Posted in Book Review, Domestic Thriller, Family Drama, Noir

Both of You Adele Parks 5*#Review @HQStories @adeleparks #BlogTour #noir #FamilyDrama #mystery #DomesticThriller #Marriage #Secrets #psychologicalsuspense

Leigh Fletcher: happily married stepmum to two gorgeous boys goes missing on Monday. Her husband Mark says he knows nothing of her whereabouts. She simply went to work and just never came home. Their family is shattered.

Kai Janssen: married to wealthy Dutch businessman, Daan, vanishes the same week. Kai left their luxurious penthouse and glamourous world without a backward glance. She seemingly evaporated into thin air. Daan is distraught.

DC Clements knows that people disappear all the time – far too frequently. Most run away from things, some run towards, others are taken but find their way back. A sad few never return. These two women are from very different worlds, their disappearances are unlikely to be connected. And yet, at a gut level, the DC believes they are.

How could these women walk away from their families, husbands and homes willingly? Clements is determined to unearth the truth, no matter how shocking and devastating it may be.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from HQ Stories in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Compelling yet easy to read, this is addictive psychological suspense. There are elements of police procedural and a twisty mystery to solve. The character dynamics are relatable, and contemporary issues of raising teenagers, misogyny at work and missing persons are highlighted.

The story focuses on two missing persons, Leigh married to Mark with two sons, and Kai, who is married to Daan. Detailed characterisation and relationship dynamics in the early chapters make the shocks and twists impactful. The reader is invested in the characters even though not all are likeable.

The story is passionate, poignant, and often menacing, but it is always addictive reading. Whilst the ending may not be a total surprise if you follow the clues, it remains sinister, suspenseful, and ultimately shocking.

Posted in Book Review, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, New Books, Suspense

Pandora Susan Stokes-Chapman – An Extract… 4*Review #HistoricalFiction #histfic #LiteraryFiction #Georgian #London #Mystery #Legend #Greek #Intrigue #Pandora #Extract #Review

An exclusive sample of Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman, featuring the first thirteen chapters.

A pure pleasure of a novel set in Georgian London, where the discovery of a mysterious ancient Greek vase sets in motion conspiracies, revelations and romance.

There is a fine line between coincidence and fate…

London, 1799. Dora Blake is an aspiring jewellery artist who lives with her uncle in what used to be her parents’ famed shop of antiquities. When a mysterious Greek vase is delivered, Dora is intrigued by her uncle’s suspicious behaviour and enlists the help of Edward Lawrence, a young man seeking acceptance into the Society of Antiquaries. Edward sees the ancient vase as key to unlocking his academic future. Dora sees it as a chance to restore her parents’ shop to its former glory, and to escape her uncle.

But what Edward discovers about the vase has Dora questioning everything she has ever known about her life, her family, and the world as she knows it. As Dora uncovers the truth she starts to realise that some mysteries are buried, and some doors are locked, for a reason.

Gorgeously atmospheric and deliciously page-turning, Pandora deals with themes of secrets and deception, love and fulfilment, fate and hope.

Out on 27 January 2022

Pre-order now. Amazon UK

I received an extract of this book from Random House UK Vintage via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I have read an extract of this book, thirteen chapters, and I am intrigued to read what follows.

Set in Georgian England, the story weaves a mystical ethos as it introduces the main players of this Greek-inspired story. It centres on a recovered vase taken from a shipwreck. Pandora has aspirations to be a jewellery designer but is thwarted by misogyny. Her parents died mysteriously, leaving her in the care of her uncle Hezekiah who hasn’t respected her parents’ legacy. Edward is a young man with ambition. He wants to study antiquities and be accepted by the professional society, but his class stimies him despite being sponsored by a young aristocrat who appears emotionally attached.

