Posted in Reviews

Review of The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis

***4-stars

As a librarian, I like to read new authors. I’ve heard good things about Fiona Davis from patrons and thought I’d give one of her books a try. This is the first I’ve read but not the last. The novel focuses on two women, Art teacher and artist Clara Darden whose story takes place during the 1920’s and Virginia Clay, a divorced woman in the 1970’s, who finds work at Grand Central Terminal in New York City and discovers the remnants of an art school hidden within its walls. When she locates a watercolor by an unknown artist, she begins a search that leads her into a mystery involving Clara Darden and the battle to save Grand Central. Along the way, she develops the courage to overcome her fears about her own deficiencies that include the removal of one of her breasts during cancer surgery. I enjoyed the way the story moved back and forth between the two women, and I was surprised by the twist at the end. I look forward to reading more of Ms. Davis’ books.

About the Author

(from her website: https://fionadavis.net):

F  I  O  N  A   began her career in New York City as an actress, where she worked on Broadway, off-Broadway, and in regional theater.

After getting a master’s degree at Columbia Journalism School, she fell in love with writing, leapfrogging from editor to freelance journalist before finally settling down as an author of historical fiction. Fiona’s books have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

She’s a graduate of the College of William & Mary and is based in New York City.

Connect with her on her social media links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FionaDavisAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/FionaJDavis

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fionajdavis/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14903705.Fiona_Davis

Posted in Cozy Mystery, Reviews

Review of Kitty Confidential, Pet Whisperer P.I. #1 by Molly Fitz

*****5-stars

Kitty Confidential is the first book of the Pet Whisperer P.I. cozy mystery series. It introduces Angie Russo, the proud holder of seven Associate Degrees who lives in the small town of Blueberry Bay, Maine. When Angie accepts a temp job as a paralegal, she experiences an electric shock when turning on the office coffee machine. This shock somehow renders her with the ability to hear what a tabby cat with the long moniker Octavius Maxwell Ricardo Edmund Frederick Fulton says. The cat, whom she nicknames Octo-Cat, enlists her help to solve his human’s murder. This is a fun, quick read with Octo-Cat stealing the show with his catitude. Cat lovers and cozy mystery fans will enjoy this book. I look forward to continuing the series.

About the Author

While USA Today bestselling author Molly Fitz can’t technically talk to animals, she and her doggie best friend, Sky Princess, have deep and very animated conversations as they navigate their days. Add to that, five more dogs, a snarky feline, comedian husband, and diva daughter, and you can pretty much imagine how life looks at the Casa de Fitz.

Molly lives in a house on a high hill in the Michigan woods and occasionally ventures out for good food, great coffee, or to meet new animal friends.

Check out her social media links and website where you can find out how to chat with Octo-Cat and join her mailing list:

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/MollyFitzMysteries/

Facebook reader group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CatsDogsBooks/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mollymysteries/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Molly-Fitz/e/B07N96W9G5/

Website: https://mollymysteries.com/

Love on the Rocks is the latest book in the Cobble Cove series by Debbie De Louise. I’ve read the previous books, and you can see all my reviews on her dedicated author page. Let’s drive into the review for the newest one… Love on the Rocks by Debbie De Louise My rating: 5 of…

via Book Review: Love on the Rocks by Debbie De Louise — This Is My Truth Now

Book Review: Love on the Rocks by Debbie De Louise — This Is My Truth Now

Posted in Reviews

Review: Journaled to Death: A Journaling Mystery by Heather Redmond

***5 stars

JOURNALED TO DEATH: A Journaling Mystery by Heather Redmond

This review was first published in the February 15, 2020 issue of Booklist.

 Mandy Meadows is a journaling vlogger who works with her teenage daughter when she’s not at her shift at the hospital coffee shop. She rents her basement to her cousin Ryan to help pay the bills that her ex-husband neglects. When Ryan is found dead, lying on a journal at the bottom of her stairs, his death is termed murder from a hammer blow to the back of his head.

