Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Daughter of the Forest  (Sevenwaters, #1)Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tale
Content: A rather intense rape scene



Lord Colum of Sevenwaters is blessed with six sons: Liam, a natural leader; Diarmid, with his passion for adventure; twins Cormack and Conor, each with a different calling; rebellious Finbar, grown old before his time by his gift of the Sight; and the young, compassionate Padriac.

But it is Sorcha, the seventh child and only daughter, who alone is destined to defend her family and protect her land from the Britons and the clan known as Northwoods. For her father has been bewitched, and her brothers bound by a spell that only Sorcha can lift.


Daughter of the Forest has been on my to-read list for ages. I kept putting off reading it for one reason or another, so when the Fantasy Buddy Reads group on Goodreads decided to buddy read it, I joined in on the read. I love Juliet Marillier's writing so much. I know probably I say that every time I read a book written by her, but she is truly one of my favorite fantasy authors. That being said, this book was not an easy read. It's heartbreakingly grim at times and at one point I put it down for something lighter. I honestly considered not continuing on for a minute there, but knew I would regret that. There is always a huge pay-off in the end for readers of Marillier's books. Ultimately this is a beautiful story about love and sacrifice. One of the most beautiful I've read.

“For indeed you have a choice. You can flee and hide, and wait to be found. You can live out your days in terror, without meaning. Or you can take the harder choice, and you can save them.”


I fell in love with the characters in this book, in particular Sorcha, who had to be so strong for the ones she loved, and Red, who treated her with such love and care, even when he didn't understand the reasons behind the things she was doing. And then when he did come to understand a bit of why she was doing what she was doing when no one else could see it, I loved him even more.

"Each of you was put through many trials; each of you proved strong, strong enough for their purpose. So strong, indeed, that you came close to thwarting them, for each of you chose to give up what was loved best, in the hope that the other would find happiness."


Then there were Sorcha's brothers. Finbar holds a special place in my heart above the others with Conor a close second. There were times when her brothers were very inconsiderate of what Sorcha might want, and there was a point when I thought they did not deserve the sacrifices that she had made for them, but most of them redeemed themselves in my eyes by the end of the story.

“The end of the story is of your making, nobody else's. You can do with it as you choose. There are as many paths open to your hero as branches on a great tree. They are wonderful and terrible, and plain and twisted. They touch and part and intermingle, and you can follow them whatever way you will.”


I recommend this book if you like fairy tale retellings, historical fantasy, or enjoy Marillier's other books. This one is based on The Swan Princes (princes not princess). There are companion books that span more than one generation, and I'm looking forward to eventually reading them.



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Thursday, November 9, 2017

The View from Rainshadow Bay (Lavender Tides #1)The View from Rainshadow Bay by Colleen Coble

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Category: Adult, Christian
Genre: Mystery, Romance
Content: Clean


The View From Rainshadow Bay is a mystery with some romance thrown in. There are Christian undertones to it as well. I had some issues with the consistency of the characters, the story, and some things that seemed pretty far-fetched.

As for the characters, I felt like the killer was not consistent. The killer goes from gleefully killing certain people to not wanting to kill others, and uses a different method for every single killing. Also one of the staged accidents would have been near impossible to stage. How would the killer have known exactly where they would be or exactly when to lie in wait?

There are other things like one person tying three men up while holding them at gunpoint with a rifle. There is no way one person could do that and still keep the rifle on the men. The three men could have overpowered that person and gotten away pretty easily.

As for the inconsistencies in the story, one example would be this: there is a package that has something in it that the killer wants, but the killer did not know the sheriff had the items that were in the package, so the killer goes after two different people in the book believed to have those items. But later on suddenly the killer knows the sheriff has these items, but gave one of them back to the main character? That doesn't make sense. Things like this just really annoyed me about this book. And don't get me started on guns being able to shoot off locks and silencers making guns completely noiseless, which is also included in the book. There were just too many inconsistencies and implausibilities in this book for me to completely enjoy it.

This is the second Colleen Coble book I've read. The other was Haven of Swans. I liked it better than this one, and I did not catch the same types of inconsistencies and implausibilities in that one. Other than those issues, so far I feel like her books are a little slow and just not compelling enough for me, especially for a series. Plus this one was very predictable and it was very easy to figure out who the killer was. This is the first book in a series, but I don't see a need for this to be a series, since everything is wrapped up in the end, and it works fine as a stand-alone, so I'm going to leave it at that.

I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher Thomas Nelson for giving me a copy of this book for review.


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Friday, November 3, 2017

Renegades (Renegades, #1)Renegades by Marissa Meyer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Young Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Content: Clean

 
Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

I was delighted to be gifted an advance copy of Renegades by the publisher through Netgalley. I'm a huge fan of Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles series, so I had been looking forward to reading this book since I first heard about it, and Renegades was not a disappointment. I loved this book! I especially liked the themes of self-reliance and personal liberty that are sprinkled throughout the book from the point of view of Nova. Sure she is one if the villains, but it isn't exactly that simple. There's good and bad on both sides. I also really liked the discussions of what makes a hero, and how anyone can be one, because super powers do not make a person a hero, what's in one's heart and what one decides to do makes a person a hero.

This was similar to Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson, so if you liked that series you will probably like this one. I personally liked this book more. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series.



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Monday, October 30, 2017

Ice Kissed (Kanin Chronicles #2)Ice Kissed by Amanda Hocking

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Category: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Content: A sex scene


In the majestic halls of a crystal palace lies a secret that could destroy an entire kingdom…

Bryn Aven refuses to give up on her dream of serving the kingdom she loves. It's a dream that brings her to a whole new realm…the glittering palace of the Skojare.


