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Brodie's Up Side Down 2018

75 Books Challenge for 2018

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Edited: Sep 13, 2:40pm Top

Hello all. My name is Brodie. I am married and have three kids 8, 9 , and 11. We live in the greater Seattle area in Washington State. I have always enjoyed a book, tv show, comic book, or movie. I guess it boils down to a good story. I love stories; true or otherwise and I am thankful that I found librarything and the 75ers as a community where we can share our love for stories.

That said, I am still much obsessed with Stranger Things, the 1980s throwback series featuring a missing child, a secret government lab, a monster, and the four friends who work it all out. I'm not a huge horror fan, and thought the suspense here is high, the gore is not. Much like my previous love for Supernatural, the draw is more about the characters and their interactions than is about the genre. Great acting as well. If you have not seen it yet, I high recommend you do yourself a favor and check it out.

Edited: Sep 10, 2:59pm Top

Presently listening

Presently reading

Edited: Sep 3, 1:27pm Top

This is my favorite show of all time. Love the soundtrack, especially the 1987 recording. The track 'The Gypsy in Me' gets me every time.

Jan 2, 10:27pm Top

Hope your 2018 reading is full of good reads!

Jan 2, 11:24pm Top

Welcome back!

Jan 3, 6:16am Top

Happy New Year
Happy New Group here
This place is full of friends
I hope it never ends
It brew of erudition and good cheer.

Jan 3, 8:24am Top

Is Supernatural still going on? I got tired of Sam & Dan dying, and other bringing them back irrespective of the consequences. They have probably gotten hundreds (if not thousands) of more people killed than they have saved. It gets annoying after a while.

I did watch 10 or so seasons of it though, the last I saw was the one that had 'The Darkness' in it.

Jan 3, 9:10am Top

Dropping a star, Brodie!

Jan 3, 9:34am Top

Happy New Year, Brodie!

Jan 3, 9:38am Top

Happy new year Brodie! I loved Stranger Things, too. And I am currently watching Supernatural with Aaron. I think we're about to start the 5th season.

Jan 3, 9:59am Top

Just saw my library got The Ascent of Gravity by a Caltech astronomer and science writer. Covers everything up through modern quantum gravity theory for the nonexpert. Haven't read it yet, but now that string theory is in such doubt, this is the next big thing. I'll probably read it soon.

Jan 3, 11:25am Top

>5 thornton37814: Thanks, thornton37814, and welcome to my thread. I hope to see you around.

>6 drneutron: >12 drneutron: Thank you, Jim. It's good to be back. Thank you for the rec on The Ascent of Gravity. I'll check it out.

>7 PaulCranswick: Happy new year, Paul. Thanks for stopping in!

>8 aqeeliz: Hello aqeeliz! Welcome. Yes, Supernatural is still going though I stopped watching around the same time you did. I agree that it get ridiculous with Sam and Dean both dying and coming back so often. However, the brotherly dynamic is pretty cool if you can get past the silly plot driven secrets they keep from each other.

>9 Crazymamie: Good to see you, Mamie! Thanks!

>10 norabelle414: Happy New Year to you, too, norabelle414! Thank you for stopping in. I hope you see you around.

>11 The_Hibernator: Hi Rachel! Stranger Things Rocks! I'm glad you're enjoying Supernatural. S5 was supposed to be it's natural conclusion, but the show was such a hit, it keeps going and going and going. Do you have a favorite episode or moment for either show? or both?

Jan 3, 12:22pm Top

Happy reading in 2018, Brodie!

Jan 3, 12:23pm Top

Thanks, FAMeulstee! Same to you! Thanks for stopping by.

Jan 3, 12:34pm Top

I'm not sure when I stopped watching Supernatural, but it wasn't out of pique or anything. I just forgot about it. Like Grimm and Once Upon a Time. Still hooked on The Expanse and The Man in the High Castle, both of which I prefer to their source material.

Jan 3, 2:11pm Top

I LOVE Stranger Things, and so does everyone I know who has seen it. It's a remarkable piece of TV, and I can't wait for season 3.

Jan 3, 5:12pm Top

>16 richardderus: Hi Richard. I saw the Pilot for Expanse and will get to it one day, but not likely soon. No Man in the High Castle yet, but I am really looking forward to it.

>17 PawsforThought: Agreed, Paws. Still much obsessed over here. I might have to make a Friday Flash Fiction into a Friday Fan Fiction and do a ST short fic. Thanks for stopping in.

Jan 4, 1:27am Top

Hope you had a Happy New Year, Brodie. I'm dropping my star to follow along with you in 2018.

Jan 4, 11:14am Top

Nice to see you, familyhistorian! Thanks for dropping in.

Jan 4, 1:01pm Top

Nice to see you back Brodie. I haven't seen Man in the High Castle since I don't have amazon prime, but one day...
However, I read the book in the 80's and at the time I really liked it, but I had my doubts on how it may have aged. It has been on my shortlist for a re-read and I started on it yesterday. So far so good, but it has been a while since I read a PKD novel and his quirks can be fun and sometimes frustrating. I think I'm going to enjoy this.

Jan 4, 1:33pm Top

Hello Ron! Same here regarding Amazon Prime. I've tried to read the book more than once, but stall out near the beginning every time.

Jan 4, 5:38pm Top

I love Stranger Things! I'm rationing myself with Season 2 since I blew through Season 1 in about 2 or 3 nights! Right now, I'm also watching season 2 of Travelers, another great series. I have you starred!

Jan 4, 5:55pm Top

Hello Diane and welcome! You are in for a treat with S2 of Stranger Things. Please don't hesitate to PM me if you want to discuss. I've seen half of S1 of Travellers and I like it too. I'm not purposefully savoring it, but I get back to it when I can. I saw that S2 dropped. good to know there is more.

Jan 5, 12:32am Top

Hi, Brodie Dropping a star.

I may have to try Supernatural again. I generally love shows of that type, but when I tried to watch it a few years ago, it just didn't resonate with me for some reason. That reminds me - have you ever watched Firefly? It was a great show - a space western by Joss Whedon. I didn't get to watch it when it was on, but I've watched it a couple of times since. If you haven't seen it, I think you would really like it.

Jan 5, 12:23pm Top

Hi Robin! Not everyone has to like everything. I thought Sam and Dean were cool character and I liked their brotherly dynamic. I worked for quite a while.

