My A – Z list of book reviews has become so big and unwieldy that I’m in the process of splitting it into two lists. I have a whopping 98 reviews on my Goodreads page: Marje’s Goodreads Page
So with this in mind I’m splitting it alphabetically into two. You can find the A – M list here: Kyrosmagica A – M Book Reviews
It doesn’t quite divide perfectly so I thought what better place to begin than to start with an N… that’s the beginning of my eldest daughters name – Natasha – and she’s a bookworm too.
So here goes:
Jandy Nelson. I’ll Give You The Sun. 5 stars. Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance, GLBT.
Patrick Ness. The Knife of Never Letting Go. 5 stars. Genre: YA, Dystopia, Science Fiction, Fantasy. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-the-knife-of-never-letting-go-by-patrick-ness/
Old Kingdom series:
Sabriel. 4 stars. Genre: Fantasy, YA, Fiction, Magic, Adventure. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2014/09/23/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-garth-nixs-sabriel/
Lirael. 4 stars. Genre: Fantasy, YA, Fiction, Magic, Adventure. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-garth-nixs-lirael/
Abhorsen. 5 stars. Genre: Fantasy, Ya, Fiction, Magic, Adventure. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2014/12/15/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-abhorsen-by-garth-nix/
Ruth Ozeki. A tale for the Time Being. 5 stars. Genre: Literary Fiction, Japan, Historical Fiction, Magical Realism. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2014/05/09/my-review-of-a-tale-for-the-time-being-by-ruth-ozeki/
Philip Paris. The Italian Chapel. 4.5 stars. Genre: Italy, Historical, Scotland, War. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-the-italian-chapel-by-philip-paris/
Caroline Peckham. Creeping Shadow. 4 stars. Genre: YA Fantasy. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2015/11/01/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-creeping-shadow-by-caroline-Peckham/
Isla And The Happily Ever After. 4 stars. Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance.. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2014/11/16/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-isla-and-the-happily-ever-after-by-stephanie-perkins/
Lola and The Boy Next Door. 4 stars. Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/review-of-lola-and-the-boy-next-door-stephanie-perkins/
Jodi Picoult. The Storyteller. 4 stars. Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction, WW2, Holocaust. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2014/06/18/my-review-of-the-storyteller-jodi-picoult/
Sara Raasch. Snow Like Ashes. 4.5 stars. Genre: Fantasy, YA, Magic. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-snow-like-ashes-by-sara-raasch/
Kathy Reichs. The Bone Collection. 4.5 stars. Genre: Mystery, Fiction, Short Story, Crime, Forensic Anthropology, Thriller. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2017/02/24/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-the-bone-collection-by-kathy-reichs/
Daniel Royse. The Watermelon King. 4.5 stars. Genre: Fiction, Travel, Cultural – Africa. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2017/01/22/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-the-watermelon-king-by-daniel-royse/
Rick Riordan. The Lightning Thief. 3.75 stars. Genre: Fantasy, YA, Mythology. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2015/01/22/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-the-lightning-thief-by-rick-riordan/
Caroline Roberts. The Cosy Teashop in The Castle. 4 stars. Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Chick lit. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2016/09/12/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-the-cosy-teashop-in-the-castle/
Hugh W. Roberts. Glimpses. 4 stars. Genre: Short story compilation: Ghost, LGBT, Horror, Drama, Science Fiction, Comedy, Fantasy, Supernatural, Thriller: https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-glimpses-by-hugh-w-roberts/
Nicholas Rossis. Runaway Smile. 5 stars. Genre: Children. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2015/01/07/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-nicholas-rossiss-runaway-smile/
Fangirl 4.5 stars. Genre: YA, Mental Health, Love Story, Romance. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2015/07/02/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-fangirl-by-rainbow-rowell/
Landline. 3.75 stars. Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Adult. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-landline-by-rainbow-rowell/
Eleanor and Park. Genre: 4 stars. YA, Romance, Contemporary. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/my-review-of-eleanor-and-park-by-rainbow-rowell/
Brandon Sanderson. Mistborn. 5 stars. Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Magic. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2015/01/31/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-mistborn-by-brandon-sanderson/
Terri Webster Schrandt. Better Blogging With Photography. 5 stars. Genre: Guidebook – Photography/Blogging. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2017/03/09/review-of-better-blogging-with-photography-by-terry-webster-schrandt/