Ice Kissed starts off pretty much where Frostfire ended. Brynn and Ridley are reporting to the King and later Brynn has a vision sent to her from Queen Linnea telling her to find her. So off they go to find Queen Linnea, and that eventually leads Brynn right back to the Skojare palace. A huge complaint I have here is that it doesn't make any sense that they would bring her back to the place where she felt her life was threatened. It seemed like her disappearance happened for no good reason, even after we get the explanation as to why it still didn't make much sense. It just felt like a wild goose chase, and I mainly found the whole part of the novel spent in Storvatten pretty dull. Plus Queen Linnea is incredibly immature and kind of annoying.

Honestly nothing really happened in this book to advance the overall plot of the series. We get answers as to where Linnea is and why she disappeared and who was behind it, although as I said already it doesn't make much sense; the romantic aspect of the plot advances somewhat, however the love scene was something close to what you would find in a NA book and didn't belong in a YA book; Brynn grows a bit as a person and isn't a selfish jerk, but everything pertaining to the main plot line was pretty much already told to us in book one. It was obvious by things Konstantin Black had said to Brynn in book one, how things would end up in this book. And there were some pretty obvious clues as to who is behind everything, at least some of the who. And speaking of Konstantin Black, he was the most interesting character in book one and I was hoping to get more about him in this book. Unfortunately we get even less of him here. Mostly we just follow Brynn from place to place as she tries to get answers and she never really does until the end and it's nothing I didn't see coming, so it just felt like a waste of time.

I do find it impressive that the author was so successful as a self-published author which is what I guess led to a publisher picking up this series and another one that she wrote. I've never read any of her other works but I will say, compared to most YA fantasy I've read, this series is kind of shallow. I probably will not read the rest of the books in this series, because I think there is much better out there and I would rather spend my time on those.

I received I free copy of this from the publisher through a Goodreads giveaway.



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Frostfire (The Kanin Chronicles, #1)Frostfire by Amanda Hocking

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Category: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Content: Clean


Bryn Aven is an outcast among the Kanin, the most powerful of the troll tribes. Set apart by her heritage and her past, Bryn is a tracker who's determined to become a respected part of her world. She has just one goal: become a member of the elite King’s Guard to protect the royalty.

Frostfire starts out with Bryn, the main character in a modern day city tracking a changeling. Once Bryn returns to the city where the "trolls" live it feels like we are in a old world fantasy type setting. This is mainly due to the fact that they care little about technology there and still run around using swords instead of guns. In my opinion an old world time period would have suited the book better.

At times I didn't find Bryn all that likeable. She seemed a bit selfish and couldn't seem to look at things from any perspective but her own. There were a couple of times that she was so rude to her friends that I wondered why they were friends with her. One of those times was when her friend Ember gets a mission and all Bryn can think about is herself and why she wasn't sent on it. The second time was even worse when Bryn finds out a secret (which to avoid spoilers I will not mention here) her friend Tilda has been keeping about herself. To Tilda it was something good, but Bryn was so horrible to her about it. The things she said to Tilda made me angry with her.

The villain of the book, Konstantin Black was the most interesting character because the reader is kept wondering what his motivation is. He definitely is more than he seems to be. But he is hardly in the book at all. One issue I did have with his character was that if he is supposed to be good enough to have been on the King's guard then why is he beaten so easily by a teenage girl who has no special Fae...I mean troll powers, more than once?

All of that said I think the biggest problem I had with the book was the whole changeling thing and the "Troll" society in general. I'm not sure how I'm supposed to root for a whole race of people who steal human babies and then dump them in orphanages so they can replace them with their own, only to steal that child too once it's a teen. And it's all done in the name of money. For me this was not a real plausible explanation. Money isn't good enough. That just made them seem greedy and too lazy to work for what they get. Am I supposed to believe that the "trolls" can't come up with a way to earn money in the world? They can blend in well enough with humans that they aren't noticed when they go out on missions so there is no excuse for stealing babies. And how do these humans not notice what is going on? Nothing is mentioned about that at all. And doesn't it ever bother the changelings that they have left the parents who raised them and their lives behind?

I'm not sure why the characters in this book are called trolls when there is nothing troll-like about them. Do they live underground? No. Are any of them ugly? No. They most definitely seem a lot more like the Fae. Overall Frostfire was a lackluster read. Not a lot really happens in the book and I found myself bored with it on more than one occasion. It also didn't feel like there was enough thought or planning put into the whys and hows of the "troll" society. Even though I wasn't crazy about this book I read the next book in the series too, because I won a free copy of it.



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Thursday, October 26, 2017

YesternightYesternight by Cat Winters

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Paranormal, Mystery
Content: Language, sex and talk of sex


In 1925, Alice Lind steps off a train in the rain-soaked coastal hamlet of Gordon Bay, Oregon. There, she expects to do nothing more difficult than administer IQ tests to a group of rural schoolchildren. A trained psychologist, Alice believes mysteries of the mind can be unlocked scientifically, but now her views are about to be challenged by one curious child.

Yesternight starts off when Alice Lind arrives at a small coastal town in Oregon to administer IQ tests to the students at the local school, but she is soon swept up in the mystery surrounding one of the students, Janie O'Daire. Janie's father is convinced she lived a past life as someone else. There is all kinds of evidence to support it, but Alice, a trained psychologist believes there must be some other explanation. As she delves into the mystery surrounding Janie, Alice begins to believe that her past may be similar and maybe even related to Janie's. Meanwhile there is a growing attraction between Alice and Janie's father, Michael. That's all I'm going to say about the plot so that I don't spoil anything.

