Monthly Archives: February, 2013

Along Came Trouble – Ruthie Knox – 4 Stars



The Blurb:

Ruthie Knox’s Camelot series continues in this sizzling eBook original novel, featuring two headstrong souls who bump heads—and bodies—as temptation and lust bring nothing but delicious trouble.

An accomplished lawyer and driven single mother, Ellen Callahan isn’t looking for any help. She’s doing just fine on her own. So Ellen’s more than a little peeved when her brother, an international pop star, hires a security guard to protect her from a prying press that will stop at nothing to dig up dirt on him. But when the tanned and toned Caleb Clark shows up at her door, Ellen might just have to plead the fifth.

Back home after a deployment in Iraq and looking for work as a civilian, Caleb signs on as Ellen’s bodyguard. After combat in the hot desert sun, this job should be a breeze. But guarding the willful beauty is harder than he imagined—and Caleb can’t resist the temptation to mix business with pleasure. With their desires growing more undeniable by the day, Ellen and Caleb give in to an evening of steamy passion. But will they ever be able to share more than just a one-night stand?

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as excerpts from these Loveswept titles: How to Misbehave, Flirting with Disaster, and About Last Night.


My Thoughts:

What can I say?  I’m addicted to Ruthie Knox and she can keep providing me with more things to feed the addiction.  This one is no exception and while I can understand people having issues with the heroine I also have to say she made some sense even when she is being stubborn.


Ellen has always just rolled with the punches to the point where when she finally stood up for herself she built huge walls around her heart and soul.  She’s not happy when she has to deal with a pushy security guy trying to tell her what she has to do to her house to protect herself from the paparazzi that are descending on her small town because her pop-star brother just had to get involved with her pregnant neighbor.  She does everything to push the man away even though her insides turn to mush when he talks to her and spends time with her.  While I understood why she was the way she was I still think he is a saint to be so patient and understanding with her.  He puts up with a lot from her and even spends time with her young son, Henry (who he calls by a nickname she doesn’t like).  She has a lot on her plate and I admire her tenacity when dealing with unscrupulous record companies on behalf of young stars plus dealing with the asshole known as the ex-husband.  She’s feisty but very vulnerable to someone that actually shows her that she is valuable in her own right.


Caleb… sigh…  Caleb… sigh.  I had to say that a few times because he’s just so swoon-worthy.  He has his moments of being a complete and utter idiot but I chalk that up to being male.  He tolerates her not letting him do his job to protect her while at the same time negotiating to get this prickly woman to bend just a touch to make the needed changes.  He doesn’t want to take her life over but between his job and feelings that rapidly develop for her make him do some things that she just can’t stand.  He’s so sweet when he takes what she is willing to offer him in hopes that she will realize what he wants from her isn’t just play but real.  I just can’t say enough about how good of a man he is so I am not going to babble on about his good traits as I could keep going for hours…..


Add to the story a pampered pop-star brother, smart-ass neighbor and a highly entertaining Nana, well then you just have stories that make you happy and swoon.  All parties in this book are worth mention but I’m trying to be good and not babble.


Thanks to, Random House and Ruthie Knox for giving me the privilege of reading this one early in exchange for my honest review.  I adored this and think you will as well.




Down and Dirty – Christine Bell – 5 Stars


The Blurb:

Cat Thomas has never been the kind of girl to stick. When she accepts a dare to rekindle her high school flame and jump in bed with her brother’s best friend, Shane Decker, she knows she’s in trouble. What does he have to do to make her see that settling down doesn’t mean settling, and he’s ready to spend a lifetime proving it?

My Thoughts:

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised to get an email from a  publicist at Entangled Publishing asking if I would like to read/review this one.  I love those sorts of emails especially when they enable me to read more about characters I fell in love with previously.

If you haven’t read Down for the Count please do so as this one is about Galen’s sister Cat and you get to see Galen happy with Lacey.  I loved the glimpses of how happy he and Lacey are but this is truly about Cat and Shane.  We met Cat in the last book as Lacey’s BFF and Galen’s sister but we truly get to know what makes her tick in this one.  I adore how much stock she puts in her family/friendships but this is a woman who is deeply afraid of commitment and what it might mean to her career or freedom.  She’s had that one moment with Shane but thought that he didn’t really want her plus I mean he’s boring right??  Right??  After a dare from Lacey she finds that he isn’t boring and she needs to do something to get him wrapped up in another relationship so she doesn’t have to give up what she loves.

