Tag: 4.25 Reviews

Throwback Thursday Review: The Girl Most Likely To… by Susan Donovan

Posted February 22, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 10 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: The Girl Most Likely To… by Susan DonovanReviewer: Casee
The Girl Most Likely To... by Susan Donovan
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: December 30th 2008
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 340
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four-half-stars

Kat Cavanaugh was sixteen when she hitchhiked out of Persuasion, West Virginia and vowed never to return. Who could blame her? She'd just stumbled upon her father's adulterous affair, found out she was pregnant, got dumped by her boyfriend, and kicked out of her house and school . . . all in a single afternoon. Twenty years have gone by and Kat's back—gorgeous, rich, and looking for an apology from everyone who'd turned their backs on her. First on that list is Riley Bohland, the boy who broke her heart before she could tell him about the baby.

But Kat didn't count on Riley having his own axe to grind, or that he'd be just as delicious as he was at sixteen. She also didn't count on her heart opening at the sight of him. When their anger ignites a passion intense enough to burn through two decades of secrets and lies, Kat must question everything she thought she knew about her past. And what about her future? The only place to find the answers may be in Riley's arms…

***Every Thursday in 2018 we will be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review was originally posted on December 29, 2008.

I adore Susan Donovan. She writes some of the best contemporaries I’ve ever read. He Loves Lucy and Take a Chance on Me are a few of my favorite contemps of all time. That’s why I was so disappointed when I read that this would be Susan’s last contemporary. I mean, wtf?

Kat Cavanaugh left home at sixteen, alone and pregnant. When she went to tell her boyfriend that she was going to have a baby, he dumped her before she got the chance. Kat left town that night and has never returned. Until now, twenty years later. After coming into some unexpected money, Kat decides to return Persuasion to show her parents and Riley Bohland that she made it just fine without them. Little did she know what she would find.

Riley never knew that Kat was pregnant that long ago night. Being pressured by his father to break-up with Kat, he only did it to appease his father and fully intended to get back together with her. He had known that Kat was the one for him years ago, but everyone said that they were too young to know that. So when he found out that Kat left town without a word, he was devestated. That’s until he found out her secret a little more than eighteen years later.

Kat is stunned at Riley’s anamosity toward her. What right does he have to act like he was wronged? She was the one that was dumped, pregnant and alone at sixteen. To Kat’s dismay, the explosive attraction between them at sixteen was even more prominent at thirty six. Even with all the unsolved issues between them, Riley and Kat can’t stay away from each other.

While this book wasn’t up there with He Loves Lucy and Take a Chance on Me, it still had Donovan’s trademark humor. There were a few things the book could have gone without, including Kat’s psychotic father. There was already Riley’s stalker ex-girlfriend and the Bed-and-Breakfast owner who decided that she wanted Riley’s brother, even though he was already taken. Any one of these things by itself would have been okay, but all three together was a tad over the top.

Another thing I think Donovan did a great job on was the confrontation between Kat and her son, Aidan. Finding out he had a father after twenty years is not something that Aidan easily accepts. Especially since the mother he has loved so deeply lied to him. The book wouldn’t have been as good if Aidan would have easily accepted that Kat lied to him. Also, the reunion between father and son is “awwww” inducing.

Overall, I loved this book which makes me that much more disappointed that it will be her last contemp. Boo. and am so excited that she’s coming out with a new trilogy next year. w00t!

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

four-half-stars


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Joint Review: Beyond Scandal and Desire by Lorraine Heath

Posted February 12, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 7 Comments

Joint Review: Beyond Scandal and Desire by Lorraine HeathReviewer: Holly & Rowena
Beyond Scandal and Desire (Sins for All Seasons, #1) by Lorraine Heath
Series: Sins for All Seasons #1
Also in this series: Beyond Scandal and Desire
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: January 30th 2018
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
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four-stars

At birth, Mick Trewlove, the illegitimate son of a duke, was handed over to a commoner. Despite his lowly upbringing, Mick has become a successful businessman, but all his wealth hasn’t satisfied his need for revenge against the man who still won’t acknowledge him. What else can Mick do but destroy the duke’s legitimate son—and woo the heir’s betrothed into his own unloving arms . . .