I thought this book started off really good, but the more I read the less I liked it. I ended up not liking any of the characters. Alice never learned from her past mistakes. She just kept making unwise choices and lamenting that certain things were unfair for women. Well that may be, but don't be an idiot about it. As for Michael, on one hand I felt like he was a nice guy who really cared about her, then on the other hand he seemed manipulative. I was never really sure which he was, maybe a little of both. He was certainly selfish, and in the end he ended up being not likable.

The thing that ruined this book for me the most was the ending. I couldn't stop thinking about how horribly this book ended, and how terrible the characters ended up being in the end. In all honesty, the last quarter of the book had a completely different feel than the rest of the book and it just didn't fit well with the rest of the story. The thing that bothered me the most I'm going to put under a spoiler here so skip the next paragraph if you don't want to read the spoiler.

***Spoiler*** In the end when Alice hears her son John say "remember when you hit me in the head with your shoe, Alice?" and it becomes obvious that John is Michael reincarnated - yes, that's right, he is his dad reincarnated - all I could think of was that if her son remembers that, then surely he must also remember them having sex right before that too. And that just got way too weird for me, not to mention gross! I really wonder if the author even thought of that when she made things end up that way. ***End of spoiler***

Yesternight is the first book I've read by Cat Winters. I have two other books by this author on my to-read list, but after reading this, I'm wondering if I really want to read them. I'll probably give the YA book a try, but I'm not sure about the other one.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Rolling StonesThe Rolling Stones by Robert A. Heinlein

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Category: Young Adult
Genre: Sci-fi, Space opera
Content: Clean
 
It doesn’t seem likely for twins to have the same middle name. Even so, it’s clear that Castor and Pollux Stone both have “Trouble” written in that spot on their birth certificates. Of course, anyone who’s met their grandmother Hazel would know they came by it honestly.

Join the Stone twins as they connive, cajole, and bamboozle their way across the solar system in the company of the most high-spirited and hilarious family in all of science fiction.


The Rolling Stones was our fantasy book club pick for October and I thought it was a fun, light sci-fi read. The twins Castor and Pollux reminded me a little bit of Fred and George Weasley from Harry Potter. They, and their grandma Hazel were the best things about this book.

One thing I was slightly disappointed in was that the daughter kind of faded into the background, and her father didn't seem to have enough faith in her abilities. But then there is the very positive portrayal of the mother, who is a doctor and the grandmother, who is an engineer and very independent and I liked that.

A couple of things to note are that the "Trouble with Tribbles" episode of the original Star Trek series was a complete rip-off of the flat cats in this book, and there are numerous ideas from this book that seem to have influenced other sci-fi stories and books over the years. The Expanse series came to mind with its Belters and Martian colonies.

While there were some enjoyably funny moments, I did feel like the book was a bit dull at times. I did like that it was short and easy to get through even through the parts that dragged. This was written way back in the 50s so some of it feels a bit dated. Clearly Heinlein did not predict digital technology, but I'm not sure anyone would have at that point. If you want to try some classic sci-fi, then I say give this a try.



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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Banishing the Dark (Arcadia Bell, #4)Banishing the Dark by Jenn Bennett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Content: Strong Language and more than one sex scene. 


Complicated does not begin to describe Arcadia Bell's life right now: unnatural magical power, another brush with death, and a murderous mother who's not only overbearing but determined to take permanent possession of Cady's body.

3.5 stars. This was the last book in the Arcadia Bell series. I didn't enjoy reading it as much as I did the other books in the series. There were some big coincidences that I thought were really convenient for the story telling, like characters showing up somewhere and discovering an event happens only once a month but they luckily got there at the right time. This happened twice in the book. Also, there were too many people coincidentally living in the same area.

This book also ventured way too close to romance novel territory for me. Too many sex scenes and too much talk of sex for me. Plus Cady constantly thinking about how hot Lon is and lusting after him got old fast. I'm just glad we weren't in Lon's mind too.

Also with the abilities Cady gained I felt like it made things all too easy for her to get out of every situation she was in. There were also certain characters I missed in this book that were not really present, and we are introduced to a new one and I didn't see the need to do that so late in the series.

Mostly I enjoyed this series, especially when it forgot about the hotness of its characters and focused on the family dynamic and what they really meant to each other.



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Monday, October 16, 2017

Binding the Shadows (Arcadia Bell, #3)Binding the Shadows by Jenn Bennett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Content: Strong language and a cheesy bedroom scene.


Renegade mage and bartender Cady Bell has had a rough year, but now the door to her already unstable world is coming completely unhinged.

This is the third book in the Arcadia Bell series and I liked it just as much as the two previous books. The bar is robbed while Cady and Kar-Yee are there by earth bounds who are wielding some extra suped-up powers, so there is the whole mystery to solve there. Then if that wasn't enough, Cady meets Lon's ex-in-laws who are still a big part of Jupe's life, Of course Yvonne (Lon's ex-wife) ends up showing up, and Cady gets asked by Yvonne's mother, Rose to do something unexpected.

The relationships between Cady, Lon, and Jupe continued to grow in this book and I still love the family interactions between them. The biggest negative is that there is a fair amount of swearing in this series. Unless it's constant, I can skim over and ignore most of it, but certain types of swearing I have a harder time ignoring. Swearing with God's name bothers me and this series has a lot of that.

This book ends in a huge cliffhanger and it's after something horrible happens and we find out something important, but - at least for me - not surprising. Needless to say I started the next book immediately.



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Saturday, October 7, 2017

The Ace of Skulls (Tales of the Ketty Jay, #4)The Ace of Skulls by Chris Wooding

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Content: Some strong language.


