The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks

December 3, 2013

I have been a Nicholas Sparks lover ever since I first saw the movie "A Walk to Remember." I still remember my sister making fun of me during the movie as I was bawling away. I couldn't stop crying as I was thinking how romantic and perfect that story was! The love that is portrayed in his books is something I could only hope for! At that point I was determined to read his book, and from there I have enjoyed each and every one. I have my own Nicholas Sparks collection on my bookshelf, about 15 or 16 now! He doesn't disappoint to those romantic inspired readers :)

Although this book was slightly different than his usually books, it didn't disappoint! This book has 2 story lines...Ira and Ruth, and Luke and Sophia. I really enjoyed both love stories and the way in which each was told. One story showed a lifetime of love while the other was the beginning. I admit, I enjoyed reading Luke and Sophia's storyline a little more, them being so young and new in love was something I found cute and romantic. However, Ira and Sophia's love was endearing and something I could only dream of having when I am old. I knew the story lines had to connect somehow, and the way Mr. Sparks ended the book was something I was suspecting; however, I loved how they came together! The ending was so perfect!

Another book now sits beautifully on my shelf. I have already told my sister that she will be loving this one as well and she has insisted on borrowing it next time I see her (I think she has borrowed all of my books by Mr. Sparks so far so I'm not surprised). I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did!

Miss Book Lovers Joint Review- Morning Glory

November 26, 2013

Morning Glory
By: Sarah Jio

Ada Santorini is leaving New York, her job, and the heart-aching memories. She's hoping to find some peace in a houseboat in Seattle. While there, she learns of a previous owner to the boat she rents: Penny Winchestor. While letting go of her own past, Ada learns of Penny's and the mystery none of the fellow tenants will discuss. Just what happened on Boat Street all those years ago?

We at Miss Book Lovers have long felt Sarah Jio cannot write a bad book. After finishing Morning Glory, our opinion is only proven more. Despite a slower start than her past books had, Sarah Jio has written yet another book that captivates you and pulls you in. Another masterpiece that you can't tear yourself away from. 

Ada is a woman who has suffered a devastating, heartbreaking loss. Everywhere she turns, memories of what she once had surround her. Grief has swallowed her up since the tragedy 2 years prior. While she's been able to find some distraction in her career, more and more lately she just wants to leave New York City. When her therapist gives her a number for a houseboat in Seattle, Washington available for rent, Ada doesn't waste much time. 

It doesn't take long for the Lake Union houseboat community to welcome her- and hint at the mystery surrounding her particular houseboat. Eventually, Ada finds a key that opens the big trunk in the living room. Old remnants from a previous owner's life has been stored away. But what happened to the woman in the picture, and why won't anyone talk about it?

Penny Landry hasn't even graduated from her finishing school, when her path crosses that of Dexter Wentworth. The famous artist is 20 years old, and very taken with the young Penny. After several months, the pair get married. Penny Wentworth is not at all prepared for the life ahead of her. Dexter is a moody, depressed artist who leaves her alone more often than he's with her. 

Penny builds a friendship with the handsome neighbor, boat craftsman, Collin. Before long the two fall in love and embark on an affair that will forever change their lives. Collin convinces Penny to run away with him, leaving Dexter behind. However, something goes wrong on the night they are meant to leave. Collin's past comes back for him and Penny's future is anything but certain. Before the night is over, someone disappears and someone else is deemed dead. 

In classic Sarah Jio talent, you get to read how each story unfolds. You see the vulnerability to Ada as she tiptoes her way back into life. You marvel at the ease she feels with neighbor Alex. Debbie and I loved everything about this man who was more respectful than most would be. He was open about his past and delicate with helping Ada through hers. We cheered at the budding romance and feared Ada would be too afraid to embrace it. 

We both disliked Dexter, until it was too late. Throughout his marriage, he was too wrapped up in his own life and career to appreciate the wife who built her life around him. Far too often, he cheated on her and gave Penny multiple reasons to leave. We felt he gave Collin every opportunity to sweep Penny off her feet. However, once tragedy struck, and the damage had been done, he did a 180. He finally understood the gem he had. Unfortunately, it was too late to do anything about it.

We wouldn't be true fans of Sarah Jio if we didn't notice a couple of distinct differences between Morning Glory and her previous books. This book had religious tones in it. Alex's character tells Ada how church got him through his past, and Ada admits to her at God for dealing her the hand he did. He helps her find peace with God, and even attends services with him. Neither of us remembers any other book where Sarah involved, but we loved it!

The other difference we noticed was the inclusion of recipes. Both of us are determined to try them, so we'll let you know how they turn out. 

Once again, Sarah Jio delivers a book well worth it's asking price. While this one did have a slower start, once you got into it, you didn't want to put it down. You almost needed the slower start to brace you for the onslaught of story that awaited you the further into the book you got.

We hope you love the book as much as we did!

Switched by Cassie Mae

November 14, 2013

This book was such a hilarious and fun book to read. It's a story of four best friends: Talon, Wesley, Kayla and Reagan who have known each other for quite some time. This will definitely go down as one of my all time favorites! I've never heard of Cassie Mae but I'll be looking forward to reading more of her books going forward! This book was so cute and just a perfect read before I start on something more mind consuming!

I love the whole concept of the book (and one I can definitely relate to myself): a girl (Kayla) in love with a guy with a guy (Talon) who her best friend (Reagan) is dating. And on the flip side, Talon's best friend, Wesley, is also in love with Reagan. Definitely a square!

So Kayla and Wesley decide to join forces and break Talon and Reagan up by showing them that they don't really belong together. I was cracking up laughing at the characters and their actions...especially Wesley and his personality! He is the type of guy that I would be attracted to! I found myself rooting for them to break up the pair, but at the same time, I loved the chemistry that Kayla and Wesley had so I was hoping that maybe they would forget the whole plan itself. In the end, will Kayla and Wesley's plan work with them or will tables be turned along the way?

I will recommend this book to everyone I know! Its funny, cute, romantic, and just a refreshing book for all ages!

Stella Bain

November 12, 2013

Stella Bain
By: Anita Shreve
199 Pages

A woman wakes up in a hospital, in France. She has no idea how she got there, or who she is. This is her story.

Anita Shreve has a distinct way of telling a story. She doesn't always go for the obvious angle, but she tells a compelling story anyway. Once again, she pulls you into a story that you can't tear yourself away from. You don't care that you get the story out of order. It actually adds to the suspense that you don't.

