Welcome to Book Lovers Paradise

Welcome to my attempt at blogging. I am a true to heart bibliophile. Here I will discuss and review books as I read them. You are welcome to do the same. The only rules are no profanity, no politics, no religion, and have fun!
Donna

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

COVER REVEAL AND GIVEAWAY!!!!!

I am excited to reveal the cover for “A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii"! This is a book for historical fiction TBR piles everywhere—six authors (look at that list!), one volume, the gripping story of Pompeii’s final days. And now you can pre-order your copy so that, come November 4th, you won’t have to wait.

It’s Cover Reveal Time . . .

Title: A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii Authors: Stephanie Dray, Ben Kane, E. Knight, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn and Vicky Alvear Shecter, with an introduction by Michelle Moran Genre: Historical Fiction Release Date: November 4, 2014
Pompeii was a lively resort flourishing in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius at the height of the Roman Empire. When Vesuvius erupted in an explosion of flame and ash, the entire town would be destroyed. Some of its citizens died in the chaos, some escaped the mountain's wrath . . .


01_A Day of Fire Cover


Six top historical novelists join forces to bring readers the stories of Pompeii’s residents—from patricians to prostitutes—as their world ended. You will meet: A boy who loses his innocence in Pompeii's flourishing streets; An heiress dreading her wedding day, not knowing it will be swallowed by fire; An ex-legionary who stakes his entire future on a gladiator bout destined never to be finished; A crippled senator welcoming death, until a tomboy on horseback comes to his rescue; A young mother facing an impossible choice for her unborn child as the ash falls; And a priestess and a whore seeking redemption and resurrection as the town is buried.

Pre-order today!

Amazon US | Amazon UK

About the Authors

STEPHANIE DRAY is a multi-published, award-winning author of historical women’s fiction and fantasy set in the ancient world. Her critically acclaimed historical Nile series about Cleopatra’s daughter has been translated into more than six different languages, was nominated for a RITA Award and won the Golden Leaf. Her focus on Ptolemaic Egypt and Augustan Age Rome has given her a unique perspective on the consequences of Egypt's ancient clash with Rome, both in terms of the still-extant tensions between East and West as well as the worldwide decline of female-oriented religion. Before she wrote novels, Stephanie was a lawyer, a game designer, and a teacher. Learn more at www.StephanieDray.com

  BEN KANE worked as a veterinarian for sixteen years, but his love of ancient history and historical fiction drew him to write fast-paced novels about Roman soldiers, generals and gladiators. Irish by nationality but UK-based, he is the author of seven books, the last five of which have been Sunday Times top ten bestsellers.Ben’s books have been translated into ten languages. In 2013, Ben walked the length of Hadrian’s Wall with two other authors, for charity; he did so in full Roman military kit, including hobnailed boots. He repeated the madness in 2014, over 130 miles in Italy. Over $50,000 has been raised with these two efforts. Learn more at http://www.benkane.net/

  E. KNIGHT is an award-winning, indie national best-selling author historical fiction. Under the name, Eliza Knight she writes historical romance and time-travel. Her debut historical fiction novel, MY LADY VIPER, has received critical acclaim and was nominated for the Historical Novel Society 2015 Annual Indie Award. She regularly presents on writing panels and was named Romance Writer’s of America’s 2013 PRO Mentor of the Year. Eliza lives in Maryland atop a small mountain with a knight, three princesses and a very naughty puppy. For more information, visit Eliza at www.elizaknight.com.

  SOPHIE PERINOT is the author of the acclaimed debut, The Sister Queens, which weaves the story of medieval sisters Marguerite and Eleanor of Provence who became queens of France and England respectively. Perinot has both a BA in History and a law degree. A long-time member of the Historical Novel Society, she has attended all of the group’s North American Conferences, serving as a panelist at the most recent. When she is not visiting corners of the past, Sophie lives in Great Falls, VA. Learn more at www.SophiePerinot.com

  KATE QUINN is the national bestselling author of the Empress of Rome novels, which have been variously translated into thirteen different languages. She first got hooked on Roman history while watching "I, Claudius" at the age of seven, and wrote her first book during her freshman year in college, retreating from a Boston winter into ancient Rome. She and her husband now live in Maryland with an imperious black dog named Caesar. Learn more at http://www.katequinnauthor.com