Orphaned and sheltered, Lady Aslyn Hastings longs for a bit of adventure. With her intended often preoccupied, Aslyn finds herself drawn to a darkly handsome entrepreneur who seems to understand her so well. Surely a lady of her station should avoid Mick Trewlove. If only he weren’t so irresistible . . .

As secrets are about to be exposed, Mick must decide if his plan for vengeance is worth risking what his heart truly desires.

Holly: I haven’t had a lot of reading time lately, but Rowena raved about this book and forced me to read it for this review. I’m glad I picked it up. I really enjoyed it.

What did you think?

Rowena: I really enjoyed this book. From Mick to Aslyn and everyone else, there was much to love. The revenge thing isn’t my favorite but in this book, I thought it was written well. Mick’s reasons, his feelings on the whole thing were understandable and I loved that he fell in love with Lady Aslyn in the process. The baby farming deal added more to the story to reel me in because I haven’t ever really read much about that kind of stuff in historical romances so Lorraine Heath hooked me with just about everything.

Holly: I tend to avoid revenge stories, because all too often the secrets and lies just make me angry. I really liked the way this one played out, though. Maybe because I really liked how Mick came to care for Lady Aslyn in spite of his plans.

Rowena: I really liked the way that the revenge plot was carried out. That whole thing brought a modern family twist to a historical romance that I quite enjoyed. I don’t know that I would have enjoyed it as much in a different kind of historical romance but for this one, I dug it.

Holly: The revenge plot really worked for me. I liked the turn it took and I appreciated the new twist on an old trope.

Rowena: What were your favorite things about this book?

Holly: I really liked Aslyn. She started out kind of timid, but she really came into her own. I like how she stood up for herself and, once she understood exactly what she wanted, refused to settle.

I also really liked how noble Mick was. He took care of his family and wanted to make the world a better place. He had his revenge plans, but he wasn’t just out for himself. He truly wanted to lift people up.

Rowena: I really liked that about Mick too. He cared about those that were left behind. The ones that couldn’t protect themselves, he stepped up and protected them. Took care of them and the loyalty he had from everyone around him was nice to witness.

Are you interested in reading Gillie’s (one of Mick’s sisters) book?

Holly: I’m not sure about Gillie. I didn’t really connect with her in this book, but we didn’t spend a lot of time with her, either. I am curious to see how her tomboy self does with a Duke as a suitor.

What did you think of Kip (Aslyn’s intended)? I wish we’d seen more about his struggle to recover. Maybe we’ll get a book for him later and that’s why we did, ‘t, but honestly that part of the book felt unfinished.

Rowena: I think the series will follow each of Mick’s siblings and Kip is going to be Fancy’s hero.

Holly: I think Kip will be Fancy’s (another of Mick’s sisters) hero, as well.

Rowena: Same. All around, this book just worked for me. From the romance to the characters to Mick’s family life and the background stories. There wasn’t anything that I wasn’t interested in. All in all, this was a solid romance and I can’t wait for Gillie’s book. I’m interested in seeing how a Duke falls in love with a female bar owner. I’m mighty curious about that.

I give this book a 4.25 out of 5, what about you?

Holly: I enjoyed the story. There were some questions left unanswered, but I’m sure they’ll be cleared up in time. I really liked the overall plot, the characters and the romance. I’ll definitely be reading more from this author in the future.

I, too, give it 4.25 out of 5.