Firefly is great! I didn't watch it originally either, but caught it on dvd. Excellent show. I followed Nathan Fillion to Castle and Adam Baldwin to The Last Ship.

Jan 6, 12:01am Top

Hi Brodie, I've dropped my star. I'm totally hooked on Stranger Things as well, I am just about finished the second season.

Jan 6, 12:44am Top

>26 brodiew2: I agree, Brodie, but so many people who like shows that I like watch Supernatural and I always feel like I'm missing out. Maybe I was having a bad day that day. Who knows?

If you like Fillion, you've probably seen Dr Horrible's Sing Along Blog - if not, I highly recommend it. I, too, watched Castle for many years, but stopped about 2 years before the end. Wash was my favorite character in Firefly - I'm always happily surprised when I find him in something I'm watching.

Jan 6, 1:56pm Top

Happy New Year. Have a *

Jan 7, 2:39pm Top

Sorry for the late responses!

>27 DeltaQueen50: Thanks for the star, DeltaQueen50! Very cool that you are almost finished with S2. Let me know if you want to chat. Much obsessed over here. Hopper, El, Steve, and Dustin are my favorites!

>28 rretzler: I can see that, Robin. Stick to the first few seasons if you give it another go. I 've heard about the Sing along blog and seen a couple of them. I should get back to it and finish it up. As for Castle, I think you did the right thing. The final season was a disaster. I didn't watch much of it myself. However, if you want a nice series ending capper of an episode, watch the finale if S8. It was really good and works as a capper for the series.

>29 mahsdad: Thanks, Jeff!

Edited: Jan 8, 9:22pm Top

Look I finally found you have a *.

There is a vote going on over on my thread.

Jan 8, 9:40pm Top

Happy Reading, in 2018, Brodie. I hope the year is off to a good start for you. Have you been listening to any audiobooks?

Jan 9, 11:23am Top

>31 BBGirl55: Thanks, BBGirl55! It's good to see you back in action! I'll check out the voting immediately.

>32 msf59: Hello Mark! Thank you for the well wishes. As usual, my print reading is starting off at a snail's pace, but I'm clicking along nicely with Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas on audio. Very interesting. On deck, is What if?. It looks like fun and I didn;t even realize it is narrated by Will Wheaton until I picked it up at the library. Bonus!

Jan 16, 12:52pm Top

Just thought I'd let you know the book's in the mail!

Jan 16, 12:55pm Top

Thanks, Jim! And, thanks for digging me out of page 4! :-P

Edited: Jan 21, 6:28pm Top

Just stopping by to say hello!

Jan 21, 6:58pm Top

Happy Sunday, Brodie. I hope you had a nice weekend and spent some time with the books. I enjoyed What if?. I sure you will have a good time with it.

Jan 23, 6:30pm Top

>36 rretzler: Hi Robin! thanks for stopping in. I'm sorry that there isn't much see yet. I haven't finished decorating. ;-P I'm almost done with the audio biography Bonhoeffer my review should be up by the end of the week. Did you see The Last Jedi? What did you think?

>37 msf59: Hello Mark. I didn't even know you and Robin has stopped in. I'm so bad about own thread at the start of the year. Thank you for the good word on 'What If?'. Jim mailed me Lightning Men. I'm going to give it a go.

Jan 24, 7:23am Top

>13 brodiew2: You know, I've never really been much to have "favorite episodes" in shows. In fact, I've not even thought about what my favorite episode of Supernatural or Stranger Things would be. I'm more of an overall story-arc sort of person. Though I admit that I loved the kiss in the last episode of Stranger Things.

Edited: Jan 24, 11:44am Top

>39 The_Hibernator: Good morning, Rachel! I agree that was an excellent element of the ST S2 finale. I know what you mean, especially when you are dealing with a show that is serialized. Shows like Supernatural or Doctor Who or Star Trek are usually episodic and picking out favorites is easier.

Jan 26, 10:54pm Top

Your favorite characters of Stranger Things are pretty much mine as well. I love Dustin! He brings out the grandmother in me and I want to pinch his cheeks! The kids are all so good in their parts, and Hopper is gruff on the outside and a marshmallow on the inside so he's pretty hard not to like. Steve has become a hero over the course of Season 2 and I sure hope we get a Season 3!

Jan 27, 9:02am Top

Hi Brodie! Hope you are having a good start to 2018!

Edited: Jan 28, 2:19pm Top

First of all I am a horrible thread neglecter here in January. Most heartfelt apologies in that regard.

>41 DeltaQueen50: hello DeltaQueen50! I have no doubt that season 3 will be coming in late 2018. But you are absolutely right about both Dustin and Hopper. Believe me it has fueled some fanfiction ratings on this end. Good to see you!

>42 ChelleBearss: Hi ChelleBearss! Thank you for stopping in. Audio wise things are going great but I can't seem to find a book in print that is compelling enough to keep my interest. I hope to get that solved soon.

Jan 28, 3:10pm Top

Happy Sunday, Brodie. I hope you are having a nice weekend with the family. I am so glad you have a copy of the Lightning Men at hand. It is a terrific follow-up.

Jan 29, 10:24am Top

Oh, sorry about the book funk. Do you like Neil Gaiman? I just finished Neverwhere and didn't want to put it down at all.

Jan 29, 10:27am Top

Morning, Brodie! Hoping that the week is kind to you.

Edited: Jan 29, 11:31am Top

>45 ChelleBearss: Thanks, ChelleBearss! I'm not a huge Gaiman fan. I listened to an audio of The Graveyard Book last year. It was ok.

>46 Crazymamie: Hi Mamie! Thanks for stopping in. Good to see you here. No much action so far...

Okay, so I watched the 'Counterpart' premier last night because I heard it was a freebie. I absolutely love J.K. Simmons and have since he played the psychiatrist on Law and Order. It was fun and it hooked me as it was supposed to, but like Star Trek: Discovery, I will not pay for an additional channel/service for one show. I will definitely be checking this out on dvd when it arrives.


Jan 29, 2:06pm Top

>47 brodiew2: That show looks very intriguing. My cable company occasionally gives me a "free weekend" of a premium channel so I will add that show to my list of stuff to binge-watch when I have free Starz for a weekend.

Jan 29, 2:18pm Top

>48 norabelle414: Thanks for stopping, norabelle41! it's good to see you. I'm not familiar with any of the other actors, but the production, story line, and Simmons are fantastic. I hope you get the chance soon.

