Mar 092017
 

Purr M For Murder
by T.C. LoTempio

Starting Out as a Writer – Five Things You Should Know
by Toni LoTempio

One thing I hear a lot from new writers is what to expect, particularly if they are lucky enough to land an agent and even luckier to get offered a publishing contract.  Here are some points every writer should know:

#1: Writing is a job, like anything else, and requires commitment.  Whether you’re lucky enough to do it full time, or juggle it with a day job, you’re going to be at that computer at odd hours,on weekends,holidays, etc,  what with deadlines, edits, etc.  Your family and friends won’t understand deadlines or edits or why you seem to be glued to that chair and can’t make Aunt Louise’s 45th wedding anniversary party, but if you want to be successful, it’s vital you invest the time to make it so.  Sadly, the books don’t write themselves – they require time, patience and commitment.

#2: Whether you are traditionally or self-published, I can’t stress enough the importance of online presence.  In order for people to want to buy your book, they’ve got to know who you are and what you have to offer.  Get on Facebook, Twitter,Pinterest, LinkedIn, anywhere you can. Start a blog and begin to grow an audience.  Establish yourself as a writer/author with a good, solid fanbase.  Sales are the bottom line in publishing, and the only way to get sales is to entrench yourself with a solid fanbase. (Kind of like Kirstie Alley on Dancing with the Stars) J

#3:   Also in conjunction with #2 – Promotion is a dirty word, but it’s got to be done.  There’s a fine line between promotion and overkill, so be careful.   Grow your presence, don’t use Facebook, Twitter or your blog solely to self-promote your books.  Make Promotion a part of your online presence, rather than the focal point, or you may lose followers. Readers want to know something about you – your likes,dislikes, etc. It makes you “real” to them.  Out of these online “friendships” grow loyal followers!

#4:   Think before you post. You have opinions, sure, but don’t post anything on any social network about topics that are sure to anger someone. You don’t want to lose readers because you support a different Presidential candidate or on opposite sides of a timely issue, like birth control.  It’s just simpler to keep your views out of the public eye and keep a low profile.

#5:  If you haven’t already, grow a thick skin.  When you put your work out there, it’s only natural some will love it and others will hate it,and still others wont’ care one way or the other.  You’ll get glowing reviews and you’ll get others so bad you’ll want to crawl in a hole and pull it in after you.  Just remember – you can please some of the people some of the time, but not all of them all the time. Different tastes are what make up a world – just live and let live and get concentrating on your next book!

~Toni

Purr M for Murder: A Cat Rescue Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – North Carolina
Crooked Lane Books (March 14, 2017)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683310921
Kindle ASIN: B01N6P3WYP

Sydney McCall left behind an ex-fiancé and a New York advertising job to return home to Deer Park, North Carolina and help her sister, Kat, run the local animal shelter, Friendly Paws. Determined to save the shelter from financial trouble, Sydney and Kat organize a cat café fundraising event at a local coffee shop. Things are looking up until their landlord, Trowbridge Littleton, threatens to shut down the event. When Sydney drops by his art gallery to make peace, she finds Kat–along with Littleton’s dead body.

Local homicide detective Will Worthington–who just happens to be Sydney’s old high school crush–is highly suspicious of the sisters’ involvement. Desperate to clear their names from the suspect list, Sydney pounces on the investigation. With the help of one of the shelter cats, a savvy orange tabby named Toby, Sydney begins poking her nose into other local businesses whose owners may have benefited from Littleton’s death–until the killer notices she’s pawing a little too closely at the truth.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Purr M for Murder is a marvelous start for this new series!

Sydney McCall has come back to Deer Park to help her sister Kat do some major fundraising and promotion for the local animal shelter. Almost everyone is happy about their first scheduled fundraising event. Trowbridge Littleton is making a major fuss and wants the whole thing shutdown. You would think since he is their landlord he would be supportive. The girls make a plan to meet with him and try to convince him the project is a great idea. When Syd arrives at his gallery the next morning she finds Kat already there. She also finds their landlord dead.

