Book Review: The Bowery Slugger by Leopold Borstinski

About the Book:

A turn-of-the-century Jewish boy punches his way into the gangs of New York.

When Alex Cohen arrives in 1915 America, he seizes the land of opportunity with both hands and grabs it by the throat. But success breeds distrust and Alex must choose between controlling his gang and keeping his friend alive. What would you do if the person you trusted most is setting you up to die at your enemies’ hands?

The first book in the Alex Cohen series is a violent historical novel, which rips through the early years of the Jewish New York mob. Leopold Borstinski’s gripping crime noir beats at the chest of every reader with a bloody fist.

About the Author:

Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.

There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.

He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/borstinski

Facebook: www.facebook.com/LeoBorstinski

Website: http://www.leopoldborstinski.com/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/l/B071ZZXZMR?_encoding=UTF8&redirectedFromKindleDbs=true&ref=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000&rfkd=1&shoppingPortalEnabled=true

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bowery-Slugger-Alex-Cohen-Book-ebook/dp/B07X7HC4L2/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1572945986&sr=8-1

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Bowery-Slugger-Alex-Cohen-Book-ebook/dp/B07X7HC4L2/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+bowery+slugger&qid=1572946119&sr=8-1

Google Books: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=7L2vDwAAQBAJ&rdid=book-7L2vDwAAQBAJ&rdot=1&source=gbs_vpt_read&pcampaignid=books_booksearch_viewport

NOOK: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-bowery-slugger-leopold-borstinski/1133282419

My Thoughts:

The Bowery Slugger follows the life of Alex as he steps off a boat and onto American soil. This is a well-written story set during the onset of World War I, bringing the reader to a small part of the world and it’s inhabitants. Alex, in his teenage years, is smart and ruthless, grabbing opportunities and finding his way forward. We are introduced to the Jewish New York mob and how it is run. We meet some very interesting people who add different views and dimensions to this story.

The story is fast paced and at some points is quite graphic and gruesome. However, the author handles the plot quite well and the reader is pulled in the midst of family drama, power struggles, trust and status. The characters are well crafted and fit into the historical setting of this first book. The period and setting is so well described that it is easy for us as the readers to imagine it all in our minds.

Though slow at the beginning, the story picks up speed and pushes forward to an interesting climax. There is indeed some romance brought into the mix, but it takes a back seat most of the time. This story arc shows the reader a contrast in character thinking and brings into focus the skills of the main protagonist. As Alex starts to consider a move from his profession for the sake of love, he starts to wonder at his skill set and whether he is cut out for a world away from crime and the mob.

The plot is elaborately crafted and the reader takes a journey through the hierarchy of people and how the system works. There is a weird sense of justice about the job Alex holds inspite of the violence. there is a sense of honor.

The Bowery Slugger, an apt title for Alex in my opinion, is well worth a read!

Book Review: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

About the Book:

A Curse So Dark and Lonely

 New York Times bestseller!

Has everything you’d want in a retelling of a classic fairy tale.” – Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of A Spark of Light and Small Great Things

“Absolutely spellbinding.” – Stephanie Garber, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Caraval and Legendary

In a lush, contemporary fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Brigid Kemmerer gives readers another compulsively readable romance perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer.

Fall in love, break the curse.

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

My thoughts:

It is very easy to tell someone that the only way to break a curse is to fall in love. However, what people do not tell and this is the main catch, is that it is not so easy to fall in love.

This is the problem that Prince Rhen of Emberfall is facing. Having made one mistake in his youth, he is cursed to relive the eighteenth year of his life again and again and again. What was his mistake you may wonder? He courted an enchantress and cast her away. Spurned due to this and seeking revenge, she curses him. The curse can only be lifted when he finds true love.

Doesn’t this sound like a typical fairy tale but with the roles reversed? The prince has to find his princess. However, nothing is as easy as this explanation and this is not just any fairytale. In this new age re-telling of the Beauty and the Beast, the author brings to us a new age spin on things. Once the curse begins, the prince has the duration of the autumn season to find his true love. If that doesn’t happen, he turns into a monster and becomes quite dangerous.

The author brings to us a tale of sorrow and grief that is hidden behind the walls of the castle and unknown to the people of the kingdom. The only story that the people know is that their king seems to have abandoned them. The Prince’s guard is the only other person around and the only one granted with the ability to move from this time/place to the present day Earth and bring back girls for the Prince to court.

During one such situation, we are introduced to Harper. Harper witnesses a kind of kidnapping and tried to stop it. It is in this situation that she is brought back to Rhen’s world. The author then brings to us a wonderful tale of friendship, loyalty and eventually love. The characters are well developed and you cannot help but fall in love with them and their story. If I continue to write more, I will only gush about the story and reveal all the plot twists. To avoid that I will stop here and conclude.