The scene is set for Pandora and Edward to meet as her interest in her uncle’s latest acquisition intensifies. The extract ends as Pandora finds the vase…

This is atmospheric, with complex characters and an intriguing mystery. The legend suggests the reader can envisage what come next but can they. The historical detail and lyrical prose make this an absorbing and immersive reading experience that I would like to continue.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Parenting and Famlies, Romance, Travel

The Summer Seekers Sarah Morgan 5*#Review @SarahMorgan_ @HQStories #BlogTour #BookReview #BeachRead #Summer #Family #Love #MothersandDaughters #RoadTrip #RomCom #HolidayFiction #Multigenerational #TheSummerSeekers #Route66

Get swept into a summer of sunshine, soul-searching, and shameless matchmaking with this delightfully big-hearted road-trip adventure!

Kathleen is eighty years old. After she has a run-in with an intruder, her daughter wants her to move in to a residential home. But she’s not having any of it. What she craves—what she needs—is adventure.

Liza is drowning under the daily stress of family life. The last thing she needs is her mother jetting off on a wild holiday, making Liza long for a solo summer of her own.

Martha is having a quarter-life crisis. Unemployed, unloved and uninspired, she just can’t get her life together. But she knows something has to change.

When Martha sees Kathleen’s advertisement for a driver and companion to share an epic road trip across America with, she decides this job might be the answer to her prayers. She’s not the world’s best driver, but anything has to be better than living with her parents. And traveling with a stranger? No problem. Anyway, how much trouble can one eighty-year-old woman be?

As these women embark on the journey of a lifetime, they all discover it’s never too late to start over.

Amazon UK

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I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The Summer Seekers encapsulates a Summer road trip, a marriage in trouble and three women at different life stages, all in need of emotional support. This multi-generational story is humorous, poignant and romantic as it explores friendship, marriage and mothers and daughter relationships.

Kathleen loves her rambling Cornish cottage close to the beach packed with a lifetime of memories. Liza is the lynchpin of her family, weighed down with her catastrophising and keeping her family’s life stress-free. Kathleen and Liza are emotionally estranged but still care deeply for each other. Martha, unconnected with the women, facilitates Kathleen’s latest adventure despite Liza’s misgivings and her own anxiety.

Martha and Kathleen take a road trip on Route 66. Liza reconnects with her true self in her Cornish childhood home. This is not a travelogue, but there are some good descriptions of places visited.

Gentle romance, relatable characters, and an uplifting conclusion. An addictive Summer read.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Psychological Suspense, Suspense

Lost Souls Jenny O’Brien 5*#Review @ScribblerJB @HQStories #CrimeFiction #DetectiveGabyDarin #Wales #BlogTour #LostSouls #BookReview @rararesources #MondayBlogs

A MISSING GIRL. A RACE AGAINST TIME.

Ten-year-old Elodie Fry vanishes overnight, along with a rucksack filled with her meagre belongings. Acting DI Gaby Darin and her team are fighting the clock to reunite Elodie with her distraught mother – but was Elodie kidnapped or did she run?

Later that day, a local undertaker uncovers a nasty surprise: the remains of an unidentified second adult among a late pensioner’s ashes. Torn between the two investigations, Gaby decides the gruesome discovery at the crematorium must wait – the team are desperate to find Elodie before they lose her trail.

But as she follows the evidence, Gaby realises the two cases have a sinister connection… and there’s a killer on the loose.

Can Gaby find the missing girl alive… or is she already too late? 

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Another emotional and exciting medley of police procedural and psychological suspense featuring Detective Gaby Darin. Set in Wales, this is an atmospheric mystery beginning with a young girl running away, a strange discovery in crematorium ashes and an unsolved missing person’s case.

As events in Gaby’s life continue from previous stories, it’s best to read all the books in the series in order. The crimes are menacing and well-described. The investigative team dynamic is authentic, and Gaby Darin is a likeable protagonist.

Well-plotted with believable characters, there are plenty of twists and an addictive balance of action, emotion and investigation in this story. It keeps the reader engaged and guessing who committed the various crimes.

