Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Children's Book Review and Author Q&A with "Chuck Yeager Goes Supersonic" Author, Alan W. Biermann

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post in which i was sent a review copy of the book as well as compensated for my time in sharing my thoughts and promoting my post through my social media channels.  However, all views shared are mine and mine alone.

Chuck Yeager Goes Supersonic is a wonderful story about a true American hero. You can learn more about the book and the author here: http://www.supersonicflyer.com.

You may recall me mentioning a short time ago that we decided to homeschool Savannah this year for Kindergarten.  Well, so far, so go.  Yes, it is a lot of work to plan the week's worth of school work as well as make a point to attend meet ups and other homeschool groups and field trips for socialization, but Savannah is really enjoying it and learning so much.  And, I love watching her get excited about things that she is learning and ask more in depth questions about things.  

Recently, one of our homeschooling field trips took us to the New England Air Museum in here in Windsor Locks, CT.  Having never been on an airplane before or seeing them close up, both of my girls' eyes lit up when they walked into the museum and saw the different aircraft.  As they made their way through the museum, making a point to sit in and pretending to drive each plane, the questions started to come from Savannah.  That day she added becoming a "plane driver" to her list on things she wants to be when she grows up, besides a princess, puppy owner and cook. :-)  

Not being that familiar with planes, I knew I would have to research more so that I could properly answer Savannah's questions.  My search about planes geared towards young children led me to look for children's aircraft books to share with her.  If you have done a search for aircraft books for kids, then you probably know that there are not that many out there.  And, the ones that I found, I knew that they would not keep Savannah's attention.

Thanks to a blogging book review opportunity that came a few days later, I was given the opportunity to review a book called "Chuck Yeager Goes Supersonic."  When I read the press release about this book it was like this book was being published just for us, to answer our aircraft questions.  But, after having an opportunity to interview the Author, Alan W. Biermann, I found out that he wrote this book as he struggled to find a similar book for his son.

Alan W. Biermann and Yaejin Lim (the book's illustrator) at the table at Smithsonian near the bookstore ready to sign books.

As soon as Savannah saw me take the book out of the mail, the orange aircraft on the front cover caught her eye, and she couldn't wait to sit down and have me read the book to her.  It wasn't until we sat down that we realized that this would be able to answer to most of Savannah's questions, including a whole chapter on sound and the sound barrier.  

This chapter in particular was Savannah's favorite, and she gained so much knowledge from it, that she loves to share what she has learned whenever friends and family to come to visit.  I wish I could take credit for getting her excited about how sound works and the sound barrier, but I have to give thanks to the author of this amazing book, that I know boys and girls of all ages will enjoying reading or have the book read to them.  Savannah can't get enough of this book, and continues to ask me to read it to her.  And, when I am busy doing something, I will find her flipping through the pages or talking to Bella about what she remembers and which aircraft is her favorite -- the X-1 as it went really fast! :-)

Alan standing in front of Savannah's favorite aircraft. :-)

Like I said, I had the opportunity and pleasure to interview the author, Alan W. Biermann and learned the back story on his reason for writing this book, and what he is working on now.  Please enjoy my Author Q&A with the author of my daughter's favorite book to date, "Chuck Yeager Goes Supersonic."  And, when you are done learning about the author, this book, etc., make sure you head on over to Amazon to purchase a copy of this book for only $9.72 (paperback)  . This book is perfect for kids who love planes, to share as part of a homeschool theme week, or simply to introduce your child to something new.  Come on, what child doesn't like to listen to an action-packed highly flying adventure story?  :-)

Alan sharing his book with a group of second graders (Photo Source: Karoline Mathewson)

First, let me introduce you all to Alan W. Biermann...

