Book Tour Review & Guest Post: The Dear Departed By

Book Tour Review & Guest Post: The Dear Departed By

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Title: The Dear Departed
Author: Anne Roebuck
Release Date: February 11th, 2016
Available: Amazon
Add to Goodreads
Genre: Historical Fiction/Paranormal Romance

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The widows of Victorian era San Francisco are dying of decidedly unnatural causes, and to expose the culprit Virginia Paley must partner with the darkly mysterious Jonathan Bradshaw, entering a world of occult rituals and unexplainable phenomena—and magical love.

Beyond the Veil

Young widow Virginia Paley has no interest in attending the séances at The Society for Eternal Love, but the women of the society are dying mysteriously in their sleep, leaving their fortunes to Professor Arthur Chadwick, its charismatic medium. As her aunt might very well become the next victim, Virginia will do whatever she must to ensure that doesn’t happen. She will even join forces with the darkly mysterious Jonathan Bradshaw.

From the moment he spies her, Jonathan is smitten. But romance is impossible. Mrs. Paley is a respectable woman, and he himself is outside of society, an orphan, an ex-thief and a true wizard, able to hypnotize with a word and even separate his spirit from his body. No, he must instead remain focused on his goal, avenging his mentor’s death. But, facing a foe with power over demonic forces and Virginia’s very life in the balance, love might indeed be the only salvation.

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First, I must say this tale was set up and executed magnificently. Back in the early 1900s, seances were famously conducted by charlatans in order to reap great sums of money from mourning wealthy patrons. Anne Roebuck takes us to a particular seance where we meet Virginia, a skeptic and recent widow, attending a seance with her aunt.

We witness the usual tricks used by those from the likes of Arthur Chadwick. The noises, the “ghostly knocks”, and the “ghosts” calling out their beloved wives’ names to profess their affection. But who would have known that a mere phesod was only the beginning of something darker, more dangerous. I surely did not expect the turn nor the events that followed. Be sure to sage your reading space after delving into this!

10/10 Book Charms!

dd- guest post

I Believe in Magic
A hundred years ago, everything looked different by candlelight or gaslight. Things were softer, less defined, more diffused. That shadow in the doorway that we saw out of the corner of our eye which disappeared once we turned around to stare at it. Was someone really there, or did we just imagine it? Or, the flickering of a candle flame. Was it caused by a sudden gust of wind? Or something else?
Everything sounded different, too. There was none of the constant background noise that surrounds us now. Sounds were more intense but less identifiable. The creaking of floorboards in the middle of the night. Was there someone there? The wind rustling in the trees in a graveyard sounded almost like voices. Could they be talking to us?
It was easier then to peer into the realms of the supernatural and hear the hushed voices of ghosts and spirits speaking to you from beyond the veil of death. It was easier to believe that both magic and love were real and not illusions.
I like the modern world. Science and technology have in many ways changed our lives for the better. But sometimes, I wonder if we have lost as much as we have gained in our highly technical society. Modern science has made our world rational and sensible. Still, what it must have been like in a bygone era when everything was less cut and dried and there was more room for magic and mystery.
For example, what must have it been like for a young widow, living in a world of respectability as tightly laced as her corset, to descend into dark and hidden realms where she is never sure what is real and what is illusion? Ghosts and spirits aren’t supposed to exist, but she sees them anyway. Are they really there or are they just phantasms born out of her lonely dreams?
And the magician who serves as her guide into the hidden realms, an impossibly handsome man with arcane knowledge and a disreputable past. Is he her protector or her ruin? Is he real or just one more illusion? And will she discover an awesome reality behind all the illusions or will she just end up on the Primrose Path to Perdition?
For people like me who are crazy enough to want to look behind the façade of today’s oh-so-rational world, we find all manner of bizarre things, like hundred-year-old artifacts hidden in an attic, that seem like so many relics of a superstitious past. Elaborate rituals performed in hooded robes, incantations intoned in languages that people haven’t spoken in a thousand years. Spirits, both good and evil, from beyond the grave. And bonds of loyalty and love that transcend space and time — even death itself.
Sometimes we are tempted to get cocky or complacent and think that these things aren’t real, but are only imagination, like stories that are told to gullible children. But they are real. They are as real now as they are then. Things like magic and love.
Especially love.

dd- about the author

Ann

Author’s Website/Amazon/Facebook/Goodreads

From my first poem at age 10 and my first short story at age 12, I can’t help writing about my two favorite things – magic and love. An unrepentant nerd, I started out in biomedical research but ended up writing software manuals instead. I spent many years as a member of science fiction and historical reenactment groups and I have been at various times a Renaissance scholar, a druidess, a pirate wench, a saloon floozy, a belly dancer and a chain-mail wearing warrior maiden.

