Tag: My TBR Pile

My TBR Pile: February 2020

Posted February 13, 2020 by Rowena in Books, Features | 2 Comments

So, every month I put a list together of the books that I either need to read for review or the books that I want to get around to reading (finally). I’m also trying to be more responsible with my Kindle Unlimited and Audible Escape subscriptions so I’m going to post my TBR Pile on the blog so you guys can keep me honest. This year, I’m going to start breaking my TBR Pile up into different sections so that I know which books I’m reading for what because in my old age, I need the reminders.

This month’s post is coming to you guys a little late because I had a slow start to the year. I blame that completely on my need to spend time with Baby Matalasi and Caiden while they were here for most of January. They were just too cute and so much fun to be around that I found myself wanting to be around them all the time. I also spent the last week of January until now in a state of mourning over the death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gigi.

I’m a long time Laker fan and a fan of my hometown of Los Angeles and Kobe was a big part of growing up in L.A. I’ve seen him grow from a cocky asshole NBA player to a mature man who was raising four young daughters and loved being their Dad. I never had a personal connection with him but I was a huge fan of the way that he put the Lakers on his back and carried us to victory more times than I can count. I was a huge fan of the person that he became later in his career with the Lakers. How he did everything for us fans both on and off the court. I was a huge fan of the way that he made time for everyone. He helped young NBA stars on the rise, coached his daughter’s basketball team, supported his other daughter’s volleyball team, had Disney dates with his younger daughters, helped D1 colleges around the country but he also made time to coach up a small Christian college in Costa Mesa that my niece attended. He was pulled in so many different directions and yet, he made time for everyone and he was so gracious about it all. He was loved by the city of Los Angeles and it showed in the outpouring of love that we’ve seen everywhere we go. Murals have popped up everywhere from Manhattan Beach to Santa Monica to Downtown L.A. We’re in mourning and very protective of those he left behind. My thoughts and prayers haven’t strayed very far for Vanessa and the girls in the time since the accident and I doubt I’ll ever stop thinking and praying for them.

Kobe Bryant was L.A. and we miss him something fierce.

Here’s a breakdown of how I did on last month’s TBR Pile. I did pretty damn good.

Previous Month Stats

Books to Read: 10
Books Read: 10
Books Unread: 0
Pages Read: 3,164 | Hours Listened: 0
Favorite Read: Chasing Cassandra | Least Favorite Read: The Kissing Game

I read all of the books on my TBR Pile from last month. Sure, I cheated a bit since I read all of those books in January and the first part of February but still, I finished them all! Woo hoo! My favorite read from that bunch of books is Chasing Cassandra by Lisa Kleypas. I really enjoyed that one and loved seeing Cassandra and Tom figure out how to be together. Lisa Kleypas always writes great historical romances so I wasn’t surprised that I enjoyed this one. She did well on that one. My least favorite book of the bunch goes to The Kissing Game by Marie Harte. That one was just…not for me.

February’s TBR PILE

Book Club

Devious Lies (Cruel Crown #1) by Parker S. Huntington
Released on December 14, 2019
Publisher: Self Published
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 702
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited

From USA Today bestselling author Parker S. Huntington comes an enemies-to-lovers, slow-burn romance full of revenge and a dash of fate.

“She could enjoy her pretty, perfect world a little longer. Soon enough, everything she owned would be mine.”

I had a plan to escape the friend zone.
Step one: sneak into Reed’s room.
Step two: sleep with him.

But when the lights turned on, it wasn’t familiar blue eyes I saw.
These were dark, angry, and full of demons.
And they belonged to Reed’s much older brother.

Four years later, Nash Prescott is no longer the help’s angry son.
I’m no longer the town’s prized princess.

At twenty-two, I’m broke, in need of a job.
At thirty-two, he’s a billionaire, in need of revenge.

Who cares if my family ruined his?
Who cares if he looks at me with pure loathing?
Who cares if every task he assigns me is designed to torture?

I need the money.
Simple as that.

I’ll suffer his cruelty in silence, knowing there’s one thing he wants more than revenge…

Me.

This year for book club is going to be the first year where a different member of the club is responsible for hosting the book club discussion and game. Normally, someone picks a book and where we’ll be meeting (we grab dinner out for our book club) and then I’d prepare a book discussion and game every month. But with my new job and how busy I’ve been over there, I’ve been struggling with book club discussions and games so this year we decided to share the responsibilities and I’m super glad about that. This month’s book was chosen by my friend Amie and she’ll be the first person outside of me and my friend Tasha to prepare a book club meeting. I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with. I’m also mighty curious about this one and I’ll be listening to it at work tomorrow.

Buddy Reads

Stange Love (Galactic Love #1) by Ann Aguirre: I’ll be reading this book with my buddies Holly and Ames. I’ve never read an alien romance before so this should be interesting.

Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels #3) by Ilona Andrews: I’ll be reading this book with Holly this month. I’ve been meaning to catch up with this series and I just haven’t found the time to do it so thanks to Holly for letting me choose this one as our buddy read. If I’ve got someone depending on me to read it, I’ll read it. At least that’s the hope. Fingers crossed!

Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels #4) by Ilona Andrews: Ames is a gee because she’s helping me get the Kate Daniels series read by agreeing to read book 4 with me. I can’t wait!

Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels #6) by Lisa Kleypas: Every month, my Book Binge blog mates try to read at least one book together and this month, we’ll be reading this one. I can’t wait to discuss this book with them.

Review Pile

Undercover Bromance (The Undercover Bromance Book Club #2) by Lyssa Kay Adams
Yours in Scandal (Man of the Year #1) by Lauren Layne
First Comes Scandal (The Rokesbys #4) by Julia Quinn

TBR Pile

Pulling Doubles (The Wright Brothers #2) by Christina C. Jones
Bending the Rules (The Wright Brothers #3) by Christina C. Jones
Christmas with the Wrights (The Wright Brothers #4) by Christina C. Jones

Audiobook TBR Pile

P.S. It’s Always Been You, Pt. 1 by Lauren Blakely
Lucky Suit by Lauren Blakely

What books are on your TBR pile for February? Anything good that I should keep my eye out on? Please share the books you have on deck to read next month.

