Faithless Elector / Dark Network by James McCrone-Reviews, Guest Post & Giveaway

Faithless Elector/ Dark Network (Imogen Tragar Series 1 & 2) by James McCrone-Reviews, Guest Post & Giveaway

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Dark Network
Imogen Tragar #2
by James McCrone
Genre: adult, contemporary, political suspense, thriller
Release Date: October 20, 2017

Dark Network

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / Chapters Indigo /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date Octboer 20, 2017

The FBI is leaking, the Attorney General is being undermined, politicians are spinning, and social media is in an uproar. No, it’s not another day at the White House, but the world of Dark Network.

Imogen Trager, the determined heroine of the “highly suspenseful” Faithless Elector is still searching for the truth, and the nation is without a president-elect. She’ll have to fight against time, a sinister network—even her own colleagues—to defeat the conspiracy to steal the presidency. Left on the edges of the investigation, she joins forces with Trey Kelly, an FBI network specialist, also a Bureau outsider. Together, they struggle to find the back door the conspirators may have left unlocked. They’ll have to hurry. There’s only a month until the inauguration of a new president..

••••

REVIEW: DARK NETWORK is the second installment in James McCrone’s contemporary, adult IMOGEN TRAGER political drama, suspense thriller series focusing on FBI Agent Imogen ‘Gen’ Trager and the investigation into the electoral process of the United States of America. DARK NETWORK can be read as a stand alone but I recommend reading the series in order as Dark Network picks up immediately after the events of book one Faithless Elector.

NOTE: If you have not read FAITHLESS ELECTOR there may be some spoilers in my review. DARK NETWORK and FAITHLESS ELECTOR are fictional story lines and do not reflect the current political situation in the USA (conspiracy theories, aside).

Told from several third person points of view DARK NETWORK begins three days after the events of book one Faithless Elector wherein Agent Imogen Trager and Professor Duncan Calder uncovered a political nightmare of voter tampering and murder for hire in an effort to elect Republican James Christopher to the highest office in the land.

Imogen Trager has been held in seclusion by the FBI where she now faces an interrogation about the events leading to the death of rogue FBI agent Thomas Kurtz, and the shooting of her boss Agent Doug Pollack, and lover Duncan Calder. With the mysterious deaths of seven ‘electors’ and the murder of three more ‘faithless electors’ Imogen and the FBI will continue to search for the ‘dark network’ responsible starting with the voter discrepancies in Illinois. Imogen’s own investigation will pull in the FBI’s underground IT specialist Trey Kelly allowing the Agents and investigators to follow a group of unfamiliar names with connections to high ranking officials both in and out of the political eye. What ensues is the intense and thrilling manhunt as, once again, the ongoing discovery of a broken trail of bodies will hopefully lead to the people in charge.

DARK NETWORK looks at the American electoral process including the damaging potential of voter fraud; of ballot stuffing; threats and intimidation at the highest levels; and a murderous plot to ensure the ‘right’ candidate is ‘elected’ to the job. The intrigue is heart pounding; the action is full throttle; the threats are real but the sources indeterminate. The FBI knows there is a mole amid their ranks but uncovering the truth reveals a deeper connection to an unnamed source.

James McCrone pulls the reader into an exciting and tension filled tale that will captivate your imagination; blow your mind about potential conspiracies; and make you wonder when it all went wrong. Fiction that reads like reality; reality that feels like fiction-you be the judge where the black and white slowly bleeds into grey.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

___________________

Faithless ElectorFAITHLESS ELECTOR
(Imogen Trager #1)
by James McCrone
Genre: adult, contemporary, political, suspense, thriller

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / BAM / Chapters Indigo /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date March 2016

Everyone thought the election was over… A young researcher uncovers a series of mysterious deaths among Electors and must race against time and a secret, deadly efficient conspiracy. In an era characterized as cynical and paranoid, Faithless Elector poses a creditable threat to the integrity of the electoral process and the selection of the president. Faithless Elector is a timely, compelling novel for our turbulent times.

•••••••••••

REVIEW: FAITHLESS ELECTOR is the first installment in James McCrone’s contemporary, adult IMOGEN TRAGER political suspense thriller series focusing on FBI Agent Imogen ‘Gen’ Trager and the investigation into the electoral process of the USA. This is thirty two year old FBI Agent and statistician Imogen Trager and forty seven year old Political Science Professor Duncan Calder’s story line.

NOTE: FAITHLESS ELECTOR is a fictional story line and does not reflect the current political situation in the USA (conspiracy theories, aside).

SOME BACKGROUND INFORMATION and DEFINITIONS: In the USA ‘Faithless Electors’ are members of the Electoral College who do not vote for their party’s designated candidate.(http://www.fairvote.org/faithless_electors )

The Electoral College consists of 538 electors. A majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect the President. A state’s entitled allotment of electors equals the number of members in its Congressional delegation: one for each member in the House of Representatives plus two for the State’s Senators. The meeting of the electors takes place on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December after the presidential election. The electors meet in their respective states, where they cast their votes for President and Vice President on separate ballots. Each state’s electoral votes are counted in a joint session of Congress on the 6th of January in the year following the meeting of the electors. The Vice President, as President of the Senate, presides over the count and announces the results of the vote. The President of the Senate then declares which persons, if any, have been elected President and Vice President of the United States.

The President-Elect takes the oath of office and is sworn in as President of the United States on January 20th in the year following the Presidential election.(https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/about.html )

Told from several third person points of view including Imogen Trager and Duncan Calder FAITHLESS ELECTOR follows the investigation into the fictional 2016 US Presidential election wherein Diane Redmond is elected the first female president of the United States with an Electoral College difference of only four votes 271- 267. Graduate student Matthew Yamashita, under the mentorship of Professor Duncan Calder, begins his doctoral dissertation on party identification beginning with an analysis of the recent election, and the examination of the members of the Electoral College only to discover a series of anomalies including the ‘accidental’ deaths of seven electors. Matthew’s research will catch the attention of some powerful people who will leave a trail of bodies in their wake including Matthew himself. Enter Duncan Calder and his former Political Science student FBI Agent Imogen Trager who will be caught in a storm of mystery and intrigue involving the FBI, Attorney General, and the powerful political elite.

We are introduced to grad student Matthew Yamashita; Imogen’s FBI partner Agent Thomas Kurtz, and her boss Agent Doug Pollack.

FAITHLESS ELECTOR reads like a sociological study; a political science and statistical crash course into the United States election process and the fall out of voter tampering at the highest levels. The intrigue is heart pounding as Duncan is targeted by an unknown source that is determined to shut down anyone connected with Matthew and Duncan’s original investigation. A cross country journey finds our hero struggling to survive as each step closer to the truth brings Duncan closer to his own demise. With FBI Agent Imogen Trager working alongside, our couple will be caught in political war of conspiracy, not of their making, as they face down the people willing to kill for their own agenda and candidate.

James McCrone writes an amazing and timely thriller with a little bit of romance thrown in for good measure; a fast paced, intense story of political intrigue and mystery; a relevant look into the political process and the real potential for fraudulent elections. The premise is intellectually stimulating, engaging and realistic; the characters are colorful, inspiring and passionate. FAITHLESS ELECTOR is a fascinating and riveting look at the conceivability of the unimaginable.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

Guest post-White and Red

Sailing Too Close to the Wind
by James McCrone

A well-crafted political thriller should feel “real.” To do so, it has to flirt with real events. But sometimes I worry I’m sailing just a bit too close to the wind.

In search of verisimilitude, an author works to capture the mood of a given time, to color the scene with familiar, plausible events. I wrote the draft of Faithless Elector years ago, and it was finally published it March of 2016, long before either candidate was even the their party’s nominee. Frankly, as someone writing a thriller, I was less interested in what was really happening, than in working to capture the mood of the time, the sharp, singed odor of righteous, sanctimonious, incendiary anger; the mistrust and the erosion of constitutional order. That, itself, proved to be too close to the truth.

The book, of course, is not about this most recent presidential campaign, but about what could have happened. Indeed, it could all still happen: the weaknesses in the Electoral College system exploited by the Faithless Elector conspirators, sadly, are all too real. Worse, despite my best efforts to remain fictional, Faithless Elector presaged real-world Faithless Electors casting protest votes, as well as a campaign calling the very act of voting into question and using vote-rigging as a campaign tactic. There were even “manufactured” news stories. (How I wish I’d thought to call it “fake news!”)

In both books, the technical aspects of the conspiracy were the hardest for me to get right. In Faithless Elector I had to become something of an expert on Electors and the Electoral College. I had to ground myself in Constitutional law and statistical analysis models—not so I could bore you with it, gentle readers, but so I could portray those aspects accurately and maintain the pace of a page-turning thriller. Obviously, Faithless Elector doesn’t end in the same way as the true election. It was never meant as prophecy. Nevertheless, I wondered and worried about sailing my fictional course too close to the wind. I comforted myself, wrongly it turns out, that Dark Network would not be so potentially controversial or inadvertently relevant. How wrong I was!