Still, my first love is writing stories. It doesn’t matter whether the story is set in the middle ages, Victorian times, the present day or far in the future. If it has both love and magic in it, I will write about it. I write not only romance but young adult historical fantasy under the name of Ann Finnin. 

I’m a native of Southern California, and I live in the hills above Los Angeles with my husband of forty years, Dave (a man who gave me an electric typewriter as a wedding present) and a dog of Indeterminate Breed named Rufus.

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

C.H.B. Reviews “Monstrous Beauty” By:

C.H.B. Reviews “Monstrous Beauty” By:

October 9th

 

Mermaids

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Available: Amazon; Goodreads

I know it’s a little strange to review a mermaid novel during October. But when the book also involves a curse and ghosts, it fits right along with the season. I feel extremely ashamed that aside from The Little Mermaid fairy tale, I had not read a mermaid story and I absolutely adore the legend and mystery behind them. When I was little, I used to imagine I was a mermaid searching for my one true love amongst the waves of my own bathtub. Hey, a girl had to have dreams, haha!

I discovered Elizabeth Fama’s book Monstrous Beauty in my library’s mobile app and after reading the description, I HAD to borrow it. It took me around a day and a half, a bowl of chocolate ice cream, and tissues to get through this story. I can’t remember the last time I cried this much during a book and it’s mainly because of the tragedy behind the love story.

Goodreads Description: “Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences.
Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean—but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago.”

The story bounces back and forth between the nineteenth century to now. Syrenka’s tale is heart wrenching to the point where you wish you could give her a giant hug. The story opens with her falling in love for the first time with a sailor who eventually ends of drowning when Syrenka was merely trying to make him able to swim under water. It all seems to continue to go up and down from there like the waves of a sea.

We fast forward to Hester who keeps her distance from any possible relationship due to the fact every woman in her family dies quickly after the birth of theor first born daughters. I have a small problem with Hester. I can understand why she’d be afraid of beginning a relationship but the fact she won’t have one because of the curse is beyond me. She says in the beginning that birth control isn’t a sure way of not getting pregnant and she didn’t want to take the risk. There are other ways you can protect yourself, Sweety. 

She is rude to every guy she comes across, including her best friend Peter who clearly cares about her and would do anything for her. I’m completely shocked he stayed by her, she treats him like dirt half the time while stares at him longingly from the side lines. Pick a side, Hester! Then she meets Ezra and tosses it all out the door. 

Another thing, Hester has a hard time piecing together obvious problems that are practically screaming at her! Girl needs to get lessons from Sherlock because she’s clueless half the time. And it’s bad when the ghosts figure out and have to spell everything out for her in order for her to fully get the picture.

On the other hand, I have to give props to the author who dug deep into the origins of Plymouth, people’s speech and dress in the nineteenth century, and the accuracy behind the myths of the sea creatures. She rightfully earned the Book Charm of Learning with this book. I became solely enamored with the depth of Syrenka and Ezra’s story from its abrupt beginnings to it’s sorrowful end.

The whole set up of the town, the reenactment village Hester works at, even the ghosts who haunt the grounds deserves more books or even a television show. It made me want to discover more about it! Plus, I’ve already come up with a “Dream Cast” for the book, it’s that good!

If you enjoy legends of mermaids, ghosts, curses, or historical facts – pick this up right away!


My Rating: 7 out of 10 Book Charms 

Happy October Reading!

~C.C.

C.H.B. ARC Reviews: “Return To Babylon” (Orfeo Saga B.5) By Murray Lee Eiland Jr.

C.H.B. ARC Reviews: “Return To Babylon” (Orfeo Saga B.5) By Murray Lee Eiland Jr.

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I have been reading this series for over a year now, but I haven’t talked about it on here till now. As soon as I found out from the author about the fifth installment, I was ready to dive in!

Amazon Description: “Fighting from the Shadows

After the conquest of Babylon the victors installed the daughter of the former king as ruler of that city state. Zinaida is now beginning to feel stirrings of divinity, and seeks vengeance upon the coalition who put her on the throne. One by one surrounding kings are removed. This time there will be no grand coalition to challenge the might of Babylon. The battle will be in the shadows. Zinaida has sent spies to locate Zurga, and she is greatly concerned that he cannot be found. After an attempt on his life, Orfeo and Clarice decide to go directly to Mesopotamia in an attempt to prevent harm coming to their adopted city of Pylos.