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My TBR Pile: January 2020

Posted January 14, 2020 by Rowena in Books, Features | 0 Comments

Yeah, so this post is coming to you guys a little late because I started the year off hella lazy, but I wanted to make sure that I did post this up so that I can do a better job of tracking the books that I plan to read each month. I do a lot of buddy reads, book club reads, review pile reading and I plan my reading months out in advance. This feature is to track how I’m doing on my monthly TBR and I’m starting fresh this year so wish me luck!

Here’s what I’ll be reading this month.

January’s TBR PILE

The Witness by Nora Roberts
Released on April 17, 2012
Publisher: Penguin
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 492
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

Daughter of a controlling mother, Elizabeth finally let loose one night, drinking at a nightclub and allowing a strange man’s seductive Russian accent lure her to a house on Lake Shore Drive. The events that followed changed her life forever.

Twelve years later, the woman known as Abigail Lowery lives on the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks. A freelance programmer, she designs sophisticated security systems — and supplements her own security with a fierce dog and an assortment of firearms. She keeps to herself, saying little, revealing nothing. But Abigail’s reserve only intrigues police chief Brooks Gleason. Her logical mind, her secretive nature, and her unromantic viewpoints leave him fascinated but frustrated. He suspects that Abigail needs protection from something — and that her elaborate defenses hide a story that must be revealed.

With a quirky, unforgettable heroine and a pulse-pounding plotline, Nora Roberts presents a riveting new read that cements her place as today’s most reliably entertaining thriller — and will leave people hungering for more.

Getting Schooled (The Wright Brothers #1) by Christina C. Jones
Released on January 11, 2016
Publisher: Self Published
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 334
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited

When 26 year old Reese accepts a position as a grad assistant, she has no idea an unpleasant encounter with a student will lead to the discovery of what she calls “the trifecta”: fine, intellectual, and a little bit rude – three qualities she finds irresistible in a man. She has no intention of doing anything with that discovery – nothing long term, at least. But everybody knows what happens to best laid plans.

Jason is a grown man. 28 years old, seasoned and scarred by his real-life experience in the world, he’s at Blakewood State University to finish his degree and move on. The last thing he’s interested in is the female population on campus… but sexy, infuriating Reese might be a notable exception.

This isn’t a story of opposites attract.

More like counterparts clash.

Neither of them is afraid to do battle, and neither is willing to back down. Love and war, win or lose… somebody’s gonna end up getting schooled.

Grumpy Jake by Melissa Blue
Released on November 8, 2019
Publisher: Self Published
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 104
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

Bailey Thorne doesn’t hate Jake the Rake, just despises him. She blames the rumor mill at her school…and, okay, him. His adorable son has only been in preschool, but Jake has already made an impressive dent in dating the unmarried faculty. She’s had to hear of his every exploit from the broken hearts he’s left behind. She was fine to loathe him from afar, but now his son has entered kindergarten–and she’s the teacher. It’s going to be a very long school year.

Jake Polaski was more than fine to avoid Ms. Thorne after it became clear she was not amused by his very existence. But then they get stuck in an elevator for an evening. He finds out that underneath that baleful glare she always gives him, lies a warm, funny and sexy as hell woman. He does his best to not be smitten after every exchange afterward. His son needs him rational, steadfast…and love is the most uncertain thing.

It was the elevator’s fault. Had it worked like it should, Bailey would have gone on with her life without seeing why so many of her co-workers had fallen for the grumpy single dad. (It’s his dry wit, his playful teasing and the drool-worthy cut of his jawline.) And now she’s caught in the way he doles out smiles and the dark depths of his secrets. If nothing else, she knows from rumor there’s a clock ticking on their affair before it implodes because things always do with Jake the Rake, but she can’t seem to walk away first.

Heartland (True North #7) by Sarina Bowen
Releases on January 28, 2020
Publisher: Self Published
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 300
Format: eARC
Source: Author

An emotional friends to lovers romance full of risky secrets and late-night lessons in seduction.

Dylan is my best friend, and the only person in my life who understands me. He doesn’t mind my social awkwardness or my weird history. The only glitch? He doesn’t know that I’ve been hopelessly, desperately in love with him since the first day we picked apples together in his family’s orchard.

But I know better than to confess.

Now that we’re both in college together, I’m seeing a new side of him. College Dylan drinks and has a lot of sex. None of it with me.

Until the night I foolishly ask him to tutor me in more than algebra…and he actually says yes.

But the cool morning light shows me how badly I’ve endangered our friendship. And I don’t know if anything will be the same again.

The Kissing Game by Marie Harte
Releases on February 4, 2020
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss

“I bet you a kiss you can’t resist me.”

Game on.

Rena Jackson is ready. She’s worked her tail off to open up her own hair salon, and she’s almost ready to quit her job at the dive bar. Rena’s also a diehard romantic, and she’s had her eye on bar regular Axel Heller for a while. He’s got that tall-dark-and-handsome thing going big time. Problem is, he’s got that buttoned-up Germanic ice man thing going as well. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, Rena’s about ready to give up on Axel and find her own Mr. Right.

At six foot six, Axel knows he intimidates most people. He’s been crushing on the gorgeous waitress for months. But the muscled mechanic is no romantic, and his heart is buried so deep, he has no idea how to show Rena what he feels. He knows he’s way out of his depth and she’s slipping away. So, he makes one crazy, desperate play…

The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
Releases on February 4, 2020
Publisher: Avon
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss

Critically acclaimed author Mia Sosa delivers a sassy, steamy enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy about a woman whose new job requires her to work side-by-side with the best man who ruined her wedding: her ex-fiancé’s infuriating, irritating, annoyingly handsome brother. Perfect for fans of Jasmine Guillory, Helen Hoang, and Sally Thorne!

