2020 Book #41 – I Heart Forever by Lindsey Kelk

Title: I Heart Forever
Author: Lindsey Kelk
Date finished: 6/11/20
Genre: Fiction, women’s fiction
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: September 12, 2017
Pages in book: 368
Stand alone or series: #7 in the I Heart series
Where I got the book from: Edelweiss
NOTE: 
I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

A wedding in Manhattan…and someone’s keeping a secret.

The day her husband Alex picks up a backpack and goes travelling, Angela Clark promises to stay out of trouble and keep both Louboutins on the ground.

So when her best friend’s boyfriend confides in her, it can’t hurt to help him pick out a ring at Tiffany’s surely?

And when her fashion magazine announces major changes, being terminally late and arguing with your boss isn’t that bad, is it?

Then suddenly there’s another big secret Angela’s got to keep – and the man she loves is still thousands of miles away. As the wedding of the year looms, Angela is going to need her friends by her side as her old life looks set to change forever.

My rating:  2.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I had requested this book a long time ago and finally got around to reading it. The book was ok, I liked some parts of it. I ended up liking it more than I expected to honestly. It reminded me a bit of Confessions of a Shopaholic series, kind of bimbo-y sounding narrator and main character. And I’m sure this is just because I hadn’t read the other books in the series but I didn’t feel all that invested in the characters, therefore the story fell apart a little for me. The plot seemed a little scattered to me, fitting with how it seemed the narrator’s mind worked but not my favorite. There were still some entertaining / funny parts but overall it wasn’t my favorite.

Link to author website

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2020 Book #23 – The Sunday Potluck Club by Melissa Storm

Title: The Sunday Potluck Club
Author: Melissa Storm
Date finished: 5/6/20
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: March 31, 2020
Pages in book: 247
Stand alone or series: #1 in Sunday Potluck Club series
Where I got the book from: Publisher
NOTE: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

A recipe for living . . .
 
New friends can be found in unexpected places. For Bridget and Amy, that place was the cancer ward of an Anchorage hospital. Now, as each struggles to overcome loss, they lean on each other for support—sharing suppers, laughter and tears.

Bridget and Amy aren’t about to let hardship knock them down—Bridget plans to return to her veterinarian school studies, Amy to her position as a second-grade teacher—but neither feels quite ready. And so the Sunday Potluck Club is born, a way for Bridget, Amy, and other women who have lost a loved one to find solace and understanding. Savoring favorite dishes while sharing memories and the comfort of connection, the members of the Sunday Potluck Club nourish body and soul.

As weeks go by and the group grows in unforeseen ways, both Bridget and Amy are inspired to find greater purpose.  Amy reaches out to a student whose father bravely faces his own struggle. Bridget volunteers at the local animal shelter, rehabilitating dogs whose unconditional love will bring others a chance to heal. And with the help of two special men, Bridget and Amy are realizing that there’s always room at the table for love and rekindled joy . . .

My rating:  2.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I had read the first couple chapters of this book in last year’s BuzzBooks Romance sampler and was really intrigued. The first couple chapters really captured my interest and even though it was 9 months until the book would be published I was still very interested in being able to read and review it. And while I really enjoyed the book, it didn’t turn out to be quite what I thought it would be from the glimpse I got in the first couple chapters. Amy’s character was a bit too much of a doormat for me. And beyond that the way she kept going back and forth about Trent it got to be a bit too much for me. Overall there were pieces of the plot and the story line I thought could’ve been developed more, and I definitely would’ve liked to see some of the characters fleshed out a little more, especially Trent. That being said, I still did enjoy the book. It was a sweet read and was quick and easy to read. The end of the book got me pretty emotional and I wished there had been more of that emotional work throughout the book. I’d recommend giving this one a try, I think there was a lot to like about this book!