Edited: Feb 27, 11:33am Top


Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas is a fascinating look at one man's stand for his beliefs when the odds were always against him. He gave ultimate sacrifice when Hitler discovered that he was part of the conspiracy that generated the failed assassination attempt in 1945. Metaxas gives us ample detail about Hitler, the progressive war against the Jews, and the burgeoning conspiracy to remove Hitler from power. It is all so well presented through the lens of Bonhoeffer's struggle against the Reich's hijacking of of the German Evangelical Church and Christianity as a whole.

5 of 5 stars

Edited: Jan 31, 12:33pm Top

Given that this is Brodie's Upside Down, let's talk about out favorite 'Stranger Things' characters.

Mine is this guy:

When we first meet Jim Hopper, he is gruff and seems put upon by the inconvenience of a missing child. He believes the boy is hiding or has not come home for a plausible reason. Soon, when the boy doesn't turn up, the seriousness of the matter is not lost on him. He has a past, which we ultimately learn about, and which is instrumental in his drive to find the missing boy. As of S2, the no nonsense Chief of Police is grows even further. He is bold, cranky, witty, determined, loyal, and just. And, those are just a few of his qualities.

Who is/are your favorite(s)?

Jan 31, 2:33pm Top

>38 brodiew2: We did indeed see The Last Jedi. We pre-ordered our tickets early and had our food delivered to our seats (gotta love AMC), so we wouldn't miss a thing. The whole family enjoyed it quite a bit. I liked Rose as a new character, and I'm interested to see where things will go with her. I thought that Luke being the grumpy old Jedi who saves the day in the end worked really well - I always saw him as a whiner, so the grumpiness seemed totally in character to me. I also really liked the very end when that boy used the force - I thought that was a great touch.

The one thing that bothered me a little was that we still have Princess Leia alive at the end, even though Carrie Fisher is no longer with us, while presumably Luke and Han are dead. I sort of wish they would have wrapped up Leia's character in this episode - I have no idea how though. I don't think to have her sacrifice herself as Holdo did would have worked and I thought perhaps when Luke faded away maybe Leia would collapse, but we know she's made of stronger stuff than that. If she survived the Alderaan debacle, Ben turning into Kylo Ren, and Han dying, a little thing like Luke fading away isn't going to get her down!

I'm also hoping that the revelation about Rey's parents is just a ploy by Kylo Ren to debase her and not, I fear, the reality of the situation. It seems like there was so much to-do about her parents that there has to be something more there.

>51 brodiew2: Way too many great characters - I'm not sure that I could name a favorite. I really like Hopp, as well. I think Joyce is a marvelous mom, even with all of her troubles. She believes in both of her sons and really goes out of her way to protect them, in a way that goes above and beyond. Jonathan appeals to the geek in me, as does Mike. And, of course, I love Eleven. I thought the Dustin and Steve combo worked really well together last season - I liked both of the somewhat separately, but together they were unstoppable!

There is a mystery series that I have read occasionally, and the main character's husband is a small-town sheriff with a gruff manner. I just finished the latest book in the series, and realized that I was picturing Hopp in my mind when I read about him!

Jan 31, 3:10pm Top

Hi Brodie. Somehow I missed your thread. I've starred it and now I will visit as often as possible.

>50 brodiew2: Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas sounds great. Thanks for your wonderful review. It is now on the tbr pile.

Jan 31, 4:24pm Top

Yeah, Dustin and Steve were great! Especially the last episode before/at the dance

Jan 31, 9:15pm Top

>52 rretzler: Hi Robin! Thanks for catching up me up on your TLJ experience. I liked the movie as well, but was not as enthralled with Rose as you were. You comments on Luke being a whiner in the OT makes a lot of sense with Grumpy Luke. Thanks for sharing that. It helps. Even though he was a whiner, you get the impression he grew out of that ROTJ, but he endured some substantial hardship in the in between.

As for Stranger Thing, you hit the nail on the head. there are so many good characters. Some of my other faves are El (her story with Hopper in S2 is great), Dustin, and Steve. I loved the Steve development in S2.

What series are you referencing?

>53 Whisper1: Whisper1! So good to see you, too. I lost your thread as well. Bonheoffer is excellent and comprehensively compelling. I hope you enjoy it.

>54 drneutron: Hello Jim! I loved their back and forth in the last half S2. The train tracks conversation was excellent.

Feb 8, 2:02pm Top

>55 brodiew2: >52 rretzler: The mystery series I was referring to is the Emma Lord/Alpine series by Mary Daheim. Honestly, I don't recommend it - it is one of those series that "on paper" seemed to be something I would enjoy but it was too "cutesy"/"hokey" for me. However, I have this compulsion sometimes to keep reading series, even though I'm not crazy about them, so I've read several of the series, including one in January. Sheriff Milo Dodge, who is now Emma Lord's husband, will now be Hopp to me whenever and if ever I read any more of that series.

>52 rretzler: >55 brodiew2: Those Skywalker boys will always be whiners to me 😜 "But I was going into Tosche Station to pick up some power converters!" and " It's all Obi-Wan's fault! He's jealous! He's holding me back!" are classics - one from each - but I still love them!

>54 drneutron: >55 brodiew2: Exactly! Loved that! Great stuff!

Feb 12, 5:47am Top

Just to let you know I'm racing through the latest Orphan X book, Hellbent.

Feb 12, 1:29pm Top

>56 rretzler: Hello Robin! Thanks got stopping in. I hope all is well with you.

>57 avatiakh: Hi Kerry! I was doing the same until my car died last week and I had to put my audio listen on hold. I am bout a third of the way through. Scott Brick's voice for Jack Johns is one of my favorites in his entire portfolio.

Feb 13, 1:43pm Top

Still on the reserve list at the library. Hope I get it soon!

Feb 13, 5:31pm Top

Hi Jim! I hope you get it soon too. Keep me posted.

Feb 14, 5:40pm Top

Happy Valentine's Day, Brodie

Edited: Feb 22, 12:47pm Top

>61 rretzler: Thank you, Robin! Sorry for the late response.

I was listening to What If? which was quite a lot of fun before the latest Orphan X novel Hellbent dropped into my local library. You all know of my love for Orphan X - The Nowhere - Evan Smoak. So, it's Hellbent at the moment and it is a joy with Scott Brick narrating as usual. review to come, but this one is a step up from The Nowhere Man and the humor generated by Evan's 'domestic' discomfort is priceless in the midst of all the action.

