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Grumpy Bear

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Hooking up with an employee is not on my to-do list. Making sure other men have a good time is my business, even if it means suppressing my own desires. It’s opening weekend at my clothing-optional campground, guests are starting to arrive, and I’ve got a pool party and a few hundred peoples’ vacations to save while battling Mother Nature’s tantrums. The last thing I need is Hooking up with an employee is not on my to-do list. Making sure other men have a good time is my business, even if it means suppressing my own desires. It’s opening weekend at my clothing-optional campground, guests are starting to arrive, and I’ve got a pool party and a few hundred peoples’ vacations to save while battling Mother Nature’s tantrums. The last thing I need is a temporary employee who can’t even put up a tent. Luke Cody’s not my type. He’s too young, too pretty, and too much like my late partner. Another flaky musician? No thanks. But when a storm blows down his campsite, I can’t just leave him outside and soaked to the bone. Now he’s staying in my cabin, sleeping in my bed, and worst of all, he’s completely ignoring the proverbial sign over my head that says Grumpy Bear: Do Not Approach. I’m not quite as immune to his charms as I want him to believe, but he’ll only be here for a few days. Nothing’s going to happen… Grumpy Bear is a boss/employee, grumpy/sunshine romance set at a gay campground full of bears. (Not shifters; the other kind of bears.) It’s the first full-length book in the Bear Camp series and can be read as a standalone.


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Hooking up with an employee is not on my to-do list. Making sure other men have a good time is my business, even if it means suppressing my own desires. It’s opening weekend at my clothing-optional campground, guests are starting to arrive, and I’ve got a pool party and a few hundred peoples’ vacations to save while battling Mother Nature’s tantrums. The last thing I need is Hooking up with an employee is not on my to-do list. Making sure other men have a good time is my business, even if it means suppressing my own desires. It’s opening weekend at my clothing-optional campground, guests are starting to arrive, and I’ve got a pool party and a few hundred peoples’ vacations to save while battling Mother Nature’s tantrums. The last thing I need is a temporary employee who can’t even put up a tent. Luke Cody’s not my type. He’s too young, too pretty, and too much like my late partner. Another flaky musician? No thanks. But when a storm blows down his campsite, I can’t just leave him outside and soaked to the bone. Now he’s staying in my cabin, sleeping in my bed, and worst of all, he’s completely ignoring the proverbial sign over my head that says Grumpy Bear: Do Not Approach. I’m not quite as immune to his charms as I want him to believe, but he’ll only be here for a few days. Nothing’s going to happen… Grumpy Bear is a boss/employee, grumpy/sunshine romance set at a gay campground full of bears. (Not shifters; the other kind of bears.) It’s the first full-length book in the Bear Camp series and can be read as a standalone.

30 review for Grumpy Bear

  1. 5 out of 5

    Martin

    Homeless musician Luke is drifting through life, hoping to make it big as a singer while hopping from couch to couch. His path one day takes him to a clothing optional gay men's resort in the mountains called 'Bear Camp' thanks to a new acquaintance who works there and brings Luke along. A few miserable circumstances later, he finds himself hired for the weekend and sleeping in the camp owner's bed. Strictly platonically, of course - because there is no spare bed left. Oh, I LOVE this trope so mu Homeless musician Luke is drifting through life, hoping to make it big as a singer while hopping from couch to couch. His path one day takes him to a clothing optional gay men's resort in the mountains called 'Bear Camp' thanks to a new acquaintance who works there and brings Luke along. A few miserable circumstances later, he finds himself hired for the weekend and sleeping in the camp owner's bed. Strictly platonically, of course - because there is no spare bed left. Oh, I LOVE this trope so much...  Coleman Sawyer is quite a recluse. He's a muscle bear himself, but now in his very late 30s, he feels his wilder days are behind him. His staff (and many guests) find him hot, but unapproachable and his smalltalk abilities are... let's say lacking.  Luke, who is more than 10 years younger, so isn't his type. He's sure the young man will spend the weekend sowing his oats with numerous like-minded strangers instead of working hard for the opening weekend. But Coleman is in for a surprise and finds himself in danger of losing his heart at the camp -  where 'love' usually just lasts a one-night-stand long. Oh boy, there are two hearts beating in my chest for this book. On the one hand, it is a beautiful and absolutely heartfelt romance between two amazing characters. As you can guess, I have a very soft spot for Coleman. Guys like him are my favorites in romance. Quiet, brooding, masculine on the outside, but soft big teddy bears who love Lord of the Rings on the inside. The rather difficult part of the story was the outrageously sexual setting. A clothing optional gay men's resort where porn is played as background entertainment and guests and staff have sex literally everywhere in public. I mean... okay, such places exist, but as a setting for a romance? I don't know. That's like eating a sandwich consisting of more butter than bread.  Of course, that shouldn't distract too much from Coleman and Luke. Their romance is very sweet and down to earth and would have worked perfectly in any given setting. The fact that they meet at a gay camp is just the reality of their situation.  I found both guys to be amazing puzzle pieces fitting together despite their completely different appearances and outlooks in life. However, a half star definitely has to go for that 'dramatic climax' concerning the (view spoiler)[reality tv audition? I mean, after all the emotional sex and the 'finding your purpose in life' talk? The homeless wannabe singer packs his stuff and says goodbye, leaving behind a guy he connected with, a place where he could share his art publicly AND a secure, regular income? AND THEN just changes his mind like a 10 year old and runs back?! (hide spoiler)]    Did he go insane from one minute to the next?! I also didn't like the way Coleman was a huge fan of PrEP and apparently has his entire staff on PrEP (like some shady porn producer!!). It's great that the medication exists nowadays, but in a romance, I don't like the message too much.  And let's not forget the interesting staff recruiting methods: Camp staff are kind of encouraged to have sex with guests. And the guys who go there to work apparently want exactly that. As Austin puts it: "I come here for the sex anyway." So... do these guys realize they are actually prostitutes or does that not even register with them? And who the hell hired Trey - the only real antagonist in this story?!  By the way, I am super interested in the next book in the series: I have quite an intense urge to see Austin fall in love and settle down. I'd love to get some insight into his mind. Austin is the camp's most promiscuous staff member. Still, I found him to be very likable. I think he would make an extremely interesting romance hero in his own book. I really want to meet the guy who will make him lose his heart.   I  also gotta say, this book is skirting very closely on the edge of reality. It is definitely an interesting read if you want to dive into the community of the more promiscuous type of gay men. It also mentions how lonely such a life actually is, having a different guy in bed every night, thinking about how much you like him, wondering how your lives might align even beyond a weekend of 'fun' and then finding him the next day making out with another guy, breaking your heart. A never-ending string of tragic 'camp romances'.   And amidst this outrageous party scene, Luke and Coleman did not stray and were drawn to each other (instead of any of the hundreds of other gay men who tried to seduce them). That somehow gave their romance a lot of pull. Also, despite the fact that the plot only spans over a few days, it never felt like instalove. The writing is absolutely spot on and the literature and pop culture references were a true joy. All in all, an extremely entertaining read with a few points that had me gulp, but I will definitely read more books in this series and highly recommend it, it's absolutely unique. Plus, yeah, I find these muscle bears insanely hot. Guilty as charged.  4.5 stars!