"Alan Biermann's father was in the airplane propeller business and he was around airplanes a lot in his early years. When he was in high school and college, he spent most summers working in the propeller factory assembling propellers for single and twin engine airplanes. He became a sailplane pilot in college and eventually flew many flights at El Mirage dry lake bed on the Mojave Desert near where Captain Yeager (now General Yeager) flew many of his record breaking flights. The story of the breaking of the sound barrier has been one of his favorites for his whole life and he is now enjoying getting it out to the young people of the world.
He was a professor of computer science at Duke University for most of his career. His research area was artificial intelligence and he received grants and published many papers in this field. He also wrote a general textbook in computer science entitled Great Ideas in Computer Science which was published by The MIT Press in 1990, 1997, and a third edition, with coauthor, Dietolf Ramm, in 2002. Professor Biermann is a Fellow in the Association for Advancement of Artificial Intelligence and in the Association for Computing Machinery and a past President of the Association for Computational Linguistics."

And, now, please enjoy my Q&A with the author about his recent book release for kids, "Chuck Yeager Goes Supersonic"...
o   Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?  Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books? 
Alan:  I am so excited to be getting the word out on my book, Chuck Yeager Goes Supersonic.  I assume that you have a copy.  I tell in there in my personal story at the end about growing up around airplanes with my dad in the propeller business.  When my son was young, ages 3, 4, 5, etc. I read him a million stories.  Since I had an interest in aviation, I tried to find books about flying to read him and I found almost none.  Finally, I started reading adult books to him when he was maybe five or six.  At some point I ran into the Chuck Yeager autobiography and he and I just loved this story.  I read some of the hot parts to him several times.  I suggest that you will be astounded at what a great book this is if you have not read it.  But I could not find many real life action stories like this for my son in children's books and I looked and looked.  I found the Wright brothers story and not much else.  I kept thinking that books like this are badly needed.  But I was a professor of computer science at Duke University and working very long hours.  I could not do any writing at that time.  But maybe someday . . . .
      Here is an interesting interlude:  I have a granddaughter who read books with huge enthusiasm from the earliest age.  When she got to seven, she ran across a book about the Titanic and became totally gripped by the story.  She read the book again and again and then her mom found more books about the Titanic.  She read them all and then she read them again.  Her mom took her to a museum and they saw artifacts from the Titanic.  She is now an expert on the subject.  The point of this is that it was a TRUE story of terror and heroism.  Almost all of the books available to her are fiction and the fact that this was true meant so much to her.  I think that kids will become very excited about TRUE stories when they get a chance at them.

o   How did you get interested in writing this particular genre?
Alan:     After I retired a few years ago, I decided to think about how to deliver a great story of true adventure to little children.  I joined the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and began taking them early versions of my proposed Chuck Yeager manuscript.  They shook their fingers at me and told me what I needed to do and what to avoid.  Then I took another version and another and finally I started sending it to publishers.  They said they were not publishing that kind of book which I agreed with.  So I started looking for an artist to do the pictures.  That was a very long story but I finally found in Pasadena, California the most incredible brilliant wonderful artist that I could imagine,Yaejin Lim.   Then I found Julia Gignoux, a book designer in Vermont and we put the book together over a period of about two years.  Then she took it to CreateSpace and I self-published the book.  It is available at Amazon.com and at bookstores that are interested in carrying it.

When I take it to schools and talk to kids, they go wild over it.  A kid stopped me at a party a few days ago and explained to me that he had read it again and again and loved it so much.  Many parents have thanked me so earnestly for explaining the sound barrier so that they can understand it and talk to their kids about it. 

o   What is the hardest part of writing for you? 

Alan:  I have written another true aviation book for children and would love to go forward with the artistry and book creation.  Both my artist and my book designer have expressed their delight at the possibility of doing the next book. 
o   What's a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal? 

Alan:     I have other projects that I am doing so I am busy but not necessarily on writing.  I am still going to my office at Duke, meeting with faculty, going to technical talks, and keeping up with computer science.  My wife and I take care of our two granddaughters, ages 5 and 10, two days each week.  Occasionally, I get invited to give a presentation about my book or I go somewhere and meet people and talk about it.  In the next few weeks, I will probably return again to Fayetteville, North Carolina where there is a large military base and lots of military families with interests in aviation.  I visit schools, libraries, and bookstores there.

o   What’s the best thing about being an author? 

Alan:      I am so gratified at the responses that people have given me over this book.  I feel it has the possibility of being known in every household in America.  But it has a very long way to go.