Edited: Feb 16, 2:59pm Top

A/N: I never thought I'd use the term 'trigger warning', but here it is. This fic refers to a Columbine like shooting in an unknown area of the country. It is also in the wake of the tragedy that occurred in FL Wednesday. There is nothing too strong, but it is the subject matter so keep that in mind. For me, 47 year old me, Columbine, was unprecedented. It made no sense, but it's example has lead to that tragedy being more and more common and less and less shocking. It is sad. It is easy to talk about legislating weapons, but harder to think about changing our own behavior. Be loving. Be kind. Even in the face of the opposite. Also, this a bit of 'Stranger Things fan fiction so take for what it's worth. :-)


“Have you ever felt helpless?” Max asked, as she and Lucas shared a Saturday lunch at the 50 yard line of the middle school football field.

Lucas raised an eyebrow, about to expound on the African American experience, when he thought better of it. The question was not about him. It was clear there was something on her mind.

“Yeah,” he answered, seriously. “I have.”

“Of course, you have,” she said, suddenly tuning in to him. She reached out and touched his hand. “Sorry…that was dumb of me.”

The normally forceful and playful Max was not present. She was suddenly solemn and for a girl who regularly spoke her mind, she was having trouble getting to the point. He waited.

“There is nothing dumb about my Mad Max,” he replied with genuine feeling. “What helplessness are you talking about?”

“Have you ever heard about something so terrible that happened to people you don’t even know and yet there is nothing you can do about it?”

The normally forceful and playful Max was not present. She was suddenly solemn and for a girl who regularly spoke her mind, she was having trouble getting to the point.

“You mean like what the Nazis did to the Jews or what African Americans suffer in the Deep South?” he asked, hoping he was getting what she was after.

“I guess so,” she said, meeting his eyes. “Those were, and are terrible. But those are on such a larger scale. So much death, it’s hard to make it make sense. You know what I mean?”

Again, Lucas reminded himself that his wasn’t about him. “Yeah, I know that feeling, too. What happened, Max? What did you hear?”

“I talked to my Dad last night,” she said. “I love talking to him. But he shared something that happened back home, at the high school.

Lucas was intrigued, but the level melancholy and, he guessed, pain, he was in Max told him to continue listening.

He said there was a shooting. A bad one. Twelve students were killed. Twelve kids…like us. Shot dead.”

Lucas blinked as he absorbed the enormity of what she had just said. He looked at the ground as his brain processed the carnage it must have been.

“What?” he said, to say something, anything.

“That what I mean about helpless. A friend of mine was killed. I hadn’t seen or spoken to her since we were in 4th grade, but she was my friend.”

Lucas got to his knees and reached for her, but it was awkward. “God, Max, I’m so sorry. A friend of yours? I thought you said you didn’t know the people.”

“That was just an example, Lucas,” she said, sadly.

He hugged her, however awkwardly, asking: “Are you okay?”

“No, I’m not okay, but I’m not crying myself to sleep either,” she declared with a hint defiance. “Bottom line, I feel helpless to do anything. It’s so horrible. Apparently, the bastard who did it killed himself before anyone could get to him. Freaking coward!”

“For sure,” Lucas agreed. “I can’t believe that someone would do that at school. Kill their classmates? Middle School already sucks. I imagine High School will suck more. But, to bring a gun to school and start shooting people, that is messed up! The guy had to be crazy; had a screw loose or something.”

Max nodded quietly. “I’m still in shock. I can’t understand why this thing is hitting me so hard. I feel so edgy, but not angry if that makes sense. Like Anger is waiting for its turn, but Shock isn’t done yet. What if Will or Dustin or Mike, or El got shot? What if it was you…or me?”

Still kneeling in front of her, Lucas cupped her beautiful, freckled face in his hands. “I would never let that happen.”

“I know you mean that, Lucas,” she whispered. “But, what if it was out of your hands? What if you weren’t there? What if El got hit before she could hit back? She’s telekinetic, not telepathic. What if-”

Lucas pressed his lips to hers softly, but with enough pressure to change her focus. Breaking the short kiss, he said: “It’s okay, Max. It’s going to be okay. I’ve got you. I know it hurts. I know you feel like there’s nothing you can do. I feel that way too. Kinda sucks when we’re the ones getting picked on. We’re the ones getting singled out. We’re the smart ones. But we’re the ones who have to be better.”

“That is”-she started.

“Pure golden wisdom, right?” he cut in.

“Not bad, Stalker,” she replied, kissing him back. “Not bad.”

“Not make light of this at all,” Lucas said, arching an eyebrow. “But if El had gotten the drop on that shooter, there would be only one dead person instead of twelve.”

Max smiled with just satisfaction. “Got that right, Mister.”

A/N 2: I know this is a simplification of the issue, but this is how I imagine the characters feeling.

P.S. Mark up are killing me.

Edited: Aug 22, 9:18am Top

Hi Brodie! Thought I'd mosey on over after your visit to my thread.

but like Star Trek: Discovery, I will not pay for an additional channel/service for one show. That's exactly what my husband Bill said and we'll keep missing out on things we'd like to see. Fortunately there are a lot of other good options. We have Netflix (courtesy of our 24-year old daughter) and Amazon Prime. Between them and DISH Network, we have more than enough to watch.

Feb 19, 2:02am Top

>63 brodiew2: I like it!

Feb 19, 11:36am Top

>64 karenmarie: Hi Karen. thanks for stopping in. there are a lot of good options out there. I've been following Travelers on netflix as well as Longmire. I will see ST: Discovery eventually.

>65 rretzler: Hi Robin! Thanks. I'm glad it had an effect. :-)

Edited: Mar 26, 2:29pm Top

If you have been following me for the last few months, you will know how taken I am with Gregg Hurwitz novel series feature Evan Smoak a.k.a. Orphan X a.k.a. The Nowhere Man. Evan was a foster kid recruited into a top secret assassin program at the age of 12. He later broke with the program and began an off the grid job of helping those who could not help themselves.

