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Monthly Archives: March 2016

My Top Reads and Audiobooks ~ Jan – March 2016

 Back in December I signed up to the Goodreads Challenge.

Not having done this before and not knowing how many books I’d read in a year, I entered a nice round number of one hundred. I intended to include the ebooks I’d read as well as the audiobooks I listened to. I thought an average of two a week would be achievable. To my surprise and delight, I have passed the half way mark already at only a quarter of the way through the year. So, I thought I’d recommend some of the ones I’ve enjoyed so far.

Here are some of my favourites:

eBooks

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 I’m so glad I discovered the Glasgow Lads series by Avery Cockburn.

I love her writing, the characters, the plot lines, the lovely ‘feels’.

Each story is superb.

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 The Law of Attraction by Jay Northcote

 Spencer Cohen Book 1 by NR Walker

 Rustic Melody and Rustic Memory by Nic Starr

 The Mermaid Murders by Josh Lanyon ( I also re-read Winter Kill.)

Chasing Shadows by Annabelle Jacobs

As the Leaves Fall by RJ Jones

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Audiobooks

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I’ve been listening to some of Kim Fielding’s stories and enjoyed them immensely:  The Tin Box, Brute, Housekeeping, and The Night Shift are all fabulous.

How to Walk Like a Man by Eli Easton

Violated by Jamie Fessenden

Ethan, Who Loved Carter by Ryan Loveless

The Half of Us and Johnnie by Cardeno C

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Check out the books I’ve read so far.

I’d love to hear about some of your favourite stories.

New Release ~ House Hunt by Jackie Keswick

House Hunt
by Jackie Keswick

Series: The Power of Zero, Book 3
Length: Novel / 96k
Genre: Suspense/Mystery/Thriller
Release Date: 30th March 2016

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Jack Horwood hates owing favors. But when a simple day out to treat Gareth to the best oysters in England leads to a discovery of drugs and counterfeit money—things that neither Jack nor Gareth have the jurisdiction to handle—he has to call in help. Help that doesn’t come cheap, and that forces him to do something he promised himself he’d never do again—walk away from Gareth and the family he’s starting to make for himself.

Three months undercover is a long time. After missing Gareth’s birthday, Jack is determined not to miss their first anniversary. But coming home and being home are two very different things. So when he is asked to assist with a corporate espionage investigation, Jack can’t say no, despite knowing it will impact his already straining relationship.

Except, of course, he’s walking into a trap….

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A deep, throaty rumble broke the quiet of the morning and Gareth frowned. It didn’t sound like Jack’s beloved Gixxer, and anyway, he had been told they were not riding to… wherever it was they were going. The sound neared and settled outside his house, and when Gareth opened the front door and walked to the end of the drive, he came face-to-face with Jack Horwood—in a way he’d never seen or imagined him before.

He was used to Jack in skintight jeans and with a screwdriver between his teeth, bent over desks, or crawling into spaces rodents would have found restrictive. He was used to Jack in leather, astride his bike, and Jack in sleeveless tops and jogging bottoms moving through kata with grace and precision. He was even used to Jack the tease, meshing leather, music, and suggestive moves until Gareth thought his skin would catch on fire. Jack appealed to him whatever incarnation he chose, and this time around he had surpassed himself.

Long, low-slung, and roofless, with sexy, graceful curves, the deep green two-seater sparkled in the early morning sunlight. Jack sat snugly ensconced in magnolia leather, a dark green fleece top and matching ball cap complementing the color of the car. Fingerless driving gloves of soft black leather and aviator sunglasses added to his rakish look. He grinned from ear to ear, revving the engine, playing with the throaty sound.

“Come on, Flynn, the morning’s wasting.”

“What the fuck is that?”

“Transport. Get your gear and get in before I wake the neighborhood,” Jack sniped at Gareth’s question. “This isn’t a sound you can ignore for long.”

Gareth had to agree. The deep bass notes of the car’s engine rippled down the street and back again. He quickly ducked inside and reached for wallet, phone, and keys before he grabbed a jacket from the rack and sunglasses and a ball cap from a drawer. Moments later he stood beside the car’s passenger door and frowned at the lack of a visible door handle. Surely Jack wasn’t expecting him to vault over the door?

Jack’s laugh, carefree and enticing, bubbled up over the engine’s rumble, and without Gareth being able to see what he did, the passenger door popped open, ready for Gareth to climb in.