1916 isn't a good year in France. War has devastated the lives of countless people. Among the wounded and injured, a woman is left on a hospital porch. She's unconscious and in a cart. 3 days later, she awakes, but has no clue who she is. Nor does she have any idea how she got there. In fact, her entire life is blank. At some point the name Stella Bain comes to her. That is what she becomes known as.

After several months of recovery, she begins to help out as a nurse's assistant. Not knowing why, she tells them she can drive an ambulance- and does. However, a bizarre draw to the Admiralty pulls at her. She finally begins her journey when she has some leave. Before getting there, an exhausted Stella leaves her train, thinking she could get there faster on foot. She takes a minute to rest at a fence when Lily Bridge approaches her. Seeing the woman is exhausted, she invites her in. 

Lily and her doctor husband, August, care for the sick Stella. August is a cranial surgeon and does what he can to help Stella get her memory back. They begin an amateur therapy. Pictures of her past come to her as she draws them out. (A talent that helped her earn money while being a nurse's aid.) Still, she remains convinced that the secret to her past lies within the Admiralty. Several attempts yield no entrance. Finally, August begins to go with her. On trip number 5, everything changes when Stella hears 1 word: Etna.

Stella Bain remembers who she is. Etna has a husband and 2 children back in America. She fled her home after a devastating secret comes to light. She has since been trying to correct a horrible wrong done to an innocent man. While she was able to fix some things, not everything is as easy. When Etna returns, she wants her children with her again. It's a long process ahead of her. She's forced to face her past- including the husband she fled from.

I enjoyed this book. It kept me wanting to read more. I loved how Anita Shreve told the story. She told a story of rarity involving a woman's role in war in 1916. This wasn't your average war-time novel from a woman's point of view. She masterly unraveled a groundbreaking story. Definitely another great story from a great writer. While I don't agree with the pricing, both in hardcover and ebook, I do agree the story is one to be read.

Accidental Cowgirl: A Loveswept Contemporary Romance by Maggie McGinnis

November 11, 2013

First of all, WOW this was an amazing book! Such a perfect read and definitely one I can see myself re-reading! Maggie has a way of bringing you into the storyline and also with the characters...She makes it so relatable where I could feel and imagine how the characters feel! I couldn't put it down!

Who wouldn't like going into the country on vacation, meeting a charming and handsome cowboy, while enjoying some major eye candy, and falling in love?

Kyla Bennett is a newly un-engaged girl who is whisked away to Whisper Creek by her friends so they can vacation. Coming from Boston, they wanted to get the full experience of a ranch life: horses, walks, hikes, and making some unique sounding food concoctions! Let's just say, on one hike gone wrong they end up in a mud pit! I was rolling in laughter at this, I wanted to jump along in with them! A free version of getting a mud bath at a spa! At the same time unfortunately, Kyla is harboring a lot of baggage and she isn't ready to rehash those feelings.

Then there is Decker Driscoll who is home for the summer season trying to help his family's farm. With his father's recent passing, the family owes some people a lot of money. Coming from LA, and being business oriented that he is, he's trying to think of ways to keep the farm in the family! At the same time, Decker also has a past and feelings which still haunt him.

With a couple hiccups along the way, Kyla and Decker find themselves helping one another in more ways than one. This was a heartfelt romance and I'm about ready to fly into the country to see if I can find a cowboy myself! I can't wait to read more stories by Maggie!

Christmas He Loved Her by Juliana Stone

November 6, 2013

I’ll admit - I haven’t heard of Juliana Stone until now. I was so excited for the upcoming holidays that I decided to look up Christmas books that Netgalley offered hoping I would be granted one of them to read. I read the summary of “Christmas He Loved Her” and immediately requested it as my fingers were crossed. This is the 2nd book in the series and even though I haven’t read the first one, you follow along just nicely. Much to my surprise, I was given the opportunity to review it and was thrilled! Juliana Stone’s writing really captures the emotions of the characters and she draws you into the story. I loved getting lost in this town with the characters and their emotions.

A little background on the story and its characters: Jake Edwards is a former Army Ranger and recently served in Iraq with his fraternal twin brother, Jesse. Jesse married Raine Delgotta who grew up with the boys in their hometown. Those three, along with 2 other boys, got into all kinds of trouble together in their youth.

When the story begins, you realize that Jesse was killed in action over in Iraq and Jake came back home brotherless. He avoided his hometown for a year and a half, a week before Thanksgiving he returns to his hometown of Crystal Lake. He knows he has a rough road ahead of him: seeing his brother’s widow (the only woman he has ever loved), his father who is ill, and his parents who are still dealing with his brother’s loss. He has built up fences around himself and his heart that he’s not ready to let down yet. Having him retell stories of what he’s been through, and uncover those secrets which have been buried, was something that I’m sure others could relate to. He was dealing with so much and trying to keep it together for himself and all his loved ones was hard in itself.

Raine Delgotto knows pain. It’s what she has suffered the last 18 months, and that’s why her life has been put on hold: the pain of losing her husband, pain of being abandoned by her friend, and the pain that she shares with others. Then Jake Edwards finally returns home and she begins to feel again, she begins to live again, and come out of her shell so-to-speak. Can Raine and Jake help one another by grieving over their former loved one, while coming to terms of how they really feel about one another?   

Christmas He Loved Her is a story about tragedy, loss, love and definitely worth reading. You will laugh, smile, and cry but in the end it’s all worth it. After reading this book, Juliana Stone is definitely on my list of favorite authors. I loved everything about this book! The characters were so real and relatable, and the emotion: so heartfelt and genuine. This was a perfect read for me, I couldn’t put it down. I absolutely loved it!

Sweet Expectations

November 5, 2013

Sweet Expectations
By: Mary Ellen Taylor
342 Pages
Reviewed By: Betsey Brooks

Running the family bakery and living in the store’s attic might not be Daisy’s dream life, but she’s beginning to understand what being content feels like. And then she gets some unexpected news. In one moment, Daisy’s calm existence turns into chaos. Now she’s struggling to keep it together, especially with renovations at the bakery spiraling out of control.
But when a box of recipes and mementos is found hidden behind a wall in the bakery, Daisy suddenly has something to cling to—a mystery that echoes her own troubles and gives her the opportunity to figure out what she really wants out of life....   Publisher Summary

They say, "Life happens while you're making plans." Daisy McCrae's life is about to go in directions she hadn't planned. However, sometimes, life's little detours aren't bad ones.