Syd gets another surprise when the police show up. One of the detectives is Will Worthington, is her old high school crush. She is not sure if this is a good or a bad thing because his partner clearly thinks the sisters, specifically Kat, is the prime suspect. So with a little assistance of that darling cat on the cover Sydney is pawing around trying to find plenty of alternative suspects and save her sister but she is also putting herself in danger.

I loved everything about this story.  Friendly Paws Animal Shelter , a no-kill shelter, not only has friendly animals but friendly owners and volunteers. Their idea of bringing adoptable cats to a friend’s coffee shop for a pop up event sounds like so much fun. The entire town with the exception of Trowbridge Littleton seems to embrace the idea. But we find he is not a favorite with the community. There are many that are not too upset or surprised that the man is dead. The author gives us an abundance of suspects including his wife, his business partner and all of his tenants. Each character is unique and very enjoyable. They are all believable and the dialogue is spot on.

Now let me tell you about Toby. A handsome orange tabby who is a bit of a wanderer. Kat believes he is searching for his purrfect human companion and she thinks that may be Sydney. His wandering is a bit mysterious as he shows up in some unusual places. By the end of the story we see what a truly fantastic feline he is and if he does find his furr-ever home.

The pace of this book is quick. The mystery is well written and has several surprising twists taking us to a very exciting ending. There are some romantic sparks and funny scenes too. Add in the frisky felines and cuddly canines and you have a cozy mystery the will have you meowing for more. I can’t wait for the next book in this series!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author…..

While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic.  She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – the first volume, MEOW IF ITS MURDER, debuted Dec. 2, 2014. Followed by #2, CLAWS FOR ALARM.   #3, CRIME AND CATNIP, was released in December. She, Rocco and Maxx make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Catch up with them at www.tclotempio.net and www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com

Where to find them:

ROCCO’s blog      Website     Facebook 

Twitter: @RoccoBlogger

Purchase Link:

Amazon  B&N 
Also by T C. LoTempio

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Dec 222016
 

crime-and-catnip

Crime and Catnip (A Nick and Nora Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – California
Berkley Prime Crime (December 6, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425270226
E-Book ASIN: B01CZCW4ZY
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Synopsis

Crime and Catnip by T. C. LoTempio – Nick and Nora aren’t just pussyfooting around this time as they deal with a missing person’s case and murder.

While catering a gala for the Cruz Museum, Nora Charles agrees to look into the disappearance of director Violet Crenshaw’s niece, a case previously undertaken by her frisky feline friend Nick’s former owner, a private eye whose whereabouts are also currently unknown.

As Nora and her curious cat Nick pull at the string of clues, they begin to unravel a twisted tale of coded messages, theft, false identities, murder, and international espionage. Nora dares to hope that the labyrinth of leads will not only help them locate the missing young woman, but also solve the disappearance of the detective. That’s if Nora can stay alive long enough to find him…

INCLUDES DELICIOUS SANDWICH RECIPES

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Nick and Nora are back for the 3rd story in this series and they have their hands/paws full. Nora is still trying to track down human Nick, she is catering a huge gala and the director of the event has asked her to continue the case human Nick was on when he disappeared, and then of course there is a dead body found at the gala and maybe some missing jewels. Could all these things be tied together? You will have to read the book to find out.

Ms. LoTempio has written a very complex mystery for us to solve. Thankfully Nick, the cat, is there to help both us and Nora find and follow all the clues. He is one smart feline. I still think there is so much more to his story but events in this book have me rethinking my original theory. He and Nora along with Nick’s (the human) old partner have to work out secret codes that may lead to international espionage plus Nick (the cat) uses his unique talents to communicate with Nora and help her out of a few dicey situations. If she would just share her info with the hunky law enforcement officers that are prominent in her life before she goes too far… instead of after her life would be a bit safer. I do love the way they show up just after the “nick” of time.  All of these characters are so fun and unique.

