTERS TO ANSWER. LETTERS TO IGNORE. LETTERS FROM TEDIOUS PEOPLE.

Been there, done that. Haven’t you?

I just realized that I haven’t said a word about the plot. The entire thing turns around a archaeological find in Egypt. There is a missing team member, a missing (or was it stolen) diadem belonging to an Egyptian princess. And to just stir things up, a woman from Stoker’s past. Just how does Stoker feel about her after all these years?

If I have any criticism of this book, it is the use of words that I have never heard before. Just as an example: eclose, froideur, exsolutus, and vulneraverunt. The silver lining is that my vocabulary is definitely increasing. Thank goodness for my Kindle. It was able to define most of these for me.

Having said all that, my initial thought when I reached the last chapter was “when is the next book coming out?” As I said earlier, I love the Veronica Speedwell books and I cannot wait to find out what happens next.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Blogger Shame

Okay, I said I was going to write twelve way past due reviews last year and I may have written two.  I promise myself that I will do better this year.  I have just posted my first one for Hot Secrets that I should have reviewed four, maybe five years ago.  I know what I have to do is create a schedule with reminders because it is way too easy to “forget” to do the things I don’t want to do in the first place.

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Hot Secrets (Tall, Dark, and Deadly, #1) by Lisa Renee Jones

Hot Secrets (Tall, Dark & Deadly #1)Hot Secrets by Lisa Renee Jones
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Title: Hot Secrets
Author: Lisa Renee Jones
Series: Tall, Dark, & Deadly; #1
Pages: 197
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Date: January 23, 2012

Summary:

The Walker Brothers…

Tall, dark, and deadly, these three brothers run Walker security. Each brother is unique in his methods and skills, but all share key similarities. They are passionate about those they love, relentless when fighting for a cause they believe in, and all believe that no case is too hard, no danger too dark. Dedication is what they deliver, results are their reward.

Book 1 HOT SECRETS:

Royce Walker, a former FBI Agent, who’s opened a private security firm with his brothers, has always had the hots for the prim, proper Assistant District Attorney, but considered her hand’s off because of a family connection. However, when danger threatens Lauren, he isn’t willing to stand by and watch her get hurt. Now the passion for survival is only rivaled by the passion burning between them. And that passion, might just be the death of them both.

Review:

I really hoped to like this book. The premise, hot, sexy bodyguard and prosecuting attorney being threatened, is a good one. And I did . . . like it. And that’s the best I can say about the book. I can’t even say what my problem was with it. The writing is decent, and as I said, the plot is interesting.

I just couldn’t make myself care about the characters. I did want to know who the bad guy was and the book kept me guessing.

I actually found myself more interested in the two brothers. I would like to know their stories, but not enough to spend any time reading the other books.

This title has 3.5 stars on Goodreads and is free on Kindle Unlimited right now. If it sounds like something you might like, give it a try. I know Lisa Renee Jones is a very popular author. It just didn’t do it for me.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Twelfth Night (Lady Julia Grey, #5.6) by Deanna Raybourn

Twelfth Night (Lady Julia Grey, #5.6)Twelfth Night by Deanna Raybourn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: Twelfth Night
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Series: Lady Julia Grey
Pages: 51
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Date: June 1, 2014

Summary:

To mark the passing of another decade, the esteemed (and eccentric) March family have assembled at Bellmont Abbey to perform the Twelfth Night Revels for their sleepy English village. But before Lady Julia and her handsome sleuthing husband, Nicolas Brisbane, can take to the stage, a ruckus in the stable yard demands their attention. An abandoned infant is found nestled in the steel helm of St. George. What’s more, their only lead is the local legend of a haunted cottage and its ghastly inhabitant—who seems to have returned.

Once again, Lady Julia and Nicholas take up the challenge to investigate, and when the source of the mystery is revealed, they’ll be faced with an impossible choice—one that will alter the course of their lives…forever.