I can't wait to hear what you and your children think of this wonderful book. And, I am so happy to have been the opportunity not over to review it and be able to share with Savannah, but also talk with the author.  Can't wait to add more books like this to my daughter's library from this author. But, in the meantime, we are enjoying reading "Chuck Yeager Goes Supersonic" almost daily. :-)

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post in which i was sent a review copy of the book as well as compensated for my time in sharing my thoughts and promoting my post through my social media channels.  However, all views shared are mine and mine alone.

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Now Available to Own on DVD -- Modern Family, Season Six -- Review and #Giveaway

Disclosure: I was sent a review copy from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.

Season Six Now Available to Own on DVD!!!

Is there one show that you can watch over and over again, even if you have already seen the episode?  For me, I can't get enough of Modern Family.  Ever since it first aired, I have been hooked on this show, and will tune in weekly to watch a new episode, or even a rerun.  Each and every episode is full of laughs, and can turn any stressful day around.  Like they say, "Laughter is the best medicine," and when you tune in to watch Modern Family and the amazing cast, you are truly in for a comedic treat.

If you are fan of the show, or are looking for a new show to add to your must watch list each week, then you will want to know about the recent Modern Family Season 6 DVD set which released back on Sept. 22nd, so that you can pick up and add to your favorite television shows DVD collection.  I was sent a copy of Modern Family Season 6 and have been enjoying watching each and every episode yet again, with my husband.  We can't help but laugh and tear up during each fun-filled episodes, and have found ourselves watching a handful thus far a couple of times, as they are just that good.  Don't believe me?  Then, pick up a copy of the newly released Modern Family Season 6 and see for yourself.  You, too, will find yourself watching these episodes over and over again, and finding more and more things funny with each scene.  And, if you are a new fan of the show, this season will show you why Modern Family continues to win Emmy after Emmy!

Here is more about the recent Modern Family Season 6 DVD release from the official press release shared online earlier this month, as well as fun "Did You Know" tidbits about the show and its cast. And, make a point to read on, as you will have a chance to win a DVD copy of Modern Family Season 6, to enjoy with your family. :-)....

Modern Family Season Six Arrives on DVD September 22

“Modern Family” Season Six
The honeymoon is over, but the laughs continue in Season Six of “Modern Family,” winner of five consecutive Emmy® Awards for Outstanding Comedy Series. As freshly hitched Cam and Mitch acclimate to the realities of wedded bliss, Phil and Claire find their marriage stressed by annoying neighbors, Thanksgiving dinner gone awry and Claire’s online snooping. Meanwhile, a spy-camera drone wreaks havoc in Jay and Gloria’s backyard and a close call on the highway leads to amusing changes in various members of the Pritchett-Dunphy clan. It all adds up to the funniest season yet of this brilliant and acclaimed comedy.

DVD Special Features

·         Awesome Halloween
·         A Modern Thanksgiving
·         Modern Connections: The Making of an Episode
·         A Day with Julie
·         Gag Reel
·         Deleted Scenes

“Modern Family” Season Six DVD
Street Date:              September 22, 2015
Prebook Date:          August 19, 2015
Screen Format:        16:9 (1.78:1) 
Audio:                        5.1 Dolby Digital                             
Subtitles:                  English / French / Spanish
Total Run Time:      590 minutes
U.S. Rating:               TV-PG                       
Closed Captioned:    Yes

Think you know everything about Modern Family?

Here are a few fun facts about the cast of Nominated for Six Emmy® Awards including Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Casting For a Comedy Series!

·        Nolan Gould, who plays "dumb" Luke Dunphy, has actually been a member of Mensa since he was 4.

·         Full name of Manny's character is Manuel Alberto Javier Alejandro Delgado

·         Eric Stonestreet is a Kansas native who wanted to become a clown as a kid. In fact, his childhood invention of “Fizbo” the clown has now been resurrected on “Modern Family.”

·         Julie Bowen was 8 months pregnant with twins in the Modern Family pilot.

·         In early seasons, Jay kept forgetting that Mitchell was gay. This was added in after the producers heard Jesse Tyler Ferguson’s real experience with coming out to his father three times.

