Welcome to our website. This site is here to provide a community for all you book lovers. I've set up a discussion area for you to discuss your favorite books. We'll have reviews of old and new books in the Reviews section. Upcoming titles and information from major publishers will be listed in the news/home page section, as well as updates on when new reviews have been posted, community information, etc.

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Review: Keep a Knockin’ – Charles Connor

Posted on: December 24th, 2015 By Rick Rhodes
Keep a Knockin'
Hardcover: 264 pages
Publisher: Waldorf Publishing; 1st edition (August 1, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1634432649
ISBN-13: 978-1634432641
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Charles Connor played with some of the legendary names in Rock & Roll and Soul. One of his jobs was as drummer for Little Richard. In Keep on Knockin’, Mr. Connor details his life on the road with Little Richard and his band the Upsetters. Like you’d expect with modern bands, with the bands of the 50s and 60s, it was still a lot of rough living and days of sex, drugs, and alcohol.

The book spans Mr. Connor’s life from when he first started playing drums, against all those saying he’d never make it, through time with such people as Professor Longhair. He covers his relationhips, life on the road, and in general just gives a great picture of the life of a band during the early days of rock & roll.

For those with a love and passion for music, an interest in the music history of the 1950s, or just in the mood for a very interesting biography, you should big up Keep A Knockin’. It’s well written, and Mr. Connor Kept me involved in the story. I’d never heard of him prior to reading this story, but through this book I found him a very likeable and engaging person. I’d definitely recommend this book.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Barbara at Waldorf Publishing for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: Aftermath – Chuck Wendig

Posted on: December 17th, 2015 By Rick Rhodes
Aftermath
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: LucasBooks; Original edition (September 4, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 034551162X
ISBN-13: 978-0345511621
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Synopsis:

The second death star has been destroyed. The people of the galaxy are free, or are they? Wedge Antilles is on a mission when he is captured. A ragtag bunch is tasked with rescuing him and discovering what the secret meeting of the Empire is all about.

Characters:

Norrra Wexley – Survivor and veteran of the Battle over Endor.
Wedge Antilles – Pilot and General of the Rebel Alliance
Rae Sloan – Imperial Captain of the Ultimatum

Review

If you look at Amazon you’ll see many negative reviews of this book. Many people are upset that the Expanded Universe all Star Wars fans knew was trashed in favor of a new Canon. This novel which essentially negates a fan favored series, therefore was not well received. However, I think those reviews are unfounded. I found this book to be a lot of fun. While there were none of the major characters we’ve grown to love, with the exception of Wedge Antilles, there were a lot of new characters.

These new characters are placed into the Star Wars universe, and fit well. One of the most memorable is a repurposed battle droid. All of the characters were fun, and there were some interesting and exciting action scenes.

One of the interestng aspects was seeing how the defeat of the Empire is seen throughout the galaxy. There is a lot of denial left in all those who served the Empire. They refuse to believe the stories of the Emperor’s death. For those who’d lived life under the thumb of the Empire, it’s as if they are living in a dream too good to be true, and they also have their doubts. This is covered well in the thoughts and feeling of the characters.

Overall, for a kickoff and bridging novel between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, I thought this novel did a great job. As the first book in what is supposedly a trilogy, I liked it and look forward to the next two. There are some things that may be objectionable to some audiences, such as the introduction of a gay character. However it is done subtly.

If you’re a fan of Star Wars and want to find out what occurred after Episode VI, then check out Aftermath. Be sure to drop back by and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

Chuck WendigChuck Wendig is the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Aftermath, as well as the Miriam Black thrillers, the Atlanta Burns books, and the Heartland YA series, alongside other works across comics, games, film, and more. A finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and the cowriter of the Emmy-nominated digital narrative Collapsus, he is also known for his popular blog, terribleminds.com, and his books about writing. He lives in Pennsylvania with his family.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: Lost Stars – Claudia Gray

Posted on: December 15th, 2015 By Rick Rhodes
Lost Stars
Hardcover: 560 pages
Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press (September 4, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1484724984
ISBN-13: 978-1484724989
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Synopsis:

The Star Wars original trilogy as seen through the eyes of two childhood friends.

Characters:

Thane Kyrell – Son of a privileged family on the planet Jelucan.
Ciena Ree – Daughter of a lower class family on Jelucan.

Review

This is a story I absolutely loved. You follow these two characters, from their initial friendship as children, to adults when their friendship blossoms into love. You see the effects of the Empire on their relationship, as one is drawn further away from the Empire while the other is drawn to stay loyal. While a short story, it manages to travel through all the stories of the original trilogy, while bringing a Romeo and Juliet type spin to the saga.