As I worked to finish the draft with my editor back in April, the news was full of hacking, chicanery and fake news; and worse, the FBI itself had come under scrutiny, had itself become part of the story. Unfortunately (for me), to write Dark Network, I also had to become versed in the workings of the FBI, its hierarchy, its processes. I had to do research on how to track and hack cell phones, how to mask GPS signals. I had to figure out how much information was shared between clandestine organizations and the FBI, under what circumstances and by what mechanisms. At one point, I worried the FBI would come knocking, wondering what I was up to!

The epigram for Dark Network comes from Adam Smith, the 18th century Scottish philosopher: “Virtue is more to be feared than vice, because its excesses are not subject to the regulation of conscience.”

Dark Network is about power. The umbral conspirators are bent on taking power for themselves at the expense of everything we hold dear. The chilling, dark recognition at the heart of the plot is that the conspirators would say they were seizing power in order to preserve everything we hold dear. They are doing the right thing, they would say. And people who are doing the right thing are rarely troubled by scruples or conscience. Why would they be?

The tension for the characters in the novel centers on how far they’re prepared to go in defense of their own principles before they’ve abandoned them all. Let’s hope there are fewer real-world analogues this time out. But, given how many things I’ve written have come to pass, when you read the third and final book in the series, Consent of the Governed (fall 2018), you’ll know why I dread the sharp knock at the door.

About The Author

Follow James: Website / Twitter /Facebook / Goodreads

James McCroneJames McCrone is the author of the Imogen Trager novels, Faithless Elector and Dark Network, suspense-thrillers about clandestine threats to the presidency. Coming next, Consent of the Governed!

James’s work both on an off the page deals with justice, politics and issues of personal and social responsibility. He received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from the University of Washington in Seattle. He is back in the US, in Philadelphia, after a year abroad in Oxford, UK.

giveaway

James is graciously offering a signed, paper copy of FAITHLESS ELECTOR to ONE (1) lucky commenter, and a signed paper copy of DARK NETWORK to ONE (1) other lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

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3. Please LIKE and Follow James McCrone on Twitter or Goodreads

4. LIKE us on FACEBOOK and then click GET NOTIFICATION under ‘liked’ for an additional entry.

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8. Giveaway open to USA and CANADA only

9.. Giveaway runs from October 21-25, 2017

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Concierge (Black Raven #3) by Stella Barcelona-Review, Interview & Giveaway

Concierge (Black Raven #3) by Stella Barcelona-Review, Interview & Giveaway

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CONCIERGE
Black Raven #3
by Stella Barcelona
Release Date: September 27, 2017
Genre: adult ,contemporary, suspense

Concierge

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N /

About the book:

The Concierge delivers anything…for a price.
A provider in the underworld of human trafficking, the Concierge fills deviant orders of an exclusive clientele with inventory collected from people who live on the streets. As client requests are delivered, a personal obsession with New Orleans artist Andi Hutchenson festers…until the predator’s quest is possession..

Andi Hutchenson lives in a world of fear-fueled shadows. Two and a half years ago, Andi was kidnapped, tortured, and left for dead. Since then, crippling fear has ruled her life. Round the clock security enables her to leave her French Quarter home to paint the world around her, but Andi’s past is about to collide with her lonely present.

Gabe Hernandez believes his client is safe…but she isn’t. Protecting Andi is a given, but Black Raven Agent Gabe Hernandez is captivated by her and wants to entice her back to the land of the living. Yet with each tug on the lifeline he offers, Gabe is pulled deeper into Andi’s world, where the dividing line between imagined horrors and real-life demons is whisper thin.

••••••••

Review:

Concierge begins with Andi Hutchenson believing that she’s seen a young woman kidnapped in broad daylight in the French Quarter, not far from her home. The Black Raven agents assigned to her detail saw nothing. Which causes Andi more stress because she doesn’t know if the agents are lacking or if she’s having hallucinations. Due to the fact that Andi is best friends with one of Black Raven’s founding partners, who still feels somewhat responsible for what happened to Andi, she is a high priority client. When she fires yet another agent, they send in Gabe Hernandez.

Agent Hernandez is known for his quick wit and his charm, but even more for his almost empathic abilities. Once he makes the scene, it doesn’t take too long for him to ascertain that there is more to Andi than meets the eye. She has basically shut herself off from society, the same society that she once enjoyed, almost to the extreme. But what makes her stand out for Gabe, other than being a beyond gifted artist, is the way she sees herself….broken. That is NOT what he sees. He sees a beautiful, determined woman who is doing her best to navigate through what’s happened to her and try and make herself whole again. He makes it his mission to get her see to herself the way he does: unstoppable.

Andi tries to resist Gabe’s charm. She’s never even known another agent’s name. He invades her space, almost daring her to fire him, which she wants to do, but for some reason can’t. She eventually starts to feel something she hasn’t felt for two and a half years….safe. Just as Gabe starts to convince her that he’s the real deal, and so is she, evil rears its ugly head and upsets the calm they’ve been striving for. As Gabe and almost the entire Black Raven team race against the clock to save Andi, all he can do is pray that she’s still alive.

Wow……….just wow.

Concierge is an intense story from beginning to end. Your heart breaks for Andi and what she’s endured. It will also beat with pride as she is determined to make it out the other side of what happened to her. Yes, there are times that she doesn’t think she’ll be able to do it. Yes, there are times that she second guesses all aspects of her life that led up to her being kidnapped and tortured. Gabe is just what she needed. Of course, he’s charming and all of that, but it’s his empathic side that allows him to see Andi in a way that she doesn’t even see herself. All she has to do is believe in herself and in his steadfast support. Easier said than done when you’ve been through what she’s been through.

I have to say that there are a couple of parts of this book that are very dark. One particular scene in the beginning almost had me putting the book down, but I will say that I’m glad I didn’t. The Concierge (character) is a twisted, perverse being and Barcelona held nothing back in her portrayal of that character. Thankfully, there are only a few scenes where we are subjected to the Concierge’s whims. With all of that said, this book is by far my favorite in the series, and that’s saying a lot. Intense really isn’t a good enough word to describe it, but that’s what I’m going with. There is also not a problem reading this as a standalone. If you’re a fan of fast paced thrillers with phenomenal leads, sizzling romance and awesome secondary characters, you will never go wrong with one of Barcelona’s stories. I cannot wait for the next installment. Well done, Stella Barcelona! Very, very well done!!! (p.s. Stella Barcelona, please tell me Ragno’s story is coming soon!!!!)

Reading Order and Previous Reviews
Deceived
Shadows
Jigsaw
Concierge

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Vickie M.

Interview

TRC: Hi Stella and welcome back to The Reading Café.

stella barcelonaStella: Thank you so much for inviting me. It’s great to be here.

TRC: Congratulations on the release of CONCIERGE, the third book in your BLACK RAVEN series.

Stella: Thank you!

TRC: We would like to start with some background information for anyone who doesn’t know Stella Barcelona. Would you please tell us something about yourself?

Follow Stella: Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook

Stella: I write romantic thrillers. When I’m not writing, I’m a lawyer. I work for a court in New Orleans, Louisiana. I’ve lived in and around New Orleans my entire life. During one very special time in my past, I lived in an apartment in the heart of the French Quarter, in Jackson Square. I’m also a dog lover, and I have two adorable papillons, who appear occasionally on my website and my Facebook page.

TRC: What has been happening in your life since last we spoke?

Stella: I’ve been busy writing! As you know, Deceived was published in 2014. Since then, I released Shadows and Jigsaw, and most recently I released Concierge.

I’ve also revamped my website, stellabarcelona.com. I write blogs from time to time, some book related, some not. I’ve included book club discussion questions on my website for each of my novels; the discussion questions give insight regarding themes that intrigued me as I wrote each novel. I also have an “Ask Stella” blog, where people ask questions that I answer on my site. I love to hear from readers, so please visit my website and say hello!

ConciergeTRC: Would you please tell us something about the premise of CONCIERGE and THE BLACK RAVEN series?

Stella: “Black Raven” is shorthand for a continuing character in my novels, the security agency Black Raven Private Security Contractors. Each story that I write in the Black Raven series involves a high-stakes job for one or more agents.

In Concierge, A Black Raven Novel, after spending time in far away places in Shadows and Jigsaw, the action returns to New Orleans, Louisiana. The story involves a private security detail provided by Black Raven for an artist, where the job quickly goes awry in unexpected ways.

Concierge is set in and around a neighborhood where I once lived—the French Quarter. In the story, I provide a local’s glimpse of the chaos that ensues in the days leading to Fat Tuesday. It’s a thriller, where the action takes place along Royal Street, Frenchmen Street, Esplanade Avenue, and beyond.