One thing I have learned reading this series is the author loves to twist things up as much as she can. That is the reason that once you start reading it is very hard to stop. This one kept me up extra late and I needed a midnight snack too.

Nora runs her mother’s sandwich shop where she serves sandwiches named after actors and actresses. At the end of this book you will find recipes for the Hugh Jackman Sub and the Emma Stone Capri Sandwich, and many others are described within the story. My mouth was watering.

I love this series and each new story quickly becomes my favorite. There is a cliffhanger at the end that leaves me so excited for the next story to be released. Should be out in November or December of 2017. A whole year…I don’t like it but I can make it because I know good things come to those who wait. 🙂

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

fred-profile

About the Author…..

While Toni LoTempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic. She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – and in Spring 2017, the new CAT RESCUE mysteries from Crooked Lane! She, Rocco and company make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Catch up with them at www.tclotempio.com and www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com

Author Links

Where to find them:
ROCCO’s blog:
www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com

Website   Facebook    Goodreads   Twitter:@RoccoBlogger

About the Author…..

While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic. She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – and in Spring 2017, the new CAT RESCUE mysteries from Crooked Lane! She, Rocco and company make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Catch up with them at www.tclotempio.com and www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com

 

New Series coming in March 2017

GIVEAWAYThanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to giveaway!
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Dec 022016
 

9WbGnJTR
On Flashback Fridays I will share with you the books I was not able to review when they were first released that have been screaming at me from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.

claws-for-alarm
Claws for Alarm:
A Nick and Nora Mystery

Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – California
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (November 3, 2015)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425270219
E-Book ASIN: B00TY3ZKGI
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“The purrfect sleuthy duo”* is back, and this time murder hits close to home for Nora Charles and her partner Nick, a stealthy little feline gumshoe groomed to solve a shocking crime.

Since inheriting her mother’s sandwich shop, Nora Charles is more about hot grilled paninis than cold-blooded murder—until her sister Lacey is arrested. The victim, an esteemed art collector and Lacey’s bullying professor, was stabbed in the heart. Apparently, all over a lousy grade.

Off campus, things were just as dicey. The prof had an ex with secrets, a trophy wife set to inherit a fortune in masterworks, and a scorned student mistress. Going undercover, Nora realizes that investigating this crime is the biggest test of her sleuthing career. Because if she fails, even Nick’s animal instinct won’t be enough to rescue Lacey from a perfectly executed framing.

INCLUDES DELICIOUS SANDWICH RECIPES

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I thoroughly enjoy this author’s twist on The Thin Man as the theme for her mysteries.  In this case Nora is joined by a lovable cat named Nick and I believe there is more to this cat than just being lovable, he is a very special cat. A cat very savvy in figuring out clues and presenting them in very clear ways for Nora to understand.

In this 2nd installment of the series, Nora receives a call from her aunt telling her that her sister Lacey is in big trouble. One of her professors has been killed and Lacey was seen standing over his body with the murder weapon in her hand right before she fled the scene. The man wasn’t well liked and there have to be many more suspects. Nora and Nick set out to get their claws into the real killer and get her sister out of jail.

The author has given her readers another strong mystery to solve and thankfully Nick is there to move both the reader and Nora down the right path because there are twists that had us scratching our heads but later made perfect sense. She is also still trying to find out what happened to Nick the cat’s former owner Nick the private investigator. There are a couple of interesting developments.

All the characters are well developed including a man from Nora’s past and a very handsome FBI agent.  They do their best to keep Nora at her sandwich shop and out of their investigations but she is a pretty stubborn woman when she sets her mind on something, especially when it comes to trying to save her sister.

Speaking of the sandwich shop, there are recipes at the end of the story. You may want to start there and make yourself a sandwich before you begin reading. Sandwiches are described within the pages with their clever and catchy names. They will have your stomach growling and your mouth watching so it is better too be prepared than having to put the book down for a grocery run or a trip to the kitchen.

