BOOK REVIEW: The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren

BOOK REVIEW: The Honey-Don’t List by Christina LaurenThe Honey-Don't List by Christina Lauren
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author behind the “joyful, warm, touching” (Jasmine Guillory, New York Times bestselling author) The Unhoneymooners comes a delightfully charming love story about what happens when two assistants tasked with keeping a rocky relationship from explosion start to feel sparks of their own.

Carey Douglas has worked for home remodeling and design gurus Melissa and Rusty Tripp for nearly a decade. A country girl at heart, Carey started in their first store at sixteen, and—more than anyone would suspect—has helped them build an empire. With a new show and a book about to launch, the Tripps are on the verge of superstardom. There’s only one problem: America’s favorite couple can’t stand each other.

James McCann, MIT graduate and engineering genius, was originally hired as a structural engineer, but the job isn’t all he thought it’d be. The last straw? Both he and Carey must go on book tour with the Tripps and keep the wheels from falling off the proverbial bus.

Unfortunately, neither of them is in any position to quit. Carey needs health insurance, and James has been promised the role of a lifetime if he can just keep the couple on track for a few more weeks. While road-tripping with the Tripps up the West Coast, Carey and James vow to work together to keep their bosses’ secrets hidden, and their own jobs secure. But if they stop playing along—and start playing for keeps—they may have the chance to build something beautiful together…

From the “hilariously zany and heartfelt” (Booklist) Christina Lauren comes a romantic comedy that proves if it’s broke, you might as well fix it.

Review

So.

This was a solid romance with a solid story line and solid characters. That being said, I didn’t LOVE it. I am SO bummed out to be saying that and it’s another reason why I wanted to put this review off until later. The last few Christina Lauren books have not left me obsessed and it breaks my heart. I feel like their actual writing is so solid and still has me laughing and shivering with all the ~feels~ so often but there’s just something missing that I can’t quite put my finger on.

This book is about Carey, who at first is seemingly just an assistant to the HGTV-esque couple, Melissa and Rusty Tripp. Think Chip and Joanna Gaines but with a super fucked up and toxic relationship that is hidden from the general public. Carey is Melissa’s go-to for everything while our main guy/ grump, James, has become the equivalent to Rusty. Carey and James haven’t interacted a whole lot before now but all of those interactions have been a bit stilted. James thinks he’s above it all because he was originally hired under the impression that he’d be in an engineering position so he’s been kind of a know-it-all to Carey.

When certain things come to light RIGHT before the couple is supposed to go on a book tour for their brand new book on their “successful marriage,” Carey and James are forced to come along. As with any group of people who is forced together under shitty situations, the two begin to get to know each other better and commiserate with one another and well….you can really guess where their relationship goes from there.

I think the something that didn’t quite appeal to me was that so much of the book was about how shitty Melissa and Rusty’s relationship was and how abusive their relationship was to Carey. I mean, on one hand, that’s a HUGE part of Carey’s life and why certain parts of her are like they are but…..I guess I would have just like more James and Carey??? I don’t know, I really don’t lol.

One thing I *did* like was seeing Carey’s life with focal dystonia. I had honestly never heard of that before and having books include characters with issues like these just really opens my eyes to how many things different people struggle with on a daily basis that you might not know anything about! With Carey, it impacted something that she loved doing, something that was part of her job. Other than a VERY mild case of anxiety SOMETIMES, I really have no problems to worry about on a daily basis. I definitely take that for granted (as I’m sure a lot of other people do too) so seeing these characters is really important for everyone.

Overall I DID enjoy this and I will always and forever read anything these ladies put out. I know there will be plenty of people that fall madly in love with this book and these characters—especially James’s grumpy ass, lol.


Huge thanks to NetGalley and Gallery Books for allowing me to read an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Monthly Wrap-Up: November

During our Monthly Wrap-Up, we’ll take a look at what has happened around here in the last month. That’ll include what’s happened in my life, what the four of us have read, any other posts we may have had, giveaways still going on, our most popular Instagram posts, and books that I’ve added to my ever-growing TBR.

