CRY WOLF by Charlie Adhara

Agent Cooper Dayton never thought anything could be harder than solving murders. Until he had to plan a wedding.

After taking down an old adversary, Agent Cooper Dayton of the Bureau of Special Investigations has earned a break. Not that planning a wedding to his sexy shifter partner, Oliver Park, is necessarily stress free, but it’s better than worrying about the ominous warning, delivered months ago, that Cooper’s life is in danger.

When he’s dragged to an event by his family, Cooper braces for an awkward evening, but instead finds himself in the middle of an ugly feud between Park’s ex and a rebel pack leader. What was supposed to be a quick outing turns into a full-blown murder investigation after the pack leader ends up dead, Park’s ex goes missing, and Cooper and Park are sent a series of disturbing wedding gifts that are somehow connected to it all.

The list of potential suspects is long, and with the bodies piling up, Cooper must turn to the one person he trusts the least: the villain he’s already put behind bars once and who has nothing to lose by lying and everything to gain if Cooper is out of the picture—for good. 


Title : Cry Wolf
Author : Charlie Adhara
Series : Big Bad Wolf (book five)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 269
Genre : LGBTQIAP+ paranormal romance
Publisher : Carina Press
Release Date : January 18, 2021

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

So when I read initially this “finale”, I was so confused because it was an end but it wasn’t the end, you know? Which made reading it now, knowing there’s a spinoff, and knowing why it is shifting POVs, far more satisfying — not that I wasn’t initially happy with how this went! But it just lands better, knowing there’s more to come.. and what that might look like.

Is everyone you’ve ever dated an asshole?
Maybe I have a type.

Also, I think I maybe understood things a little better. I have a tendency to inhale books, read them compulsively quickly, and maybe I did that when I finally got my grubby mitts on this book the first time around. Because things have settled in my brain a little more and I like where we might yet see things go, particularly in a certain Moon-like direction.

You know, it’s never too late to call off this engagement. You’re a catch, you’ll find someone.
I was cursed by an old witch to find him charming.
That’s some dark magic.

Obviously there isn’t much I can say, even for a non-ending end like this book, but this had all the fun and swoons and feels and investigative hijinks as the previous books but in this case, specifically, the stakes are a little higher. But there wasn’t any need for artificial tension of drama because what drives those stakes, at least from Cooper’s POV (which is all we have), is.. meaningless. Or hard to grasp. Somewhere in there. Which makes it all kind of funny actually. And not at all typical for the genre. Again.

Also, [Eli] said to tell you you’ve been demoted to fourth rank.
We don’t do ranks. We’re not pirates. Fourth?
[The cat] took third already.

As mentioned before, Adhara really likes to mess around with expectations within paranormal/urban fantasy reads and I enjoy that immensely. But I also love that in a genre so highly saturated, this really does stand out. Because of the world, sure, but the characters. Even beyond Cooper and Park, there’s Eli, the other bureau agents, Cooper’s family, the cat (Boogie is best!), and more. 

Why did you reveal yourself to us in the first place?
Yes, I can see now that was my mistake. To be brutally honest with you, I thought Cooper had recognized me. But I’m beginning to understand this whole glaring, staring, nostril-flaring thing is less ‘I know that wolf’ and more of a permanent feature of his face.
Well, he’s not wrong.”

I can’t wait to see what new or familiar (and both) faces we get in the spinoff with Eli to come (out August thirtieth!) and I’m really excited to explore more of his backstory. As much as I love Cooper, and Park, their dynamic, their banter, and everything they’ve endured and earned over the course of their series, I’m excited for a new dose of freshness to this world and to shift (tee hee) into a new POV. 

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – JULY 26, 2022

Happy “where’d all my money go?” new release Tuesday, everyone!

As you know, the most exciting day of the week in this community is the day that follows the one we all dread (Mondays for the nope) and today we’re going to highlight some of the new books chipping away at our bank accounts — but each one is so worth it.


Twice A Quinceñera by Yamile Saied Méndez is an adult second chance romance for a woman who thought romance was over after a failed wedding.

Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen is a dark fantasy with court intrigue and cruel witches…ooh!