A wedding planner left at the altar. Yeah, the irony isn’t lost on Carolina Santos, either. But despite that embarrassing blip from her past, Lina’s managed to make other people’s dreams come true as a top-tier wedding coordinator in DC. After impressing an influential guest, she’s offered an opportunity that could change her life. There’s just one hitch… she has to collaborate with the best (make that worst) man from her own failed nuptials.

Tired of living in his older brother’s shadow, marketing expert Max Hartley is determined to make his mark with a coveted hotel client looking to expand its brand. Then he learns he’ll be working with his brother’s whip-smart, stunning—absolutely off-limits—ex-fiancée. And she loathes him.

If they can survive the next few weeks and nail their presentation without killing each other, they’ll both come out ahead. Except Max has been public enemy number one ever since he encouraged his brother to jilt the bride, and Lina’s ready to dish out a little payback of her own.

But even the best laid plans can go awry, and soon Lina and Max discover animosity may not be the only emotion creating sparks between them. Still, this star-crossed couple can never be more than temporary playmates because Lina isn’t interested in falling in love and Max refuses to play runner-up to his brother ever again…

Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels #6) by [Author Name]
Releases on [Date]
Publisher: Avon
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss

Everything has a price…

Railway magnate Tom Severin is wealthy and powerful enough to satisfy any desire as soon as it arises. Anything—or anyone—is his for the asking. It should be simple to find the perfect wife—and from his first glimpse of Lady Cassandra Ravenel, he’s determined to have her. But the beautiful and quick-witted Cassandra is equally determined to marry for love—the one thing he can’t give.

Everything except her…

Severin is the most compelling and attractive man Cassandra has ever met, even if his heart is frozen. But she has no interest in living in the fast-paced world of a ruthless man who always plays to win.

When a newfound enemy nearly destroys Cassandra’s reputation, Severin seizes the opportunity he’s been waiting for. As always, he gets what he wants—or does he? There’s one lesson Tom Severin has yet to learn from his new bride:

Never underestimate a Ravenel.

The chase for Cassandra’s hand may be over. But the chase for her heart has only just begun…

Yes, No, Maybe So by Becky Albertalli, Aisha Saeed
Releases on February 4, 2020
Publisher: Balzar + Bray
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 448
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss

New York Times bestselling authors Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed have crafted a resonant, funny, and memorable story about the power of love and resistance.

YES
Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state senate candidate—as long as he’s behind the scenes. When it comes to speaking to strangers (or, let’s face it, speaking at all to almost anyone), Jamie’s a choke artist. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.

NO
Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is canceled, and now her parents are separating. Why her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing—with some awkward dude she hardly knows—is beyond her.

MAYBE SO
Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer—and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural romance of the century is another thing entirely.

House Rules (Uptown #4) by Ruby Lang
Releases on February 10, 2020
Publisher: Carina Press
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 152
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley

ROOMMATE WANTED to share a gorgeous sun-filled apartment in Central Harlem. Must love cats. No ex-husbands or wives need apply.

Seventeen years ago, different dreams pulled Simon Mizrahi and Lana Kai apart. But when Lana takes a position as a chef back in Manhattan, her apartment search puts her right in her ex-husband’s path. Music teacher Simon is also hunting for a new place to live, and when Lana proposes they be platonic roomies, well…it’s not the worst idea he’s ever heard.

A sunny uptown two-bedroom sounds far more appealing than the cramped, noisy space where he’s currently struggling to work. Still, Simon has seen firsthand that Lana’s a flight risk, so he agrees on a trial basis.

Three months. With strict boundaries.

Living together again feels wonderfully nostalgic, but when the ex-couple’s lingering feelings rise to the surface, the rules go out the window.

Of course, chemistry was never their problem. But while Simon’s career feels back on solid footing, Lana is still sorting out what she wants. With their trial period soon coming to an end, they’ll have to decide if their living arrangement was merely a sexy trip down memory lane or a reunion meant to last.

One Last Chance (One Day to Forever #3) by Therese Baharrie
Releases on February 17, 2020
Publisher: Carina Press
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 262
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley

Of all the charity events in all of Cape Town, Zoey Roux had to bump into her husband at this one

Six years ago, Zoey Roux secretly married her best friend Sawyer. But all that did was destroy the best relationship she’s ever had. They went their separate ways, but Zoey never could go through with a divorce. Seeing him again at her sister’s charity event is a shock, but also enlightening: no matter how much she still loves him, it’s time to let him go.

Zoey was Sawyer Wilson’s first love. She broke his heart, but his feelings never died. Love was never their issue—only timing. Seeing her again is a shock: in a perfect world, she would run back into his arms. Instead, she’s asking for a divorce.

But a lot can happen in twenty-four hours: old wounds can heal, first loves can be reunited. And a second chance might just lead to happily ever after.

What books are on your TBR pile for January? Anything good that I should keep my eye out on? Please share the books you have on deck to read next month.

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My TBR Pile: November 2019

Posted October 29, 2019 by Rowena in Books, Features | 6 Comments

So, every month I put a list together of the books that I either need to read for review or the books that I want to get around to reading (finally). I’m also trying to be more responsible with my Kindle Unlimited and Audible Romance Package subscriptions so I’m going to post my TBR Pile on the blog so you guys can keep me honest.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done one of these posts but it’s been a long time coming. The last post that I did for this feature was back in July and though I did manage to get a good chunk of the books on my TBR pile from August read, I didn’t manage to read them all. Here’s a quick rundown on how I did on my August TBR Pile.