In this third volume, Hellbent, Hurwitz has outdone himself. The action is fantastic as is the awkward to him, but fun for us, character growth of Evan himself. Evan is still being chased by his past, both physically and psychologically. But, here, Evan is charged by his mentor to take care of a package which ends up being a 16 year old girl, who washed out of the Orphan program. Having a 'sidekick' makes Evan grow in ways he didn't know he desired. While keeping her safe, he is also evading his nemesis in the Orphan program and handling a Nowhere Man mission to help a father whose teen son has gotten wrapped up in one of the worst gangs in LA.

I loved this book! I think it is the best of the series, and I loved the fist one a lot. I will give credit Scott Brick as well, who has narrated both past volumes as well as this one. He walks hand in hand Hurwitz in making this one of my favorite thriller series ever.

5 of 5 Stars

Feb 23, 6:42pm Top

Picked up my copy from the library today! Now just need to finish the third Bobiverse book to get to it.

Feb 23, 7:33pm Top

Hello Jim! I'm so glad to hear you have it in hand! I have no doubt you will enjoy it.

Feb 23, 10:17pm Top

Happy Friday, Brodie. I was going to ask you how your reading was coming and I see you enjoyed the latest Hurwitz. I have yet to read him.

I have been enjoying Artemis. Have you read it yet? If not, you might like it, as well.

Mar 11, 7:35pm Top

Hey, finished Hellbent the other day. You're right - was the best one yet!

Mar 21, 8:57am Top

Mark sent me Joe Hill's Strange Weather and I just finished it up. If you haven't read it yet, I'm happy to send it to you!

Mar 21, 10:18am Top

Hey, Brodie. Just checking in to see if all is well. Hope you're getting a lot of good reading in!

Mar 21, 7:34pm Top

>72 drneutron: Thanks for the offer, Jim, but I haven't gotten to the last one you sent me. If there is another taker, please pass it along.

>73 rretzler: Hi Robin! Thanks for stopping in. The reading life is hanging by a thread here in 2018. 2 Audios, 1 aborted audio, another audio in progress. My Life and Hard Times to steal a title from James Thurber.

Here is the deal, Folks! I just got a brand new copy of The Kremlin Conspiracy by Joesl C. Roseberg. It is hot off the press and I was first in line at the library. I even got the audio in tandem. I want to READ this book. Not LISTEN if I can help it. Wish me luck and any and all encouragement is encouraged. :-P

Mar 21, 11:52pm Top

>74 brodiew2: Sending lots of luck and encouragement your way! Amazing that you were the first in line to get it - that has to mean there is luck attached to it!

Mar 22, 8:57am Top

I saw the Roseberg on my library's list - looking forward to your comments on it!

Edited: Apr 19, 12:18pm Top

>75 rretzler: Thanks for the well wishes, Robin. slow start so far, but still hopeful!

>76 drneutron: I'll see what I can do for you, Jim! Thanks for staying connected.

The Cat Who Played Brahms was excellent as most of her Jim Qwilleran books are. I have listened to many of them over the years, and never in order. My recently selections have been well picked as they include major elements in Qwilleran's over all story.

This book takes place early in the series and see 'demoted' restaurant critic taking sabbatcial from his newspaper life to spend time in Moose County writing a novel. He has the opportunity to stay in a cabin owned by his 'Aunt Fanny' who is a good friend of his mother's from years past. She is old, eccentric, and quite wealthy. The novel never get's started because the novel-ty of the cabin, the community, and its residents will not be ignored.

The mystery is introduced when Qwill takes a sketchy fishing trip and hooks what looks a lot like a human body. The fog is heavy and no one believes. When another local turns up beaten to death in their basement, Qwill's quiet month in the mountains is officially over.

Whenever I need a cozy murder palate cleanser, I always come back to Moose County, Pickaxe, and Jim Qwilleran. George Guidall's narration is a balm on this series. Just perfect. More than anything, I enjoy coming back because the murder always seems incidental to the lives of the characters and flavor of the community. Braun has created a wonderful place filled with interesting characters.

Highly recommended.

4.5 of 5 stars

Mar 26, 10:01pm Top

>77 brodiew2: I read the Cat Who books years ago. The earlier ones were better than the really late installments. I wouldn't mind dipping into some of the earlier ones in audio format.

Mar 27, 1:08pm Top

>78 thornton37814: Thanks for stopping in, thornton37814! I agree that the earlier ones are better, but Guidall on audio, is pure magic. you should definitely check them out. I listened to The Cat Who Read Shakespeare last year and it remains my favorite.

Mar 30, 10:03pm Top

>79 brodiew2: Glad to hear the audios are well done.

Edited: Jul 25, 5:33pm Top

I am now one third of the way through this Grant biography and it is fascinating. I had forgotten about how he languished as a failed business man in the years between the Mexican War and the start of the Civil War. I was glad to see him reinvigorated after the CW started. I just crossed over the Battle of Shiloh which was a bloody mess and a narrow Union victory.

Churnow does not shy away from Grant's drinking or depression, but balances it with the reality of his bravery and military genius. There is a lot of story still to go and I am all in.

The narration by Mark Bramhall is very good. His range of voices works well with accounts of Grant by different sources.

Apr 19, 1:38pm Top

>81 brodiew2: I look forward to getting to this one day. Years ago when I visited DC I picked up The Personal Memoirs of US Grant at one of the museum bookstores - it is of course widely available (my library has 2 copies of it amazingly) and I found it to be an excellent book - I would imagine it would be a primary source for Chernow's research.

Have a great day Brodie!

Apr 19, 1:43pm Top

Hello Ron! Nice to see you!

You are correct. Chernow uses Grant's memoirs as the core of his biography and explains the circumstances that caused Grant to write it near the end of his life.

You have a great day as well!

Apr 20, 1:15pm Top

>83 brodiew2: Once I get back to reading mode I think I'll put a hold on the audiobook at the library. It has a waiting list. I just a few days ago picked up a book on Shiloh by Winston Groom (of Forest Gump fame). I believe my 2nd great grandfather and his brothers fought at Shiloh (they were in the Army of the Tennessee at the time), and one of their cousins died there. I think I had ancestors on both sides of that battle.

Apr 20, 1:39pm Top

I understand the savagery of the battle was unmatched in future battles. Such carnage. I have not follow my family history that far back so I am unaware of my family's civil war involvement.

For some reason I thought the audio was only 19 discs long, but it is 39. Double whammy! That rivals my longest audio to date of The Count of Monte Cristo.