Trying to clear herself, Mandy sets out to find her cousin’s killer and learns that Ryan dabbled in drugs and women. Suspects in Ryan’s murder include the negligent mother next door and Mandy’s friend who both slept with him; a competing blogger; two of Ryan’s strange new acquaintances who’d visited him last; a doctor who holds a grudge against Mandy for turning down a date with him; and even Mandy’s ex-husband. When Mandy gets too close to the truth, will the handsome detective on the case be able to save her in time?

This first in a series will keep cozy mystery fans guessing.

About the Author

This is the bio from Heather’s Amazon author page.

Heather Redmond is a long-time author under another name. First published in mystery, she took a long detour through romance before returning. Though her last known British ancestor departed London in the 1920s, she is a committed anglophile, Dickens devotee, and lover of all things nineteenth century.

Please sign up for Heather’s newsletter to receive new release information, sales, and contests.

Website: http://www.heatherredmond.com
Blog: http://heatherhiestand.com/blog/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/815229628643004/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/heatheraredmond
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/heatherhies

 

Posted in Reviews

Review and Blog Tour for Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary by Elaine Faber.

REVIEW

*** 5 stars

As a cat lover and also an author who writes mysteries featuring cats, I truly enjoyed this book. Even though it was the first one of this series that I’ve read, I had no trouble keeping up with the storyline because of the way the backstory was smoothly introduced. I loved the descriptions of Germany and Austria and the historical tidbits about World War II (this author also writes a World War II cozy series). The story was a fun puzzle and even contained a treasure hunt. The interplay between the two cats, Black Cat and Angel, was cute.There were moments of sadness when Angel got hurt, and Kimberlee was questioned by the police as a suspect in Mrs. Herman’s murder.  I would recommend this book and hope to read more of this series and other books by Elaine Faber. Check out the blog tour and giveaway below.

Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary:
A Tale of History, Mystery, Riddles, and Gold.
by Elaine Faber

About Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary

Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary:
A Tale of History, Mystery, Riddles and Gold.

Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Publisher: Elk Grove Publications (September 6, 2019)
Paperback: 264 pages
ISBN-10: 1940781256
ISBN-13: 978-1940781259
Digital ASIN: B07XSJQ5HF

In this dual tale of mystery, lost treasure, and riddles, while Black Cat narrates the exciting events in Fern Lake, Kimberlee discovers a cryptic clue in a diary about a hidden treasure, and heads to Austria to solve the puzzle.

When Kimberlee and Dorian arrive in Austria, they attract the attention of a stalker determined to steal the diary in hopes the clues will lead him to the treasure first. On a collision course, it is inevitable that Kimberlee and the stalker meet in Hopfgarten.

Black Cat and Angel’s lives are endangered with the arrival of Kimberlee’s grandmother in Fern Lake, and the return of a man presumed dead for twenty-five years. With both arrivals, emotional and financial difficulties loom for Kimberlee’s family. Since their return to Fern Lake, Angel seems reluctant or unable to adjust to her new home. Does she regret leaving Texas and Grandmother? And, when the opportunity arises, will she decide to leave Black Cat and Fern Lake?

About Elaine Faber

Elaine Faber lives in Northern California with her husband and feline companions. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, California Cat Writers, and Northern California Publishers and Artists. She volunteers with the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop. She enjoys speaking at public venues, sharing highlights of her novels. Her short stories have appeared in national magazines and multiple anthologies.

Black Cat’s Legacy, With the aid of his ancestors’ memories, Thumper helps pursue a cold case murder.

Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer, Thumper accompanies his family to a Texas horse ranch where they confront wild horses, embezzling, false identities and attempted murder.

Black Cat and the Accidental Angel, Black Cat and his companion are left behind following an MVA. Taken in by a family facing personal and financial disaster, Black Cat and Angel encounter danger and a spiritual encounter.

Mrs. Odboddy-Hometown Patriot, Eccentric Mrs. Odboddy believes Nazi spies and conspiracies run amuck through her town.