For all the readers out there who are Star Wars fans, or not necessarily fans, but like romantics stories I think this is a book you’ll enjoy. Aimed towards young adults, there is nothing really objectionable in it in regards to content or language.

About the Author

Claudia GrayClaudia Gray has worked as a lawyer, a journalist, a disc jockey, and an extremely poor waitress. Her lifelong interests in old houses, classic movies, vintage style, and history all play a part in creating the world of Evernight.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: The Weapon of a Jedi – Jason Fry

Posted on: December 10th, 2015 By Rick Rhodes
Weapon of a Jedi
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press (September 4, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1484724968
ISBN-13: 978-1484724965
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Synopsis:

Set between Episodes IV and VI, this story involves Luke Skywalker seeking out a lost Jedi Temple.

Characters:

Luke Skywalker – Rebel and Jedi in Training

Review

I liked this one. Like others, it was the third in the standalone stories featuring the original 3 characters. It’s geared towards young adults, like others in the series. While I liked it, there were parts that were rather confusing. I think the most blaring is that it seems as if Luke hasn’t met Yoda at this point, yet he is undergoing Jedi training, and seems way more powerful than he did in Return of the Jedi. That to me is a major drawback in the story.

Other than that, I think it was a good Star Wars story featuring Luke and filling in some of those spots between movies. I’d rate this as safe for all ages, and it would definitely appeal to the Star Wars fan both old and new. Drop back by and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

Jason FryI’m the author of The Jupiter Pirates series, published by HarperCollins. In the first book, Hunt for the Hydra, we meet Tycho, Yana and Carlo Hashoone. They’re crewers above the privateer Shadow Comet, siblings and competitors. Each wants to be the next captain of their family’s starship — but only one of them will be chosen.

The Jupiter Pirates is part high-seas adventure and part space-age epic — I’ve had a blast writing the series and can’t wait to share it with people. Officially the Jupiter Pirates books are for kids 8-12, but readers far older than that will enjoy them too.

As for me, I’m a writer, editor, and occasional journalism consultant based in Brooklyn, N.Y, where I live with my wife Emily, my son Joshua and about a metric ton of baseball cards and Star Wars stuff. I’ve written more than two dozen Star Wars books and short stories for publishers including Random House, DK, Scholastic and Disney Books. Before striking out on my own as an independent writer, I spent more than 12 years at The Wall Street Journal Online, where I wrote the Real Time column about technology and co-wrote The Daily Fix, a daily roundup of great sportswriting. I co-write Faith and Fear in Flushing (www.faithandfearinflushing.com), a blog about the New York Mets, with my friend Greg Prince.

If that seems like an odd mix, well, I think so too. But one way or another, I’ve written or worked with writers nearly all my life. It’s all I ever wanted to do, and I’m profoundly grateful that I’ve been able to do it.

Whether you’re writing about a far-off galaxy, a nearby baseball team or the promise of technology, the path to becoming a successful writer is the same: Write every day, learn from other writers and from good editors, push your writing to make sure it’s as clear and engaging as possible, and value every form of writing you get to do. And be nice.

For more on the Jupiter Pirates, drop by jupiterpirates.com. For more about me, see my personal page at www.jasonfry.net or visit my Tumblr at jasonfry.tumblr.com. Thanks for reading!

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: Moving Target – Cecil Castelucci & Jason Fry

Posted on: December 8th, 2015 By Rick Rhodes
Moving Target
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press (September 4, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1484724976
ISBN-13: 978-1484724972
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Synopsis:

Set just after Episode V, Princess Leia leads a team of rebels on a Decoy mission while the rebel fleet groups near the second Death Star.

Characters:

Princess Leia Organa – Rebel Leader.
Nien Nunb – Sullustan Pilot

Review

This was another in the series geared towards younger readers. I comes in at about 135 pages. I thought it was very interesting to see some details on what was going on as they prepared the attack on the 2nd Death Star. This gave you a glimpse in some of the rebel missions, and some of the other characters behind the scenes.

Being as it’s geared towards a younger audience, I’d say it’s appropriate for all ages. For Star Wars fans, or new fans, this is one you’ll enjoy.

About the Author

Jason FryI’m the author of The Jupiter Pirates series, published by HarperCollins. In the first book, Hunt for the Hydra, we meet Tycho, Yana and Carlo Hashoone. They’re crewers above the privateer Shadow Comet, siblings and competitors. Each wants to be the next captain of their family’s starship — but only one of them will be chosen.