They've been shot down, set up, double-crossed and ripped off. They've stolen priceless treasures, destroyed a ten-thousand-year-old Azryx city and sort-of-accidentally blew up the son of the Archduke. Now they've gone and started a civil war. This time, they're really in trouble.

This is the last book in the Tales of the Ketty Jay series. Overall this book pretty much lived up to my expectations, although I do feel like some characters didn't live up to their potential. Jez in particular became less likable to me and I can't say that I really liked the way her story ended, although I was not surprised. I just feel like there was wasted potential there. Frey annoyed me a bit with his obsession over Trinica, although I understood the root of it and what it meant to him personally to win her back. I did like his story arch overall (the man who sets out to redeem himself after being a huge jerk and a womanizer). He learned some things and that was good, but I don't feel like he learned enough. Did he ever feel badly about the way he treated anyone else? I'm not sure, but he ended up better than he was before and that was good.

Mostly I enjoyed reading about these characters and their adventures. They were all flawed, but for the most part they were engaging. There was some humor that I appreciated as well, especially in book three. I recommend this series if you are looking for some light fantasy adventure with a steampunk flare to it.



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Friday, September 29, 2017

Long Lost (Kate Burkholder, #4.5)Long Lost by Linda Castillo

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Mystery
Content: Strong language and sex is implied.

This is a short story set between books 4 and 5 of the Kate Burkholder series. Kate and John decide to take a couple of days off and head to a B and B for a romantic getaway. Of course we all know that things aren't going to go quite as planned. Kate and John learn about the mysterious disappearance 22 years ago of one of the B and B's guests, and though they are both resolute about leaving it be and enjoying their time off, they just can't help themselves and eventually begin to investigate. I enjoyed the story, but I did figure the mystery out right away, and I'm pretty sure the police would have too, instead of it going cold for 22 years. Of course one of the characters in the book does call the local police a bunch of Barney Fifes so there is that.





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Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Tethered Mage (Swords and Fire #1)The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Category: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy



Unfortunately this is going to be a DNF. I'm about 40% in and gosh, it's so boring. I liked the idea behind the story, but nothing has happened. There's a lot of talk, political machinations - or talk of it - and I just don't care about any of the characters. Thanks to NetGalley for sending me a copy of this to review.



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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Kind Worth KillingThe Kind Worth Killing by Peter  Swanson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Content: Strong language


On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the stunning and mysterious Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing very intimate details about themselves. Ted talks about his marriage that’s going stale and his wife, Miranda, who he’s sure is cheating on him.

But their game turns a little darker when Ted jokes that he could kill Miranda for what she’s done. Lily, without missing a beat, says calmly, “I’d like to help.” After all, some people are the kind worth killing.


The Kind Worth Killing is a mystery/thriller that is different from anything I've read before. I don't even know if I should call it a mystery because, to be honest there really wasn't much mystery involved. There wasn't much wondering about who did what because we are inside the heads of each of the characters, and the small mysteries that did exist were pretty obvious to me. It starts out a lot like Strangers on a Train, which is what drew me to the book in the first place, but it ended up disappointing me, especially after a certain person was killed, which I must add, surprised me because it happened so early in the book.

I don't tend to like reading books where there are no real likable characters in them, but I went into this one knowing that would be the case and I was ok with it. In the beginning, I thought Lily was pretty clever but she eventually gets sloppy. There were mistakes she made that I thought were not consistent with what her character would have done earlier in the story.

I think overall the author had some interesting ideas and I like the way the story shows how even the best laid plans can go awry, especially when it's a murder that's being planned. The ending was ok. It was a little unclear, but at the same time it seems like we know how things will end up.



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Monday, September 25, 2017

The Emperor's Soul -September's Fantasy Book Club Book

Our book for book club this month was The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson. This is a book that I've been wanting to read for a long time, so I was really happy that it got chosen.

The Emperor's SoulThe Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Content: Clean


Shai is a Forger, a foreigner who can flawlessly copy and re-create any item by rewriting its history with skillful magic. Condemned to death after trying to steal the emperor’s scepter, she is given one opportunity to save herself. Though her skill as a Forger is considered an abomination by her captors, Shai will attempt to create a new soul for the emperor, who is almost dead.

The Emperor's Soul is set in the the same world as Elantris, but has no other relation to that book. I have to say, this novella really impressed me. Sanderson's magic systems are always wonderfully imaginative and this one was no exception. There is so much brilliance packed into this little story. I absolutely love reading Sanderson's novellas. Because there isn't room for a lot of filler, they do not get as wordy as his full length novels and I like that.

“No person was one single emotion; no person had only one desire. They had many, and usually those desires conflicted with one another like two rosebushes fighting for the same patch of ground.”


Shai's undertaking of forging the emperor's soul provided a wonderfully layered story that was thought provoking. All the many facets of a personality and what makes a person a unique individual; the way Shai is so perceptive of those around her; and in the end her true work of art were things that I loved about this book. This is one of the best books I've read this year. Sanderson created a true masterpiece.

“He found himself weeping.

Not for the future or for the emperor. These were the tears of a man who saw before himself a masterpiece. True art was more than beauty; it was more than technique. It was not just imitation.

It was boldness, it was contrast, it was subtlety.”



And we soul stamped the refreshments :)



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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Battlemage (The Summoner, #3)The Battlemage by Taran Matharu

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Content: Clean


The Battlemage was a good ending to the Summoner series. There were a couple of things that were left open ended that could be revisited if the author ever decides to continue the series, but everything was pretty much wrapped up nicely. What I like most about this series are the demons. I love the giant turtle demon that they encountered and I loved what we found out about Ignatius. Overall this is a good series with all the books being equally likeable. This is a YA fantasy series that I would recommend to any teen interested in reading fantasy. It's fun and not too dark.