A very well thought out book, this is a must read for all! I cannot wait for Book 2 and I am sure most of you will feel the same.

Book Review: Once Upon A [Fallen] Time by Samreen Ahsan

About the Book:

Once Upon A [Fallen] Time (Stolen Series II)

2015…
All her life, Myra Farrow has been obsessed with medieval castle-and the kings and princes who once inhabited them. When Steve Bernard, a wealthy videogame designer offers her to model for a princess character in his new game, Myra can’t resist his offer to enter the mysterious, colourless, and cursed Hue Castle. But unknown to Myra, her soul is bound to it by blood and sorcery. When she enters the castle’s doors, she awakens dark powers, time travelling through a cursed mirror, torturing her present, and rewriting her future, leaving Steve Bernard with millions of questions.

1415…
Edward Hue, the last of the Hue royal bloodline, has never stood in the sunshine, nor felt the rain, or held a living flower. Cursed from birth to live in darkness and bring death to all he touches, he is at the mercy of his cruel, tyrannical father King Stefan, who will not rest until he shatters Edward’s soul and makes his son into a diabolical copy of himself. Edward’s one hope is the mysterious woman, who walks into his life through a cursed mirror, out of his dreams, and introduces him: love.

Will Myra break Edward’s curse and bring him out of the darkness, or destroy him utterly? Will Steve ever be able to finish his game without Myra? Past and future collide in a tale of love, obsession, betrayal, and the hope for redemption.

This is book 2 of [STOLEN] SERIES.

My Thoughts:

Samreen Ahsan brings to us a smashing second book in the series. This book follows up where the first one left off, but takes us deeper into the past. In the first book, Myra only had dreams and glimpses of Edward, but in this one, she finally crosses over to the past. The author takes us on a journey through Edwards world as Myra tries to navigate her way. Edward tries to keep her hidden from the king, but it is not so easy. When the king finds out about her, it is her wit and knowledge of this past time that keeps her going.

The author brings to us a wonderful tale of love and mystery, weaving the past with the present. In the present, Myra’s family and friends are missing her and no-one knows where she is except Steve. Even though he tries to explain it, no-one believes the ‘story’ he tells.

In the past, Edward is fascinated by Myra and as she passes some time there, changes start to occur. Some color starts to appear in his otherwise dark life. The author once again handles the characters very well and weaves an intriguing plot!

A must read for all romance lovers out there and of course for fans of the author!

Book Review: The Truth About Gretchen by Alretha Thomas

About the Book:

Gretchen Holloway, in her final year of graduate school, is in the throes of auditioning actors for her thesis film, inspired by a murdered young football star who has haunted her dreams for two years. Gretchen believes making the movie will be cathartic. But instead of freeing her, embarking upon the film production unleashes a sequence of events that lead Gretchen to conclude that she’s the reincarnation of the young man.

Regina Wilson has always wanted to be an actress. When her agent gets her an audition for a role in Gretchen’s film, which eerily mirrors one of the worst events of her life—the unsolved murder of her older brother, Robert—she’s hard-pressed to go through with it. Upon fleeing, she leaves behind a keepsake that features Robert’s photo. Gretchen sees the picture and recognizes Robert from her dreams. She tracks down Regina, and after being rebuffed and called crazy, Gretchen’s unexplainable knowledge of events in Robert’s life eventually convinces Regina that Gretchen is Robert reincarnated.

The two decide to have his case reopened, but their significant others are dead set against it, and the police, who believe that Robert’s death was gang-related, are less than cooperative. However, Gretchen is desperate to get justice for her former self, and Regina wants justice for her brother. The women piece together the final week of Robert’s life. And the deeper they delve into his past; one shocking revelation follows another, leaving them wondering who they can trust and if they’ll live long enough to find Robert’s killer and bring him to justice.

Amazon link.
Social media links for the Author:

My Thoughts:

Note: I was provided with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

This book brings to the reader the concept of re-birth or re-incarnation. The plot is intriguing whereby the protagonist has dreams of someone who was murdered. Initially, she is not aware that it is about a real person and she embarks on a journey to turn these dreams into a film.

The story follows Gretchen as her path crosses with Regina, Robert’s sister. At first resistant to the whole concept, Regina starts to believe that Gretchen might be able to uncover and solve the mystery behind her brother’s death. The story is well thought out, but at times it seems a little stretched. At times it was even difficult to connect to the main protagonist, but it becomes easier as we progress through the book. Her strong sense of justice and the need to help prevail.