Jenny O’Brien

Born in Dublin, Jenny O’Brien moved to Wales and then Guernsey, where she tries to find time to write in between working as a nurse and ferrying around 3 teenagers.
In her spare time she can be found frowning at her wonky cakes and even wonkier breads. You’ll be pleased to note she won’t be entering Bake-Off. She’s also an all-year-round sea swimmer. Readers can find out more about Jenny and her books on her blog:
(jennyobrienwriter.wordpress) and she can also be found on
Twitter and Instagram as ‘scribblerjb’.
Facebook (Jenny O’Brien Guernsey Writer)

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Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Spotlight, New Books, Romance

Marrying The Heiress Autumn Miller #BlogBlitz @AMillerWrites @lovebooksgroup @lovebookstours #MondayBlogs

Marrying The Heiress is a standalone, full-length enemies-to-lovers romance featuring a smoking hot guy, with plenty of heat, heart and a happily ever after. 

Kate

I didn’t expect to inherit a multi-million-pound estate – especially under dubious circumstances – but I’ve only ever wanted to be financially secure. 

For years I’ve been cast out from my family, desperately scraping together a living, trying to find some self-worth in the process.

But the rightful heir – Will Dawlish – hates my guts. 

A-Daw-rable Dawlish, the papers call him. Dee-Lish Dawlish.

I’d like to think we could be friends, allies even, but all he wants is his inheritance back.

And even though Will’s distractingly handsome, even though he’s adored by the country as a cricketing legend, he’s emotionally bankrupt.

Will

I just want my grandfather’s inheritance back. I’ve got big plans to realise, and Kate Parsons has utterly derailed them.

After pursuing her through my lawyers, I’m left with one brazen plan.

Marrying her is the only option. 

It makes good business sense; the divorce will be clean and tidy, my finances restored.

There will be nothing romantic between us because there’s absolutely nothing to like about Kate Parsons. 

Not her lies, her mysteries, nor her blatant thievery. 

And when she walks down the aisle towards me, I refuse to be moved by her graceful beauty. 

I don’t want to notice her dazzling smile. 

All I need to focus on is the next twelve months. Except, I also have to meet a stipulation of the prenup: consummating this marriage.

Amazon UK

If you like your romances sexy, playful, and with guys in full possession of killer smiles, bods and moves, then buy this book!

The Rags to Riches books are a collection of steamy romance stories which can be read in any order, though reader enjoyment will be improved if you start with Marrying The Heiress.

I loved reading romance books so much, I started to write my own. Featuring my own personal swoon-worthy book boyfriends with killer bods/smiles/moves and playful banter, hopefully, you’ll enjoy these heartfelt stories too. 

I live in Norfolk, England and write stories with heat, heart and happily ever after. 

Posted in Book Review, Family Drama, New Books, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller

The Marriage K. L.Slater 5*#Review @bookouture @KimLSlater #BookReview #newbooks #PschSuspense #Mansfield #Nottinghamshire #TheMarriage

Ten years ago he killed my son. Today I married him.

Ten years ago my darling son Jesse was murdered and our perfect family was destroyed. My strong, handsome boy, so full of life, became a memory, a photo I carried with me everywhere.

But today I’m finally close to finding happiness again. My ash-blonde hair has been curled into ringlets. Carefully placed white flowers frame my delicate features. The small, drab chapel has been prettied up with white satin, and there are tiny red hearts scattered on the small table where I will soon sign the register with my new husband.

The man who killed my son.

My friends and family can’t understand it. My neighbours whisper in the street whenever I walk past. How can I love a man like Tom?

They don’t really know me at all…

Amazon UK

The most unputdownable psychological thriller you’ll read this year from the bestselling author K.L. Slater.

I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

In a genre brimming with talent, this story stands out.

The Marriage draws the reader in with its scandalous and shocking blurb. The story that unfolds has depth, poignancy and countless twists and is addictive reading. I am familiar with the story’s setting, and the author captures the ethos convincingly.

Told from multiview points, the reader gains insight into the characters’ emotions and motivations. Both of the main protagonists are unreliable. The reader doesn’t know who to empathise with or who to trust. The plot explores Bridget and Jill’s friendship and what happens after the tragedy, illuminating the current storyline.