The wild card in the equation is a small city not one hundredth the size of Babylon which is located in the lower Tigris. Can the ruler of Araka be persuaded to take on the might of Babylon? Daryush, now ruler of a small kingdom, also decides to meet the threat in an unconventional way. He trains a young apprentice named Cyrus in spycraft. Can smoke and mirrors overcome raw power?”

The whole premise of the series mainly follows the story of Orfeo, from his struggle to connect with his family after returning from being a hostage in the city of Pylos to now being proven a warrior in his own prestigious right. He gathers a partner in crime, so to speak ,named Clarice who brings her own bag of tricks into the mix.

There were a few grammatical errors in the first installment, but the author has improved with each of the novels. I can tell he listens to his audience and uses their feedback in order to make the following novels more enjoyable. Also the historical element in each of the novel enhances the imagery experience, granting readers a front seat view of the past.

In this book, like we all know, the temptation of power can drive a person to make rash movements in making sure their power may not be ripped away. But much like regular politics, some of the biggest wars occur behind closed doors.

Another good installment for a memorable series!

If you’d like to begin this series to catch up with me, you can purchase the first book on Amazon!

My Rating: 8 out of 10 Book Charms!

Happy Reading,

~C.C.

 

Charmed Book Haven Reviews “Paper Boats” By: Erndell Scott

Charmed Book Haven Reviews “Paper Boats” By: Erndell Scott

Title: Paper Boats
Author: Erndell Scott
Publisher: Erich Scott Group LLC
Pages: 442

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World War II was a monumental war for the world’s history. Many laws, procedures, medical discoveries and blocks, films, books, families, and products are still affected by it today. It was a very rough time for the world and for human kind, period. Millions of soldiers and innocent people lost their lives, cities were shattered beyond recognition from air raids and grenades, and trust between loved ones were compromised at the time in order for us to be here today. I recently finished the WWII Historical Fiction novel entitled “Paper Boats” by Erndell Scott. Throughout it’s contents, I was reminded of those times and was transported into Berlin, Germany, close to the end of the war.

The novel follows the personal journeys of two young boys, Otto Kaufmann and Joseph Kessler. Otto, a nine-year-old Jewish slave/official courier to a Nazi , fights his way through closing war while being sent out to complete tasks made by his master, placing him into dangerous situations from his surroundings and his assignments. Joseph, on the other hand, is a Hitler youth. Raised to praise his leader and must also embark on a dangerous mission with Otto. They both rush into the hell of war in order to fulfill one final mission from Adolf Hitler.
2496828267_0fd38f1b6f_b The author’s visuals of war are all intrusive and too overwhelming real at times but that is what made the story all the more enjoyable. You literally feel as if you are running right beside Otto dodging bombs, escaping land mines, and searching for freedom. Now, I have read plenty of historical fiction books but up to now none have had the ability to throw readers in so deep into the action that you feel yourself drowning in it before you realize what you’ve gotten yourself into. This book is that intense, especially being told mainly from a child’s perspective.

7a82f0f1093391309bfd07353fc55829Otto’s story is unutterably heart-breaking to watch unfold. In the beginning of the story, he reflects in the early days of the war when he and his friend Annie, would play with their sail boats. Simpler times. Times when war wasn’t breaking down his home around him. The scene painted is almost like a metaphor for what was to come into his life. The edges of his boat or life would get soaked by the water and eventually fall apart. He’d constantly try to rebuild a proper one over and over again. But all would remain in the end were bits of paper. Much like many Jewish survivors in the war. Tiny bits of their former lives remain, but the darkness of the war, persecution, sights, and terrors have overtaken the majority of their souls.

The tying of the two boys, however, shows the vast difference of the teachings between two people yet they were from the same country. The book shows the struggle of the separation of their people, only to realize they need one another in order to survive. After all, we are all people trying to live.

10 out of 10 Book Charms! 

Suspenseful, intriguing, and a book to be read for book clubs and readers!

If you’d like your own copy, click here.

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

 

 

 

“Save The Last Bullet For God” By: JT ALBLOOD

“Save The Last Bullet For God” By: JT ALBLOOD

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Aliens…..cospiracies…..put those two together, what do you think of? If you said X-Files, we are on similar pages. But suppose we went back in time to World War II and discovered there was a deeper agenda taking place during the war. Now, now, I’m not crazy nor trying to plant ideas. This actually leads me to the first book of this series.

“Save The Last Bullet For God” left me in a bind after I finished. History buffs and WW II can agree with me that a tremendous amount of occasions occurred during that time. This book discusses things occuring aside from what we understand. These occurances happen to be aliens.