Twists and turns will take the reader along French Quarter streets, into a world where peril ensnares vulnerable people who make the streets their home. In particular, a young musician who goes by the name “Pic” plays an important role in Concierge. Pic, a runaway who lives on the streets, was inspired by people I encountered while living in the Pontalba Apartments, in Jackson Square.

TRC: What kind of research/plotting do you do, and how long do you spend researching /plotting before beginning a book?

Stella: Although I spend significant pre-writing time conceptualizing each story, the time that I spend researching and plotting varies with each book.

In the pre-writing time, I usually develop the parameters of the Black Raven job that will drive the story. From there, I research thematic elements. My research results tend to drive some of the plot points. I add character development into the mix, and then I research the setting.

I develop points for chapters and scenes and lay everything out on a plot board, following, somewhat loosely, the method of plotting by color I learned from fellow author, and friend, Cherry Adair. I tend to rearrange everything for a while and obsess even more about various plot points and characterization. When I’m really, really tired of plotting, I start writing.

TRC: How do you select the names for your characters?

Stella: Names are difficult! I’m somewhat random with name selection in the beginning, then have to change the names midway through the story. For example, when writing Jigsaw I realized I had several characters with names that started with an “M.” It was confusing, so I had to come up with new names. It wasn’t fun, because I had been working on the story for months. It was hard to think of the characters with their new names.

TRC: How did publishing your first book change your writing process?

Stella: If anything, it made me more determined to be a productive author. My goal was never to simply write one book and then stop. My goal has always been to be a storyteller. Since stories always play in my mind, I have more than one story to tell. Finding readers for Deceived, my first novel, and each subsequent novel, has made the entire process a worthwhile, rewarding endeavor.

TRC: What was your hardest scene –ever-to write?

Stella: There are a few that come to mind, BUT, the hardest, by far, was one particular bridge scene in Jigsaw. I’m trying not to give too much away- but the scene takes place in Paris, on the Pont Neuf. The hero, Zeus Hernandez, has to think and act fast to stop an explosion. The scene is short, but it took me forever to write. To this day, I can’t explain why it was so difficult for me.

TRC: There is a fine line between romance, erotic, and erotica in many of today’s popular contemporary fiction. Many authors are re-issuing their previously erotic story lines with ‘cleaner’ versions without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text. What do you believe has precipitated this move or change in direction?

Stella: Though my novels have a sensual element, I don’t consider myself an erotica author. I can’t really speculate on the reasons why erotica authors may be re-issuing their books with ‘cleaner’ versions. It sounds interesting, though, and it makes me wonder whether the reverse would work as well. Should authors of non-erotic fiction re-issue their books with more erotic scenes set within?

TRC: Do you believe the cover image plays a deciding factor for many readers in the process of selecting a book or new series to read?

Stella: I believe covers are extremely important, but truly, I think the quality of the story told within is even more important than the cover. Nevertheless, because of the importance of having covers that capture the imagination of readers, I tend to be extremely selective regarding cover elements. Recently, I wrote a blog about the cover of Concierge on my website. The blog, entitled “Musings…On the Cover of Concierge,” gives a bit of insight as to the depth of my obsession with covers.

TRC: Do you listen to music while writing? If so, does the style of music influence the storyline direction? Characters?

Stella: Yes! I love to listen to music as I write. The louder it is, the better! It’s difficult to explain why music facilitates my writing, but I think the beat translates to story pacing. Fast paced songs remind me to incorporate action, while slower, more emotional songs remind me to reveal what my characters are feeling.

TRC: What do you believe is the biggest misconception people have about authors?

Stella: One misconception is that authors always feel inspired to write. In reality, at least for me, getting from the beginning to the end of a reader-worthy story is hard work that requires extreme diligence and self-discipline.

Also, I’m not sure the creative process will ever become easy, even though writing is something I love to do. I equate the difficulty that comes with producing a novel with the sort of difficulty I experienced in my third and final year of law school. The classes in that third year weren’t magically easier just because I had been through two years of law school. To perform in that third year at the level I hoped to achieve, I still had to work hard. The same goes with writing.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Stella: I’m writing my next Black Raven novel, entitled “Insertion.” It’s set in Alaska … and … Stay tuned! It will be released in 2018.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Stella: Yes – I love to hear from readers, so please reach out and say hi, either on Facebook or through my website.

TRC: Thank you Stella for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on your new release.

Stella: You’re welcome, and thank you!

Giveaway

Stella is graciously offering a $25 Amazon gift card + a hand-blown glass fleur de lis paperweight + an autographed copy of Concierge. to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

2. If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment.

3. Please LIKE and Follow Stella Barcelona on Facebook

4. LIKE us on FACEBOOK and then click GET NOTIFICATION under ‘liked’ for an additional entry.

5. Please LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

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8. Giveaway open to USA only

9.. Giveaway runs from October 13-18, 2017

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Abby, A Second Chance Novel by Tina DeSalvo-Review, Promotion and Giveaway

Abby, A Second Chance Novel by Tina DeSalvo-Review, Promotion and Giveaway

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ABBY
A Second Chance Novel
by Tina DeSalvo
Release Date: August 24, 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, woman’s fiction

Abby

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon. uk / Amazon.au /

NOTE: In honor of BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH Tina DeSalvo is donating ALL of the proceeds from all of her books sold in October on ALL platforms to the unmet needs of individuals fighting breast cancer.

Elli
Jewel
Abby
Magnolias and Sunshine

Tina Desalvo promo

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date August 24, 2017

“Abby, what I’m asking isn’t something you have on that résumé…Will the LAPD be coming to arrest you when I’m depending on you to meet the deadline?”
She shook her head. How in the hell did she know?

She comes from Hollywood Royalty, which makes her fall from grace all the more interesting to millions of people who have no idea what Abby McCord is going through. Instead of following in her family’s acting footsteps Abby made her own way as an attorney. She also joined her good friend, Elli, in raising money for a cause near and dear to her heart, until someone steals their famous donors’ money and personal information. And the police believe the thief is her. Now she’s run from one LA to another as she hides in Cane, Louisiana trying to get by until she can get home.

Too bad there isn’t a statute of limitations on the public’s memory.

Jackson Bienvenu spent his adult life in the military because he wanted to get out of Cane and away from the people who know his desperate beginnings. Now all he wants is to come home and start a life and family in the one place he knows he belongs. And, this infuriatingly secretive woman who needs work until she can move on does not fit into the future he wants.

Unfortunately, Jackson and Abby are both discovering that what your head has planned and what your heart wants don’t always work together

•••••••••

REVIEW: Abby begins with the title character hiding out in a small house at her best friend’s home in Cane after attending the wedding of a friend. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your perspective, she didn’t stay hidden long. There was a knock on the door and Abby thought if she just stayed quiet, whomever was knocking would go away……until she heard Tante Izzy’s voice. When she finally opened the door, she found not only Tante Izzy, but the ever handsome Jackson Bienvenu as well. She finally gave in to Tante Izzy and headed to the reception with them.

Abby and Elli met during their treatment for breast cancer in California. Once they kicked cancer’s butt, they started a foundation in order to raise money to aide others fighting the same battle. Unfortunately, someone, somehow, stole from the foundation and fingered Abby for the crime. Although she wasn’t arrested, she remained a person of interest. With her assets frozen and no job, she applied for various jobs in and around Cane with the idea that she’d hide out there and once her name was cleared, she would head back to her life in Los Angeles. However, when she runs into a couple of people she had applied for work with, she’s pretty much told that she won’t be hired by anyone anytime soon.

Jackson, who’s an attorney as well, has a huge project that had a hard deadline and he needs help. Once he realizes that Abby is between a rock and a hard place, he offers her a job, which Abby reluctantly accepts. She soon finds herself surprised that she is not only enjoying the job, but Jackson’s company as well. However, when someone starts stalking Abby, things get scary pretty fast. Reluctant to accept Jackson’s help, she quickly realizes that she actually needs it. What follows keeps you guessing until the very end.

Abby is an awesome addition to the Second Chance series. Abby is a wonderfully written character, whom, despite her upbringing in the glamorous world of Hollywood, is a hard worker with her feet planted firmly on the ground. She’s loyal and has a big heart. Jackson is awesome as well. His love for his family and friends will endear him to everyone and leave you swooning. He has a protective streak a mile wide, without being overbearing. I love the main characters in DeSalvo’s stories, but it is the secondary characters who keep me coming back for more. That brings me to Tante Izzy. She is, without a doubt, one of the best characters I’ve read in years, if not ever. She IS the aunt/grandmother/friend/sister that everyone would love to have. She’s funny as hell, but it is her heart that will leave everyone clamoring for more. Her group of besties are just icing on the cake. If you enjoy a simmering romance with some of the best secondary characters you’ll ever read, the Second Chance Novels are definitely for you. I cannot wait to return to Cane. Well done, Tina DeSalvo! Very, very, very well done!!!!!