Overall this book is a decent read depending on the tastes of the reader!

In conversation with Uday Mukerji

Dead Man Dreaming by Uday Mukerji will release on 25th September 2019.

I have had the privilege of interviewing him. Read on to know more about Uday.

 

Paperback: 252 pages
Publishing date: September 25, 2019
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1-951214-46-3
ISBN-13: 978-1-951214-46-3
Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches

Price: $19.60 (paperback) $7.99 (e-book)

Pre-order at: https://adelaidebooks.org/dead_man_dreaming.html

 

 

Advance praise for Dead Man Dreaming

“Part love story and part life story, Dead Man Dreaming does an outstanding job of capturing the dilemmas posed by advance knowledge of the future in general and medical conundrums in particular. Uday Mukerji excels at closely examining confrontation’s roots in ideology and clashing belief systems. . . .

How characters handle what circumstance gives them—even life-threatening diseases—is one mark of a good read if the story is done right. Dead Man Dreaming is particularly thorough and poignant in its discussions of life, death, and the choices that lie in-between.

It’s a solid, absorbing read highly recommended for readers interested in the foundations of choice in navigating the pitfalls of life and medical challenges—one that superbly examines the foundations of good choices that stem from bad situations.”

— Midwest Book Review (Diane Donovan)

 

Author Interview

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born in India, and I had worked as a creative director in advertising agencies in Singapore for nearly twenty years. However, in 2009, I left all that to pursue my long-time dream—a career in writing.

My first literary fiction—a 2017 Readers’ Favorite Award Winner—Love, Life, and Logic was published by Harvard Square Editions, NY, in November 2016.

My next book, Dead Man Dreaming, published by Adelaide Books, NY, is due out in September this year.

I’m also an ardent nature lover, and I am very passionate about environment protection, pollution control, and the developing technologies in the field. So much so that I was given the full responsibility to run the Singapore Environmental Technology Yearbook—a pet project of the Singapore Ministry of Environment—for eight years.

2. What prompted you to start writing?

Frankly, I never thought I could be a writer. I had always been more of a reader. Although I didn’t major in literature, I always loved reading classics. Some of my all-time favorite books are Anna Karenina, Crime and Punishment, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, The Castle, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and The Outsider. I worked all my life in Advertising. But all that had suddenly changed a couple of years ago when I was vacationing in New Zealand. Throughout my whole life, one question had always haunted me: Why am I here? And during those few days, the peace and serenity all around amplified that voice in my head. But instead of jumping on to Google for an answer, I decided to dig deep inside and explore. Soon I started writing, and that’s how it all started in 2009.

3. How did the book “Dead Man Dreaming” happen?

In 2016, Shivani Nazareth, a genetic counselor in New York, published a piece in the US News: ‘Genetic testing before pregnancy should be as common as taking folic acid’. She wrote, while medical societies agree that preconception is the ideal time to offer carrier screening, a recent study showed that only 1 in 6 family physicians or OB/GYN providers offered carrier screening in preconception care. She also wrote that many parents learned they were carriers of rare diseases only after their child was born.

To me, parenting is undoubtedly the hardest job in the universe. Her writing got me thinking why the would-be parents weren’t doing their part before giving birth? Why do we make innocent kids suffer? Was it the lack of information or something else? …I wanted to find out more, and I jumped in.

And that’s how Dead Man Dreaming came about.

4. Why did you base your book on genetic diseases?

Genetic disease is a worldwide problem. Many of those diseases have no cure till date, and thousands of people are dying every day. But I strongly believe it’s avoidable in most cases. Maybe, gene editing isn’t legal yet in many countries, also, kind of expensive for many, but a carrier screening test is legal, and it’s right here. With awareness, maybe, someday we will be able to completely remove many of these single-gene diseases from our gene pool.

5. How much research went into the writing of this book?

Well, I needed quite a fair bit of research for this book, including gathering some personal experiences from victims and their families.

6. How easy/difficult was it to write this book and create the characters for it?

Writing this book has been an emotional journey for me. In spite of having a carrier screening test in place, why weren’t people taking the test? I had to get close to some of the victims to understand the issues. Talking to people who are suffering from irreversible diseases isn’t easy. Basically, I wasn’t offering them anything, except for taking their sufferings to my readers. I’m ever grateful to everyone I came in touch with in this process, and I wish them the best. Their smile, strength, and their support kept me going.

7. How much does your day to day life inspire your character sketches?

How about—almost all? Of course, with some additions and alterations. We experience high-voltage drama 24/7 in our daily life. And like our thumbprints, each person’s life is so different from the next person. Capturing any one of those has the potential of a great novel.