Previous Month Stats

Books to Read: 10
Books Read: 8
Books Unread: 2
Pages Read: 3,333 | Hours Listened: 13 hours, 24 minutes
Favorite Read: Don’t Forget about Me | Least Favorite Read: Coming Up Roses

November’s TBR PILE

Goddess of Spring (Goddess Summoning #2) by P.C. Cast
Released on August 3, 2004
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 360
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

Lina’s trendy bakery in Tulsa is proving to be less than lucrative, and she must come up with a plan. When she stumbles upon an Italian Goddess cookbook, Lina can’t help but think she’s found the answer to her problem—even if it means invoking a goddess to save her business.

Soon enough, Lina finds herself face-to-face with Demeter, who has a plan of her own. She proposes that Lina exchange souls with Persephone, the Goddess of Spring, who will breathe new life into the bakery. In return, Lina must set order to the Underworld.

Before all this, Lina’s problems mostly involved sourdough and second dates. Now that she embodies the enchanting Persephone, Lina has weightier things on her mind—like the formidable task of bringing Spring to a world of spirits. But when the handsome, brooding Hades kindles a spark in her heart, Lina wonders if this Lord of the Underworld might be the man of her dreams.

This one is my book club read of the month so I need to get this book read and a discussion prepped and a book club game planned and put together. I’ve never read any of the books in this series and I don’t read too many fantasy books so I’m looking forward to digging into this. Wish me luck that I actually like it.

Open House (Uptown #2) by Ruby Lang
Releases on November 11, 2019
Publisher: Carina Press
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 165
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley

Love can take root where you least expect it.

Tyson Yang never imagined that one day he’d be the de facto spokesperson for an illegal community garden. But when the once-rat-infested-but-now-thriving Harlem lot goes up for sale, Ty can’t just let all their hard work get plowed under.

Even if he is irresistibly drawn to the lovely but infuriatingly stubborn real estate associate.

Magda Ferrer’s family is already convinced this new job will be yet another flop in her small but growing list of career path failures. But her student debt isn’t going anywhere, and selling her uncle’s historic town house and the lot nearby means a chance to get some breathing room.

Ty is her charming rival, her incorrigible nemesis, the handsome roadblock to her success.

Until one hot Harlem night blurs the hard line drawn between them, and the seeds of possibility in this rocky garden blossom into love…

This book fell off my radar a few months ago but I was browsing Netgalley a couple of weeks ago and it came back on my radar so I’ll be reading this one before the release date and hopefully get my review done for it. I can’t wait to read it.

Getting Schooled (The Wright Brothers #1) by Christina C. Jones
Releases on January 11, 2016
Publisher: Warm Hues Publishing
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 334
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited

When 26 year old Reese accepts a position as a grad assistant, she has no idea an unpleasant encounter with a student will lead to the discovery of what she calls “the trifecta”: fine, intellectual, and a little bit rude – three qualities she finds irresistible in a man. She has no intention of doing anything with that discovery – nothing long term, at least. But everybody knows what happens to best laid plans.

Jason is a grown man. 28 years old, seasoned and scarred by his real-life experience in the world, he’s at Blakewood State University to finish his degree and move on. The last thing he’s interested in is the female population on campus… but sexy, infuriating Reese might be a notable exception.

This isn’t a story of opposites attract.

More like counterparts clash.

Neither of them is afraid to do battle, and neither is willing to back down. Love and war, win or lose… somebody’s gonna end up getting schooled.

I’ve been making a note of all of the books that I’ve seen recommended on Twitter and the next few books are all recommendations from my Twitter timeline. I’ve seen good things mentioned about this book so I’m looking forward to digging into my copy of the book.

Crush, Interrupted by Zaida Polanco
Released on February 22, 2019
Publisher: Self Published
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 112
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited

When a down-on-her-luck writer gets the opportunity to house-sit at her friend’s fancy condo for a few weeks, she jumps at the chance to get away from her depressing life and enjoy a few weeks of peaceful writing and relaxing baths in her friend’s amazing tub. What she hadn’t planned on, however, is her best friend’s brother crashing at the condo as well. Her best friend’s very very hot brother who just so happens to be the one that got away.

I’m really looking forward to reading this book because it’s a best friend’s brother romance and I’m complete trash for those. It’s also another Twitter timeline recommendation so I’m all in for this one.

Never Got Over You by Whitney G.
Releases on October 24, 2019
Publisher: Self Published
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 208
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited

Nine and a half years ago, you married a man who wasn’t me. He wasn’t even half of me…

Nine and a half hours ago, you walked through the doors of my billion-dollar boardroom for a job interview.

Although every person at the table fell for your charm and applauded, I didn’t dare. I couldn’t help but notice your bare ring finger. Couldn’t help but notice that you were even sexier now than you were on the night we first met.

I honestly didn’t want to hire you, but I had no choice. (I was outvoted 16-1, but trust me, you got this job by default.)

When you signed the papers and we shook hands, I didn’t bring up the fact that you didn’t “wait for me” like you promised to years ago, or that you just moved on with your life like what we had meant nothing. Instead, I insisted that we keep things one-hundred percent professional.

So, for the record: I’ve long forgotten about you and all the times we shared. (This includes the way your body feels under mine, the way your laughter used to make me smile, and the way you used to breathlessly say my name for hours at a time.)

I’m definitely not in denial, this is all one hundred percent true. You’ll never hear me say that you still have an effect on me, that you’re still the best I’ve ever had, or worse, that I never got over you…

I haven’t LOVED the last few books that I’ve read by Whitney G. but that doesn’t seem to stop me from wanting to read all of her books. I downloaded this book to my kindle unlimited because I’m a sucker for the second chance romance trope and this is one of them. I just hope that I enjoy it more than I have the last few books of hers that I’ve read. Fingers crossed.