 

Reading Order and previous reviews
Elli
Jewell
Abby

Reviewed by Vickie M

Copy supplied for review

The Nutracker Reimagined

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / Chapters Indigo /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 17, 2017

A MASTERPIECE OF HOLIDAY STORYTELLING…

Imagine, if you will, that it is Christmas Eve.

The candles are guttered, one by one, and a hush falls over the grand parlor. The children have gone to bed, and a tall, gloriously decorated Christmas tree looms in the shadows of the hearth’s dying embers. Beside the tree a nutcracker stands guard, its broken jaw cradled in a kerchief tied about its head. All is quiet in this dark, peaceful scene until the long case clock chimes. Dulcet tones form a gentle symphony, and the parlor comes to life.

Now, the magic happens.

Lose yourself in The Nutcracker Reimagined, a collection of eleven Christmas tales based on the most treasured characters from the famous holiday ballet, The Nutcracker. Sugarplum fairies will dance in your head, as armies of mice and legions of dolls do battle, and a wounded nutcracker and his lady fair become the stuff of which legends are made. From Arabian dancers to living flowers and hosts of angels, enjoy these tales as reimagined characters from the beloved Christmas tradition find their own happily ever after.

And as the clock’s chimes signal the approaching sunrise, you’ll awaken from these magical stories to discover it has all been a beautiful dream of a retold Christmas classic.

••••••

CHRISTMAS AT THE INN ON CLOUD HILL (Cloud Hill #1)  by Tina DeSalvo

Through the veil of freshly fallen snow, swaying Christmas lights and prancing elderly twins in tutus, Daniel and Aurora each have returned to Cloud Hill – seeking different things until a kilt-wearing handyman changes that.

About the author

Click HERE to read about Tina’s journey

Follow Tina: Goodreads / Website/ Facebook / Twitter

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Tina DeSalvo is graciously offering an ebook copy of ELLI (book 1) to 2 commenters, and and an ebook copy of THE NUTCRACKER REIMAGINED to 2 commenters.

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8.  Giveaway runs October 9-13, 2017

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Grigori by Lauren Smith – Review & Giveaway

Grigori by Lauren Smith – Review & Giveaway

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DESCRIPTION

He’s one of the last of a powerful but vanishing bloodline

Grigori Barinov is the eldest in an ancient line of dragon shifters and the guardian of his family’s lands and fortune. Sworn to protect their history and magic, he won’t rest until he neutralizes any threat to their existence. When he discovers an ancient manuscript that exposes his family and their dragon lineage has fallen into a mortal woman’s hands, he knows he must get the book back by any means necessary. If that means seducing a nosy American woman with an intoxicating scent, he is more than willing to carry her off to his palatial home deep in the heart of Russia.

She’s the one woman who could expose him to the world…

Madelyn Haynes has never fit in. As an adopted child she grew up in a loving home but never felt as though she belonged. Plagued by mysterious dreams she’s had of a silver scaled beast ever since she was a little girl, she is convinced dragons are real. While in Russia working on her PhD in mythology in order to escape the ridicule from fellow professors, she unexpectedly crosses paths with the sexy and dominating Grigori, and after just one night with the man whose eyes seem to burn, she starts to change inside. Isolated in the Russian wilderness Grigori calls home, Madelyn can’t help but fall under his sensual spell, yet something deep inside her calls out that she can’t trust him. She has to show the world dragons are real to salvage academic reputation, even if it means costing her the heart of the dragon she’s falling in love with.

 

REVIEW

5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

Lauren Smith New Series = MORE YUMMY BOOK BOYFRIENDS!  LOL

There that says it all, the end!  Just kidding!  I could never leave one of my fave authors books hanging like that .. and most definitely not the first book of a new series.

Grigori by Lauren Smith is the first book in her new series called “Brothers of Ash and Fire”.  If you like paranormal romance, particularly dragon shifters, then this may be the book for you.  I have read all of Lauren’s books be it historical and/or contemporary romance, and I love that she is breaking into paranormal as well.  A quick read I would say that absolutely flowed page to page.  A slow build with real tangles of russian history, she really nailed this one and certainly has set up nicely for the next book.

Madelyn Haynes is a sweet girl, a virgin, a little boring to be honest, has an obsession with dragon mythology, believes dragons are real .. oh and she just happens to be a true mate to a real life dragon hottie and she doesn’t know it yet.  She does however come across some serious information about dragons that she needs to exploit, but fate has something else to deliver.

Enters fate .. Grigori Barinov (that name .. seriously .. sexy), is an elder ancient dragon shifter who is in charge of guarding his clan, he is rich, successful, powerful and not liking it one bit that a sweet woman is making inquiries and getting a little too close for comfort.  So to get to the bottom of it, he whisks her away to a remote location so he can get the answers he needs.  Well his answers come in the form of mate material and a whole lot of hell is about to be unleashed because of it.

These two were PERFECT together.  This was a beautiful romance with some sexy moments shared.  I thought that Lauren did a wonderful job detailing this new new world she has created with the proper balance of character development.  We were given peeks into characters to come, introduced to enemies, given real history with story weaved into it, and another way dragon shifters can get the blood pumping.

Totally impressed Lauren, this was amazing!  I am so pumped to read the next book!  So again, if you like Lauren Smith, like paranormal and/or like dragon shifters, snag this one up for sure.  Take a chance if you aren’t familiar, I promise it is worth it!

Reviewed by Rachel
 
giveaway
Lauren is graciously offering a $25.00 Gift Card (Amazon) and a signed paper copy of a book of your choice from Lauren’s backlist (Sins and Scandal not included)  to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

2. If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment.

3. Please LIKE and Follow Lauren Smith on Facebook

4. LIKE us on FACEBOOK and then click GET NOTIFICATION under ‘liked’ for an additional entry.

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6. Please FOLLOW us on GOODREADS for an additional entry.

7. Giveaway open Internationally

8. Giveaway runs from October 7 to 11, 2017

 

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Drop Dead Gorgeous by Juliet Lyons – Review, Spotlight Tour & Giveaway

Drop Dead Gorgeous by Juliet Lyons – Review, Spotlight Tour & Giveaway

 

Swipe Right for Mr. Bite. Don’t miss Juliet Lyons’s snarky and sexy new release, Drop Dead Gorgeous!

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Description:
SWIPE RIGHT FOR MR. BITE

Mila Hart’s first experience with the hot new vampire dating site is a complete disaster. Turns out, her date is wanted for murder! But things turn around when she’s rescued by dashing vampire cop Vincent Ferrer. Dangerous and drop dead gorgeous, he’s just the vampire hottie Mila was hoping for.

Haunted by his past, Vincent can’t risk falling in love again, even if Mila charms him more than anyone he’s ever met. But when the killer from Mila’s first date seeks her out, Vincent is the only one who can protect her. Protecting his heart is a different story…

 

Review:

Drop Dead Gorgeous by Juliet Lyons is the 2nd book in her Bite Nights series.  This series is a paranormal story line revolving around a dating service for vampires and humans.  I enjoyed the first book in this series, but I thought this one was even better.  Mila Hart is our heroine, and she was a blast from the start.  When she decides to date a vampire from the V-Date internet service, it turns out to be a disaster that almost costs her life.  The handsome vampire is a serial killer, and just when she thinks her life is over, Mila is saved by a vampire cop.

Vincent Ferrer, our hero, is the detective who saves Mila, and from that moment on he is totally mesmerized by her.  Vincent is deep in finding this serial killer, but he also finds himself disturbed by his attraction to Mila, as he has not had these feelings since hundreds of years ago, when his then betrothed was killed.  Mila is also attracted to this hunk that she names “Chris Hemsworth”.  Since Vincent is not only a good detective, but he is a vampire, which enables him to kill another vampire.

What follows is Vincent’s determination to protect Mila, and do all he can to find the killer before he kills again.  Though this is somewhat exciting, the best part of this story is the relationship between Vincent and Mila.  It was not only sizzling hot, very sexy, with a wonderful couple, it was also such a fun humorous story. As I said earlier, Mila was a blast with her humor and use of TV shows that Vincent had no idea of.  I also thought Vincent was a terrific hero, and despite him being a vampire, a perfect gentleman.

I really enjoyed Drop Dead Gorgeous mainly because the main characters were lots of fun, likeable and their chemistry was off the wall.   The storyline with Mila in danger was also exciting and very well done.  Most of all Lyons humor throughout made this a fun and sexy story. If you enjoy a sweet, fun, sexy romance with an element of danger and humor, I suggest you read this series. 