Final Grades

Holly: 4.25 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: The Kingpin of Camelot by Cassandra Gannon

Posted January 4, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: The Kingpin of Camelot by Cassandra GannonReviewer: Holly
The Kingpin of Camelot (A Kinda Fairytale, #3) by Cassandra Gannon
Series: A Kinda Fairytale #3
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: July 31, 2017
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 576
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four-half-stars

The Queen: Guinevere must save Camelot. Ever since Arthur died, the evil Scarecrow has been trying to marry her and gain the crown. If she and her daughter are going to survive his mad schemes, Gwen needs to find Merlyn’s wand. Fast. Unfortunately, the only man strong enough to help her on her quest is Kingpin Midas, a flashy, uneducated mobster dealing with a curse. Gwen is a logical, rational woman, though, and she can draft one hell of a contract. She’s pretty sure she can come up with an offer not even the kingdom’s greatest villain can refuse.

The Kingpin: Anything Midas touches turns to gold. Literally. The curse has helped him to rule Camelot’s underworld with an iron fist. He has more money and more power than anyone else in the kingdom. He’s convinced there’s nothing he can’t buy. One look at Gwen and Midas knows that he’s about to make his most brilliant purchase, yet. He’s about to own the one woman in the world he would give anything to possess. All he has to do to claim her is somehow win a war against the smartest man in Camelot, hide his growing feelings from Gwen, deal with his overprotective bodyguard’s paranoia about the queen’s hidden motivations, and adjust to a five year old demanding bedtime stories from a gangster. Simple, right?

The Contract: Gwen’s deal is simple: If Midas marries her, she’ll make him King of Camelot. It’s a fair bargain. Midas will keep her enemies away and she’ll give him the respectability that money can’t buy. She never expects Midas to agree so quickly. Or for their practical business arrangement to feel so… complicated. Midas isn’t the tawdry, feral animal that Arthur railed against. He’s a kind and gentle man, who clearly needs Gwen’s help just as much as she needs his. In fact, the longer she’s around Midas the more Gwen realizes that their “fake marriage” might be more real than she ever imagined.

Recently Ilona Andrews blogged about The Kingpin of Camelot by Cassandra Gannon, and I had to try it. It was so much fun! It was sweet and silly and over the top in the best possible way. If you’re looking for something light to read, I highly recommend it. King Midas was everything!

This modern fairytale reminded me quite a bit of the Shrek franchise. Fairytale characters abound as Guinevere tries to retake the Kingdom of Camelot after the death of King Arthur. Though he was no one’s hero and she doesn’t mourn him, his death threw the kingdom into chaos. As the rightful queen, Gwen can take the kingdom back, but she needs help. Although Midas is an underworld Kingpin, Gwen has it on the highest authority she can trust him. After their first meeting she realizes he’s just a giant teddy bear and she decides she needs to marry him to protect him from those who’d take advantage of him.

Midas is no one’s fool. When Guinevere shows up and says she needs his help, he’s quick to agree. Even though he knows it shows weakness to jump in so quickly, he can’t help himself. She’s everything he’s ever wanted. He agrees to a “fake” marriage knowing full well he’ll never give her up.

Blue eyes, the exact color of Vivien’s enchanted lake, looked up at him… And for the first time in his life, Midas belonged somewhere. Oh God. He’d found her.

Gannon, Cassandra. The Kingpin of Camelot (A Kinda Fairytale Book 3) (Kindle Locations 391-394). Star Turtle Publishing. Kindle Edition.

This was such a campy, over-the-top read. A bit predictable and one-dimensional at times, but fun and engaging for all that. I fell right into it. I loved Midas and Avalon, Gwen’s daughter, not to mention Tristan. The way Gwen thought she had to protect Midas was adorable. So was his immediate reaction to her and her daughter.

He just wasn’t taking the situation seriously. She’d mentally readjusted her plans to deal with the fact that she would have to protect Midas from himself. It would be difficult, but it was her responsibility to keep him safe, now.

Gannon, Cassandra. The Kingpin of Camelot (A Kinda Fairytale Book 3) (Kindle Locations 1177-1179). Star Turtle Publishing. Kindle Edition.

If you’re looking for campy fun, this is the book for you.