Grumpy Jake by Melissa Blue
Releases on November 8, 2019
Publisher: Self Published
Genres: Contemporary
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

Bailey Thorne doesn’t hate Jake the Rake, just despises him. She blames the rumor mill at her school…and, okay, him. His adorable son has only been in preschool, but Jake has already made an impressive dent in dating the unmarried faculty. She’s had to hear of his every exploit from the broken hearts he’s left behind. She was fine to loathe him from afar, but now his son has entered kindergarten–and she’s the teacher. It’s going to be a very long school year.

Jake Polaski was more than fine to avoid Ms. Thorne after it became clear she was not amused by his very existence. But then they get stuck in an elevator for an evening. He finds out that underneath that baleful glare she always gives him, lies a warm, funny and sexy as hell woman. He does his best to not be smitten after every exchange afterward. His son needs him rational, steadfast…and love is the most uncertain thing.

It was the elevator’s fault. Had it worked like it should, Bailey would have gone on with her life without seeing why so many of her co-workers had fallen for the grumpy single dad. (It’s his dry wit, his playful teasing and the drool-worthy cut of his jawline.) And now she’s caught in the way he doles out smiles and the dark depths of his secrets. If nothing else, she knows from rumor there’s a clock ticking on their affair before it implodes because things always do with Jake the Rake, but she can’t seem to walk away first.

I’ve been looking forward to this book for a while now because 1) I love the cover and 2) the story sounds like a total rockstar of a romance so I’m totally in. I can’t wait until my pre-order for this book hits my kindle.

Lady Derring Takes a Lover (The Palace of Rogues #1) by Julie Anne Long
Releases on February 26, 2019
Publisher: Avon
Genres: Historical
Pages: 384
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

A mistress. A mountain of debt. A mysterious wreck of a building.

Delilah Swanpool, Countess of Derring, learns the hard way that her husband, “Dear Dull Derring,” is a lot more interesting—and perfidious—dead than alive. It’s a devil of an inheritance, but in the grand ruins of the one building Derring left her, are the seeds of her liberation. And she vows never again to place herself at the mercy of a man.

But battle-hardened Captain Tristan Hardy is nothing if not merciless. When the charismatic naval hero tracks a notorious smuggler to a London boarding house known as the Rogue’s Palace, seducing the beautiful, blue-blooded proprietress to get his man seems like a small sacrifice.

They both believe love is a myth. But a desire beyond reason threatens to destroy the armor around their hearts. Now a shattering decision looms: Will Tristan betray his own code of honor…or choose a love that might be the truest thing he’s ever known?

This book is on my TBR pile because Holly adored it so and I promised her that I would give this book a go so in the month of November, I’m going to read this mug. It’s already on my kindle, ready to be read, I just need to dig in and I’m excited about that.

Angel in a Devil’s Arms (The Palace of Rogues #2) by Julie Anne Long
Released on October 29, 2019
Publisher:
Genres:
Pages: 384
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

From USA Today bestselling author Julie Anne Long comes the second book in an exciting new historical romance series, the first since her beloved Pennyroyal Green series.

He has devil’s blood in his veins. At least, that’s always been the legend. How else could the Duke of Brexford’s notorious bastard son return from the dead? The brutal decade since Lucien Durand, Lord Bolt, allegedly drowned in the Thames forged him into a man who always gets what—and who—he wants. And what he wants is vengeance for his stolen birthright…and one wild night in Angelique Breedlove’s bed.

Angelique recognizes heartbreak when the enigmatic Lord Bolt walks into The Grand Palace on the Thames, and not even his devastating charm can tempt her to risk her own ever again. One scorching kiss drives home the danger.

But in the space between them springs a trust that feels anything but safe. And the passion—explosive, consuming—drives Lucien to his knees. Now his whole life depends on proving his love to a woman who doesn’t believe in it…because his true birthright, he now knows, is guardian of Angelique Breedlove’s heart.

This is the book that follows Lady Derring Takes a Lover and if I know Holly, I know that I’m going to love LDTaL so I know that I’m going to want to dive right into the next book. I’m so glad that I won’t have to wait to make that happen since this book comes out today!!

The One for You (The Ones that Got Away #4) by Roni Loren
Releases on December 31, 2019
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley

The highly-anticipated fourth book in Roni Loren’s unforgettable The Ones Who Got Away series.

She got a second chance at life.
Will she take a second chance at love?

Kincaid Breslin wasn’t supposed to survive that fateful night at Long Acre when so many died, including her boyfriend—but survive she did. She doesn’t know why she got that chance, but now she takes life by the horns and doesn’t let anybody stand in her way

Ashton Isaacs was her best friend when disaster struck all those years ago, but he chose to run as far away as he could. Now fate has brought him back to town, and Ash doesn’t know how to cope with his feelings for Kincaid and his grief over their lost friendship. For Ash has been carrying secrets, and he knows that once Kincaid learns the truth, he’ll lose any chance he might have had with the only woman he’s ever loved.

This is another one of my review books and I’m so amped to finally get around to reading it because IT’S KINCAID’S BOOK!! I’ve been hearing such good things about this one so I’m really looking forward to digging into my eARC of this one. I just know I’m going to love it.

Special Delivery (Always Satisfied #5) by Lauren Blakely
Releases on November 13, 2019
Publisher: Self Published
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 150
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas is the secret potion that’ll help me resist my brother’s new business partner. You know, the super hot, super sweet, super smart guy I now have to plan all the holiday parties with.

I mean, really. Who thought THAT was a good idea?

Oh, me. Yep, brilliant, strategic me who raised her hand and said yes I’d love to hang mistletoe with that sexy former sports star. I’d love to taste test spiked hot chocolate with that charming, flirty man. I’d love to get snowed in with the one guy I shouldn’t fall for.