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

excerpt

 

Inside the flat, I kick off my heels and turn the cold tap on full blast, grabbing a glass from the cupboard. “Do you have any aspirin?” I ask, breaking the silence.
Vincent shakes his head, face glum. “I’m sorry I listened to your conversation,” he says, picking at the edge of the kitchen island with a finger.
“It doesn’t matter,” I say quietly. “Thanks for sorting out O’Geary for me.”
He nods, frowning. “Mila—”
“Look,” I say, interrupting him. “I know what you must think of me.”
His frown deepens, eyes dark. “What do I think of you?”
“That I’m totally flaky and pathetic. What with dead rats in my bed and going on dates with serial killers and getting felt up my first week at work. If you think I don’t know how ridiculous my life is, Vincent, you’re wrong, because I do, and the truth is, I don’t know why I told my work friend you like to be tied up with silky scarves. Maybe I’ve watched too many dodgy French movies. But my point is, I know I’m not like you, with the fancy view and the starch spray in the cupboard and all this.” I circle a finger wildly in the air. “So I’m sorry that you’re stuck with me, and I’m sorry you had to show your fangs and lose your chance at a hookup with Leggy Layla from Marketing. I am sorry.”
I suck in a deep breath and take a gulp of my water. I must be drunker than I thought.
When I finally summon the courage to meet his eye, I jolt in surprise. His eyes are dark, tortured. He leans against the counter, hands gripping the edges so tightly his knuckles are whiter than bone.
“That’s the second time you mentioned those girls.” His voice is husky, throaty, as if the words are coming from some dark, forbidden place deep inside him.
“Yeah, well. They irritate me. Add that to my list of faults. I’m jealous of a group of women who wear double the recommended amount of mascara.”
“Jealous,” he repeats.
Jesus. What is up with him? He looks like a four-year-old trying to figure out an algebraic equation. “Yes. Jealous. Not usually. Just tonight. Because you were speaking to them.”
Inside, I’m well aware I’ve more or less just announced I have an enormous crush on him. But on the outside, the half-drunk, cocky Mila is still running the show.
He continues to stand, frozen. I snatch up my glass of water and slip past him into the lounge.
“Mila,” he says loudly.
I turn around at the same time he does.
“I don’t enjoy Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.”
“Yes, you do.”
“No. I don’t.” He runs a nervous hand through his dirty-blond hair. “It’s the only show where I can sit and not have to pay attention to the plotline to know what’s happening.”
I sigh. “Fine. I give up. We’ll hire a harpist for our evening entertainment.” I continue stomping toward the bedrooms—as much as it’s possible to stomp in bare feet.
A gust of air lifts the hair from the nape of my neck and, in an instant, Vincent is filling the doorway with his luscious frame. “I can’t pay attention to the plot,” he says, “because I’m too distracted.”
“Why? Because I’m here messing up your apartment and getting in the way? It won’t be forever, and I’ll tidy up before I go—”
Before I can finish the sentence, he cuts the short distance between us in a single bound, placing hands on my hips. The heat from his fingers burns through the material like red-hot flames. My heart thuds beneath my ribs. Without my heels, my head is level with his chest—his perfectly sculpted, chiseled-from-rock chest—rising and falling as if something is fighting to get out. I lift my gaze, and as our eyes lock, he bunches my dress in his fists. The relaxed look he wore when he lied to the marketing girls and threatened Leery is gone, naked anxiety assuming its place.
“Ask me to stop,” he says, his voice breaking.
I gulp. The only sound is my heart pounding against my ribcage. Is this really happening?
“I can’t,” I say at last. “Because I don’t want you to.”
He releases my dress, looping strong arms around my waist, and lifts me onto my tiptoes until our bodies press together, torso to torso. I drop the glass of water onto the rug at our feet, hearing the loud slosh of liquid as it soaks into the carpet. The water is swiftly forgotten as he leans closer, brushing warm lips over my jawline. He tightens his grip, anchoring me to him as a tremor of pleasure rips through my body.
When his mouth finally fastens onto mine, I mold myself into him like clay, my breasts pushed up against the steely ridges of his chest, my hands twisting into his hair like vines around the branches of a tree. I part his lips, and he responds intensely. He tastes like champagne—warm and fruity—and I devour him like a woman who’s been living carb free would a loaf of bread. My tongue slides over his, a low animal groan erupting from my throat.
He cups my face in his warm hands as he begins feverishly whispering my name between kisses. “Mila, oh God, Mila.”
He wants me, I realize in surprise, knowing from the way my name sounds in his mouth—hard and spiky as barbwire—that this is no whim, no spur-of-the-moment fancy. All the times he’s blushed suddenly make sense, those intense stares I mistook as him thinking I’m an idiot.
I stop kissing him, leaning back to gaze into his drowsy, silver-dappled eyes. His face is slack, his mouth half-open, lips moist.
“It’s true, isn’t it?” I murmur, dragging hands down his muscled back. “You haven’t really been enjoying Dr. Quinn at all.”


 

About The Author

Juliet LyonsJULIET LYONS is a paranormal romance author from the UK. She holds a degree in Spanish and Latin American studies and works part-time in a local primary school where she spends far too much time discussing Harry Potter. Since joining global storytelling site Wattpad in 2014, her work has received millions of hits online and gained a legion of fans from all over the world. When she is not writing, Juliet enjoys reading and spending time with her family.

 Find Juliet Online:

Website: https://www.julietlyons.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WriterJLyons/
Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/user/julietlyons
Twitter: @WriterJLyons
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15118466.Juliet_Lyons

 

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The Christmas Room by Catherine Anderson – Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

The Christmas Room by Catherine Anderson – Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

 

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Description:
Widow Maddie McLendon has uprooted her life to move to Rustlers Gulch with her son and grandson. But as a brutal Montana winter looms on the horizon, contractors have yet to break ground on their new house, leaving them to live in a makeshift camp of trailers, tents, and sheds….

Since his wife died six years earlier, millionaire rancher Sam Conacher has been content to wallow in his grief alone, while keeping a tight rein on his twenty-six-year-old daughter. But now the girl has gone and fallen in love with his foolish new neighbor’s no-good son….

Maddie and Sam will never see eye to eye on anything, until a near-tragedy gives them a true glimpse into each other’s souls. And as the first snowflakes begin to fall, they’ll discover that an open heart is the biggest gift of all….

 

 

Review:

The Christmas Room by Catherine Anderson was a heartwarming story about two families that will find a chance to love again.  Maddie McLendon, is a famous mystery writer, who moves with her son, Cam and grandson Caleb to Bitterroot Valley, Montana. They are currently living in a trailer, while their new home is in the process of being built.  Maddie is also undergoing chemo therapy, which neither her son nor grandson are aware of; especially since it’s only been two years since the death of her husband to Cancer. 

Cam has been working on selling properties, and one evening on the way home, he stops at the local bar. He meets Kirstin, whom he immediately feels an attraction to.  When he learns that she is the daughter of Sam Conacher,  a known mean embittered millionaire rancher, who will destroy the reputation of anyone who comes near his daughter.  Cam not living long in Bitterroot, apologizes and walks away, afraid to hurt his new career.  But the attraction between him and Kirstin was strong, and despite his worry, they will soon begin a sweet romance.

Sam Conacher, after the death of his wife to cancer 6 years before, became an embittered, angry and lonely man, who not only had a nasty temper but also drank; which cost him to lose his friends and ranch hands.  

The main focus of this story switches to Maddie, who equally stands up to Sam’s nastiness and he knows he has met his match in Maddie.  At first they become enemies, but when a horrible accident occurs, where Cam is badly injured saving Kirstin’s life, things will change.  The McLendon’s will move to Sam’s ranch while Cam recuperates, and in a short time, Sam’s temperament lightens, as he begins to enjoy Maddie’s company.  Very slowly, a sweet heartfelt romance also begins between Maddie and Sam, who have come to rely on each other and enjoy their talks.  Neither of them consider anything more than friendship, since they both were devoted to their deceased spouses. 

In the beginning, it seemed like a basic romance that starts with Cam and Kirstin.  But once the battles between Sam and Maddie begin, the story caught my attention and did not let go.  I really liked all the characters, Maddie, Cam, Kirsten, Caleb and eventually Sam.  This was a wonderful emotional storyline that had a bit of everything; love, anger, grief, laughter, sickness, heartwarming, and a sweet family.  The Christmas Room title is based on how Caleb creates a Christmas decorated room to perk up his grandmother. 