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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

An Inconvenient Beauty (Hawthorne House, #4)An Inconvenient Beauty by Kristi Ann Hunter

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Category: Adult, Christian
Genre: Historical Romance
Content: Clean


An Inconvenient Beauty is part of the Hawthorn House series of clean romance books. This is the second book in the series that I've read, but I didn't read them in order. It worked out ok though as each book stands on its own. I didn't like this one as much as A Noble Masquerade. It wasn't bad, but there were a few things that I found mildly irritating.

I felt there was too much emphasis on Isabella's beauty. I know it played a big part in the whole plot, but it got old and I wasn't really sure if I liked that it played a big part in the plot. On one hand I feel like the book made superficial beauty too important, but then at times it seemed to be trying to say that beauty wasn't so important. I'm not altogether sure what it was saying to be honest.

Griffith's height and size was also mentioned way too many times. Alright already, we get that he is really tall, has long legs, and is a big guy. We don't need to be reminded constantly. The book also employed the often used romance novel trope of keeping things from the person you love. Just tell him what's going on already! Then there is the whole special license thing. One couple in the book decides against it because he doesn't want to compromise her reputation by getting one, but then at the end of the book the other couple gets one. So does it compromise a lady's reputation or not? It just seemed very contradictory.

Those complaints aside, this was a sweet romance and I liked Griffith a lot. Any woman would be lucky to have a guy like him. I also really liked Isabella's cousin Frederica. I kind of wish the book had been about her instead. I also enjoyed getting a peek at what was going on in the lives of Miranda and Ryland from the other book. I'll probably continue on with the series at some point. I like reading these when I'm in the mood for something light.

Thanks to NetGalley for giving me a copy of this book.



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Monday, September 11, 2017

The Iron Jackal (Tales of the Ketty Jay, #3)The Iron Jackal by Chris Wooding

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Content: Strong language and implied sex.


Things are finally looking good for Captain Frey and his crew. The Ketty Jay has been fixed up good as new. They've got their first taste of fortune and fame. And, just for once, nobody is trying to kill them.

I enjoyed reading The Iron Jackal, the third installment of the Tales of the Ketty Jay series. This book was probably my favorite of the series so far. I enjoyed the humor. It kept me laughing which is always a plus. The air chase in the beginning, the train robbery, the part with the bomb, and the race were probably my favorite parts of the book. Oh and the cat and the toast.

As for the characters: Pinn grew on me a lot in this book with his antics. Frey was still Frey. He's definitely a love/hate type of character. His obsession with Trinica could get very old, but I kind of ship them. I'm probably as foolish as he is. We finally find out all about Silo's past, and Jez continues to battle the daemon inside her. Jez is still probably my favorite character in the series and I've enjoyed her exploration of her abilities. Malvery gets to shine a bit here, and Harkins does as well, even if it's in Pinn's name. Crake and Samandra Bree meet up again, something I was looking forward to as I ship them as well. There is also a new crew member, Ashua. It remains to be seen how she will impact things overall, but I think she is a good addition.

There was more digging into the characters and the world in this book and I liked that. The world building was interesting with the strange hybrid type creatures they encounter later in the book, and I like the combination of fantasy with the guns, vehicles and electricity, etc. There's one more book to go in the series and I'm looking forward to reading it.





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Monday, September 4, 2017

Fairchild (Fairchild, #1)Fairchild by Jaima Fixsen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Historical Romance
Content: Clean


Good English families all have a house in the country with a deer park, a trout stream, and an army of gardeners. They should have a son and if it can be managed, he should be handsome. Cleverness isn’t important. Daughters in limited quantities are fine so long as they are pretty. Bastards are inconvenient and best ignored. It's not a big problem, unless you are one. Unfortunately, Sophy is.

Fairchild was yet another really good, clean historical romance that I got for free from Amazon. The characters where very well drawn and I couldn't help but love Sophy. I did feel like Sophy and Tom's feelings for each other happened kind of sudden, but the secret meetings and glances at each other were quite fun. I just wish we had gotten a little more of those in detail. The book was mostly focused on Sophy, but I felt the author did a great job of introducing us to Tom and fleshing his character out despite the limited amount of time we spend with him in the book.

This was such a sweet romance novel. There is a companion novel, Incognita, about Alistair, one of the other character's from this book that I immediately wanted to read and I ended up enjoying it almost just as much. I'll post my review for that one in the near future.



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Sunday, September 3, 2017

Ready Player One 80s Book Club Party





For our book club night this week we decided it would be fun to dress 80s since the book was Ready Player One. From Top Gun to Madonna to Mullets to 80s preppy to Ghost Busters to striped tube socks, the 80s were well represented. We all had a great time!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Elissa Blue (The Winged #1)Elissa Blue by T.K. Perry

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Category: New Adult, Young Adult, Christian
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Dystopia
Content: Clean


Reading Elissa Blue is like watching The Bachelor, only everyone has wings. Initially I thought this was going to be a book about fairies, but it ended up being about human-butterfly hybrids. It's hard to classify this book. It has a bit of a fantasy feel with some dystopian elements that are not all that fleshed out, but it also is a romance with a definite Christian aspect to it as well. The age of the characters make it fit into the new adult age group, but it's completely clean and reads like a young adult novel. The overall theme of the book is, be wise about who you choose to marry and spend your life with.

What I liked about this book the most was that it somehow kept me glued to it despite the fact that I thought the whole human-butterfly hybrid thing was pretty silly, and the main character drove me crazy at times with her wishy-washy indecisiveness. She went back and forth between three guys so many times.

