Release Day: Lincoln’s Park by Parker Williams

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/lincolns-park-by-parker-williams-9912-b

Blurb
A Links In the Chain Story
Lincoln Merriweather was born an entitled brat with a silver spoon lodged so deep, it might never have come out. At the BDSM club or in business, Lincoln was a storm, blowing in and disrupting the lives of everyone he touched, until the day he met a man who peeled away the tarnished layers to expose a decent person.
Lincoln found—then lost—love.
Since then, he’s tried to atone for his past, including walking away from his family’s wealth. He opened a diner, hiring people to work for him that he would have spit on before his epiphany. He’s found peace, which he’s about to lose to a hazel-eyed man.
Noel Simmons wound up on the street when his parents discovered he was gay. His path leads him to Lincoln’s diner, where he asks for a job. He’s thrilled when Lincoln agrees to hire him, but finds his new boss perplexing. Can anyone be this kind and decent?
What starts out as business becomes something more. Noel discovers he needs Lincoln in order to feel safe. Lincoln needs Noel to complete him. But when Lincoln’s past gets in the way of his present, will the two have a future?

Review by Aerielle

First off I have to say that there are some slight BDSM elements in this story. It’s very mild though. I really enjoyed all the character’s in this story. Lincoln is a man on a mission of redemption and Noel is a young man in search of acceptance. Lincoln walks away from his former life and tries to help as many people as he can. Noel gets kicked out after coming out to his parents and ends up in a shelter. He goes to Lincolns diner and asks for a job. Lincoln is immediately attracted to Noel and doesn’t hesitate to help him. Noel, who is not used to kindness is suspicious at first, but with the help of the other workers he sees that Lincoln is genuine. Even though both men are attracted to each other neither one acts on their feelings. Noel ends up getting really sick which causes Lincoln to finally act on his feelings. Noel does come off as a soft and meek character but towards the end he shows how far he will go to protect Lincoln. I really enjoy redemption and finding family stories and this one does not disappoint.
4 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Mary

For me this is a book about love and redemption, about finding and making a family, starting new and having faith in the goodness of humanity. That sounds a lot to live up to now I’ve written it down. Lincoln changes his life. He didn’t like who he had become. This realisation came after he lost someone he loved dearly. However, the story starts after he has made this change and when we meet Noel. It’s like Noel awakens Lincoln and allows him to see the beauty in life again. The slow burn of their building love is encouraged along by a friend of theirs playing Cupid. Now this is where the BDSM element comes in. I have long ago accepted that BDSM is as varied and vast as can possibly be and that the only right way is what works for the couples in the story (as with life). As long as it’s safe and consenting. In the past Lincoln played in clubs and only realised later how empty it was for him. Now he craves the connection with someone else. He teaches Noel about his preferences and leaves him to make the decision. They compliment and complete each other. At the end after interference from Lincoln’s family his faith and love in Noel is proven to be strong. Made me smile. I loved the little side romance that blossoms during the story between Katy and Meg, it was a lovely touch reinforcing the second chance of love.
Definitely looking forward to the next story in the series, just wondering who it’ll be.

4 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

Release Day Review: Strays by A.J. Thomas

release day review

 

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/strays-by-aj-thomas-9875-b

Blurb

Orphaned at a young age and raised in the foster system, Jory Smith has no idea he’s half incubus. He only knows he has the power to heal people, making himself sick in the process. Exploited by a crooked faith healer who sells his abilities and his life to the highest bidder and then left for dead, Jory flees, falling into a job at a small-town café where he can put his lifelong obsession with baking to good use.

But the minister who exploited him wants him back.

Exiled hellhound-turned–bounty hunter Malpheus Pelle has no idea why his human client wants him to track down an incubus. Jory is traumatized and afraid to touch anyone, an emotional handicap that could prove fatal for a demon who requires physical contact. Needing answers, Mal concocts a disastrous plan: pretend to date Jory to uncover the truth. Unfortunately, his plan never included dealing with an ancient demon assassin, Jory’s orgasmic pumpkin cookies, or losing his heart to the incubus he’s supposed to be hunting….