Shane has always wanted Lacey but between a promise made to her brother to keep an eye on her and keep her safe plus his knowledge that she wasn’t ready for anything serious made him put a stop to their almost rendezvous when they were younger.  He left to become a rescuer but how is back to finally claim what has always been his.  When they have the one interlude in Atlantic City he knows she is still scared but he isn’t going to let her go without a fight even if it means letting her set him up on an internet dating site.  He’s very fiercely protective of her but in a way where he wants her to keep being the woman she is and not a meek follower.  He loves her for everything she is all warts, quirks and flighty behavior.

This was a fun story of two people who are meant to be but one just keeps putting walls and barriers up between them.  I only hope we get a story of the doctor next as I want her to find her HEA.

Thanks again to Entangled Publishing for giving me the chance to read this…  Keep more of these coming as they are wonderfully developed stories about people you can identify with.  Their fears, hopes and longings make you fall in love with them and the humor leaps off the page.


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The Second Chance Cafe – Alison Kent – 4 stars



The Blurb:

Kaylie Flynn was luckier than most children left to the Texas foster care system, blessed with a foster mother who taught her the comfort of home?and the healing power of baking the perfect brownie. Now, Kaylie has journeyed back to Hope Springs to open a caf? in the charming Victorian she once shared with her foster family ? and to finally find answers about her past and where she came from. Yet Kaylie’s carefully laid plans quickly become complicated. The house needs far more work than she realized, and Tennessee Keller, the carpenter Kaylie hires, stirs up feelings she hasn’t felt in a long while. When an unexpected crisis threatens to unravel her dreams, Kaylie seems to have all the ingredients for a perfect disaster ? or quite possibly the perfect love.

My Thoughts:

I have to thank Alison Kent for sending me an advance copy of this as a result of a Twitter conversation but had no expectations of a review other than hoping.  This is a very heartwarming story of discovering who you are and what your past means to who you will be in the future.

Kaylie has lived through more than anyone should have to in her life.  She was thrown in to the foster care system at the age of five believing that her father left because of her and her mom tried to commit suicide because of her.  Actually she knows her mom didn’t do what she did because of her but because of drugs but this doesn’t make things any easier.  She landed at the age of 10 in a loving home and is back in Hope Springs to make a new life for herself out of that home by creating a small cafe to sell lunch out of.  She’s driven but haunted by her past and thinks that being back in the one place that she felt love and acceptance might help her find out more about her parents.  She’s mainly haunted by her father’s defection when she was four and the journey that we see in this book was at times painful but truly inspirational.  She makes so many steps forward in this that I loved cheering for her to find everything her heart desires.

Ten has ghosts of his own and when she shows up looking for a contractor he finds that he wants to not only help her renovate the home he wanted to buy for himself but that he wants to get to know her in any way she will let him.  He is drawn to her more than he has ever been to a woman but holds himself back because of his skeletons.  He does a lot of changing in this book as well as he comes to terms with a horrible incident in his past that he believes was all his fault.  The relationship is slow to develop but this works for them as both are wounded deeply and trust comes slowly even though lust is there from the beginning.

Add stories of Luna (I want her book NOW), Mitch, and a few others to this for one heartwarming read.  I adored what we saw of this little town in this book and Alison had me drooling for brownies throughout this book to the point where I am about to go make up a pan of the first recipe in the book.  I hope you enjoy this but also make sure to have the ingredients on hand to make brownies because Kaylie speaks of them during the book and there are quite a few recipes for them that I am dying to try.



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Shattered Valor – Elaine Levine – 5 Stars


The Blurb:

Every step leads her deeper into danger…

Eden Miller has her life arranged exactly as she wants it–until a reunion with her high school BFFs places her in the middle of a turf war with a ruthless prison gang, their terrorist allies, and the hunters tracking them. Her every move draws her deeper into the danger surrounding Ty Bladen and his team of terror fighters, but his seductive charm and engaging smile make her believe his promises of protection.