4.25 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Review: Heart Sight by Robin D. Owens

Posted December 19, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Heart Sight by Robin D. OwensReviewer: Holly
Heart Sight (Celta's Heartmates) by Robin D. Owens
Series: Celta's Heartmates #15
Also in this series: Heart Fate, HeartMate, HeartMate, Heart Dance, Heart Journey, Heart Secret, Heart Legacy, Heart Change
Published by Berkley Books
Publication Date: December 5th 2017
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 416
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four-stars

Journey back to the planet Celta with award-winning author Robin D. Owens in this novel about shadowed enemies and unimaginable psi power.

Muin "Vinni" T'Vine has been the prophet of Celta since he was six years old. A unique and lonely child, his strong psi power made most people wary of him. But now that he's older, he's ready to marry and protect the girl he's known was his HeartMate for years.

Avellana isn't as fragile as Vinni believes...nor as compliant. She fights to be considered Vinni's equal and a strong member of her Family and community. Both of them have kept Avellana's main power secret for over a decade.

But rumors of her strange psi talent are spreading, and Vinni is experiencing premonitions of danger to Avellana--even from the highest people of the land. When the whispers become threats, Vinni and Avellana must discover and defeat their secret enemies before they can finally claim happiness together.

I’ve been waiting years for this book. Vinni and Avellana were introduced in the 2nd book and had parts as children in some of the following books. Now they’re all grown up. Vinni, the Premier Prophet of Celta, keeps having terrible visions of Avellana’s death. For years he’s been sending her to remote places to keep her safe. Now a woman of 24, Avellana is tired of being away her home and loved ones. Even though Vinni still senses danger in her future, she refuses to leave. She wants them to fight together, not spend their time apart, cowering from some unknown threat.

As excited as I was about this couple finally getting a book, I went into with some trepidation. After all, these two were young children when I started reading the series, and young adults in the last book I remember them in. Owens did a great job of showing them as grown adults.

The main conflict is Vinni’s over-protectiveness when it comes to Avellana because of his visions, and how that’s damaged them both over the years. I really enjoyed seeing them grow, accept each other as they are, and come together as an adult couple and as HeartMates. Unlike other couples, they’ve both known since her birth they were fated for each other. That made things easier for them in some respects, but much harder in others.

I liked that Avellana stood up for herself. For years she’s been passively accepting of her family and Vinni’s over-protectiveness. She finally realizes she can’t continue to allow them to send her away.  Not if she wants to finally live the life she was meant for. Her inner strength really came through and I ended up admiring her in the end.

It would have been easy to hate Vinni for forcing Avellana away all those years, except he truly was terrified for her safety. His obvious love and devotion for her came through so strongly it was impossible to hate him. Like Avellana, I got angry with him over his determination to do things “for her own good”, but as he accepted who Avellana had grown to be, it was easy to let go of that anger. I was fully rooting for them in the end.

I always love returning to Celta. The world is so well-drawn I’m always fully immersed. This novel is at turns sweet, suspenseful and angst-filled. It was lovely.

4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Joint Review: A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas

Posted December 13, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 12 Comments

Joint Review: A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa KleypasReviewer: Casee, Holly and Rowena
A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Wallflowers #5
Also in this series: Again The Magic, The Devil in Winter, Scandal in Spring (The Wallflowers #4)
Published by Macmillan
Publication Date: November 2nd 2010
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 224
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four-half-stars

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas invites you to spend the holidays with the Wallflowers—four young London ladies who finally found the men of their dreams...and will join together once more to help the world's most notorious rogue meet his match.
The magic of Christmas
Rafe Bowman has just arrived from America for his arranged meeting with Natalie, the very proper and beautiful daughter of Lady and Lord Blandford. His chiseled good looks and imposing physique are sure to impress the lady-in-waiting, and if it weren't for his shocking American ways and wild reputation, her hand would already be guaranteed. Before the courtship can begin, Rafe realizes he must learn the rules of London society. But when four former Wallflowers try their hand at matchmaking, no one knows what will happen...
BEGINS under the mistletoeWinning a bride turns out to be more complicated than Rafe Bowman anticipated, especially for a man accustomed to getting anything he wants. However, Christmas works in the most unexpected ways, changing a cynic to a romantic...and inspiring passion in the most timid of hearts.
"Splendid romance."—Booklist

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.*****

Holly: The three of us haven’t done a review together in awhile. I remember how much I loved this series. Getting this novella was such an lovely bonus.