 

Review by Karen

 
This was a really fun paranormal romance, set in a well-drawn imaginary world.

Mal and Jory are a match made in heaven, or hell rather, since both of them are demons, though only one of them actually knows that. I was quite intrigued by the mystery surrounding Jory ‘s powers and identity and had a hard time stopping myself from skipping to the end to find that out sooner than the author intended.

I adore Mal for the way he cares for Louise and for how suddenly and completely he loses his heart to Jory. Even believing it’ll mean forfeiting his own life, he’s still all in and wants to protect Jory…no matter what. If only Mal could also find a way to be completely honest with Jory about who they both are without losing him. Decisions, decisions…

Jory’s a dear as well, a genuinely kind and caring person. He doesn’t start off squeaky clean though, helping a corrupt reverend to deceive his gullible congregation, but we can forgive him because he truly does help people and in a way he sticks to the only (manipulative and ungrateful) family he’s ever known. And almost gets himself killed in the process. Poor guy.

I really liked the hierarchy in the demon-world, and the way it mirrors human society in a way, though on a darker and more dangerous scale because, hey…demons. There’s a lot of strife and one-upmanship, both close-knit and dysfunctional families, and last but not least, discrimination between the different species.
I loved the amount of detail that went into the world-building and the original take on the incubus-mythology. The secondary characters were lovely and I hope to see more of them in future books, especially Keygan and Neal. Neal is great as a demon turned guardian angel, booze and all.

I very much hope this will turn into a series!

Number of stars out of 5: 4.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 
Review by Neta
I was very interested in this book and love the plot going in, I do have to say as I got into it I was constantly confused and felt like details were too vague. I mainly feel like the world was not build clearly enough, for example some names of creatures were not explained and I found myself trying to make sense of them or having to wait for another tidbit of information to understand the meaning of authors intent. When you have a fantasy setting such as this and you invent names for things there needs to be some consistency and clarity. I was too focused on understanding these small things to enjoy the story itself at times. I also feel like Jory himself was not clearly defined as a character, and at times he was unaware of his Incubi bloodline and the fact demons and Hell exist. Other times he was very cool about magical, supernatural things and his un-human-ness and I found that a bit strange. There is a bit of mystery involved in this story, and it was done fairly well and was interesting and unexpected at times but the Supernatural elements being so undefined really got in the way for me.
Mal and Jory are cute together, sweet and fun, I loved his companion Louise was a character I really liked, there was something about her connection to Mal and the story behind her name that touched my heart. Neal was a mysterious one, and I don’t feel I fully get what his deal is and his connection to all the other supernatural things going on in this book but he was funny and I liked him as well.
I wish this book had better structure, and a bit more cohesiveness, because the plot was interesting with lots of potencial.

Number of stars out of 5
3


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Morgan

There is much about this that I liked. The world building is unique and definitely interesting and kept me reading. I wasn’t ever quite sure what Jory’s deal was and how he went from healer to powerful incubus and even what all the rules governing his status was – and that made this a frustrating read.

Mal also confused the hell outta me in that at times he seemed eager to give up his life and then he would reverse and be sort of stand offish – all without really even knowing Jory that well.

I sort of understood the others who were there defending Jory but all in all I feel like this was a story with parts missing.

The romance itself was ok, but again, there was SO MUCH going on that it was hard to really focus on the romance at all and in fact it didn’t really fell like a focus, more like a side interest.

By the end our guys have a tentative HFN but it wasn’t super satisfying to me.

I was captivated by the magic and world building but underwhelmed by the final execution of the story itself, especially the romance.

