Right Through Me – Shannon McKenna

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Author: Shannon McKenna
Series: The Obsidian Files #1
Pages: 382

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Biotech tycoon Noah Gallagher has a deadly secret: his clandestine training as a super-soldier gives him abilities that go far beyond human. Yet he’s very much a man. When Caro Bishop shows up at his Seattle headquarters with a dangerous secret agenda, his ordered life is thrown into chaos. Caro is a woman like no other—and her luminously sensual beauty cloaks a mystery he must solve.

Caro’s lying low, evading a false charge of murder. She means to clear her name, and she’ll do whatever it takes to survive—but seducing a man like Noah is more than she bargained for. His amber eyes have the strangest glow when he looks at her—she could swear he sees the secrets of her heart. The desire smoldering in Noah’s eyes awakens her own secret hunger, but Caro has to resist his magnetic pull. Anyone close to her becomes a target. The only right thing to do is run, far and fast, but Caro can’t outrun Noah’s ferocious intensity—or deny the searing passion that explodes between them.

Nothing else matters—until a vicious enemy bent on the ultimate revenge puts his murderous plan into play. Noah and Caro must battle for their lives…and their love…

Not so long ago I won an e-book copy of this book in a giveaway. I guess I would have never picked something like this otherwise. I’m not a big fan of books with cyborgs, because they tend to be a bunch of nonsense sex and little story. Luckily, this one is the exception. Due to life, it has taken me ages to finish it; but it’s a really nice book. Much better than expected.

We met Noah, an enhanced soldier that several years ago escaped from the crazy scientists that made him (and several others) a cyborg. His mods give him superior strength, stamina, greater healing factor, weird visual inputs and many other things. A killing machine. Caro is on the run from another cyborg (although she doesn’t know Marc is one), due to her knowledge of a password that would give the evil cyborg total control over other modifed soldiers. Obviously, Noah meets Caro and makes his mission to protect her.

The main story about the origin of the cyborgs is really nice, making the book a fun ride. The big baddies are not defeated in this book, so I guess we will know more about the evil scientists in future books. This one focuses more on the crazy Marc and his attempts to gather an army to proclaim himself king of the world. The few chapters where we geet to experience Marc’s part of the story are among my favourites of the book, even when the character is plain cruel (95% of the time). At first I thought the author wanted us to develop some kind of sympathy for him, but soon enough the opposite is stated. When he starts waking up sleepers, you can only hate the way Marc behaves…

The pace is fluid most of the book, but it hits a bump during the first “date” of Noah and Caro. There are several chapters in a row that eveyrthing that happens is just sex. Nice scenes, but a bit tiring after a while. The fight scenes are good, but with enhanced humans they are a bit messy, fast and the the right amount of crazy. There are some weird thing at the end of the book, when people with melted brains are able to shoot… but I will forgive those.

The romance goes downhill since the first sex encounters. Noah’s protection drive goes a bit far and tends to treat Caro as his possession. Extra points to Caro for using his hormones as weapon against Noah and stealing his car to get far from him. That was fun and it should have been humbling for the cyborg, but I guess the macho male needs much more than that. Caro loses all her points when she finally falls into his game. And the worst part is the end… After just a couple of days they get engaged. I hate that cliché. It’s TOO SOON!!! When are they going to learn that??

I will have to keep reading this saga. I need to know if Luke gets rescued or what. Besides, in this first book there are many nice characters that I bet will have their own books sooner or later. It has been a really nice first step, even though there are some parts that unnerve me.

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2018 – Book Gallery

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Wildcard: Volume Two – Missy Johnson

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Author: Missy Johnson
Series: Wildcard #2
Pages: 75

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I’m so fucking pissed off that she would do this to me.

I really thought we had something, but instead, I’m left feeling like an idiot.

All I want to do is go back home and forget the last few weeks ever happened, but I’m stuck in this stupid country teaching tennis to spoiled rich kids who care less about playing than I do.

All I want to do is forget about her.