As long as I can make it through the holidays I’ll be on my merry way, fa la la la la. But the holidays have a surprise for me.

I have really enjoyed the last few books that I’ve read by Lauren Blakely and I’m getting into the Christmas spirit so this was a no brainer. This one looks like such a cute Christmas romance and I’m so here for it all.

What books are on your TBR pile for November? Anything good that I should keep my eye out on? Please share the books you have on deck to read next month.

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The Weekly Recap (138)

Posted October 14, 2019 by Rowena in Books, Features | 4 Comments

Hey guys!

I’m sorry I keep disappearing from this blog but the last couple of months have taken a lot out of mentally and physically. My Dad’s been in and out of the hospital and then he’s been recuperating at home and it’s slow going. He’s a good patient though so I do whatever I can to make him comfortable and I’m spending a lot of time with him too. On top of that, my nephew’s a senior in high school and my brother in law is the Booster Club President so we’ve been going to a lot of football games, Booster Club tailgates and everything else under the sun. I’m also still really busy at work. I’m starting to get comfortable in my new role and I’m a lot more confident in what I’m doing so I’m happy with my new place at work and I’m always busy so I’m never bored which means that I don’t have any time to blog. But I’m starting to figure out how to make time for all of my stuff so here’s hoping that you’ll finally see me around more often. Fingers crossed.

I’m also extremely sad that my Dodgers choked big time in the NLDS. I’m still not over last Wednesday’s loss but I hope my Lakers have better luck this season to wash away all these tears. LOL. I’ve looked like this for the last few days:

With how busy I’ve been in my personal life, my reading has really taken a nosedive. I’m not reading as much as I hoped I would, I’m 8 books behind in my Goodreads Reading Challenge. It’s just a whole lotta, whole lotta. But I did manage to get some books read this week.

Now, onto the books…

What I’m Currently Reading
The Weekly Recap (138)The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
Series: The Bromance Book Club #1
Published by Penguin, Berkley on November 5, 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Point of View: Alternating Third Person
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Add It: Goodreads

The first rule of this book club:You don't talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott's marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville's top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it'll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.

Now that I’m reading again, I’m trying to make some headway on my review pile. This book doesn’t come out until next month but it’s up on my review queue and so far, I’m enjoying it. I’m enjoying the second chance romance between a married couple and seeing the hero fumble his way to getting his love life back on track with his …book club. It’s an interesting story with characters that I like so I’m hopeful that the rest of the book will be just as great as the beginning and then my first order of business will be putting the second book in this series on my wishlist. Good stuff.

What I Read

Moonlighter (The Company #1) by Sarina Bowen (eARC) | 4.25 out of 5
The Bride (Laird’s Fiancees #1) by Julie Garwood (eBook) | 4 out of 5
Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren (eARC) | 4 out of 5

What I Reviewed

Coming Up for Air by Staci Hart | 2.5 out of 5
Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane | 4.5 out of 5

What I Got

The Play by Elle Kennedy

What I Got for Review

Moonlighter (The Company #1) by Sarina Bowen
Marriage on Madison Avenue (The Central Park Pact #3) by Lauren Layne
Four Days of You and Me by Miranda Kenneally
The Kissing Game by Marie Harte

What Made Me Laugh

There you have it, my week in review. How was your week? How have you guys been? Have you guys read anything good that I should add to my TBR pile? Catch me up in the comments, will you?

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My TBR Pile: August 2019

Posted August 6, 2019 by Rowena in Books | 10 Comments

So, every month I put a list together of the books that I either need to read for review or the books that I want to get around to reading (finally). I’m also trying to be more responsible with my Kindle Unlimited and Audible Romance Package subscriptions so I’m going to post my TBR Pile on the blog so you guys can keep me honest.

I think I’ve finally found my reading mojo for the year. This year has been slow going as far as my reading is concerned and I was a little worried that my reading was going to take a hike for good but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. I read all but one of the books on my TBR list from last month and to say that I’m happy is putting it mildly. I’m freaking ecstatic. Here’s how I did this month as far as my TBR pile goes.

Previous Month Stats

Books to Read: 10
Books Read: 6
Books Unread: 4
Pages Read: 1,332 | Hours Listened: 17 hours
Favorite Read: Brazen and the Beast | Least Favorite Read: Like the Wind

August’s TBR PILE

The Wallflower Wager (Girl Meets Duke #3) by Tessa Dare
Releases on August 13, 2019
Publisher: Harper Collin, Avon
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss

They call him the Duke of Ruin.

To an undaunted wallflower, he’s just the beast next door.

Wealthy and ruthless, Gabriel Duke clawed his way from the lowliest slums to the pinnacle of high society—and now he wants to get even.

Loyal and passionate, Lady Penelope Campion never met a lost or wounded creature she wouldn’t take into her home and her heart.

When her imposing—and attractive—new neighbor demands she clear out the rescued animals, Penny sets him a challenge. She will part with her precious charges, if he can find them loving homes.

Done, Gabriel says. How hard can it be to find homes for a few kittens?

And a two-legged dog.

And a foul-mouthed parrot.

And a goat, an otter, a hedgehog . . .

Easier said than done, for a cold-blooded bastard who wouldn’t know a loving home from a workhouse. Soon he’s covered in cat hair, knee-deep in adorable, and bewitched by a shyly pretty spinster who defies his every attempt to resist. Now she’s set her mind and heart on saving him.

Not if he ruins her first.

This book was on last month’s TBR pile and it’s one that I didn’t get around to but need to read so it’s back on this month’s list. Second times the charm, maybe? Tessa Dare is the bomb historical romance author so I’m sure that I will adore this book and I can’t wait. I will get my shit together this month and I will read this one before the month is up.