  2. 5 out of 5

    ~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~

    Setting a romance in the middle of a nudist "camp" for gay men where everyone is drunk and having sex with random people in public places at all times of the day and night is an odd choice. I have to admit some of the descriptions of hairy chests, muscular thighs, long dicks, and so on were too much for me. The story at times veered into bad 70s porn territory. That being said, this book transcends the campy setting and focuses on two very different men with hard-knock pasts who may be lonely bu Setting a romance in the middle of a nudist "camp" for gay men where everyone is drunk and having sex with random people in public places at all times of the day and night is an odd choice. I have to admit some of the descriptions of hairy chests, muscular thighs, long dicks, and so on were too much for me. The story at times veered into bad 70s porn territory. That being said, this book transcends the campy setting and focuses on two very different men with hard-knock pasts who may be lonely but haven't given up hope. I loved both MCs. Coleman is a hunk of a man and all bear. He's stoic and doesn't talk much, but he works damn hard running Bear Camp and is gracious to all the guests. Luke is a bit of a drifter, a musician who's lost his way. He appears at Bear Camp hoping for some quick cash, not anticipating the force that is Coleman Sawyer. The sex scenes are raw and involve all four senses. Slade James has an earthy, evocative writing style I quite like. The story is told from a dual POV, and the men's voices sound distinct. Grumpy Bear takes place over the course of four days. I wasn't pleased with the way Luke left, but I understood why he made the decisions he did. It wasn't up to Coleman to talk Luke out of following his dreams, even if those dreams had long become stale. I recommend downloading the bonus epilogue set a year later, which is all kinds of sweet and romantic. I will definitely be reading the next book in the series.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Florence .

    5 ‘’What. Do. You. Want?” Him. Here. With me’’ stars Look, I love bears, a clothing optional camp for bears sounds like the start of all of my fantasies. So it was kind of a given that I would like this book but I didn’t expected to love it as much as I did. I can’t even explain how much this book surprised me. I read the prequel novella and I enjoyed it but I didn’t think I would fall in love with this book as much as I did. This is Slade James’ first full length novel and Holy. Fucking. Shit. I 5 ‘’What. Do. You. Want?” Him. Here. With me’’ stars Look, I love bears, a clothing optional camp for bears sounds like the start of all of my fantasies. So it was kind of a given that I would like this book but I didn’t expected to love it as much as I did. I can’t even explain how much this book surprised me. I read the prequel novella and I enjoyed it but I didn’t think I would fall in love with this book as much as I did. This is Slade James’ first full length novel and Holy. Fucking. Shit. I have no clue how this is his first full length novel because the writting is so damn good, like really fucking brillant. In short, this book was perfect, so damn perfect. It hit all of my buttons and it made me really happy reading it, and then it crushed me and made me cry, and it ended up making me so fucking happy by the end. It just just so fucking perfect for me. I have no clue how to explain how perfect for me this book was, but I will try. Brief summary: Luke Cody is 27 years old and he’s about to be homeless and he promised himself that he would never sacrifice himself for a man again and that he would do something with music because that is what makes him happy. He meets a man who works at a clothing optional camp for bears (named Bear Camp) and the man says that he could get him a job there for a few days, so he goes with him. That is when Luke meets Coleman Sawyer, who is 40 years old and a very rough and grumpy man who doesn’t seem to be really happy with his life and he’s also the owner of Bear Camp. That is when sparks fly and they fall in love. — The truth was… my life had already been changed. For a few brief days, it had been perfect. It wasn’t anything I would’ve dreamed of or pursued because I could never have imagined there was this devastatingly gorgeous man named Coleman Sawyer whose tiny shack at a campground in the North Georgia mountains would be the happiest home I’d ever known. — First, god did I love Coleman. I love a good grumpy man and he was such a good one. I loved when he finally opened up to Luke and we got to see what made him the man he is today. He’s such a good man and he was so willing to do everything in his power to make his camp the best it can be. He was just so perfect to me. Second, I also really fucking loved Luke. I liked how he started by being so lost and not knowing where his place in the world is and how he was so determined to chase music because he thought that it was all that could make him happy. I loved how he realized that there was more to his future than his music and how he found his home at the camp with the gang and Coleman. Third, I loved them together so much. They were such a good foil for each other. Luke was all sunshine and happiness and so talktative and he matched Coleman’s grumpy attitude so well. These two are just so fucking perfect for each other. Fourth, I really loved the setting. I really liked how the camp was described. It was described so well that it was easy for me to picture the camp in my head and see the different locations and how they look like. It really felt like I was looking at pictures of the camp due to how it was described. I really loved that. Fifth, I really love good banter, snark and puns. And this book had so much of all of those and it made the book so much fun to read. I really fucking loved that part. Sixth, I have said it before and I will say it again, I always love a good sweet and fluffy book, with very low angst and maybe some hurt/comfort thrown in. And this was exactly that, there was some hurt/comfort which was really fucking good. But mostly it was just fluffy and I adored it so much for it. Seventh, I am very vocal about the fact that I dislike the break up at 75% trope. And it kind of happened here but I will let it slide because it wasn’t really a break up and it really made sense in the context of the book. Also instead of making it angry like they normally do, it just made me cry for like 15% straight, it hit me so fucking hard and I don’t really know why, I just felt like I could understand how they were feeling so well that it made me really emotional for both of them. Also the getting back together was so so perfect, I adored it very much. Eighth, the sex was really fucking hot. I loved how the sex scenes were written, it was easy for me to imagine how everything was happening and they were just really damn hot. Also, I loved how they both had body hair and how it was such a big part of the sex, I really fucking loved that. I’m not sure that my all of my babbling helped to convey how much I loved this book, but fuck, it was just fucking perfect for me and everything I wanted. I received an ARC of this book in exchange of my honest opinion