But things are never that easy, are they?

I got the first volume of Wildcard for free in Amazon a long time ago. I loved it. The main characters were very fun to read. I purchased the next two volumes, but I forgot about them until now. Now, Wildcard is a single book; but I will read them as they were originally released. Let’s review the second one!!

If you don’t remember (I barely did), the first one ended with a massive cliffhanger. Scarlett was kissing his ex in front of Ryder. Obviously there must be something else behind that act, but the tennis player is pretty angry and jelous. Jelousy that only grows bigger in the second book when Scarlett avoids him for a while. Later we learn that the ex is blackmailing her, so Ryder puts on his best white knight armor to protect her.

This book, as the previous one, is very simple and easy to read; but Ryder is such a great character that the time invested is worthy. Granted, it’s a short book; so no much time is needed to finish it. His arrogance and cockiness drive everyone crazy in many senses, but it’s so much fun for the reader! You can tell that deep down he has a really big heart and that he cares for the wellness of the people around him. His coaching lessons are the best part of this second volume… Has he found a Nemesis?? And the banter with Josh!! It’s kind of heartwarming to read a couple of guys that are rivals in the tennis court, but best friends out of it.

Ryder’s jelousy attack doesn’t last long and Scarlett is capable of explaining to him what her ex is trying to accomplish. He helps her as best he can, but Ryder is not a warrior; so Scarlett has a plan B that I guess we will see in motion in the third volume. Will Tony accept Ryder’s money or will he face the hitman? By the way, how can Scarlett afford to pay the hitman and not her ex? It’s the same amount of money.

I’m also worried about Scarlett’s son. He is in the hospital due to some breathing issues… I hope he is OK. It must be hard for Scarlett to keep away from her son in order to protect him from his father. That reminds me of the secret she is still hiding… What is that thing so terrible that his ex is using against her?? Will that put in danger her relationship with Ryder once again? The player is having some trouble trusting her…

I also need to mention that the three books have some really nice stock photos as covers. The simple composition is perfect. Too bad the are so many words all over it…

The cliffhnager of this book is not as big as the one in the first volume. I wouldn’t even call it a cliffhanger. Anyway, I need to know how this will end; so I hope to read the third volume this year.

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2018 – Book Gallery

Homecoming – Kass Morgan

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Author: Kass Morgan
Series: The 100 #3
Pages: 340

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Weeks after landing on Earth, the Hundred have managed to create a sense of order amidst their wild, chaotic surroundings. But their delicate balance comes crashing down with the arrival of new dropships from space.

These new arrivals are the lucky ones—back on the Colony, the oxygen is almost gone—but after making it safely to Earth, GLASS’s luck seems to be running out. CLARKE leads a rescue party to the crash site, ready to treat the wounded, but she can’t stop thinking about her parents, who may still be alive. Meanwhile, WELLS struggles to maintain his authority despite the presence of the Vice Chancellor and his armed guards, and BELLAMY must decide whether to face or flee the crimes he thought he’d left behind.

It’s time for the Hundred to come together and fight for the freedom they’ve found on Earth, or risk losing everything—and everyone—they love.

One fun fact about me… well, just a fact: I love The 100 TV Show!! I can’t get enough of their never-ending drama. I must be a really bad guy for wishing them a hard time so I can get my enjoyment. As you may know, the series is based on a series of books written by Kass Morgan. The first book was published almost at the same time the first season was aired, so the CW bought the rights waaaay before the book were on bookshops. That channel bought the rights of a book written by a totally unkown author. I’ve been always curious about how that happened. No idea if that story has been made public. Anyway… I had to read the books, because I love the show. I read the first two a long time ago and I have recently decided that 2018 is my year to finish what I started.

In this third book we follow Clarke, Bellamy, Wells and Glass during the promising events of more colonists crashing on Earth. The new arrivals must face the reality that they are not alone on the planet and they must share with the Earthborns. Rhodes doesn’t want to accept that and tries to keep the unfair Gaia doctrine to rule the colonists and the hundred. He also declares Bellamy an enemy of the state, so he is in a tight spot. Meanwhile, the evil Earthborns are planning something… well, evil.