The Duchess in His Bed (Sins for all Seasons #4) by Lorraine Heath
Releases on August 20, 2019
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss

For a duchess with practical desires, falling in love is an inconceivable part of her plan…

As owner of the Elysium Club which caters to women’s fantasies, Aiden Trewlove is accustomed to introducing adventurous ladies to sin and vice. But he is uncharacteristically intrigued by the mysterious beauty who visits his club one night, yearning to indulge in the forbidden—with him. Drawn to her indomitable spirit, he breaks his rule of never becoming personally involved with his clientele and is determined to fully awaken her desires.

A recent widow, Selena Sheffield, Duchess of Lushing, has never known passion, not until Aiden’s slow, sensual seduction leads her on a journey of discovery and incredible pleasure. But her reasons for visiting the notorious club are not all that they seem.

As Selena’s motives become complicated by love, she finds herself with a most unexpected choice: forge ahead with a secret plan that could secure her future—or follow her heart which could prove ruinous.

Another book that was on my TBR pile for last month and I never got around to reading it. That’s going to change this month. Probably even this week. Bet.

The Kingpin of Camelot (The Kinda Fairytale #3) by Cassandra Gannon
Released on July 31, 2017
Publisher: Self Published
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 576
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

The Queen: Guinevere must save Camelot. Ever since Arthur died, the evil Scarecrow has been trying to marry her and gain the crown. If she and her daughter are going to survive his mad schemes, Gwen needs to find Merlyn’s wand. Fast. Unfortunately, the only man strong enough to help her on her quest is Kingpin Midas, a flashy, uneducated mobster dealing with a curse. Gwen is a logical, rational woman, though, and she can draft one hell of a contract. She’s pretty sure she can come up with an offer not even the kingdom’s greatest villain can refuse.

The Kingpin: Anything Midas touches turns to gold. Literally. The curse has helped him to rule Camelot’s underworld with an iron fist. He has more money and more power than anyone else in the kingdom. He’s convinced there’s nothing he can’t buy. One look at Gwen and Midas knows that he’s about to make his most brilliant purchase, yet. He’s about to own the one woman in the world he would give anything to possess. All he has to do to claim her is somehow win a war against the smartest man in Camelot, hide his growing feelings from Gwen, deal with his overprotective bodyguard’s paranoia about the queen’s hidden motivations, and adjust to a five-year-old demanding bedtime stories from a gangster. Simple, right?

The Contract: Gwen’s deal is simple: If Midas marries her, she’ll make him King of Camelot. It’s a fair bargain. Midas will keep her enemies away and she’ll give him the respectability that money can’t buy. She never expects Midas to agree so quickly. Or for their practical business arrangement to feel so… complicated. Midas isn’t the tawdry, feral animal that Arthur railed against. He’s a kind and gentle man, who clearly needs Gwen’s help just as much as she needs his. In fact, the longer she’s around Midas the more Gwen realizes that their “fake marriage” might be more real than she ever imagined.

I really need to tackle my Summer Reading Challenge so this book is back on my TBR pile for this month. Wish me luck!

Sapphire Flames (Hidden Legacy #4) by Ilona Andrews
Releases on August 27, 2019
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews comes an enthralling new trilogy set in the Hidden Legacy world, where magic means power, and family bloodlines are the new currency of society…

In a world where magic is the key to power and wealth, Catalina Baylor is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, and the Head of her House. Catalina has always been afraid to use her unique powers, but when her friend’s mother and sister are murdered, Catalina risks her reputation and safety to unravel the mystery.

But behind the scenes powerful forces are at work, and one of them is Alessandro Sagredo, the Italian Prime who was once Catalina’s teenage crush. Dangerous and unpredictable, Alessandro’s true motives are unclear, but he’s drawn to Catalina like a moth to a flame.

To help her friend, Catalina must test the limits of her extraordinary powers, but doing so may cost her both her House–and her heart.

I need to re-read this book because it comes out this month and I need to write my review for it…you guys don’t have to wish me luck since I’ll have no trouble at all reading this one again. Mr. Alessandro Sagredo?? Come to mama.

The Iron Duke (Iron Seas #1) by Meljean Brook
Released on October 5, 2010
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Genres: Steampunk, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

After the Iron Duke freed England from Horde control, he instantly became a national hero. Now Rhys Trahaearn has built a merchant empire on the power – and fear – of his name. And when a dead body is dropped from an airship onto his doorstep, bringing Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth into his dangerous world, he intends to make her his next possession.

But when Mina uncovers the victim’s identity, she stumbles upon a conspiracy that threatens the lives of everyone in England. To save them, Mina and Rhys must race across zombie-infested wastelands and treacherous oceans-and Mina discovers the danger is not only to her countrymen, as she finds herself tempted to give up everything to the Iron Duke.

I was supposed to read this book years ago and I never did. Then I was supposed to read it last month and I never did…but Holly put this book on my summer reading challenge list so I have to read this month. For reals.

Coming Up Roses by Staci Hart
Releases on August 1, 2019
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 293
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited

Everyone hates parts of their job.

Maybe it’s the paperwork. Maybe it’s the day-to-day grind. Maybe it’s that client who never knows what they want, or the guy who always cooks fish in the microwave.

But not me. I love every corner of the Longbourne Flower Shop, every flower, every petal, every stem. I love the greenhouse, and I love Mrs. Bennet, my boss. I love creating, and I love being a florist. I don’t hate anything at all.

Except for Luke Bennet.

The Bennet brothers have come home to help their mom save the flower shop, and Luke is at the helm. His smile tells a tale of lust, loose and easy. He moves with the grace of a predator, feral and wild. A thing unbridled, without rules or constraint. When he comes home to save Longbourne, I almost can’t be mad at him. Almost.

He doesn’t remember that night I’ll never forget. That kiss, touched with whiskey and fire. It branded me like a red-hot iron. But it meant nothing to him.

Everyone hates part of their job, and I hate Luke Bennet.