When Stars Come Out by Scarlett St. Clair is a YA crossover from this well known author in a uniquely fantasy world. We can’t tell if this is a standalone or whether there will be more. Read and find out.



Are there any titles out today you’re excited for? Let us know in the comments below! 

THE FABRICATION OF EDEN PRUITT by K.E. Ganshert

Studious and principled Eden Pruitt stepped out of line just once. Unfortunately, that reckless decision ended with an arrest, a mug shot, and two very concerned parents. Now they’re starting over. In Iowa, of all places. On the cusp of her senior year, of all times. The situation is less than ideal but she’ll just have to manage, and without complaint. The change of address was her fault after all, and she isn’t going to make anything harder on her parents, who have already been through enough.

But life in Iowa turns strange fast. Odd things are happening, and Eden has no idea what any of it means. Then she comes home from her first day of school to a ransacked house and the nightmare officially begins. Her parents are missing. She’s convinced something terrible has happened to them. But nobody believes her. Except for a hardened, mysterious stranger who is as dangerous as he is enticing.


Title : The Fabrication of Eden Pruitt
Author : K.E. Ganshert
Series : Eden Pruitt #1
Format : Physical
Page Count : 440
Genre : YA Dystopian Thriller
Publisher : Self-published
Release Date : June 14, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

Headlines:
Don’t accept events at first glance
A dystopian US
Who is Eden Pruitt?

This was such a ride of a read that started in normality but quickly spiralled into Eden finding her life was not as she knew it. The story was set in a contemporary dystopian US with events in the past that haven’t happened to us that shaped their future. Eden found herself separated from her parents and in the company of a possible ally Cass.

For much of the story I was second guessing who was friend or foe. There were some amazing plot twists that really pulled the rug out from Eden and the reader. This was a fairly fast-paced read where Eden was on the run, fighting an unnamed enemy and second guessing her existence. I don’t want to give away any of the plot but it was unpredictable, it had sci-fi elements and it read like a thriller. I thought this melding of dystopian ya thriller with sci-fi worked well.

There was a light romance in this story and that connection was belieavable, on the periphery but it fit well with the overall plot. There’s a second installment to come in this series (duology?) and I’ll definitely be reading on.

NO LIMITS by Ellie Marney

New Australian YA romantic crime from the author of the award-winning Every series… 

Boozer, brawler, ladies’ man – nineteen-year-old Harris Derwent is not a good guy.

His one attempt to play the hero – helping out his old flame, Rachel Watts – has landed him in hospital. Now injured, broke and unemployed, he’s stuck back in the country, at his father’s mercy. Harris needs to pay off his dad’s debts, and fast. But working as a runner for a drug cartel is a dangerous path – especially if Harris agrees to narc…

Eighteen-year-old Amita Blunt is the perfect police sergeant’s daughter – practical, trustworthy, and oh-so responsible. Getting involved in Harris’s case was never part of the plan. But working at the hospital, she’s invisible – which makes her the ideal contact for a guy feeding information back to the police…

Harris and Amie’s connection is sizzling hot – but if the cartel finds out about them, things could get downright explosive. Backed into a corner, with everything at stake, it’s time for Harris and Amie to find out if love really has no limits..


Title : No Limits
Author : Ellie Marney
Series : Every (book four)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 420
Genre : NA/YA contemporary
Publisher : Bearded Lady Press
Release Date : August 14, 2017

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 3 star review

Perhaps reading this back to back with the main Every arc did it a disservice. Because outside of Harris being a character from book three, and a few name drops of characters from the main trilogy, this really has no connection. And the vibes don’t quite match, either. Had I given it some space, let it breathe, be it’s own thing, would I have liked it more? We’ll never know.

But. It’s a gritty YA, set in Australia, as opposed to some random US town, featuring something of a redemption story, and there’s some intensity and high stakes, plus romance, so if you’re into that, by all means! Give this a whirl.