First I must point out what Kass does well: she finally drops the constant flashbacks that only drag the story unnecessarily. Sadly, that is not the cure for a really weak story. The book is not boring. The pace is OK. But almost nothing happens. So many new possibilities in those drop ships, but we only get to follow the same group as before. Too much teen love and too little battle, survival and fun. I know Bellamy, Clarke, Wells and Glass are pretty awesome; but deep down are very similar characters. I would have love to read the point of view of Rhodes to get something different. It’s a character that I hate, but we would have got a peek to the campsite of the hundred and the colonists; which would have made the book a lot richer.

The worst part of the book are the chapters with Glass and Luke. They are my favourite couple in this series, but their role in this third book is useless. I’m not a skipper, but I was tempted to jump a chapter every time I saw Glass in the header… I thought in the end their part would be relevant against the battle with the evil Earthborns, but nope. A waste of ink if you ask me. The chapters with Bellamy and Clarke are fine. It doesn’t happen anything worth mentioning (except some parent return), but at least they have a purpose.

The final battle was the moment to redeem itself, but the author rushes over it and the ending is way too happy. Even Rhodes seems to gain some kind of brain and starts making sense!! Too easy… I know there are some deaths along the way, but I haven’t been affected by any of them. I hope the fourth book packs more emotion than this one.

And the cover… I hate the cover… Yes, it is a good promotional pic for the show; but the book is too different from it. One of the characters of the cover doesn’t even exist in the book!! And Octavia is barely a cameo… The first two books of The 100 had much better covers.

Even though I’ve been a bit harsh, the book is enjoyable. Yes, it’s totally uneventful, but at least you won’t fall asleep while reading it. The fourth book is the last one of this series (I have no idea if more are on the oven…) and I hope to read it soon. Fingers crossed for a better story, though!!

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2018 – Book Gallery

Isola Di Fiore – Lou Watton

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Author: Lou Watton
Series: Under the Uniform #4
Pages: 160

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Francesco Di Fiore is a handsome bellboy at a luxury Venetian Hotel. On an average day you can find him in a dashing burgundy uniform with sleek golden streaks. He is popular with guests of both sexes, who spoil him with lavish gifts. He is at ease with his colleagues, many of whom he has also got to know well. He loves his job and rarely leaves his hotel. His hotel is his cocoon that protects him from the elements outside. No wonder he feels no urge to venture out.

One night his life takes an unexpected turn and all because he decides to take time off and taste the world outside. He goes on a date, has a good time and finds himself too drunk to notice that his date has wandered off. When he sobers up, he is walking alone through the dark streets of Venice. He stops to watch passing gondolas, but sees something very different. He watches a man tightening a noose about his neck by a bridge down the canal. Francesco dashes through the labyrinth of narrow streets to get to the man just in time to save him. They fall down in each other arms on the cold stones by the canal. When Francesco opens his eyes, he realises that the turmoil in his life is not going to end here.

The stranger in Francesco’s arms is every bit as attractive as he is vulnerable. Francesco senses trouble. His protected life in a five star paradise is about to come to an end. He brings the stranger to his tiny loft room at the top floor of the hotel. The stranger’s name is Ralf and he is a full time artist and a makeshift poet. Francesco hears a story of a desperate heartbreak and feels unable to show his guest the door. They fall asleep together in his single bed. This is how their turbulent relationship begins.

Ralf settles in Francesco’s room and Francesco provides both the roof over his head and counselling. Soon neither of them can say whether Francesco’s sensitive care is the kindness of a stranger or the affection of a kindred spirit. They begin a passionate affair against the backdrop of the great city. They lose themselves in the web of narrow streets and snaking canals, caught in the whirl of their frenzied emotions. They divide their time between the splendour of Venetian palaces and a farmer’s hut on a rural island in the Venetian lagoon. Will Francesco’s lifestyle and temptations of high life destroy their volatile arrangement, or will Francesco Di Fiore once again rescue his troubled poet and whisk him away to a rustic paradise, where they could belong only to each other?