We begin the story with psychologist Wilhelm Reich laying the foundation for the “future” of events in the novel by describing his meeting of a mysterious young woman named Maria Osaric. She opened his world to the possibility of Aliens existing by revealing her conversations with them within her brain. You and I both would immediately come to the conclusion she has mental problems. Wilhelm, blinded by love, believes otherwise and leads the rest of his life studying an ancient text Maria gives him to cypher. 50 years later, an individual named Oktay uncovers Wihelm’s discoveries and they in turn send him on obsessive trail of uncovering one of the biggest mysteries in our world’s history. Do Aliens truly exist? Where are they? Can things we discover today be hidden only then to be discovered in the present which in turn affect our future?

This is much like the Davinci Code filled with facts and instances you actually want to ponder upon even after finishing the novel. My mind felt like a fresh pan of scrambled eggs within reading the first one hundred pages. There were times I had to put it down in order to set my head back in place before reading again. Although I enjoy mind-bending books, this one kept me going through the endless cycle of having to put it down, clear brain, pick it up, read, put it down, clear brain, and so on it went.

If you enjoy books that challenge your brain, deal with controversial topics within our history, or just enjoy Science Fiction-try this book on for size. It’s only the first book but it will not leave you disappointed in the mind blowing department.

I’m giving this book 9 out of 10 Book Charms. Only 9 because I kept having to  put it down and get some air. I love challenging books but there’s a time when you want to scream for the book to back off a little. If you love those kinds of books, though, you can disagree with my statement.

Moulder and Scully, here’s a run for your money!

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

7 Books To Read On a “Snow Day”: Short Stories to Novels

7 Books To Read On a “Snow Day”: Short Stories to Novels

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From the East Coast to here in Kentucky, it’s a Winter Wonderland. Kind of late in the game with Christmas gone for almost a month, but better late than never. Then again, many of us are snowed inside for the time being. It’s cold outside, the hot cocoa is steaming, and these are the times where I raid my personal “library” shelves I have at home. I kind of hide the fact I have a reading problem unless guests are around. I keep all of my books in my apartment’s mini walk-in storage closet that is still “under construction” because I’m still having bookshelves put together to place in there. Despite that, it’s days like today where I’m thankful for my addiction.

DSC_0845.jpgIf you don’t have your own personal library at home or are looking for something new to read on days like this or in general, I have plenty of suggestions for you to check out. If your local library is like mine, they have an app you can download for your IPhone or Android where you can download different ebooks if you don’t have time to run over there, don’t want to spend money on Amazon or other sites to receive the books, or if you are snowed inside your house. If you want to purchase any of these suggestions, you can always check out Amazon to download these books or you can’t locate them on your library’s app.

Now these books range from Series to Novels to Short Stories. There are also books by independent authors because let’s face it, there are independent books that should be on the market today. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give my Top 7 Books To Read During a “Snow Day”. 

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http://www.amazon.com/Small-Town-Charms-Mystery-White-ebook/dp/B00GQGBDF8/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

1. Small Town Charms: Mystery of the White Witch By: Cora Cuba

This is an author you seriously need to keep an eye out for. Cora Cuba brings us the story about a woman named Mandy Flores. Mandy is sweet, innocent and has a big heart. She is hired by a man named Clyde, to take care of his comatose fiancee. At first, Mandy is getting used to the town along with her employers mountain top mansion. While spending time at a local bar, she befriends the bartender, Jessica. Now when it comes to bartenders, they listen to everything their patrons say. When Mandy let’s Jessica in on a little personal secret, we find out Jessica is actually a witch! 

The story continues to twist and transform into a novel of unexpected secrets and mayhem. I adored every minute! I’m planning on rereading it again! I also loved how well the author tied everything together. This is a novel you can read again and again and it never get old! The first book is now available for Free via Amazon and there are two more sequels to this series. 9 out of 10 and worth every penny.

 

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http://www.amazon.com/Everythings-Eventual-14-Dark-Tales-ebook/dp/B000FC0O40/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1453568394&sr=1-1&keywords=everything%27s+eventual

2. Everything’s Eventual: 14 Dark Tales By: Stephen King

For those interested in lighter fair and wanting to read in intervals, here is a fantastic collection of short stories for you to sink your teeth into! This book also includes the stories that inspired the films Riding the Bullet and 1408. Out of all of them, I’d have to say the very first one, Autopsy Room Four, would be my favorite. I can’t begin to describe how much this story had my eyes stuck on the page. When I first read it, I was sitting in a restaraunt enjoying a bowl of beef stroganoff. It was a mistake! By the time I finished reading, my food was cold and I had no appetite. Not saying it was bad but fantastic to the point where the whole world faded away and I was left wondering if the nurses and doctors were going to ever figure out if the man on their autopsy slab was truly still alive or not.