With Daisy and her two sisters now running the family bakery, part of their plan is to breathe new life into it. A remodel is necessary. While doing this, they discover a box of recipes- and a dog tag. Daisy gets the chills upon unearthing the box- and for good reason. Jenna's ghost is hoping Daisy can help her find out what happened to her husband and child. This takes Daisy on a journey that alters her life.

Getting lost in the mystery of Jenna is a nice distraction for Daisy. A one night stand left an unexpected present- a baby. This development came to life after she and her boyfriend get back together. Will another man's baby be part of their future? Among all this, the sisters each struggle with their role in the bakery and making it their own. They must all decide what they want out of life, and how to fit it into their lives.

My favorite part of this book was Jenna's story. I loved traveling back in time to see her life play out. I loved reading all about her and the people she was surrounded with. It's interesting to see how all 3 sisters grow and change as the story progresses. Mary Ellen Taylor does a great job of telling the story of both Jenna and Daisy. The way she weaves you in and out of the two stories was effortless. There was so much to Sweet Expectations that it's hard to write this review. I look forward to reading further books in this series, as well as the book prior to this one. Fans of mysteries and romance will enjoy this book.

Along Came Trouble by Ruthie Knox

November 4, 2013

I'll have to admit, I had this on my kindle for quite some time before actually getting around to reading it. There was always a certain book that ended up edging its way into my reading schedule so again this book was postponed. However, just when I started reading it I couldn't put it down! I didn't realize that this was a 2nd in its series but I followed along completely! This was filled with chemistry, attraction, and a little drama (what book isn't good without a little drama every now and then??). I've never heard of Ruthie Knox before but she will definitely be on my radar going forward! The way she paints the pictures and characters is amazing!

Ellen is a lawyer with a very famous twin brother who is known for his singing. She has a 2 year old son Henry, and an ex husband who spent more time being drunk or flirting and hanging affairs with some of the local girls. Caleb Clark is ex military, tall, muscled, polite, caring, a big smile, could make a girl laugh...a book heartthrob!

Ellen's life is turned upside down when her pop star brother, Jamie, gets involved with her next door neighbor, Carly. The paparazzi are the first to pounce! Jamie's solution is to hire security for Ellen, Henry (her son), and Carly. Caleb soon was hired to be her security guard and keep her safe and free of the paparazzi. However, when he starts to suggest recommendations on how she should upgrade her house to be more protected, he ends up getting himself into quite a situation. The chemistry between the two is undeniable! The story unfolds around Ellen, her ex-husband, Carly, and Caleb and his family. This was a fun book, and if you want a feel good tale of romance, I highly recommend this! Thank you to Ruthie for writing such a captivating book and I can't wait to read more titles written by her!

A Groom for Christmas by Cara Marsi

November 2, 2013

It's close to Christmas and Graceann is in a bind...the plan she had of bringing a fake fiancé to her family's home for the holidays is off the table since her friend made some last minute plans which she understood.

Ever since Graceann's former engagement ended, her mom has been on her back about finding a man to marry. Having been thrown men at her, Graceann decides that this is a perfect way of showing her mom that she doesn't need her help. So when when Jake Falco from high school comes into the local cafe shop, the "Falcon" as he was then referred to, she decides to see if maybe he would be interested in her proposal: $5,000 in exchange for pretending to be a fake fiancé up until New Years passed. What Graceann didn't plan for was the attraction that she had Jake would have. The relationship builds between them and although it's supposed to be a fake engagement, it's starting to seem very realistic and easy to believe. But Jake is very secretive, when his secret comes out will Graceann push it passed her or will she be crushed by it?

The book is very well written and I really enjoyed the storyline! Overall a great easy book to read!!

Baby Santa's Worldwide Christmas Adventure by M. Maitland DeLand

October 31, 2013

Now that the holidays are just around the corner, I can't help but get excited for what's to come: decorations, music, movies, foods, the scents, and especially books! I decided to get my feet wet with the holiday season of books by being allowed to review this gem! Its a quick easy read and the pictures just add to the whole feeling :)

Santa has a problem! His sleigh is broken and will not be repaired for the Christmas Eve trip. However, Baby Santa comes to the rescue! He suggests that Santa takes advantage of the different means of transportation that is available in each country that Santa will be visiting. Baby Santa also comes along for the ride by carrying the sack of toys for Santa. This was truly an educational story as well since you see the various means of transportation in which each country utilizes: Camels in Egypt, Jeeps in Australia, Trains in Japan, etc. I really enjoyed reading this book about hope and passion! A perfect story to begin my holiday book reading!

Morning Glory by Sarah Jio

October 28, 2013

Sarah Jio is by far one of my favorite authors! When I was granted the permission to review the advanced copy I was more than excited to start on this book right away. This is my 5th book I have read by her -  4 I own, and I have already pre-ordered this one since I knew it wouldn’t disappoint!
I love the style in which Sarah writes her books: the characters she vividly describes, the emotions they experience, and the environment in which it takes place is written in a very detailed way which makes it a perfect read for any reader. She writes in a way that truly gets you involved in the story! I couldn’t help but want to drop everything I was doing on the weekend just to finish it!
This is a heartwarming story of love and loss. There are 2 main characters in the story: Penny Wentworth, a 1950’s housewife, and Ada Santorini, editor of Sunrise magazine. Penny seems to have it all: an artist husband who takes care of her even when he is absent, a beautiful home (a houseboat they live on), and she has a genuine sweet-hearted nature for those around her. However, when she disappears after a party no one on Boat Street will speak of what happened.
Then there is Ada Santorini. Ada has lost everything: her husband and her precious little girl. Leaving the memories behind, she quits her fancy New Year job and moves to Seattle into a houseboat on Boat Street. There she finds mystery, a community, and maybe a new love. Will she solve the mystery of boat street and re-build her life at the same time?
The story ends with an unexpected twist that leaves the reader EXTREMELY satisfied. Morning Glory was another fabulous love story, DEFINITELY a must read!!! I look forward to adding this to my Sarah Jio book collection!

Starry Night

October 8, 2013

Starry Night
By: Debbie Macomber
256 Pages
Reviewed By: Betsey Brooks

You are in for a treat. Debbie Macomber's new book, Starry Night, is a delight! In her usual way Debbie captures you and off you go to the wilds of Alaska with Carrie Slayton. 