Mrs. Odboddy-Undercover Courier, Mr. O carries a package by train to President Roosevelt that she presumes are secret war documents. She is equally sure Nazi spies are after her package and will to anything to deliver the package to the president.

Mrs. Odboddy-And Then There was a Tiger, Falsely accused of various crimes, Agnes sets about to restore her reputation and missing war bond money.

Website – http://www.mindcandymysteries.com Facebook – http://tinyurl.com/zm2j4n5 Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7800759.Elaine_Fabera Rafflecopter giveaway
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Posted in Reviews

Book Review and Blog Tour: Through the Nethergate by Roberta Eaton Cheadle

 

Through the Nethergate
by Roberta Eaton Cheadle

About Through The Nethergate


Through the Nethergatehttps://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?source=bk&t=dollycsthoug-20&bm-id=default&l=ktl&linkId=db82ca6cbb3c6d25f437b191cfe09c9b&_cb=1573067325406
Supernatural Fantasy
1st in Series
TSL Publications (September 3, 2019)
Paperback: 214 pages
ISBN-10: 1913294021
ISBN-13: 978-1913294021
Digital ASIN: B07ZJTW2DF

Margaret, a girl born with second sight, has the unique ability to bring ghosts trapped between Heaven and Hell back to life. When her parents die suddenly, she goes to live with her beloved grandfather, but the cellar of her grandfather’s ancient inn is haunted by an evil spirit of its own.

In the town of Bungay, a black dog wanders the streets, enslaving the ghosts of those who have died unnatural deaths. When Margaret arrives, these phantoms congregate at the inn, hoping she can free them from the clutches of Hugh Bigod, the 12th century ghost who has drawn them away from Heaven’s White Light in his canine guise.

With the help of her grandfather and the spirits she has befriended, Margaret sets out to defeat Hugh Bigod, only to discover he wants to use her for his own ends – to take over Hell itself.

5-Star Review *****

I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough of this horror book that can also be considered historical fiction. Margaret is a teenage orphan with special powers. She can reincarnate the dead who are trapped between the underworld and heaven. She first experiences this when she spends time with her grandfather at his inn. As she reawakens those who have died violent or unnatural deaths and were tricked into turning away from the white light by an evil man whose presence is seen as a black dog, she discovers each person’s story, and we, the readers, also learn about true historical figures from ancient to present times. When Margaret is captured and brought to the Underworld, we also see a different version of Hell than brimstone and fire. This one features office cubicles where demons track disasters and use the Dark Web to aid terrorists and modern evildoers. Lucifer gets into the act, and Margaret’s (and the world’s) only hope lies with the good incarnates and God. This read will really make you think, and the action is fast-paced. Don’t miss it.

About Roberta Eaton Cheadle

I am an author who has recently branched into adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my young adult and adult writing, these will be published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first young adult supernatural novel, Through the Nethergate, has recently been published.

I have two short stories in the horror/supernatural genre included in Dark Visions, a collection of 34 short stories by 27 different authors and edited by award-winning author, Dan Alatorre as well as three short stories published in Death Among Us, a collection of murder mystery short stories by 10 different authors and edited by Stephen Bentley. These short stories are published under Robbie Cheadle.

Follow Roberta Cheadle Eaton at:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobertaEaton17

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robertawrites/?modal=admin_todo_tour

Blog: https://wordpress.com/view/robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19631306.Roberta_Eaton_Cheadle

Website: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Purchase Roberta Eaton Cheadle’s Books from: 

Amazon

TSL Publications https://tslbooks.uk/product/through-the-nethergate-roberta-eaton-cheadle/

Lulu http://www.lulu.com/shop/roberta-eaton-cheadle/through-the-nethergate/ebook/product-24208518.html

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Posted in Cat Writers' Association, Cats, Reviews

Review of Cat Life: Celebrating the History, Culture & Love of the Cat by Amy Shojai

Review: Cat Life: Celebrating the History, Culture & Love of the Cat

*****5 stars

This book is not only beautiful, filled with gorgeous color photographs of cats, but also extremely informative. I would expect nothing less from the author. Amy Shojai is a certified animal behavior consultant who has published 30 bestselling pet books.