I can appreciate it for all that, and I do, but this won’t really stand out. In a few weeks, I’ll likely already start forgetting it. When I think back to this series, this world, I doubt I’ll include this one in the mix. And I definitely wouldn’t reread it. But Marney is a great writer and I’m not mad I spent time with this one; even if it was easy to put down or be distracted from it. I’m glad I made the effort to close the chapter on this series, finish book three, and give this one a whirl, too. But if you’re looking to dive into the Every books? You could easily give this a miss. But as a standalone? I can easily see it being a hit.

WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING by Charlie Adhara

Agent Cooper Dayton and his partner, Oliver Park, are going undercover—at a retreat for couples who need counselling. They do say the best cover story is one that’s close to the truth…

Agent Cooper Dayton is almost relieved to get a phone call from his former boss at the Bureau of Special Investigations. It means a temporary reprieve from tensions created by house hunting with Oliver Park, his partner both in work and in life. Living together in a forever home is exactly what Cooper wants. He’s just not keen on working out the details.

With a former alpha werewolf missing, Cooper and Park are loaned to the BSI to conduct the search at a secluded mountain retreat. The agents will travel to the resort undercover…as a couple in need of counseling.

The resort is picturesque, the grounds are stunning and the staff members are all suspicious as hell.

With a long list of suspects and danger lurking around every cabin, Cooper should be focusing on the case. But he’s always been anxious about the power dynamics in his relationship with Park, and participating in the couples’ activities at the retreat brings it all to the surface. A storm is brewing, though, and Cooper and Park must rush to solve the case before the weather turns. Or before any more guests—or the agents themselves—end up dead.


Title : Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
Author : Charlie Adhara
Series : Big Bad Wolf (book four)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 323
Genre : LGBTQIAP+ paranormal romance
Publisher : Carina Press
Release Date : March 2, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

Oh hey, another review I can cannibalize for my benefit! 

What the hell about him had Park seen and thought, Oh yes, anxiety-ridden loner with a temper sharper than a serpent’s tongue and a deep-seated fear of change whose longest successful relationship is with an equally judgmental cat? Swoon.

Our couple has come so far by the time book four in this paranormal shifter series rolls around. They’ve settled into life together, come to terms with most (all?) of the secrets and tragic backstories, and have successfully navigated a few sticky situations related to being in a werewolf-human relationship. But this relationship is still half Cooper, after all. 

Why does it feel like all our cases send us to the gloomiest places off the map?
High altitudes, high crime rates?
One day, we’ll get assigned to a nice, sunny beach murder. And it will be wonderful.
What nice, normal goals you have.

The excuse for this particular adventure, going undercover at a couple’s counselling retreat for werewolves, was genius. Who doesn’t love the ‘pretend relationship’ trope except it’s even juicier when they are in a relationship and get forced to work through some things. Delicious. But so much of the counselling element of this story, the various topics discussed, the trust, the trauma, it was all done so well. And so smoothly; nothing felt shoehorned in, which is how it could’ve easily gone a) for the sake of drama and angst but also b) to find time around the actual mystery of the story. But no, the balance was there.

Cooper felt oddly exhausted and tender this morning. Was this what talking about feelings for an hour did to a person? What a nightmare.

Also, I liked how Adhara introduced another element for the shifters in such a natural way. It seems to happen in each book, the total opposite of an info dump, and always relevant for the moment, not for a ‘maybe in the future you need to know this’, and it’s so perfect. The worldbuilding is so fabulous and so natural, so subtle. 

What I probably did notice on my first read but don’t seem to have mentioned in my reviews is how Adhara continually subverts some of the expected tropes in these kinds of stories/series. I don’t really want to say how, not only because of spoilers, but because it’s a delight to watch unfold. So keep your eyes peeled. 

Also, this is what I always refer to, in my head, as the hug book. Because there is a hug that just puts so many other intimate scenes to shame. Curious how? Read these books! Really, I’m just throwing out all the reasons, trying to find that one sweet spot, that’ll convince you to do so. Let me know when I nail it.

SOMETHING CERTAIN MAYBE by Sara Barnard

Something Certain, Maybe is a powerful novel about first love, friendships and embracing the uncertainty of an unknowable future, from Sara Barnard, winner of the YA Book Prize.