Carrie wants to report on major events, but so far she is stuck being a social reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times. She makes the decision to return to her hometown of Seattle  and  hopes there she will have an opportunity to  report on major events.  

Her boss throws her off when he tells her she can pick any assignment if she interviews Finn Dalton, author of the bestselling book Alone. Carrie had never heard of the author or the book and figures she can easily pull this assignment off over the Thanksgiving weekend. Then she discovers that no one knows where he is- or has talked to him. All communication is done by computer. 

After much research Carrie gets a lead and a request to make a delivery to Finn. Thanksgiving weekend finds her in Fairbanks and eventually being dropped off on a frozen lake. Finn's welcome is just as cold as the snow storm she is dropped into. Finn and Carrie both discover they have a lot to learn about life and each other. 

What did she have to deliver? Who are the people that help her?  In the end, why didn't she write the article when she returned? Settle into your favorite reading spot and join Carrie on her Alaskan adventure.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Darcy

October 1, 2013

Happy Birthday Mr. Darcy
By: Victoria Connelly
Kindle Ebook only

The Austen Addicts we've come to know and love are back! This novella brings back some of our favorite characters from the series for a wedding that may not happen. Readers of A Weekend With Mr. Darcy  and Christmas With Mr. Darcy  will love catching up with Katherine Roberts and Warwick Lawton. They are getting married!! (Hopefully)

Purely Hall is hosting it's first Jane Austen themed wedding. However, not everything is smooth sailing. Katherine has an attack of the nerves. From worrying their work lives and marriage won't mix to how they will combine both of their vast book collections (each has several thousands), Katherine's fears grow the closer to the wedding she gets. Can Warwick save the day?

Warwick is working on a book that has a tight deadline. Inspiration comes at a rather inopportune time- his wedding day. Dan isn't expecting to see Warwick in a writing zone an hour before his wedding, but he does. Seemingly oblivious to the time, Warwick shows no signs of stopping. Will he miss his own wedding?

Carmel Hudson has gotten the reputation of hitting on just about every man within her eyesight. But when she sets her eyes on Dan, she may have met her match. Under the guise of wanting to get horseback riding lessons for her daughter, and herself (despite being an already accomplished rider in her own right), she doesn't hide her true intentions. Numerous phone calls follow and it all comes to a head on the wedding day when Robyn walks in on an unpleasant scene.

Curl up and get ready to revisit with some of your favorite Janeits! You're in for a fun treat.

Call Me Mrs. Miracle

September 24, 2013

Call Me Mrs. Miracle
By: Debbie Macomber
395 Pages

Call Me Mrs. Miracle
Beloved author, Debbie Macomber, is bringing the Christmas spirit early this year. Call Me Mrs. Miracle is a well loved book among her fans, but this time around, it also comes with her another Christmas story, The Christmas Basket. Both stories illustrate Debbie's wonderful talent of telling loving stories that touch your heart strings. 

Call Me Mrs. Miracle has Emily Merkle coming back to work her magic. Jake Finely hasn't celebrated Christmas in over 20 years. His Mother and Sister dying in a car accident on Christmas Eve put an end to the holiday for both his Father and himself. However, their successful store, Finelys, makes Christmas look like a dreamland. Mrs. Merkle (Mrs. Miracle by a mysterious human resources typo) is a season employee ready to change the future of both Jake and his father. First, they have to find a way to sell all the 500 toy robots Jake ordered after his gut feeling told him it would be the toy of the season. (His Father was less than pleased.)

Holly Larson has temporary custody of her nephew, Gabe, while her brother is in Afghanistan. After a little time getting used to the arrangement, Aunt and Nephew are doing well. Her life changes when she goes to buy her favorite latte, only to realize she doesn't have the money to pay for it. Step in her Starbucks hero- Jake Finely. He pays for her drink, and the reason for Mrs. Miracle arrival have now met each other.

Holly is determined to make this Christmas a memorable one for Gabe, so she scrimps and saves money to get him the one toy he really wants- a $250 robot. A wrench is thrown into her plans when she overhears her boss saying she'll be the only employee to not get a bonus this year. 

With help from Mrs. Miracle, the toys get sold and love arrives to two deserving people. Broken hearts are mended, futures are set into motion- all at the hands of Debbie Macomber. 

The Christmas Basket
Forgiving is the theme of this Christmas tale. Longtime friends turned enemies force their bitterness onto the lives of their families. 

Sarah McDowell and Mary Sutton had been the best of friends for as long as they could remember. But all that changes when Sarah borrows Mary's irreplaceable family heirloom tea set and it's stolen. The lie cuts deep and the friends are never able to get past it. A bitter rivalry is born. After 20 years of bad mouthing each other, but avoiding each other, they are put together to make Christmas Baskets for their Women's Club. After two rather embarrassing encounters in stores- one ending with them being escorted out by security guards, things come to a head during an ice storm. Forgiveness comes at the hands of Mother Nature and Scotch while the abandoned duo wait to be rescued.

Noelle McDowell hasn't been home in years. She left with a broken heart when a planned elopement with Thom Sutton doesn't happen. Both were deeply in love, and both blame the other for the reason their love ended badly. And both keep running into each other.

When they finally talk things out, it's learned a misunderstanding was behind all the heartache. Determined to make their relationship work this time around. The only obstacle they have is their Mothers. 

Once again, Debbie Macomber delivers heartwarming stories and lovable characters. You are invested in each story and each character. You going through all the emotions the characters are, and you are as excited as they are when the happy ending arrives.

Merry Christmas, Debbie Macomber style!

New Cozy Mystery Series To Love!!

September 22, 2013

When it comes to the cozy mystery genre, there are some authors who just stand out. Like Laura Childs and Lorna Barrett, Jenn McKinlay has made a name for herself writing books readers can't devour soon enough. Many readers love getting their sugar high from her Cupcake Bakery series. I fell in love with her Library Lover's series. (I am anxiously awaiting for the November release for the next one.) Well, this talented author with several series already on her full plate has added another: her Hat Shop Mystery series!! 

Cloche And Dagger takes you overseas to London, England. Not only is this where legendary hat shop Mim's Wims is located, but it's where Scarlett Parker is going to escape the chaos her life has become in Florida. Having found out the boyfriend who said he was separated really wasn't, and walking into the anniversary party he through for the wife he said he no longer had would be enough for anyone. Having video of you throwing chunks of the very expensive cake in the boyfriend's face go viral, introduces you to notoriety- complete with morning shows wanting you to be a guest. So, when her cousin, Vivian, tells her hightail it to London Scarlett goes. 