This post was originally published October 14, 2008

 

It’s been awhile since we did a joint review here at Book Binge, but when Rowena, Casee, and I realized we’d all read A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas, we decided to do one. Please note: There will be spoilers below.

Holly: It was great seeing the Wallflowers again, though I’m glad the story wasn’t totally focused on them. I adored Hannah and Rafe both. There was something very real about them and their relationship. I think Hannah’s understanding of her situation was very well done. I really didn’t like Lady Natalie, though. I’m not sure if LK meant for her to be a sympathetic character, but I didn’t buy it. Especially the way she treated Hannah when she didn’t get her way.

Rowena: I KNOW! I am not a fan of Natalie’s. I hated the way that she treated Hannah, especially when she wanted to spend time alone with Rafe. The way she talked down to Hannah in front of Rafe as if that made her cooler to Rafe seriously pissed me off and sealed her fate for me as the tramp I didn’t like at all.

But, I LOVED THIS BOOK! I thought it was such a fast and cute holiday read. I loved how The Wallflowers were all reunited and happily married. It was fun to see them all band together to help Hannah and I loved the whole Cinderella theme as well.

Rafe was a hottie of a hero, loved him! I loved his personality and I loved his hotness and I just effing loved him! The way he was with Hannah and the way that he was with his sisters and the kids. He was an all around great hero.

Hannah was great too! I loved how we saw her change her mind about Rafe. I loved how smart she was and how she wasn’t afraid to show how smart she was and I loved how easy it was for her to befriend the Wallflowers and fit in with them. She was great, great, great.

Casee: I couldn’t stand Lady Natalie. The way she treated Hannah was just awful, especially in front of Rafe. I thought I would like her b/c of how amused she was when Hannah told her about meeting Rafe. But then she just seemed spiteful and petty.

I loved the first meeting between them. The way Hannah was so apalled by Rafe’s manners was freaking funny.

Like Rowena said, it was a fast and cute holiday read. I really enjoyed it.

H: Natalie was very much the spoiled child. I’m still not clear if LK meant for her to be likable or not. I mean, were we supposed to want her to end up happy, just not with Rafe? I certainly didn’t feel that way in the end. I wanted her to get her comeuppance. I loved that the Wallflowers kind of jumped in and took Hannah under their wing. The scene where they find the letter from Rafe and are examining it is hilarious. It starts with one and then another pops her head in and they all said the same thing, “Hannah found a letter. It’s a secret. Come in.” Adorable. I liked Rafe, too. He was very chivalrous. The way he joked and teased them was great. I definitely loved the intimacy he and Hannah established right in the beginning. How they talked to each other about things and really listened to each other. Oh! How about that first kiss? Scorching! One thing that really bothered me was Lilian. Why in the world would she think Westcliff was cheating on her? That really didn’t ring true for me at all. She was always self-assured and confident and having her question herself and Marcus just..didn’t work. Is that just me?

R: I hope she wasn’t meant to be likeable because I didn’t like that little tramp at all. So crosses fingers not meant to be likeable.

Me too. I thought that adding the Wallflowers into the story would kind of take away from my enjoyment of Rafe and Hannah but that wasn’t the case at all. I think LK did a fantastic job of writing them into the story without them stealing the thunder away from Hannah and Rafe. I loved the scene that you mentioned because it showed us just how close each of the Wallflowers are and even after all this time and then all the time spent apart to see them all together again and acting as if they had spent everyday together was great to see and I was glad that they all came together to help Hannah, it was cute, adorable and oh so right.

That first kiss was…wow. I loved it, it was right then that I fell like a rock for Rafe. So confident and cocky and sexy he was and I ate it all up.