Because if I don’t, I’ll fall in love with him.

Ames chose this book to read this month for our monthly buddy read. I’m down with it so on my TBR list this goes.

Water Bound (Sea Haven #1) by Christine Feehan
Releases on July 27, 2010
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 480
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

Christine Feehan’s #1 New York Times bestselling Hidden Currents may have closed the Drake Sisters saga—which “brought paranormal romance to a new high”*–but it has opened the door to an all~new series of startling magic, mystery, and the soul~stirring elements of nature….

The last thing Lev Prakenskii remembered was being lost in the swirling currents of the ocean and getting sucked deeper into the nothingness of a freezing black eddy off the coastal town of Sea Haven. Just as quickly, just a miraculously, he was saved—pulled ashore by a beautiful stranger. But Lev has no memory of who he is—or why he seems to possess the violent instincts of a trained killer. All he knows is that he fears for his life, and for the life of his unexpected savior.

Her name is Rikki, a sea~urchin diver in Sea Haven. She has always felt an affinity for the ocean, and for the seductive pull of the tides. And now she feels drawn in the same way to the enigmatic man she rescued. But soon they will be bound by something even stronger, and their tantalizing secrets will engulf them both in a whirlpool of dizzying passion and inescapable danger.

This is another Summer Reading Challenge book that I haven’t gotten around to but will get around to this month. I promise.

Sweet Heat (Blue Collar Lovers #3) by Zuri Day
Releases on June 25, 2019
Publisher: Kensington
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

The Blue-Collar Lover Series

They don’t wear suits, but the five Carter brothers work hard to earn a day’s pay—and keep the right woman satisfied . . .

No one turns out luscious pies and to-die-for cakes like Marvin Carter. Few outside of the family know about his baking skills, but working as a restaurant line cook is getting old fast. Now he’ll do whatever it takes to win start-up money from a major cooking contest and launch his own dessert franchise. But his prime competition is making things hot for him in—and out—of the kitchen . . .

Naomi Wells is as savory as her soul food and has twice the spice. This confident, large-and-in-charge beauty also has high aspirations, and will work all her skills against the tasty Mr. Marvin to take first place—and start her caterer-to-the-stars business. As their attraction burns hot, the other contestants can’t take their heat nor their talent, and threaten to burn their dreams to ash. Will the desire be doused—or can Marvin and Naomi find common ground and fire up the chance of a lifetime?

This is me and Holly’s buddy read for the month. I’ve never heard of this author before but I’m game so on my TBR pile this goes.

Kill the Queen (Crown of Shards #1) by Jennifer Estep
Released on October 2, 2018
Publisher: Harper Collins, Harper Voyager
Genres: Dystopian, Romance
Pages: 480
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

Gladiator meets Game of Thrones: a royal woman becomes a skilled warrior to destroy her murderous cousin, avenge her family, and save her kingdom in this first entry in a dazzling fantasy epic from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Elemental Assassin series—an enthralling tale that combines magic, murder, intrigue, adventure, and a hint of romance.

In a realm where one’s magical power determines one’s worth, Lady Everleigh’s lack of obvious ability relegates her to the shadows of the royal court of Bellona, a kingdom steeped in gladiator tradition. Seventeenth in line for the throne, Evie is nothing more than a ceremonial fixture, overlooked and mostly forgotten.

But dark forces are at work inside the palace. When her cousin Vasilia, the crown princess, assassinates her mother the queen and takes the throne by force, Evie is also attacked, along with the rest of the royal family. Luckily for Evie, her secret immunity to magic helps her escape the massacre.

Forced into hiding to survive, she falls in with a gladiator troupe. Though they use their talents to entertain and amuse the masses, the gladiators are actually highly trained warriors skilled in the art of war, especially Lucas Sullivan, a powerful magier with secrets of his own. Uncertain of her future—or if she even has one—Evie begins training with the troupe until she can decide her next move.

But as the bloodthirsty Vasilia exerts her power, pushing Bellona to the brink of war, Evie’s fate becomes clear: she must become a fearsome gladiator herself . . . and kill the queen.

I must really love buddy reads because this book? It’s another buddy read that I’ll be doing with Ames and Holly. It was my choice since this book has been on my wishlist for a cool minute. I’m pretty stoked about jumping into this series. It’s my first book that I’ll be reading by this author and it just sounds like a reading adventure so I’m here for it.

Don’t You Forget about Me by Mhairi McFarlane
Releases on September 10, 2019
Publisher: Harper Collins, William Morrow Paperbacks
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 432
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss

Internationally bestselling author Mhairi McFarlane delivers a funny, romantic, heartfelt novel perfect for fans of Josie Silver or Sally Thorne, and anyone who loves Bridget Jones!

You always remember your first love… don’t you?

If there’s anything worse than being fired from the lousiest restaurant in town, it’s coming home early to find your boyfriend in bed with someone else. Reeling from the humiliation of a double dumping in one day, Georgina takes the next job that comes her way—bartender in a newly opened pub. There’s only one problem: it’s run by the guy she fell in love with years ago. And—make that two problems—he doesn’t remember her. At all. But she has fabulous friends and her signature hot pink fur coat… what more could a girl really need?

Lucas McCarthy has not only grown into a broodingly handsome man, but he’s also turned into an actual grown-up, with a thriving business and a dog along the way. Crossing paths with him again throws Georgina’s rocky present into sharp relief—and brings a secret from her past bubbling to the surface. Only she knows what happened twelve years ago, and why she’s allowed the memories to chase her ever since. But maybe it’s not too late for the truth… or a second chance with the one that got away?

This book is on my review pile for September so I need to get a jump start on that so yeah, I’ll definitely be reading this book this month.

What books are on your TBR pile for August? Anything good that I should keep my eye out on? Please share the books you have on deck to read next month.

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