  VICKY ALVEAR SHECTER is the award-winning author of the young adult novel, Cleopatra’s Moon (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 2011), based on the life of Cleopatra's only daughter. She is also the author of two biographies for kids on Alexander the Great and Cleopatra. The LA Times called Cleopatra’s Moon--set in Rome and Egypt--"magical" and "impressive." Publisher’s Weekly said it was "fascinating" and "highly memorable." Her young adult novel of Pompeii, Curses and Smoke (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic), released in June 2014. She has two other upcoming books for younger readers, Anubis Speaks! and Hades Speaks! Vicky is a docent at the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Antiquities at Emory University in Atlanta. Learn more at http://www.vickyalvearshecter.com/main

Giveaway

To win a copy of A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii please complete the Rafflecopter form. There are two copies (Ebook or Paperback) up for grabs. Giveaway is open to US & UK residents only. Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on September 26th. You must be 18 or older to enter. Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter on September 27th and notified via email. Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 15, 2014

JUDITH STARKSTON'S ORIGINAL TAKE OF THE ILIAD---HAND OF FIRE


The Trojan War threatens Troy’s allies and the Greek supply raids spread. A young healing priestess, designated as future queen, must defend her city against both divine anger and invading Greeks. She finds strength in visions of a handsome warrior god. Will that be enough when the half-immortal Achilles attacks? Hand of Fire, a tale of resilience and hope, blends history and legend in the untold story of Achilles’s famous captive, Briseis.

MY THOUGHTS
Very rarely can I not give enough stars for a book. This is such a book. I love the Iliad, it's become one of my favorite books over the years. Judith Starkston has brought the characters of the Iliad to life, but she's done so with her own spin. Through the eyes of Briseis, the priestess/healer. The woman who was briefly able to calm the rage of Achilles.

This book will leave you breathless. I could not put it down. The descriptions so incredible, you can smell the flowers as you walk through the forests of Mt Ida.

Briseis is a multidimensional character who dominates this story. She is a woman who will capture your heart. She could be your friend, your sister or your daughter. You will just love her. She is a strong woman with courage and compassion.
We watch her grow from a young woman losing her mother to a strong Princess of Lyrnessos. We watch her become a captive of Greek soldiers and a confidante of Achilles. Through it all, she is an incredible character.

I loved this book. I didn't want to sleep or eat, just wanted to keep reading. When I was finished, I started over and read it again. It's that good. Judith Starkston- thank you for bringing some of my favorite characters to life for me.


5+ tea cups

HAND OF FIRE is the newest entry into our BEYOND 5 STARS club!  Yes-- it is THAT good!!!!



about the author:
Judith Starkston writes historical fiction and mysteries set in Troy and the Hittite Empire. Ms. Starkston is a classicist (B.A. University of California, Santa Cruz, M.A. Cornell University) who taught high school English, Latin and humanities. She and her husband have two grown children and live in Arizona with their golden retriever Socrates. Hand of Fire is her debut novel.

Find an excerpt, Q&A, book reviews, ancient recipes, historical background as well as on-going information about the historical fiction community on Starkston’s website www.JudithStarkston.com

Link to the tour schedule: Hand of Fire Fireship Press Virtual Tour

Visit on Goodreads Hand of Fire

Advance Praise:
"In Hand of Fire, Starkston's careful research brings ancient Greece and Troy to life with passion and grace. This haunting and insightful novel makes you ache for a mortal woman, Briseis, in love with a half-god, Achilles, as she fights to make her own destiny in a world of capricious gods and warriors. I devoured this page-turning escape from the modern world!" -- Rebecca Cantrell, New York Times bestselling author of The World Beneath

“Suspenseful, tragic, surprising and sexy” –Nancy Bilyeau, author of The Crown and The Chalice

In Hand of Fire, Judith Starkston frees Briseis from the actions of Achilles and Agamemnon and gives her the power to become the heroine of her own story. … Starkston does a lovely job of bringing the characters to life, and her descriptions of the religious rites, the scenery of Mount Ida, and life as a woman of privilege in the ancient world put me firmly in the story. The love story between Briseis and Achilles is well-rendered, as are Briseis’ relationships with her father and brothers, her nurse, and the other women in the city and in the camp. A wonderful new take on a timeless story. –Historical Novels Review

"Briseis steps out from the handful of lines she gets in Homer's epic, and fearlessly tells her own story as healer, war prize, and partner to the famous Achilles--here a godlike hero who manages to be all too human. Recommended!"–Kate Quinn, author of Empress of the Seven Hills

“In her portrayal of Briseis, Judith Starkston has cast a bright light on one of the Iliad's most intriguing sub-plots. With her fast-paced story, three-dimensional characters, and fascinating cultural details, Starkston has given historical fiction fans a tale to remember.” –Priscilla Royal, author of Covenant with Hell and 9 other Prioress Eleanor mysteries