Now about the guys. I think I met and dated a guy exactly like each of them in college. There is the one that you like and is really nice, but are not attracted enough to. The one who is very attentive and takes care of you and is fun to be around. The one who is attractive but rough around the edges, has a good heart, but maybe isn't all that smart. The one that you know is bad for you, but the attraction is strong. I'm not going to spoil who is who here, or which one Elissa ends up with, but I was happy with who she chose.

Things that I thought could have been improved upon were:
-The story was a little long.
-Too much going around and around in circles with the guys and her feelings about them.
-The days felt super long. Two days felt like two weeks to me.
-Too insta-love like for me. A couple of days isn't enough time to get to know a person.
-The dystopian aspect of the book was underdeveloped.

Things I liked were:
-The funny last names based on types of butterflies. Mr. Sootywing and Mr. Hairstreak, :) :).
I actually looked up these butterflies to see what they looked like.
-The fact that the book kept me glued to it.
-Mit and Holis :)
-The choice she makes about who she will marry.
- The overall theme of the book.

Thanks to the author for giving me a copy of this book for review.





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Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Waking LandThe Waking Land by Callie Bates

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Category: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Content: One love scene that is moderately descriptive.


It's been fourteen years, since King Antoine took Elanna hostage. Fourteen years since her father's rebellion failed. Fourteen years spent being raised by the man who condemned her people to misery. A man she's come to love as a father.

The Waking Land was a mixed bag for me. I wanted to like the main character Elanna, but there were too many times that I just wanted to slap her silly. I get that she was probably going through Stockholm Syndrome and confusion because she genuinely thought the king cared about her as a daughter, but she also came across as willfully stupid at times. She also had the annoying habit of contradicting herself over and over. She's not going to do this, but she does it. She doesn't ever do that, but then she does. She changed her mind about things way too easily at times, and then at other times was stubborn to the point of stupidity.

I liked the love interest quite a lot, but would have liked if the romance and the relationship between the two of them had been explored more. It came off a little too much like insta-love for me. Also, the whole "wedding the land" thing was just weird and there wasn't enough explanation as to what exactly happened and how it worked. And the love scene makes this book too mature for younger readers in my opinion.

There were some things about this book that I did really like. I liked the way the magic worked with Elanna drawing on the land and nature for assistance. I also thought the way the land would fold and then they would be in another location was really cool. I liked that it showed how conflicted Elanna was about who she was, her origins, and where her loyalties were; even though I don't feel like it was executed all that well. This looks to be a stand-alone, which is ok with me. I'm not sure I would want to continue on with it if it was a series.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher Random House for giving me a copy of this book for review.



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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Gone Missing (Kate Burkholder, #4)Gone Missing by Linda Castillo

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Mystery
Content: Strong Language and implied sex.


A missing child is a nightmare to all parents, and never more so than in the Amish community, where family ties run deep. When the search for the presumed runaway turns up a dead body, the case quickly becomes a murder investigation. And chief of Police Kate Burkholder knows that in order to solve this case she will have to call upon everything she has to give not only as a cop, but as a woman whose own Amish roots run deep.

After reading the last book in this series I almost gave up on it. Kate was just too hard for me to like in that book, but I'm glad I gave it another chance. This time around Kate seems to have made some changes. She has stopped the drinking and she seemed a lot more focused on keeping her life straight. I also liked Tomasetti a lot more in this book as well. Things get more serious between the two of them in this book and I like the direction their relationship is heading.

The negatives for me this time around are not plot related, but rather the amount of repetition in the writing. We are told the same things too many times. We only need to be told about what rumpringa is once, and Kate reflects on the fact that she used to be Amish over an over as well. We don't need to be beaten over the head with these details, especially not at this point in the series where we have already read this over and over in previous books.

The mystery this time around was one of the best of the series. It kept me guessing about a few things almost up until the end. And that ending! I like it a lot if it means this will be a plot thread that is revisited in other books. But I'm not sure I would like it to just be left that way. Unlike the last book, this book has definitely left me wanting to continue on to the next book. I was tempted to start right away, but I have other books that have to be read before the end of the month so it will have to wait a little while.

I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for a review.


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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Poisoned House: A Ghost StoryThe Poisoned House: A Ghost Story by Michael  Ford

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Category: Young Adult
Genre:  Mystery, Paranormal
Content: Clean

The Poisoned House is set in Victorian London where 15 year old scullery maid Abigail Tamper has lost her mother to cholera. She works in the home of the aging widower Lord Greave who is becoming more and more distant and seems to be losing his sanity. His sister-in-law, Mrs. Cotton is the head house keeper and has pretty much taken over the household, acting as if it belongs to her, while being incredibly mean and nasty to Abigail. Lord Greave's son Samuel is off fighting in the Crimean War at the beginning of the story, but returns home injured. Strange things begin happening in the house that eventually convince Abi that there is a ghost. I won't go into any more detail than that, because I don't want to spoil anything.

If you are looking for something to really scare you then this book is not for you. While there were a couple of rather creepy scenes, mostly this book is very mild. I will admit I was a bit disappointed that this book wasn't creepier, but at the same time I really liked the writing and the characters. The mystery of who the ghost is, why the ghost is haunting the house, and who did what isn't very hard to figure out either, but the book just kept me reading anyway.



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Friday, August 18, 2017

The Inquisition (Summoner, #2)The Inquisition by Taran Matharu

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Content: Clean


With loyal friends Othello and Sylva by his side, Fletcher must battle his way to the heart of Orcdom and save Hominum from destruction…or die trying.