Link to author’s website

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2019 Book #63 – Conversations with the Fat Girl by Liza Palmer

41EO-wfyVJLTitle: Conversations with the Fat Girl
Author: Liza Palmer
Date finished: 8/21/19
Genre: Fiction, women’s fiction
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: September 3, 2007 – Reprinted in 2019
Pages in book: 319
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Publisher/Author
NOTE: I received this book for free from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Liza Palmer will have readers cheering as she explores friendship, true love, and self-acceptance in this “engaging and poignant” (Jennifer Weiner) novel. 
Everyone seems to be getting on with their lives except Maggie. At twenty-seven, she’s still serving coffee at Joe’s while her friends are getting married, having babies, and thriving in their careers. And now Olivia, Maggie’s best friend since grade school, is getting married too. The man in Maggie’s life? Well there isn’t one, except the guy she has a crush on, Domenic, who works with her at the coffee shop. Oh, and her dog, Solo (the name says it all).
When Olivia comes to town and asks Maggie to be her maid of honor, Maggie is thrilled… but she can’t help comparing herself to the new and “improved” Olivia. Way back then, they befriended each other because they both struggled with their weight. Now grown up, Maggie is still shopping in the “women’s section” while Olivia went and had gastric-bypass surgery in search of the elusive size 2. But as the wedding nears, Olivia’s seemingly perfect life starts to unravel, and Maggie realizes that happiness might not be tied to a number on the scale.
In this wonderful novel, Liza Palmer is both witty and wise, giving a voice to women everywhere who have ever wished they could stop obsessing… and start living.

My rating:  2.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I finished this book for ARC August 2019! Love this reading challenge. And this year I’m especially excited because this year they have a bunch of fun games and challenges, including one of my favorite things, reading bingo! This book will be checking off my “Free Space” box since I just didn’t know what to pick.

I was interested in the premise of this book after reading about it. I’ve struggled with weight issues during most of my life and after reading Kristan Higgins’ Good Luck With That last year I was hopeful that this book would give me similar feelings of connection and understanding. I didn’t end up feeling quite as connected to this book as I had hoped but I still enjoyed it. Even though I struggled with body-image issues due to my weight, I never once struggled with my self-worth. I am so thankful for the family of amazing women (and men) who raised me to be proud of who I am and realize how amazing I am as a person. I struggled connecting to the narrator of this book because for the first half (or more) of the book she doesn’t believe in herself at all, and she doesn’t think that her own life is worth standing up for. I found that hard to read as it is immensely sad. Once she was able to start picking herself up and really making strides within her own life I became more interested, but it just took so long to get there. I liked the ending but I struggled to much through the first half to say that I really liked the book – solely based on my personality not being able to connect with the narrator.

Link to author website

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2019 Book #55 – The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins

51SWKLzVjxLTitle: The Book Charmer
Author: Karen Hawkins
Date finished: 8/4/19
Genre: Contemporary romance, women’s fiction, magical realism
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: July 30, 2019
Pages in book: 368
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Dove Pond series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Sarah Dove is no ordinary bookworm. To her, books have always been more than just objects: they live, they breathe, and sometimes they even speak. When Sarah grows up to become the librarian in her quaint Southern town of Dove Pond, her gift helps place every book in the hands of the perfect reader. Recently, however, the books have been whispering about something out of the ordinary: the arrival of a displaced city girl named Grace Wheeler.

If the books are right, Grace could be the savior that Dove Pond desperately needs. The problem is, Grace wants little to do with the town or its quirky residents—Sarah chief among them. It takes a bit of urging, and the help of an especially wise book, but Grace ultimately embraces the challenge to rescue her charmed new community. In her quest, she discovers the tantalizing promise of new love, the deep strength that comes from having a true friend, and the power of finding just the right book.

My rating:  4.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I finished this book for ARC August 2019! Love this reading challenge. And this year I’m especially excited because this year they have a bunch of fun games and challenges, including one of my favorite things, reading bingo! This book will be checking off my “Start one series” box since this book is the first in a new series by this author.