Great characters and a great plot means this book is a perfect escape!

I need to mention that you do not need to know anything about the movies or the original story by Dashiell Hammett to enjoy this story, but if you do this story is a must read. I used to watch the movies with my mom way back when. This story and the one before always bring up those fond memories. You can probably catch them somewhere on television if you want to check them out.  Also the next book in this series, Crime and Catnip hits store shelves December 6.

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

fred-profile

About the Author…..

While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic. She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – and in Spring 2017, the new CAT RESCUE mysteries from Crooked Lane! She, Rocco and company make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Catch up with them at www.tclotempio.com and www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com

 

New Series coming in March 2017

GIVEAWAY
I am giving away my review copy!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End December 16, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Dec 232014
 

special guest bluePlease help me welcome my last special guest of 2014! Toni LoTempio’s Meow If It’s Murder was released this month and it will leave you purring for more!

Toni LoTempio Credit to Clifton Animal Shelter

Why a Cat?

I’ve had quite a few people ask me why I chose to write a mystery series about a cat.

Well, the answer’s simple. I didn’t actually choose to do it…

I’ve been writing for most of my life, but never with an eye for publication until 1997. There followed a flurry of writing books – mostly my favorite genre, horror, where I tried very hard to be the next Stephen King. I ended up getting a few published, but through a small press. I still wasn’t where I wanted to be.

Next I started writing paranormals – mostly paranormal mysteries. Alas, I was informed by many of the agents I approached that the market for paranormals – especially those that featured vampires – was over-saturated. Another dead end.

So I turned to self publishing.

I published a few of my paranormal mysteries via Amazon and Barnes and Noble. They got pretty good reviews, but nothing really stellar. I still hadn’t found my niche. And then….


I was at my day job one morning, sitting in my boss’s office. He knew my hobby was writing and I was telling him about the latest one I’d written that was ‘making the rounds’ at agent offices. He looked me straight in the eye and said, “Why don’t you quit writing about vampires and werewolves and write a book about your damn cat?”

Me: “But I like to write about vampires and werewolves.”

My boss: But it isn’t getting you anywhere. You love that cat and you love to write. I think you should think about it.

I went home that night and thought about it. I’d recently acquired a tuxedo cat, ROCCO, who had a feisty personality – so much so that I’d created a blog entitled cats, books and more cats, and I’d just developed what I though was a creative premise – I’d interview authors as if the cat were the one asking the questions. I’d gotten Janet Evanovich to agree to an interview and I’d just also gotten in touch with a few other authors who all thought the idea was “cute”.

Hm….maybe my boss had something there? But what sort of book could I write that would feature a cat? It had to have something to do with food, I thought. People love books with recipes!

I lay down on my couch and flipped through the channels. Turner classic was running “The Thin Man”. And suddenly the premise came to me…Nora Charles, ex-crime reporter, returns to her hometown of Cruz, California to take over her mother’s sandwich shop and finds a stocky, tuxedo cat on her doorstep, whom she names Nick. As it turns out, the cat’s original owner was a Nick, too, and he was a private eye….and thus were born the Nick and Nora mysteries.

Although the original premise was a LOT different from the book Penguin bought…but that’s a story for another day!

~Toni

Here’s a little snippet from Meow If It’s Murder
by Toni LoTempio

I put the phone down and leaned back, laced my hands behind my head. The key to all this, I felt certain, was finding someone willing to come clean about what really happened on the yacht that night. From my experience, there was no way all those people were telling the truth. One – or maybe more – was lying.

What I needed to do was figure out who and more importantly, why.

I stood up, stretched, and put down the top on the computer. Nick watched me with his unblinking golden eyes.

“My next move should be to question the other three, see what they have to say about that night. That’s going to require some thought. After all, it’s not like we hang out in the same circles, or that they even frequent Hot Bread for lunch. I can’t just run into them you know.”