A Darker Shade of Magic. 4.5 stars. Genre: Fantasy, YA, Magic. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2015/06/08/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-a-darker-shade-of-magic-by-v-e-schwab/
The Archived. 4 stars. Genre: Fantasy, YA, Paranormal. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-the-archived-victoria-schwab/
The Unbound. 5 stars. Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-victoria-schwabs-the-unbound/
Vicious. 4 stars. Genre: YA, Superhero, Science Fiction, Paranormal:
Robin Sloan. Mr Penumbras 24 Hour Bookstore. 3.5 stars. Genre: Mystery, Fantasy, Books about Books. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2015/03/23/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-mr-penumbras-24-hour-bookstore/
Dodie Smith. I Capture The Castle. 4 stars. Genre: Fiction, Classics, Young Adult, Romance. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2016/11/24/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-i-capture-the-castle-by-dodie-smith/
Maggie Stiefvater The Raven Boys. 4.5 stars. Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2015/06/13/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-the-raven-boys-by-maggie-stiefvater/
Ned Vizinni. It’s A Funny Kind Of Story. 5 stars. Genre: YA, Contemporary, Mental Health. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2014/09/18/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-its-kind-of-a-funny-story-by-ned-vizzini/
Ivan Vladislavic. Double Negative. 4 stars. Genre: Literary Fiction, Contemporary, Photography. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-double-negative-by-ivan-vladislavic/
Andy Weir. The Martian. 5 stars. Genre: Science Fiction, Adventure. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2015/01/04/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-the-martian-by-andy-weir/
D. Dominik Wickles. Hong Kong Treasure. 3 Stars. Genre: Romance, Asia. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2015/04/18/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-hong-kong-treasure-by-d-dominik-wickles/
Lisa Williamson. The Art of Being Normal. 5 stars. Genre: YA, Contemporary, GLBT. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2015/04/26/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-the-art-of-being-normal-by-lisa-Williamson/
Evie Wyld. All The Birds Singing. 4.5 stars. Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Contemporary, Australia. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2014/08/03/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-all-the-birds-singing-evie-wyld/
Nicola Yoon. Everything Everything. 3.75 stars. Genre: YA, romance, Contemporary. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2016/07/28/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-everything-everything-by-nicola-yoon/
Also Special Interest:
Dan Mayfield. Jasper and The Magpie. 4 stars. Genre: Special Interest, Children’s, Autistic Spectrum. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-jasper-and-the-magpie/
Clare G Harvey. The Practitioners Encyclopaedia Of Flower Remedies: Genre: Health, Alternative Therapies. Flower Remedies. https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/the-practitioners-encyclopaedia-of-flower-remedies-by-clare-g-Harvey/
Happy Reading….I sense this list will grow and grow and grow, a bit like Jack’s beanstalk..
Bye for now,
If there is ever a moment when you wonder who to follow in blogging land – never fret I have the answer! (And so does Chris at The Story Reading Blog. ) Who am I talking about? Our very own Blogger’s Bash organiser, one of the stupendous gang of four: Sacha Black. Her blog is awesome, full of amazing writing tips. Do follow her you won’t regret it. 🙂
My name is Sacha Black. I am, like many of you, an aspiring author. But I am also mother to a one year old, a wife and full time worker bee. I am currently also a student at the Writers Bureau, and a qualified Nail Technician. So I really struggle to find the time to squeeze in writing. Which is one of the reasons I blog. It forces me to write. But it also enables me to draw together a series of really useful writing tools, which I take pride in sharing.
The aim of my blog is to share with fellow writers, bloggers, novelists, authors and any interested parties all the knowledge and tools I am gaining on my journey to being published.
I write short stories, flash fiction occasionally poetry, but my true passion lies in writing novels. I am currently 53K into my first one, and…
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Through six turbulent months of 1934, 17-year-old Cassandra Mortmain keeps a journal, filling three notebooks with sharply funny yet poignant entries about her home, a ruined Suffolk castle, and her eccentric and penniless family. By the time the last diary shuts, there have been great changes in the Mortmain household, not the least of which is that Cassandra is deeply, hopelessly, in love.
This is a very charming coming of age story, expressed via the journal entries of the young would be writer Cassandra Mortmain. The opening sentences introduce the reader to the eccentric and quirky tone of the novel beautifully:
I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. That is, my feet are in it; the rest of me is on the draining board, which I have padded with our dog’s blanket and the tea-cosy.