Relatable characters, contemporary issues, and a plot that keeps its secrets make this an engaging read. The final twists and positive conclusion are a satisfying end to an absorbing story.

Posted in Book Review, New Books, Romance

Stolen in Her Wedding Gown Amanda Cinelli 4*#Review @AcinelliAuthor @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks #MillsandBoonInsiders #MillsandBoonModern #HarlequinPresents #BookReview #Romance #Preorder #StoleninHerWeddingGown

When the something borrowed…
Is the bride!

About to walk down the aisle of her Manhattan wedding, determined Priya realises it’s impossible. After the news Greek playboy Eros has just shared about her convenient groom, she can’t go through with it. To save her father’s business she flees in her white dress…and weds Eros instead!

To beat his brother to the family inheritance, Eros must stay married for one year. Stealing Priya as his wife was the first step. Then, he discovers her deepest secrets – and a burning mutual desire. What started as convenient suddenly got very complicated…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Eros is aptly named with a playboy reputation that lives up to his name. His meeting with his mother after the death of his estranged father gives the reader all the necessary clues to understand his commitment issues and need for Greek-style revenge. Priya is an heiress who refused to conform to the marriage of convenience expected of her. Succeeding on her own is important to her, so why is marrying someone she doesn’t love. Eros’ revenge and Priya marriage of convenience collide on her wedding day with life-changing results for them both.

Their dramatic meeting paves the way for sizzling chemistry that is slow to ignite due to Priya’s innocence and Eros’ unwillingness to push against her boundaries. They begin to form an emotional attachment before the physical attraction takes over, and whilst this a little unexpected in this romance category, it does make the story romantic.

This is an emotional love story with glamorous protagonists who are vulnerable under their outward facades.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Extract, Family Drama, Friendship, Mystery, Romance

Summer at the Chateau Jennifer Bohnet 5*#Review @jenniewriter @BoldwoodBooks #Secrets #Friendship #Life #Family #Brittany #Chateau #BookReview #BlogTour #Secrets @rararesources #boldwoodbloggers #mystery #Relationships #SummerattheChateau

Every end has a new beginning… All NEW from bestselling author Jennifer Bohnet.


When Pixie Sampson’s husband tragically dies, she inherits the beautiful Château Quiltuin in Brittany, Northern France.

But unbeknown to her, she also inherits a mysterious lodger, Justine Martin and her 4-year-old son Ferdie. 

Heartbroken and with her adventurous Mum, Gwen in tow, they travel to France to put the Château on the market but are soon drawn into a quest to seek the Château’s secrets.

Who is Juliette? Why is she living at the Château? How did she know her husband?

Over the Summer months, the Château fills with family and laughter and secrets are discovered and old wounds begin to heal.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The setting, in a chateau in France, guarantees my escape from rainy England, but this book has so much more to give me. It’s a multi-generational family story of loss and secrets leading to ultimately uplifting forgiveness and healing.

Pixie and her mother travel to the chateau to give Pixie respite from the shock of her loss. She doesn’t realise her emotional rollercoaster is just beginning. A heartfelt story with gentle humour to lighten the mood and a multi-layered plot that hides a myriad of secrets. Each revelation has an emotional impact as the fallout is explored in a way that allows character development. The result is an engaging family drama with relatable female protagonists and a well-plotted mystery.

Jennifer Bohnet is the bestselling author of over 14 women’s fiction titles, including Villa of Sun and Secrets and A Riviera Retreat. She is originally from the West Country but now lives in the wilds of rural Brittany, France.

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Extract from Summer at the Chateau – Jennifer Bohnet

Pixie Sampson’s thoughts were all over the place as she lay in bed at nine o’clock on the Wednesday morning after the funeral, trying to summon the energy to get up and face the world. 

She’d spent the three weeks since her husband Frank’s death in a kind of stupor, more dead than alive herself. Married for thirty-five years, the shock of Frank’s accident had thrown all the known certainties of her life up in the air, leaving her struggling to accept the inevitable changes his death had brought. Becoming a widow at fifty-nine because of some teenage joy-driver had never featured in her life plan. 