Surrounded by fun secondary characters, Scarlett isn't new to the neighborhood for long. While the fun loving couple opening their own art studio just down from Mim's Wims, to the old childhood friend Scarlett stood up, Harrison, and may be still holding a grudge. You will have fun meeting everyone- even the characters who don't stick around too long. 

I can't wait for the next book in this fun series to come out. Death of a Mad hatter will be in bookstores (and on my bookshelf) in May 2014.

The Impersonator

September 17, 2013

The Impersonator
By: Mary Miley
309 Pages

Long time Vaudeville performer Leah, is offered the job of a lifetime. When a stranger mistakes her for his missing niece, he asks her to impersonate her. It's all so simple. He wants a piece of the massive fortune she would inherit. Leah looks exactly like Jessie Carr, so it'll be easy to convince the remaining family the runaway has come home. However, it's not as easy as Uncle Oliver makes it seem. Jessie has 2 male cousins who stand to inherit the fortune if Jessie never comes back- how happy will they be to see that money slip through their hands? And while she may have an "instant" family, it's a family that has numerous secrets. On top of all that, someone keeps trying to kill "Jessie".

I enjoyed this book immensely. The story takes place in the early 1920s and takes you behind the curtains of the Vaudeville life, as well as into the mansions of the well-to-do. I enjoyed all the characters- even the ones I didn't like. All were portrayed very well and kept you guessing. Author, Mary Miley, wove a fantastic story that threw in more than one plot twist. 

Leah grew up in the Vaudeville life; both her mother and her having performed in it for decades. However, with her mother long since gone, Leah has been on her own. Blessed with youthful looks, she's always been able to play young roles, as well as older ones. But things take an unexpected turn when her current gig comes to an end when The Darlings let her go. With no other options, she takes up the offer a stranger gave her. This gig could set her up for life, if she wanted. All she had to do was portray Jessie Carr- an heiress who wet missing seven years prior. As long as she could convince the trustees, and the remaining family members, the fortune was hers. All Leah had to do was give him some money every now and then. 

Uncle Oliver preps her and gives her all the information she needs. She passes the tests the trustees throw at her. She also manages to avoid being consumed in the fire that takes over the hotel she was staying at. Lucky for her she noticed the mysterious guy following her and changed her plans.

She gets the family to believe she's the real Jessie, but one cousin isn't convinced. Henry is angry his fathered never got his rightful share of the money, and he's not to happy to see history repeat itself with him. However, he and his brother, Ross, take turns making questionable appearances on "Jessie's" radar. 

Before long, "Jessie" learns of several women being found dead- including the one she finds dead on the side of the road. All these women have many things in common- most telling, a chunk of hair cur off. Soon "Jessie" decides she want to find out what happened to these women- and the real fate of the real Jessie.

Soon "Jessie" uncovers one disturbing thing after another about one of her cousins. It isn't long before she's racing to get the truth known before she's the next body found.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves mysteries and historical fiction. I was interested from the beginning and was actively guessing who was doing what. The way Mary Miley wove everything together was fascinating and touching. I wanted to see what really happened to Jessie and how all secrets would connect. The ending wasn't a let down in any way. I was very pleased with it and found it did justice to the book's build up. I hope this is only the first of many books Mary Miley writes. 

Bran New Death

September 3, 2013

Bran New Death
By: Victoria Hamilton
304 Pages
Reviewed By: Betsey Brooks

Merry is making a fresh start in small-town Autumn Vale, New York, in the mansion she’s inherited from her late uncle, Melvin. The house is run-down and someone has been digging giant holes on the grounds, but with its restaurant-quality kitchen, the place has potential for her new baking business. She even has her first client—the local retirement home.
Unfortunately, Merry soon finds that quite a few townsfolk didn’t like Uncle Mel, and she has inherited their enmity as well as his home. Local baker Binny Turner and her crazy brother, Tom, blame Melvin for their father’s death, and Tom may be the one vandalizing her land. But when Tom turns up dead in one of the holes in her yard, Merry needs to prove she had nothing to do with his death—or her new muffin-making career may crumble before it starts... (Publisher)

I just finished reading the book "Bran New Death" by Victoria Hamilton. It was fantastic! I've  been reading mysteries for ages so to find one that is this captivating is pure joy.

Merry Wynter is an ex full figured model, a widow and was recently cleared of being a thief. On top of that her only living relative, Melvyn Wynter  died in an accident last winter and left her his castle. Unfortunately, money wasn't included.

The castle is near  a small country  town  miles from any where.  Merry has tried to sell it for months with no success. She  has decided to move into the castle and fix it up hoping then it will be easier to sell. One problem becomes obvious as she arrives at the castle. The ground surrounding it is covered with large deep holes. 

The day brightens with the surprise arrival of Merry's best friend,Shilo Dinnegan, who wants to help. Sharing this "adventure" with Shilo boosts Merry's moral. Things become very strange when their first night is interrupted by a big machine digging another big hole. Within twenty four hours a man is murdered and ends up in one of the big holes. 

The fact that Merry had a loud argument in the middle of the local bakery that day makes her a suspect. The local police officer assures her that he will get the bottom of this. Although she finds him attractive, she doesn't trust him, especially when she finds out that there are suspicious circumstances surrounding her uncles death and the disappearance of his partner Rusty Turner. 

The story keeps twisting and turning right up to the end. I didn't want to leave the fascinating characters or the town filled with "secrets"  If you are looking to dig in to a great mystery I encourage you to choose this one. Merry likes to make muffins and the recipes are included in the book. Happy Reading and baking.

The Girl You Left Behind

August 20, 2013

The Girl You Left Behind
By: Jojo Moyes
369 pages

I've been a fan of Jojo Moyes ever since reading, and loving, The Last Letter From Your Lover. Jojo Moyes writes compelling books that pull into the story line. Her latest is no exception. The Girl You Left Behind will transport you to 1916 during the German occupation. There you will follow the life of Sophia. You also travel to 2006 and see how life has been treating Liv. As you journey the stories of these two women, you will go all over the emotional map.