Cassandra’s family is about as bohemian as it gets. After an unfortunate incident her father, an author, has spent time in prison. Now released he wishes to distance himself from any further alterations with neighbours by living in relative solitude in a castle. He is now experiencing what appears to be a protracted case of writer’s block. Even his wife Topaz, (the children’s step mother) can’t inspire him with her ministrations, and naked jaunts communing with nature. With no income to sustain them, the family has no choice but to welcome any help they can get. At first, this comes in the form of the late housekeeper’s son Stephen, who happily hands over his wages, poor lad, as he is hopelessly in love with Cassandra. The arrival of two young eligible American bachelors, Simon and Neil offers hope to the family if only Cassandra’s elder sister Rose could perhaps convince the eldest brother Simon to marry her. Rose is desperate to escape poverty so is almost willing to do anything to change their material fortunes.
The close of I Capture The Castle doesn’t promise a happier ever after, or a neat and tidy ending which may disappoint some readers who expected this to be a romantic novel with the lovers walking off into the sunset hand in hand. This is perhaps partly due to the fact that this is a coming of age story and the romance contained within is experienced through the eyes of a very young girl. Young girls do get their hearts broken and suffer disappointments. Love can and does get complicated, and this is particularly true when we are still at an age when we are vulnerable and inexperienced. I Capture The Castle explores the resulting entanglements and jealousy beautifully. So, in my opinion, the ending is all the more poignant as it does suggest a more realistic and believable outcome.
Highly recommended for readers that appreciate character driven novels, and those who enjoy Young Adult Fiction, (with the young adult taking centre stage,) Historical Romance, and Classics.
My rating: A very enjoyable 4 stars.
Have you read I Capture The Castle? Do let me know in the comments below if you have.
Bye for now,
Solveig Werner is hosting a blogging Advent Calender this sounds a fun way to get in the mood for Christmas. To find out more about how to get involved read her post.
It’s almost time for the annual Advent Calendar
All I need is your contribution and for time to pass a little slower so that everyone can be creative and I can review and set up the posts.
Last year I had the crazy idea to host a multi-contributor advent calendar. It worked great and many contributors found new readers and friends and many of loyal readers found blogs they enjoy reading. Memories, stories and traditions were shared. If you want an idea, then see here.
This year, I am looking for 24 contributions let’s make that 25 to start in style on the first advent Sunday with a pre-calendar post (I might accept more to do super Advent Sundays).
So what am I looking for?
For this year I thought that stories should take the centre stage. Flash and micro fiction, longer short stories, stories told through poems…
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Welcome to Kyrosmagica,
Pull up a cosy chair and get comfortable – I have so much to tell you. It has been quite a week of colourful excitement, fun and frolics. It’s been my birthday week so let me suggest a mug of hot chocolate topped with chocolate drizzled marshmallows…. Why not? Or if you fancy a Martini Espresso do join me in a moment…
In the meantime what about a journey back in time in my special phone booth… I am getting older by the minute… on the bright side I’m not as ancient as these dinosaurs
We have a tradition in my family – my mum and dad decided that birthdays should last longer than a day. So when it’s anyone’s birthday we celebrate for a whole darn week! Not just a single day, we like to make it last, and last and last, …. ad infinitum.
So my fun week started off last Sunday with a trip to London with my two daughters. We made quite a day of it visiting Camden food market, (eating yummy Beef Rendang – which is a spicy Malaysian dish,) walking along the river from Camden food market, and then taking a bus to Covent garden, as the tube station was shut. My poor wee legs.
Here’s some photos that I’d like to share with you.
My keen photographer daughter Georgina is on the right clutching her camera, Natasha is to the left of her, our model for the day!
What about a little oriental charm along the way? A beautiful Chinese restaurant that we discovered floating on the water! http://www.fengshang.co.uk/
We were in search of graffiti to photograph and we found plenty.
Sometimes you need someone special in the foreground to make it especially interesting….
What else did I do this week?
- I went to a make up evening with my youngest daughter – the launch party for the new John Lewis beauty hall which was great fun. I nearly won the raffle prize but unfortunately I lost it by one number. My raffle ticket was something like 365, and the winning number was 364. A bit of a disappointment – but life isn’t all about winning, is it? It’s about experiences. Doing the things you love with the family and friends you love. That’s what truly counts.
- I bought a couple of new books at Ruth Hatfield’s book launch. I’ve got a bit of catching up to do, I read the first in this series a while ago:
- I went out for a lovely birthday lunch with my hubby, and youngest daughter.