The seat was a surprisingly long way down. And once he sat, all he could see were acres of creamy hide and gleaming walnut trim, with a tiny slice of glittering green bonnet stretching out in front of him.

“Where did you get this monster?” he asked as he pulled the seat belt across his chest and Jack peeled away from the curb with a deep V-8 growl that was sure to rattle windowpanes along the quiet cul-de-sac.

“It’s mine. Well, half of it is.”

 

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House Hunt is available as ebook or paperback from: 

Dream spinner Press All Romance ebooksKobo | Barnes & Noble | Amazon.com | Amazon UK

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Jackie Keswick was born behind the Iron Curtain with itchy feet, a bent for rocks and a recurrent dream of stepping off a bus in the middle of nowhere to go home. She’s worked in a hospital and as the only girl with 52 men on an oil rig. She’s spent a winter in Moscow and a summer in Iceland and finally settled in the country of her dreams with a husband, a cat and a tandem.

Jackie loves stories about unexpected reunions and second chances, and men who don’t follow the rules when those rules are stupid. She has a thing for green eyes and tight cyclist’s butts and is a great believer in making up soundtracks for everything, including her characters and the cat.

Jackie’s current obsession is a green-eyed hacker-turned-vigilante by the name of Jack Horwood. The first two parts of his story, Job Hunt and Ghosts, are available from Dreamspinner Press and anywhere books are sold.

 

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For questions and comments, not restricted to green-eyed hackers or recipes for traditional English food, you can find Jackie Keswick in all the usual places:

Twitter | Facebook | Jackie’s Website |


 

 

Rainbow Snippets ~ March 27th

RAINBOW SNIPPETS

Today’s Rainbow Snippet is taken from

Boys on Film.

Check out the snippet from last week

Nate keeps looking at me as he drains his bottle and I seem unable to drag my eyes away from him. My cock gives a sudden pulse again as it starts to fill, and a wave of heat rolls deeply through the pit of my belly.

I know I’ve been staring too long when Dan clears his throat a little too loudly.  Nate finishes his beer and I look away hurriedly as he turns to put the bottle onto the breakfast bar behind him. It takes all my effort not to gape at his shoulders, his back and the smooth curve of his ass. Dan catches my eye and raises an eyebrow at me. He knows what I’m thinking and how I’d like to take this guy.  The ancient Greeks admired the male form for its beauty and the life-like statues they carved showed how much they appreciated the physical form of a man.  I think, not for the first time, that I must have been a Greek sculptor in a former life as my eyes roam over him, deciding that his body would most definitely be perfect.

 

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Please visit the Rainbow Snippets Facebook Group for more links to great fiction.

The gang posts throughout the weekend, so check back a few times if you can.

rs5med

 

Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation.

~O~

Sign up for my newsletter HERE to keep in contact via email.

 

 

Release Day Review ~ Chasing Shadows by Annabelle Jacobs



Title: Chasing Shadows
Author: Annabelle Jacobs
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: March 24, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary Mystery
Page Count: 162
Heat Level:  3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.3 stars out of 5

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Jamie Matthews goes to Cornwall to find his missing brother. The police are convinced Michael drowned, but Jamie knows better. No way would Michael swim to his death, especially on a beach with a wicked rip tide. Finding a stranger in his brother’s cottage only deepens his misgivings.

Felix Bergstrom is recently discharged from the British Army. Unable to put the past behind him, he takes an unhealthy interest in old acquaintance and millionaire businessman Karl Weston, hoping to catch him up to no good. Michael’s disappearance adds fuel to Felix’s suspicions. Weston’s clifftop home overlooks the beach where Michael supposedly walked into the sea, but Weston has an alibi for that day.

When Jamie and Felix meet, the physical attraction is instant. Mistrust keeps them from acting on it until finally all their secrets are laid bare. But time isn’t on their side. Before they’re able to work out whether they have a future, danger catches up with them and threatens to put an end to everything.

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I always enjoy Annabelle’s writing style and storytelling. From the start of this thrilling read, her main characters pull you in and you want to find out what happened to Michael. You feel Jamie’s grief (along with his parents) for the missing younger brother and you sympathize with his determination not to accept that Michael is dead as he clings to the hope of finding out what really happened to him. Through Jamie, Annabelle draws you into the Cornish countryside and seascape.  You visualise the cottage with ease and the surrounding locations that Michael enjoyed sketching.