The Jupiter Pirates is part high-seas adventure and part space-age epic — I’ve had a blast writing the series and can’t wait to share it with people. Officially the Jupiter Pirates books are for kids 8-12, but readers far older than that will enjoy them too.

As for me, I’m a writer, editor, and occasional journalism consultant based in Brooklyn, N.Y, where I live with my wife Emily, my son Joshua and about a metric ton of baseball cards and Star Wars stuff. I’ve written more than two dozen Star Wars books and short stories for publishers including Random House, DK, Scholastic and Disney Books. Before striking out on my own as an independent writer, I spent more than 12 years at The Wall Street Journal Online, where I wrote the Real Time column about technology and co-wrote The Daily Fix, a daily roundup of great sportswriting. I co-write Faith and Fear in Flushing (www.faithandfearinflushing.com), a blog about the New York Mets, with my friend Greg Prince.

If that seems like an odd mix, well, I think so too. But one way or another, I’ve written or worked with writers nearly all my life. It’s all I ever wanted to do, and I’m profoundly grateful that I’ve been able to do it.

Whether you’re writing about a far-off galaxy, a nearby baseball team or the promise of technology, the path to becoming a successful writer is the same: Write every day, learn from other writers and from good editors, push your writing to make sure it’s as clear and engaging as possible, and value every form of writing you get to do. And be nice.

For more on the Jupiter Pirates, drop by jupiterpirates.com. For more about me, see my personal page at www.jasonfry.net or visit my Tumblr at jasonfry.tumblr.com. Thanks for reading!

Cecil CastelucciSmall Girl. Big Party. Author of the novels Stone in the Sky, Tin Star, Odd Duck, The Year of the Beasts, First Day on Earth, Rose Sees Red, Grandma’s Gloves, Boy Proof, The Queen of Cool, Beige and The Plain Janes/Janes in Love. Former indie rocker known as Nerdy Girl and Cecil Seaskull. DIY filmmaker. enfant terrible. modern 21st century flapper.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: Smuggler’s Run – Greg Rucka

Posted on: December 3rd, 2015 By Rick Rhodes
Smuggler's Run
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press (September 4, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 148472495X
ISBN-13: 978-1484724958
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Synopsis:

Set immediately after events of Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope. Han Solo and Chewbacca are sent on a rescue mission for the leader of a band of Rebel reconnaissance troops.

Characters:

Han Solo – Human and Captain of the Millenium Falcon
Chewbacca – Wookiee and Co-Pilot of the Millenium Falcon.

Review

This was a very short novel of about 95 pages. As such it’s a rather quick adventure featuring Solo. This was one of the Young Reader novels released as part of the new canon in the Star Wars Universe. The plotline was rather simplistic, but the characters felt very similar to those I’ve know since 1977. It definitely kept with the Star Wars tradition of storytelling. As it is aimed for younger audience, I’d say it’s acceptable for all ages. For old Star Wars fan or new, pick this up, and drop by and let us know what you though.

About the Author

Greg RuckaGreg Rucka was born in San Francisco on a dark and stormy night (really, we checked), and then raised on the Monterey Peninsula of California, an area known to the locals as “Steinbeck Country.” He came to writing early, entering his first short-story contest at the age of nine and stunning both his parents and himself by winning first prize in the competition. Thus encouraged, he continued writing, and couldn’t win another contest of anything to save his life, at least until Whiteout: Melt won Best Limited Series at the Eisner Awards in 2000. He won another Eisner for Gotham Central: Half a Life in 2004 and now sleeps with his Eisners beside him, on their own pillow, much to the despair of his wife and children.

Greg attended Vassar College undergraduate. He had a splendid time, and thanks the institution for the education which he is now, gleefully, squandering. After Vassar, he attended USC for his Master’s Degree. He didn’t much like USC. The best thing about USC was that he and his wife got to live in a house that he could pretend Philip Marlowe had visited. Probably to beat someone up.

After USC, they moved to Oregon, and resided in Eugene for a time, and yes, that’s really the town’s name. Named after Eugene Skinner. But the town’s called Eugene. The butte, that’s called Skinner’s Butte.

He has two tattoos, five earrings, and a motorcycle. He doesn’t ride the motorcycle anymore, but he has it, because the battery is now dead and it sits in the garage hoping, one day, to find a good home.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: A New Dawn – John Jackson Miller

Posted on: December 1st, 2015 By Rick Rhodes
A New Dawn
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: LucasBooks (March 31, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 055339147X
ISBN-13: 978-0553391473
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Synopsis:

The Empire is draining a planet of it’s resources. Kanan Jarus is employed there working the mines. Kera is thre on a mission for the fledgling rebellion. A thrilling story featuring characters from Rebels where you see them meet for the first time. What they find will cement their resolve in defeating the Empire.