Have you been able to read the blurb? What a huge chunk of nothingness… OK. I have the mean mode ON. First of all, I have to say that I hate reading a book and then learning it was the fourth part of a book series. Granted is a saga of standalones that doesn’t share characters or universe, but yet… I consider myself a tidy reader. Always following the numbers forwards. It’s not a big deal, but I would have read the first one if I knew about it.

This book follows the story of Francesco, a bellboy in a luxury hotel. One day, he was walking after work and found a guy that was trying to commit suicide. That guy was Ralf, an artist going through a bad time after a break-up with his boyfriend. Francesco saved his life and took him to his room to take care of him. Quickly, that act of goodness turns into romance…

What did I like of this book? Maybe that it’s a very short one, so the torture doesn’t last long (even though feels like it). Everything else is meant to be forgotten as fast as possible. The book is bad. As simple as that. Francesco and Ralf are some of the most uncharismatic characters I have ever met and the story is SO boring. For a moment there I thought I was going to give up. I gave it a chance, but it doesn’t deserve it.

I don’t understand the behaviour of any of the characters. Francesco treats Ralf as a lost puppy with half the brain. He seems very concerned about his well-being and wants to be with him, but somehow he manages to ignore him and flirt with everyone in the hotel. Take a pick, man!! You can’t have both behaviours! They are mutually esclusive!! And Ralf… I need some kind of user manual to understand that guy… I get he is sad, but his reasons to end his life are weak. He is totally a spoiled guy, who wants to spend lots of money he doesn’t have. He has crazy jelousy attacks and has a really mean manipulative drive.

The romance between a guy who behaves like an overprotective daddy and a guy that is dangerously addicted to attention is a joke. One of the worst couples I have ever read in my life. Utterly unbelievable and that is saying something in the Romance genre… It is supposed to be a HEA book, but I don’t think they are going to last. Even the sex is weird. Not bad, but… I don’t know. I skimmed over it, because I didn’t like how it was being described.

The narration style is also rather poor. It’s not fluid at all and for such a short book it gets stuck in some loops. Keeping focus on the story was so hard… My mind was constantly drifting to other things, avoiding the slow paced and boring book I was forcing into it. There is no emotion. No sense of humor. Nothing… The blurb is actually a nice mirror of the whole boook… A bunch of letters that gets you nowhere…

I know many people have liked this book. I guess it’s not for me. In the future I will check more books by Lou Watton to see if this is her style or it’s just this book. Not anytime soon, though.

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2018 – Book Gallery

More the Merrier – Jayne Rylon

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Author: Jayne Rylon
Series: Powertools #7
Pages: 99

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Everyone’s favorite five-man, one-woman construction crew is back in action. This time they’re celebrating the holidays together, Powertools style.

Though they’re each on the hunt for the perfect presents for their loved ones, they soon realize that the gifts they give each other day in and day out are the most valuable sort. Spending time together and sharing their passions—not only for sexy menages in every variation—has helped them thrive despite life’s ups and downs.

The first book of Powertools was my first story with an orgy. I have always pride myself about being an explorer in a library, so I picked it with an open mind. Seven books later I must admit this is not what I was expecting. Yes, those books are mostly about sex, but the characters have grown up on me quite a lot.

This time we meet the infamous crew while they are preparing for Christmas. After realizing that they haven’t partaken in groupal fun for a long time, the guys decide to get busy while their wifes are shopping. And they keep at it once they come back home… After that encunter, the book focus on the individual couples for a glimpse at their lives and more sex.

And that’s all about it. I do enjoy the sex scenes with these guys, even though sometimes I think there is no room for so many skin in some of the positions the author likes to describe. I especially appreciate the importance of respect everytime they get together. Nothing is done without the explicit consent of everyone involved. That, sadly, is usually a rara avis in the Erotica genre, so kudos for the crew!!