  4. 4 out of 5

    Papie

    This book was such a fun surprise! The blurb and the setting had me expecting a cheesy porno. Instead I got a sweet slow-burn romance. Yes, slow-burn, this is shockingly not erotica. I saw all the five star reviews but still didn’t get it. I adored the Grumpy bear, Sunny surfer (but not a surfer) opposites we got. Sawyer is jaded and grumpy, and does not hook up with his employees. Luke is sweet and fun, and does not hook up period. Some bad decisions and crap people left him with just his music This book was such a fun surprise! The blurb and the setting had me expecting a cheesy porno. Instead I got a sweet slow-burn romance. Yes, slow-burn, this is shockingly not erotica. I saw all the five star reviews but still didn’t get it. I adored the Grumpy bear, Sunny surfer (but not a surfer) opposites we got. Sawyer is jaded and grumpy, and does not hook up with his employees. Luke is sweet and fun, and does not hook up period. Some bad decisions and crap people left him with just his music and his guitar. We get the always fun “only one bed” trope. With instant attraction. But they fight it and they hold off each other until passed the 50% mark. It was sweet and cute. I loved the camp, the guests, the workers. The descriptions are fun and real and give you the background vibe and mood. Sex everywhere. 😂 It was instalove, they fell really hard in just a few days, but that part was believable. The ending disappointed me a little, because I felt like Luke was just repeating his pattern, and it was just too much too fast. I can’t wait for the next book in this series!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Cadiva

    This book is as lush as the cover Slade James' Bear Camp series, standing at a novella and now this book, is shaping up to be an absolute cracker. I loved Uncut Wood, but with Grumpy Bear, he's written a truly beautiful romance between two guys who shouldn't ever work on the surface. However, the secret as to why they do is revealed slowly as both Coleman and Luke realise the answers they've been searching for can be found if they're just willing to risk their hearts. The sense of found family is This book is as lush as the cover Slade James' Bear Camp series, standing at a novella and now this book, is shaping up to be an absolute cracker. I loved Uncut Wood, but with Grumpy Bear, he's written a truly beautiful romance between two guys who shouldn't ever work on the surface. However, the secret as to why they do is revealed slowly as both Coleman and Luke realise the answers they've been searching for can be found if they're just willing to risk their hearts. The sense of found family is also strong in this series, as is the humour. It has a steam level which is surprisingly sweet, but perhaps not as overtly sexual as expected given the nature of the setting. It works perfectly well, they connect emotionally at a deeper level than just the instance of a chemical attraction. While this narrative has a short timeline, it manages to avoid feeling like an unrealistic 'insta-love' imho. There is a draw between them from the off and it gets stronger the more time they spend together and the more conversation they have. Coleman might appear to be the grumpy one, but really he's just looking for someone to trust his heart with. Loved it!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Gustaf

    Oh, be still my heart. This book was fantastic! I've listened to every episode of this authors podcast and I've heard him talking about this every now and then, eagerly waiting for it to be released. And here we are. I was a little scared going in, what if I didn't like it? I wanted to like it. Well, no need to worry because I absolutely loved it. Sawyer and Luke just effortlessly fit together. There wasn't a question about where they were headed. It was clear for the reader from a very early po Oh, be still my heart. This book was fantastic! I've listened to every episode of this authors podcast and I've heard him talking about this every now and then, eagerly waiting for it to be released. And here we are. I was a little scared going in, what if I didn't like it? I wanted to like it. Well, no need to worry because I absolutely loved it. Sawyer and Luke just effortlessly fit together. There wasn't a question about where they were headed. It was clear for the reader from a very early point in the book. I enjoyed that. No forced drama, nothing over the top happening, just two men meeting and falling in love. While this book only takes place during a few days, it doesn't feel like an insta love story (but hey, I love them insta love stories), they talk and connect on a level that makes it feel entirely believable. However, what I loved the most about this book was how authentic it felt. You could tell that this book is written by a gay man. It was so refreshing. I loved the clothing optional camp and how he described a part of gay culture that's not as accepted as other parts of the gay culture. Kudos, kudos, kudos.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    This one is a tough one to rate for me. On the one hand I really liked the lightness of this, and I loved the idea of a clothing optional bear camp. On the other hand I had times when I felt like there was something missing about the romance. I had trouble connecting to the characters. And I'm not even sure why. I did really like them and they did feel authentic. But for some reason I wasn't totally into it. I can totally see why everyone loved this though. It was a light book with an easy romance This one is a tough one to rate for me. On the one hand I really liked the lightness of this, and I loved the idea of a clothing optional bear camp. On the other hand I had times when I felt like there was something missing about the romance. I had trouble connecting to the characters. And I'm not even sure why. I did really like them and they did feel authentic. But for some reason I wasn't totally into it. I can totally see why everyone loved this though. It was a light book with an easy romance (not completely without hurdles). So I'll go with 3 stars. I'm not sure yet if I will try more books in the series.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ana Nimity