Apr 20, 2:14pm Top

Yes it is a huge one and a real commitment. I didn't think it was 39 CD's tho!

Apr 20, 4:02pm Top

Glad your Grant book is going well. Now I've got to get a copy...

Apr 21, 6:50pm Top

The Grant book looks interesting, Brodie. I also had a family connection who fought at Shiloh.

May 6, 5:13am Top

Missing your regular presence, Brodie.

Hope all is well.

May 8, 8:14pm Top

>89 PaulCranswick: I appreciate that, Paul. Thanks for keep tabs on those who go off the radar for a while. I've plugging along in the Chernow Grant biography. It's good, but LONG. I'm nearing the end of the Civil War and planning on taking a break. I hope all is well with you, too. Thanks again, for checking in.

May 9, 6:57am Top

Hey, Brodie. i am glad to see you are still chugging along with the Grant bio. Hope you are starting to see daylight.

May 9, 8:12am Top

I was glad to see you stop by my thread - I hope you're able to keep head above water! :)

May 11, 12:24pm Top

>91 msf59: Thanks for stopping in, Mark! I am officially over the hump today with disc 21 and Lee's surrender. It was rewarding to see the war end for all intents and purposes. Grant's grace at Appomattox was par for his course, but surprising to Lee and his staff. Lincoln's assassination is imminent.

>92 drneutron: Yes, I've been sporadic of late. Good to see you, too, Jim. I'm doing my best.

May 14, 2:58pm Top

Hello all! I am taking a rest on Grant Chernow after disc 22 which chronicled the fall out of Lincoln's assassination and the transfer of power to Andrew Johnson. I will likely be inserting an of a CJ Box Joe Pickett novel. I'll keep you apprised.

May 16, 10:25am Top

>94 brodiew2: That's understandable! I love Joe Pickett, especially on audio, enjoy!

May 16, 1:10pm Top

>95 Dianekeenoy: Hello Diane! I am now on Disc three of Breaking Point. It marks a jump forward in Pickett's timeline for me, but I am not bothered by it. Everyone is pretty much the same, if about 7-8 years older. It has been a long time since a book has seemingly telegraphed the killer so blatantly. I'll be surprised if I'm wrong, but I don't see a third suspect just yet. The obvious suspect is not the killer. Unless he is which would be a surprise. LOL.

Edited: Jul 31, 6:05pm Top

Hello all. I figured I should update this thing although it is with little more than the books I've been reading to my son.

We read the first three books in Microsaurs series by Dustin Hansen. It is a series about two friends, one a science geek, the other an extreme sports enthusiast, who meet a paleontologist whom has discovered mircrosaurs. They are tiny dinosaurs. Hilarity, high jinks, and problem solving are the name of the game in this series. Fun illustrations as well.

This was a really cool, down home, story about a boy who aspires to see the world and asked to find 7 Wonders of the World in his small town home of Sassafras Springs. His father will buy him a train ticket to visit family in Colorado if he can find the 7 wonders in a week. Quite enjoyable.

Now for something completely different...

I'm not sure what led me down this path. I saw Ghost Boys at B&N and later got it from the library along with Dear Martin. My son is mixed race African-American and Caucasian and I have done my best to do right by him, but I have been afraid to address issues of the police and other elements of racism that he will doubtless encounter. I have attempted to read nonfiction on current events and the subject as a whole, but it does not seem to hold the emotional weight I, personally, need to engage. Ghost Boys did that. It a novel for elementary level readers, but it wonderfully evocative, making feel for only the murdered boy, but for the officer who killed him and his family as well.

I am presently reading Dear Martin...

Jul 25, 7:58pm Top

Hi Brodie - I've been MIA on the threads most of this year. I'm also reading much less than normal. Anyway kudos to you for trying to find good books to read alongside your son.
I have no idea of what would be suitable reading for him, but I loved Kwame Alexander's The Crossover.

Jul 25, 8:37pm Top

Hi Kerry. I have been mostly absent myself. My reading has been virutally nonexistent. Audio as well. This theme I'm on, now, is engaging me. I will probably seek out other books. The Hate You Give is on my list as well.

>98 avatiakh: I am familiar with The Crossover. It and Dear Martin are a little older than his level, but I am considering reading Ghost Boys with him. It would be something new and deeper in our relation ship if I do.

Jul 25, 9:12pm Top

I read The hate you give last year and while I'd still recommend it, it wasn't a personal favourite and I feel there are much better reads out there.
From my comments - 'I can see why it is getting the attention, the book will certainly generate discussion, though I found it overlong and not gritty enough like say Clockers, which is an adult novel, but one that could be read by this age group...Thomas was probably aiming to appeal to the general YA reader, to introduce them to a world they might not usually enter, so kudos for that balancing act.'

I'm a fan of verse novels so The crossover jumped to my mind.

Have you read Oreo by Fran Ross? I didn't care for it, found the dialogue difficult to follow, but it is considered a 1970s classic.

Edited: Jul 27, 12:50pm Top

>100 avatiakh: I'll be looking into The Crossover again, Kerry. Thanks for the reminder. I am not familiar with Oreo, but found another couple of books that peak my interest in the YA arena. They are: How it went down and Tyler Johnson was here and All American Boys. I'm not sure I'll read them all, but 'How it went down' has a fascinating Rashamon angle.

I finished Dear Martin last night.

I started the nonfiction Uncensored: Uncomfortable by Zachary R. Wood. Great introduction, with a compelling and accessible style.

Jul 27, 2:30pm Top

Uncensored sounds interesting - looking forward to your thoughts on it.

Edited: Aug 29, 2:46pm Top

>102 drneutron: Thanks for stopping in, Jim. I'll let you know.

Has anyone been watching Marvel's Cloak and Dagger? It is intriguing and maddening at the same time. But, I haven't quit. What do you think?

Jul 31, 6:13pm Top

Hi, Brodie! Nice to see you posting around. I hope you have got your book mojo back.

Uncensored: Uncomfortable does sound interesting. Is it continuing to work?

Jul 31, 10:27pm Top

>103 brodiew2: I watch Cloak & Dagger! I think it's ... okay. Same as Marvel's Runaways last year, I had high hopes but it seems to be mostly just spinning its wheels. It's enjoyable enough to watch but nowhere near my favorite show.

Aug 1, 2:12pm Top

>104 msf59: Hi Mark! Thank you. I will let you know as I proceed through 'Uncensored'.