The crazy dynamics with the Powertools crew is what makes these books special. It’s hard to explain. The scenes of all of them together, even though there is a lot of naked time, are also a master piece of human tolerance. They are all such good friends with solid principles. They never judge and let everyone be themselves. Actually, a world with more Powertools would be a better world. Jayne Ryon has spoiled me badly. Now I’m incapable of reading a ménage book if the group doesn’t have the same rulebook as the crew of Powertools.

Even though the book is cramped with sex, there is also time for some cute and emotional moments. My favourite is by far Dave’s tattoo. His accident was a huge surprise on a previous book, because I wasn’t expecting such a crude moment in this saga. Now I’m kind of glad it happened (I’m a monster!!). The description of the tattoo has been heartwarming and that would have never happened without the car accident. The tattoo covering the scars of his leg displays the perfect summarization of what the crew members represent to each other.

No idea if Rylon is going to keep writing Powertools books, but I have already added to my TBR list the spin-off: Hot Rods. It seems they are pretty similar, so I guess I will enjoy them as well.

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2018 – Book Gallery

 

Fire Bound – Sherrilyn Kenyon & Dianna Love

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Authors: Sherrilyn Kenyon & Dianna Love
Series: Belador #1.5
Pages: 95

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A dangerous creature is on the loose. Evalle, Tzader and Quinn take a VIPER team just outside of Atlanta for a sting operation that takes a deadly turn. Killing the half-human creature would be easy, but national security is on the line until the team can discover who created the monster, and whether more like it are waiting in the wings to be unleashed on the human world. The op goes bad with Beladors in the middle of it, and nothing turns out as expected, least of all for Evalle.

This is a short story that you can get for free in many places. One of them is the official page of Sherrilyn Kenyon. I want to stop starting sagas and then forget about them, so one of my really late New Year resolutions is going to be keep reading at least the book series I have started this year. And reconnect with some of the ones I forgot about a lot time ago (soooo many!!). I have even created a Goodreads shelf for them in order to keep them in mind.

The story of this book takes place several months before the first one. Some VIPER agents (Evalle included) have to investigate the weird killings of several expensive cows. They find that the culprit is a bizarre creature that someone has engineered. They must investigate the issue and neutralize the crazy guy experimenting with monsters.

Taking into account this is a pretty short book, I don’t have much to say. It’s pure action, which is what I was looking for. There is not character development. The contrary would be weird, because this story takes place before the first book. Fortunately, there is enough asskicking to forget and forgive that there is no kind of depth storytelling in the bunch of pages of Fire Bound.

OK. Maybe I have lied a little bit. We get to know the origin story of Evalle’s pet, so that’s kind of great and unexpected. He is such a cute gargoyle thingy!! I wonder if what we have learned about it (him? her?) will have an impact in future books… Wait and read, I suppose. Will I stay true to my word and read Alterant this year? I hope so!!

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2018 – Book Gallery

The Mercenary – Petra Landon

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Author: Petra Landon
Series: The Araloka Chronicles #1
Pages: 203

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She’s a prisoner of the Imperial Forces. He’s a nomad with a private mercenary army. Can a desperate girl’s risky gamble and a fierce warrior’s love turn the tide of war and alter the balance of power in their slice of space?

In a distant corner of the galaxy, Sector Araloka burns in the flames of a deadly war. The Budheya people are one of the worst affected. Once the most advanced civilization in the quadrant, they now struggle under the cruel yoke of Ketaari occupation.

Saakshi
Imprisoned by the Ketaari Imperial Forces, a young Budheya girl is sent to a distant space station to work in an alehouse. For a girl who has known only hardship in her short life, things could be worse. Until an old foe walks into the alehouse.

Zoran
Zoran is Hadari’Kor – notoriously fierce mercenaries who only fight for hire. Drawn to a weary-eyed server girl, Zoran is forced to confront age-old traditions and question his role in the war.

