Filthy Vows by Alessandra Torre

Book: Filthy Vows

Author: Alessandra Torre

Series: a standalone

Release date: 18 July 2019

Main characters: Elle North, young wife to Easton, unsure of where she is headed. Easton North, former sporting hopeful, now struggling to find his way.

Plot: Elle and Easton have been together since college although it certainly wasn’t love at first sight for Elle. She wasn’t interested in the campus player, but somehow he managed to show her who he really was underneath the swagger and his promiscuous reputation. Married for four years, their relationship is the only constant in Elle’s life. Her touchstone – the one thing she’s sure of.

Elle is coming to realise that despite their explosive and sexually fulfilling life together, she has thoughts and fantasies that will not disappear. She’s tried ignoring them, but they refuse to be buried. Her relationship with her husband has always been honest and so telling Easton about her fantasies seems natural. Nothing can prepare her for his reaction – will telling him bring them closer together, or be the catalyst that blows their relationship apart?

Why you should read it: I was excited to read this book, as the premise really intrigued me. I’m always drawn to stories about what happens after the ‘I do.’ Elle and Easton are a very young married couple and they both still have a lot of growing up to do. They’re dealing with professional disappointments but are trying to navigate their way through life as best they can. Their love for each other is clear and it dances off the pages. The sexual chemistry is palpable – the book is very upfront – it deals with very vivid fantasies and you’ll either love it or hate it. The scenes were extremely tantalising and well written. Have a fan handy!

What you may not like: Ok – I have a couple of issues with the book. First, the following dialogue:

“Have you ever been with a black guy?” Chelsea popped the question at normal volume, then stuffed a piece of bread in her mouth. Bread that most certainly contained gluten, despite the interrogation she just put the menu through. I eyed the bread and considered my own avoidance of carbs, one that was on a twelve-day streak. “Uh—no.” “They’re gooood,” she mused through a mouthful of bread, the word stretched out and savored, her head turning to watch as our waiter eased by and to an adjacent table, a pitcher of ice water in hand. “Very athletic.”

This paragraph came out of nowhere. There I was, trying to get into the story and this scene totally blindsided me – it’s spoken by a peripheral character and that particular comment isn’t called out by the main character in any way, which made me REALLY dislike both characters. It didn’t advance the storyline or lead to anything bigger, so I wondered why it was there at all. I don’t enjoy dialogue that treats any group of society as a monolith or somehow fetishises said group. This one paragraph made me question whether I cared about the characters at all, which is a shame. I found them shallow, self involved and vacuous. Perhaps this is how rich and privileged people talk to one another – I’m sure it is, but it doesn’t make me want to invest in them or care about them.

Rating: 3/5 for the more risqué nature of the book – that’s what I love about the author and her willingness to go all out and write a no-holds barred story. 2/5 for the rest of the story. The throwaway comment by a minor character unfortunately spoilt my enjoyment of most of this story. Words and dialogue matter (especially in this current climate) as they reveal an awful lot about who we are. This one just didn’t work for me I’m afraid.

All Grown Up by Vi Keeland

unnamedBook: All Grown Up

Author: Vi Keeland

Series: a standalone

Release date: 6 July 2019

Main characters: Valentina di Giovanni Davis, divorcee, soon-to-be teacher. Ford Donovan, successful realtor and someone whom Valentina knew years ago.

Plot: When Valentina, newly single and (somewhat) ready to mingle is persuaded to get back in the dating saddle, nothing can prepare her for what she will find. After a little help with her online profile (courtesy of a well-meaning bff) she soon finds herself messaging a certain Donovan620 on a daily basis. They make each other laugh, it’s the most natural and relaxed she’s felt in a long time. So why not meet? Aside from the fact that she hasn’t been on a date since high school, she doesn’t know the rules and isn’t keen to get her heart broken all over again. Despite her misgivings, Valentina decides to be brave. Nothing however, could prepare her for Ford Donovan. Tall, gorgeous and also the boy who used to babysit her son!