·         During the early seasons, Jay would constantly forget that his son Mitchell was gay. Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who plays Mitchell, says the idea came from his own real life experience since he had to come out to his real father three different times over a period of several years.

The honeymoon is over, but the laughs continue in Season Six of “Modern Family,” winner of five consecutive Emmy® Awards for Outstanding Comedy Series. As freshly hitched Cam and Mitch acclimate to the realities of wedded bliss, Phil and Claire find their marriage stressed by annoying neighbors, Thanksgiving dinner gone awry and Claire’s online snooping. Meanwhile, a spy-camera drone wreaks havoc in Jay and Gloria’s backyard and a close call on the highway leads to amusing changes in various members of the Pritchett-Dunphy clan. It all adds up to the funniest season yet of this brilliant and acclaimed comedy.


And, as promised, here is the giveaway!!! :-)


Thanks to the folks at Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, one lucky reader will win a DVD copy of Modern Family, Season Six.  To enter, please complete the entries on the Rafflecopter form below.  Good luck!

About Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, LLC (TCFHE) is the industry leading worldwide marketing, sales and distribution company for all Fox produced, acquired and third party partner film and television programing. Each year TCFHE expands its award-winning global product portfolio with the introduction of new entertainment content through established and emerging formats including DVD, Blu-ray™, Digital HD and VOD. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is a subsidiary of 20th Century Fox, a 21st Century Fox Company.

Disclosure: I was sent a review copy from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.
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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

New Children's Books From Thomas Nelson as We Welcome in Fall (Review)

Disclosure:  I was sent a review copy from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.

Thomas Nelson

My favorite season of the year is fall -- not just because the many holidays that fall within the fall months, but also for the beauty of the foliage.  I love breathing in the crisp air as we go apple and pumpkin picking, and going on hikes or long scenic car rides, enjoying the wonderful scenery.  And, with fall brings many great books to share with the girls about the season, as we begin to talk about what we are thankful for.  I am excited to share two children's books from Tommy Nelson that I was sent recently to share with my girls, and which they loved both, as they have become staples at bedtime.

Read Me a Bible Story 365 is a must for every child’s bookshelf!
"In just a few minutes a day, you and your children can discover God’s unfolding story and His great love for His people. This 365-day story Bible is perfect for your growing family. You can take it to church or read the stories at home every day of the year. Young children will love this beautifully illustrated collection of cherished stories from the Old and New Testaments."
*ages 4-8
*Start children on a lifetime of daily Bible reading

*Multi-artist Bible includes lots of different art styles kids will enjoy

*Scripture references accompany each story, allowing readers to explore the story in greater detail if they choose

The first book, "Read Me a Bible Story 365" is a beautiful hardcover book that shares a short biblical story for every day of the year.  If you find it hard to find devotions to read with your children, or just want to make bedtime easier by having a faith-based story already picked out to read and discuss with your children, then this book is perfect for you.  I, for one, love being able to pick up the book and read a story (or two -- if we miss a day here and there), and then talk with the girls about the story and its meaning.  

Included in this 222 page book are cherished stories taken from the Old and New Testaments, making them perfect to share at home and at church.  And, with each story comes beautiful illustrations to help bring the stories to life.  Like I said, both of my girls enjoy hearing me read these short stories to them.  And, when I find myself forgetting to pull this book from their bookshelf, they are quick to remind me and run and grab it.

I highly recommend this book for families looking to share stories from the Old and New Testaments with their children. And, with the holidays fast approaching, this would make the perfect gift to surprise them with, that will be cherished for years to come.