Widow. How she disliked that word. But she had no option other than to accept it. To, ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ as the faded poster pinned to the kitchen wall of her grandparents’ Devonshire home had urged her as she was growing up. She’d learnt that lesson well. So well in fact, her friends called her stoical in the face of a crisis, which made her smile. If they only knew how hard she had to work to keep showing that face to the world. To keep the pretence up. 

Her name, Pixie, alone had given her more opportunities than she wanted to learn stoicism in the face of torment. Why her mother had thought it a good idea to christen her daughter with such a childish name was beyond her. Her twin brother had rebelled against his name, Augustus, which he’d shortened to Gus by the time he arrived at secondary school and proceeded to thump any boy who dared to call him anything else. All her mother had ever said when Pixie complained bitterly about her name and ask ‘why’ was, ‘You were so tiny when you were born, you looked like you’d jumped out of one of the illustrations from the Flower Fairy books.’ 

‘But you could have given me a sensible proper name to fall back on and call me Pixie as a nickname.’ 

Gwen had just smiled at her. ‘Didn’t want to,’ and had wafted away to her pottery studio in the garden, to make and paint more Devonshire gnomes and pixies that the tourists seemingly couldn’t get enough of. 

Pixie sighed. She wished Gus and his family hadn’t re-located to Wales a few years ago, she missed them all so much, especially her godchildren, Charlie and Annabelle. At least her mother still lived reasonably close. 

Five years ago, Gwen had finally been persuaded by the twins to move from her isolated house on Dartmoor and live nearer Pixie and Frank. Protesting loudly, she’d finally decided on a cottage down near the coast in the South Hams, situated on the outskirts of a large village with lots of amenities like a doctor, supermarket, bank, cafe, post office, et cetera, all within walking distance. 

It had taken just six months for Gwen to become a part of the community: she’d joined the WI, was welcomed into the church choir, went OldTyme Dancing once a week and had even started to paint again. She told people that moving to the village was one of the best decisions she’d ever made, never mentioning how anti the move she’d been when Pixie and Gus had first suggested it. 

Eighty-four next birthday, she was still as irrepressible and independent as ever, but Pixie had sensed her mother was beginning to struggle with certain things. Not that Gwen would ever admit it. Maybe the time was coming when another move was needed? Not to a home, Gwen had made the twins promise years ago that they would never put her ‘out to pasture’ as she put it. With her brother and his wife living with their family too far away in Carmarthenshire, Pixie knew helping Gwen would be her responsibility, which, loving her mother as she did, was something she willingly accepted. Would daily visits be enough or should she invite Gwen to live with her now that she was a widow? 

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Literary Fiction, Mystery, New Books, Travel

The Hunting Season Tom Benjamin 4*#Review @Tombenjaminsays @LittleBrownUK #Constable #CrimeFiction #Italy #Bologna #Mystery #PrivateDetective @RandomTTours #TheHuntingSeason

Death stalks the hills of Bologna…

It’s truffle season and in the hills around Bologna the hunt is on for the legendary Boscuri White, the golden nugget of Italian gastronomy. But when an American truffle ‘supertaster’ goes missing, English detective Daniel Leicester discovers not all truffles are created equal. Did the missing supertaster bite off more than he could chew?

As he goes on the hunt for Ryan Lee, Daniel discovers the secrets behind ‘Food City’, from the immigrant kitchen staff to the full scale of a multi-million Euro business. After a key witness is found dead at the foot of one of Bologna’s famous towers, the stakes could not be higher. Daniel teams up with a glamorous TV reporter, but the deeper he goes into the disappearance of the supertaster the darker things become. Murder is once again on the menu, but this time Daniel himself stands accused. And the only way he can clear his name is by finding Ryan Lee…

Discover Bologna through the eyes of English detective Daniel Leicester as he walks the shadowy porticoes in search of the truth and, perhaps, even gets a little nearer to solving the mystery of Italy itself.