Ford is enamoured with Valentina from the beginning and he’s not accustomed to being disappointed. Despite their rocky start, he’s determined to win her heart. Valentina is stubborn but so is he – he’s always kept his eyes on the prize, and this time will be no different…

Why you should read it: I absolutely loved this book! It was heartwarming and super romantic without giving me toothache. For quite a young hero, Ford is mature, self-assured and a ton of fun. Valentina was engaging, funny and personable. She did make quite a big deal of the age gap but her character development was truly fun to read and I loved both characters. The dialogue and the story unfolded well and it kept me reading voraciously. I finished it pretty quickly – think I’ll need to re-read it again soon too! The chemistry was pitch perfect and it really made me fan myself – the main characters complemented each other perfectly and they didn’t play stupid games. The absence of angst was quite a relief.

What you may not like: Depends on how you feel about relationships where the characters are different ages. Full disclosure: the age gap in this book isn’t cavernous, so I don’t think it was such a huge issue, but I guess there is still a double standard for men and women. Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed it, so can’t think of anything to dislike. If I had to pick something, it would be the hero requesting ‘Lady in Red‘. Do 25 year-olds know such cheesy songs? Maybe…

Rating: 4/5 for a truly heartwarming book. Sometimes Vi Keeland knocks it out the park, other times her books fail to hit the mark – this one was a definite hit!

BLOG TOUR: Violent Ends by Jessica Hawkins

Violent Ends Ebook CoverBook: Violent Ends

Series: White Monarch #2

Author: Jessica Hawkins

Release date: 18 June 2019

Main characters: Natalia de la Rosa (née Cruz), unwilling new bride of Cristiano de la Rosa, head of a notorious cartel.

Blurb:

I had a life, love, and future to give.
Until my enemy took a wife.

The devil has a name, and it’s Cristiano de la Rosa. On my wedding day, he was the last man I expected to see standing at the altar. He wants to make me his queen. His brother wants to rescue his princess.

Getting Cristiano to lose control becomes the name of the game, and the stakes are life and death. But as truth and lies blur, loyalty is tested, and our chemistry threatens to reach the melting point, the prize grows less clear. Either freedom no longer means what I think it does, or Cristiano is as devious as everyone says, and he’s mastered the art of playing my mind.

All I know for certain is that nothing is certain. And all you need to know? This is a love story.
But even love stories have to end.

Why you should read it: I really am loving this series for its suspense, the excitement factor and yes, its ‘forced marriage’ trope. (This particular trope, when done well, really does keep my interest and yes, it’s a very guilty pleasure!) Natalia is getting to grips with her new life and determined to find a way out of it. I enjoyed her tenacity and her never-say-die attitude. She has made the best out of a bad situation, has had her heart stomped on, but will not stop fighting. Her chemistry with Cristiano was super hot – like incandescent hot. It blazed off the pages and proved to be THE slowest burn I have perhaps ever read.  It really kept me on the edge of my seat. I do need closure however – the entire book is practically foreplay and I cannot wait for the payoff between these two characters! The pacing of the book was spot on in my opinion – it didn’t drag and it didn’t zip by.

What you may not like: Natalia is 20 – she sometimes thinks like a 20 year old, and her assumptions and tendency to jump to conclusions occasionally grated on me. I did want to shout ‘Just open your eyes and look around!’ The book also has some violence (the clue is in the title) so if you’re not into mafia/gangster-type books, then I’m not sure why you’re contemplating reading book 2! Other than that, it was a very exciting story and I really need the concluding book before November! Come on!

Rating: 5/5 for a truly enjoyable, creative and sexy read. I don’t want to hasten the end of summer, but I am looking forward to book 3’s release in the autumn!

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Stuck With You by Roya Carmen

 

A man and a woman are smiling at each other, their heads bowed close to one anotherBook: Stuck With You

Series: a One Week novella

Author: Roya Carmen

Release date: 20th June 2019

Main characters: Corrie Macmillan, soon-to-be-divorcee, eager to get away from all of her coupled up friends. Jacob Macmillan, Corrie’s soon to be ex-husband, who isn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet.

Plot: Corrie loves her friends dearly. They have seen her through some difficult times and vice-versa. When her friends’ happy situations serve to highlight the areas that are lacking in her life, Corrie knows it’s time for a change of scene. A little time away in the countryside will help her get her head together.