Catherine Anderson does an amazing job of giving us two wonderful couples; one young and the one older.  If you love pure romances, with a family background, I suggest you read The Christmas Room.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

 

excerpt

 

“Kirstin caught a flash of movement off in the woods, and she fixed her gaze on something large and such a dark brown that it was nearly black. She stared as it moved toward them and its outline took on a distinct shape. Her heart started to pound. “Cam,” she said softly.
“You do understand that I’m uncomfortable with all this sneaking around,” he said.
“Cam,” she said with more urgency while not raising her voice. “There’s a bull moose coming in our direction.”
He followed her gaze with his own. “Wow. I’ve seen them along the roads while driving, but never up close like this.”
“Keep your voice down!” she said in a stage whisper. “Seeing it up close is not good. Look around you for the biggest tree and run for it. I’ll go the opposite direction. Moose are stupid. We might gain a few precious seconds if we confuse it.”
Cam finally seemed to register that she was frightened. “You’re going to climb a tree? Is it really that dangerous? I never studied moose.”
“I haven’t either, but I’ve grown up with them.” Kirstin shifted her hips to get her feet under her. “You don’t need to climb the tree. Just do an earthbound version of pole dancing. If he lunges at you, keep the tree in front of you as a barrier.”
From the corner of her eye, she saw Cam work his way into a crouch.
“One, two, three!” She sprang forward, moving to her left. Cam lurched into a run, going the opposite direction. “Zigzag!” she yelled. “Big zigzags! Don’t run in a straight line!”
As Kirstin ran, she saw the animal start after Cam, but then it changed its mind and lunged after her. Good, she thought. By running in two different directions, we got a slight edge. She reached her chosen tree, a medium-size ponderosa, and planted the flats of her hands against its red bark. The moose was right behind her. She circled to put the massive trunk between her and Bullwinkle. The moose, broad head lowered, rammed into the conifer with its antlers, which her dad called paddles because of their shape. To her horror, she felt the tree shudder under the impact.
“Kirstin?” Cam cried. Then she heard him yell, “Oh, shit!”
She was too focused on the bull to even glance toward Cam. She heard the animal grunting. If she made one wrong move, circling right when she needed to go left, or vice versa, she could end up dead. The next instant, she felt hard bands clamp around her hips. Then her weight was lifted upward with such speed that she thought the moose’s paddles had caught her and thrown her upward.
“Grab the limb!” Cam yelled. “Fast! Hold on and swing a leg over it.”
Kirstin had no time to consider the wisdom of these directives. Cam was on the ground and presently holding her up. He’d be injured or killed if she didn’t move quickly. She threw her arms around a limb and hooked a knee over it. As she sat up to scoot closer to the conifer’s trunk, she saw Cam leap up to grab another limb across from hers. He swung forward, then back, and then forward again as he lifted his weight. The bull rammed his lower legs with its paddles, and she thought Cam might be jerked to the ground. But with a show of incredible strength, he muscled himself up to safety with only one arm.
He inched toward her to hug the trunk just as she was. Just then she felt the pine shudder again. Cam, heaving for breath, tipped his head to one side and met her gaze. “We need a bigger tree.” ”


 

Giveaway

Catherine’s publisher, Berkley, is offering a paper copy of THE CHRISTMAS ROOM and a paper copy of the first Mystic Creek novel, SILVER THAW to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

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5. Please LIKE us on GOODREADS  for an additional entry.

6. Please LIKE  CATHERINE ANDERSON on FACEBOOK.

7. Giveaway is open to USA only

8. Giveaway runs from September 28 to October 4, 2017
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Treasured by a Tiger (Eternal Mates #14) by Felicity Heaton-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

TREASURED BY A TIGER (Eternal Mates #14) by Felicity Heaton-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

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TREASURED BY A TIGER
Eternal Mates #14
by Felicity Heaton
Release Date: September 9, 2017
Genre: adult, paranormal, fantasy, romance

Treasured by a Tiger

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date September 19, 2017

Despised by his tiger shifter pride as an abomination, Grey has ventured far from home, deep into the bowels of Hell in search of answers about the machinations of Archangel, the mortal hunter organization that held his twin captive. With no knowledge of the realm, and little skill with the local languages, he quickly finds himself at a dead end—until he crosses paths with a beautiful hellcat female who rouses his darkest most dangerous instincts.

Lyra has been a fool, falling for the charms of a male whose only desire was to make a fast buck by selling her. Shackled and collared, her strength muted by magic, she awaits her time on the stage at a black-market auction, but before it can come, all hell breaks loose and she seizes a chance to escape—and runs straight into a majestic warrior who steals her breath away and tempts her like no other as he battles alone to free everyone.

When Lyra offers her services as a translator to repay Grey for saving her, will he be strong enough to resist the needs she awakens in him and spare himself the pain of her inevitable rejection when she discovers the truth about him? And when the powerful male in charge of the slave ring starts a bloody hunt for Lyra, can she escape another collar and find the courage to trust the tiger who is capturing her heart?

••••••••••••

REVIEW: TREASURED BY A TIGER is the fourteenth installment in Felicity Heaton’s contemporary, adult ETERNAL MATES paranormal/fantasy series. This is tiger shifter Grey, and hellcat Lyra’s story line. TREASURED BY A TIGER can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story line is revealed where necessary.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Grey and Lyra) TREASURED BY A TIGER follows Grey as he searches for the truth, and a place to belong- his target is the realm of Hell- and the place known as Archangel where his twin brother Talon was imprisoned and tortured months ago. When a caravan of slave traders crosses Grey’s path, something or someone calls to his inner cat, and our hero sets out to destroy everything in his way. Enter Lyra, a hellcat destined for sexual slavery, and the woman with whom Grey will fall in love. What ensues is Grey’s overwhelming need to claim Lyra as his mate as the couple struggle to stay one step ahead of the organization hoping to reclaim Lyra as their own.

TREASURED BY A TIGER is a narrative where most of the story line is told through thoughts and the emotional struggle to let go of the past. Most of the conversation, and one on one interaction takes place towards the final third of the story. Grey is a protector by birth but when his sister found her mate Grey’s direction in life crumbled. Feeling alone and without purpose Grey goes in search of the group that has destroyed so many supernatural lives. In payment for her rescue Lyra offers her help to Grey but Grey battles his own demons including the truth about the who and what of his shifter species.

The relationship between Lyra and Grey is one of immediate attraction; they are drawn to one another as fated mates, something Grey is determined to push aside now and in the future. The $ex scenes are limited but intimate and provocative.

We are introduced to the Dragons of Hell including their leader Ren (whom we met before), and Brink who reveals some of the truth behind the dragon’s inability to leave the realm. Felicity brings together an eclectic mix of supernatural powers including the Fae, demons, vampires, shifters, witches and dragons.

TREASURED BY A TIGER is an action packed story of mystery and suspense; a romance tale of fated mates; a revealing story line that ends one arc of the series leading towards the start of a new arc. The premise is engaging and energetic; the characters are colorful and animated; the romance is destined by fate.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

Books in the Series

Book 1: Kissed by a Dark Prince (FREE AT SELECTED RETAILERS!)
Book 2: Claimed by a Demon King
Book 3: Tempted by a Rogue Prince
Book 4: Hunted by a Jaguar
Book 5: Craved by an Alpha
Book 6: Bitten by a Hellcat
Book 7: Taken by a Dragon
Book 8: Marked by an Assassin
Book 9: Possessed by a Dark Warrior
Book 10: Awakened by a Demoness
Book 11: Haunted by the King of Death
Book 12: Turned by a Tiger
Book 13: Tamed by a Tiger
Book 14: Treasured by a Tiger