>105 norabelle414: Hello norabelle414. Your comments mirror my thoughts as well. It's pacing is awful, continually making lateral movements rather then moving the story forward. However, I like the leads and their powers and hope that the 'divine paring' will get to defending the city sooner than later. They need to deal with Roxxon as well.

Edited: Aug 6, 5:49pm Top

So, my drought, which has lasted months, may finally be over. When can't even care to listen an audioook during the commute, you know things are bad. That said, I am listening to Thrawn by Timothy Zahn and it is quite captivating. Zhan has been able to transition the character into the Disney canon with virtually no retconning necessary. The performance by Marc Thompson is once of his best. I had real trouble with his Han Solo voice in past performances, but his Thrawn and Vanto, ni this performance, are brilliant.

Also, I have started Carrying Albert Home by homer Hickam, Jr. This is right up my alley at the moment. Nice, light drama, a bit of a love strory, with a dash of absurdity. If you have any recs that fit that bill, please drop me a line.

Uncensored: Uncomfortable is still on my radar, but I am reading it sections. Stay tuned.

I also picked up two more YA books, thematically related to the ones I posted above.

Edit: Oops! I almost forgot. I just finished Wedgie and Gizmo 2 by Suzanne Selfors. Fun kid stuff that I read aloud to my son.

Aug 6, 8:27pm Top

Hi, Brodie. Great to see you posting around again. I am also glad to see that you may have broke out of your book slump. I have been very lucky, to not fall into this morass myself. Fingers crossed.

Aug 6, 8:33pm Top

Thanks, Mark! I can feel the veil lifting. Time to reengage.

Aug 7, 8:08am Top

Glad to see your drought is easing! I hate it when that happens!

Edited: Aug 28, 12:46pm Top

I really enjoyed the audio book of Star Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn. This the first novel to show the rise of the iconic Star Wars character within the NuCannon from Disney. The novel starts with Thawn, a blue skinned, red eyed, Chiss, being discovered by the Empire while in Exile from his native people. He shows quick aptitude and brilliant strategy as he rises, meteorically through the Imperial ranks. Along the way, he gathers friends, allies, and enemies from both within and outside the Empire, as he hunts the elusive rebel, Nightswann.

I have always enjoyed this character from his original introduction in Heir to the Empire. Even though he is a devoted servant of the Empire, he does not embody the tyrannical methods so often displayed by his colleagues, both up and down the chain of command. He praises initiative, competence, and bravery while also using failure as a learning opportunity rather than an excuse to punish. You want to like him even as he works voraciously against the heroes of the story.

Another interesting thing about Thrawn is love and appreciate for art. He will study the art of species in order to learn more about them. It is helpful in negotiations as well as combat strategy.

The one deficiency I found in the novel is that the title character never fails in any significant way. From his beginning at the Imperial Academy to his elevation to Grand Admiral, he is in control of all situations all the time. I expected this to a certain extent, because of my prior knowledge of the character, but I had hoped that he would need to overcome a major obstacle. A mild disappointment.


Aug 22, 9:24am Top

Hi Brodie!

I want to get the Chernow biography of Grant. Perhaps it will be at the fall Friends of the Library sale - I sorta get to sneak peak the offerings since I'm on the board and help set up.

In 2010 our family took an 18-state, 13-day vacation, and ended up seeing Grant's house in Illinois, and his wife's family's house in Missouri where they either stayed or lived early in their marriage (can't remember which). Fascinating.

Aug 22, 2:07pm Top

>112 karenmarie: Hello Karen! Thanks for stopping by. Your post is a reminder that I need to finished Grant Chernow. I listened to 22 discs and finished the War, but took a long break after that. I did enjoy so I'll put it back on the rotation.

Very cool that you got to visit his home in Galena.

Aug 26, 6:12pm Top

Hi Brodie. I hope the smoke from all the fires isn't hitting you too hard. One of my Seattle friends has been really suffering.

I was afraid I was on the verge of a book slump - I started several books that were just not working for me including a history book that seemed to assume the reader already knew everything. Drove me crazy very quickly. Then I picked up one of your favorites - Candice Millard's Hero of the Empire. Now there's a book I am going to enjoy!

Hope your weekend is going well.

Aug 26, 6:31pm Top

Happy Sunday, Brodie. Hope you are enjoying the weekend. Nice to see you posting around. Always good to see you. I hope those books are treating you well.

Aug 27, 2:57pm Top

>114 RBeffa: Hi Ron! The smoke has been pretty bad in the last couple of weeks, but the last couple of days have been a light rainy relief. I can see patched of blue this morning. Thank you for asking.

I'm so glad to hear the Millard broke the series of disappointments. All of her books are good. You should try Destiny of the Republic when you get a chance. It may be time for a re-listen myself.

>115 msf59: Hello Mark! I appreciate you stopping in. I am making headway on The Lonely Men, but it is incremental progress much like the rescue party in the book. I like Tell Sackett. I might have to read a couple of more. I like how the family is scattered, but never far away when one needs help.

Aug 29, 3:08pm Top

Hello all. I am making progress on L'Amour's The Lonely Men, but in the meantime I have Pearl Ruled two audio books. The first, Star Wars: Last Shot, I knew pretty quick that it wasn't going to fly. Though I loved the narrator in the, above, Thrawn, I was not enamored of this time jumping Han/Lando story. It also features a depressed Han complaining about how bad a dad he is.

The second, Mangrove Lightning, took me longer to pull the plug. Personally, I should have pulled the plug sooner than I did. This book is weird. I say that in the darker, sinister meaning of the word. The book is one in a long series featuring the marine biologist investigator?! Doc Ford. I think I may have listened to a more tame volume in the series some time ago. That said, this book piqued my interest with a true historical hook that featured prohibition era bootlegging, Chinese laborers, and true unsolved murder of a County sheriff. So far so good. But then it takes disturbingly offbeat direction including demonic spiritual time travel and the kidnapping and torture of a teen girl. Though the book is not explicit in the torture or sex slave action, it is creepy enough in the insinuation. I finally had to pull the plug about halfway through. I can confidently say I will not be returning to this series.

I was reviewing my previous 75er threads and was reminded of things I wanted to read or listen to. I am very thankful for the resource.