Rosie is ready for her life to begin, because nothing says new life like going to university. After years of waiting and working hard, she’s finally on the road that will secure her future.

Except university turns out to be not what she hoped or imagined, and although she’s not exactly unhappy – really – she might be a little bit worried that she doesn’t really like her course much. Or her flatmates. Or, really . . . anything? But it’s normal to be homesick (right?) and everything will have settled in a month or two, and it’s totally fine that her friends seem so much happier than she is, and that the doctors don’t seem to know what’s wrong with her mother.

And then she meets Jade, and everything starts to look a little brighter. At least, it does if she’s only looking at Jade. But is first love enough when everything else is falling apart?


Title : Something Certain Maybe
Author : Sara Barnard
Format : Physical
Page Count : 336
Genre : YA Contemporary
Publisher : Macmillan Children’s Books
Release Date : July 7, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

Headlines:
The first year of uni life
Trying to fit in
First LGBTQ+ relationship experiences

As a fan of Sara Barnard’s previous books and in particular the two books related to Something Certain, Maybe (Beautiful Broken Things and Fierce Fragile Hearts), picking this book up was a no-brainer. But you don’t have to have previous knowledge of Rosie, Caddy and Suzie, it can be read as a standalone. Content warnings at the bottom of this review.

This book focused on Rosie but with her two buddies there in the background. Leaving Brighton, her mum and friends behind was a bittersweet experience for Rosie but she had a plan. This story was all about that first year of her plan and it didn’t play out how she expected.

Rosie spread her bisexual wings in this book and she dealt with some microagressions in relation to her bi-ness but any issues were dealt with really well on the page. Rosie’s blossoming relationship with Jade was lovely reading and the positive focus of the plot. Rosie navigated some mental health challenges which felt authentic as well as deep family worries. Talking of authenticity this university lecturer (me) thought this first year at uni was written so darn well. Kudos to the real feels that were conveyed and the whole reason why I read and enjoy YA…it helps me connect with my students’ experiences.

I loved seeing these three characters in an adult (young adult) light. Yes, there were dramatic moments and if you know these three, that felt just right. It felt like a sweet reward getting another book with these characters.

Thank you to Pride Book Tours and Macmillan Children’s Books for the review copy.

Content warnings: anxiety, panic attacks, discussion of previous suicide attempts, bi-erasure

EVERY MOVE by Ellie Marney

Rachel Watts is suffering from recurring nightmares about her near-death experience in London. She just wants to forget the whole ordeal, but her boyfriend, James Mycroft, is obsessed with piecing the puzzle together and anticipating the next move of the mysterious Mr Wild – his own personal Moriarty.

So when Rachel’s brother, Mike, suggests a trip back to their old home in Five Mile, Rachel can’t wait to get away. Unfortunately it’s not the quiet weekend she was hoping for with the unexpected company of Mike’s old school buddy, the wildly unreliable Harris Derwent.

Things get worse for Rachel when Harris returns to Melbourne with them – but could Harris be the only person who can help her move forward? Then a series of murders suggests that Mr Wild is still hot on their tails and that Mycroft has something Wild wants – something Wild is prepared to kill for.

Can Watts and Mycroft stay one step ahead of the smartest of all criminal masterminds? The stage is set for a showdown of legendary proportions…


Title : Every Move
Author : Ellie Marney
Series : Every (book three)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 340
Genre : YA mystery / retellings
Publisher : Allen & Unwin
Release Date : March 1, 2015

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

While I’m awarding this the same as the rest of the series, I’ll admit it’s not my favourite of the series. Maybe because it’s new content for me, maybe I need to stew on it a little longer, but.. I also think it’s kind of typical. The big finales, when they come with confrontations with the Big Bad, don’t always live up. And I think there’s a little bit of that here, too.

On the whole, though? Marney once again does not pull punches. There were some twisted bits that Watts and Mycroft had to endure. There were moments of utter heartbreak. Detailed spirals of trauma. And some romance angst. Just a little. But with a few exceptions — Mycroft’s breakdown scene, Watts’ nightmares — I did feel a little removed from it all.