So before this week ends I’d just like to raise a glass to you, my followers, to thank you for your continued support in this here blog. It means the world to me. In fact I’d love to raise a glass of Espresso Martini to you.
Cheers. Love ya..from the real me, no cartoon this time!
You have to see this even if it’s just for Hugh’s facial expressions!!! Reblog of Hugh’s short book Glimpses which is available for pre-order and is to be released in kindle format on 6th December. There is something for everyone!!!
I’m jumping with joy because I’d like to announce that Glimpses, my first collection of short stories, is now available to pre-order on Kindle.
Glimpses – The new book of some of my short stories. Publication Date: Paperback: Thursday 1st December 2016. Kindle: Tuesday 6th December 2016.
The Kindle version of Glimpses will be available to download from Tuesday, 6th December 2016 and is now available to pre-order. Click on the links below to pre-order.
The paperback version of Glimpses will be available to buy on Amazon from Thursday, 1st December 2016.
The book is made up of 28 short stories, many of which have been rewritten for the book; some with different endings to those previously published on my blog.
Here’s the complete lineup with a synopsis for each of the stories that will appear in the book.
01. Last Train To Aldwych
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Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with a thunderous hangover, a raging headache . . . and a pair of horns growing from his temples.
At first Ig thought the horns were a hallucination, the product of a mind damaged by rage and grief. He had spent the last year in a lonely, private purgatory, following the death of his beloved, Merrin Williams, who was raped and murdered under inexplicable circumstances. A mental breakdown would have been the most natural thing in the world. But there was nothing natural about the horns, which were all too real.
Once the righteous Ig had enjoyed the life of the blessed: born into privilege, the second son of a renowned musician and younger brother of a rising late-night TV star, he had security, wealth, and a place in his community. Ig had it all, and more—he had Merrin and a love founded on shared daydreams, mutual daring, and unlikely midsummer magic.
But Merrin’s death damned all that. The only suspect in the crime, Ig was never charged or tried. And he was never cleared. In the court of public opinion in Gideon, New Hampshire, Ig is and always will be guilty because his rich and connected parents pulled strings to make the investigation go away. Nothing Ig can do, nothing he can say, matters. Everyone, it seems, including God, has abandoned him. Everyone, that is, but the devil inside.
Horns is one of those books that captures your attention right from the start in a spectacular way. The main protagonist Ig, wakes up after a night of drunken debauchery with more than a mighty hangover. He finds a set of horns attached to his head, and these act like antennae giving him the ability to coerce people to tell him their darkest, most deeply hidden secrets. Time and time again the result is unequivocally shocking, making the reader reel at the depths to which people will have a hidden dark side. It makes us question just how much we really know our dear neighbours, friends, and family, who we love so much. Undoubtedly, we are all flawed human beings even the ones amongst us who we look up to are wretched sinners.
Horns is in part a love story, a tragic one, as Ig’s girlfriend, Merrin has been raped and murdered, and Ig is the prime suspect. Through the antennae effect, we get to learn the true reaction of his family, friends and the community to his possible culpability.
Horns isn’t easy reading and at times I definitely flinched. But it’s one of those books that draws you in and keeps you reading even though you want to look away. The villain is well crafted and engagingly horrible. If you have a phobia of snakes I don’t recommend you read this novel! It will give you nightmares!
The faster pacing of the earlier chapters gives way to a slower mid section that explores Ig’s relationship with his long-term girlfriend Merrin, who by all accounts is his soul mate, the love of his life. Given her importance to the narrative, this weightier middle section is understandable but does slow down the pace of the novel somewhat.
There is a reveal with regard to Merrin which ties some of the loose threads together in a very interesting way. But I am still a bit unsure about the ending…. perhaps this is a novel that would benefit from a second reading. I did feel that the ‘happier’ ending didn’t quite fit with the rest of the book, but I wonder if it was added as a device to make it less grim and more marketable – particularly with regard to a potential film contract – the film was released in 2014.
I’d definitely read more from Joe Hill, and it’s not just because he’s Stephen King’s son! This is ‘my first,’ Joe Hill novel. With this introduction, I can see that he weaves a wonderfully enthralling tale that explores the darker side of humanity, which continues to fascinate me.
Would I recommend Horns? Yes, most definitely but only if you like novels that explore the darker, murkier side of life.
My rating: 4.5 stars.
Bye for now,
I made the shortlist of Esther Newton’s flash fiction competition!!! Nice to know, cheered me up a bit after all the Trump election misery..