One of my favorite scenes was the one where Hannah gets roped into helping the little kid get the toupee back….oh how frickin’ hilarious that was.

As for the whole Lillian thing, she’s never been a favorite of mine but I do agree that her insecurities about Marcus threw me off a bit because of the Lillian we all knew from the other books. I didn’t think anything of it though, it was just a fleeting thought, one I didn’t dwell on at all so all of that was, BLAH.

C: I really thought Natalie was going to end up being a heroine in a novella with one of the Bowman twin brothers. That was at the beginning when she seemed likeable. After reading the book, though, I’m not interested in reading about her at all.

The scene about Rafe’s letter and all the Wallflowers coming in was probably my favorite scene in the whole book. I just really thought that it really highlighted why these four women became the best of friends in the most unlikely of circumstances. Hannah fit right in and I loved how they took her under their collective wing.

I agree to a certain point about the Lillian thing. I think that LK was trying to show that even a woman as strong as Lillian can have insecurities. Lillian was never a favorite of mine, either, but I really felt bad for her. The part for me that was totally un-Lillian like was when she asked Marcus to be discreet. The Lillian we knew would have bashed his head with whatever heavy object was at hand.

H: You know, at first I didn’t realize there was even an outside story involved (when we first heard the title, but had no synopses, I mean). I thought it was just going to be a reunion of the Wallflowers. I’m glad we got a glimpse of each of them (St. Vincent is effing hot!), but you’re right, they balanced the story rather than taking it over. Oh, that scene when she got stuck on the ledge was wonderful! I really liked not only Rafe rescuing her, but also the scene after, where they decorated the tree as a family. The wager they made and the forfeit Rafe had to give up made me all melty inside. I heart him.

R: Oh yes! I know what you mean, I loved the little forfeit thing, I got all gooey inside, it was great. I’m telling you, this story was another fantastic LK book and I really, really enjoyed it.

The only thing that I was miffed about was that I didn’t think we got enough Simon and Annabelle. I feel like after their story, they were done. They’re mentioned and they’re around but we don’t get to see as much of them as we do of the others, the same with Matthew and Daisy. Those two couples are my favorite in the series and we either hear about how they’re doing or they’re in the background whereas Lillian and Marcus are always around and have parts in other books as well as Seb and Evie, and as much as I love them, I want to see more of the others.

Is that too much to ask for? Maybe but it doesn’t stop me from wanting more sexy Simon and magnificent Matthew…=)

C: I wished there was more of Simon and Anabelle, too! Am I the only one that thought it was weird that Anabelle refers to Simon as “Mr. Hunt” to the Wallflowers? I’ve always thought that seemed so impersonal.

I’m re-reading Devil in Winter right now. I loved getting the small glimpse back into St. Vincent and Evie. Those two…sigh

I thought it was just going to be a Wallflower reunion book, too. I’m glad that we got a little of everything. Getting a new love story along w/ reading more about the Wallflowers, what could be better?

H: You know, it’s funny, but I think Lilian and Marcus are the least favorite Wallflowers by pretty much everyone, but they’re the ones that crop up most often. Even Evie and Seb take a backseat to them. Do you think LK is playing favorites? LOL

Overall I’d say this is a total winner. The main romance between Hannah and Rafe is very well done and the Wallflowers really enhanced the story. I had a couple gripes, but it goes in the keeper pile and I know I’ll pick it up again. 4 out of 5 You?

R: I agree, overall the story was completely well done. The romance between Rafe and Hannah was great and easy to fall into. Great characters, great storyline makes for a winner for me and I think LK did a fab job!

4.5 out of 5 for me.

C: I was completely happy when I closed this book. I thought it was a perfect Christmas read. The only thing that would have made it better was an appearance by Derek Craven. Heh.

4.25 out of 5.

Grades:
Casee: 4.25 out of 5
Holly: 4. out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

The Series:

  

This book is available from St. Martin’s Press. You can buy it here.

four-half-stars


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