Little ones will love seeing all of God’s blessings of fall!
"Parents and children will want to cuddle up together again and again to hear the sweet rhyming story and see the snuggly animal families happy in their fall activities. Pumpkin patches, apple harvests, leaves that change color, hayrides, warm beverages, cozy clothes—God Bless Our Fall highlights all the wonderful things families get to enjoy together when the air turns crisp and cool.  
The fifth installment of the bestselling God BlessTM series, God Bless Our Fall features the same talented writer and illustrator combo from God Bless You and Good Night,God Bless Our Easter, and God Bless Our Christmas. This padded board book with a beautiful orange, gold, and crimson color palette will be sure to catch the eye of Mom and Grandma. They’ll love using it to introduce fun fall traditions to their little ones and guide them in giving thanks for God’s blessings of the season."
*ages 0-4

*Fun, adorable way to introduce fall traditions to little ones

*Rhyming text and delightful illustrations depict how parents and children bond through fall-related activities

The second book sent from Thomas Nelson was "God Bless Our Fall" written by Hannah C. Hall.  They puffy hardcover book is perfect for introducing the beauty of fall to little ones, as you talk about God and all of his blessings.  My youngest fell in love with this book, partly because of the cute animals on the front cover, but also for the illustrations throughout the book, which really show the true amazement of fall.  The book is also written in a fun rhyming verse, which was perfect as I have been teaching the girls about rhyming during school.  

I find that each time I read this book to the girls, they linger on the pages, taking into the adorable illustrations and talking about their favorite things about fall.  What a great way to get little ones excited about fall and all that it brings.  This is another great book I highly recommend, especially if you have little ones, as it is padded and will stand up to rough handling. :-)

To learn more about these and other recent and upcoming children's books, visit the Thomas Nelson website today: http://www.thomasnelson.com/.

Disclosure:  I was sent a review copy from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.
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Monday, September 21, 2015

Introducing the Newly Designed Line of Baby Genius Learn & Grow Products - Enter to #Win a $70 Goody Basket Now #Giveaway

Disclosure:  In exchange for promoting the new release of products, the vendor sent along a free goody basket to me, as well as offered to give one away to readers.  However, all views shared are mine and mine alone.

I was so excited to hear the other day that there was a new line of over 40 new Baby Genius® “Learn & Grow” products being released, just in time for the upcoming holidays. :-)  I have been a fan of Baby Genius® toys since I was first given a few back when I had Savannah.  And, since, I have made a point to pick up these wonderful educational toys that encourage your child's natural growth, all which have been developed with an early childhood specialist.

These new Baby Genius® “Learn & Grow” products launched today and are now available for purchase through the Baby Genius website, as well as on Amazon.com.  I was recently sent a sampling of these new products to try out with my girls.  Each and every new product was a hit with the girls, and they are still playing with them each day. Read on for a chance to win the same Baby Genius® “Learn & Grow” products I was sent, valued at around $70. :-)

Here is more about the new Baby Genius® “Learn & Grow” program, including the new line of over 40 new products available starting today!...

Genius Brands International is expanding the timeless appeal of Baby Genius® with the re-launch of the brand. Here’s what’s in store!

  • An entirely NEW and refreshed Baby Genius® “Learn & Grow” program launched today —incorporating a curriculum developed with early childhood development experts led by Stanford University Professor Emeritus Don Roberts—that aligns with your child’s natural growth. Professor Roberts has recorded a series of videos explaining his career in developmental communication, the importance of interaction on a child's development, and explaining the benefits of the Learn & Grow program HERE.

The beloved Baby Genius characters have been refreshed with the talents of renowned pop artist Todd Goldman, founder of apparel and accessories company David & Goliath.

  •  Baby Genius® music has been given the ROCKSTAR treatment by music industry veterans (and parents of four!) Ron and Stefanie Fair, who have written and produced for numerous multi-award winning artists, including The Pussycat Dolls, the Black-Eyed Peas, Mary J. Blige, Fergie, Christina Aguilera, Lady Gaga and others! 
  • New entertainment is available on DVD from PBS, on Netflix, and Comcast’s Baby Boost Channel!
  • Check out the new Baby Genius® website here!  And check out what’s new on Amazon on September 21th!
For more than ten years, Baby Genius® has earned worldwide recognition and awards from parents groups and organizations for creating award-winning products for your toddlers! There are currently 500 songs and 125 music videos featuring classic nursery rhymes, learning songs, classical, holiday and more - here are just a few of them!

And now, beginning TODAY, September 21, 2015, over 40 new Baby Genius® products will be available exclusively on Amazon.com from some of today’s premier toy companies! 