Excerpt

Curiosity killed the cat.
It was always there, in the back of Grey’s mind.
Although this time, it was his twin’s curiosity that might get him killed.
Black lands stretched as far as the eye could see around him, the sky a dull gold that was growing brighter as he trekked closer to the realm that fiery glow emanated from. Not like he wanted to go anywhere near that damned place, but it seemed the trail he was following wanted to lead him straight towards it.
Grey looked over his shoulder at the distant blue glow that King Thorne of the Third Realm of demons had told him belonged to the elf kingdom. Fucking place sounded magical. Why couldn’t Talon’s itch have led Grey in that direction?
Lush green hills, towering grey mountains, glittering blue streams, and all the sunshine their portal could pour into their kingdom.
He would have given anything to be there, stretched out on the long grass, soaking up that sun and letting the cool breeze play over his bare skin.
Instead, he was trudging through a wasteland, his feet sore in his black leather boots, and the sweat pouring off him sticking his black t-shirt to his skin.
All for his brother’s sake.
He rolled his stiff shoulders, grimacing as a few vertebrae cracked.
Maybe not all for Talon.
The thought of being at the pride village now that his sister, Maya, was gone to be with her fated one, August, had driven him to leave, to find somewhere else to be.
Maybe somewhere he belonged.
He had ended up at Underworld, the nightclub Talon now called home because his fated mate worked there. Grey didn’t belong there though. A few quiet days had passed before that restless itch had pushed him to keep moving, and he still wasn’t sure where he was meant to be going.
He was lost.
He exhaled hard.
Not a sigh.
He might not be sure where he was meant to be going, but his feet were carrying him forwards anyway, and if he had to keep walking forever until he found that place they wanted to rest, he would.
Talon had given him a new direction at least.
Over dinner one night, Talon had mentioned seeing the door again in his dreams. Sherry had given her mate a concerned look, one Grey hadn’t missed. He had focused on his brother then, and felt that need flowing through him, that curiosity that wouldn’t let him go, not until he knew what was beyond that door.
It wouldn’t have been a problem, but the door in question was deep in the bowels of the headquarters of a mortal hunter organisation, a building where Talon had been held captive and tortured for months.
Grey was damned if he was going to let his brother go back into that hellish place.
So, when Sherry had mentioned looking through the files they had stolen from Archangel when breaking Talon’s friends out, Grey had leaped at the chance to help. He would do anything for his brother.
Including going to Hell in his place.
The moment he had found the door mentioned in one of the project files, and uncovered that it was connected to something in Hell, he had known what he needed to do.
Where he had to be.
Talon needed to know what was beyond that door, and Grey was going to find out for him.
His twin had fought him on that, which hadn’t been a surprise given Talon’s habit of trying to act like his big brother. The bastard was stubborn and pushy, had been like it since birth when he had muscled his way out first, arriving in the world a whole eight minutes ahead of Grey.
Eight minutes did not an older brother make.
Grey could be just as stubborn though, and eventually Talon had given in, Sherry convincing him to let Grey go to Hell in his place and follow up their lead.
He had left immediately.
He would find out what was beyond that door even if it killed him. He would do that for Talon, to put his mind at rest and free him from the clutches of his curiosity.
He sighed and looked back over his shoulder, in the direction of the Third Realm and the elf kingdom beyond it. Although, it still would have been nice if Thorne had told him to head that way instead of towards the Devil’s lands.
A cold sinking feeling had gone through him in the demon king’s library when the huge russet-haired male had jabbed a strong clawed finger against a mountain range and told him that was where he needed to start, because it was the place mentioned in one of the reports linked to the project.
Grey hadn’t failed to notice that east of that mountain range was labelled as the dragon realm, and beyond that was the Devil’s domain.
Thorne had been generous enough to offer him an escort.
It had felt like a kick in the balls at the time.
Even Sable, the demon’s little queen and ex-Archangel hunter, had flinched at the offer, and had dished him out an apologetic glance.
Grey had refused Thorne, because he had grown tired of being coddled by his brothers a long time ago, and wasn’t about to accept it from a male he barely knew.
Looking back, he probably should have taken the demon up on his kind offer. The big guy had been nice enough to teleport him into Hell, had put him up for a few days at his castle, and had sent him off with some provisions and a crudely drawn map of Hell.
Grey pulled the map out of the thigh pocket of his black combat trousers and stared at it.
At how close the village was to dragons and the Devil.
A few demonic travelling companions probably wouldn’t have been a bad thing.
It wasn’t as if he knew Hell. He had come here without a plan, without any idea about what to expect, and that was dangerous.
His family had raised him to be prepared.
It had all gone out the window when Maya had left, and that feeling had kicked in, that need to walk and not stop walking, to put as much distance as he could between him and his pride.
He pressed his hand flat against his chest, felt his heart thumping hard against his palm, and stared into the distance, not seeing the cragged mountains that speared the gold sky.
What was it that had made him leave?
He was mad at his older brother, the alpha of their pride, and needed some space and time to work through those feelings. Mostly because he wanted to throat-punch Byron whenever he saw him.
Was that the reason he had strayed this far from home?
He didn’t want to do something he would regret?
As much as he hated Byron right now, which the bastard deserved after everything that Maya had been through because of him, he still loved the son of a bitch. He was still Grey’s brother.
Grey started walking again, his hand drifting across his chest to adjust the straps of his backpack. He jammed his thumb through the right strap and let his hand dangle there, his mind whirling as he thought about home and the gnawing feeling in the depths of his heart. Something had made him leave. Something other than his anger towards Byron.
Had to be.
Gods, maybe he was just messed up.
More fucked up than he had thought possible.
Or maybe there was nothing keeping him at the pride now.
It was strange having his freedom after spending two centuries at the pride, devoted to the care and protection of his little sister. He couldn’t remember a time when he had been free to come and go as he pleased. It had been erased from his memories, replaced by the decades that had come after Byron had become alpha, a time when Grey had been locked away from the world because Byron had deemed it too dangerous for Maya to be allowed to go outside the pride village, and had charged him with being at her side always.
Meaning the bastard had shut them both in a cage.
Fuck, it was weird.
Was that why he felt lost?
Because he was free at last?
He still hadn’t processed that, wasn’t sure he would for a long time yet. He had never really felt like a captive, because his family had been there, everyone he cared about at the village with him, but now that he was free to come and go as he pleased, he felt as if he had been a captive his entire life.
The world beyond the one he had known was huge, endless, filled with incredible things and possibilities, and he had hurled himself headlong into that world.
It was a little overwhelming.
His senses sparked, warning of life nearby, and he tensed and stilled, stretching his focus outwards to encompass the area. He slowed his breathing, becoming silent in the shadowy world, and his vision brightened as he studied the dimly-lit lands surrounding him, making it easier for him to pick out the rocks that could easily hide enemies, giving them ample chance to sneak up on him.
He should have taken Thorne up on his offer.
But the thought of having a demon escort had felt like another cage.
He wanted to be free.
He curled his lip and dragged air over his teeth, trying to scent the owner of that heartbeat.
Another joined it as he risked a step closer, and then a third and a fourth.
He peered ahead of him, into the darkness.
Something was there.
He risked another two steps.
The shadowy shapes came into focus.
Huts.
The village Thorne had said was the one Archangel had named in their report.
He must have walked further than he had realised while lost in his thoughts.
Grey cautiously moved forwards, lowering his hands to his sides as he approached the village. The loose black gravel crunched under his heavy boots, loud in the thick still air, grating at him. His muscles twitched beneath his skin and an urge to shift settled over him as he closed in on the buildings and the people coming and going between them.
It had been more than a day since he had last seen people, a day of trekking across a black wasteland with only an occasional distant screech or roar punctuating the silence. Those sounds had raked at his nerves, leaving them raw and stealing sleep from him. He hadn’t rested in more than twenty-four hours.
It was little wonder he felt on edge now.
Ready for a fight.
He felt vulnerable, easy prey if anyone chose to fight him, his body and mind badly in need of rest.
For all he knew, those sounds that had kept him marching forwards rather than taking a break could have been made by people. Hell was full of things he had never seen before, creatures straight out of myths and legends, or horror movies.
He could be walking right into a nest of the howling, shrieking beasts, lured into a false sense of security by their human appearances.
The urge to shift into his stronger form to protect himself grew stronger, and he slowly pulled down another calming breath. He was letting his imagination run away with him, and that was dangerous.
He needed answers, and kicking up a fuss in his tiger form just because he feared the things that had gone bump in the night in the wasteland wasn’t going to get him any, especially if the people in the village found out he thought they were the ones making those unholy noises.
He doubted they were.
It was just his imagination tricking his weary mind into believing something ridiculous—something liable to get him killed.
He needed to rest and regain some strength, and then his imagination wouldn’t hold such sway over him.
He didn’t need to shift.
He kept it tamped down, breathing through it and tightening his hold on his control, refusing to let his tiger instincts rule him. He was only here to speak with the people and find out what they knew about the project, and what Archangel had wanted when they had come through this way.
He wasn’t here to fight.
The urge to shift didn’t abate as he entered the village perimeter, marked by a rough stone wall that circled the few black huts and makeshift tents made of some sort of animal hide. If anything, it grew stronger in time with the scents of the people coming and going through the settlement.
Some of them were powerful.
Some smelled of the tinny scent of magic.
A dark-haired male dressed in long black robes off to his right stopped hammering a peg for his tent into the inky dirt and looked up at Grey.
A witch. Or did they prefer warlock? Wizard?
What the hell did they like being called? He could hardly go and speak to the male if he wasn’t sure. The last thing he needed to do was insult someone who could flay him with nothing more than a few muttered words.
Grey shuddered as he looked at the male’s hands.
And realised the tent peg he had been hammering into the black ground wasn’t the sort bought in a store in the mortal world.
It was a broken bone.
Definitely not talking to him.
It had nothing to do with the male’s creepy, dangerous, air and everything to do with the fact he was obviously a traveller.
Grey needed to speak with a resident if he was going to find out what Archangel had been doing here.
He scoured the small village, trying to spot a local. A few people stopped to stare on their way past. Nothing new there. Grey was used to people staring at him.
He ignored them and continued his search. On the opposite side of the village, two males and a female exited the largest of the thatched huts, laughing with each other, a glow to their cheeks. He breathed deep to catch their scent. Smiled. Alcohol.
Was the hut a sort of tavern?
He crossed the village to it, pretending not to notice the way more people stared at him, their eyes tracking his progress. He didn’t care. He really didn’t.
He bared his fangs at one male, a reaction he hadn’t been able to hold back. The male bared fangs right back at him, his pupils turning elliptical in the centre of his red irises.
A vampire.
Grey supposed Hell was probably fabulous in their eyes. No sunshine to make them go crispy. Just endless night.
He flashed fangs at the male again, and stood a little taller as the male turned away and walked in the opposite direction to him. Easy win. Which was strange. Normally vampires liked to fight to claim top spot, to prove themselves the most powerful things with fangs out there. Which was utter bullshit.
Dragons had to be the most powerful things with fangs.
Maybe demons cut a close second, possibly a joint placing with the elves. Grey had heard all manner of things about elves, some of which made them sound dangerous and not as magical and wonderful as he had believed as a kid.
Hellcats slotted in below them.
Vampires barely ranked above the other feline shifters.
Still, it was odd of the male to leave without a fight.
Grey slowed his steps and watched the male walking away. He didn’t stop at the perimeter of the village. He kept walking, heading into the darkness, going south-east.
High, bubbling laughter broke the silence.
He shook off his curiosity about the male and returned his focus to his mission, shifting his gaze back to the hut that was possibly a tavern.
Another female toppled out of it, a male following close behind her.
“Excuse me.” Grey raised his hand to snag their attention.
Both of them stared blankly at him.
They looked at each other.
Spoke.
In a language he didn’t know.
The female was rather animated as she prattled on, tossing her blonde hair over her bare shoulders, revealing a small top that was more strapless bra than corset. Matching black leather hugged her long legs. She was pretty too, a bright glow around her pupils that might have fooled him into believing her a shifter like him.
Only she smelled of sex and sin.
A succubus.
Her partner stood behind her, giving Grey a death glare turned up to the max.
Succubus sidled towards Grey, a wicked sway to her curvy hips and a smile tugging at her cherry red lips.
Crimson bled into the male’s eyes, his pupils stretching thin in their centres.
Another vampire.
And this one looked as if he might fight to prove who was stronger.