2.75 rounded to 3 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook: Lover (Survivor #2) by T.M. Smith Narrated by Nick J Russo

audiobookreview

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Lover-Audiobook/B07GZC4KV9?qid=1536329926&sr=sr_1_10&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_10&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=GX4Q07035T3SV4TE7PHD&

Blurb

Lover – A Survivor story

Life has not always been kind to Shannon Dupree. On the outside he’s carefree and fun loving, but when it comes to his past he’s evasive and secretive. Running away from emotionally bereft parents at just fifteen, Shannon escapes life with them but steps into the waiting arms of the devil.

Rory Landers is a rising star at the Bureau. His personal life, however, is nothing to write home about. He hopes to take his limited relationship with Frank Moore to the next level when they finally solve the Langford murder case, but that doesn’t turn out as planned. On the plus side, he meets free-spirited college senior Shannon Dupree.

Rand Davis finds himself fortysomething and single when his partner of more than a decade is unfaithful. Taking over the Cold Case Squad frees up some of his time, and Rand welcomes newfound friendships within the Langford-Moore family circle. He thinks relationships are not in the cards for him until he meets an agent with an attitude and a vivacious blond that make him want so much more.

Past, present, pain, and suffering collide, ushering in the possibility of a life and love worth fighting for. Although their personalities couldn’t be more different, their three hearts beat the same. Shannon, Rory, and Rand learn the definition of love, commitment, and strength and if they allow themselves, the trio will find all that and more—in each other.

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

I definitely enjoy this series. I thought book 1 was amazing and really heart wrenching at times. This had some of that same emotional pull but didn’t feel as tightly presented as book 1.

I’m not always a big fan of ménage and it has to be done right for me to enjoy it versus think it’s ok as far as the romance goes. For me – the chemistry and the hurt/comfort was right on target for this throuple – however, I didn’t always feel they were equal partners and that Rand sort of felt like a addition rather than integral to the overall success.

Perhaps if the story had gone on longer or the throuple had developed sooner I might feel differently – but we get to see these guys acting as a unit for only a very short time and while it has huge potential – I can’t say it’s more than HFN for me.

The writing/editing/pacing seemed up to the author’s usual standards and I think fans of her work will be pleased.

Recommended.

4 of 5 stars

Audio

Nick is awesome as always. He manages to keep each of the distinct voices in the throuple separate as well as unique and fitted to their character. He handles the emotions and drama well and makes their smexy times absolutely smolder!

I absolutely adore listening to this narrator and I always know he will not only do a writer’s words justice but that he will – in many cases – add to the overall experience and make it better!

Highly recommended!

5 of 5 stars

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook: Changing Lines (Harrisburg Railers #1) by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey narrated by Sean Crisden

audiobookreview

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Changing-Lines-Audiobook/B07FTQFYWN?qid=1532653346&sr=sr_1_7&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_7&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=4ASJP8BBWXR5XYHCEDXT&

Blurb

Can Tennant show Jared that age is just a number, and that love is all that matters?

The Rowe Brothers are famous hockey hotshots, but as the youngest of the trio, Tennant has always had to play against his brothers’ reputations. To get out of their shadows, and against their advice, he accepts a trade to the Harrisburg Railers, where he runs into Jared Madsen. Mads is an old family friend and his brother’s one-time teammate. Mads is Tennant’s new coach. And Mads is the sexiest thing he’s ever laid eyes on.

Jared Madsen’s hockey career was cut short by a fault in his heart, but coaching keeps him close to the game. When Ten is traded to the team, his carefully organized world is thrown into chaos. Nine years his junior and his best friend’s brother, he knows Ten is strictly off-limits, but as soon as he sees Ten’s moves, on and off the ice, he knows that his heart could get him into trouble again.

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

This drew my attention since I’m currently jonsing for some hockey! I was also curious about these two authors as a writing duo. I’ve not really been a Vocey fan, and some of RJ Scott’s latest works haven’t really impressed me – but I love her earlier books.

I think – overall – that they’re a good team. I think the new subgenre is good for Scott and gives a new direction – away from ranching and crime fighting – for her considerable writing talents.