8. What do you do when you aren’t writing?

Just the regular things, I guess—reading a book, listening to music or an audiobook, going out with friends, and stuff like that. But more importantly, I love traveling and nature gazing, so if there’s an opportunity, I’ll be out in the hills or on a beach, chilling.

9. How much time do you spend on your writing on average per day?

I usually write about three/four hours in the morning and again two to three hours after lunch.

10. What do you like best about writing a story?

I can escape to my own world, and every time, it’s a new place with new surroundings.

11. Are you working on any new book now?

I have just started writing another novel exploring—a metaphysical view on life—how everything isn’t like what it seems to be.

12. Finally, what message do you want to share with us readers?

I would love everyone to take a carrier screening test before having children. A positive result isn’t really the end of the world. We can then sit down and discuss our options: sperm or egg donation, gene editing, or even adoption. …Why let the kids suffer? If we all stop transmitting the disease, maybe, someday, those diseases will be totally out of our system. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Book Review: The Circle Taken by Sage Sask

Note: I would like to thank NetGalley for the review copy.

About the Book:

Abandoned at eleven with no memory of her family, Alexia yearns to learn her true identity. Under the new government’s regime, sixteen-year-olds are evaluated for their desire to harm others. Throughout the test, Alexia struggles to conceal her secret. Failing in her mission, Alexia is taken and must fight to prove herself to her captors.

Desperate to escape, Alexia embarks on a dangerous quest for the truth of her past. In the resulting battle between life and death, Alexia learns that sacrifice and the gift she fought to keep hidden may be her only chance for survival.

A secret unearthed, a shocking betrayal, and a moment when lives hang in the balance leaves Alexia with only one choice. Will the decision determine her destiny or end her life?

My Thoughts:

The Circle is an interesting YA Dystopian read. A major part of the plot reminded me of The Hunger Games, but the story here is well-written and the characters were easy to understand. The story is quite fast paced and if the reader does not pay attention, it is easy to miss something important.

Alexia, the protagonist, has no memory of who she is or about her family for more than 5 years. She lives at an orphanage and learns to just keep her head down and move forward. When her secret is discovered, she is sent to a secret place. Here she has to fight to prove herself, to train, all the while trying to figure out who she really is. As she navigates this world and discovers it’s secrets, we are introduced to a group of people with a very specific way of thinking.

The characters are well crafted and interesting, most in their teenage years. All of them seek to befriend Alexia for different reasons, but in the end they stand together as one group. This journey is wonderful to read about. As fast-paced as the story is, a lot happens in this book and it ends at a twist leaving the reader yearning for more. I enjoyed reading this book and am looking forward to the next book, mainly to discover what happens to Alexia. The questions of how she deals with the truth behind her identity and the consequences of her decisions will hopefully be answered in the next book! This book is worth a read for fans of dystopian YA fiction.

Cover Reveal : Two Thousand Lines by Michelle Jester

 

 

Two Thousand Lines
Michelle Jester
Publication date: November 21st 2019
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Young Adult

From the author of The Funeral Flower and Love, Cutter comes a harrowing journey of self-discovery and perseverance.

Olivia’s life is held together by a dark secret she holds from her past; unraveling it may just be what it takes for her to truly survive.

Add to Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author Bio:

Michelle Jester lives in Greenwell Springs, Louisiana with her husband, high school sweetheart and retired Master Sergeant. Together they have a son and daughter. She is a hopeless romantic and has been writing poems and stories for as long as she can remember.
One of her prize possessions is a bracelet with only a yellow, Rubber Duckie charm on it; which she wears every day to remind her to enjoy the fun and happy things of life!

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

 

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Book Review: P.S. from Paris by Mark Levy

About the Book:

P.S. from Paris (UK edition)

They knew their friendship was going to be complicated, but love—and the City of Lights—just might find a way.

On the big screen, Mia plays a woman in love. But in real life, she’s an actress in need of a break from her real-life philandering husband—the megastar who plays her romantic interest in the movies. So she heads across the English Channel to hide in Paris behind a new haircut, fake eyeglasses, and a waitressing job at her best friend’s restaurant.

Paul is an American author hoping to recapture the fame of his first novel. When his best friend surreptitiously sets him up with Mia through a dating website, Paul and Mia’s relationship status is “complicated.”

Even though everything about Paris seems to be nudging them together, the two lonely ex-pats resist, concocting increasingly far-fetched strategies to stay “just friends.” A feat easier said than done, as fate has other plans in store. Is true love waiting for them in a postscript?

From Marc Levy, the most-read French author alive today, comes a modern-day love story between a famous actress hiding in Paris and a bestselling writer lying to himself.