 

 

About Felicity

Felicity HeatonFelicity Heaton is a New York Times and USA Today international best-selling author writing passionate paranormal romance books. In her books, she creates detailed worlds, twisting plots, mind-blowing action, intense emotion and heart-stopping romances with leading men that vary from dark deadly vampires to sexy shape-shifters and wicked werewolves, to sinful angels and hot demons! If you’re a fan of paranormal romance authors Lara Adrian, J R Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter and Christine Feehan then you will enjoy her books too.

If you love your angels a little dark and wicked, the best-selling Her Angel series is for you. If you like strong, powerful, and dark vampires then try the Vampires Realm series or any of her stand-alone vampire romance books. If you’re looking for vampire romances that are sinful, passionate and erotic then try the best-selling Vampire Erotic Theatre series. Or if you prefer huge detailed worlds filled with hot-blooded alpha males in every species, from elves to demons to dragons to shifters and angels, then take a look at the new Eternal Mates series.

If you want to know more about Felicity, or want to get in touch, you can find her at the following places:

WEBSITE | BLOG | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS | INSTAGRAM

Giveaway

There are TWO (2) ways to WIN !

In addition to the gift card giveaway below, Felicity is graciously offering an ecopy of any ONE book in her ETERNAL MATES series *excluding Turned by a Tiger, Tamed by a Tiger, Treasured by a Tiger* (international) to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

1. If you have not previously registered, please register using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

NOTE: If you are having difficulty commenting after logging in, please refresh the page at the top of your computer

2. If you are using a social log-in such as Twitter or Facebook, please post your email address with your comment.

3. –> Sign up for Felicity Heaton’s NEWSLETTER

4. LIKE us on FACEBOOK and then click GET NOTIFICATION under ‘liked’ for an additional entry.

5.LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

6. Giveaway is open internationally.

7. Giveaway runs from September 22-26, 2017

Grand Giveaway

Enter the grand tour-wide giveaway to win a $25, $50 or $75 Amazon Gift Card at the Treasured by a Tiger book page. This giveaway is international and open to everyone, and ends at midnight on September 24th. Enter now: http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk/treasured-by-a-tiger-shapeshifter-romance-book.php

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A Gentleman Never Surrenders by Lauren Smith – Review & Giveaway

A Gentleman Never Surrenders by Lauren Smith – Review & Giveaway

 

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A Gentleman Never SurrendersAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM

DESCRIPTION
Love is worth a little scandal.

Owen Hadley needs a wife. Preferably a wealthy one. Alas, there aren’t a great number of heiresses willing to marry a rogue of no particular fortune—luckily, if there is ever a gentleman capable of melting a lady’s chilly heart, it’s Owen. 

Milly has had enough of the marriage mart. If matrimony means giving up her freedom for a foppish husband, then society can take their idea of marital bliss and toss it. But when the ton’s most notorious rogue mistakenly makes his way into her bedchambers, Milly finds herself unexpectedly and unwillingly at the altar . . . 

Yet the more time she spends with her new husband, the more Milly starts to wonder if the marriage she never wanted may be the best thing that’s ever happened to her. Now it’s up to Owen to convince Milly that what started as a mistake is anything but—and that every night with him will be more wonderfully scandalous than the last.

 

 

REVIEW

5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

OH I LOVED THIS READ! 🙂

I love it when two characters who were never suppose to be, never wanted to be, become absolutely should be, and currently ARE!  Sometimes the things you least expect to be the best thing for you become just that!  The BEST thing for you! 

A Gentleman Never Surrender is the second book in Lauren Smith‘s historical romance “Sins and Scandals” series.  I did review the first book of this series at The Reading Cafe and while you don’t NEED to read the first one, these are not long reads so do yourself a favour and pick it up so this story can have more of an impact on you.

Our leading guy is Owen Hadley.  He’s a rogue, known for being a rogue, not the kind of man that any respectable woman wishes to be partnered with.  He is also in dire need of a wife and one with a fortune would be preferable.  He is smart, witty, charming but not in the “ew, get away from me” manner.  He owns his mistakes and does all he can to correct them.

Milly!  Oh our leading lady Milly!  She makes me happy, and is one of my fave characters that Lauren has ever created (I am a huge fan of hers and have read most if not all of her books so far).  Milly is largely misunderstood, but it’s because she wants to be.  She is not interested in marriage market approach to her future, she wants to fall in love and have a true committed relationship.  She comes across cold, uninterested, somewhat of a stick in the mud BUT she is none of these.  She is actually a sweet sweet lady with a very large beautiful heart.  She is the kind of person (and I guess I love her so much because I can relate) who loves big and hurts big.  No half way with her!

Owen accidentally compromises Milly.  He is set out to compromise someone (bad Owen .. I get why you did it, but bad Owen ..lol) and although Milly was not his intended lady, she ends up being the lady who now has to marry a man she doesn’t love.  She is not happy!  Owen does all he can to be a good husband to Milly knowing it’s his fault she is in this situation.  Before we know it, these two form a friendship and find themselves completely falling in love.  This is a story of two wrongs making a right!

Of course the way Lauren writes this story is more compelling and teasing than the quick overview I have given it.  I loved that this story was more focused on the actual relationship rather than external side stories.  I thoroughly enjoyed this couple, and found their moments together sweet, sassy and seducing.  They both ended up with what they wanted, they just had to take the long road to get there!

Fantastic story again Lauren Smith, keep them coming!

HAPPY READING! 🙂

Reviewed by Rachel

Copy supplied for review

 

 

About the Author

Lauren_Smith_2014

Born and raised in Tulsa, I spent the first twenty-two years of my life in Oklahoma, bridging the worlds between urban girl and cowgirl. After high school I attended Oklahoma State University where I earned Bachelor of Art degrees in history and political science. Drawn to paintings in museums and obsessed with antiques, I satisfied my fascination with history by writing and exploring exotic, ancient lands.

Over the years, my studies have opened doors throughout the world. From spending two summers at Cambridge to attending classes at such divergent places as Ireland and Chengdu, China, I have discovered fascinating opportunities for enrichment wherever I go. After completing college, I moved to Michigan to attend law school at the University of Detroit-Mercy and University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada.  Armed with two Juris Doctorate degrees from both countries, I returned to Tulsa and became an intellectual property attorney.

Since third grade when my English teacher proposed that all students should craft a story for a young writers’ conference, I have been hooked on writing. My first self-illustrated manuscript described the mysterious disappearance of rare brown bats that were being captured by scientists bent on using them as carriers for an incurable disease. The immense sense of joy in sharing that story with others, and discussing plots and characters, made it clear to me that writing was my true passion.

Learn more about Lauren at the following links:
Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

 

Giveaway

Lauren is graciously offering a $25.00 Gift Card (Amazon or B&N) and a signed paper copy of a book of your choice from Lauren’s backlist (Sins and Scandal not included)  to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

2. If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment.

3. Please LIKE and Follow Lauren Smith on Facebook

4. LIKE us on FACEBOOK and then click GET NOTIFICATION under ‘liked’ for an additional entry.

5. LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

6. Please FOLLOW us on GOODREADS for an additional entry.

7. Giveaway open Internationally

8. Giveaway runs from September 12 to 16, 2017

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