Cat Life is divided into four sections: Evolutionary of cat; cultured cat; physical cat, and gallery of breeds. Anything and everything a cat lover might want to know about this unique animal is included in this book. A Table of Contents and an alphabetical index are also provided to help locate topics.

If you are looking for a complete guide that is wonderfully illustrated, you need look no further than Cat Life: Celebrating the History, Culture & Love of the Cat. A companion dog volume by Ms. Shojai is also available.
“Purr”-chase this book here.
JOIN Amy’s Audacious Allies, SUBSCRIBE to her free newsletter, READ her pet-centric blog: https://AmyShojai.com

Amy Shojai is a nationally known authority on pet care and behavior, a certified animal behavior consultant, a spokesperson for the pet products industry, and the author of 30 nonfiction pet books. She also writes THRILLERS WITH BITE! which includes the dog-viewpoint thrillers LOST AND FOUND, HIDE AND SEEK, SHOW AND TELL and FIGHT OR FLIGHT. In her other life, she’s a published and produced playwright of musical theater productions (some including pet characters!).

Amy addresses a wide range of fun-to-serious issues in her work, covering dog and cat training, behavior, natural and allopathic health care, nutrition, first aid, aging pets, “the bond” and cutting-edge medical topics. In her nonfiction books, she empowers pet lovers by providing the information they need to make informed decisions for their cats and dogs. She specializes in translating “medicalese” into easily understood jargon-free language, making it accessible to all pet lovers. Oh, and she loves bling-icity!

Her work has been honored with over three dozen writing awards and she is a two-time recipient of the “Friskies Writer of the Year” award. Her articles currently appear in the Herald Democrat newspaper, on Chewy.com and PetSafe.net among others. She’s published several thousand articles and columns during her career. Amy presents a twice-monthly “Pet Talk” segment at KXII-CBS, hosted the weekly “Pet Peeves” at PetLifeRadio.com and is an expert on Animal Planet DOGS 101 and CATS 101. Sometimes she has time to sleep.

Amy has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and in The Wall Street Journal, USA Weekend, The New York Times, Washington Post, Reader’s Digest, Woman’s Day, Family Circle, Woman’s World, and many other leading newspapers and magazines. She has also been a featured pet care expert on Animal Planet Dogs 101, Cats 101, Petsburgh USA/Disney Channel program, Good Day New York, Fox News: Pet News, NBC Today Show, WGN-Chicago “Pet Central” and “Animal Planet Radio” and many others.

She is an active member of the International Thriller Writers, Sisters In Crime, and Alliance of Independent Authors. Amy is a certified member of International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, founder and Past President of the Cat Writers’ Association, member of the Dog Writers Association of America, and Past President and Honorary Lifetime Member of Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. She frequently speaks to groups on a variety of pet-related and writing issues, lectures at veterinary and writer conferences, and conducts training and behavior demonstrations around the country.

She and her husband live with Karma-Kat the feline delinquent and Bravo-Boy, the Bullmastiff. They, along with the enduring inspiration of Siamese wannabe Seren-Kitty and Magical-Dawg the German Shepherd, continue to inspire her work. Find more information about her work at www.shojai.com and follow her Bling, Bitches & Blood Blog at https://amyshojai.com.

Posted in Reviews

Travel Memoir – Fishnets in the Far East by Michele E. Northwood

The holidays are a nice time to do some armchair traveling. If you’d like an in-depth glimpse into Korea from someone who stayed, worked, and lived there for several months, Fishnets in the Far East by Michele E. Northwood is the book for you.

Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/Michele-Northwood-ebook/dp/B07MLQ1WVQ

This is the true story of a young dancer, whose naive dream of working in the Far East turns into a nightmare.

She finds herself in a plethora of situations which she is ill-equipped to deal with. Dancing her way across South Korea with two friends, she is propositioned by the Mafia, turned away by the British Embassy, caught in a student riot, and taken to Korean brothels.