As kids transition from infant to toddler, every waking moment is a time for discovery and development. Baby Genius® all-new “products with a purpose” engage with kids at these critical stages in relevant ways to guide and encourage their development. They also provide parents with the guidance they need to make every experience an enjoyable learning experience.

So let’s meet the NEW Baby Genius® gang!

Parents and their toddlers will now be able to enjoy these new Baby Genius® characters on the array of new products available on Amazon!

And…here are just a few of them!

Favorite Nursery Rhymes DVD Premiere -- from PBS Kids!

Animation and live action combine with classic nursery rhymes to get toes tapping and hands clapping in this FIRST DVD from PBS Kids. Favorite Nursery Rhymes features familiar classics like Old MacDonald Had a Farm; Row, Row, Row Your Boat; Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star; along with Baby Genius® originals, and many, many more. Bonus CD included. The fun never ends! (SRP: $9.99)

All-new from Manhattan Toy for babies to toddlers 18 months+   

Fun new products include:

For babies and toddlers, cuddly friends who will help develop creative, emotional and social skills. (SRP: $14.99);

For Discoverers (6-12 months), Soft Cloth Interactivity Books featuring colorful graphics and engaging electronic sounds that encouragelearning through repetition and developing coordination skills. (SRP: $15.99)

And for Curious Learners (18-24 months), All My Instruments and All My Shapes Wooden Interactive Activity Toddler Puzzles to encourage problem solving and learning shapes, featuring fun sounds about each shape as the pieces are placed properly on the board! (SRP: $16.99)

A fun…and functional selection of new mealtime products for toddlers 6 to 38 months of age will be available from Zak Designs!

Featured here are the Baby Genius Curious Learner Plate, Bowl, and Flatware, Set of 4 (SRP: TBD); and the 8.7 oz Perfect Flo Toddler Cup,featuring the Baby Genius® characters (SRP: $TBD).

A range of Baby Genius® musical instruments and toys are now available from DGL, for Independent Doers, age 24 to 36 months!

Toys include: My First Music Set, a 3-piece musical instruments set that includes a tambourine, a xylophone and a clap noise maker (SRP: $34.99); and the Step To Step Electric Piano Dance Mat (SRP: $34.99); together with a range of wooden instruments, including a guitar, tambourine, flute and xylophone and drum set!

Plus, early learning toys with a musical focus are also available from WinFun.  Here are just a few!

For Proud Explorers, ages 12 – 18 months, Baby’s Learning Pad, which encourages hand-eye coordination and introduces letters and numbers (SRP: $14.99); My Baby Genius Laptop, which encourages motor development, reviews numbers, letters and words and encourages independence (SRP: $19.99); and Baby Genius Musical Bus, which offers the perfect way to introduce numbers and musical sounds (SRP: $19.99).

Winfun Baby Genius and Winfun Learn with Me Edupad

For Independent Doers, ages 24 – 36 months, Learn With Me EduPad, which encourages learning the letters of the alphabet and numbers 1 to 10. The Find It Game Mode offers fun learning challenges for your toddler and the Music Mode lets your little one play around and create melodies (SRP: $19.99)."

Find all these and more Baby Genius Toys now at Amazon -- http://www.amazon.com/babygenius.

And, now for the giveaway....


Thanks to the folks at Baby Genius Toys, one lucky reader will win a Baby Genius® goody basket (estimated value of $70), which will include the following...

From PBS Distribution:
Favorite Nursery Rhymes DVD: SRP $9.99

From Manhattan Toy:
DJ Talking Soft Hand Puppet: SRP: $15.99
Colors & Shapes Soft Cloth Interactivity Book: SRP: $15.99

From Winfun:
Baby Genius Musical Bus: $SRP: $19.99

From Zak Designs:
Baby Genius ABC Curious Learner 8.7oz Perfect Flo Low Profile Toddler Cup: SRP: $7.99

To enter, please complete the entries on the Rafflecopter form below.  Good luck!


Stay up-to-date on all things Baby Genius Toys by following them on their social media pages and official website below...

Disclosure:  In exchange for promoting the new release of products, the vendor sent along a free goody basket to me, as well as offered to give one away to readers.  However, all views shared are mine and mine alone.
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