*We linked this post to the November Monthly Wrap-Up Round-Up Link-Up at Feed Your Fiction Addiction*

♥ Enjoy!

Jen’s Life:

Some of my highlights from this month were:

We celebrated Thanksgiving with my parents, my brother, grandma, aunt and uncle.  It was such a wonderful time!  And of course we ate WAY too much food.  For dessert we had pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, peppermint loaf cake, chocolate peanut butter bars, and cookies.  Of course I had to have one of each.  Thank goodness for jeggings since they stretch when you eat ha!
✮ Doggy wise, it’s been rough.  Bentley had surgery the week before Thanksgiving to remove a possible cancerous growth.  The tests came back a mix between pre-cancerous and other parts benign.  So we just need to keep an eye on him and make sure it doesn’t come back.  Here’s a picture of my little boy here.
And Callie, my other dog, has had a gastrointestinal bug.  She’s on her third kind of antibiotics and it looks like we’re finally making head way!  But then she tore her ACL ugh.  They’re hoping she’ll go in for surgery the day after Christmas, since she has to be completely healthy before she can go under.  Here’s a picture of her here.

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What Arielle, Cassie, Chelsea & Jen Read:

5 Stars:
Dirty Letters by Vi Keeland, Penelope Ward
Taming Demons for Beginners (The Guild Codex: Demonized #1) by Annette Marie

 

4.5 Stars:
The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Wish Upon a Cowboy (Cowboys of Creedence #4) by Jennie Marts

4 Stars:
The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah
Stealing Her (Covet #1) by Rachel Van Dyken
Find Me Their Bones (Bring Me Their Hearts #2) by Sara Wolf
Twist of Fate (Heartbreaker Bay #8.5) by Jill Shalvis
The Upside of Falling by Alex Light
Resurrection Girls by Ava Morgyn

 

 

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Our Favorite Books of the Month:

 Taming Demons for Beginners (The Guild Codex: Demonized #1) by Annette Marie  (Jen’s Choice)
A ton of fun, action packed and impossible to put down.  Just from that first chapter I was hooked and I screamed out loud best chapter ever!  Oh my gosh you guys, Annette Marie knows how to pull you in and continually have you begging for more.  

 

 

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Dirty Letters by Vi Keeland, Penelope Ward  (Arielle’s Choice)
What the BLEEP this is so cute *goes and cries and blames it on pregnancy hormones*. I had been in SUCH a reading rut, you guys. I seriously have like five books on my currently reading list on GR right now and I finished this gem IN A DAY.

 
 
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 The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware (Cassie’s Choice)
It was well-paced, the characters were incredibly engaging and the atmosphere was perfectly creepy.

 

 

Instagram:

We thought it would be fun to share our most popular posts for November. And they were….

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Star-Crossed Book Blog (@starcrossedbookblog) on

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Star-Crossed Book Blog (@starcrossedbookblog) on

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Star-Crossed Book Blog (@starcrossedbookblog) on

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Star-Crossed Book Blog (@starcrossedbookblog) on

 

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Books Added To Jen’s TBR This Month:

I just keep adding books to my tbr lol…..

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So that was our November! Did you read any of the same books that we did? Or share the same favorite book as us? If not, then what was your favorite book? Or have you read any of the books I just added to my TBR?

Here’s hoping you all had a wonderful November too. And cheers to December being fabulous for all of us!

 

BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Adorkable by Cookie O’Gorman

BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Adorkable by Cookie O'Gorman

I’m so excited to be on the Adorkable blog tour because I absolutely loved this book! So check out my 5 Star Review below and enter a fabulous giveaway where you can win a copy of this book. Enjoy!

BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Adorkable by Cookie O’GormanAdorkable by Cookie O'Gorman
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Adorkable (ah-dor-kuh-bul): Descriptive term meaning to be equal parts dorky and adorable. For reference, see Sally Spitz.

Seventeen-year-old Sally Spitz is done with dating. Or at least, she's done with the horrible blind dates/hookups/sneak attacks her matchmaking bestie, Hooker, sets her up on. There's only so much one geek girl and Gryffindor supporter can take.

Her solution: She needs a fake boyfriend. And fast.

Enter Becks, soccer phenom, all-around hottie, and Sally's best friend practically since birth. When Sally asks Becks to be her F.B.F. (fake boyfriend), Becks is only too happy to be used. He'd do anything for Sal―even if that means giving her PDA lessons in his bedroom, saying she's "more than pretty," and expertly kissing her at parties.

The problem: Sally's been in love with Becks all her life―and he's completely clueless.

This book features two best friends, one special-edition Yoda Snuggie, countless beneath-the-ear kisses, and begs the question:

Who wants a real boyfriend when faking it is so much more fun?

Review:

Adorkable was filled with laughter, butterfly and smile inducing moments, and I couldn’t get enough of it!  The characters quickly found a place in my heart, and the story-line was so cute!  It involved the fake boyfriend trope, and it was done in a way that felt fresh and fun.  So this addicting book easily made its way onto my favorites shelf!

I was so tired of surprises. If I had to meet one more blind date, I would literally go insane.

The nicknames in this book were hilarious!  Our heroine is Sally Sue Spitz and her classmates call her Spitz.  And her best friend is Lillian Hooker, who Sally calls Hooker.  Loved it!  So Sally was forever single and Hooker, trying to be the best friend ever, always set Sally up on blind dates.  But these weren’t regular blind dates.  Or even regular guys it would seem.  Each and every interaction Sally had with them had me laughing, groaning or doing both out loud.  After a horrible double-double date (you’ll see what I mean lol) gone terribly wrong and a misunderstanding, Sally comes up with the idea that she needs a fake boyfriend.  It was the only way to stop Hooker’s attempts.  So she begged Becks, her best friend forever who’s been in her life since grade school, to be her fake boyfriend.

Ducking, he placed a lingering kiss on the spot right below my ear. The move made my hand shoot out to grip his jersey. Becks laughed silently, little puffs of air hitting my neck, as I shivered.

Becks.  Oh Becks.  He was one of my many favorite things about this book. The way Becks looked at Sally, the way he claimed her as his, the way he protected her, his jealousy, oh my gosh even the way he touched her, it all made my heart beat so fast.  But here’s the confusing part, I had NO clue what he thought at times.  You see, he would say and do these things that would imply that he liked Sally more than just friends, but then again he was just playing a part.  And his words would reinforce that idea. So I desperately wanted to get in that sexy head of his and know all of his thoughts.  Especially when he suggested that they should start practicing….hello butterflies!

“But Becks,” she whined, “I don’t understand. Why her?”
“Nothing to understand really,” he said, smiling down at me. “Sal’s my girl. Always has been.”
As he squeezed my hip, I swear I stopped breathing.

So not only did I adore Becks, but Sally too.  I loved how Sally easily sprinkled Harry Potter, Star Wars, Star Trek etc into her daily life.  She embraced her geekiness, and I loved how she didn’t second guess herself in that regards.  But at the same point, she could be self-conscious.  Especially when it came to her feelings towards Becks.  You see, while Becks was  her BFF, he was also beautiful, smart, a player, a jock and everyone easily loved him.  Including Sally.  Knowing that Sally wanted to be more than friends with Becks put my heart on the line right with her.  I flipped through the pages as fast as possible for both of our stakes!  