I haven’t read anything by this author before, I was intrigued enough by the description and the cover to give this a read! I love books with magical realism and this one was really just such a magical read. I loved the story building and how the author wove different pieces of magic into the story. The thing I found kind of frustrating was how unresolved the ending was. We spent so much time delving into Sarah’s character, which I understand was necessary to understand the whole book talking and saving the town thing, but I was super bummed that we didn’t get resolved on Sarah’s story at the end of this book. I usually prefer to read series consisting of stand alone novels for that reason, I like the connection but I like for things to be resolved at the end. I’m excited to read Sarah’s story though, whenever it may come! Also I thought there was a lot of build up to the Apple Festival and then the actual event only ended up taking up like a page, which left the event feeling a little anti-climactic to me. I loved all the tension and plot building, then when it was wrapped up so quickly it felt a little rushed. There were so many emotions in this book though, I loved it. I laughed, and I cried a bunch. There were so many touching scenes in the book. All of the characters were charming and I loved how much of a family was formed by the various town members. I’d definitely recommend this book.

Link to author website

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2019 Book #47 – How To Hack a Heartbreak by Kristin Rockaway

510gqX-FQ+LTitle: How To Hack a Heartbreak
Author: Kristin Rockaway
Date finished: 7/19/19
Genre: Contemporary romance, women’s fiction
Publisher: Graydon House
Publication Date: July 30, 2019
Pages in book: 352
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Swipe right for love. Swipe left for disaster.

By day, Mel Strickland is an underemployed helpdesk tech at a startup incubator, Hatch, where she helps entitled brogrammers–“Hatchlings”–who can’t even fix their own laptops, but are apparently the next wave of startup geniuses. And by night, she goes on bad dates with misbehaving dudes she’s matched with on the ubiquitous dating app, Fluttr.
But after one dick pic too many, Mel has had it. Using her brilliant coding skills, she designs an app of her own, one that allows users to log harrassers and abusers in online dating space. It’s called JerkAlert, and it goes viral overnight.

Mel is suddenly in way over her head. Worse still, her almost-boyfriend, the dreamy Alex Hernandez–the only non-douchey guy at Hatch–has no idea she’s the brains behind the app. Soon, Mel is faced with a terrible choice: one that could destroy her career, love life, and friendships, or change her life forever.

My rating:  3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I haven’t read anything by this author before, I was intrigued enough by the description and the cover to give this a read! This was a really cute book a good story. I love how modern it was with all the creative ideas on website creation, dating sites, and some of the hazards women face in the modern world. There were some pieces of this modernity within the book that I found frustrating though – specifically how Melanie has to put up with blatant sexual harassment at her office with absolutely no form of recourse. I understood that the “Hatchlings” were important to the owner but at the same time that kind of flagrant disrespect for someone shouldn’t be tolerated anywhere in a professional working environment. That being said, it was an interesting plot line and definitely different from other books I’ve read lately. I liked the varied cast of characters and how supportive Melanie’s friends were with helping her realize her full potential. I also loved how talented Melanie was and her journey to becoming a confident business woman at the end was a wonderful character arc. I would recommend this book, I enjoyed it!

Link to author website

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2019 Book #39 – It’a Hot in the Hamptons by Holly Peterson

51ZWbPBNkDLTitle: It’s Hot in the Hamptons
Author: Holly Peterson
Date finished: 7/4/19
Genre: Fiction, women’s fiction
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: May 21, 2019
Pages in book: 384
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Library Thing NOTE: I received this book for free from  Library Thing in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

In the Hamptons, no rules apply, especially in matters of money—and the heart…

Raised in East Hampton, Caroline never thought she’d be one of the “city people” who spent summers and weekends at the beach. But, once her husband’s business takes off, a job stint transplants the couple permanently into Manhattan life—where the phrase When you marry for money, you work for it every day, reflects her neighbors’ lives. And where entitled husbands, like hers, embark on affair after affair with little consequence.

Time for the wives to get even.

When Caroline’s friend Annabelle suggests they experiment as their wayward mates have, Caroline resists at first. That is, until a scroll through an iPad makes her reconsider…and a pact between two friends is made.