“Starkston breathes new life into an age-old tale in this masterful retelling of the Iliad. The reader experiences the terror, bravery and heartbreak of Briseis who now takes center stage in one of the most famous love triangles of all time.” Elisabeth Storrs, author of The Wedding Shroud and The Golden Dice

“Absolutely loved the book. Couldn’t put it down. Wonderful writing. And, I see no errors whatsoever as regards the history.” –Professor Eric Cline, Chair of the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, George Washington University 

purchase links



Thursday, September 4, 2014

Mary, Queen of Scotts- the CAPTIVE QUEEN and GIVEAWAY

02_The Captive Queen
Publication Date: April 24, 2014
CreateSpace Independent Publishing
Formats: eBook, Paperback

Genre: Historical Fiction

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Political schemes, religious partisanship and unbridled love shake the Royal Court of Scotland at the end of the Stuart dynasty.

Witness to sordid murders, spy for Her Majesty among the Protestants of the infamous preacher John Knox, forced to give up her one true love, thrown out onto the streets then ruthlessly attacked by a drunkard, Charlotte Gray will do everything in her power to remain the sovereignís lady-in-waiting.

As for the Queen of Scots, she faces turmoil of a completely different kind: prisoner in a castle under the command of her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I of England, Mary Stuart learns that she is the victim of a vast conspiracy and that her English counterpart has ordered her imminent execution.

Despite their hardships, Mary and Charlotte will keep their dignity throughout the storm. The two women will finally find serenity, one in the arms of a man and the other in the arms of God.

Interwoven with historical facts of the era, the thrilling The Captive Queen saga is worthy of the greatest royal intrigues that still fascinate us several centuries later.

Watch the Book Trailer




Buy the Book


Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CAN
Amazon AUS
Barnes & Noble

About the Author03_Danny Saunders Author



Danny Saunders is a true European history enthusiast. He has always been keenly interested in royalty. Danny holds a bachelorís degree in political science and also pursued communication studies at the university level. He has worked as a journalist for various written and electronic media. Of Scottish descent, Danny takes genuine pride in his British roots. The Captive Queen: A Novel of Mary Stuart is his first historical novel.

To find out more about the author Danny Saunders, you can visit his website at www.dannysaunders.com. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

The Captive Queen: A Novel of Mary Stuart Blog Tour Schedule


Monday, August 25
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, August 26
Spotlight & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Obsession

Wednesday, August 27
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Thursday, August 28
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Friday, August 29
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Monday, September 1
Review at JulzReads

Tuesday, September 2
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, September 3
Interview at To Read or Not To Read

Friday, September 5
Review & Giveaway at Book Lovers Paradise

Monday, September 8
Review at CelticLady's Reviews
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

Tuesday, September 9
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Wednesday, September 10
Excerpt & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time

Friday, September 12
Review at Princess of Eboli

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my thoughts:

I received this book as part of a book tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. 

I love the subject. Mary of Scots is an amazing woman with a fascinating life. I also love reading anything to do with the Tudor family. 

That being said, this is not one of the best Tudor era books available. The book focus is primarily Charlotte, a lady in waiting to Mary. She is not a likable character. I'm certain that court machinations encouraged those involved to become scheming, but I just didn't like Charlotte. Mary herself is portrayed somewhat differently than I expected.


If you enjoy Tudor history, by all means, add this book to your TBR list, but include others as well. You will find many other books about Mary of Scots on the market, I personally recommend those by Antonia Fraser, Margaret George or John Guy




WE ARE GIVING AWAY ONE PAPERBACK COPY OF 
THE CAPTIVE QUEEN
Open to US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Ireland.
JUST LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS UNDER COMMENTS, I WILL GET BACK TO THE WINNER!
GOOD LUCK!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Want the scoop on some royal marriages?

02_Inglorious Royal Marriages
Publication Date: September 2, 2014
NAL Trade
Formats: eBook, Paperback; 400p

Genre: History/Non-Fiction/Royalty

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READ AN EXCERPT.

Why does it seem that the marriages of so many monarchs are often made in hell? And yet we canít stop reading about them! To satisfy your schadenfreude, INGLORIOUS ROYAL MARRIAGES offers a panoply of the most spectacular mismatches in five hundred years of royal historyÖ.some of which are mentioned below.

When her monkish husband, Englandís Lancastrian Henry VI, became completely catatonic, the unpopular French-born Margaret of Anjou led his army against the troops of their enemy, the Duke of York.

Margaret Tudor, her niece Mary I, and Catherine of Braganza were desperately in love with chronically unfaithful husbandsóbut at least they werenít murdered by them, as were two of the Medici princesses.