    When I finished this book, I had that feeling. The one where it was SO GOOD I just had to tell someone about it. I got an arc, so it's not out yet and I can't go throwing a link up in a rec group, but I'm putting anyone who's looking at this on notice - you should read this book! It's got instalove that doesn't really feel like instalove. It's got the size difference trope, the grumpy one melts for the sunshine one trope, the aspiring musician trope, and a bit of hurt-comfort wrapped up in South When I finished this book, I had that feeling. The one where it was SO GOOD I just had to tell someone about it. I got an arc, so it's not out yet and I can't go throwing a link up in a rec group, but I'm putting anyone who's looking at this on notice - you should read this book! It's got instalove that doesn't really feel like instalove. It's got the size difference trope, the grumpy one melts for the sunshine one trope, the aspiring musician trope, and a bit of hurt-comfort wrapped up in Southern-fried gay found family. There's a modest age gap, too, (40-27) one that shows age is more about where you are in life than how many birthdays you've celebrated, and home is not so much a place as it is a feeling. I find it difficult to believe this is Slade James' debut novel as his writing is gorgeous and he has impeccable timing. Several scenes made me teeter perilously close to tears, only to be brought back from the edge by comic relief - I think my favorite was, "A big guy in a Winnie the Pooh T-shirt - with no pants - felt me." I'm not a particular fan of bears, nothing against them. However, I didn't choose the book because bears are my catnip, but you don't have to be to enjoy this funny, smart, touching, sexy, HOT book, along with the accompanying novella, The Uncut Wood, which I read as part of the Winter Wonderland extravaganza and am about to read again, this time with context. I hope Slade's got the next one close to finished, because I can't wait to go back to Bear Camp!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cal

    This book was insanely great from start to finish. I swooned a lot of times. If you haven’t read this, do yourself a favour and read it. Nothing really new just the same old narrative but the heart and soul are there.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Meep

    Enjoyed this more than expected, the setting a clothing optional Bear Camp seemed unlikely for romance. There were issues; sometimes the setting took over - porn on screen in the bar? Staff being there for the sex? PrEp? Rules getting broken? But if you avoid overthinking, there's actually a warm healthy vibe about it; heartbreak is mentioned but overall the tone felt more buoyent than sordid, everyone on the same page without shame. I liked big gruff artistic reader Coleman, Luke I found the des Enjoyed this more than expected, the setting a clothing optional Bear Camp seemed unlikely for romance. There were issues; sometimes the setting took over - porn on screen in the bar? Staff being there for the sex? PrEp? Rules getting broken? But if you avoid overthinking, there's actually a warm healthy vibe about it; heartbreak is mentioned but overall the tone felt more buoyent than sordid, everyone on the same page without shame. I liked big gruff artistic reader Coleman, Luke I found the descriptions harder to visualise. The end got a bit Hallmark scene, but I guess made sense. There's some feels along the way and full appreciation of Bear physique. There's no big drama llama, Trey is only perhipheral as a villian, and definitely felt behind the posing there was a future story for him. Liked Jim and Austen great friendship vibe from both. I wanted a little more of the relationship, but it sets the scene as first in a series. It was something different, fun, not certain I'll follow the whole series, but I will read more by the author.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Reflections of a Swede

    This is an honest to God gem! I can’t remember the last time I was so pleasantly surprised by a book. Not only is Grumpy Bear a super sweet story that gave me all the warm fuzzies, but it’s also extremely well written. And the detail and authentic feel of the story setting was damn impressive. This is an M/M, sunshine-grump, hurt-comfort, hairy Bear kind of romance. And yes, it is a romance even if the title and blurb might imply something smuttier … such as orgies in the woods. This is a low-angst This is an honest to God gem! I can’t remember the last time I was so pleasantly surprised by a book. Not only is Grumpy Bear a super sweet story that gave me all the warm fuzzies, but it’s also extremely well written. And the detail and authentic feel of the story setting was damn impressive. This is an M/M, sunshine-grump, hurt-comfort, hairy Bear kind of romance. And yes, it is a romance even if the title and blurb might imply something smuttier … such as orgies in the woods. This is a low-angst read, despite both of the MCs having some pretty shitty stuff happening in their backstories. I would even call it a happy-read. The feel of the entire story is – despite some minor dramatics – just so very warm and inclusive. The camp and everybody there are like one big family (dysfunctional relatives included) and I loved it. Most of the book takes place during a long weekend, and despite the short time-frame, the connection between Luke and Sawyer never felt rushed. It felt like an organically growing affection and was just so very sweet. So, I really, really loved this story. Luke is, despite his crappy circumstances, a positive and kind person. He’s struggling, wanting to follow his dream of making music, but for now he’s just happy to stay off the streets. Still, he’s willing to risk his heart when he meets Sawyer. And Sawyer, big Bear as he is, is a teddy-bear at heart. A teddy-bear who can’t express himself for shit. The contrast between Luke and Sawyer was utterly charming. Luke prattles on when he’s nervous, beating himself up internally for his lack of filter. While Sawyer is the monosyllabic type beating himself up for not saying more. They’re adorable. Apart from really liking the story itself, I admit I’m equally impressed by James’ writing skills. I mean, come on. Who expects this kind of high-quality writing from a story about a gay Bear camp? Not me, that’s for sure. I expected to be entertained and to enjoy some steamy scenes, but now I’m in actual awe. And it’s so obvious that James’ knows what he’s talking about. The camp, its guests and inhabitants, the everyday minutiae of managing a camp ground. It’s so very authentic without being unnecessarily detailed or long-winded. I’ve read way too many books where it’s obvious the authors skipped doing proper research and tries to half-ass it, making things up or just glossing over. And it annoys the hell out of me because that kind of incompetence can ruin an otherwise fine read. Worldbuilding matters, and in that aspect, James kills it! So why won’t I give this book a 5-star rating? Well, I was going to. But I try to be as consistent as possible when rating books, and one of my criteria for a fiver is that I can see myself re-reading it in the future. And I won’t be re-reading Grumpy Bear because of personal tastes. Let’s just say that the intimate scenes were a bit too hairy for my liking and leave it at that. Fur-lovers, though, they will adore this story! I will, however, without a doubt, keep an eye out for more of Slade James’ books because his writing was bloody brilliant. https://reflectionsofaswedishgirl.blo... * A free copy of this book was provided by Gay Romance Reviews

  12. 4 out of 5

    AussieMum

    4.5 stars I knew I was lacking in the social-skills department. My resting bitch face was more a get-off-my-lawn look. Oh, how I love a grumpy bear. But there’s so much more than that here beneath the surface. It’s a rare book that keeps me smiling when the connection between the two MC is lightening fast. But this book is my exception. I barely knew who he was, but I couldn’t stop thinking ‘Here he is at last’. This book was fun. I loved all the pop-culture references and the more obscur 4.5 stars I knew I was lacking in the social-skills department. My resting bitch face was more a get-off-my-lawn look. Oh, how I love a grumpy bear. But there’s so much more than that here beneath the surface. It’s a rare book that keeps me smiling when the connection between the two MC is lightening fast. But this book is my exception. I barely knew who he was, but I couldn’t stop thinking ‘Here he is at last’. This book was fun. I loved all the pop-culture references and the more obscure ones. I loved the setting, the secondary characters and especially “Karen Walker” the dog. This whole book just worked for me. I didn’t want to put it down. Can’t wait for Austin’s book. And now I’m off to read the prequel.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Agla