The Inquisition was a good follow up to The Novice. The book starts out a year after the last one left off with a trial soon following. Once we get through the trial and all that, Fletcher and his friends are sent on a mission deep into orc territory along with others who are not so friendly. They are divided up into four different teams. The teams get divided up pretty predictably, with each given a guide to lead them through the jungle. During the quest, to make things even more dangerous, there is a someone who keeps trying to kill Fletcher, obviously trying to frame the Dwarfs. There are a few revelations in this book that are not all that surprising. I predicted most of them, but maybe younger readers will not.

This as a simplified fantasy, that's definitely written for YA readers, but still quite enjoyable. The characters are pretty black and white and plot-wise, the story follows a traditional route with nothing really new added. I did like the addition of the gremlins. The idea of the goblins coming from a cross between gremlins and orcs was new to me. I loved poor Blue and wish we could have seen even more of him and his group. Once again my favorite aspect of the book are the demon pets that the mages have. Who doesn't love a Gryphon or an Alicorn or one of the many others?

Just like the last book, this one ends with a cliffhanger-like ending. I'm looking forward to finding out what happens next.



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Thursday, August 17, 2017

SunshineSunshine by Robin McKinley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Content: Strong language, implied sex, and an almost sex scene.


There are places in the world where darkness rules, where it's unwise to walk. But there hadn't been any trouble out at the lake for years, and Sunshine just needed a spot where she could be alone with her thoughts. Vampires never entered her mind.

Until they found her...


I really liked this vampire novel. This is a rare adult novel written by Robin McKinley, and it was also the first book I read by her. The book is pretty clean except for one almost sex scene that uses a couple of very coarse words that I could have done without. The other love scenes are more fade to black.

One of the things I really liked about this book and found to be a welcome difference from other vampire books is that this vampire is not a beautiful creature. At one point in the book he turns himself human looking for a little while and he is rather ugly as a human. How refreshing that he isn't mesmerizingly beautiful.

I only wish there had been a sequel. This could have been the start of a pretty awesome urban fantasy series, with Sunshine teaming up with the vampire. Constantine from time to time to help him out with problems of the supernatural variety. Unfortunately Robin McKinley has said that she has no interest in writing one. It is fine as a stand-alone novel though.



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Monday, August 14, 2017

Ready Player OneReady Player One by Ernest Cline

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Dystopia, Fantasy
Content: Strong language (I did not finish this so there could be more).


So I've been reading this book, or supposed to be for three weeks now and I still have not finished it, and I have zero desire to get back to reading it. Let me tell you why...

The plot is not all that compelling to me. It's Willy Wonka in a virtual reality loving, dystopian future. That really doesn't appeal to me. I know this is going to be an unpopular opinion because just about every one of my friends seemed to absolutely love this book, but sorry, I just don't.

If you are in love with 80s pop culture then you might love this book. I was a teen in the 80s, it was ok, but nothing to worship. And this kid clearly worships at the altar of 80s pop culture. For me it started to feel like the author was just name dropping 80s thing after 80s thing to prove that the main character here was really into the 80s. The list went on and on and on. It got old. How in the world has he had time to play every one of those games, watch every one of those TV shows and movies, etc.? It would take a person years. More years than this kid has been alive.

The virtual reality world in the book was interesting, but not enough for me to want to keep reading. So I'm dumping this book for now. I don't really foresee a time that I will actually want to pick it up and finish it, but who knows, maybe something crazy will happen and I will one day. Honestly though, I just don't think it's for me.



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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Dead To Me (Detective Kate Matthews, #1)Dead To Me by Stephen Edger

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Mystery, Thriller



How do you catch a killer who knows your every move?

Dead To Me is the first book in a new detective series. This is the first time I've read a book by this author and I thought it was just ok. The good thing about it is that I was completely wrong about who I thought was behind the murders. The bad thing about it is that I felt like it sort of came out of left field.

For me a well-plotted mystery points clues at multiple people, while still leaving you surprised at the end, but feeling like you should have seen that coming. I didn't feel that way when I read this. I felt like there were really no clues pointing to the culprit here. The reasoning behind why he did some of the things he did were not explained either. Why the creepy cyber stalking? Sending her the messages the instant she signed up on the dating website was way too coincidental. And the thing with Kate's mother didn't seem to have any reason behind it either, other than to cause her distress.

I didn't find any of the characters all that likable, not even Kate, and she did some really stupid things. She was also a lousy deadbeat mom. I was happy in the end that Kate realized she needed to be a mother to her daughter. She redeemed herself somewhat after that. As for the other characters, all of the detectives kept getting into pissing contests with each other and the cases they were solving seemed more about their personal egos than about finding justice for the victims. I hope this isn't the way most real detectives behave.

Although I liked that the book kept me guessing, I just didn't care for the overall plot of the story and the killer's behavior felt a little all over the place. For those reasons I think I will pass on reading the rest of this series. Thanks NetGalley and Bookouture for sending me a copy of this book for review.



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Tuesday, August 8, 2017



 The Black Lung Captain (Tales of the Ketty Jay, #2)The Black Lung Captain by Chris Wooding

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Steampunk
Content: Strong language and implied sex.


Deep in the heart of the Kurg rainforest lies a long-forgotten wreck. On board, behind a magically protected door, an elusive treasure awaits. Good thing Darian Frey, captain of the airship Ketty Jay, has the daemonist Crake on board. Crake is their best chance of getting that door open—if they can sober him up.