When she borrows a cottage from a friend, she’s astonished and a little miffed to see Jacob, her soon-to-be ex, has had a similar idea and has no intention of leaving the cottage to her, once it becomes clear that they’ve been double booked. Corrie is determined to go ahead with her week of rest and recuperation, despite Jacob’s presence. What does it matter if they still have a powerful connection and chemistry that won’t quit? She may not be completely over Jacob, no he over her, but she’s determined to be an adult and move on – for the both of them…

Why you should read it: This was a sweet, sexy and short conclusion to a very entertaining series. The friends are all so different and I’ve enjoyed all of their adventures and their HEAs. Corrie was the support character in those books so it was occasionally difficult to get a handle on her character. This novella peeks beneath the barbed comments and outrageous behaviour. We get to see what makes Corrie tick and the reasons why she wants to end her marriage. The story was quite sad in places and many women who are going through a similar situation may be able to relate.

What you may not like: Corrie does have quite a sad view of herself that made me feel really bad for her. Perhaps those who have been through similar issues may take exception to it, perhaps not. Perhaps the story was tied up a little too neatly for some readers’ taste, maybe dealing with difficult themes in a novella was ambitious, but I think this was the ending that would make a HEA happy possible for Corrie.

Rating: 4/5 for a heartwarming conclusion to a great series.

Release blitz: Violent Ends by Jessica Hawkins

Title: Violent Ends
Series: White Monarch #2
Author: Jessica Hawkins
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 18, 2019

 

BLURB
I had a life, love, and future to give.
Until my enemy took a wife.
The devil has a name, and it’s Cristiano de la Rosa. On my wedding day, he was the last man I expected to see standing at the altar. He wants to make me his queen. His brother wants to rescue his princess.

Getting Cristiano to lose control becomes the name of the game, and the stakes are life and death. But as truth and lies blur, loyalty is tested, and our chemistry threatens to reach the melting point, the prize grows less clear. Either freedom no longer means what I think it does, or Cristiano is as devious as everyone says, and he’s mastered the art of playing my mind.

All I know for certain is that nothing is certain. And all you need to know? This is a love story.
But even love stories have to end.

 

GOODREADS LINK: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44099229-violent-ends

PURCHASE LINKS

US: https://amzn.to/2InBV2i
UK: https://amzn.to/31eYLlx
CA: https://amzn.to/2WlaV8K
AU: https://amzn.to/2WPcrUT
Apple Books: https://apple.co/2WsMNFS
B&N: http://bit.ly/31enA0Q
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2HXVDTp
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2HXW5RB

 

AUTHOR BIO

Jessica Hawkins is a USA Today bestselling author known for her “emotionally gripping” and “off-the-charts hot” romance. Dubbed “queen of angst” by both peers and readers for her smart and provocative work, she’s garnered a cult-like following of fans who love to be torn apart…and put back together.

She writes romance both at home in New York City and around the world, a coffee shop traveler who bounces from café to café with just a laptop, headphones, and a coffee cup. She loves to keep in close touch with her readers, mostly via Facebook, Instagram, and her mailing list.

AUTHOR LINKS

Mailing List: http://www.jessicahawkins.net/mailing-list.html
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1nJHDjg
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jessicahawkinsauthor
Website: http://www.jessicahawkins.net
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jess_hawk
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jessica_hawkins
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jessica-hawkins
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jhauthor
Snail mail list: http://bit.ly/jessicahawkinsmailbox

 

Blog tour: One Man by Lisa Renee Jones

unnamedBook: One Man

Series: The Naked Trilogy book 1

Author: Lisa Renee Jones

Release date: 11 June 2019

Main characters: Emma Knight, daughter to the late business tycoon who founded Knight hotels. Jax North, successful businessman in his own right, determined to get revenge on the Knight clan.

Plot: Emma Knight has recently lost her father – a well-known tycoon and despite the grief, she is battling with the knowledge that he wasn’t the man she thought he was. In fact, he seems to want to control her life even beyond the grave by some peculiar stipulations laid out in his will.