    I enjoyed this one, I wanted to love it but I only liked it a lot. It is a case of "it's me not the book" because I did not get most of references to pop culture which made it difficult to stay in the story. The timeline was too short for me, everything happened too fast, not the sex (this could have happened quicker actually) but the life altering decisions. The "villain" lacked a personality and depth so I was kind of mwa about him. I liked the camp but I had a hard time visualizing it because I enjoyed this one, I wanted to love it but I only liked it a lot. It is a case of "it's me not the book" because I did not get most of references to pop culture which made it difficult to stay in the story. The timeline was too short for me, everything happened too fast, not the sex (this could have happened quicker actually) but the life altering decisions. The "villain" lacked a personality and depth so I was kind of mwa about him. I liked the camp but I had a hard time visualizing it because the writing style did not really gel with me. The two MCs were well suited and I was rooting for them, they were cute and were well drawn out. I did not find Coleman that grumpy, he is said to be grumpy and not really that talkative but that did not really come through to me. The 3rd act was kind of predictable and unnecessary in my opinion. I still enjoyed it because they were very cute and I will continue on with the series. I still recommend it because if the writing style suits you and you get the references to pop culture I'm sure you will have a blast :)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    This was a really enjoyable opposites attract story, with real emotion to it. The romance takes place over a long weekend with a bit of forced proximity and a unique setting. Coleman and Luke forge such a great connection despite Coleman's reticence. I loved that they built such a good relationship outside of their physical attraction and with the dual POV we really get to know each of them. I'm glad to have found a new author that hooked me from the start and I'll be looking forward to more in This was a really enjoyable opposites attract story, with real emotion to it. The romance takes place over a long weekend with a bit of forced proximity and a unique setting. Coleman and Luke forge such a great connection despite Coleman's reticence. I loved that they built such a good relationship outside of their physical attraction and with the dual POV we really get to know each of them. I'm glad to have found a new author that hooked me from the start and I'll be looking forward to more in this series.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ed Davis

    Sexy fun read. I loved this book. It’s low angst and lots of sexy fun. This is a feel good read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    suebee ~Always Reading~

    I loved this! First of all, finding a new author is so exciting for me. I never know if I’ll enjoy their writing style but I somehow knew I’d love Slade James. I was looking forward to reading this from the minute I read the blurb and I wasn’t disappointed. This book is about Sawyer who is the owner of Bear Camp, a clothing optional camp for men. Sawyer is a very grumpy man but there is so much more to him than what his employees and guests see. He left his years of hooking up behind him to take I loved this! First of all, finding a new author is so exciting for me. I never know if I’ll enjoy their writing style but I somehow knew I’d love Slade James. I was looking forward to reading this from the minute I read the blurb and I wasn’t disappointed. This book is about Sawyer who is the owner of Bear Camp, a clothing optional camp for men. Sawyer is a very grumpy man but there is so much more to him than what his employees and guests see. He left his years of hooking up behind him to take on the responsibility of owning Bear Camp after his partner died. He really is lonely even though he’s surrounded by men constantly. Luke is a musician who is down on his luck. He has nowhere to live and no job so when he meets Austin, who tells him about the possibility of a weekend of work at Bear Camp, he joins him. One weekend of free room and board & free meals plus the possibility of making a connection with someone who can offer him a job is too good to pass up. When Sawyer first sees Luke playing his guitar, he sees a young hippie musician and basically just wants no part. But he also can’t help but be intrigued. He winds up helping Luke set up his tent and when Luke’s in need of shelter during a huge storm offers his cabin and bed to Luke. There is this constant nervous energy between the two men and the attraction is immediate. Sawyer certainly doesn’t want to act on anything with an employee and Luke thinks he’s not even an option for Sawyer. The time they spend working together is full of a push and pull and I just wanted them to go for it but I was also just enjoying the build up so much. The anticipation was so good! It was a slow burn that you knew would just burst into flames. The entire setting is so different from other books and these two lost men finding each other among all these other men was so special. I loved how they each had a lot of history that was similar in some ways but also very different. They both found a place they belonged in Bear Camp and they just fit together. After I finished this I immediately read the short story, Uncut Wood that takes places a few months prior. That was also a great read. I loved the writing, Slade James immediately immersed me in the stories and created so many characters that intrigued me. Austin is getting his book next and that is very exciting. I loved Jim also and I hope we get more of his story. If I could rate this more than 5 stars I would. ARC received in exchange for an honest review

  17. 4 out of 5

    Em Jay

    2.75 ⭐️⭐️⭐️ This was a low stakes, easy read. It’s not as porny as it the title makes it seem, but there were a lot of elements that I think were simply not for me. Like I’m pretty sure the term “Bear” appears no less than 500 times. I get it babes they’re all bears, or cubs or otters or some other animal iteration I need to be reminded of 20 times a chapter. Also, with the sex there was some interesting dynamics... I’m very observant I’ll say when it comes to actions and sequence of events in se 2.75 ⭐️⭐️⭐️ This was a low stakes, easy read. It’s not as porny as it the title makes it seem, but there were a lot of elements that I think were simply not for me. Like I’m pretty sure the term “Bear” appears no less than 500 times. I get it babes they’re all bears, or cubs or otters or some other animal iteration I need to be reminded of 20 times a chapter. Also, with the sex there was some interesting dynamics... I’m very observant I’ll say when it comes to actions and sequence of events in sex scenes. When forms of a— to m——, and descriptions of those particular tastes and smells, are included my brain starts spinning into overdrive and not in a good way. Again, a ME thing. The plot was very simple, but I did enjoy the characters. Probably a little too fluffy and corny for my tastes, but I think a lot of MM Romance fans will have fun reading this one.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Meghan Macko