A secret is a dangerous thing…

When the terrorists Ty Bladen is tracking infiltrate his remote ranch in Wyoming, he learns the past he buried cannot be so easily escaped. Though he’s recovering from a bullet wound he received in Afghanistan and is hunted by an unseen enemy, he knows he can’t leave Eden alone to face the danger swirling around her, danger he and his team have brought to her–even if the has to risk letting her near his frozen heart. But when she learns his terrible secret, will she stay or will she run?

My Thoughts:

This book made my heart ache for Ty.  To have had to go through everything he did as a child and yet be the man he was with a soft heart just makes you hurt for him.  To see him find his other half in Eden was beautiful.

Eden is in town for a reunion with her high school friends when they cross paths with incredibly horrible men.  As she works to be there for her friends she ends up meeting Ty who pushes all her buttons.  She’s very hesitant to trust anyone but when the bad men end up showing up and causing trouble in her real life she is forced to be back in his company.  She’s quick to believe the worst about his intentions but when she finally lets him in we get a glimpse of how strongly she actually feels about him.  She’s going to be the one who will always be there for him and support him even when he won’t believe in himself.

Ty broke my heart a few times in this one.  Please be ready with tissues as you will need them when you find out what happened to him as a child.  This explains so much about his treatment of Eden and also of letting people close.  He doesn’t believe himself worthy of something real and good but this is a man who deserves every bit of faith and love that Eden gives him.  He’s such a strong man and I adored him even when he was being stubborn.  I don’t want to give away much more but trust me when I say you will cheer when some people get what they deserve although they really deserved much more hell than they got.

Elaine has written an incredibly complex set of characters for this series and I cannot wait until we get more glimpses of all of them.  I truly thank her for the chance to read this as I adored it.

Making Him Sweat – Meg Maguire – 4 stars



The Blurb:

She’s hitting below the belt…

Round 1
In this corner is admittedly romantic Jenna Wilinski, who’s inherited a rather seedy boxing gym from her estranged father. With it, she can realize her dream of launching an upscale matchmaking business…provided she can take on the very intimidating—and wickedly hot—boxer who stands in her way!

Round 2
In the far corner is former pro boxer Mercer Rowley. He’s the only one who can protect his “home”—even if it is a little run-down— from his determined and feisty little opponent. But man, once the gloves come off, his hands just want to touch her everywhere…

Round 3
This matchup is too close to call. But no matter which contender comes out on top, the other is sure to enjoy every minute of it….


My Thoughts:

This was an interesting story of how things are not always the way you imagine them to be.  Both main characters think they have each other figured out and realize over time that maybe just maybe people are more than their outer appearances and professions entail.

Jenna was estranged from her father at a very early age.  We find out why as the story unfolds but she has a lot of bad impressions of fighters due to this.  She inherits the gym her father owned and has plans to open a matchmaking business to replace it.  She’s confronted by the manager of the gym and when she also feels a strong attraction to him she just doesn’t know what to think of it.  During the course of this story she finds out more about the man her father was and also realizes that what she needs isn’t necessarily what she planned out in minute detail for her life.

Mercer isn’t looking forward to meeting this “daughter” of his mentor.  She hasn’t been a part of his life even when he was dying so he isn’t prepared to meet someone that draws out all his protective instincts and lustful thoughts.  He’s upset when she plans to close the gym that has been his life for years but as he gets to know her he does understand it.  He’s a very smart man underneath the rough exterior and seeing him open up about what he wants from life was interesting.

There is a nice amount of chemistry in this and there is a bit of an opening for more about the gym along with the matchmaking business that I hope gets to be told.  Special thanks to and Harlequin for the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.  As always if you wish to purchase this or other Harlequin titles a link to their site is on my sidebar.

Dark Secrets – Shona Husk – 3 stars



The Blurb:

Six years ago, Haidyn Mast left his home and his betrothed Anisa to follow his magical calling. Too weak to join the Arcane Guild and too ashamed to return home, he has made a life as a prostitute—to all outward appearances. In truth, he sells his mind but not his body, using magic to let his clients experience their most secret fantasies while his hands stay clean. Even the Lawman, the arbiter of justice in Reseda, is one of his clients, but Haidyn would rather not know the extent of that man’s depravity.