Edited: Aug 30, 8:41am Top

Hmmm. That second one sounds like one to pass. Thanks for taking one for the team! 😀

Aug 30, 1:58pm Top

>118 drneutron: Probably a good idea, Jim. It is strange how strong my feelings are about this book even when putting down halfway through. The narrative structure has some challenges, as well. There are odd time jumps that are explained retroactively as well a protagonist who seems only half involved in the main plot. okay, rant over.

Edited: Sep 10, 3:20pm Top

Friday Flash Fiction Returns

Playing Cowboy by Amos Sewell

Blaze Steadwood had just taken a gut shot. He knew that, barring a shot to the heart, or the head, it was the worst way to die. Agonizing pain and no friend to put him out his misery. He doubled over, reflexively firing his six shooter into the ground. It had been an ambush. As he fell to ground , he witnessed the rest of his posse being decimated by The Barton gang. They had the high ground and decent cover. He had walked right into their trap and led his friends into it as well.

Chance took a shot to the forehead and dropped both his revolvers, they hitting the ground only seconds before he did.

Devin was shot in the heart; blood flowed, indistinguishable from his bright red shirt.

Dirk, poor Dirk. He was the first to go, now lying prone in peaceful death.

Blaze flopped on his back, clutching at his innards, twisting enough to see Scotty in a macabre dance, taking multiple bullets from the heartless, soulless, Bartons.

They had been five. A foolish five, whom either waited for The Reaper or had already taken the long walk.

The Barton trio exited their cover and walked among the carnage.

Troy, sporting a red and black checkered shirt stalked over and knelt at Blaze's side. Pointing his gun at the dying boy's heart, he pulled the trigger. Rising to his feet, he raised his guns in the air and yelled:


All the dead boys rose to life and were on their feet in an instant.

Blaze rallied them all to him.

"This time The Barton Gang goes down!"

They all cheered and went back to their places to start another round.

Sep 2, 5:28am Top

>120 brodiew2: Enjoyed that, Brodie.

Have a great Sunday.

Sep 3, 10:28am Top

>121 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul! Good to see you.

Edited: Sep 13, 5:00pm Top

Slowly, but surely, I made my way through The Lonely Men by Louis L'Amour. In this volume, Tell Sackett is enlisted by his sister in law, Laura, to recover her son who has been kidnapped by Apaches. The rescue mission is dangerous, even potentially suicidal. But, the boy is a Sackett, his brother Orrin's son, so he will take up the attempt. Tell soon learns that Laura's story doesn't completely add up. Why would she lie? Is her son in danger? Will Tell and his friends come back alive?

I listened to a number of L'Amour books on tape a few years back, including Jubal Sackett, which I greatly enjoyed. Around same time, I attempted to read one of his books. What was true then is true now: L'Amour's style is hard for me to engage. I find the writing incongruous with caring about the characters and what happens to them. That is not say that the situations presented aren't rife with peril and drama. What discourages me is L'Amour's, and thus his character's, detachment from the drama. On the flip side, I can see that Tell Sackett is a lonely man as the title declares. He has suffered loss and great pain. He's a nomad, rambling from place to place doing this thing and that. It is how he lives.

The theme of family loyalty, and how L'Amour describes it, is a captivating aspect of his writing. The Sackett family, though spread far and wide, has family loyalty ingrained in them. When one is in need, all are in need, and take steps to address concerns. This is why Tell rides into Indian Territory at the risk of his own life. Along for the ride are his travelling companions, also fiercely loyal, and for a similar, but different reason. Like soldiers on the battlefield, there is a brotherhood of solitary men, who may group together for mutual benefit, not knowing well his companions, but trusting them to his core on their shared journey. This, again, is very well conveyed in L'Amour's prose.

Like many serial westerns, there are gun battles with Apaches and bad men, as well dangerous situations that appear to have no avenue of escape. These fell flat for me in that I just didn't entirely care if they survived.

3 of 5 stars

Sep 13, 4:51pm Top

Good review of The Lonely Men, Brodie. If you post it, I will Thumb it. Sorry, it wasn't completely satisfying. I think this might have been my very first L'Amour, but since that was in my early teens, I don't remember it very well. It did get me to read many more of his books, so there is that, plus I always loved Tell.

Sep 14, 12:10pm Top

>123 brodiew2: Sorry that this book didn't engage you better. L'Amour has been hit and miss for me in the past. I did enjoy my recent read and picked up two more of his since then - both of the ones I picked up however are short story collections which I have tended to enjoy a lot more than the novels.

Edited: Sep 14, 12:37pm Top

>124 msf59: Thanks, Mark! For me, L'Amour's books work better for me on audio. I have posted the review.

>125 RBeffa: Thanks for stopping in, Ron! Yeah, this one just seemed rote to me, but I have enjoyed other on audio.

In other news, I am enjoying the heck out of the audio of The Way of Kings by Brian Sanderson.

Sep 14, 10:56pm Top

Glad you like the Sanderson!

Sep 16, 11:54pm Top

>127 drneutron: Thank you, Jim. Have you read it? Something else by him?

Sep 17, 9:56am Top

Yep, I've read his Mistborn series (except the latest), and Elantris. All very good!

Many of his books are connected behind the scenes by a cosmological back story. Wikipedia Cosmere if you want to find out more. But his intention is for each epic series to stand alone, so you can read Stormlight Archives books and skip Mistborn books if you like.

Edited: Today, 7:56pm Top

Hello all! It's my Birthday! 48 years. can you believe it? I can't.

I'm 14 discs into The Way of Kings and still enjoying it.

I also picked up Kill the Farm Boy which is turning out to have some staying power as a fantasy parody containing elements of The Princess Bride, Shrek, Star Wars, and other common fantasy/fairy tale elements.

Also, dipping into The Man He Never Was by James L. Rubart.

Random Birthday question: Have you ever experience a truly winning piece of writing in a movie or tv-tie in novel? Novelizations can count, but I really interested in tie-ins original novels based on the movie, tv show, or game.

Or, for those who may have never read a tie-in, what is your best recommendation for a light drama in any genre that is 300 pages or less?

Today, 8:23pm Top

Happy birthday! Glad you're enjoying the Sanderson. I don't think I've ever read a tie-in that I thought was stellar. They're usually fun if I've enjoyed the movie or series, but not something I'd shout about.

Actually, now that I think about it, I have several The Man from U.N.C.L.E books that I like. Those are fun!

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2018

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