At times both shocking and humorous, this is the story of a timid young girl finding her voice and learning to stand up for herself in a male-orientated world of alcohol, sex and seedy nightclubs.

Here is a review I wrote for Amazon, Goodreads, and Bookbub after reading this book:

A Dancer’s Travel Diary Makes Intriguing Reading

I’m not a non-fiction reader, but this book reads almost like fiction. In fact, it proves the fact that real life can be stranger than fiction. I found the adventures of Michele and her two fellow dancers when they spent 6-months living and working in Korea to have all the elements of an intriguing story — part comedy, part drama with action, humor, and lots of insight into Korean culture. Michele related her experiences in a manner that made you feel like you were living them yourself. I cringed at the depiction of the hotel room with the rats and my heart beat fast at the parts where the women were warned about shootings in the area in which they were staying. I picked up some facts about Korean food and popular phrases such as Deep Joy. I can’t wait to read the author’s next tale taking place in Japan.

Posted in Cozy Mystery, New Releases, Reviews

Book Review: Brewed Awakening, A Coffeehouse Mystery, by Cleo Coyle

*****5 stars

Brewed Awakening, the 18th mystery in the Coffeehouse cozy mystery series, of which this book introduced me, is a highly recommended read for those who like books with twists, adventure, mystery, humor, clean romance, art, and delightful recipes.

The main character of the series, Clare Cosi, a coffee shop owner and a divorcee who still works with her ex-husband and his family, is also an amateur sleuth who assists her boyfriend, Detective Mike Quinn, on cases. In the second chapter of the book, after Mike proposes to her, Clare awakes on a park bench in Washington Square Park with Amnesia. While she can recall her ex, Matt Allegro, and her daughter, Joy, she remembers them from 15 years ago when Joy was a child. She recalls hardly anything of her present life including her relationship with Mike.

As the story progresses, Clare and her coffeehouse co-workers, her ex, and her fiancee all try to discover what happened to her while attempting to thwart Dr. Lorca, a psychiatrist who wishes to admit her to a medical facility away from any contact with them. Aware that Clare’s memory loss is tied into a crime she witnessed and that also involves a missing woman, her friends know the urgency of retrieving her recall of the incident. Her fiancee also has his personal reason for wanting Clare to remember him.

As a Long Islander, I particularly enjoyed the New York and Long Island’s East End settings. All the characters were well depicted, and I liked the mock jealousy between Mike and Matt who obviously both love her. Some recipes included at the back are mentioned in the book and are also available with others online at the included website. The ending features a nice twist and resolution. I look forward to catching up with this series written by a husband and wife team and highly recommend this book.

This book is on blog tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours.

Brewed Awakening (A Coffeehouse Mystery)
by Cleo Coyle

About Brewed Awakening


Brewed Awakening (A Coffeehouse Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
18th in Series
Berkley (December 3, 2019)
Hardcover: 368 pages
ISBN-10: 0451488873
ISBN-13: 978-0451488879
Digital ASIN: B07GQHK51D

From Cleo Coyle, the New York Times bestselling author of Shot in the Dark and Dead Cold Brew, comes a delicious new entry in the “fun and gripping” (The Huffington Post) Coffeehouse Mysteries.

When coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi awakens on a bench in Washington Square Park, she has no idea she’s been missing for the past week, or that her friends and family have been frantic with worry. Now that she’s back, everyone is overjoyed, including a handsome NYPD detective who claims to be her fiancé. But to Mike Quinn’s crushing distress, Clare doesn’t remember him, or much of anything about the last decade of her life.

Clare’s missing memory is tied to a crime she witnessed. An acquaintance of Clare’s elegant employer–and fellow member of an exclusive Gotham circle known as “The Ladies Who Brunch”–invited Clare to her posh hotel to sample gourmet wedding cakes. The pair took a stroll after their indulgent tasting and, according to security camera footage, a masked figure snatched the hotel heiress at gunpoint with Clare looking on. Did the kidnapper take Clare, too? The camera went dark, just like Clare’s memory. Soon authorities grow suspicious. Is Clare really a victim? Or merely acting like one? Evidence is mounting that she set the woman up.