Though successful, Haidyn is shunned as a whore and his lack of formal training is causing his power to grow out of control. He’s ready to retire and leave the city, but when he sees his Anisa standing at Lawman’s side, he knows he must rescue her from the abusive enforcer. Risking his life and his sanity, he devises a plan, knowing that failure will mean death for him, and a lifetime of torment for her…


My Thoughts:

While this is the second book in a series it does work as a standalone read.  The world intrigued me and I will have to go back to read the first in this world.

Haidyn has some magical ability but it wasn’t recognized as being strong enough for him to join the Arcane Guild.  It however has been strong enough for him to create a living as a very successful prostitute as he can make people believe they are doing something that they really aren’t.  He was in love with a girl from his village and betrothed to her but due to his embarrassment of not being accepted to the Guild he decides not to go home.  He has been dealing with an incredibly corrupt Lawman that is getting married.  When he finds out the woman is his beloved he knows he has to do something to get her away from this horrible man.

This is a very quick read and I found the world they live in to be intriguing enough for me to want to know more about the Guild and the people who are fighting against them.  It was a very gritty read with violence and a small amount of romance but the main thing that drew me in was the idea of a society that has an extreme disparity between the haves and have nots.  I cringed at how easily disfiguring a person was for them and also how easily they were willing to kill in support of supposed laws.

Thanks to and Carina Press for letting me read this in exchange for my honest review.  As always with Carina Press titles you can click the link in my sidebar to go to their site to pick this and other titles up.



Platinum – Jeffe Kennedy – 3 stars



The Blurb:

Althea Grant’s Charleston gallery might be suffering from the bad economy, and her artistic aspirations have gone nowhere, but she’s doing just fine, thank you. When bad-boy sculptor Steel rides up on his motorcycle looking to rent studio space, his infusion of cash is more than welcome. But his art is raw, visceral, sexual—and completely inappropriate for her pastel world of watercolor landscapes.

Steel, fascinated by Althea’s rare albino coloring, sees in her the key to his next piece: a metal satyr designed for bondage games. Moving into her gallery basement is the first step; seducing the cool Southern belle into modeling for him is the second.

As Steel peels away her careful manners and tasteful outfits, Althea begins to realize her life isn’t just fine at all—it’s as pale and washed-out as the watercolor paintings she’s failing to sell. Can she transform her life and accept her most secret desires?


My thoughts:

While there were things I liked about this story I kept feeling like I wanted a bit more from both of them.  There is a sense that the pair are going to make things work but I would have liked seeing them more after her break-thru.

Althea is a stifled artist that opens a gallery in the old district.  Unfortunately her gallery isn’t doing so well so when an artist comes in looking to get his works shown there she is understandably wary.  Once she sees his work she knows that it won’t work for her conservative gallery and tells him this.  He manages to persuade her to let him use her basement space for a place to complete a commissioned work and that is where the fun begins.  She’s so locked up in doing the proper thing that she doesn’t have a healthy sense of self but with his guidance you get to see what has been hiding behind an albino’s shell.

Steel was one sexy beast.  He works in metal and other medium but his work is so blatantly sexual that heat seems to radiate from him.  He’s rough, primal and from the wrong side of the tracks but he’s also just what she needs.  He starts to wear her down with his blatant offers until she finally agrees to be his any way he wants once she steps across a line in the basement.  He’s so dominant and yet there is something hiding in everything he does to her that makes you believe he really is a good, sensitive man.  I loved his reaction when something went to far and found  myself melting a bit at his need to feel like she wanted him for more than scratching an itch.

Overall not a bad read but I just wish that we got a bit more after she breaks out of her shell.  Thanks to Carina Press and for a chance to read this in exchange for an honest review.  As always you can click the Carina Press link on the sidebar to pick this and other titles up.

Holding On – Karen Stivali – 5 stars


The Blurb:

When you have everything you’ve ever dreamed of, the hard part is Holding On.

British NYU professor Daniel Gardner thinks life can’t get better than the day his three-year-old stepdaughter, Ella, calls him Daddy for the first time. Then his wife Marienne tells him she’s pregnant. Daniel is thrilled, but worried about Marienne’s health. Not wanting to cause her stress he turns to writing to calm his nerves. He pens a screenplay, thinking it’s nothing more than a mental health exercise, but when a colleague reads it and hands it to a producer, it turns into a production contract. Daniel accepts the offer and transfers to a teaching position at Dartmouth, hoping that small town living and a shorter commute will simplify his life.