Done with being a pawn in her family’s machinations, Emma is not about to roll with the punches. She’s sick of being pushed around and will not be anymore. When she meets Jax North, she’s struck by their similarities, but is also wary about his motivations – could his agenda see her caught in the crosshairs and  hurt in the process? The pair know that they face some insurmountable obstacles – but they cannot stay away from each other. Will love and lust win out against family loyalty?

Why you should read it: Oh my goodness! I haven’t read a family saga like this in a while. It really started the series with a bang! Emma is plucky, smart and eager to live her own life, while trying desperately to get to the bottom of her family’s secrets. Meeting Jax when she does creates further complications she doesn’t need in the already complicated life she lives. She’s unable to trust anyone and I was on the edge of my seat reading this story. Everyone has an agenda, and I feel for Emma’s predicament. Her chemistry with Jax was palpable and the pair burn up the pages! I hope they’ll be able to maintain that intensity across the next two books as it was hot, hot, hot!

What you may not like: You’re going to have to be patient with this trilogy – there will be cliffhangers and there will be gaps between the next instalments. If you don’t like waiting  (guilty!) then this will be difficult – but come on, it’s good to delay gratification, right? Or so I’m told.

Rating: 5/5 for an explosive start to the Naked Trilogy. I truly hope the suspense and twists and turns can be maintained through the series as I’m truly on board and greedy for more!

Explore the series

ONE MAN (book one) – Available Now

Apple → https://apple.co/2FdPi4R

Amazon Universal → http://mybook.to/OneMan

Nook → http://bit.ly/2XYQwsb

Kobo → http://bit.ly/2CkxRhj


ONE WOMAN (book two) – out September 17th

Apple → https://apple.co/2UIl17P

Amazon Universal → http://mybook.to/OneWoman

Nook → http://bit.ly/2Zb1uKK

Kobo → http://bit.ly/2wMXmEx


TWO TOGETHER (book three) – November 19th

Apple → https://apple.co/2Xg5ZCY

Amazon Universal → http://mybook.to/TwoTogether

Nook → http://bit.ly/2I43qPv

Kobo → http://bit.ly/2K6pdZe

BLOG TOUR: To Love a Prince by Nana Malone

cover nana malone to love a princeBook: To Love a Prince

Series: Prince duet #2

Author: Nana Malone

Release date: 21 May 2019

Main characters: Ariel Scott, security expert trying to figure out who wants her lover, Prince Tristan out of the way. Prince Tristan, close to getting everything he wants, but still with so many secrets…

Plot: Ariel is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding Tristan’s enemies. He won’t open up about the secrets he’s keeping, therefore she’s resolved to take matters into her own hands…with the Queen’s help.

Tristan has Ariel back in his life and he’s keen to keep it that way. The secrets of his past must out, but he wants to hold on to Ariel for as long as he can. Once she knows the truth, he’s sure she won’t want anything to do with him. He just needs a little more time.

Ariel knows that Tristan isn’t being completely honest with her, but she’s willing to let that slide for now. She has a killer to find and needs to identify the members of the Guard who aren’t loyal to the Crown. She’s closing in on the perpetrator(s), but as one mystery is solved, another pops up in its place. Will she manage to decipher them all before another attempt is made on the man she loves? Time is running out…

Why you should read it: My goodness! This book had action, romance, lovers’ spats and intrigue in spades! I loved the multiple POVs and really enjoyed the insights from the other peripheral characters. This instalment had a lot of ground to cover and the secrets and lies kept coming. I loved the mystery and the burgeoning relationship between Ariel and Tristan. The misunderstandings were done with, so the pair were working on building their trust in their future and their relationship. The book was hot, hot, hot. As a couple, there was mutual respect and the female characters ran the show in this book!

What you may not like: Not much to hate on here. It was full of action, the angst was low, it was just good, old-fashioned romantic suspense that kept me turning the pages and desperate to get my fill!

Rating: 5/5 for a truly satisfying end to the duet – and a doozie of a segue into Zia’s adventure. I’m so ready!