King Charles IIís beautiful, high-spirited sister ìMinetteî wed Louis XIVís younger brother, who wore more makeup and perfume than she did.

Compelled by her mother to wed her boring, jug-eared cousin Ferdinand, Marie of Roumaniaóa granddaughter of Queen Victoriaóemerged as a heroine of World War I by using her prodigious personal charm to regain massive amounts of land during the peace talks at Versailles. Marieís younger sister Victoria Melita wed two of her first-cousins: both marriages ultimately scandalized the courts of Europe.

Brimming with outrageous real-life stories of royal marriages gone wrong, this is an entertaining, unforgettable book of dubious matches doomed from the start.

Praise for Leslie Carroll's Royal Books


An irresistible combination of People magazine and the History Channel. Chicago Tribune (5 Stars)

Thoroughly enjoyable.îóBooklist

For those who tackled Hilary Mantelís Wolf Hall, and canít get enough of the scandal surrounding Henry VIII's wives, [Notorious Royal Marriages is] the perfect companion book.îóNewYorker.com

Buy the Book


Amazon US
Barnes & Noble
Books-a-Million
IndieBound

About the Author03_Leslie Carroll



Leslie Carroll is the author of several works of historical nonfiction, womenís fiction, and, under the pen names Juliet Grey and Amanda Elyot, is a multipublished author of historical fiction. Her nonfiction titles include Royal Romances, Royal Pains, Royal Affairs, and Notorious Royal Marriages. She is also a classically trained professional actress with numerous portrayals of virgins, vixens, and villainesses to her credit, and is an award-winning audio book narrator.

A frequent commentator on royal romances and relationships, Leslie has been interviewed by numerous publications, including MSNBC.com, USA Today, the Australian Broadcasting Company, and NPR, and she was a featured royalty historian on CBS nightly news in London during the royal wedding coverage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. She also appears as an expert on the love lives of Queen Victoria, Marie Antoinette, Catherine the Great, and Napoleon on the television series ìThe Secret Life of [fill in the name of famous figure]î for Canadaís History Channel. Leslie and her husband, Scott, divide their time between New York City and Washington, D.C.

For more information please visit Leslie's website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Inglorious Royal Marriages Blog Tour Schedule


Monday, September 1
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, September 2
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Interview at Scandalous Women

Wednesday, September 3
Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Tapestry

Thursday, September 4
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Friday, September 5
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Monday, September 8
Review & Giveaway at Bibliophilia, Please

Tuesday, September 9
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Spotlight at Princess of Eboli

Wednesday, September 10
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Thursday, September 11
Review at The Lit Bitch
Spotlight & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection

Monday, September 15
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, September 16
Spotlight & Giveaway at Reading Lark

Wednesday, September 17
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

Saturday, September 20
Review at WTF Are You Reading?

Tuesday, September 23
Review & Giveaway at The Maiden's Court

Wednesday, September 24
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Review & Giveaway at To Read or Not to Read

Thursday, September 25
Review at Bookish
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession

Friday, September 26
Review at The Musings of ALMYBNENR
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict

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my thoughts:
Interested in reading more than the history books tell us about some mismatched royal couples? This book, by author Leslie Carroll, is chocked full of short stories about dynastic marriages gone wrong. Royal couples so mismatched, their marriages were utter failures. 

The focus is not just England and France, we learn about many other mismatched couples from other areas of Europe. Two Italian duchesses were actually murdered by their respective husbands! 

Some of the stories in this quick read of a book will leave you hungering for more, while a few will just have you shaking your head and thinking yourself grateful for not being born into these crazy families. 

Some of my favorites: Margaret of Anjou and her English King Henry VI, The Medici's, and Anne of Austria and her French King Louis XII.


Due to the nature of the many short stories, this is a quick, fun read. If you enjoy European history, you will enjoy this book.

Monday, September 1, 2014

EDWIN: High King of Britain PLUS GIVEAWAY!!!

02_Edwin High King of Britain


PUBLICATION cation Date: April 1, 2014
Lion Fiction
Formats: eBook, Paperback

Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: The Northumbrian Thrones (Book 1)

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Debut historical fiction series vividly recreating the rise of the Christian kings of Northumbria, England.

In 604 AD, Edwin, the deposed king of Northumbria, seeks refuge at the court of King Raedwald of East Anglia. But Raedwald is urged to kill his guest by Aethelfrith, Edwin's usurper. As Edwin walks by the shore, alone and at bay, he is confronted by a mysterious figure--the missionary Paulinus-- who prophesies that he will become High King of Britain. It is a turning point.