The agreement quickly turns serious when Caroline begins to confront the man her husband has become, or perhaps always has been. Will a summer affair give Caroline clarity or make her lose hold on the reins of her life? And, when an old lover returns, is she ready to risk all for a chance at happiness…

My rating:  2.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I requested to review this book because I loved the cover. I was dubious on the description but the cover looked like a perfect summer read. And I’m still sure that it would be the perfect summer read for someone, but unfortunately it wasn’t for me. I felt like the plot line was really good, and I was able to appreciate some of the great plot twists in the book, but overall the plot just didn’t appeal to me on a personal level, mostly because of the characters. They were all so entitled and flawed and it was just so sad. I couldn’t connect with a single character and that made the book a little hard to get through for me. It was just a personal issue with the characters though so I’d still recommend giving this one a try – it has great plot twists and a great setting for a summer read!

Link to author website

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2019 Book #36 – Waiting For Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey

51Fiej09wKL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Waiting For Tom Hanks
Author: Kerry Winfrey
Date finished: 6/17/19
Genre: Contemporary romance, women’s fiction
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: June 11, 2019
Pages in book: 288
Stand alone or series: Seems like it will be a series! Next book is about Chloe and Nick!
Where I got the book from: Edelweiss
NOTE: I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

A rom-com-obsessed romantic waiting for her perfect leading man learns that life doesn’t always go according to a script in this delightfully charming and funny novel.

Annie Cassidy dreams of being the next Nora Ephron. She spends her days writing screenplays, rewatching Sleepless in Seattle, and waiting for her movie-perfect meet-cute. If she could just find her own Tom Hanks—a man who’s sweet, sensitive, and possibly owns a houseboat—her problems would disappear and her life would be perfect. But Tom Hanks is nowhere in sight.

When a movie starts filming in her neighborhood and Annie gets a job on set, it seems like a sign. Then Annie meets the lead actor, Drew Danforth, a cocky prankster who couldn’t be less like Tom Hanks if he tried. Their meet-cute is more of a meet-fail, but soon Annie finds herself sharing some classic rom-com moments with Drew. Her Tom Hanks can’t be an actor who’s leaving town in a matter of days…can he?

My rating: 3.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I thought this book sounded sweet and cute, and I love rom-coms! And this book definitely fit the bill for exactly what it sounded like – it was a sweet story with LOTS of rom-com tie-ins and an interesting array of traditional romance tropes used. I think that’s my main hang-up is that those are the only two words that really come to mind are sweet and cute. There were some very humorous parts to the book also, I found myself laughing out loud at more than a few of the situations Annie gets into in the book. Annie’s character was a bit naive for me though and she could be very melodramatic at times. It was very obvious that Drew liked her but she seemed very immaturely closed off to him. And then the whole thing with the mistake she made with the text about Drew – that’s a pretty intense mistake. I mean, I’m sure it’s possible it could happen, but it just made me cringe so badly. Everything worked out ok in the end but the ending also was a bit too syrupy sweet for me. Overall it was a light-hearted and fun read and I’d recommend it but I can’t say that I found it overtly thrilling.

Link to author website

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2019 Book #34 – Bridal Boot Camp by Meg Cabot

41vGuBSXnaLTitle: Bridal Boot Camp
Author: Meg Cabot
Date finished: 6/1/19
Genre: Contemporary romance, women’s fiction
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Publication Date: May 28, 2019
Pages in book: 51
Stand alone or series: Related to another upcoming release of hers, No Judgments
Where I got the book from: Edelweiss
NOTE: I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Looking for a tropical escape?

Welcome to Little Bridge, one of the smallest—and most beautiful—islands in the Florida Keys, home to sandy white beaches, salt-rimmed margaritas, stunning sunsets, and some of the quirkiest—but also kindest and most resourceful—people you’ll ever meet.

Physical trainer Roberta “Rob” James moved to Little Bridge hoping she’d found paradise, but things haven’t turned out quite as she’d hoped. The closest Rob has come to her “happily ever after” is happy hour at the Mermaid Café with her buddy Bree, the bartender slash waitress who’s got romance problems of her own.

But Rob’s situation suddenly changes when sheriff’s deputy Ryan Martinez accidentally enrolls in her bridal boot camp class. Turning mush into metal in time for the big day is Rob’s passion (because even the happiest bride could use a little toning).