“Spitz, the guy’s wearing Chinos, and he tried to shake my hand.” She tugged at one end of her bob. “I found him bent over a book bigger than my head in the sci-fi/fantasy section at Barnes and Noble.”
That sounded suspicious. “And what were you doing in Barnes and Noble?” I asked.
“Isn’t it obvious?” she laughed. “I was looking for the male version of you.”
I laughed despite myself. – Spitz (Sally) and Hooker

The side characters not only helped round out this book, but they felt so real to me.  Hooker, oh my gosh, I wanted her to listen to Sally at times.  But we all have our flaws, and what Hooker thought was best for Sally wasn’t always what was truly the best for her and it led to hilarious moments.  My favorites were Ash, Becks’ fellow soccer teammate and Sally’s fellow classmate, and also Clayton, Becks’ oldest brother.  I could easily and happily read a book about each of them!

This one could only end badly, and when it did, it was going to hurt.
A lot.

So if you’re a fan of cute books that leave you with the hugest smile ever, or if you adore the fake boyfriend trope, then I highly recommend you pick up Adorkable!  This is the second time I’ve picked up this book and I loved it even more the second time.  I even cried at the end this second time around, it was just so perfect.  So yes, I loved this book with my whole heart!  Cookie O’Gorman always creates characters that are so easy to connect with and love, and of course.  I can’t wait for you to meet them too!


Amazon | Barnes and Noble

     

About Cookie O’Gorman:

Cookie O’Gorman writes YA romance to give readers a taste of happily-ever-after. Small towns, quirky characters, and the awkward yet beautiful moments in life make up her books. Cookie also has a soft spot for nerds and ninjas.

Connect with Cookie:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

 

Giveaway:

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BOOK REVIEW: Watch Over Me by Mila Gray

BOOK REVIEW: Watch Over Me by Mila GrayWatch Over Me by Mila Gray
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

From the author of Come Back to Me comes a striking new novel about a young woman— desperately trying to protect her family from their violent father—who finds safety, and a passionate romance, with an ex-Marine.

Ever since Zoey was a kid she’s been caring for her mom and her little sister, defending them from her violent father. She’s been the strong one, the responsible one as she sacrificed her wants and dreams to keep her family together.

Now the life they’ve built for themselves in California is about to be upended. Her father, just released from prison, has discovered where they’re hiding and has come looking for them.

Enter Tristan. A former Marine and now member of the Coast Guard, Tristian promises his best friend, and Zoey’s Marine brother, that he will take care of Zoey and her family. Protect them, watch over them, and be the rock they need in their lives.

And as Tristan starts to help Zoey deal with the emotional fall out of her childhood, their relationship turns from protector to something more. The two grow closer as a romance blooms into a heart-pounding and powerful relationship that Zoey hopes will be strong enough to fight off the damage her father has done to her and her family.

But not everyone can be kept safe forever, and when Zoey’s father does show up, a confrontation ensues that will change Zoey’s world forever.

Review:

Watch Over Me was beautifully emotional and gripped me from that first page.  There was a thriller element to this story that kept me terrified with what was to come next.  And even though I’m not a thriller girl, it fit perfectly into this story and I loved every minute of it.  Especially since the characters leaped off of the pages, the relationships burrowed deep into my heart and the story made me turn the pages faster.  I absolutely loved Watch Over Me and I can’t recommend this book enough!

I grab the phone.
“Yes?” I say.
Silence greets me.
“Who is this?” I whisper, heart hammering furiously.
There’s another second’s silence, and then I hear the click as whoever is on the other end hangs up.  As I stare at the phone, there’s an enormous BOOM.  The window shatters, and glass flies across the room.  A wall of heat rushes toward me as a crackle and a deafening roar fill my ears.

One of the many things I love about a Mila Gray book is that the prologue gives us a brief glimpse of the future.  I’m riveted every single time.  But once the story starts, I get so caught up in what is happening that I forget we’re going to run into that moment.  And the moment in this prologue?  It was horrific.

He’s so different now, so grown-up in a way that makes me feel weirdly uncomfortable and also makes me want to keep staring.