Through battles and astute political alliances Edwin rises to power, in the process marrying the Kentish princess Aethelburh. As part of the marriage contract the princess is allowed to retain her Christian faith. But, in these times, to be a king is not a recipe for a long life.

This turbulent and tormented period in British history sees the conversion of the Anglo-Saxon settlers who have forced their way on to British shores over previous centuries, arriving first to pillage, then to farm and trade--and to come to terms with the faith of the Celtic tribes they have driven out.

The dramatic story of Northumbria's Christian kings helped give birth to England as a nation, English as a language, and the adoption of Christianity as the faith of the English.

Chapter 1 Audio Excerpt


Read by the author's wife, Harriet Whitbread, with music from Flos Harmonicus.

[audio mp3="http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Edwin-chapter-1-extract.mp3"][/audio]

Praise for Edwin: High King of Britain


ìIn the first installment of the Northumbrian Thrones, a new historical fiction series, Albert launches readers into the tumultuous world of 7th century Northumbria. Edwin, the deposed king of the region, forges political alliances, is betrayed, and fights critical battles that form the arc of his rise and fall as High King of Britain. As he ages, he fears for the future of his kingdom, and war has simply become a necessary evil. His shifting worldview leads to conversion to the Christian faithóa slow process given special attention by Albert. But it is not a clear path, and sometimes Edwin and his subordinates doubt the validity and the power of the Christian God, as opposed to the pagan deities they have left behind. Albertís focus on the religious element does not detract from the political and dramatic aspects of the history he is portraying. Rather, it lends an extra dimension of psychological turmoil, because characters must deal with the problem of not only individual identity but also the beginnings of a national identity related to religion. Albertís offering is a highly entertaining and refreshing work of historical fiction thanks to his emphasis on the precarious intersection of religion and identity.î ñPublishers Weekly

ìA splendid novel that leaves the reader wanting more.î ñBernard Cornwell, New York Times bestselling author

ìA fast-paced and gripping tale of the great Northumbrian King Edwin, reclaiming one of our great national figures from the shadows of history.î ñJustin Hill, author of Shieldwall

Buy the Book


Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository
IndieBound

About the Author03_Edoardo Albert



Edoardo Albert is a writer of Sri Lankan and Italian extraction based in London. The best response to his writing was when he reduced a friend to helpless, hysterical, rolling-on-the-floor-holding-his-stomach laughter. Unfortunately, the writing in question was a lonely hearts ad. He hopes to produce similar results in readers, without inadvertently acquiring another wife.

For more information, please visit Edoardo Albert's website. You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Edwin: High King of Britain Blog Tour Schedule


Monday, August 25
Review at Princess of Eboli
Review at 2 Book Lovers Reviews

Tuesday, August 26
Review at Just One More Chapter
Review & Giveaway at Unshelfish

Wednesday, August 27
Review at Dab of Darkness

Thursday, August 28
Interview & Giveaway at Dab of Darkness

Monday, September 1
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Review at Queen of All She Reads

Tuesday, September 2
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, September 3
Review at The Writing Desk
Review at The Mad Reviewer

Friday, September 5
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Monday, September 8
Review at A Book Geek
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Tuesday, September 9
Review at Book Nerd

Wednesday, September 10
Review & Giveaway at 100 Pages a Day - Stephanie's Book Reviews
Interview & Giveaway at Thoughts in Progress

Friday, September 12
Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews

Monday, September 15
Review & Giveaway at Words and Peace

Tuesday, September 16
Review at Layered Pages

Thursday, September 18
Review & Giveaway at Beth's Book Reviews

Friday, September 19
Review at Book Drunkard

WE ARE HOSTING A GIVEAWAY OF ONE COPY OF EDWIN: HIGH KING OF BRITAIN.
Open to residents of US, just include your email under comments and you are entered to win!!


my thoughts
A fantastic story about a 7th century ruler.

The story begins with Edwin's exile, he's at the kingdom of a supposed 'friend'. Well, with friends like Raedwald, he doesn't need enemies. Raedwald sells him out to his arch enemy, Aethelfrith, the very man who took Edwin's kingdom away from him. Yes, the names take some getting used to. I'll admit, I began this book with the list of 'dramatis personae' or cast of characters at my side, however, once I was into the story, these characters became easy to identify.

Edwin and his family are characters a reader can enjoy. The characters are interesting without being over the top. You want battles? This book has battles. You want gore? Well, there's a little of that, too. This book has everything a historical fiction lover could want.

I enjoyed reading this novel, in fact, I read it in only one sitting.


This well written well researched book follows Edwin's rise to power and his conversion to christianity. The god the king worships becomes the god of the masses. 


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