Holding Out by Serena Bell

Book: Holding Out

Series: Returning Home #4

Author: Serena Bell

Release date: 21 May 2019

Main characters: Becca Drake, younger sister to Alia, and drifting along through life. Griffin Ambrose, mutual friend, supposed good time guy who hides his pain down deep.

 

Blurb:

His friend’s little sister has just asked him for a BIG favor. The trouble is, once won’t be enough … for either of them.

The answer has to be no, of course. No way Griff Ambrose is going to help Becca Drake solve her inexperience issues. Not only is she his friend’s sister, but Griff doesn’t do commitment—not since the day he came home from war to find his house empty and his wife gone.

But he can’t get Becca’s request—or pretty much anything else about her—out of his head. What can it hurt, anyway? If it’s awkward afterwards, they can just avoid each other. Right?

Becca Drake has turned her life around, and she’s proud of how much butt she’s kicking. The shy girl with the self-esteem problem has been shown the door, and New Becca’s in the driver’s seat. There’s just one more demon she has to exorcise. Her lack of experience is messing up her romantic life. Guys who might be okay with giving her a test drive act like they’re being auditioned for marriage when they find out exactly what she’s never done.

Griff is the perfect candidate to do the deed: He’s her friend, he’s hot as heck, and neither of them wants anything serious.

Then Becca’s job goes belly up and she takes a temporary position at the veterans’ retreat where Griff works. Now she and Griff can’t stay out of each other’s way—and their entanglement keeps getting messier—and hotter. Worst of all, it’s getting harder and harder for Becca and Griff to lie to themselves about what they really want…

Why you should read it: Oh how I love Ms. Bell! And I have a particular fondness for this series too. All of the books in this series deal with some pretty hefty issues such as PTSD and both physical and mental trauma. At NO point did it feel inauthentic, or as though there was an agenda behind the plot. It’s good storytelling – making you care about these characters for their humanity. I have read some books set in the military world and some have been good, and others have basically read like recruitment campaigns. This series has neither sought to glamourise,  nor demonise the military, it has been a significant part of the story, but the connections between the characters are human ones. I connected to these characters because I responded to their vulnerability and their search for love. I loved Becca and Griff because they have no clue what they ultimately want out of life, or how to get there (Hello! I hear you!). They’ve both been through periods of difficulty, and are keen to move on with their lives, but are unsure how. Their attraction and their relationship grew at a steady pace and I enjoyed the realness of it. Griff is a good guy – he’s not an alpha, and he’s not a jerk, he’s just trying to get his life back on track and avoiding heartbreak if he can. Becca has also been through the mill, but she’s not sitting around having a pity party.  She is trying to go get her life. She also has her head firmly screwed on. I can’t tell you the number of books I read by women authors that seek to slut shame other female characters in the book – this was not a part of this storyline and I was so thankful that Becca actually calls it out at one point in the book! I want to read more characters like this!

What you may not like: I’m not too sure – this book is low on angst and manufactured drama – if you’re used to elaborate scenarios and engineered plotlines to create endless misunderstandings between the characters, then this may not be the read for you. There is some interference from well-meaning but overbearing family members, but that’s the extent of it! I enjoyed this book for its lack of drama for drama’s sake – it was engaging and real and that’s what I needed.

Rating: 5/5 for a sweet, sexy and funny read. I loved it. Hope you do too.

 

Buy links:

https://serenabell.com/r/HoldingOut-Amazon

https://serenabell.com/r/HoldingOut-Apple

https://serenabell.com/r/HoldingOut-Kobo

https://serenabell.com/r/HoldingOut-Nook

https://serenabell.com/r/HoldingOut-Google

https://serenabell.com/r/HoldingOut-Goodreads

https://serenabell.com/r/HoldingOut-Bookbub

 

 

Blog Tour: Concerto by Skye Warren

Book: Concerto

Series: North security #2

Author: Skye Warren

Release date: 14 May 2019

Main characters: Samantha Brooks, violinist and child prodigy who is learning to stand on her own two feet. Liam North, former guardian, sometimes lover, the man who wants to protect her from anyone who would harm her. Even himself.

Blurb:

Samantha Brooks stands onstage as the curtain rises. Her dreams are coming true. She doesn’t know her nightmare is coming too.