As he attempts to juggle his new responsibilities he gets an unexpected letter from Roger, the father he never knew. For the first time since they met, Daniel and Marienne are at odds; she wants him to give Roger a chance but Daniel wants nothing to do with the man he thinks abandoned his mother. As Daniel and Marienne struggle they must contend with interference from Daniel’s sexy ex-wife, who appears to want him back, and a handsome, all-too-helpful single dad who desires Marienne as more than a play-date pal. They must both confront deep-seated issues with trust and acceptance if they’re going to find a way to make their marriage work and hold on to the love they share.


My Thoughts:

This is another instance when Twitter is your best friend for finding new authors and books to read.  In this case I once again was lucky enough to have the luck to win this from Karen.  I decided to read this immediately after reading Meant To Be and have to say I loved both of them even more.

This takes place a little over a year after Meant To Be and they have been settling in to married life.  Daniel and Marienne have discovered they are having a baby but as the pregnancy progresses Daniel realizes he wants to work closer to home so he doesn’t have to worry if anything happens.  Working in NYC and living in New Jersey has him spending too much time on the commute and as she goes in to labor while he is in NYC during a snowstorm he knows that he needs a change.  Luckily for him an offer to teach at Dartmouth with a trusted mentor comes open and he gets to have a chance to live the life he has always dreamed of.

Once in New Hampshire old hurts and doubts start to creep in on both sides.  Daniel has written a screenplay that has been green lighted for production out in California while Marienne meets a single dad with a kid about the same age as her daughter.  Add to this the fact that Daniel’s ex tries to get back in the picture and Daniel’s long lost father appearing in his life, you have the recipe for a severe meltdown.  What I adore is the fact that even when they fight there is a huge amount of love underneath everything that they say and do.  There is no intentional or truly mean behavior on both their parts but they do have major issues with trust that cannot be healed with just words but time and action.


Both books are incredibly realistic in that nothing is white-washed over and they have real issues to work through.  I adored them both but my heart was definitely stolen by Daniel.  Thanks again to Karen for giving me this book without asking for review.  I adored both of them.


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Meant to Be – Karen Stivali – 5 stars



The Blurb:

Sometimes you’re already committed to the wrong person when fate finally brings you the right one.

When NYU professor Daniel Gardner’s career-obsessed wife convinces him to move to the suburbs, he hopes it’s a first step toward starting the family he longs to have. Instead of domestic bliss he finds his neighbor,
Marienne Valeti. She loves her freelance design job, but must contend with a growing sense of isolation created by her husband’s indifference. A penchant for good books, bad movies, and Marienne’s to-die-for brownies sparks a powerful bond between them. Passion simmers, but they resist its lure, surrendering only in the seclusion of their minds. Their friendship
helps them weather every hardship, from divorce to widowhood, leaving them both secretly wondering if it can survive a first kiss.


My Thoughts:

I won this title a while back from Karen and kept having other titles come up that had to get read yesterday for review.  I finally took advantage of some downtime from work and real life to read this title and let me tell you …  WHY DID I NOT PUT THIS HIGHER IN THE LIST!!!

We have two incredible people stuck in marriages that aren’t working but they both have so much honor to them that they stay in hopes that things will work out.  When Daniel and Marienne meet the first time you can sense the kinship between them as they both have a lot of the same wants and needs.  They are both very family oriented due to bad experiences as they grew up but the friendship they form as they work through being so different from their spouses was beautiful but heartbreaking as you wondered why they stayed with the messes they were married to.  I mean I hated his wife and her husband with an almost maniacal passion.

Daniel is an NYU professor and is very happy with his job and his life in all but one way.  He wants the whole package…  house, wife, kids, basically a real family.  He didn’t really know his father and his mother passed when he was sixteen so he has this need to have a nuclear family made sense to me.  Watching him be more of an involved man when Marienne was pregnant than her poor excuse for a husband made me yearn for everything to fall in to place as you sensed that this is what she wanted as much as he did.  His wife’s way of manipulating everything around her just made me sick and watching him wake up to what was missing was wonderful.  I was cheering when he finally said what he needed to say even though it didn’t get to come completely out.  He’s a wonderful, caring man and any woman would be lucky to have someone that honorable and loving.