Review:

I should have reviewed this book when it was first released. I certainly was anxious to read it at the time. Unfortunately, I procrastinated and then forgot to write the review. The silver lining to that is that it forced me to re-read the book in order to finally review it. I enjoyed it even more the second time around.

Twelfth Night is a short story, not a novella, in the Lady Julia Grey universe. If you are not familiar with these books, you have a treat in store for you. You don’t want to start with this one because it is full of spoilers from the previous novels.

I am glad I re-read it at this time because it is definitely a Christmas holiday book, although it does not take place exactly at Christmas. It is a family book as is appropriate for the holidays with family members we love and those we only tolerate, as well as one or two that we would rather avoid altogether.

The best thing about re-reading this book now is that I am once again excited about the Lady Julia Grey books. I see a re-read of the entire series in my near future. If you are new to the series, the author appears to have finished writing them, so you will be able to read them as quickly as you can without having to wait for the next book to be published. I assure you it was hard to wait. They are so good.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Death Below Stairs (Kat Holloway, #1) by Jennifer Ashley

Death Below Stairs (Kat Holloway, #1)Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: Death Below Stairs
Author: Jennifer Ashley
Series: Kat Holloway, #1 (also called A Below Stairs Mystery)
Pages: 336
Publisher: Berkley
Date: January 2, 2018

Summary:

Victorian class lines are crossed when cook Kat Holloway is drawn into a murder that reaches all the way to the throne.

Highly sought-after young cook Kat Holloway takes a position in a Mayfair mansion and soon finds herself immersed in the odd household of Lord Rankin. Kat is unbothered by the family’s eccentricities as long as they stay away from her kitchen, but trouble finds its way below stairs when her young Irish assistant is murdered.

Intent on discovering who killed the helpless kitchen maid, Kat turns to the ever-capable Daniel McAdam, who is certainly much more than the charming delivery man he pretends to be. Along with the assistance of Lord Rankin’s unconventional sister-in-law and a mathematical genius, Kat and Daniel discover that the household murder was the barest tip of a plot rife with danger and treason—one that’s a threat to Queen Victoria herself.

Review:

First, read the prequel to this book – A Soupcon of Poison. It’s less than a hundred pages, but really sets up the background for Death Below Stairs. The prequel is wonderful and I was anxious for the first actual novel in the series. What do you mean I have to wait two years before it is published?!?

Guess what? Not only did I score an early reviewer’s copy, I got it almost five months before the publication date. And this book was so worth the wait.

Jennifer Ashley is a wonderful author. Some authors write really well in one genre, but lose me when they write something different. She is definitely not one of those authors. I discovered her years ago as a science fiction/romance author writing as Allyson James. I don’t know if I found her historical or paranormal books next, but it doesn’t matter. I love them both. The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie will always be one of my favorite books in any genre.

Anyway, Death Below Stairs is set in Victorian London and focuses on a cook for the upper classes name Kat Holloway. She is an excellent cook and has little trouble obtaining a new position when it becomes necessary. She also has the unfortunate habit of finding dead bodies.

And that is the true focus of this series.

These are historical novels. Yes, there is a developing romance, but it is strictly a subplot. The heart of these books is a mystery. It’s not necessarily just one mystery either. There is a murder, of course, but the why is just as interesting as the who.

Speaking of interesting, to me, it is not the mystery or the romance that makes these books so engrossing. It is the details. Kat talks about the dishes she prepares for the family in the house as well as the servants. It’s not tedious at all. It adds flavor (and yes, that pun is intentional) to the story. And while the family is integral to the plot, it is the characters below stairs and their lives that I find fascinating.

I am not normally a fan of historicals, but the author makes the events so compelling that I am tempted to delve into a little nonfiction reading just to get more of the background. It’s not needed, but my interest has been piqued. Just who were the finnegans?

I highly recommend anything by Jennifer Ashley, but if your taste runs to historicals, you will love this book.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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