Zoey was almost 19 years old and had the weight of the world on her shoulders.  She always sacrificed what she wanted so she could take care of her mom, eight year old brother and younger teenage sister.  They were trying to make a life on their own, since Zoey put her father in jail for almost killing her mother.  But her father got out of jail early.  And it looked like he was terrorizing them again.  The tension ran so thick at times that I had chills racing down my spine.

“I’m sorry,” Tristan says, and it riles me because the last thing I want or need is his pity. “You shouldn’t have had to deal with that all by yourself. It must have been hard.”
That’s an understatement.  But something catches in my chest.  I think he might be the first person who’s ever recognized how hard it was.

Tristan promised to watch over them.  He was Zoey’s older brother’s best friend.  And her brother was being deployed overseas.  Tristan knew them from when they were kids and was someone the family could trust.  I loved Tristan.  He was an Officer in the Coast Guard and was such a good man.  Tristan had a kind heart, was protective and tried his best to do good by others.  He was also open, honest and had the worst jokes ever.  Tristan always made Zoey and I smile and laugh.

I know I should probably pull away because I’m no longer crying, but I don’t want to. I feel safe in his arms.

I loved Zoey.  She worked so hard to take care of those she loved.  But she could be bitter and cynical, because of her past.  Zoey also had problems accepting help from others.  So I loved watching her and Tristan butt heads.  Because every single time they did, it seemed to intensify whatever was between them.  And since we got to hear both of their thoughts, I just wanted to push them together.  For them both to find their happiness with one another.  But darkness was looming, and you could feel the unsaid threats from her father lingering in the air.

I stare into her eyes . She looks at me , her face so open , like she’s standing, holding her heart in her hands and offering it to me. The vulnerability gives me pause. But then she does something unexpected: she pushes up on tiptoe and presses her lips to mine.

This is easily one of my favorite brother’s best friends romance story!  And while it was amazing seeing all of the characters we loved from Come Back to Me and Stay With Me, you don’t have to read those books to follow along with this story.  But I highly recommend you do because you’ll feel so many more emotions.  And those characters played pivotal moments throughout this story.

Tristan wraps his arms around my waist from behind.
“I won’t ever let him hurt you,” he tells me, whispering the words into my ear before kissing me on the jaw.
I
shiver against his body and lean into him, closing my eyes, wishing I could believe him.

Mila Gray’s books always make me cry more than any other book does.  I looked back and realized I cried six different times while reading this story.  From heart to hearts, to being terrified, to happy tears, she made me feel it all.  So if you love romance stories about family, friendships, finding your way in life and true love, then you’ll want to pickup Watch Over Me.  I’ve fallen for another Mila Gray book.  Watch Over Me is definitely going on my favorites list!

PS The emotional development between Zoey and her mom and sister was absolutely beautiful.

PPS The table crush scene had me laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe, best thing ever. Kit, Walker, Didi, Jessa oh my gosh it was perfection! I love those characters and have missed them so much!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the publisher.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: Slippers And Thieves Special Edition (Fairy Tales of the Magicorum #4) by Christina Bauer

I adore this series and I’m currently reading this book right now.  So for now, enjoy reading the excerpt below and enter in a fabulous giveaway.  Enjoy ♥!

Slippers And Thieves
Christina Bauer
(Fairy Tales of the Magicorum #4)
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: November 26th 2019
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

Years ago, Elle—never call her Cinderella—escaped her evil step family in order to build a new life for herself in Manhattan. Today, Elle’s awful past is a distant memory. In fact, Elle even attends West Lake Prep, an exclusive high school where regular humans mix with members of the Magicorum, such as fairies, shifters and witches. Although she still must live in hiding from her evil stepfamily, Elle has always found ways to get whatever her heart desires.

That is, until Alec Le Charme.