Marienne made me sad that she felt she was so unworthy she deserved what her husband did to her.  Did he hit her? No.  Did he do anything overtly horrible to her?  No.  But the subtle ways of his uncaring attitude and behavior spoke louder than anything.  Her memories of her wedding day/night made me cry for her.  No one deserves to feel like they are second best in anything let alone the relationship that should be the most important thing in their lives.  She’s always felt that maybe she deserves his uncaring attitude and makes excuses for it.  After you get to see her blossom a bit with Daniel’s friendship it is clear this is a woman who is perfect for him.  She just has so much love and attention to give to the right man if only she wasn’t with her husband.

I loved watching how closely they skirted the lines but never crossed them in honor of their partners.  They were attracted to one another but there is something so inherently honorable about each of them that even when the paths are open to their being together they walk in to it very slowly but they fit so well together that once it happens it does go quickly even with her insecurities.  Daniel was just so patient with her and shows her that he loves her in so many ways that I can’t wait to read the next one.  Actually….  it is pulled up on the Kindle and ready to go.

While I did win this from the author she did not require a review let alone a positive one.  Take a chance on this one it will make you sad but at the same time incredibly happy to follow their journey.



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High Risk – Vivian Arend – 4 stars



The Blurb:

LIFELINE: an elite search-and-rescue squad based out of Banff, Alberta. Specializing in high-risk rescue missions, this team goes wherever the job takes them…

Rebecca James was once revered for her devil-may-care attitude and backcountry survival skills. But ever since she lost her partner in a fatal accident, patches of her memory have been missing. And until she can recall those final, tragic moments before the accident, she can’t move on.

Since Marcus Landers was permanently injured during a mission, all his energies have been focused on his Lifeline team. When Becki—whom he had an intense affair with seven years ago—arrives in Banff, he’s inspired to reignite the spark they once had. Their mutual ardor slowly awakens Becki’s dormant, haunting memories.

New truths surface until Becki must at last confront her greatest fear. Remembering the past might mean a future without the man she loves…


My thoughts:

I really liked this start to the series.  There is smoking hot sexual tension from the word go that when it explodes it is unbelievably hot!

Becki is in transition after a horrific accident took the life of her climbing partner.  She’s on auto-pilot with no memory of exactly what happened as a part of the accident other than just prior and her coming out of the mountain with the people that needed rescuing.  She’s come to Banff to join the Search and Rescue school she once attended as a new instructor.  She doesn’t expect much but ends up finding that sometimes giving up control can end up giving you back your life and control.  She works through a lot of issues with both climbing and the accident.  I felt for her when you finally find out what happened on the mountain and wanted to be able to not only reach through the book but time as well to kill her partner myself.  She’s in great hands now with Marcus and his ability to know what she needs when she needs it.


Marcus has his own nightmare that he is struggling with.  He lost a good part of his arm in a job gone wrong but also seems to be just going through the motions in his own life.  Sure he has an incredible SAR team, Lifeline, that he has created and built but….  he isn’t really completely living.  His brother tells him about hiring Becki and Marcus is instantly drawn to a weekend years ago where he and Becki had an amazingly scorching weekend.  He decides to ask her to help train his crew.  I mean they are great at what they do but he wants them to go back to the basics and get back to being the completely together team he knows they are.  If Becki ends up being in his bed again who is he to complain.


Watching how dominant Marcus can be was very steamy but watching him help her come to terms with her past in such a patient, delicate way was heartwarming.  This is a couple that I look forward to getting glimpses of again in the future books of this series.  You forget that he only has one hand and that he has his own demons but then Becki helps him come to terms with that as well.


This releases March 5th and I cannot wait for more to get their hands on this.  The next pairing promises to be scorching as well since they have a love/hate thing going on in this book.  Everyone on the team already knows what is really going on with them but man this will be a ton of fun to read.


Thanks to Vivian Arend for having the Twitter contest that I won this from as I really enjoyed it.  If she so happens to accidentally send me the next one early I would not complain at all…  Hint Hint!!  🙂


To pre-order:


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