Each story is completely different from the one before. They range from mystery, thriller, to fantasy, to short golden lessons you’ll carry with you till the end. Another perfect read for begin stuck at home. Each story ranges in rank but over all, I give it a 8 1/5 out of 10.

 

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http://www.amazon.com/My-Bear-Shifter-Boss-Book-ebook/dp/B019A45YHK/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1453563875&sr=8-9&keywords=My+Shifter+Boss

3. My Bear Shifter Boss By: Ashley Devlin

I read this book last month and I’m still waiting on the sequel. BUT it is still a great story. It follows the life of a girl named Karla. Now Karla is in the middle of a disagreement. Only this disagreement isn’t amongst humans but instead bear shifters. At first, she is worried about trying to get a new job one minute then the next she unexpectedly meets her boss and begins to fall for him. While I was reading it, I began to fall in love with the story just as quickly as Karla was falling for her boss.

For a debut novel, Ashley Devlin brings on the heat, the passion-filled story, and characters that keep you engaged. The end left me hanging to the point where I’m aching to read the sequel! Move over Werewolves, Bears have more to love!

I recently found out this ebook version of this novel is now FREE until January 24th so this would be the time to get it and dive in! I give this one a 9 out of 10 Book Charms. Do not wait to download!

 

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https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18509623-the-girl-from-the-well?from_search=true&search_version=service

4. The Girl From The Well By: Rin Chupeco

If you are an Anime or Manga fan, this book is for you. If you are a horror genre fan, this is great for you too! It is said that it’s just like a mashup of the films Ringu and The Grudge, but to me, it’s better than that. It tells the story from a vengeful ghost’s perspective. Only,  the vengeful ghosts kills child/teen murderers. Okiku, the ghosts, finds herself drawn to a young teenaged boy named Tark. Tark has been tormented by an evil spirit since he was a small child and the torment continues to grow. I enjoyed learning about the different Japanese techniques on exorcism and their annual chochin celebration of a spirit moving on into the afterlife.

I am now on the sequel The Suffering and has increased on level of intensity and thrills. Definitely a 10 out of 10 Book Charms! This is a series you want to get your hands on and read right now!

 

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https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/176401.Truth_or_Dare?from_search=true&search_version=service

5. Truth or Dare By: R.L. Stine

This book is mainly for those who are feeling nostalgic. I reviewed another Fear Street book a couple months ago that I’ll be picking up again soon. This goes along with the whole current Snow theme we are currently going through.

This 90’s story is about a group of teens going up to a Ski condo for the weekend. That is until a blizzard hits, knocking out the phones, blocking the roads, and igniting murder amongst the group. Cheesy, I know, but it’s short and sweet and ends in classic R.L. Stine fashion. 5 out of 10 but it’s 90s cheese.

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http://www.amazon.com/Daughter-Regiment-Stephanie-Grace-Whitson-ebook/dp/B00LLIIZNO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1453572138&sr=1-1&keywords=Daughter+of+the+regiment

6. Daughter of the Regiment By: Stephanie Grace Whitson

There was a time when all I read was Christian Fiction, now that has drastically changed. However, there are times where I go back to this genre and pick one out at random. This choice was tough but if you are into the Christian Fiction, Romance, and Historical Fiction genre, this is a novel you’ll enjoy.

Maggie Malone, an Irish immigrant, attempts to join the Union army to fight alongside her brothers in the Civil War. Bravery takes place within her heart and she pushes onwards despite setbacks as a woman. No matter what, she earns her “stripes” by banding with her brothers to create their own Irish Brigade to fight for freedom and justice.

The author did a fantastic job modeling the Irish Brigade after similar brigades that took place during the War. It also added to realistic feel of the story. 9 out of 10 Book Charms and worth a look at all the same.

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https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8921.The_Hound_of_the_Baskervilles?ac=1&from_search=1

7. The Hound of the Baskervilles By: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

When in doubt, go with a classic! Sherlock fans, come on, if you haven’t read this book then you are not a true fan. I don’t care if you love the show, you HAVE to read the original stories. This one is one of the best Sherlock stories ever written, hands down.

Sherlock and Dr. Watson are hired on a mysterious case about a terrifying beast who stalks around the Baskerville estate and moors. Recently there has been a murder and the new heir is said to be in danger. Who is this animal and could this “curse” be accurate or another perpetrator in Sherlock’s midst in need of capturing? 10 out of 10 Book Charms, you better read!

 

 

Usually, other blogs will do “Top 10” books, but top seven is luckier than 10. What do you think of the choices? What are you currently reading during this “snow day”?

Let me know in the comments and feel free to share reading suggestions!

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

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