In this installment of Tales of the Ketty Jay, Darian Frey is back to his old tricks. He's robbing an orphanage in the beginning of this book, and that didn't endear him to me much. By the end of the last book Frey had learned a few things and for a little while I thought he had forgotten every one of them, but he ended up proving me wrong. Yet again Chris Wooding surprises me with the character growth of not only the main character, but all of them. Even the cat, Slag gets a tiny part of a chapter in his point of view. I still dislike Pinn to a great extent, but even he ended up better by the end of this book. Crake and Jez in particular have great story arcs where they face their demons and come to grips with themselves. Crake's efforts to restore Bess is an especially emotional one. Speaking of Bess, whenever I read about her I can't help but think of Fullmetal Alchemist.

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That's how I picture Bess.

Not only is the whole crew of the Ketty Jay present here, but Frey's former love and nemesis, Trinica Dracken is back, as well as the Century Knights. I liked the story arc with Trinica and also would love to read more of the Century Knights in the next books. We also learn a lot of interesting things about the Mane and The Awakeners. In general there is a much deeper level of emotion involved with the characters this time around, which is something that was missing in the first book. I'll definitely be reading the rest of the series.



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Monday, August 7, 2017

Lethal Bayou Beauty (Miss Fortune Mystery #2)Lethal Bayou Beauty by Jana Deleon

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Mystery, Comedy



No one in Sinful liked Pansy Arceneaux, but who hated her enough to kill her?

Lethal Bayou Beauty is the sequel to Louisiana Longshot. This time around Pansy Arceneaux, ex-beauty queen and aspiring actress returns to her hometown, Sinful Louisiana to help with the beauty pageant portion of the Summer Festival. No one likes Pansy, who has been through almost every guy in town, even the married ones, so when she ends up dead no one is surprised.

While Lethal Bayou Beauty was amusing at times, I didn't like it quite as much as Louisiana Longshot, which did actually make me laugh out loud once. Mostly I feel like this series relies too much on dumb humor derived from unbelievable situations. There are too many bumbling mistakes made by the main character and she is completely unprepared to pose as an ex-beauty queen/librarian. What kind of spy would fail to do her homework to make the role convincing? Also who in the world doesn't know who Lady Gaga is? You'd have to be living under a rock to have never heard of her. Fortune would also have to at least know of some TV shows. Maybe Fortune had her head buried in the sand when she was playing assassin in the Middle East. This series has completely failed to convince me that Fortune is a CIA agent or a real person at all for that matter.

Despite my complaints I like other things about this series enough to give it another chance, like the Louisiana charm and Ida Belle and Gertie, the outrageous ladies of the Geritol mafia, so I'm still keeping this series on my to-read list for now.



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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Name Unknown (Shadows Over England #1)A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Adult, Christian
Genre: Historical Romance
Content: Clean


A Name Unknown is a Christian historical romance set in the Edwardian period on the cusp of WWI. The main character is a thief who accepts a job from a mysterious man who calls himself Mr. V. The job involves getting hired on by a man with German ancestry and finding information that will prove he is a traitor to England. I enjoyed reading about the time period a lot and I liked the characters of Rosemary and Peter. The slow buildup of the friendship and then romance that developed between them was one of the best things about the book. The Christian aspect of the book was well done as well and was nicely woven into the story. The only thing I felt was missing was actually being able to read the letters that Rosemary and Peter wrote to each other every day. I really would have liked if they had been included in the book. I think it would have given us as readers more insite into their developing friendship.

This is the first of a series and I am interested in continuing on. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher Bethany House for giving me a copy of this book for review.



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Monday, July 24, 2017

Age of Swords (The Legends of the First Empire, #2)Age of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Content: Clean


Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhune make it all but impossible to unite against a common foe. And even if the clans can join forces, how will they defeat an enemy whose magical prowess makes the Fhrey indistinguishable from gods?

The answer lies across the sea in a faraway land populated by a reclusive and dour race who feels nothing but disdain for both Fhrey and mankind.


In Age of Myth the story revolved around Raithe the god killer but in Age of Swords the men, although still present, take a bit of a back seat. But I'm sure they will be back more fully in future books. It's Persephone's turn to shine here, along with most of the women in the book. I love that Persephone is the one that sets out to solve the problem of how to win a war against the Fhrey. This time around we meet the Dherg when Persephone, Moya, Brin, Roan, and Arian travel to their homeland, and they find out the Dherg are a tricky bunch; pretty despicable actually. That was the point where I felt like the book got really good. There were so many brilliant ideas and solutions in this book that Persephone, Roan, Brin, and Moya come up with. Once again Michael J. Sullivan does a lovely job of portraying the women in the story. They are always so believable as well. Except for the bit of magic that is used they are not doing superhuman things. They are doing things that any real woman could do, and that makes them so very relatable.

There were several passages in this book that I loved, some of which I found quite amusing. One of my favorite chapters in the book was the one that included the exchanges between Padera and Gifford when he is on the mend from the attack on him. Not only did these make me chuckle, but they are also a good example of how the characters really jump off the page in this book. I love the way they are described. I also love that the many supporting characters still very much contribute to the story. There are a lot of them, but most of them were given a good amount of attention. I love these characters so much! My heart is really aching for a choice one of the characters had to make, and for one of the losses.

Not only do we revisit the Rhune and discover the Dherg in this book, but we also get chapters from the Fhrey as well, namely Mawyndule. I have to say that I did not love him, but I'm hoping that he is starting to mature after what took place among the Fhrey. I'm very curious to find out what he will end up doing. Other things that I'm very impatient to find out about are, how things end up between Persephone and Raithe and this whole thing with Nyphron that's thrown in there, and how things will end up with the healing that Suri is trying to do at the end of the book.

This book has adventure, heartache, self discovery, and loss. All things that make a story great and I can't wait to read Age of War!

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group for giving me an advance copy of this book.



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