    Slade James totally killed it with this book! I loved Grumpy Bear so much! I couldn't put it down. I also totally love the setting for the series. Mountains and rivers are my favorite and Bear Camp sounds like an oasis. I love that places like this exist for gay men and this series is letting me live vicariously. I’ve been listening to Slade’s MM Romance podcast and was rooting for him and really hoping his book would be good. I was SO not disappointed. It was funny, emotional, romantic, and ste Slade James totally killed it with this book! I loved Grumpy Bear so much! I couldn't put it down. I also totally love the setting for the series. Mountains and rivers are my favorite and Bear Camp sounds like an oasis. I love that places like this exist for gay men and this series is letting me live vicariously. I’ve been listening to Slade’s MM Romance podcast and was rooting for him and really hoping his book would be good. I was SO not disappointed. It was funny, emotional, romantic, and steamy. I love that Luke is this surfer/cowboy/hippie looking guy, not just the stereotypical twink type you always see set up with a bear in MM romance. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good twink, but it’s nice to have the variety! I’m so excited about this series and can’t wait for the next one!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rock N Read

    Have you ever read a book where you couldn't decide if you loved the main characters or the side characters more? This was Grumpy Bear for me. From the first few pages I fell in love with Austin, and even in the brief appearances throughout Sawyer (Coleman) and Luke's story, I just knew he was going to be my favorite. Enter Jim. By far the most humorous and ridiculous character ever. Seriously, I love him. I want more of him. Okay, back to the actual MCs (Sawyer & Luke). I rather enjoyed Grumpy Be Have you ever read a book where you couldn't decide if you loved the main characters or the side characters more? This was Grumpy Bear for me. From the first few pages I fell in love with Austin, and even in the brief appearances throughout Sawyer (Coleman) and Luke's story, I just knew he was going to be my favorite. Enter Jim. By far the most humorous and ridiculous character ever. Seriously, I love him. I want more of him. Okay, back to the actual MCs (Sawyer & Luke). I rather enjoyed Grumpy Bear. After all, I started this series by reading the short story published in January and I just knew that I was going to be addicted to the series as a whole. I mean, come on. A clothing-optional gay campground infested with bears of all kinds? Yeah, I'm here for it. Slade James is already an amazing author. Not only bringing a unique setting for this interconnected series but some truly brilliant and beautiful writing. Although there were a few areas that felt repetitive in the character thoughts/internal monologuing/etc. where I almost found myself skimming. However, the emotional connection between the two MCs is what kept me going and finding little gems like: "He was just...hugging me like he'd been missing me for ages. And I thought it, I sent it out to him with my mind and my body, without saying a word, I've missed you too." I mean how could you not melt into a swoony little pile of mush at that? I'm not a huge fan of the breakup towards the back 3/4 of novels in general, but this one didn't feel like a stupid breakup for even less valid reasons. It was important to both of the characters to have this moment of exploration, for themselves, for each other, for their HEA. Great story, and yes I am absolutely looking forward to the rest of the series. 4/5 stars.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Miriah

    3.5 Stars I wanted to like this one, but really did not connect with the characters or the setting. Clearly it is a case of me, not you, because other reviewers are loving this story. I do think it’s extremely important to have more gay romance written by men though, and I did enjoy the story enough to come back for more. The only thing I didn’t like about the book was the sex scene. I never want to see the word “brine” used for precome again. And while I understand what the author was going for, 3.5 Stars I wanted to like this one, but really did not connect with the characters or the setting. Clearly it is a case of me, not you, because other reviewers are loving this story. I do think it’s extremely important to have more gay romance written by men though, and I did enjoy the story enough to come back for more. The only thing I didn’t like about the book was the sex scene. I never want to see the word “brine” used for precome again. And while I understand what the author was going for, “wiping the wet smear of him from my beard” after one character was eating the other’s ass really threw me off. I didn’t even know Luke was enjoying the first time they had sex until the end of the scene when he came. Lastly, this is this author’s first full length novel to be published and the writing is so well done, you’d never know it. The ending was also very nice.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Grace

    3.5 rounded up I went into this veeeeery skeptical, as the setup does not at all sound like my bag, but I was curious after all the positive reviews and ended up being pleasantly surprised. The concept was written in a way that didn't feel squicky or absolutely unrealistic (these camps actually do exist...) and I generally enjoyed the characters. I thought the deep feelings development felt a little rushed, something about the writing in the sex scenes didn't totally work for me, and the endings 3.5 rounded up I went into this veeeeery skeptical, as the setup does not at all sound like my bag, but I was curious after all the positive reviews and ended up being pleasantly surprised. The concept was written in a way that didn't feel squicky or absolutely unrealistic (these camps actually do exist...) and I generally enjoyed the characters. I thought the deep feelings development felt a little rushed, something about the writing in the sex scenes didn't totally work for me, and the endings could have been finessed a bit more, but overall I enjoyed for a bit of light reading, and I'll definitely keep an eye out for book two!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ruth Kamau