Sophia Lefevre 1916
Sophia and her siblings are struggling in their family's hotel during the German occupation. Le Coq Rouge has been a visiting spot for fellow villagers and friends alike, but things are about to change. Sophia's husband is off fighting, as is her sister's husband. As if that isn't difficult enough, Sophia is awoken one night to the news of her brother being beaten by German soldiers. 

Sophia is a gutsy woman. Knowing that hiding a piglet is a serious crime that could land them all in a camp, Sophia does the only thing she can do: she knocks the piglet unconscious, bundles it up in blankets, and passes it off as a sleeping infant. Did I mention she does this in front of German soldiers? While the plan works, the unwanted visitors don't leave without dropping some news: Le Coq Rouge will now be a dining place for German soldiers. Food will be delivered, and Sophia is expected to cook for her bitter enemies.

As she and her sister, Helene, have no choice but to follow these orders, Sophia does meet one soldier who seems to have a heart. The Kommandant, not only insists she take some of the food to feed her family, but he defends Helene's honor when a fellow soldiers makes an inappropriate pass at her. As you can imagine, Sophia struggles with finding a nice person dressed up as her sworn enemy. Her fellow villagers do, as well. It isn't long before they turn on Sophia.

Risking her very life, Sophia is prepared to do anything to guarantee the safe return of her husband, who is now known to be in a reprisal camp. She begs the Kommandant to free him. She's willing to give him the very painting he's always admired. She's even willing to give him herself. 

It isn't long after her return from the failed meeting that German soldiers arrive to take her. With her brother declaring she's getting what she deserves, and a few neighbors yelling obscenities, Sophia is positive she is being taken to her husband. She's positive the Kommandant kept his end of the bargain. Did he?

Liv 2006
Four years ago, Liv lost her husband. Money has now run out. She lives alone in the massive glass house her architect husband designed. It's as sparse as her life is. Friends have tried setting her up to no avail. Liv can't seem to get past her grief. However, everything changes on the anniversary of her husband's death.

With nowhere else to go, Liv goes to a gay bar. Her theory of being left alone turned out to be a good one. But all bets were off when it comes to her purse. A very drunk Liv finds her purse gone- along with her wallet, keys, everything. The bar owner has a brother, Paul, who's an ex-cop. Paul volunteers to see Liv home safely, but lets her crash at his house when she can't get home. 

Not knowing why, Liv tells Paul why she's so drunk. When he wipes smeared make-up from under her eye, Liv feels a charge. A charge she hasn't felt in years. Is she finally coming out of her grief? 

A twist in her life comes in the form of Paul. Paul now investigates lost things. His new case involves a painting stolen during World War I. A painting that hangs in Liv's house. How will this affect their futures? 

Jojo Moyes writes another gripping book. I warn you: it's not an upbeat book full of equal amounts joy and sorrow. The first half of the book is sad. Still, both stories hold that spark of hope and potential for the happy ending you long for. Jojo Moyes takes you all over the emotional map, but the story is one that won't leave you.

Rose Harbor In Bloom

August 13, 2013

Rose Harbor In Bloom
By: Debbie Macomber
Reviewed By: Betsey Brooks

Rose Harbor in Bloom is the second book in Debbie Macomber's Rose Harbor Inn series. Having loved the first book and it's main character, Jo Marie Rose, I was excited to sit down to see who was visiting the Inn and how Jo Marie was doing.
Everything was going along great. The Inn was full and Jo Marie was hosting an open house for the Cedar Cove Chamber of Commerce on Sunday. As she looked around at the inviting rooms and smelled the delicious smells coming from the kitchen, she couldn't help but feel proud of all she had accomplished. Of course Mark ,the handyman, had helped in many ways.

No more time for pats on the back, the guests had started to arrive.  Mary Smith, the first to arrive, is recovering from chemo therapy and requires very little but to rest- so she says. Annie Newton has organized a full weekend of events celebrating her grandparents fifty years of marriage. Kent and Julie Shives, Annie's grandparents, bring a few surprises of their own starting with their neighbor Oliver Sutton. 

In the midst of all this, Jo Marie receives a phone call from Lieutenant Colonel Milford to tell her that the remains of the helicopter her husband died in last year had been found. However his body had not been found with it. Can she care for her guests, host the open house and digest this new information? Why did Mary Smith choose to come to Cedar Cove and where does she disappear too? Can Annie pull this weekend of events off and deal with the surprise arrival of the bully from her past?

Yes, Debbie Macomber has written another winner again. I started Rose Harbor in Bloom and was immediately drawn into the story. I felt a kinship with the characters and was amazed how their lives were intertwined. So, set aside a chunk of time, find your favorite reading spot and disappear into this touching story. You will be glad you spent the time at the Rose Harbor Inn.

The Murders at Astaire Castle by Lauren Carr

August 11, 2013

Mysteries, castles, and werewolves—Oh my! I was privileged enough to receive a signed copy of this book in the mail...this was the 3rd book I have read by Lauren and it didn't disappoint! Lauren has a way of bringing you into the storyline and gets you involved in all the twists and mysteries that surround it! I read this book in just 3 days; it had me captivated from start to finish!

Mac Faraday, a retired homicide detective, once again finds himself involved in the middle of solving murders, all which started at the infamous Astaire Castle. It all started when Mac's half brother, David O'Callaghan, orders Mac to stay away from the south part of Spencer's mountaintop. Of course this perked Mac's curiosity as to why he couldn't go there. Heck, I would be the first to investigate this too! Turns out located behind Spencer Inn, hidden in the overgrown brush, is a grand estate known as Astaire Castle; cursed with suicides, disappearances, and signs of a werewolf! However, when everyone who stays at the castle ends up dead - I can see why its listed as one of the ten most haunted places in America. 

One of these mysterious deaths happened 10 years earlier when none other than Damian Wagner, a famous author, who was working on his final manuscript winds up dead as well as the other 2 residents he was with. Fast forward to present time when Mac takes it in his mission to find the killer, solve the deaths, and bring a logical solution to the fact that people swear werewolves are somehow involved. As the story unravels, more people get involved, which includes more victims, more people from the past showing up, and a killer that has years of experience in cleaning up crime scenes. Mac is not one to settle until the case is closed and that's not stopping now! 

This book is filled with murder, deaths, twists, and romance! This was such an easy and quick read and the expectation I had with this book was definitely met! Lauren is an amazing author and I can't wait to read more stories that she will write!