The premise of this story and it’s start are very promising. May/December, Coach/player, family friend, closeted professional athlete, single father… you name it – lots of sexual tension and the need to keep things on the DL. I think, however, that the end result of all these reasons to keep things quiet were too many for our MCs to overcome in a short story.

There were just so many hurdles and not enough time for them to be really overcome in a way that made sense.

I appreciated that they didn’t just jump into bed, but the “slow” was too slow and Jared came across way too “father figure” and not enough “lover”. He was bossy and I never felt his emotions other than lust.

Ten seemed- sometimes – ridiculously immature and I thought his family was both ridiculous ( his oldest brother) and wonderful (his sweet mother). I wasn’t sure why he was there, but the Russian goalie – Stan – was my favorite and I hope we get to see more of him!

The book kept my interest and I’ll definitely pick up more in this series, but this wasn’t my favorite hockey book of all time.

3 of 5 stars

Audio

Sean Crisden is such a joy! He always provides a reliably wonderful listening experience and his voice is so damn sexy that I know he’ll make the most of the steamy scenes in any romance! He does a great job voicing the different “characters” and I can’t wait for Stan’s book – he does such a nice Russian accent!

 

Highly recommended!

(On a side note – I’m REALLY missing hockey right now and it was awesome listening to this story – hockey by an author who clearly loves/knows the sport!)

5 of 5 stars

Overall 4 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Audiobook: Familiar Angel by Amy Lane Narrated by Gomez Pugh

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/familiar-angel-by-amy-lane-8950-b

Blurb

One hundred and forty years ago, Harry, Edward, and Francis met an angel, a demon, and a sorceress while escaping imprisonment and worse! They emerged with a new family—and shapeshifting powers beyond their wildest dreams.
Now Harry and his brothers use their sorcery to rescue those enslaved in human trafficking—but Harry’s not doing so well. Pining for Suriel the angel has driven him to take more and more risks until his family desperately asks Suriel for an intervention.
In order for Suriel to escape the bindings of heaven, he needs to be sure enough of his love to fight to be with Harry. Back when they first met, Harry was feral and angry, and he didn’t know enough about love for Suriel to justify that risk. Can Suriel trust in Harry enough now to break his bonds of service for the boy who has loved his Familiar Angel for nearly a century and a half?

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

I’m having a tough time reviewing this.

On the one hand, I enjoyed it – as I do nearly every Amy book I’ve ever read, and like those of hers I’ve read a million times.

Amy is very good at giving us clear, crisp writing with just the right amount of show versus tell. The back story for our boys is delivered in a bits and pieces with only small amounts of flash backs to fill in the gaps.

We’re shown the budding relationships between all 3 boys with telling glimpses rather than overt smacks to the face. Sometimes, however, the subtlety got a bit too murky.

It’s obvious that Suriel and Harry are falling/have fallen for one another, but I really missed that moment when it happened … and the reasons why they have to be apart are a little vague and I wasn’t always sure why the things that happened … did.

I loved the cat-ness in this story! The back and forth and the human manifestations of the feline persona were priceless!

The chemistry between Harry and Suriel isn’t as “warm” as some of her other couples, and – in fact – if we get to see the other brother’s stories – I’m sensing a lot more heat between them and their partners already than I did between Suriel and Harry. Instead, theirs felt more like a blanket than a fire – if you know what I mean. They wanted one another, and the passion was talked about – but I don’t know that I felt it much.

I absolutely loved the world building and the “moral of the story” with big Cass and all the “powers” and magic.

I’m really looking forward to the next books in the series!

4 of 5 stars

Audio

I Loved Gomez’ interpretation of this!  He was easy to listen to and made me love the story even more than I had when reading it.  I definitely think our mood influence our opinions of things and I must have been feeling better this time around because I loved this – full stop!  Highly recommended with no reservations!