    I was so excited for this read, and I’m not sure what I expected but it wasn’t this. I liked the story just fine, but it didn’t spark any particular feelings in me. In the end I’m not really sure I felt anything for them being together or apart. But the Bear Camp scene was absolutely thrilling.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    4.5 stars When I first read the description, I was not sure...naked bear-type men...camp. But I will freely admit that I loved this book and cannot wait for more at Bear Camp! Sawyer runs a clothing-optional men's camp and there is always work to be done and issues to deal with. So he does not spend a lot of time on niceties. And he does not really do hookups or relationships. He is big, burly, stoic, intimidating, and truly a grumpy bear. Luke Cody is just looking for a break, even if it only pro 4.5 stars When I first read the description, I was not sure...naked bear-type men...camp. But I will freely admit that I loved this book and cannot wait for more at Bear Camp! Sawyer runs a clothing-optional men's camp and there is always work to be done and issues to deal with. So he does not spend a lot of time on niceties. And he does not really do hookups or relationships. He is big, burly, stoic, intimidating, and truly a grumpy bear. Luke Cody is just looking for a break, even if it only provides him some food, cash, and lodging for one weekend. He has just made the trek from Cali to Edgewood to follow his music dreams, but he is almost out of money and has no prospects. His new friend, Austin, is sure he can get him at least a weekend gig at the camp. Luke is allowed to stay, but the situation is not perfect. It involves an irritated bear making him follow him around, a tent, a monsoon, and there is a lot of testosterone around. Sawyer is adamant Luke is absolutely not his type, but somewhere along the way a bit of a protective instinct starts to emerge as well as an unwanted attraction. Luke seems to naturally draw Sawyer in and get under his skin. These two are so opposite, but so endearing. Dark cloud vs. sunshine. Do not engage vs. can't shut up. Musclebound bear vs. lanky otter. Hairy beast vs. Hippie Surfer Cowboy. Set in his life and just trying to find his way. But they also share a few common interests and are both fantasy book nerds and have an artistic flair. And they somehow find a connection they never expected. But they both have issues stemming from their pasts, and they seem to be indifferent phases of life. Luke is in limbo and determined to follow his dreams wherever they take him. And Sawyer has obligations that keep him rooted. Even though it was mostly on a weekend, it did not feel rushed because I believed in their connection and it seemed to happen organically. This is an engaging, witty, hot, emotional, opposites-attract, M/M romance set at a men's camp. The setting feels so real and I could picture all the different areas of camp. I freakin' loved both Sawyer and Luke. They are just so layered, so likable, and have such good hearts that I could not help but root for them. The side characters are fun, quirky, and at times dramatic. Slade James' writing style flows well and sucks you into this vivid world. It is hard to believe this is his first full-length novel because it is so well done. And it feels like a book written by a man with experience from a real man's perspective. For example, during the sex scenes there is a lot of talk about body hair and armpit sniffing etc. being sexy. So it made it more edgy and raw at times. But the emotional connection is as important as the physical. I already enjoyed the novella,The Uncut Wood about Hank and Gunner. I have definitely found a new author to follow. I am looking forward to more with Austin. I would love to see sweet Jim find him some love. Follow Me: Blog: Reviews by Tammy & Kim (Rachel and Jay) | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

  24. 4 out of 5

    Doug Reyes

    Yes! Yes! Yes! A beautiful opposites attract, love at first sight story. The Bear & Otter trope gets me every time, but then, that’s my life so of course I feel it. My one complaint; why is this set at a ‘clothing optional’ camp. It added nothing to the story. A bunch of bears partying all weekend at a luxe camp in the woods? There’s going to be mischief, clothes or no. My original fear on reading this in the synopsis brought to mind visions of old Julius comics depicting impossibly endowed daddy b Yes! Yes! Yes! A beautiful opposites attract, love at first sight story. The Bear & Otter trope gets me every time, but then, that’s my life so of course I feel it. My one complaint; why is this set at a ‘clothing optional’ camp. It added nothing to the story. A bunch of bears partying all weekend at a luxe camp in the woods? There’s going to be mischief, clothes or no. My original fear on reading this in the synopsis brought to mind visions of old Julius comics depicting impossibly endowed daddy bears penetrating teenagers on every page. And get this: this is really well written. Imagine my surprise and delight. Here’s one that’s not written at an elementary school reading level. The narrative is smooth, readable, the characters are fun. There’s just the perfect amount of angst and sexual tension, and the buildup to the inevitable is luscious. The sex scenes are hot without being wordy and awkward. Believable. I know ;). “Luke.” He didn’t say my name much, and I’d never heard him say it with desperate wonder. “Yeah?” “This hole.” “Yeah?” “It’s fucking perfect.” Right. Rollercoaster of emotions going on here (at points I shifted positions in my reading chair,) and at the story’s conclusion I got just a bit misty. “All the miles and minutes getting used to breathing with my heart broken... I would have managed it. I would’ve gotten better at it. Eventually.” Been there. I will read anything this author writes. Bring it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Amy B.

    4.5 Stars Rounding up because this one got me out of my book slump! I’ve had the hardest time getting into pretty much any book lately; this popped up on my Goodreads feed several times and I was intrigued enough to give it a try...and stayed up until 1am to finish it, which I haven’t done in month! This is a low-angst, well written story about a grumpy owner of a gay resort in the woods of Georgia and a down-on-his-luck musician who shows up for a weekend of work. While this is instalove (“bear c 4.5 Stars Rounding up because this one got me out of my book slump! I’ve had the hardest time getting into pretty much any book lately; this popped up on my Goodreads feed several times and I was intrigued enough to give it a try...and stayed up until 1am to finish it, which I haven’t done in month! This is a low-angst, well written story about a grumpy owner of a gay resort in the woods of Georgia and a down-on-his-luck musician who shows up for a weekend of work. While this is instalove (“bear camp love” is a real thing in this world, and having attended summer camp I can attest that relationships form and deepen quickly, but rarely survive the distance of the real world), the guys actually spend time together talking and getting to know one another, so it didn’t feel that insta. There’s no big misunderstanding or miscommunication, there’s just a brief hiccup before things resolve. The setting of Bear Camp was a lot of fun, and the author took his obvious first-hand experience of gay resorts and applied it here- the details of the camp were well-covered without getting boring. Supporting characters were great, and the book and Bear Camp have a nice, easy, happy vibe.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    4.5 stars. I loved this book!!! It’s well-paced, is intense, realistic, romantic, has characters discovering themselves, sexy as hell and unpredictable. I would definitely recommend it. Why not 5 stars? Well, there was a fair bit about smell (that put me off a wee bit) and although it was emotional and I really enjoyed the characters and was rooting for them, I didn’t laugh, cry or die of embarrassment and I want that if I have wholly connected with a book. But it’s bloody well fab, please download 4.5 stars. I loved this book!!! It’s well-paced, is intense, realistic, romantic, has characters discovering themselves, sexy as hell and unpredictable. I would definitely recommend it. Why not 5 stars? Well, there was a fair bit about smell (that put me off a wee bit) and although it was emotional and I really enjoyed the characters and was rooting for them, I didn’t laugh, cry or die of embarrassment and I want that if I have wholly connected with a book. But it’s bloody well fab, please download it now. Oh and it’s KU which is always nice!! 😉😙 Happy Valentines. Xxx