Characters:

Kanan Jarus – Former Jedi Padawan.
Hera – Twilek Rebel

Review

I absolutely loved this one. When I saw the first episode of Rebels, I felt just like I did when I was a kid and saw Star Wars for the first time. It so much had that sense of fun and adventure. This story, featuring two of the characters from the Rebels animated series captured a lot of that adventure. It also gives us a glimpse of the first time that Hera and Kanan met.

It was interesting to follow the path of Kanan as he slowly begins to understand just how dangerous the Empire is. It’s also interesting to see Hera as an already experienced fighter. I think it would be interesting to see her backstory and how she managed to join the rebellion. We see small glimpses of it, but I’d be interested in her story.

Overall a great Star Wars Story, a great connection to the Rebels TV series, and a great entry in the whole new Star Wars Canon. Due to some of the action scenes I’d recommend it for teens and older. But for you Star Wars fans, you definitely want to pick this one up.

About the Author

Writer and game designer John Jackson Miller is the author of Star Wars: Knight Errant and Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith: The Collected Stories, as well as nine Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic graphic novels.

His comics work includes writing for Iron Man, Mass Effect, Bart Simpson, and Indiana Jones.

He lives in Wisconsin with his wife, two children, and far too many comic books.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: Tarkin – James Luceno

Posted on: November 26th, 2015 By Rick Rhodes
Tarkin
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: LucasBooks; Reissue edition (June 30, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0553392905
ISBN-13: 978-0553392906
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Synopsis:

Details the life and career of Wilhuff Tarkin from early childhood to his promotion as Grand Moff. As the Emperor’s third in command, he is given command of a ship known as the Carrion Spike. While he and Vader are in the middle of a mission the Carrion Spike is stolen. Tarkin and Vader travel across the Galaxy on the trail of the pirates.

Characters:

Wilhuf Tarkin – Imperial Moff
Teller – Human Pirate Leader
Dr. Artoz – Mon Calamari Technical Specialist.
Salik – Gotal – Pilot
Cala – Koorivar – Op Specialist
Hask Taff – Zygerrian Munitions Specialist
Anora Fair – Human Female

Review

Grand Moff Tarkin was always one of the more out there characters from the Star Wars universe but a lot was never known about him. That changes with Tarkin by James Luceno. Tarkin is the second entry in the new Canon of the Star Wars novels. All previous novels in the expanded universe were made null and void, with a few exceptions. The new canon was kicked off after the announcement of Star Wars Episode VII.

I had mixed feelings about this book. I liked the Pirate Crew led by Teller. I liked that they kept upsetting Tarkin’s day. It was nice to see the man who oversaw the future destruction of Alderaan before all those events. The best parts of Tarkin’s story to me were about his youth on Eriadu. I wish more of the book had focused on his life and how he got to be that psychopath later in life. A large focus of this however, was his obsession with getting the Starship Carrion Spike back from the pirates who stole it. At the same time, he’s trying to determine who is orchestrating hits against imperial installations.

While there is a lot of interesting detective work being done, I just felt that this Tarkin wasn’t the guy I’d imagined him to be. I expected a lot more viciousness out of someone who is the third in line to the Emperor.

All that being said, I really enjoyed the book. All the Star Wars entries in the new canon so far have been enjoyable, but I found there were things about this one I could have liked a lot more. If you’re a fan of Star Wars though and want to get in on all the new storylines in the buildup to The Force Awakens, then grab a copy of this. If you’re just a casual fan, nothing really is revealed that you’d miss out. If you do read it, be sure and drop back by and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

A former studio musician and carpenter, James Luceno has been writing professionally for twenty years. His early novels were action tales based on his experiences as a guide for an adventure-travel company. A Fearful Symmetry, his first foray into science-fiction, was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick award. Collaborating with the late-Brian Daley, Jim wrote scripts for several animated television series, and under the pseudonym “Jack Mckinney,” he and Daley adapted the anime series, Robotech. Since 2000, Jim has worked almost exclusively in the STAR WARS universe, contributing six novels to the franchise, all of which have made the NY Times best-seller lists. He has also written novelizations of Mission: Impossible, The Shadow, and Indiana Jones. He lives in Annapolis, Maryland with his wife and son.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: Lords of the Sith – Paul G. Kemp

Posted on: November 24th, 2015 By Rick Rhodes
Lords of the Sith
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: LucasBooks (April 28, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345511441
ISBN-13: 978-0345511447
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Synopsis:

The Republic is gone. The Empire has replaced it and is beginning it’s rise of terror across the galaxy. A small band of resistance fighters is trying to restore the freedom they once had. In the attempt to do this, they attempt to assassinate Darth Vader and the Emperor. As a result, the two Sith Lords are shot down and find themselves trying to survive.