To clear her name, Clare must find a way to reclaim her memories and rescue the heiress before this high-stakes crime ends in tragedy. Otherwise, instead of walking down the aisle, Clare may find herself perp-walking to prison as an accomplice to kidnapping and murder.

About Cleo Coyle

CLEO COYLE is the pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini.  CLEO COYLE grew up in a small town near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After earning scholarships to study writing at Carnegie Mellon and American Universities, she began her career as a cub reporter for The New York Times. Now an author of popular fiction and New York Times bestselling media tie-in writer, Cleo lives and works in New York City, where she collaborates with her husband (also a bestselling author) to pen the Coffeehouse Mysteries for Penguin. Together Cleo and her husband also write the Haunted Bookshop Mysteries under the name Alice Kimberly. When not haunting coffeehouses, hunting ghosts, or rescuing stray cats, Cleo and Marc are bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for NBC, Lucasfilm, Disney, Fox, Imagine, and MGM. In their spare time, they cook like crazy and drink a lot of java. You can learn more about Cleo, her husband, and the books they write by visiting www.CoffeehouseMystery.com.

Author Links

Visit Cleo online: www.coffeehousemystery.com

Friend Cleo on Facebook:www.Facebook.com/CleoCoyle

Follow Cleo on Twitterhttps://twitter.com/cleocoyle/

Purchase Links

Amazon     B&N     Kobo   Google Play  IndieBound

Posted in Cozy Series, Reviews

Review of Academic Curveball : A Kellan Arywick Cozy Mystery (Braxton Campus Mysteries #1) by James Cudney IV

Purchase Links:

eBook (and Kindle Unlimited): https://amzn.to/2LOOc2g

Paperback: https://amzn.to/2RMjXNs

Audio: https://amzn.to/35eaDWk

Five Stars *****

Academic Curveball is the second book I’ve read by James J. Cudney and the first of his Braxton Campus cozy mysteries. Having enjoyed his first novel, the standalone family saga Watching Glass Shatter that I reviewed here, I was curious to see how he would handle a cozy mystery. I wasn’t disappointed. The characters in Academic Curveball were all well portrayed. I especially liked Kellan, the main character, a widower with a young daughter who was called home for his father’s retirement party as president of Braxton College. Upon his return, Kellan who is currently working for Dark Realities, a television reality crime show, plans to meet Professor Abby Monroe who has material for the second season of his show after his father’s party. Unfortunately, he never gets to do so because Abby’s dead body is found during the party by his father’s assistant Lorraine Candito.

A number of people, some close to Kellan including his own father, are suspects in Abby’s murder, but the murder weapon is missing along with two other items, one that was intended as a gift to Kellan. The motive is believed to have involved the changing of a grade for an athlete so he can compete in a game that a college scout will attend. But when another murder occurs and they find the possible weapon hidden in Kellan’s father’s desk, Kellan has even more reason to solve the case despite the warnings by the town’s female sheriff who refers to him as “Little Arywick.”

Aided by his sassy grandmother, Nana D. and his old school friend Connor who is dating both his sister Eleanor and his college girlfriend Maggie, Kellan sets out to find the person responsible for the murders. Although I had a funny feeling about the character who the killer ended up being, I didn’t know the identity of the murderer until it was unveiled . . .  and then it all made sense. What surprised me even more was the cliffhanger at the end of the book that was totally unexpected. I won’t reveal any spoilers, but I love double twists. This one was done exceptionally well. I can’t wait to read the second book where it should be explained. My only criticism of this book was that the plethora of characters were introduced close together which made it somewhat difficult to keep them all straight initially. Otherwise, I highly recommend this series to those who like academic settings, a variety of interesting characters including a male protagonist, and cozy mysteries with lots of subplots and twists.

In addition to being a talented writer, Cudney also has a terrific WordPress blog called This is My Truth Now.