  27. 5 out of 5

    RandomHeart

    Slade James is my new favorite author! This book is the first full length in a new series by a new author and all I can say is please sir, may I have another? The writing was phenomenal I’m struggling with how he’s so new to the scene! The series follows men who either work,run, own or visit a clothing optional campground for gay men. This book is about Sawyer the grumpy owner of the campground and Luke a kind and sweet homeless wanna be singer/songwriter who meets a guy (Austin who is adorable Slade James is my new favorite author! This book is the first full length in a new series by a new author and all I can say is please sir, may I have another? The writing was phenomenal I’m struggling with how he’s so new to the scene! The series follows men who either work,run, own or visit a clothing optional campground for gay men. This book is about Sawyer the grumpy owner of the campground and Luke a kind and sweet homeless wanna be singer/songwriter who meets a guy (Austin who is adorable and his books next yay!) and tags along to hopefully get a summer job and place to stay a bit to catch his breath, find his feet. Nothing happened the way I expected it to it wasn’t cheesy in any way, the sex scenes were smoking hot and not your typical cookie cutter scenes. There was mild angst but mostly I just really fell inlove with both these characters and this story and I’m hoping we are gonna get at least ten books about this place and these characters. Please Mr James write fast I already miss Bear Camp! * ARC received in exchange for an honest review *

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    LOVED!! Sweet, funny, gorgeous MCs, fabulous secondary characters, can't wait for the rest. Check out the bonus scene by signing up to the author's NL too. LOVED!! Sweet, funny, gorgeous MCs, fabulous secondary characters, can't wait for the rest. Check out the bonus scene by signing up to the author's NL too.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Wow, I liked this a lot! Interesting setting, great characters, fun supporting cast, no blatant sequel fodder shoved in my face, you can immediately tell it's written by a gay man, a sweet get-together, and fairly realistic, low-stakes issues that avoid being built on an Idiot Plot. I also really liked that it inhabited and celebrated gay subculture and community! I'm going to make some sweeping generalizations here, but I think that a lot of m/m romances written by women don't have that certain Wow, I liked this a lot! Interesting setting, great characters, fun supporting cast, no blatant sequel fodder shoved in my face, you can immediately tell it's written by a gay man, a sweet get-together, and fairly realistic, low-stakes issues that avoid being built on an Idiot Plot. I also really liked that it inhabited and celebrated gay subculture and community! I'm going to make some sweeping generalizations here, but I think that a lot of m/m romances written by women don't have that certain...flavor to them. Even if the women writing them are queer, they don't have that authentic nuance that's provided by a gay man who's been in the gay community. It's really refreshing to read stories informed by those experiences, especially as I am not a gay man myself.

  30. 4 out of 5

    J.P. Jackson

    I happen to have a thing for bears. Yeah, I know, I self-identify as one too. But I don’t know if that’s how others would see me. I’m on the shorter end of the scale, and thanks to some rather hearty, German peasant stock genes, I’ve got tree trunks for legs. But when a guy walks by, towering over me, who provokes an instant thought of, “Wow, what a bear of a man!” that’s where I just melt. That’s a bear for me. Big, burly, barrel-chested, furry, muscular, bearded bears. Can I get a “Hallelujah”, I happen to have a thing for bears. Yeah, I know, I self-identify as one too. But I don’t know if that’s how others would see me. I’m on the shorter end of the scale, and thanks to some rather hearty, German peasant stock genes, I’ve got tree trunks for legs. But when a guy walks by, towering over me, who provokes an instant thought of, “Wow, what a bear of a man!” that’s where I just melt. That’s a bear for me. Big, burly, barrel-chested, furry, muscular, bearded bears. Can I get a “Hallelujah”, “Amen”, and “Praise be” up in here? I realize bears are not everyone’s cup of tea, but it sure is mine. And since discovering M/M Romance, and reading through dozens of novels, I can attest that there is a definite lack of bear centered material. So imagine my excitement when I saw this book promo’d in my Facebook feeds. Click. That’s the sound of me instantly buying the book. Okay, enough about my initial excitement. But let me assure you that elation continued. Slade James is a ‘new to me’ author. So there’s always a small amount of hesitation going into uncharted waters. Within the first few pages, James had me as an instant fan. The story revolves around Coleman, the owner of Bear Camp, a clothing optional campground nestled in the rural mountains of Georgia. Luke Cody is a down-and-out musician who is overcoming a bumpy past, has nothing but his guitar and cell phone, and finds himself through circumstance to be working a temp job for the opening weekend of Bear Camp’s summer season. Romance books have a pretty predictable format. Boy meets boy. Boy really likes other boy. Flirtation and sexy-fun-times occur. Boy starts to fall for other boy. Then, trouble in paradise! Some obstacle looms its ugly head which makes you question whether or not the newly formed romance will work out. Inevitably, all is fine in end, and the two end up happily ever after, or at the very least, happily for now. Romance books are meant to take you out of your life, put you into a scenic setting, with gorgeous men, and in the end, allow you to walk out of their world feeling happy. It’s an escape. And hopefully, it left you a little horny too. James has taken Grumpy Bear into a highest level of Romance books. First, kudos for adding to bear content. Like I’ve already mentioned, it’s rare. Second, James has a way of weaving his words that created a beautiful backdrop for the story. I want to go to Bear Camp so bad! And that’s not me being a horn dog because of the naked bears running around, it’s because James’s description of the campground makes it magical. The landscape is fairy-tail beautiful, and James’s writing is clever and descriptive. Thirdly, I’m a salty old bitch. Making me laugh means you gotta come up with something smart. James had me laughing out loud several times through this book. The pop culture references had me yearning for my younger days. The fantasy literary mentions reminded me of many of the books I read in my youth. James also includes a number of tried and true country songs throughout the novel, ones I know and love. One line in particular, “In the immortal words of Miss Reba McEntire, why haven’t I heard from you?” . Lastly, the characters are pure gold. Coleman is the Grumpy Bear, one who you want to root for. As stoic as he is, you know he has a massive heart buried beneath those enormous, fur-covered pecs, and Luke’s backstory will make you want to wrap meaty, hairy, bear paws around him and protect him from all the crap that life often throws our way. In short, Grumpy Bear is a magical, beautifully told, sweet romance story that achieves the goal of allowing you to escape from reality and walk away from the book feeling just a little bit better about the real world. Oh, and it definitely left me horny. I’m looking forward to the rest of the Bear Camp series, and you can bet that I’ll be buying everything Slade James puts out. If I’m not mistaken, this is also a debut novel, so on many levels Mr. James, congrats!

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