Jamie’s search for clues to his brother’s mysterious disappearance leads him directly to Felix, who is also on a mission to discover facts concerning the recent death of an army friend.  Despite a shaky start to their acquaintance, Jamie and Felix gradually fall for each other, despite the guilt they feel over the reason they met in the first place.  The arrival of Felix’s buddies helps to lighten the tension between them and the tongue-in-cheek comments about their would-be relationship provide some amusing moments.

I particularly enjoyed the sizzling sexual chemistry as it develops throughout the romance arc of this story and the eventual  hot smexing scenes.  I also enjoyed the ‘angsty’ moments, too, as any possibility of a future relationship undergoes some doubt.

The mystery plot has its tense and suspense-filled moments and culminates in an exciting scene with the ‘baddie’. Although the conclusion to the overall mystery is not fully explained in enough detail, the ending of the romance story is very enjoyable and the epilogue is lovely and definitely HFN.

 

***ARC  of Chasing Shadows provided by the author in exchange of an honest review***

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Amazon universalAmazon USAmazon UKAll Romance ebooksSmashwords 
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Annabelle Jacobs lives in the South West of England with her three rowdy children, and two cats.

An avid reader of fantasy herself for many years, Annabelle now spends her days writing her own stories. They’re usually either fantasy or paranormal fiction, because she loves building worlds filled with magical creatures, and creating stories full of action and adventure. Her characters may have a tough time of it—fighting enemies and adversity—but they always find love in the end

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FacebookFacebook Author PageTwitterWebsiteGoodreads Link

~O~

This review was also posted on

Gay Book Reviews

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Rainbow Snippets ~ March 20th

RAINBOW SNIPPETS

Today’s Rainbow Snippet is taken from

Boys on Film.

“What about this?” I ask. “Alexander, a blond Greek god in human form, made his way over to the mere human standing by the bed, pulling him into his muscular, tattooed arms.  The passion erupted between the two as their lips welded together in a wet, sloppy mess.”  I continue reading, but they spot it’s me after only a few sentences and erupt into a fit of laughter.

“But the age is wrong,” Dan objects, wiping tears from his eyes. “Everything else is right about you, though.”

“Well, the ‘mere human‘ could be you,” I point out to him, which wipes the smile from his face.

Elliot tries to look serious. “I love the way your cock is described,” he adds, snickering.

 

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Please visit the Rainbow Snippets Facebook Group for more links to great fiction.

The gang posts throughout the weekend, so check back a few times if you can.

rs5med

 

Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation.

~O~

Sign up for my newsletter HERE to keep in contact via email.

 

 

New Release and Review ~ As the Leaves Fall by R.J. Jones

As the Leaves Fall

by R.J. Jones

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Goodreads

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The perfect job or the perfect man. Surely Aiden and Noah can have both, right?

Aiden Turner’s world flipped upside down when his vengeful ex-boyfriend destroyed a major project, costing his uncle’s architectural firm an important client. Feeling guilty, Aiden has since sworn off all romantic involvement with anyone he works with.

Noah Walker is getting ready to interview for his dream role when he catches Aiden’s eye on the London Tube. They strike up a conversation, and even though the attraction sizzles between them, Noah must decline the offer of a morning coffee. The interview is crucial, and he needs to focus on getting the job, not getting a date.

When Aiden discovers the enigmatic man on the train is the same man he is interviewing, he is torn. But he knows Noah is the right man for the job, and he attempts to put some professional distance between them. However, it’s not long before Noah makes his way under Aiden’s skin.

Neither man can afford to risk their employment, but keeping their relationship a secret takes its toll. When things get ugly, they need to decide what’s more important—or if the job is worth the sacrifice.

 

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An enjoyable office romance featuring two  likeable and mature sexy guys. From the start, they face the dilemma of choosing between behaving professionally within their working environment or listening to their hearts.

Noah hopes he’s found his ideal job in a top architectural firm, which he discovers has the added benefit of working alongside a gorgeous hunk of a boss. Noah is certainly well qualified for the position, and despite Aiden’s immediate attraction to him, he still appoints Noah. His intelligent, friendly, and easy going nature makes Noah the perfect candidate.  From the outset, they work well together and Noah soon offers constructive suggestions for the company’s projects.