The Rebel & The Mercenary
Alone, friendless and far from home, Saakshi makes a desperate gamble to trust an enigmatic stranger whose hot gaze haunts her dreams. The echoes of this unlikely alliance reverberate across the sector. As a relentless enemy hunts Saakshi, Zoran must fight with everything in his arsenal to protect her. When passion ignites amidst the embers of a smoldering war, will a warrior’s quest for justice bring a mighty Empire to its knees…

Not so long ago I won a signed paperback copy of this book. I have to thank the author for sending the book to Spain, even though I know that the delivery fees are not cheap at all. Among the Romane genres, Sci-Fi is maybe the least popular. Not many books are published under that genre and some of the ones that are released don’t look very interesting. In Spain is even worse. That genre doesn’t even exist. The few Sci-Fi Romance books that are translated are published as Paranormal… That mini-rant was to imply that I’m always glad to get a Sci-Fi Romance that looks like fun, so I was very happy when I won the giveaway.

The books tells the story of Saakshi, a Budheya prisioner of the brutal Ketaari Imperial Forces. She was sold as a slave to Pik, the owner of an alehouse in a space station in the middle of the neutral territory. Luckily for her, Pik is nice enough to treat her as respectfully as possible. In that forced job, she met Zoran, a Hadari’Kor mercenary. They never talked, but the attraction between them is pretty obvious. Everything was going fine, until a Ketaari soldier appears in the station and recognize Saakshi as a “former” rebel. The Unta-Golar thinks he can take advantage of his position to get sexual services from Saakshi. She obviously refuses. He doesn’t accept her answer and the threats begin. As you can imagine, the Budheya runs towards Zoran looking for help.

And that is how the story begins. It looked like it was going to be a fun romance book with lots of action and dangerous enemies, but it is not. Almost half of this book could be labelled as boring. During the first chapters, the characters get stuck in a loop and the story doesn’t go forwards. After Saakshi’s rescue, the pace of the book quickens but the action proves itself elusive. Every time there is going to be a battle, the author moves the focus to another place and we learn about the result of the conflict through comments by supporting characters. That’s a bit disappointing and my biggest issue with this book.

The characters are ok. I have enjoyed them most of the time. Saakshi’s behaviour along the book makes sense. It must be hard to trust someone after all her bad experiences in life. Zoran is the classic male character in Romance: a soft teddy bear wrapped in candy cane. Tough and yummy looking on the surface, but a sensitive and a loving guy on the inside. The supporting characters are also very nice and I hope to know more about them in future books. The most important question I have to resolve about them is this: Is Jolar single? And if so… Can I have his address? I have loved every single moment with that character. He is a hugger!! I’m sold!!

The wordbuilding of this book is also awesome. It’s simple, but rich and with lots of potential stories. We have two factions fighting for the control of the Araloka Sector: the Alliance (a.k.a. the good guys) and the Ketaari Empire. I guess in future books will explore more about the conflict. This one has been just an introduction. At least I hope there is more action in the following ones and that we can witness those situations.

The romance of the book is nothing out the ordinary. Girl meets boy. Boy flirts with girl. Boy and girl get together (very, very close). Boy leaves and girl gets sad. Boy comes back and all is fine again. The worst part about the romance has been some comments of Zoran. In a very passive way he forces Saakshi to live her life as he pleases. What she must do, what she must wear… He even makes the Budheya feel bad when she doesn’t follow his unspoken instructions… Thankfully doesn’t happen very often, so I will be nice and I will not consider Zoran a toxic boyfriend. But if I were her… I would be lap dancing in Jolar’s room all day!!

I can’t finish the review without commenting on the cover. It’s SO pretty!! I love the art, the colors and the font. It looks awesome in my shelf. Most of the covers in the Sci-Fi Romance genre are crap. Just big, headless guys showing off muscle. Sometimes with weird green or blue skin… So, yeah, the cover of The Mercenary deserves a comment to highlight the great piece of art.

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2018 – Book Gallery