Characters:

Charm – Leader of a clandestine group of resistance fighters.
Darth Vader – Dark Lorder of the Sith.
Emperor Palpatine – Emperor and Sith Master.

Review

I really liked this book. From the time I was old enough to understand the political tones behind Star Wars I was interested in how the Rebellion began. In this novel, we get to see it, in the form of small cells of resistance fighters. This was one of the most enjoyable aspects of the story for me.

This is probably the first time you really get to witness Vader and Palpatine in the field, rather than in the conrolled environment of the Death Star where you typically saw them.   There was a lot of Sith action, including one large scene that involved a group of natives.

This book did generate a bit of controversy as it along with another novel for the first time included characters from the LGBT community. While it may have upset some, I think it’s about time to represent all the various forms of relationships. But I put that in there as a warning to those who may be offended at such things.

Overall, this is an excellent launching point though into the new series. While Dark Disciple was technically the first, this one is one that actually connects into the timeline of the original trilogy. For fans of Star Wars you definitely want to pick this one up. Rated PG-13 for your normal Star Wars style violence.

About the Author

Paul S KempPaul Kemp enjoys good beer, good wine, good company, and a fine scotch every now and again. He writes sword and sorcery and space opera and works very hard to make them a fun ride.

While his mind is often in the fantastical fictional worlds, his body lives in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, with his wife Jennifer, his twin sons, his daughter, and their various and sundry pets.

He is a graduate of the University of Michigan-Dearborn and the University of Michigan law school. When he’s not writing , he practices corporate law in Detroit. Yes, that does make him a tool of “the Man,” for which he shall bear everlasting shame.

He hopes you enjoy his novels.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: Dark Disciple – Christie Golden

Posted on: November 19th, 2015 By Rick Rhodes
Dark Disciple
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: LucasBooks (July 7, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345511530
ISBN-13: 978-0345511539
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Synopsis:

Jedi Knight Quinlan Vos and former Sith Apprentice Asajj Ventress are forced to team up on a mission to assassinate Darth Tyranus, otherwise known as Count Dooku.

Characters:

Quinlan Vos – Jedi Knight with an ability to retrieve memories of a person by touching an object they owned.
Asajj Ventress – Dathomirian Witch and former Sith Apprentice to County Dooku.

Review

I really liked this book. This was the first book in the new Canon, and concerned one of the EU characters that actually survived the whole Star Wars Canon reboot. Vos seemed to be a character that fans connected with, and it was good to finally see an adventure with him as the focus. Previous novels, now no longer part of the Canon had focused on Mace Windu, Yoda, and others. So it was good to see Vos get a little literary attention.

Asajj Ventress was never a character I connected with, but after readin this I really liked her. It’s clear she felt a little guilt and anger about her life as a Sith, and is wanting redemption and to be accepted, something the Jedi Council seems to make her feel will never happen.

Overall the whole plot of the story to assassinate Dooku never really seemed to be much of a plot, but seemed to be in there as a way to connect the two characters, and give them a goal to work towards cooparatively. Along the way there are different subplots and dangers they find themselves in. As a team, I’d love to see the two of them teamed up in more stories.

I’d definitely recommend this one to all the Star Wars fans out there. It’s one of the best of the new Canon and shouldn’t be missed, so grab a copy and stop back by to let us know what you thought.

About the Author

Award-winning author Christie Golden has written over thirty novels and several short stories in the fields of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Golden launched the TSR Ravenloft line in 1991 with her first novel, the highly successful Vampire of the Mists. She is the author of several original fantasy novels, including On Fire’s Wings, In Stone’s Clasp, and Under Sea’s Shadow, the first three in her multi-book fantasy series The Final Dance from LUNA Books.Among Golden’s other projects are over a dozen Star Trek novels and the well-received StarCraft Dark Templar trilogy, Firstborn, Shadow Hunters, and the forthcoming Twilight. An avid player of Blizzard’s MMORPG World of Warcraft, Golden has written several novels in that world (Lord of the Clans, Rise of the Horde) with three more in the works. She has also written two Warcraft manga stories for Tokyopop, I Got What Yule Need and A Warrior Made. Golden lives in Colorado with her husband and two cats.

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