The men were inexplicably drawn to each other from their first meeting, but Aiden makes it clear any hookup, even in secret, would be a disaster for their careers within the firm. The two men deal with office politics and rivalries, as well as their feelings for each other admirably.  They manage to resist their attraction and work amicably together. Their friendship develops, but it’s a struggle to keep their desire under control. That is until they can’t resist anymore. When they finally give in, we are treated to a hot and steamy love making session.  Noah doesn’t want to be kept a dirty little secret and Aiden is worried about telling his family about them, so everything is far from rosy. There’s no nastiness or tantrums between the two lovers and they behave in a dignified manner to resolve their relationship issues.

The story is written from both characters’ POV, so we understand Aiden’s fear of committing to an office romance that may jeopardize the company’s future, and risk his own career or Noah’s dream job.

As the Leaves Fall is entertaining throughout. The story flows smoothly with a little angst and trepidation along the way, but nothing too traumatic. And the fact that the story is set in London increases its appeal for me. 

***I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.***

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RJ started as a reader and eventually made the progression to reviewing. It wasn’t until two men popped into her thoughts, insisting on telling her their story that she started to write. It started with one scene. A hot and dirty one in the shower.

RJ’s initial thought was if she could write their scene then they’d shut up and allow her to concentrate on other aspects of the day. That shower scene was 3000 words long and three hours of work.  But they didn’t shut up.  They told her their entire story and she didn’t sleep for days.  Sometimes she couldn’t keep up with what they were telling her and she had to keep a notebook by the bed.

Whilst RJ was writing their story a side character decided he needed his story told too. Then other characters followed suit.

You see the problem? If RJ ever wants to sleep again then she needs to write.

RJ is a wife and a mother to two boys. Even her dog is a boy.

She is surrounded by males.

RJ writes emotionally charged, character driven romances. Her guys will always get their HEA, but it will never be easy.

 

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Asta Idonea ~ New Release, Excerpt and Interview

First Swallow of Spring

Asta Idonea

16 March 2016

Torquere Press

Short Story/MM

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The first swallow of spring draws Seanán back to the fae circle each year. There he dances with the handsome fae lord, Iorweth. He knows the rules he must follow if he wishes to be free to leave at the end of the night; however, Iorweth is growing ever more inventive in his attempts to trick Seanán into breaking them.

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Listen to an Audio Excerpt

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Amazon | Amazon UK | Torquere Press

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“Seanán will be dancing with none but me.” The words were softly spoken, yet the tone brooked no argument, and at this utterance, the others scurried away and a new figure stepped into view.

A wave of contentment flooded through Seanán. “Iorweth.” He accepted Iorweth’s proffered hand, and Iorweth pulled him to his feet as if he weighed nothing. He gazed up at the regal figure. “I have missed you.”

“And I you. Shall we dance?”

Iorweth swept Seanán into his arms and they spun toward the edge of the clearing. The others made room for them and they joined the chain, circling the stone in a dance of pure delight. The music came from no discernible source, but it filled the air, bright and bell-like, and between its magical refrains, the fae laughed, clapped, and cavorted in the moonlight.

Seanán followed Iorweth’s lead. The rest of the world melted away as he lost himself in the fae lord’s glimmering, emerald eyes. This was the time of year he felt most alive. In the long months between these meetings he survived on memories and dreams. They kept him going, but nothing compared to being here in Iorweth’s arms. The press of his hand on Seanán’s back—that was the brilliant reality. The rest of his life was colorless.

Iorweth pulled him closer until their bodies met. Warmth spread through Seanán and he sighed and rested his head against Iorweth’s chest. Surely they had danced for long enough. Surely Iorweth would soon take him to the stone. Yet, on and on they danced. They twirled and dipped and swayed, never breaking from the circle. Seanán should have felt dizzy. At the very least he should have grown weary. But when he was with Iorweth, he always had boundless energy. So long as their hands touched, Seanán believed he could go on dancing without pause, forever.

Interview with Asta Idonea

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m British-born, but I have lived in Australia for 8½ years now. I was backpacking here when I met my husband on the bus. I just never went home. I worked in admin until 2014, when I left to try my hand as a freelance editor and author. I am much happier now, though I still need to build up a little more editing work.

What would people be most surprised to know about you?

I was almost a translator. I completed a PGDip in Translation, but then I moved here and my European languages weren’t as relevant anymore. I still try to keep up my language skills, though. I have pen pals around the world, I read books in other languages, and I watch a lot of world cinema.

How do you relax?

I have many hobbies: reading (naturally), theatre, cinema, music (I sing and play a few instruments), sketching….

Do you have a favorite quote?