Well, I can’t do much about the election result, but I can spread a little cheer among a few of you. A few weeks ago, I set my first mini-competition (a flash fiction story on the theme of The Discovery). I was overwhelmed by the number of entries I had and the quality of the writing. So I decided to first whittle it down to a shortlist…and here it is. Well done to all these talented writers and their wonderful stories. The winners will be chosen soon. Watch this space!
The Discovery Flash Fiction Competition Shortlist:
In no particular order:
Ditrie Sanchez The Girl with the Stick
Melissa Lawrence The Hostage
Lucy Mitchell The Secret
Glynis Smy The Discovery
Suzanne Forman Space
Geoff Le Pard The Discovery
Helen Gaen Sea-Scanners and Processors: Input from…
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Just a quick blog post to share this photo of the Fireworks on Midsummer Common in Cambridge. We had it all planned, a quick meal, and then straight to the fireworks. What could possibly go wrong? Everything! We had a long wait to be seated at our chosen restaurant, as it was ridiculously busy. Then when we finally managed to get our table, they lost our food order. Luckily they gave us 25% off the bill plus two free drinks. After all that I was getting quite tipsy, and needed to eat something. Luckily the food did come, and was very tasty. But, time was running out. I had to pop to the toilet and by the time I’d taken two phone calls, (whilst in there,) we nearly missed it all!!!
All was not lost I just managed to capture this beauty lighting up the skies between the houses.
Do you enjoy fireworks? I love them. They always make me feel positive, as if they light up the sky with their little rays of hope. The only problem with fireworks and bonfire night is the wretched temperature. I can’t cope with being cold… I have to wrap up!
I have lots of plans for November, it’s my birthday later this month! So more about that nearer the time. I will be having a little birthday reveal on my Instagram – my little treat to myself! We all need to have something special to look forward to…
Before I go perhaps I should leave you with my Instagram link: https://www.instagram.com/kyrosmagica/
Hope Monday is treating you well and not squashing the life out of you! Very amused to see that a bodybuilder/personal trainer is following me on twitter. Is he trying to tell me something? I know I need to get fit but… knowing me I’d get crushed by the weights or drop them on my foot or something.
Book 1 in The Pathfinders series
As the end of the world begins, Carla and Tully hurtle through a wormhole five years forward in time, only to find they haven’t missed the Apocalypse after all.
Carla and Tully are picnicking in the quad of their international high school in central Paris when the end of the world begins. They are sucked into a wormhole that spits them out five years later to find that the world is a freezing desolation but still hanging on, waiting for something even worse to finish it off. The something worse turns out to be the Burnt Man and his horsemen. Taken prisoner by the Flay Tribe to their lair in the ruins of a shopping mall, Tully is forced to become a warrior, while Carla joins the other girls as a kitchen slave and comfort woman.
Tully might like the idea of playing soldiers, but Carla knows what is waiting for the girls when the food runs out, and it isn’t pleasant. The supermarket holy man’s vision of the return of the Burnt Man and his demon friends drags Tully back to reality. When the four fiends are reunited, the Apocalypse will really begin. Carla and Tully don’t plan on being there when that happens.
But in this post-Abomination world where only the young and brutal have survived, where food and fuel are running out and the climate is plunging into another final ice age, there is nowhere to run—except down another wormhole, with no idea of what might be waiting for them at the other end.
Isn’t that the most stunning cover? You know what they say, a cover helps sell the story, and this one certainly drew me in.
Abomination is the first book in the Pathfinders series. The two main characters teenagers Carla and Tully, are trying to cope with the challenges and uncertainties of a shocking post-apocalyptic world in which only the strongest and fittest will survive. Abomination demonstrates Jane Dougherty’s talent for writing powerful descriptive passages combined with believable dialogue. There are a whole bunch of characters to keep the reader entertained. But be prepared for some hard hitting scenes as this YA novel packs some less than tender punches. The novel draws to a gripping close and revelation. In truth, I am a bit of a novice in terms of post-apocalyptic novels so it was interesting to challenge myself to try something new. Abomination will appeal to both male and female YA readers who enjoy post-apocalyptic narratives, and to readers like myself who sometimes like to step out of their usual genre comfort zone to broaden their reading experience.
It is perhaps more suitable for the upper age limit of the YA market rather than the lower end due to some upsetting scenes.
My rating : 4 stars.
Have you read Abomination or Jane Dougherty’s The Green Woman series? Do let me know I’d love to hear your opinions.
Have a lovely weekend, enjoy!
Bye for now,