But what happens when a guy who’s all mush meets a girl who’s all metal?

They discover they have a lot to learn . . . about each other, themselves, and the island paradise they’ve come to call home.

My rating: 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I love love love Meg Cabot’s books. And while this was a short (very) story, it was still cute and interesting. It’s meant to lead into the next full length novel she has coming out later this year, No Judgments. I thought this novel was a tad lacking in Cabot’s distinctive humor and style, although it’s hard to pack enough humor into a short 51 pages. I’m looking forward to reading her novel coming out later this year and seeing where this story leads us!

Link to author website

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2019 Book #30 – My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

51dnsu+ESALTitle: My Favorite Half-Night Stand
Author: Christina Lauren
Date finished: 5/20/19
Genre: Contemporary romance, women’s fiction
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: December 4, 2018
Pages in book: 385
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single.

So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic.

But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship…but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.

Perfect for fans of Roxanne and She’s the Man, Christina Lauren’s latest romantic comedy is full of mistaken identities, hijinks, and a classic love story with a modern twist. Funny and fresh, you’ll want to swipe right on My Favorite Half-Night Stand.

My rating: 4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I read this during Bout of Books 25 but I also read this as part of my Bookish 2019 Reading Challenge: 52 Ways to Kill Your TBR checking off line #16 – a book by two or more authors.

I’ve loved the last couple novels I’ve read by Christina Lauren (technically a pen name for two authors writing together) and I had been approved to read this title last year but ran out of time. This book had Lauren’s signature humor – I laughed out loud and was still struck by the emotions evident within the story lines and between the characters. This wasn’t my favorite of the plot lines from what I’ve read of Lauren’s books (Millie was a little dishonest for me) but I still really enjoyed it. I loved Reid’s character, and I loved how well he and Millie interacted with each other and how their relationship and chemistry were so intense. Their group of friends were so funny too and the antics they got into were immensely entertaining. I always love how much joy I get out of reading Lauren’s books – they are light and easy to read and they lighten the burden on me that at times is reality. I’d definitely recommend this book, as well as any of the other ones I’ve read by this author so far!

Link to author website

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2019 Book #28 – The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

519MFfKuuAL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Unhoneymooners
Author: Christina Lauren
Date finished: 5/16/19
Genre: Contemporary romance, women’s fiction
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: May 14, 2019
Pages in book: 416
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

For two sworn enemies, anything can happen during the Hawaiian trip of a lifetime—maybe even love—in this romantic comedy from the New York Times bestselling authors of Roomies.

Olive Torres is used to being the unlucky twin: from inexplicable mishaps to a recent layoff, her life seems to be almost comically jinxed. By contrast, her sister Ami is an eternal champion . . . she even managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a slew of contests. Unfortunately for Olive, the only thing worse than constant bad luck is having to spend the wedding day with the best man (and her nemesis), Ethan Thomas.

Olive braces herself for wedding hell, determined to put on a brave face, but when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. Suddenly there’s a free honeymoon up for grabs, and Olive will be damned if Ethan gets to enjoy paradise solo.

Agreeing to a temporary truce, the pair head for Maui. After all, ten days of bliss is worth having to assume the role of loving newlyweds, right? But the weird thing is . . . Olive doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, the more she pretends to be the luckiest woman alive, the more it feels like she might be.

My rating: 4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I’ve loved the last couple novels I’ve read by Christina Lauren (technically a pen name for two authors writing together). They’re books are addictive! The characters are always so engaging and find themselves in the funniest situations. The story lines really draw in the reader and engage them emotionally. I don’t want to put the book down but at the same time don’t want it to end! In this book, Olive and Ethan were both very interesting characters and were adorable once they figured out how they felt about each other. One thing I didn’t care for was that the story was told all from Olive’s point of view but then switched to Ethan’s point of view for the last chapter only. To be honest I was annoyed with Olive’s melodramatics mid-way through the book and thought it would’ve been nice to get someone else’s thoughts. And also it was hard to understand Ethan’s thoughts in the last chapter when its the reader’s first look into his brain. Overall though I really liked the book and I would recommend it!

Link to author website

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