5 of 5 stars

Overall 5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: Riven (Riven #1) by Roan Parrish

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36135552-riven?from_search=true

Blurb

Theo Decker might be the lead singer of Riven, but he hates being a rock star. The paparazzi, the endless tours, being recognized everywhere he goes—it all makes him squirm. The only thing he doesn’t hate is the music. Feeling an audience’s energy as they lose themselves in Riven’s music is a rush unlike anything else . . . until he meets Caleb Blake Whitman. Caleb is rough and damaged, yet his fingers on his guitar are pure poetry. And his hands on Theo? They’re all he can think about. But Caleb’s no groupie—and one night with him won’t be enough.

Just when Caleb is accepting his new life as a loner, Theo Decker slinks into it and turns his world upside-down. Theo’s sexy and brilliant and addictively vulnerable, and all Caleb wants is another hit. And another. That’s how he knows Theo’s trouble. Caleb can’t even handle performing these days. How the hell is he going to survive an affair with a tabloid superstar? But after Caleb sees the man behind the rock star, he begins to wonder if Theo might be his chance at a future he thought he’d lost forever.

Review

I’m a sucker for rock stars and music and I really “felt” this. Theo and Caleb are so obviously perfect for one another and though there is some angst and separation – it’s mild (in comparison to some of the author’s other works).

I really loved the explanation/musical process we get to glimpse in addition to the look at addiction and recovery we see with Caleb.

Theo is a very lovable character and I was glad to see him find his own stride. The chemistry he has with Caleb is both heart warming and HOT.

This was amazing and I heartily recommend it! I hope someone awesome does the audio book! (Joel Leslie- ahem.)

5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: Soulmate (Soulmates #1) by Erin M. Leaf

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39857736-soulmate?from_search=true

Blurb

Guy Keaton doesn’t want a hookup or a soulmate or anything in between. When he lost his wife to cancer, he knew he’d be alone for the rest of his life. He has a grown son, and his woodshop, and in a world where those born with powerful gifts are few and far between, that’s all that really matters.

Theo Fraser’s empathic gift is rare and strong. He isn’t looking for love, but when he meets Guy, everything changes, because he knows that when you find your soulmate, you hold on tight and don’t let go. The only problem is that Guy thinks he’s straight, and Theo doesn’t know if he can convince a man already set in his ways to change his mind.

Will Guy be able to give up his grief and accept Theo’s love? And what happens when a terrible betrayal forces them to fight to keep each other alive?

Review
I was so nervous about this! I’m NOT a fan of pining and this practically SCREAMED pining. (You’ll see later why that is a terrible pun….)

In any case, Guy is still mourning his wife. She was his mate, but not his fated mate. When – in this unique world Erin Leaf has drawn for us – a person of magic meets their fated mate – powerful things are put into motion.

Though he wants to deny it – he can’t – Theo is Guy’s fated mate and together they not only have amazing chemistry and love but they also create some amazing magic together.

I found the world building to be entrancing and the romance really sweet – despite some of the weirdness surrounding the ex-wife and their relationship….

Highly recommended!

4 of 5 stars

Morgan - Signature-smallCopy Purchased for Review

 

Audiobook: Teaching Ben by Shae Connor Narrated by Kenneth Obi

Audiobook: Teaching Ben by Shae Connor Narrated by Kenneth Obi

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/teaching-ben-by-shae-connor-9302-b

Blurb

Learning to love means a study in patience.
Fresh out of the military, Ben Cooper is ready for a new start. He’s away from his domineering father, making his own choices… and out of the closet. On his first day of college, he meets David Powell, who’s just the kind of gorgeous man Ben’s dreamed of. Too bad he’s the teaching assistant—which makes him off-limits in Ben’s eyes.
David is Ben’s age, but his life has taken a different path. He’s close with his family, who helped him deal with personal struggles after he came out. And while he’s staying away from any hint of scandal, Ben’s a kind of temptation he hasn’t faced in years. If only they’d met on more equal footing.
As the semester progresses and their lives become more entwined, keeping their relationship platonic becomes more difficult. They just have to hold out until the end of the semester….