Maybe I just didn’t feel the connection of the whole why behind everything. Maybe I read this too fast. Maybe I need to reread it to appreciate all the pieces of the puzzle. I just don’t know.

But the characters themselves, even the secondary ones — and a new one, or two — were so great. For me, they’ve carried this series all along and they’ve never disappointed.

So, yeah, I realize this is probably coming across as a bit of a downer review, especially for a four star, but I did really enjoy it. And now I see where the fourth book comes into play, and why, and I’m curious to see where that goes. Onwards!

OUR CROOKED HEARTS by Melissa Albert

In our family, we keep our magic close, but our secrets closer . . .

Ivy’s summer kicks off with a series of disturbing events. As unnatural offerings appear on her doorstep, she’s haunted by fragmented memories from her childhood, suggesting there’s more to her mother, Dana, than meets the eye.

Dana’s tale starts the year she turns sixteen, when she embarks on a major fling with the supernatural. Too late she realizes that the powers she’s playing with are also playing with her.

Years after it began, Ivy and Dana’s shared story will come down to a reckoning between a mother, a daughter and the dark forces they never should have messed with.


Title : Our Crooked Hearts
Author : Melissa Albert
Format : Physical
Page Count : 352
Genre : YA Fantasy/Thriller/Horror
Publisher : Penguin
Release Date : June 30, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

Headlines:
Hella creepy
Difficult familial relationships
Magic bubbling

This book had a pretty spine-chilling start and that atmosphere pervaded throughout the book. Figuratively looking over your shoulder was on the menu with characters that were very investable in, good and bad.

The story was told between chapters of Ivy a teen, a witness to sinister goings on and then chapters from her mum’s teen years discovering magical crafts. These two characters were not close and reading these stories in tandem worked so well. For Ivy it was about following breadcrumbs, remembering the past and fighting for family.

As a reader, adding up the clues and working out the whole picture was the mission. I had lots of theories along the way and I was not disappointed.

Genre-wise, this is YA with a sense of thriller, fantasy and mild horror (in terms of atmosphere) and one scene that got me a bit freaked. Please always remember I am a wuss when it comes to scary, so many will not find it scary.

Thank you to Penguin for the review copy.

THROWN TO THE WOLVES by Charlie Adhara

Agent Cooper Dayton is going to meet his boyfriend’s werewolf family. Unarmed. On their turf.

And he’s bringing his cat.

When Agent Cooper Dayton agreed to attend the funeral for Oliver Park’s grandfather, he didn’t know what he was getting into. Turns out, the deceased was the alpha of the most powerful werewolf pack on the eastern seaboard. And his death is highly suspicious. Regardless, Cooper is determined to love and support Park the way Park has been there for him.

But Park left him woefully unprepared for the wolf pack politics and etiquette. Rival packs? A seating order at the dinner table? A mysterious figure named the Shepherd? The worst is that Park didn’t tell his family one key thing about Cooper. Cooper feels two steps behind, and reticent Park is no help.

There are plenty of pack members eager to open up about Park and why Cooper is wrong for him. Their stories make Cooper wonder if he’s holding Park back. But there’s no time to get into it…as lethal tranquilizer darts start to fly, Cooper needs to solve the mystery of the alpha’s death and fight for the man he loves—all before someone else dies.


Title : Thrown to the Wolves
Author : Charlie Adhara
Series : Big Bad Wolf (book three)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 263
Genre : LGBTQIAP+ paranormal romance
Publisher : Carina Press
Release Date : April 1, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

For the first time in this reread I get to take advantage of an unexpected joy : stealing parts of an already-written review from GR and getting to do a little less work for a review. Win!

Thrown to the Wolves is a perfect title for this one because both Cooper, and the reader, are well.. thrown to the wolves. This was the first time we actually got some real shifter action. And I don’t mean that in a pervy way. Up until book three, the shifter element was kind of background noise, even if the protagonists worked for a shifter-friendly/focused organization to police and investigate supernatural peoples and events. But book three throws us right into the politics, the families, and the fur, appropriately enough, goes flying.

I suppose you know why I’ve asked you out here.
Um, to tell me my engagement to your nephew, Mr Darcy, is impossible?