Nick jumped up on the counter. His plume of a tail swished, knocking over the plastic case containing my catering menus. They scattered to the floor like autumn leaves. I sighed, bent to retrieve them, then suddenly straightened. I hurried over to the old rolltop desk in the corner, jerked open the bottom drawer where my mother’s impeccable catering records were kept. I thumbed through the folders, and a little cry of triumph escaped my lips as I pulled out one marked KMG. Sure enough, inside were two neatly drawn contracts, bearing both my mother’s signature and that of Lola Grainger, for Hot Bread to cater two of their upcoming company events. I glanced over at Nick, sitting calmly on the counter, licking one paw.

“I get it,” I murmured. “Good point. Now that Lola’s dead, what happens with these contracts?”

I shoved the file folder under one arm and patted Nick on the head. I figured now was as good a time as any to find out.

To find out more about Toni LoTempio and her book visit her webpage here and Rocco’s blog here.

9780425270202_medium_Meow_If_It's_MurderMeow If It’s Murder
(Nick and Nora Mysteries Book 1)

New Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (December 2, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Mary Ann Lasher
Cover Design by George Long
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425270202
E-Book File Size: 1260 KB
ASIN: B00JJXV1CA
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

Nora Charles doesn’t believe in fate, even if she is a crime reporter who shares a name with a character from The Thin Man. In fact, she’s moving back to Cruz, California, to have a quieter life. But after finding an online magazine eager for material, and a stray cat named Nick with a talent for detection, Nora’s not just reporting crimes again. She’s uncovering them…

Back in her hometown, Nora reconnects with old friends and makes some new ones, like Nick, the charming feline who seems determined to be her cat. But not everything about Cruz is friendly. Writing for a local online magazine, Nora investigates the curious death of socialite Lola Grainger. Though it was deemed an accident, Nora suspects foul play. And it seems that her cat does too.

Apparently, Nick used to belong to a P.I. who disappeared while investigating Lola Grainger’s death. The coincidence is spooky, but not as spooky as the clues Nick spells out for her with Scrabble letters—clues that lead her down an increasingly dangerous path. Whether fate put her on this case or not, solving it will take all of Nora’s wits, and maybe a few of Nick’s nine lives.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I had not thought about The Thin Man movies in ages but I have to say Toni LoTempio has done them proud with her twist to use them as the basis of her new cozy series. In this case Nora isn’t quite so “ditzy” and Nick happens to be a very smart and intuitive cat and together they make a great team.

Nora has come home to Cruz to take over her mother’s sandwich shop but true crime reporting is in her blood and she can’t let it go. Everything about the investigation into Lola Grainger’s death feels wrong to Nora and she just can’t stop herself from doing a little investigating herself. When she finds out her new cat’s previous owner was a P.I. investigating the death and he has since mysteriously disappeared she jumps in with both paws, I mean feet. This is dangerous both for her and her new feline friend.

This story is full of twists and had it not been for Nick (the cat) helping her with the clues I don’t think Nora would have figured it out. It is not blatantly spelled out but I think this cat is more than he appears to be. I think he is a special cat that takes on the spirit of his previous owner. When he belonged to Nick, the private eye, his name was Sherlock. I wonder who his owner was before Nick, maybe Mr. Holmes? I am very interested to see if the author addresses this in future installments. He is definitely a special cat with special powers regular kitty cats do not possess. Daniel Corleone is also a very interesting character that I want to get to know better.

The author has laid a nice foundation for the series going forward. There were many parts that drew directly from the original Thin Man and tested my memory, but you do not have to be familiar with the movies or the original story by Dashiell Hammett to enjoy this story. Nick and Nora are off to a great start. I am excited to see what crime they investigate next.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Note: The Thin Man was on Turner Classic Movies Saturday night. I recorded it to watch at a later date and I see it is on again later this month. After reading this book I am excited to watch this oldie but goodie 🙂

GIVEAWAYThanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

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Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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