The spotlight lands on Samantha Brooks. Years of practice build to the opening night of a global tour. She plays her heart out, but there are darker forces underneath the stage.

There are eyes watching from the wings.

Liam North fights to keep her safe with every weapon he owns. She’s his greatest pride — and his greatest weakness. The danger comes from somewhere no one expected. Betrayal threatens to destroy everything he’s built. His business. His family. His life.

When the curtain falls, only one of them will be left standing.

Why you should read it: Oh my goodness! This book was anything but filler! You know how sometimes with a trilogy, books 1 and 3 have you hooked, but book 2 just kind of ambles along and doesn’t seem to know its purpose? Yeah, that didn’t happen with this book I’m happy to report! Samantha is no longer the wide-eyed ingenue she was in book 1. She’s got a lot to learn – she’s only 18, but she’s determined to take responsibility for her own actions and her love life. She wants Liam and knows he wants her too, but he won’t let the possibility of their being together take root. He’s the flip flop in the book – he’s made weak by her but leads her a merry dance by blowing hot and cold. She correctly calls him on it and reacts with maturity.  She doesn’t weep and wail or stomp around throwing tantrums. She’s young (as I have said) but she really starts to come into her own in this book. We learn a lot about her and also more about the state of Liam’s mind. I understand his reticence to take things further, but I wanted to slap him at times for his contrary ways.

What you may not like: Well, this wouldn’t be a Skye Warren book if it didn’t raise eyebrows or make you take a close look at uncomfortable dynamics. The age difference may not sit well with you, (I’m conflicted about it) but I tell myself this is fiction. FICTION. The intrigue happening in the background was too delicious and I found myself engaging equally with that plot and the other members of the performance troop, than simply the main love story. The plot has still lots of questions that remain to be answered and I want to find out ALL THE ANSWERS!

Rating: 4/5 for an intriguing and exciting book 2 – I cannot wait for Sonata to finally get some closure!

Pre-order your copy today:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2HXZQGY

AppleBooks: https://apple.co/2JLcOdR

Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/ConcertoSW

Nook: http://bit.ly/2V0BIqT

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2Wp15ms

Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2HWGDWg

Start the series with OVERTURE:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2TWpWgG

AppleBooks: https://apple.co/2TPpoZz

Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/Overture

Nook: http://bit.ly/2su8Bj5

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2RraYCa

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2ANRUDX

Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2GMaxMv

COVER REVEAL: The Trouble With Love by Claire Contreras

The Trouble With Love, an all new, contemporary romance by New York Times Bestselling Author Claire Contreras, is coming May 15 and we have the stunning cover!

9DB1E719-C9FF-4488-9925-7C0EB75D3177

Cover Designer: Hang Le

Things on my wishlist:

1. Start a new, awesome job

2. Create the perfect dating app

3. Stop dating douchebags

Things that actually happen:

1. Got a job in my dream tech company

2. Created a workplace dating app for said company

3. Was matched Bennett, who happens to own the company and is also my brother’s best friend

They say when it rains, it pours, but this is some serious BS. It doesn’t help that Bennett was the man I had my one last night stand with. It definitely doesn’t help that he seems to want me just as much as I want him. The issue is, he won’t do anything about it, but then we’re forced to attend a tech conference in Vegas and I think it may just be what I need to turn this thing around.

New goal: get my brother’s best friend out of my system by all means necessary.

The Trouble With Love is a standalone contemporary romance.

Text BOOK to 21000 for a release day text from Claire

Check out Claire’s FB page for a chance to win two ARCs (one for you, one for a friend)

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2J8qiyX

About Claire:

Claire Contreras is a New York Times Best Selling Author. Her books range from romantic suspense to contemporary romance and are currently translated in seven different languages. 

She lives in Miami, Fl with her husband, two adorable boys, three bulldogs, and two stray cats that she refuses to admit are hers (even though they live on her porch, she named them, and continues to feed them). When she’s not writing, she’s usually lost in a book. 

Connect with Claire:

Website: http://www.clairecontrerasbooks.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CContrerasBooks/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Claricon/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ClaireContreras/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/ccontrerasbooks/
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2BgzLQ0

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