My Thoughts:

I picked up this book mostly due to the connection to Paris. It is a city that I have come to love and I wanted to see how much of it I could connect with through the book.

The story follows Mia, an actress from UK as she gets away from the film industry, her husband and everything that is a part of her reel life. She needs a break and to re-assess what she wants from life. She ends up in Paris, at the doorstep of her best friend Daisy.

The reader is also introduced to Paul, an architect turned writer, who moves from the US to Paris to get away. He does this just after his first book was published as he doesn’t know how to deal with the fame. We also meet his best friend and the best friend’s wife, who are wonderful additions to the character ensemble.

The author takes us on a pleasant journey through the streets of Paris, from Montmartre, the artists square to the view from the top of the Opera. The locations are well described that for people who have been to Paris, it is a trip down memory lane, and for those who have not, it will spark the flame of discovery and the urge to visit this beautiful city.

The book deals with some important issues like self discovery and growth, trust and beyond all that love. Mia learns to open herself up to new experiences and possibilities. She takes a decision regarding her marriage and spends time working as a waitress at her friend’s restaurant. She happens to meet Paul by accident, through a date setup via a dating site. On Paul’s side, this is done by his friends as they think that he is not focusing on himself and his life. What turns starts off as a surprise and a joke, blossoms into a strong friendship between two people who want to experience more in their lives.

As we follow the two main characters on their journey of discovery, we travel a little with them as they deal with the consequences of their respective livelihoods. We also see love blossom as well as the uncertainty that follows it. The bonds between characters and the trust they have in their friends is something to learn from. The story is very well-written, it is fun, intriguing and is quite a pleasant read. I absolutely adored this book and recommend this to everyone.

Book Review : The Day I Lost You by Alex Sinclair

About the Book:

Book Review: The Hocus Pocus Magic Shop by Abigail Drake

Note: I was provided with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book:

The Hocus Pocus Magic Shop

When chemist Grace O’Leary finds a book of magic spells hidden in her Aunt Lucy’s run-down magic shop, the scientist in her itches to try them out. She mixes up a batch of love potions as a joke, and has to face the consequences when they actually seem to work.

Her dream of becoming a professor is in peril, and time is running out to finish research for her dissertation. She can’t handle any more distractions, but the magic shop is on the verge of closing, her aunt has become forgetful and confused, and a handsome reporter named Dario Fontana keeps sniffing around for a story. The last thing she needs is for him to find out about the love potions and expose her as fraud, but she begins to trust him, and the sizzling chemistry between them is soon too powerful to deny.

With her personal and professional life in chaos, and her budding relationship with Dario in jeopardy, Grace is faced with a difficult choice. Fixing what is broken means going against every logical bone in her body. Can Grace learn to silence her scientific brain long enough to accept the truth about magic…and also about herself?

About the Author:

Award-winning author Abigail Drake has spent her life traveling the world and collecting stories wherever she visited. She majored in Japanese and Economics in college, and is a book hoarder, a coffee drinker, a linguistics geek, and an eternal optimist. She writes women’s fiction and young adult fiction with smart, sassy, funny heroines, and she also enjoys blogging about the adventures of her mischievous Labrador retriever, Capone.

Abigail is the winner of the prestigious 2017 Prism Award for her book Traveller, and the International Digital Award for her young adult novel, Tiger Lily. In addition, she was named a finalist in the Golden Pen, the Golden Leaf, the Dante Rossetti Book Award, and the Cygnus Award for Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction. Learn more about http://abigaildrake.com

My Thoughts:

The Hocus Pocus Magic Shop introduces us to chemist Grace O’Leary who is working on her PhD thesis. When she is framed for helping a student to cheat, she is stripped of her TA privileges and shunned by many of her peers. Looking for a break and a change of scenery, she volunteers to visit her Aunt Lucy who had a mild accident and to provide her support.

The reader is introduced to a variety of characters, but they are brought in quite abruptly. There is not a lot of background information provided about them which leads us to wonder how they are connected to the main character.  Much of Grace’s situation is a cliche, she meets a handsome young man who lives in her Aunt’s town, she is struggling to deal with the pressure of completing her thesis and finally, there is the mystery of who caused her aunt’s accident.

The events that occur seem sudden and disconnected. There are times when the reader will wonder how certain characters are even tied in or have information. It took me a while to get into the book and to really piece together the story.

However, as the story progresses, it becomes easier to understand the plot even though the characters were not very easy to relate to for me. There is magic, mystery and romance all mixed together rather haphazardly. But, this book proves to be a rather light and simple read if one does not try to focus too much on the plot. The friends that Grace makes and the support she receives in the end make it worthwhile to read about.