Amazon UK Amazon

I received a copy of this book from Little Brown Books – Constable and the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is best described as a literary mystery with its evocative settings and lyrical writing.

Private detective Daniel Leicester is hired to find a missing truffle taster by his parents. The story details the importance of the truffle economy to this area of Italy and explores the possibilities for crime with its unregulated nature. Investigations are hampered by the terrain and the lack of information about the missing man’s plans. An unexpected death intensifies the search and put Daniel in a precarious position.

The cast of characters are well-crafted, the detective team are diverse, and there is a believable team dynamic. Told from Daniel’s viewpoint, the reader gains insight into the Italian customs and settings and astute observations on possible suspects. Cultural and historical references and sensory imagery make this an inclusive reading experience.

The mystery is well-plotted with twists and satisfying conclusion, but it’s the atmospheric quality of this story that resonates.

Tom Benjamin

Tom Benjamin grew up in London and began his working life as a reporter before becoming a spokesman for Scotland Yard. He went on to work in international aid and public health, developing Britain’s first national programme against alcohol abuse and heading up drugs awareness campaign FRANK. He now lives in Bologna, Italy

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Read my review of A Quiet Death in Italy

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Humour, Romance, Romantic Comedy

The Borrow a BookShop Holiday Kiley Dunbar 5*#Review @KileyDunbar @HeraBooks @rararesources #Romance #holiday #humour #BlogTour #BookReview #RomCom #Friendship #TheBorrowaBookshopHoliday

The Fully Booked Bookshop Café invites literature lovers to run their very own bookshop … for a fortnight.

Spend your days talking books with customers in your own charming bookshop and serving up delicious cream teas in the cosy café.

Bookworms, what are you waiting for? Your holiday is going to be LIT(erary).

Apply to: The Fully Booked Bookshop, Down-a-long, Clove Lore, Devon.

Jude Crawley should be on top of the world. She’s just graduated as a mature student, so can finally go public about her relationship with Philosophy professor, Mack.

Until she sees Mack kissing another girl, and her dreams crumble. And worse, their dream holiday – running a tiny bookshop in the harbour village of Clove Lore for two weeks – is non-refundable.

Throwing caution to the winds, Jude heads down to Devon, eager to immerse herself in literature and heal her broken heart.

But there’s one problem – six foot tall, brooding (but gorgeous) Elliot, who’s also reserved the bookshop holiday for two weeks…

As Jude and Elliot put their differences aside to run the bookshop, it seems that Jude might be falling in love with more than just words. Until she discovers what Elliot is running from – and why he’s hiding out in Clove Lore.

Can Jude find her own happy ending in a tiny, tumbledown bookshop? Or is she about to find out that her bookish holiday might have an unexpected twist in the tale…

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story has beautifully crafted complex characters, believable relationship dynamics and a lovely coastal setting. The idea of taking your holiday in a bookshop is an appealing prospect. This is a detailed story with the painstaking character development of Jude, the main protagonist so that the reader appreciates how important an experience running the bookshop in the tiny coastal community is for her.

Jude’s life before the bookshop experience is as a carer for her Gran supporting her parents’ business and studying for a part-time degree. Her secret relationship with a professor at her University implodes on graduation day, forcing Jude to gain insight into her current life. She is a giving and loyal woman for whom family is everything. Caring for her Gran has put her life on hold to the point where she is anxious to move out of her comfort zone to see what the world offers for her.

Jude’s anxiety is written believably with sensitivity. The quirky community, meeting Elliot and running the bookshop make her realise that life is for living. The story is often humorous with a cast of vividly written characters and a charismatic dog. The friendship and eventual romance with Elliot are conflicted and resolved in a climatic and poignant way as his secrets are revealed.

Kiley Dunbar

Kiley Dunbar writes of heart-warming, escapist, romantic fiction set in beautiful places.

Kiley also works as a senior lecturer, teaching creative writing at the Manchester Writing School. One Winter’s Night was shortlisted for the RNA Romantic Comedy Novel Award 2021.

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