This book, as one expects (hopes?), had the most solid foundation for Ollie and Cooper. And as a result I loved them so much more than I ever have. Cooper is still a bit neurotic and twitchy but his internal voice, his concerns, are so much more.. stable. His observations, everything about him, felt more mature. More grounded. He’s secure in his relationship and that makes him more secure in himself. It was so nice to experience, so nice to see, so of course things fuck it all up. –> this is where I really started to appreciate Cooper the first time around but, as I’ve been saying all throughout this reread, he’s so much easier (for me) to love with hindsight. 

What am I supposed to be doing on this hike? Trying to start a.. a..
Investigation?
Threesome?
Okay. We’re obviously not a couple that should be trying to finish each other’s sentences.

Nonetheless, I loved both the story, the progression of their relationship, and their professional one, too. Cooper makes some big changes as a result of his deeper understanding of the world he now inhabits and I really loved that growth and understanding. On a less serious note, the sprinkling of humour that has been present in this series felt stronger in this one (so many lol moments) and aside from one weird roleplay sexytime (which culminated in a great great moment, not in a dirty way, stop side eyeing me!) I also thought the intimate moments were topnotch. Not just because it was hot but because it felt like an extension of the scene, the moment, the emotion. 

I love you. Really love you. I mean it.
That’s awkward, ’cause I’ve just been joking this whole time.

This book featured so many milestones both in the world and in Cooper and Park’s relationship. And it had the added bonus of breaking down so many barriers which, with the benefit of knowing what’s to come, makes for the perfect transition into the setting for book four.

Also, shoutout to the tiny reference that only Canadians might understand, when one character describes another as the “jewelry store commercial guy”. I died.

While I did add to and jazz this up a bit, additional shoutout to 2019-me for writing an excellently timeless review. I’m a fan.

BE WITH ME by Samantha Young

It was the friends-with-benefits proposition he never saw coming…

While Arran Adair might have followed the call of wanderlust in his younger years, it isn’t the reason he stayed away from Ardnoch. Home now, desperate to put the sins of his past behind him, and rebuild his life in the Scottish Highlands, Arran could never have predicted Eredine Willows. The Ardnoch Estate Pilates instructor is a complicated mystery and one Arran can’t help but want to solve.

Eredine has spent the last eight years hiding in Scotland and building walls between her and the people she cares about. Arran is the first Adair who doesn’t treat her as if she’s fragile and demands a genuine friendship. Yet, the attraction sizzling between them is undeniable. So when she realizes she trusts him, Eredine surprises them both by offering Arran one night of no-strings passion.

Arran knows one night will inevitably lead to a desire for more and he’s willing to stay by Eredine’s side for as long as it takes to convince her there’s something real between them. However, just when Arran thinks they might build a future together, Eredine’s past returns to stalk her. And Arran won’t just have to battle her demons to keep them together. He’ll need to battle his own.


Title : Be With Me
Author : Samantha Young
Series : Adair Family #4
Format : e-ARC
Page Count : 337
Genre : Romance Suspense
Publisher : Self published
Release Date : July 12, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

Headlines:
Suspense on both sides
Getting past their issues
This family tree!

This family tree is getting weirder and more complex the more you read on in this series, but the characters acknowledge this weirdness themselves and as a reader, they have endeared themselves to me. This fourth Scottish romantic suspense was a completely easy read to be immersed in.

Eredine is a character I’ve wanted to know more about, particularly her secrets and why she was the way she was. I got all the answers but it took a lot of the book for this story arc to play out; it was avid reading. Aaran showed himself to be a worthy friend and maybe more.

I enjoyed reading Aaran’s connections and conversations with his brothers so much. Brodan and Aaran are a puzzle still to be solved and Lachlan and Aaran getting drunk, confessing issues and confidences was such a buzz when you’re a fan of this family. Most of the characters from the previous books featured but were in the background.

The suspense in this one was two-fold but both issues wrapped up with ease. I liked that the suspense wasn’t over extended.

Overall, a good addition to this series and I await the final brother Brodan.

Thank you to the author for the early review copy.

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