The Last Camellia

August 8, 2013

The Last Camellia
By: Sarah Jio
320 Pages
A Miss Book Lovers joint review

Addison is trying to outrun her past. However, it's keeping pace with her and threatening to be her unraveling. Flora is desperate to help her family. But her plans come undone when a family's secrets no longer stay secret.

Once again, Sarah Jio has written a book that sucks you in from page one. We both were glued from the very start. We couldn't wait to see what new story twist was going to unfold before our eyes- and there were many. By the time you have read the last word, you have gone through every emotion.

Flora is the beloved daughter of parents who are struggling with their own bakery. The 1940s are a tough time with World War II running it's path of destruction. Being the family oriented daughter that she is, Flora is willing to do anything to guarantee her parents' future financially. When her father is roughed up in an alley over money, Flora reaches the "desperate times call for desperate measures" point, so she accepts a rather dangerous assignment: pose as the nanny to a family who's vast property is rumored to house the last of the rare Middlebury Pink camellia stolen from royalty. Telling her family she's going to attend school overseas, she boards a ship for England.

As firm as Flora's plan seems to be for her, there are a few things she doesn't expect. One, is meeting the handsome Desmond on her trip overseas. They feel an instant connection, but she never expects to see him again. Flora is stunned when she does see him again and learns he's the black sheep brother to the children she cares for. Another thing Flora doesn't expect is have the maternal feelings for the children she's to be the nanny for.

Flora steps into a mourning family environment that comes with a mystery. The mother mysteriously died the year before. Also, women from the nearby village are going missing. It isn't long before Flora realizes there's a connection between the mother's death and the village disappearances.

Addison is a woman who has survived a tortured childhood that no child should have to endure. (We both had a hard time with the abuse scenes, but were thankful there weren't many of them.) Thinking she was finally free from Sean, the one responsible for her young life of sorrow and abuse, she does what she can to forge a new life for herself. Her real name, Amanda, is traded in for a new one- Addison. Sean is sent to prison, but what Addison didn't know was that he spent his sentence planning his revenge. When Sean is paroled, he begins contacting her with threats of destroying her new life. Addison never told her husband, Rex, about her childhood. and Sean is threatening to do it for her.

The chance of fleeing to the new mansion Rex's parents just bought in England is the opportunity to get away from Sean. While there, she explores the rooms and finds various things left behind from the previous residents. She learns of the missing village women, and before long, she's unraveling the mystery Flora stumbled upon. While learning what happened, Addison's own nightmare has followed her.

We are under the firm belief that Sarah Jio cannot write a bad book. With every one of her books, you are gripped from start to finish. You get thrown for a loop with every plot twist she throws at you. She writes stories full of characters you can't help but bond with. We rooted for Desmond and Flora to have a happy ending. We were excited when Sean got his in the end. We were floored when you read how Flora took matters into her own brave hands during a cab ride. The way everything ties together in the end is nothing short of breathtaking.

We hope you read The Last Camellia and love it every bit as much as we did. We hope you find the story one of strength and inspiration. We hope you read the book with a glass of wine handy and some chocolate.

Thank you, Sarah Jio, for writing books that forever stay with us. It is our honor and privilege to read your novels. We can't wait for the next one!

The Lavender Garden by Lucinda Riley

August 6, 2013

This is the 3rd book I have read by Lucinda Riley and it definitely didn't disappoint! Unfortunately I wasn't able to start the book as soon as I hoped, but the moment I opened the first page I couldn't put it down! It was mind-blowing with how wrapped up I was in the story! Lucinda is one of those writers who immediately pull you into the story, and even long after you finish the book, you are rethinking the storyline and how amazing the puzzle fell perfectly into place! 

Like the author's other books, this book takes place in two different times: one in France in 1999 and the other in France during WWII. Although a little slow to start, it develops into a fascinating story with great details and both characters you love, and ones you might want to throw a book at! Every time I immerse myself into her stories, I always enjoying reading both time periods! Sometimes I prefer one period over the other, but in the end I loved how both time periods were filled with adventures. Seeing how they come together in the end is always fascinating. 

This book was an amazing read and I look forward to her next book and her many more to come! Lucinda is such an amazing author and I am thrilled to add this book, along with the 2 others I have, to my bookshelf!I was fortunate enough to receive a signed copy of this book in a contest and let me tell you, that was a fabulous start to my weekend!! 

Wedding Belles

July 30, 2013

Wedding Belles
By: Beth Albright
336 Pages

The Sassy Belles are back in book 2 of their series. This time around, Vivi is busy prepping for her wedding and  her baby! Her perfect bubble gets popped when the local physic predicts there's another woman in her fiance's life. Meanwhile, Blake is separated from her husband and going full speed ahead with her love for Sonny. However, with both girls, nothing is as easy as you want it to be. Nosy reporter Dallas has plenty to butt her nose into.

I LOVE this series! From Vivi's hilarious Southern Belle sayings to the hilarity that follows the girls around. Wedding Belles was a sheer delight to read. I loved every page of it. There was more comedy this time around, which I enjoyed immensely. 

Vivi is finally snagged her dream man. However, just when they think the happily ever after is around the corner, a psychic throws a wrench in the joy. Telling her there's another woman in Levi's life doesn't go over well. However, who that woman turns out to be is nothing like what she expected. Lesson: NEVER EVER trust a fraternity when a woman you don't know and a minister are involved.

While Blake sets out to fix that mess, she has a bit of her own to sort out. She is now separated from Henry. However, for the sake of his campaign, they decide to keep it quiet. Desperate for a good story Dallas is willing to stoop to any low she can to get the truth out. Blake is now perusing a relationship with her high school sweetheart, Sonny. The fact that he's the town's lead homicide investigator makes things tricky. So, they struggle to keep things under the radar. Lesson: BE CAREFUL WHEN USING ROLL AWAY BEDS. HILARITY MAY ENSUE.

You will have a great time reading Wedding Belles. I didn't want the book to end. Beth Albright has a knack for writing fun characters, hilarious scenes, and a fun story.You can't help but love the books and all the Southern Charm she pours into them. I look forward to the next installment, Sleigh Belles. Get comfy and be ready to laugh.

Rating: BUY IT!!! Great Summer Read!

Miss Book Lovers Go Wine Tasting!

July 20, 2013

It's that rarity. A Saturday when neither of us has anything planned!! What to do? Why, go wine tasting, of course! And while we're at it, we can discuss the newest book from one of our favorite authors!!! YES!