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

I just couldn’t get into this book. (The narrator didn’t do much to change this opinion, unfortunately.  Sometimes a great narrator can really pull you into a book… but not this time.)

I wasn’t every really captured by the “romance” though the set up seemed “ripe” for a perfect hidden romance or slow burn. I guess I didn’t want everyone to make such “good choices” and “do the right thing”. (I admit this could totally be influenced by current mood – so be warned.)

In any case, it’s not a bad story and the writing is good, it just wasn’t something that pinged on my radar. Maybe too tame? Anyhow…

Audio

Kenneth Obi does a nice enough job with this. He’s easy to listen to and does a fair job with the timing and emotions. He’s not great at giving unique voices and he didn’t do much to elevate this for me.

Overall still 3 of 5 stars

3-stars-small

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Bad to the Bone by Nicki Bennett

release day review

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/bad-to-the-bone-by-nicki-bennett-9442-b

Blurb

A second chance at first love—if he has the courage to take it.
Alex can’t think of himself as anything but a failure. In high school, he was on the fast track to a career in pro football when he forged an unlikely friendship with a half-Comanche boy from the wrong part of town, Ricky Lee Jennings. Their shared love of books could have grown into more—but a homophobic teammate attacked Ricky Lee, and Alex wouldn’t risk his scholarship to defend him. Ricky Lee was kicked out of school, and Alex never heard from him again.
Now Alex’s glory days are nothing but a memory. An injury ended his football aspirations, his marriage fell apart, and his dreams of making a difference as an environmental lobbyist are as dead as his fantasies of sports stardom.
But all that could change in one magical night, when Ricky Lee shows up at their high-school reunion.

Review

While I don’t usually like “second chance” books, I really enjoyed this one.

This was very heart-felt, with a real-ish type setting but enough “fantasy” elements to make it feel a bit like Cinderella.

I loved the added touches of making Ricky Native American, as well as rich. The “bad guys” were super bad and I definitely felt like I was reading an old timey romance – with a gay twist!

I thought Alex and Ricky Lee had great chemistry and their story was mostly sweet and little hot. I loved Sam – especially the end scene!

Overall this was exactly what you’d expect for the genre, well-written and a quick sweet read.

3.75 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook: Swann’s Revenge by Shira Anthony Narrated by Peter B Brooke

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/swanns-revenge-by-shira-anthony-9268-b

Blurb

Can a swan make peace with his ugly duckling past?
Chubby geek Jimmy Zebulon’s heart broke the day his high school crush, Danny Parker, looked on as his teammates tormented Jimmy. Fifteen years later, Jimmy is long gone, and from his ashes has risen Graham Swann, a movie-star-handsome law firm owner. Graham thinks Jimmy and his past are long forgotten—until attorney Dan Parker shows up for his first day of work.
Getting injured playing college ball was the best thing that ever happened to Dan. It turned his future in a better direction and allowed him to emerge from the closet that trapped him.
Graham wants to believe his childhood dream can come true, but he can’t bring himself to tell Dan who he really is—and their pasts might ruin any chance for a happily ever after….

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

We have a big case of “if these two guys would talk to each other all their problems could be fixed”. This is one of my huge pet peeves as a writing tool and it made me kinda crazy here.

I loved the components – geeky guy goes chic, boss/employee dynamics, fighting for the underdogs in the real world, single fatherhood, sizzling chemistry… but the main drive for the story was a Big Misunderstanding and those aren’t my favorite. At all.

Shira Anthony is a great writer, so her characters are well-developed, the style is fluid and easily engaging and the sexy times are really hot. But… why wouldn’t the two just talk?!

So… if you don’t mind that hurdle, you’ll love this!

Audio

Peter B Brooke does a nice job with his narration. He attempts to give everyone a unique voice and does a fair job with the non-dialog parts.

4 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review