“What a terrible affair life is to be sure; I don’t mean nasty, because it’s glorious and enthralling, but so aweinspiring and unnerving and taxing.”
(Percy Grainger to Rose Grainger (his mother) 23/07/1907)

How long have you been writing and what made you fall in love with writing?

As a child, I loved books. My sister would ask to play with her dolls, and I would ask to read. From as far back as I remember thinking about such things, I wanted to write, but it was something I kept putting off, thinking I wasn’t good enough. In my late teens/early twenties, I started publishing some fan fiction, but then I moved to Australia and finally found the drive to pursue my dreams. I had my first original work published in 2011 and haven’t stopped.

What are your ambitions for your writing career and what’s your favorite part of writing?

My favourite part is giving life to the characters that fill my head and helping them tell their stories. As for ambition, it would be nice to earn more than I spend on my writing, and one day see one of my books on the shelf in a major bookstore, but deep down, I’d be happy simply to know people are reading and enjoying my work.

Why did you choose to write GLBTQ romance? Why not another genre?

Actually, I do write mainstream too (under the pen name Nicki J. Markus). I started out in mainstream paranormal and fantasy, and I continue to write that alongside my MM works. The MM came about through my editing. Most of the manuscripts on which I work are LGBT, and when I started editing for Wayward Ink Publishing, I decided to try my hand at an MM piece of my own for one of their anthology calls. I found I enjoyed it and wrote another, and another…. Much of my former fan fiction was slash, so I guess subconsciously it was a genre I already appreciated.

What scene in your writing has made you laugh the hardest or cry the most?

I’m not sure I can pick a single scene, but the two works with which I had the most emotional connection were The Ragnarök Chronicles (MF Fantasy) and Souls for Sale (MM Paranormal). Both Loki (in the former) and Saul (in the latter) became very dear to me.

Can you give the readers a brief summary of your latest book?

It is a short fantasy MM story, releasing as a single title and within an anthology. It follows Seanán, a young man who is drawn year after year to the fae circle near his home. There he is romanced by a fae lord, who tries to trick him into breaking the rules that will see him unable to leave at the end of the night.

Give us a little insight into your main characters. Who are they?

Seanán lives at home with his parents and helps work his father’s farm. He is bored with his everyday life and longs for the one night each year when he can visit Iorweth. Nonetheless, he resists all attempts to trick him into staying; he wishes to make that choice himself.

Iorweth is a regal fae lord who wishes to trap Seanán in the fae realm, to keep him close forever. Used to getting his way and tricking unwary mortals, at first he fails to see that the way to win Seanán is through openness and love, rather than wiles.

Tell us a little bit about your writing style. When and where is your favorite time/place to write?

I work from home, so the morning and early afternoon I dedicate to editing work. Occasionally I have a day or two free between editing jobs, but mostly I have a steady stream of manuscripts and work seven days a week. The mid to late afternoon (and sometimes into the evening), however, is writing time.

When I have the initial idea for a story, I jot down character notes (full profiles if it’s a novella or novel). I also note some key plot points, but that’s the only planning I do—I prefer to see where the characters take me. I always type the first draft at the computer in my study. However, once that it done I print the work and retreat to the comfy chair in my library/music room for editing. I read through the complete story, making notes and corrections as I go, then it’s back to the study for the next draft. Short stories go through two or three drafts and then a final proofread. Novellas and novels get four drafts, then the proofread.

What sort of book do you enjoy reading in your free time? What was the last book you read? What did you enjoy about it?

I read widely; the only genres I avoid completely are true crime and chick lit. I read (and reread) a lot of classics. I enjoy literary fiction and paranormal/fantasy tales, and I read a lot of non-fiction (in particular books on my favourite historical periods). Recently I finished a book on Victorian London, which I was reading as research for my new Steampunk story. That was interesting and gave me plenty of ideas. Now I am reading an historical fiction piece about a highwaywoman in England during the Commonwealth.

Thank you so much for answering my questions.

I think my readers will enjoy learning more about you!

Good luck in your future writing!

 

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Asta Idonea (aka Nicki J Markus) was born in England, but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.

Asta launched her writing career in 2011 and divides her efforts not only between MM and mainstream works but also between traditional and indie publishing. Her works span the genres, from paranormal to historical and from contemporary to fantasy. It just depends what story and which characters spring into her mind!

As a day job, Asta works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and in her spare time she enjoys music, theatre, cinema, photography, and sketching. She also loves history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel; all of which have provided plenty of inspiration for her writing.

Author Pic 2015

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