Alec is the heir to the Le Charme dynasty of high-end jewelers. He’s also kind, charismatic, has a knee-melting smile. Elle has fallen for him, hard. Unfortunately, thanks to Elle’s evil step family, Alec is absolutely off limits. In fact, if Elle and Alec so much as kiss, it will start a magical chain reaction that would end in powerful factions of witches and wizards going to war. As a result, Elle and Alec vow to stay friends, no matter what. Then West Lake Prep holds a masquerade ball. Identities get mixed up and forbidden kisses are finally shared.

Time for the Magicorum to go to war, and for Elle to confront her hidden past in ways she never thought possible.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Google Play

 

Excerpt:

Alec – Age Fifteen

Clarissa leads me to the L’s loading dock. She asks me to wait (again) while she tries to find someone to answer a few questions (again.) So I hang by the back wall and stare out across a small and empty lot. In New York, this counts as a Zen moment. 

A girl steps onto the concrete. She’s about my age and clearly a Cinderella template. Now I’ve met my share of possible Cinderellas. This girl is singular in how she combines so much in a single glance. She’s both fierce and sweet, gentle and rough, lovely and simple. In fact, a bubble of life and light seems to surround her. Beside her, a few boxes sit on a broken wagon. A bunch of human girls stand close by, along with an elf. The girls all wear passes for tonight’s Le Charme Extravaganza. 

My pulse speeds. Every corner of my soul becomes awash with one thought. How can I approach this girl? With extravaganza fans around, I can’t step out as Alec Le Charme. 

A plan forms.

I scan the dock. Excitement zings through my limbs. Sure enough, a worker’s jacket hangs on a nearby wall hook. True fact: it’s amazing what you can get away with when you wear a uniform. I slip on the jacket and march out to meet the girl. 

“Hello.” I wave in her direction.

“Hey, I need to drop these off and…” My perfect girl looks around. “Everyone’s gone.”

That’s right. There was an elf and some humans here before. Lucky for me, they’ve all taken off.

I gesture toward the boxes. “Can I help you?”

“That would be great.” Her face brightens with a dazzling smile. Inside my soul, emotions shift. Desires align.

This girl.

Returning the grin, I hoist up one box on my shoulder. The other goes under my arm. I could use magic, but these aren’t too heavy. Soon I’m setting them both onto the edge of the loading dock.

The girl takes out a little scrap of paper. “Um, can you…”

“Sure, I’ll sign for them.” I scratch out my signature. For once, I’m glad my writing is an unreadable mess. I’m not ready to reveal who I really am. Yet.

“Thanks.” She takes in a shaky breath. “I’m Elle.”

I grin. “Elle.” 

She gestures to my jacket. “And you’re Fred.”

“I am?” I look down at the jacket. Sure enough, the name Fred is written on my chest. “I mean, I am.”

Elle blushes. “Thanks for helping me with the boxes.”

“Any time.”

“I should probably get going.” Elle takes a step backward, but the pavement here is really uneven. She missteps and starts to topple. On reflex, I move forward and catch her. 

A second later, I’ve got Elle in my arms. 

An electric charge pulses through me. Threads of connection wind between us. Is this magic? Do I really care?

The moment stretches on. I should really let Elle go. yet I don’t. It’s not like I want to kiss her. I mean, I do want a kiss, but it’s more than that. Together—it’s like we’re meant to fit this way. I shake my head. I’m only fifteen and Elle looks about the same age. That’s early too get feelings for someone, isn’t it?

It’s an effort, but I release her. “You almost took a tumble there.”

“Yes, thanks for your help. Again.”

Think, think, think. There must be some way to keep her here. 

 

About Christina Bauer:

Christina Bauer thinks that fantasy books are like bacon: they just make life better. All of which is why she writes romance novels that feature demons, dragons, wizards, witches, elves, elementals, and a bunch of random stuff that she brainstorms while riding the Boston T. Oh, and she includes lots of humor and kick-ass chicks, too.

Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.

Be the first to know about new releases from Christina by signing up for her newsletter: http://tinyurl.com/CBupdates

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Blog / LinkedIn

 

 

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