We have arrived!! Ready to taste some wine!

Debbie introduces you to part of the vineyards at
Leonesse Cellars in Temecula, Ca

Let the tasting begin!!

Your Miss Book Lover Team! 
I'm the blond, Jenifer. The gorgeous brunette is my cousin, Debbie!

This was our final tasting- their only dessert selection. You take a sip of the wine
and then a bite of the chocolate. We both found it to be a heavy wine. The chocolate was
great, though! 
As I mentioned, we took this opportunity to discuss & review The Last Camellia
by the always amazing author, Sarah Jio. We Love her!

We are suckers for the souvenir glasses you can get. Some wineries include one
with the tasting. Leonesse didn't, but that's OK. 

A fun time was had! While we didn't find a wine we loved and had to buy a bottle of, we did get time to talk about The Last Camellia and all of it's wonderfulness! We were hoping they would have one of her favorite wines, but they didn't. 

I tried to set up my lovely cousin/blog mate with one of the guys that worked there. Sadly, he was spoken for. However, he was very polite and respectful about it. I'm almost not bitter. Almost. I look forward to our next tasting adventure!! 

A White Room

June 30, 2013

A White Room
By: Stephanie Carroll
408 Pages

At the close of the Victorian Era, society still expected middle-class women to be "the angels of the house," even as a select few strived to become something more. In this time of change, Emeline Evans dreamed of becoming a nurse. But when her father dies unexpectedly, Emeline sacrifices her ambitions and rescues her family from destitution by marrying John Dorr, a reserved lawyer who can provide for her family.
John moves Emeline to the remote Missouri town of Labellum and into an unusual house where her sorrow and uneasiness edge toward madness. Furniture twists and turns before her eyes, people stare out at her from empty rooms, and the house itself conspires against her. The doctor diagnoses hysteria, but the treatment merely reinforces the house's grip on her mind.
Emeline only finds solace after pursuing an opportunity to serve the poor as an unlicensed nurse. Yet in order to bring comfort to the needy she must secretly defy her husband, whose employer viciously hunts down and prosecutes unlicensed practitioners. Although women are no longer burned at the stake in 1900, disobedience is a symptom of psychological defect, and hysterical women must be

If you are looking for a suspenseful read this summer, I encourage you to read A White Rom. I was intrigued by the story early on. Fans of Daphne DuMaurier will enjoy this book, as well. It was a classical suspense/thriller that let your imagination take you where the book left you. You have all the makings of a great read: the ominous house, the daughter desperate to aide her destitute family, a marriage entered into for all the wrong reasons. Oh! And let's not forget the dancing furniture decorated like no other house around.
If you loved Jane Eyre, The Thirteenth Tale, Rebecca, and others like them, you will be gripped to A White Room. A great escape for your mind this summer. 


June 26, 2013

Dear Barnes & Noble Company,

I have been a long time, dedicated customer for over 20 years. I have bought countless books within your various stores. I am an interested party to what happens with your stores. And let me say, while your stores are my "happy place", I am NOT happy.

For several years now, I have watched changes unfold. While I know that every company is going to have experience change in order to grow and stay vital, I have been forced to watch negative changes occur. In my opinion, it feels as if you have been sabotaging your own company. What happened?! Where did you go wrong?!

Barnes & Noble made it's name as being the place to go for books. Within your stores, numerous book lovers found a place for their passion to call home. I am one of those people. I remember being in junior high, and going to B. Dalton to buy books. There was no Barnes & Noble store near me, so my Mom would take me there. I began collecting your classics collection. I started out when the adult classics were in yellow jackets, and the kids ones were in blue. I have been adding to my collection ever since. 

At what point did you think adding a toy section to your stores was a smart idea? What in the world made you think removing shelves of books and replacing them with over priced toys was a good business move? And who had, in your company, had the arrogance to claim Barnes & Noble the #1 toy seller?! Did you forget what your company is called? Let me refresh you with what your store name signs say: BARNES & NOBLE BOOKSELLERS. Booksellers- not toy sellers!

I am a loyal patron. I will go down with the ship, if it goes down. However, out of my loyalty I beg of you to stop destroying a beloved company. Your company made it's name, and reputation, on selling books like no other company has. Amazon can't even top what you do. You supply people with the chance to step into the wondrous world of books as soon as they walk through the door. Amazon doesn't have actual stores to encourage browsing and exploring other books. I can't tell you how many books I've discovered without setting out to. NEVER underestimate the power of browsing. A website can do that, but only to a point. 

Go back to the business plan you had when you were successful. Remember what put you guys on the map in the first place. I beg of you. I realize digital reading is a difficult hurdle to overcome. But, never forgot the loyal customers who still prefer books in their original form. I still prefer holding my books in my hands as I journey through their pages. Do not alienate that core base. They aren't going to disappear unless you force them to.


The Bookman's Tale

June 25, 2013

The Bookman's Tale
By: Charlie Lovett

Sometimes, the best books are the ones that keep you guessing. Books that slowly unfold the mystery from different angles. Summer reading is one of my favorite times to read a good mystery/suspense novel. And what better subject than the book world?!

The Bookman's Tale delivers all of that- and more. The main mystery is whether or not a copy of Pandosto, which Shakespeare used to base one of his plays, was real or a forgery. However, that is by no means the only mystery you get to solve. This book is crawling with them and each is as intriguing as the others. 

Peter Byerly is an antique bookseller who is still recovering from the death of his beloved wife, Amanda, only 9 months before. He has journeyed to England's Hay-on-Wye, a town of bookstores, as a way to attempt of getting back to his career. All of that changes when he picks up a book and a 100 year old watercolor falls to the floor. The face looking up at Peter looks just like his wife. Right away Peter sets out to find out how his late wife could look like the woman in a century old watercolor. Yet, that mystery leads him to others. 

It's hard to write this review without giving away key plot points. I can tell you Peter sets out to learn who painted the watercolor. He also comes in contact with what he believes is a genuine Pandosto. Among all that, a mystery surrounding forgery grows bigger with every discovery. Barnes and Noble chose The Bookman's Tale for it's current Recommends selection. I'm almost finished with this book and I'm loving every page. This book is an intriguing story you crawl deeper and deeper into. I don't want the book to end, but I want to find out how everything ties together. 

I strongly recommend this book. An engrossing read that you won't want to put down.

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